JUST before Christmas 2012 Chloe Williams found a two-year old pony, Peter, abandoned and tied to a tree on common land in Chislehurst.

The rope used to tie Peter had become wound around his neck, forcing his head up against the tree.

Local children were taunting and climbing on him, throwing stones and twigs at him, and even setting off fireworks near him, leaving Peter terrified.

Chloe, 22, took him into her care and he now lives in stables in Chislehurst with Henry and Harry - two other horses she found abandoned, emaciated and starving.

She looks after the three horses for 13 hours every day.

She said: "I have had horses since I was nine and these horses are some of the best horses I've known.

"They are a credit to me."

Peter, Henry and Harry are lucky - for the best part, they now have their health.

Henry suffers from Equine Metabolic Syndrome, similar to type II diabetes in humans, due to a poor diet when he was younger, but he is now cared for.

Horse abandonment has become an increasing problem in this country.

It was reported last year that, according to six leading equine welfare organisations, thousands of horses and ponies face being abandoned as irresponsible breeding, spiralling bills and rockbottom prices take their toll.

Chloe said: "Horses are really expensive to keep, and people have a lack of knowledge of what owning a horse involves, leading to neglect."

And rescue charities can not always be there for them.

She added: "A lot of the big rescue charities can't get to the animals quickly and you can't leave some of these horses for too long."

Because of this, once abandoned, many horses do not survive.

Winnie was discovered by Chloe a few years ago, in the Longfield area of Kent.

Chloe had never seen a horse in such a bad state, and despite taking her for emergency treatment - which included a blood transfusion and a drip - Winnie died five days later.

Some of these horses have a very bleak outlook, but without the hard work of people like Chloe it would be even bleaker.

She said: "If we didn't take them who would?

"They would have no one if they didn't have us.

"If we can help just one horse, then that's enough."

Chloe's grandparents, Eddie, 73, and Pat, 68, have been running Willow Wildlife Rescue in Walden Avenue, Chislehurst, for 12 years.

To pledge a donation to the charity, visit willowwildlife.co.uk