This page is to
allow members of Naturally Horses to place a tribute to their passed friends.
See also Poems & Verse
Advice on Burying a Horse at
We said good-bye to Fern, our old and
faithful friend, on 8th October, 2007 at age
about 31. Fern was originally Liz's
horse but I was always Fern's person and so she soon became
my horse. She was alert and friendly until the end and
we know that she had a good life with us.
In Heaven, my animals will be able to
speak to me - and I shall be able to understand.
Fern's page and read
My Fond Memory of Fern.
Goldie and I first met in April 2003.
He was an enormous red – not chestnut -, but bright red
hunter, with loads of white. I just knew he was for me
as he stood crammed into a box which was much too small for
him. He had got those amazing dark brown liquid eyes
that the Irish describe as ‘being put in with a smudgy
finger’. They looked larger as the skin around each
eye was very dark. He also had a pink droopy bottom
lip which he plopped every now and then in a disconsolate,
bored sort of way.
We had a wonderful six months hacking out
all round Bedfordshire, being shown all summer by my Niece,
Savina, in working and show hunter classes. Goldie
never ever had a fence down. In eight shows, we ended
up with four championships, two reserve championships and,
best of all, a win at Ashwell against the 2002 Wembley
winner. It was one of the most exciting classes I have
Goldie had presence to burn. He
stood up four square with that huge crested neck topped by
two permanently pricked ears. All eyes would
automatically lock on to him wherever he was. His coat
shone like burnished copper and every time I looked at him,
whether it was in the field or at a show, I would catch my
breath and think how astonishingly beautiful he was.
As Goldie had oceans of character and a
certain amount of ‘attitude’ it was easy to imagine that
fire instead of blood coursed through his veins sometimes.
A great deal of this was due to his breeding and even more
was due to the fact that he had been show jumped for most of
his previous life. Aptly his BSJA name was ‘Marron
Glace’, French for ‘Sweet Chestnut’. It was in his
blood. His sire was the famous KWPN show jumper, ‘It’s
the Business’, so perhaps it was not surprising that we
encountered a few difficulties along the way. We
looked for some answers and were almost immediately
introduced to Natural Horsemanship by Hev Seems. Soon
afterwards Liz welcomed us into the
naturallyhorses group where we found some wonderful people
to help and support us along the way.
All told we had three years on our voyage
of discovery together. In August, 2005 he was found to
have cracked a bone in his back leg. The prognosis was
for a full recovery in time, but depression through not
being worked, using himself incorrectly and restricted
grazing all presumably contributed to stress laminitis.
This turned into toxic laminitis.
I had him put down on December 1st,
When I am walking down our field, I
sometimes think that I have just missed him; that I have
just seen him out of the corner of my eye. I have
often thought that if I whistle loud enough, I will hear him
tearing up the field. To lose any horse is devastating
but to lose a horse like Goldie, a great, bouncing, diamond
bright, soft and kind ginge boy, was almost the end of my
I echo Vickie’s sentiment; the thought
that Alfie, Goldie, Mim, Snoopy, Seanog, Moley and all the
other loved and lost horses are galloping across elysian
fields together, tails and necks high, having a wonderful
time is one I hold on to. If I know anything about it,
Goldie will be up front there somewhere.
and Goldie at
Horses Summer Camp, 2005
Moley came to us in 1995, he was 16 years old
a very handsome chap of no particular breeding. I wanted a
friend to hack in the countryside with and enjoy the odd local
competition and that’s exactly what I got. Moley and I got
by with him pushing and me pulling for years quite successfully
in our own way but I only wish I knew then what I know now.
He was a bolshy boy, he could appear to be a bit of a thug but
he was actually quite sensitive too. Moley did a good line
in rearing and could be quite nappy, jumping and twisting his
body but with a good boot he would eventually go in the right
direction, looking back I do feel sorry for him obviously now I
wish I could have found a different approach. He was quite
cheeky too, one day we had just left the farm and I could feel
him gently edging to one side, I knew what he was trying to do
so I let him to see what would happen and he just crept around
so he ended back in the opposite direction back to the farm, he
was practically creeping and I’m sure he was hoping I wouldn’t
notice. Moley was like that, he made you laugh. We
went to a lot of low level local shows, there was one memorable
one in Knebworth because it was so embarrassing. Moley had
got himself into a stew and was having a good rear while we were
waiting to go in the jumping ring, I thought I was dealing with
it rather well but was vaguely aware of a load speaker in the
Eventually someone pointed out the load
speaker was talking to me and when I listened it was a
rather terse voice saying ‘you are a danger to yourself and
those around you could you please dismount and leave the
area!’ I had to get off and the only way out of the
collecting area was all the way around the outside of a
large jumping arena, my walk of shame how embarrassing.
