Naturally Horses
 naturallyhorses.org.uk

In Memoriam

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 Home

Fern  
Fern - David's part Arab mare

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.

David

See Fern's page and read My Fond Memory of Fern.

 

jk
Goldie GOOD AS GOLD

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 ever watched.

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, 2005.

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 world.

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.

Heather

 

 

Heather and Goldie at
 Naturally Horses Summer Camp, 2005

Heather and Goldie
Mr Mole

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 background. 

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 pony Charlie.

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 boys.

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 stroked. 

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.

Kate

Tilly

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 properly.

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 Moley.

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 everywhere.

Tilly, the best dog in the world.

Kate

Ben

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.

Sam Clarke

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.

Tamara Baker

Alfie

My darling Alfie passed away on Tuesday 20th December, 2005 at approximately 4.00pm at Rossdales vet hospital after having a cardiac arrest after surgery for an abscess, which we think was caused by his flu and tet jab.  He was a strapping, fit, healthy 17hh, 10 year old who I had the privileged of owning since he was 5 months old.

He was my 'baby', I owe everything I know know about horses to him and miss him dreadfully.  I guess I always will.  I have many good memories but my last picture of him standing in the November sunshine just chilling in the field was one image that sticks with me profoundly.  2005 and early 2006 has been a bad year for the group with regards to losing horses as several have passed out of this world leaving many of us in complete shock and upset.  We lost poor Heather's Goldie on the 1st of December and who'd have thought Alfie would have gone to on the 20th, both fit healthy strapping horses.  Goldie and Alfie will be remembered by many, but by me in the glorious sunshine of the lush field they were in at camp together in August, 2005, grazing happily together and coats shining in the sun.  Now I guess they are galloping free with the other friends they have lost along the way, Alfie, Goldie, Mouse, Seanog to name but a few.

Vicki Austin (now Vicki Miller)

Alfe