Winning over Wilma

Wilma before © RSPCA

One week after Equifest 2017 finished, we’re catching up with Katie Moulds. Katie won the RSPCA traditional and native class with her rescue horse Wilma.

Wilma had been rescued from unbelievable levels of neglect – one inspector described it as one of the worst cases they’d ever seen – and although she’d began her rehabilitation with us, she needed the security of a forever home to properly regain her confidence.

Below, Katie tells us the story of her incredible bond with Wilma – how Wilma won her heart, how she gradually won Wilma’s trust, and how the two of them won their prize at this years Equifest.

A chance meeting

I found Wilma at a local show. I’d originally gone along to compete a friend’s stallion for him, and wasn’t even looking for another horse at the time. I had no idea that later that day I‘d end up stumbling across Wilma!

The RSPCA were at the show with some ponies who were up for rehoming. They’d been parading them on the show ground, but I hadn’t had a chance to see them. At the last minute, a friend of mine convinced me to head over and have a look at this shy little mare – I had no idea what to expect.

By the time I got there, the ponies had all been loaded into their trailers ready to leave. So the first time I met Wilma was inside a van! I peeked at her over the partition, and she looked back at me with her beautiful, weary eyes. She stole my heart from the moment that I saw her.

Katie knew right then and there that she wanted to be the one to give Wilma her forever home. She began the process of adopting right away.

Bringing Wilma home

Katie brought Wilma home knowing that she’d have her work cut out for her. Over the course of the adoption process, she’d been well-briefed on the special care that Wilma would need, and having owned horses all her life, she was more than up for the challenge of winning Wilma’s heart back.

At the beginning, Wilma was very wary of human contact and was easily startled by sudden movements and loud noises.

It took hours and hours of ground work to build her confidence up. I would often sit in her field waiting until she was ready to approach me. I’d see her in the morning before work, and then I’d be back to see her in the evening, often staying out until it got dark.

I found that the best way forward was to work with Wilma at her own pace, never rushing her. I was careful not to put her under pressure, and gradually she became settled into a routine.

Winning over Wilma

Five days after bringing Wilma home, a moment passed that made Katie realise that she really had made some progress in showing Wilma that she was someone she could trust.

On my drive into the stable yard I would pass the field Wilma was kept in. On this particular morning, I noticed that Wilma had pricked up her ears, and was watching my car as I passed.

When I arrived on the yard and walked to see Wilma in her field, she came to greet me – whinnying! I’d never seen her behave like that, it was a magical moment.

Wilma’s turn to win!

Wilma the horse being shown

Wilma’s come a long way since Katie first met her. She’s a wonderful companion to Katie’s maxi cob Mr Biggles, she enters – and wins – competitions regularly, and she’s become very partial to mint flavoured treats.

"Wilma has blossomed into a confident, trusting mare, we have a really beautiful relationship. She owes me nothing, and yet she gives me so much. She doesn’t have a bad bone in her body.

"Although I’m proud of Wilma every time we are in the ring, regardless of our results – I was a total emotional wreck after we won our class at Equifest 2017. The feeling was incredible, I can’t put it into words."

Katie tells us that she is now looking to adopt a second horse from the RSPCA.

Want to help a horse like Wilma?

Support the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of horses across England and Wales by sponsoring our horse stables. Put £10 a month towards our work with horses and receive regular updates on how you’re helping.

We have so many more horses in our care who are ready and waiting for loving new homes. If you’re interested in offering a horse a home, then please visit our horse adoption pages for more information.

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