Sunday 19th of March 2023

Happy days are here again for pony reunited with besotted owner

A Stafford woman is celebrating the anniversary of finding her beloved lost Shetland pony – twenty years after they first met.

Naomi Baskerville was six-years-old when she first met ‘John Willy Parker’ at a local riding school. Two years later she took him on as her own and went to visit whenever she could.

However, by 14 she was outgrowing him and getting busier with her school work and had less time to spend with her pony. She decided to give him up to a younger girl who kept John Willy at a nearby riding school, but sadly he developed some health problems and was given up again, this time to Blue Cross pet charity.

John Willy and Naomi aged 7

Naomi soon realised her decision to rehome John Willy was one she would she soon deeply regret. Once handed over to Blue Cross for rehoming she thought she would never see him again. She was distraught over her terrible mistake.

Naomi said:

“When it hit me that I would probably never see John Willy again I was devastated. It is the biggest regret of my life. I thought I would never get over the loss of my old friend and I was miserable for months”.

To cheer Naomi up her mum took her along to an open day event at the Blue Cross rehoming centre in Rolleston-on-Dove. On their arrival there was a picture of John Willy.

John Willy and Naomi aged 9

Naomi continued:

“As soon as I saw his picture I just burst out crying. Mum persuaded me to chat to the charity’s team to see if anyone remembered him but I was worried he may have died since the picture was taken. I’m so glad I plucked up the courage to ask, they all knew him and remembered his cheeky character. Happily he was alive and well and living with a family in Scotland, they even had pictures of him with his new family.”

Just a few months later and Naomi got a call from the centre to say John Willy was back in their care – did she want to visit? She was delighted to say she would and finally reunited, she knew they could never part again. 

Maria Kavanagh, Horse Welfare Co-ordinator at Blue Cross in Rolleston said:

“I remember John Willy very well. He was the cheekiest little pony. He could be quite aloof with all of us, but when he was with Naomi it was obvious they have a wonderful deep bond. We are delighted they have been reunited after all these years. Fate has brought them back together.” 

That November he was back living with her and she can now wave to him from her bedroom window. She has since also taken on another Blue Cross pony called Woody to be a companion for John Willy.

To find out more about Blue Cross pets needing a home, or to make a donation towards their care, visit

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