A pony will enjoy a far happier Christmas this year than last. Cash now lives with a family in Maidstone after being re-homed by the RSPCA.
WARNING: Distressing images ahead
Last year was very different.
Cash was discovered "on the brink of death" just days before Christmas after collapsing on a muddy bank off Norman Road in Belvedere, London.
It took the best efforts of both the RSPCA and the London Fire Brigade to rescue him after his plight was reported by a passing member of the public.
Lisa Miller, the RSPCA inspector who dashed to his rescue, said: “Sadly we are often called out to collapsed horses and find it’s too late and that they’ve died.
"It’s so dangerous when horses go down and can’t get back up as their internal organs can fail under the weight of their own bodies."
She said: “Cash had slipped down a muddy bank and was stuck, laying on his side, with his back legs caught around a tree and his front legs in the river.
"He’d been trying to get back to his feet and was exhausted; he was on the brink of death.”
After sedating the animal, fire crews winched him to safety and the RSPCA took him to a vet for treatment.
Despite an appeal, no owner ever came forward, so it is believed the horse had been abandoned.
He was taken into the care of RSPCA Leybourne Animal Centre near Maidstone, who have since been able to re-home him with Debbie Paine, her husband Rob, and their four children.
Mrs Paine said: “I've always been on the lookout for a horse for my children and when I saw Cash on the RSPCA website, I just knew he was the one for us.
"He is a very sweet and quiet boy, who had a terrible start to life but has definitely won the lottery with us.
"He is treated like a king and rightly so.
"He lives out in a herd and has paired up with a little three-year-old cob which is so lovely to see."
She said: “Cash will be thoroughly spoilt for Christmas, but then again, everyday is like Christmas for him now.”
The family also have a three-year-old Poochon dog called Poppy and a one-year-old tortoiseshell cat called Jessie.
Inspector Miller said: “It is just fantastic to see what a transformation Cash has been through.
"I have to admit there were times when I wasn’t sure he was going to make it, but he’s proved he’s a little fighter. He’s a Christmas miracle.”
Sadly the RSPCA is expecting to have deal with more abandoned horses this Christmas.
Nationally there are 893 horses in RSPCA care with 70 rescued so far this December.
The charity is asking for support. Details on how to donate can be found here.