A little pony named Haribo has captured the hearts of thousands of social media fans across the world who are following his rehabilitation journey at a Mid Wales tourism and equine holidays business.
Haribo arrived at Brandy House Farm at Felindre, near Knighton as a small, terrified pony for rehabilitation and re-training with Think Like a Pony horsemanship instructor Sophie Hildreth.
Sophie, who is based at Brandy House Farm, found Haribo through a Facebook group for ponies that have behaviour problems which make it impossible for them to be sold by traditional routes.
His previous owners had done the best they could with him, but he was so traumatised and fearful that they decided to seek help.
Haribo’s story was published on social media and he became so popular that Sophie decided to run a competition offering the winner the chance to meet him in person. The winner, Ophelia Gibbs and her mum, Angela recently travelled from Hampshire to Brandy House Farm to meet Haribo and they immediately became friends.
Apart from meeting Haribo, Sophie introduced Ophelia to Think Like a Pony training techniques. “For children like Ophelia, who are generally quite anxious, Sophie’s work is really empowering and uplifting,” said Angela.
“We had a fabulous weekend in Wales training with the wonderful Sophie, learning natural horsemanship techniques. This feels like the part of our journey that was missing and now we have a training programme that will help us fill in the gaps.
“Sophie is an incredible instructor and not only has she taught us about the horses, but also about ourselves.
“We stayed at the lovely Brandy House Farm which is the most beautiful horse and dog friendly place in Mid Wales. We can’t wait to return with our ponies and fully experience all they have to offer.”
Sophie takes ponies that have had behavioural problems and then rehabilitate, re-trains and re-homes them.
“Usually, ponies stay with us for around three months, and while Haribo won’t be leaving us any time soon due to the extent of his behavioural issues, he will be rehomed with a family,” explained Sophie.
“While we love Haribo and have contemplated keeping him, his connection with one of the children he has made friends with makes us realise he needs and deserves a person of his own to love and care for him.
“How proud I was to see little Haribo now using his newfound confidence and skills to help someone else to develop theirs.”
Medina Brock, from Brandy House Farm – www.brandyhousefarm.co.uk – said: “Haribo came to Brandy House Farm for rehabilitation with Sophie Hildreth as a small, terrified pony with huge courage and he has captured the hearts of thousands.
“Literally, he has a huge social media following with fans from all over the world. It has been an honour to witness Haribo’s journey first hand. He is now much more confident and trusting, so much so that he has been able to make friends with and connect with the children he meets.”
Haribo with Sophie Hildreth, Ophelia Gibbs and Medina Brock at Brandy House Farm.