Friday 22 September 2017

Goodbye Dee

Dear Readers, this blog still receives a surprising number of hits each month. Thank you for your interest.

I am sad to report that Dee died in May of this year. She would have been about 27 years old. It was quick and she did not suffer long. She went down in the field and could not get up. It was her heart. She became weaker and weaker over an hour or two and the vet decided that the best thing was to euthanise her. I was not with her, but she was surrounded by her carers who were so fond of her, and among the herd.

I find I have to remind myself that Dee is not out there somewhere quietly grazing on a Welsh hilltop. The top fields of Briwnant, where she lived for a number of years, are visible from our house, and on a clear day I could see the horses as little dots among the green. I still look, even though it is quite a while since the horses lived there. My looking is now even more in vain.

For this, the final post on this blog, I am posting a few of my favourite photos of Dee. She was an intelligent, good looking mare, and a pleasure to ride, with courage and a strong personality. Point her at a jump and you could be sure that she would sail over it. Goodbye Dee. I wish you a fortunate rebirth.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

News of Dee and Red

Dee and Red had been living together happily at Briwnant Riding Centre. We stopped riding Dee about a year ago as she became increasingly unpredictable. I felt I was getting too old to be on the back of such an unpredictable mare who might suddenly bolt for home, rear, spin on the spot, or any number of odd things. We decided to retire her, and Briwnant were happy to have her there on that basis. We gave them Red, and drew a line under our lives as horse riders.

Sadly this summer, Briwnant lost the use of the land they were leasing. It happened quite suddenly and it was a distressing time for them. They had to quickly find good homes for most of their horses and ponies. Red was sold to a mature rider with a companion pony sharing his field. Due to a mix up of communication, I was not informed before he departed Briwnant, and so I did not have the opportunity to say goodbye to him. I still feel sad about this. I know that he was no longer mine, and that he has gone to a good home – but I would have liked one last hug . . .

The couple who ran Briwnant moved their horses to fields near Caerphilly mountain, and most kindly took Dee with them – as she is ‘part of their family’. We see her occasionally, and this weekend was one of our visits. She came to call as soon as she saw us. At 26 years old, she is still lead mare, but now of a herd of about 12 horses, rather than of over 30. She seemed pleased to see us and looks well. I know that she is as well cared for there, as ever she was at Briwnant.
“Hurry up and get those treats out of the bag!”

Thursday 5 September 2013

High Jinx

Here as promised are a couple of short videos of Red jumping on the cross country part of the Briwnant fun ride, Bank Holiday Monday last.  He needed pushing on a little!

Monday 2 September 2013

Fit, fat and fabulous

We do not see so often now that she is retired, but we enjoyed visiting her on Bank Holiday Monday after helping out at the fun ride at Briwnant.  Dee is looking fit, fat and fabulous.  She is always happy to see us and comes to call for a treat, but she doesn’t hang around very long.  At the moment she, and a few other non-working horses, are living in a little herd of their own at the top of the Wenallt.  There is plenty of grass and the weather is still good – horse paradise I think.

Red—who now belongs to Briwnant—took part in the fun ride and I hope that I have a video of him jumping during the cross-country part of the event.  I will post it if it is any good.  He still looks out for me when I am around and I may well ride him occasionally with a group ride.  I’ll see how I feel.  At the moment life is so full of other things that it is just a relief to be free of horse responsibilities.  To find out why life is so full please go and check out about the opening of Aro Ling on my other blog.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Summer coat

Dee has her proper summer colour for the first time in three years.  She is a dark bay in her winter coat, but much lighter—almost chestnut—in her summer coat.  The summers in Wales for the last two years have been so wet and cool that she never really fully lost her winter colour.  It is great to see her looking so sleek and chestnut.

She seems happy to see us – but not really interested.  She will accept treats but soon returns to grazing – clearly a contented mare.

We looked around for him, but did not see Red this visit.  Hopefully we will see him next time.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Times a’changing

Red enjoying the race to the hay pastures
I am pleased that my previous post was all about Red, because it has turned out to be my last post as his owner. 

I am about to start a new venture which will take up a lot of time and energy.  Things are still at the formative stage at the moment, but hopefully I will be able to announce it fairly soon on my other blog.  With this in mind I have had to rearrange some of my commitments and this has meant re-thinking my responsibilities with regard to Dee and Red.

The solution we came up with has been to give Red to the Briwnant Riding Centre and to put Dee on retirement livery.  Our primary concern has been the welfare of the horses.  They are both settled and happy at Briwnant and we did not want to move either of them unless it was absolutely unavoidable.  Dee has become increasingly relaxed over the last year and is loved for the way she has taken it upon herself to look after the weaker members of the herd.   Briwnant seems as stable (no pun intended) as any situation can be in these times of recession, and we trust them completely with regard to the horses’ care.  The new arrangement means that the horses will not have to be unsettled at all – in fact they will probably be totally unaware of any difference.

Detail of the above picture with Red in the centre
We did not buy Red as an investment and so preferred to give him to Briwnant rather than sell him and possibly lose all contact with him.  Red will  continue to be used for lessons and enjoy regular hacks.  I will still be able to see him when I want to and even ride him if I have time. 

With regard to Dee, she will now get more attention more regularly from Briwnant staff so that I do not have to worry when I am busy and finding it difficult to get up to see her. 

I do feel a little sadness that Red is no longer ours, but I think this solution is better than selling Red and not knowing about his future.  Hopefully everything will work out for the best for everyone.

Monday 6 May 2013

Fun ride

While Dee was safely grazing in the hay pastures, Red had fun taking part in Briwnant’s fun ride.