A six month old pony that was found dumped on an industrial estate has made a big difference to the life of teenager Ben Furse.

Ben suffers with a rare form of epilepsy called Lennox Gastaux Syndrome and has learning difficulties which leave him unable to walk or talk.

The pony, 'Rupert', was rescued by the Mare and Foal Sanctuary along with 14 other colts who had been dumped after they failed to sell at a local market. When rescued he was in poor condition, with an eye infection rendering him nearly completely blind.

When healed he was adopted from the charity by the Furse family, and Ben's mum Caroline trained him.

When Ben began riding Rupert, his seizures dramatically reduced and it helped to strengthen his muscles so his balance and posture improved.

When Ben outgrew Rupert Caroline knew she had to do something to maintain their close bond. She organised a fundraising drive to have a harness and trap specially designed so Ben’s wheelchair would fit straight on.

Caroline said: “Ben didn’t know I was bringing Rupert home. It was the best surprise. Rupert nuzzled Ben and they bonded immediately.

“I take Ben to visit Rupert every day after school. On the rare occasion I don’t have Ben with me, Rupert often won’t let me catch him.

“Rupert really takes care of Ben. They are so happy when they’re together. I don’t know what we would do without him.”