Telling your storiesfrom the stables to the fields

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15 February,2018

Loss and Lessons Learned by Steffi de Bootman

I haven’t written a blog for a while…to be honest it’s not that I haven’t written one but I haven’t forwarded it to be published!  I lost my dear faithful friend Twiglet, my much loved RSPCA dog.  She was the happiest, loveliest and most bouncy dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning and I miss her so much.  We lost her suddenly and whilst I was away for work.  Blueberry the wonky legged tiny chum has coped better than we thought with the loss but as a family Michael and I just miss that wagging tail and happy face.  Our vets were amazing.

So with a big gap in the family I’ve been working hard on my riding and getting a tad more competitive with it.  I’ve really enjoyed competing and want to do much more this year.

As a supporter of World Horse Welfare I went to their Conference and it was very interesting and thought provoking.  I have two World Horse Welfare ponies, the awesome Eek and Tia (the one that’s really the boss and we do as she tells us!). Tia is a paddock pony and knows her job very well.  I was made aware of my girl’s ages … 17 (18 this year for Eek) and 23 for Tia.  My thoughts returned to my World Horse Welfare days and working on a project called Just in Case, a no frills explanation of the end of the horse’s life.  Not that I’m expecting anything but it made me think.  I lost my first horse Joey at the age of 23 and quite unexpectedly.  But my friend had always said what would you do…I had no idea but it made me think and I started to find out stuff.  Did you know insurance doesn’t cover euthanasia? No neither did I and they only pay out a maximum of £200 towards cremation…nope, that doesn’t cover it at all and it hasn’t changed in the last ten or so years… Possibly time to start a campaign to get that put right I’d say.

Anyway, I always look at the horses that need a home on the World Horse Welfare site and I’ve been watching a little mare called Floss for about two years from when she appeared on the …in progress.  Anyway recently she came up for rehoming and I thought what the hell go for it.  Michael wasn’t quite as keen but whoever listens to their husband eh?

I filled out the form and got a phone call from the farm in Blackpool – Penny Farm we had a chat, they were very honest about her, bit difficult, a mare, an Arab type as well and needs work.  Come and visit.  We arranged a day but then she hurt herself and it was put back, I ended up going up with long suffering friend Laura Rose to Blackpool back end of November early December.  I met Floss, who bit me to say hello and I said I don’t think so…she was horrified I’d told her off! Her groom Karen who’d looked after her the entire time she’d been with the charity loves her so much.  She rode her and said ok on you get… I got on and she was awesome I was very happy!  When I bought my first hors, Joey, I sat on him and knew he was just home, I did the same with Eek and I felt the same way with Floss.

On 23rd December 2017, I met Laura at 4am and off we went to ensure we got Floss home in the light.  We arrived loaded her up and off we went.  Floss demonstrated that she wasn’t entirely happy to go but soon settled, which was just as well as it was a long trog home – Laura and I did indeed go a little stir crazy and I even managed to get her to eat a Ryvita (no she won’t do it again!) Floss came off the trailer like a professional and was very very sweet.  We took her down to the field, so she could see the others.  I’m not sure she’s ever seen so much grass in her life.  At Laura’s we have a lot of grass and this year has been exceptional.

Well that’s it, the long curve of learning about Floss has begun and I will be letting everyone know about her and Eeks performance throughout the year.  Tia obviously is still in charge …and I know my place.

As I was sitting in London having lunch (I go about once a month with a friend of mine) my phone rang and it was Laura who sent me a picture.  Floss had managed to get around the electric fence and caught in my neighbour’s fence cutting her leg quite badly.  Laura said shall I call the vet?  Yes please, I said and she did.  I then got a call from the vet.  Now at this stage I should say, I’d done something or rather hadn’t done something I always do…finish the insurance form.  We got her just a day before Christmas, then I got the horrible cold bug and just didn’t get the time to finish the form …but before I thought about finally sorting it, she went and hurt herself so very expensive lesson learned – insure your horses!

It was touch and go as to how bad the injury was and Tim from Wensum Valley said she’s got to go to Rossdales in Newmarket to give her any chance of recovery.  Calculating how much that would cost I said go for it.  My boss sent me off home early so I could take her.  However, I’m still three hours away from home.  The amazing Laura Rose was just waiting for me.  We loaded her up (after quite a battle and once she’s recovered she will be having loading lessons!) and off we went to Rossdales in Newmarket.  Several hours later our vet came in saying how lucky she had been.  Wow, we were so lucky.  She spent two nights at Rossdales and then came home.  Currently, she’s still on box rest and is getting better and is allowed out for a nibble of grass but it’s all a bit too exciting.  Tim has been calling twice a week to change dressings and seeing how she’s progressing – it’s all going well but fingers crossed.  She’s now insured …with all the details of the injury etc sent to the company and let’s hope that’s it for a while.  

Laura accompanied me to my dressage training with Nerys Leer last week and I think I might just have converted her to dressage with her pony Indie, who has a lot of attitude but moves amazingly.  Nerys was very taken with her so watch this space for updates.

I really hope the rain has finished and we can all get on with getting fit for the season.  Just a quick note if you are looking for a new pony or horse check out the charities they are bursting with horses looking for homes and if you have some time you can find something rather special.

Happy riding!


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