Being ever optimistic my friend Sarah and I had a brilliant
idea, she would enter him into the next round instead so we
went into my trailer and set about swapping clothes only she
was a size 12 with size 7 feet and I was a size 8 with size
6 feet. We couldn’t stop laughing as she squashed
herself into my show jacket and boots, she could barely walk
and her arms stuck out where the jacket was so small.
Needless to say no rosettes were won that day.
I tried a bit of dressage and one or two
working hunter classes but they were mostly embarrassing
failures however with the jumping we could just about hold
our own as long as no one really good turned up and we
eventually won two championships. My confident and
capable friend, Sarah, would make us practise in our field.
Especially the Jacobs Ladder which is what we would get
stuck on, she would bully me into jumping wider and taller.
One day I got to the last show of the summer season and
realised that if I jumped every class I’d have a chance of
winning the end of year championship as Sonny Jim and Foxy,
my main competitors hadn’t turned up.
My big, brave, strong Mr Mole jumped
every class that day from the 2’2” to the 3’3” with all the
classes in between including the doubles. Together
with the jump off’s that was over 90 jumps and he didn’t
refuse or knock down one. It was one of those magic
days when we were both up for it, the stewards learned to
open the ring as soon as we’d finished as I couldn’t stop so
we’d just gallop out with me pulling for all I was worth.
What a wonderful horse to put up with me.
Most of our time was spent just being
together and he was usually great to hack out. I have
so many lovely memories of Moley and me wandering along the
river bank with Tilly our Springer Spaniel splashing in or
out of the water. Or riding out with Charles on his
Both my children rode Moley when they
were quite small and I swear he tiptoed around the school in
the gentlest of trots when they were on his back and he
would lower his head nearly to the ground to allow them to
put his halter on.
Eventually Moley showed signs of his age
and X-rays showed some advancing arthritis in his hocks, I
knew the time was coming and when we were out one day for a
hack he seemed particularly tired. I pushed him into a
trot, then a canter and he reluctantly ambled off for a few
strides before falling back into walk. I cried as we
wandered slowly home knowing this would be the last time I
would ride him, my boy had been good to me and it was high
time I gave back. I took his tack off for the last
time and thought of his retirement, he would enjoy his
grooming and baths and his paddock and friends I would ask
no more of him than his company.
We eventually moved to our smallholding
and Sonny Jim joined Moley and Charlie in the field.
Charlie went on to a smaller child and Daisy joined the old
Moley was always in charge though and
enjoyed a summer mounting Daisy until his arthritis got the
better of him. We planned our whole yard around Moley
as we had to cater for his need be off the grass as he was a
laminitis risk, so we ensured he could choose to stand on
concrete, earth or rubber matting, in the shade or the sun
and twice a day if there was time he would get his cool
shower which he loved, cocking his leg up like a dog so I
could get to the sweaty bit between his sheath and leg.
Moley was a great whickerer and he would gently call out if
he saw you hoping for a treat or a rub. If I was sad
or fed up, I could bury my head in his mane and sigh ‘Oh
Moley’ and I’m sure he would sigh too, like he understood.
Goodness I miss that, Sonny flinches and Daisy looks aloof.
Whenever a child came to pat a horse it was Moley we’d bring
out, he would happily stand for ages being patted and
Moley suffered from many abscesses and
although X-rays showed no bone rotation a few years ago
after a laminitis attack we decided to look again. I
didn’t expect the X-rays to show much but unfortunately they
did, the end of his pedal bone had disintegrated, no wonder
he was in so much pain, he hadn’t had laminitis for years
and apparently this simply happens in old age. For a
few years Moley had been on Bute more often than he’s been
off it and he was looking more tired than ever, worse still
his place as heard leader was becoming increasingly
unconvincing. He hadn’t been sound for years and at
times it was hard telling which leg he was lame in most
although Bute always gave him a new lease of life we knew
this was a hurdle he couldn’t get over.
I spent hours with him in his stable
sitting on the straw, feeling him, smelling him watching
him, loading my brain with as many memories as I could the
days leading up to it.
The vet came and I kissed Moley's lovely
fluffy head as he ever so gracefully sank to the ground.
My boy, my companion our darling Moley,
God bless you wherever you are.
Tilly was the
best dog in the world.
