Our famous, four-legged-friend, Pedro the Shetland, has retired to the Surrey countryside after three fantastic years with us at Ebony Horse Club.
During his time in Brixton, the much-loved miniature has cultivated quite a following, courting royalty, Olympians, film stars and celebrities during his time with us.
In 2015, he won over the nation (and gained a fair few international friends) when he went viral as children tried to address the issue of him not being able to see over his stable door, inventing the Pedroscope to help him out whilst we appealed for financial support to remedy the situation.
But it was his day-to-day task at EHC that Pedro a true star. He had the valuable role of introducing young people to ponies for the first time. At just 33 inches, he was less intimidating than other horses on the yard, making him the perfect starting point for those who had never come face to face with a horse before.
Known for his particular love of hugs and cuddles, “Pedro makes me laugh” said member Andrew Smith, (14).
“He’s got this funny thing he does with his hoof, when he knows there’s a carrot or something around he’ll scrape his foot on the ground to get your attention.” continued member, Laura Fee (16).
Club member, Zoe Cardew (13) who likes plaiting Pedro’s mane and tail, “He’s pretty particular when it comes to his mane. He lets you know when you’re not plaiting it right, which is really sweet.”
Sadly, Pedro has reached the age where arthritis has begun to set in and we have decided that it’s time to reward his hardwork with well-earned retirement.
Dan Cook, EHC’s Yard Manager, said: “It was a tough decision as he’s been such an asset to the Club and everyone loves having him here, but the welfare of the horses has to take priority, so he’s going to a wonderful home in Epsom that will help his condition.”
During his time at the Club, Pedro has met some notable names such as TV presenter Clare Balding OBE, Team GB Show Jumping Gold Medalist Ben Maher MBE, best-selling author James Bowen and famous ginger tom, A Street Cat Named Bob and radio presenter Lauren Laverne. Only last month, he charmed president of the Club, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, when she was visiting the centre to mark its 21st anniversary.
Wishing him a fond farewell, TV personality and national treasure, Clare Balding OBE said, “May I wish Pedro a very happy retirement after a life lived in the service of others. He has mastered the art of pretending to let children take control while dragging them towards a patch of tasty grass. He has been a marvellous mascot for Ebony Horse Club as they continue to help children grow in confidence, develop relationships with and learn the discipline of caring for another living being.”
James Bowen, best selling author and owner of film star feline, Street Cat Bob commented, “Bob likes horses. We used to meet the Police horses when we were busking around Covent Garden but he’d never sat on one until we visited Ebony Horse Club and he got a ride on Pedro! It’s an amazing charity that helps young people through introducing them to horses. I know the power that caring for an animal can have. The horses help the kids face their problems, like how Bob has helped me. I hope he enjoys his retirement. He deserves it.”
The diminutive star has been a firm favourite with young people and staff since joining the Brixton based charity, but it’s his unlikely best pal Parker the miniature Poodle that will miss him one of the the most. They have built a strong bond during their time on the yard with the pedigree poodle enjoying rides on his back.
Parker’s owner Holly Lieberson, EHC’s Senior Youth Worker, said: “Parker was super timid and afraid of everything. Then one day I found him sat next to Pedro in the yard and since then they’ve been inseparable pals. Parker is very sad to see Pedro go, as will we all”.
Pedro also made an appearance at a wedding party. Glenn Pougnet, the groom said: “Pedro has brought joy to so many riders, connecting with some of the hardest to reach young people visiting the club. He did the impossible on our wedding day by keeping hungry guests entertained while the bride and groom were stuck in Brixton traffic. I hope his deserved retirement brings him plenty of sugar cubes.”
As a charity, we rely on generous grants from charitable trusts, fundraising support and donations from individuals to ensure we can provide much-needed services and support to children and young people in the local community.