The day after “Coll” went home, Naomi rode her three times. She was obviously well schooled and happy to be ridden, but did look “elderly”. The family groomed her & massaged her every day & she enjoyed home grown haylage & some hard feed. She filled out, muscled up and started to glow. A few weeks later the pair went to their first show together. To Naomi’s surprise they got placed in almost all of them. But in the first class Colleen won the Pony Club Pony Championship and she deserved it. Naomi received more rosettes on one day than she had done in the last year!
It was clear that Coll had been fantastically well schooled & so Naomi's mum suggested trying some prelim dressage tests with her. The results were astounding; they got placed every time and were astonished to qualify for the national dressage championships at their first competition at that level! In veteran classes Colleen won easily as most of the other entrants were merely half her age!
You see the big secret was that Coll was 32 yrs old when she came to Trallwm Farm.
As Colleen did her catwalk down the ramp we already knew who she was going to be loved by next. Little Naomi loaned a Shetland pony from us but her knees were by now touching the floor and she needed a safe pony to build her confidence.
By Easter 2004 it was obvious knees would be dragging on floors again so Colls decided to take on another child who was then 6 yrs old. Martha is Naomi's sister and was a perfect charge for Colleen. She didn’t have to leave her home and friends but could continue lifting a child and soaring away on the magic carpet.
Time passed and the new team of Colleen and Martha started a new collection of Rosettes. Colleen's last show was a local one and Martha happily attached all her winning rosettes to the much loved pony's bridle. The following week Colleen let them know that she suddenly wasn’t well. She had lost her balance and no matter what the vet tried it didn’t work.
Colleen didn’t mind at all,in fact she still demanded to stick rigidly to her daily routine. The family gave her all the love they could and when it was time for Coll to come in at night, she simply went to sleep forever. She knew it was time to go and didn’t mind at all. In fact she left a gift to another pony; the education she had given to the children for them to be able to teach a younger pony. What a legacy.
Barney was rehomed only a few weeks after he had arrived to us, underweight and a little poor, to a woman who only the month previously had lost her horse to a broken leg.
It was love at first sight when Jane met big, 17.2hh Barney. Still reeling from the loss of her previous horse, she went home after viewing Barney to 'think about it', but we all knew that we'd get the call within a couple of days.
The day he arrived at his new home, there were 'Welcome Home' banners attached to his stable, and treats galore. Jane was on a mission to get her new boy fit and healthy again and the photographs of his progress regularly came in to us. It was clear to anyone who saw those pictures that Barney had a look in his eye that was unmistakably sheer joy. His ears were fixed permanently forward and if horses could grin, Barney would be doing it from ear to ear! He gained strength and weight within a couple of months and very quickly settled into his new herd.
Within two months he was looking fantastic - Jane had got him a brand new saddle and was gradually working on getting his fitness up. Their bond was instant, and they felt unstoppable.
Close to home after a short gentle hack, Barney's head dropped low. He still wasn't very fit, and Jane thought that his short spurt of exercise had tired him out. As they slowly walked into their farm she realised it was more serious than that. His breathing begain to deepen and he began to whinny.
Barney knew his time was up on that last stretch of the ride, but he also knew that he had to see Jane home safely before he let go.
Full of concern back in his stable, she took off his saddle, and then his bridle, and as she turned to hang his tack up, he collapsed.
By the time the vet arrived there was nothing that could be done, and beautiful, happy Barney was put to sleep. He had filled his heart with so much love and joy, and it had been so weakened from his time being hungry that his heart had failed to do the job it was meant to. The two short months that they had got to love eachother had been long enough to make an old horse very, very happy.
Miller arrived at Christmas. He had nothing left of him apart from his bone structure. He had been obtained from facebook as a freebie by someone well known for cashing in on anything of value. His full wardrobe and tack were soon sold and he was left to stand in a field with clearly no food. He was a fighter so never gave up that someone would eventually feed him. Another horse at the same place was being offered for sale and eventually he was collected by a bin end dealer as a 2 for 1 offer. The dealer hadn't seen Miller without his shroud of a rug and pretty soon realised that she had been conned. With some "negotiation" we rushed off to collect this shell of a horse that had once been loved and cared for. Our vet said that another 2 days and he would have succumbed to starvation. We immediately started treatment to save his life. He had antibiotics for the huge infected rainscald craters on his back, Steroids to settle all his skin issues and to
encourage his body to fight back, vitamin B12 to try and restart his will to eat and live. Miller was emaciated. After a week we took photos and he had improved dramatically. So he had simply been starved and neglected. He improved week after week. Eventually he went to a home where he was incredibly loved and amazingly well cared for. He even hacked out. One day I had a phone call to say Miller wasn't well so I rushed up and called him across his field. A very wobbly Miller made his way to me like a crab. But he was the happiest I had ever seen him even though he had clearly had a stroke, He came into his stable and his belly wobbled with a huge neigh of anticipation of his dinner arriving which he then ate at peace. We all gave him a day to see if the stroke damage was permanent and it clearly was. Even as a horse that no longer had control over major parts of his body he was still so happy and content to be loved and fed. He was sadly PTS with just
his loaners in private. The harm caused to him previously had caught up and destroyed his new life. I have one favourite photo of Miller where he speaks to the world of his happiness and delight at being in the home which proved to be his last