Tilly came into our lives nearly 12 years ago
after a little emotional blackmail to my husband while he was on a
business trip when I wailed that I’d feel much safer in the house
with a dog… Poor Will, this really was like the baptism of
fire; after being brought up with no pets at all, a Springer Spaniel
puppy was quite a shock. I knew I’d have to be strict with her
or she’d drive Will mad but she was easy to train, the most
important thing was to teach her not to jump up as we were going to
have to walk her in a public park sometimes and I’d often seen dogs
frighten people there. Eventually she would sit and lie when
asked, never ever got on the furniture or went upstairs and would go
in her bed if you just quietly asked. I could drop into a
conversation, “In your bed Tilly” without raising my voice or
changing the tone and she would just quietly leave the room and go
in her bed. You might think this is all a bit extreme but
Springers are like Tigger from Whinnie The Pooh, they can endlessly
bounce on the spot, also they LOVE water,
Tilly would never sit next to a muddy puddle when she could sit in
it. We once kept the horses at a yard with a huge lake close
to the stables and Tilly swam in it every day no matter what the
weather I couldn’t keep her out of the lake.
In the summer when the lake was surrounded by stinky
black mud where the water had receded Tilly would wade through the
mud for her swim, sometimes she would come up looking like a seal
with glossy black mud sticking her hair down and no white coat could
be seen and in the winter she would push the ice away with her chest
and swim in circles with me begging her to come out. I tried
all sorts of ways to dry her out, once I bought something called a
dog bag which was a sort of triangular towel that did up with a zip,
on the packaging there was a picture of a dogs head happily poking
out of this cosy arrangement but zipping a stinky Springer spaniel
into a towling bag, well I just couldn’t do it and ended up as wet
and smelly as Tilly.
We used to walk Tilly in the
local park where a path was lined with old oak trees, one day she
saw a squirrel run up the tree and she simply followed and a new
game was formed. I’d point to a tree and say “Up” and Tilly
would run up it clinging on like a huge squirrel till she got much
higher than I was tall, then she’d leap off, she became quite a
local celebrity with that trick.
Another game we started that I regretted was to
encourage her to dig, she was always looking for things so we’d say
“Find it” and she would go crazy digging and yelping at the ground.
She was good at finding things, especially Charles my youngest son;
he was 4 when we got Tilly and 16 when she died. Tilly used to sleep
in the utility room at night but I’d let her out in the morning and
she’d sit by Charles’ bed with her head on his mattress until he
woke up because he could feel her breathing on his face.
Sometimes we’d hide Charles under a pile of blankets or behind some
furniture and we’d say, “Find Charles!” and she’d go mad looking
‘till she found him.
We would never play any pulling games with her
because we wanted her to have a soft mouth and she did, she could
carry an egg in her mouth without breaking it,- until you said drop.
The fondest memory I have of her is when she’d
run next to the quad bike, we use the quad a lot around the farm and
Tilly loved to race it, her big ears flapping up and down and her
tongue hanging out. As Tilly got older, we tried to encourage
her to slow down, she didn’t seem to notice she had arthritis so we
would drive the quad slowly, we weren’t close to a lake anymore and
I wouldn’t let her get too wet although only a few weeks ago I had
to drag her back inside during a hail storm, she didn’t want to come
in the stable with me, she just stood there squinting at me through
the hail hardly able to see through the wet and just looking as
though it was a little inconvenient.
Tilly died on Christmas day, she had had an
operation to remove a stone she’d swallowed a week or so before and
she just didn’t seem to be recovering very well. We were
backwards and forwards to the vets, she had blood tests and X-rays.
She started to swell up everywhere, it turns out her heart was
failing, her circulation was bad and her kidneys weren’t working
Will and I went to see our girl in the morning, I
think she knew we were there. I sat on the floor with her
lying on a blanket and told her what a good girl she was, my tears
crashing onto the lino floor as the injection went in exactly 2
weeks and 10 minutes since I did the same thing with my darling
Will and I sobbed all the way home, we told the
boys and we all helped to bury her in the garden.
It’s very still now in our house, I see her
Tilly, the best dog in the world.
Thank you for teaching me so
much. I look forward to being with you again but till that time you
will be forever in my heart and thoughts.
Keswick - PTS
14th August, 2006
Keswick was a 17hh ID x TB
who came to live out his days with me in 2001. He spent 20 years working
for the Metropolitan Police in London and had the scars from his long
service - he had been stabbed in the poll tax riots and bottled in the
Mayday riots yet he never lost his affection for people. He used to be in
the police show jumping team and would still take on the electric fencing
at the age of 26!!
As his arthritis became worse he was moved to the
training centre at Imber Court where he would be the lead horse for all
the youngsters coming through.
Eventually it was decided that he needed to
retire from active service and I was so privileged that I was chosen to
have him. We spent two and a half years gently hacking until I decided that with
his worsening arthritis he should be completely retired.
He was such a
kind noble affectionate horse and miss him incredibly so - he always
wanted cuddles and would nuzzle you for them. Eventually the arthritis and
the increasing dosage of bute meant that even on total retirement he was
finding it increasingly difficult so my vet and I made the awful decision
to let him go to the great paddock in the sky where hopefully he is
running with his best friend Teddy free from pain.