Norfolk

Great Yarmouth blind pony helped by 'bell' horse

  • 7 June 2014
  • From the section Norfolk
Josh and Rory
Image caption Josh and Rory are like "brothers", groom Katie Doyle said

A pony that helped disabled people learn to ride has had to rely on another horse's help after becoming blind.

Josh worked as a Riding for the Disabled pony near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, for many years until his sight failed.

Croft Farm Riding Centre noticed he then became anxious when in the field.

They said he is now "secure" if accompanied by horse Rory, who wears a bell to indicate his presence.

Centre proprietor Heather Cook put a bell on 31-year-old Rory and paired him with Josh, 24, after hearing the method had been used to help a blind dog.

She said following the sound of Rory's bell had enabled Josh to enjoy the outdoors and helped his confidence.

"With the bell, Josh knows where Rory is," she added.

"We'd had a problem with him running into fences, but now Josh feels the security of Rory and has calmed down."

Image caption Heather Cook says the sound of Rory's bell indicates he is nearby, giving Josh "security"
Image caption The riding centre tied a bell on Rory after hearing how the method had helped a blind dog

The pair have been inseparable since Josh had to be retired from his Riding for the Disabled duties in April, a year after developing uveitis, an eye inflammation.

"I was absolutely gutted to be told he was 100% blind," said Ms Cook, who said Josh was brought to the riding centre as a five-year-old.

"He was one of my best-behaved ponies. I could use him with the most nervous people and I'd always been very fond of him."

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