Scruff to Show Star: Pint Size Rescue Pony Peanut’s Story

When Oonagh O’Brien went in search of a companion for her grieving horse, little did she know she was about to fall in love with a pint-sized Pony called Peanut!
In her own words, Oonagh shares the tale of this rescue pony that has transformed from scruff to show star!
When I first met Peanut on the 15th February 2018, when I went to adopt her urgently, following the death of my much loved mare Cass, on Valentine’s Day.  My other horse Cody, was going insane on his own, so I rang Cobh Rescue Horses – explaining my predicament to them and they told me to call down to view the ponies they had for fostering.  As they were doing me such a massive favour, I asked them if there was any pony that they had trouble rehoming – to which Tara, the girl working there instantly, without giving it a second’s though replied “Peanut”.  I arrived at their premises about an hour later and was actually given the choice between Peanut and another pony, as Tara was convinced I would end up bringing Peanut back to them, even if I did take her, based on her previous fosterer’s experience with her.  Peanut was apparently very hard to catch, would run at people to try and knock them over and was a little brazen pocket rocket.
Peanut when I found her!

Standing at just over 8hh – there was never a doubt in my mind, even after hearing all the above, that I would not take her.  Her little eyes looked up at me, through a wild forelock and she looked so small and lost.  Very emotionally scarred myself, after losing my horse of 26 years, I genuinely believe that we saw something in each other and when she stepped toward me – I knew we would be fine.

On arriving at my yard – Peanut and Cody settled in together right away, she was a little lost – but he looked after her and soon they became – and still are, the best of friends.  I started working with Peanut a few days later – just standing, letting her come to me, following Cody and within a week, she would run to the gate when she’d see me coming.  Handling her was a little harder, she was quite nervous of rugs and detested being groomed, but again I moved slowly with her and whilst she isn’t the biggest fan of grooming, she will now stand and let you at her.

Cobh Rescue Horses – whom I cannot tell this story without mentioning what a brilliant charity they are, works tirelessly to help save abandoned and sick horses.  To date, they have had  over 102 horses through their hands – with 82 of them rehomed – they are all volunteers and as their rescue is not Government funded, they have to fundraise themselves to keep themselves going.  What started as helping out 1 or 2 rescues between a group of friends, escalated to last summer alone, having 24!!

Cobh Rescue Horses contacted me over the summer to ask if I would bring Peanut along to a rescue class at one of the shows here in Cork – wanting to show my support, I agreed, but then panicked when I looked at the unruly little scruff in front of me, wondering how I would ever get her show ready!  But  I persevered and got her quite presentable and on the day of the show – I was shocked to see Peanut really blossom in confidence in front of me – she put on a great little strut  and I realised she was really enjoying herself. 


Peanut prepped and ready for her show.


She didn’t place anywhere that day, but I just knew this was her calling and assured her we would get to more shows – which we did.  We went to four Agricultural shows – with Peanut placing in every class and winning three of them.  Which led us to the Dreamacres Miniature Horse Show – which would be her toughest competition yet, with some stunningly bred miniature horses and Shetlands to go up against.  I didn’t expect her to have a hope of placing, but thought it would be a good experience, where I could learn more about miniature shows.  Off we went, on the four hour journey to Mullingar where Peanut placed in every class we entered and astoundingly winning TWO Reserve Champion Titles in different categories.  I could not have been prouder of her – my small, round little rescue – who no one had wanted – trotting into that arena like she had the confidence of an 18hh horse.  Which led us to the adventure we are now on – we want Peanut to win a Championship title in 2019 for three reasons:

  1.  Because she has come so far – from the scruffy brat that no one could keep – to the adorable loving little beauty she is today – Peanut is recognised at any show she goes to, as she even has her own Facebook page “The Antics of Peanut the Rescue Pony” – where she has an adoring following.  People ask for selfies with her and are delighted when they get a picture with the “famous” Peanut.  She has grown in so many ways and I believe this is her ultimate challenge that I believe she can win.
  2. The more recognition Peanut can get – means more recognition for Cobh Rescue Horses, because her story starts with them.  As  I mentioned, they are a wonderful group of people – selflessly working to save horses and they follow up on all horses they rehome .  You don’t just adopt a horse from them – you become part of their extended family.  They are still very much involved in Peanut’s life – and we want to bring their charity name and all those involved in this very exciting journey with us .
  3. We want people to recognise that rescue ponies can go on to make wonderful pets that can hold their own in any equestrian sphere.  Often regarded as “damaged” or “problematic” – time , love and attention – along with a human to call their own will help them to flourish and the rewards are endless.
    Oonagh and Peanut


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