Friday, 17 September 2010

Sad news and new faces

Firstly, we had a really sad decision to make this month..... we had to have Nelson put to sleep. Nelson had been with us for four and a half years, after we took him on as a school horse after his owner sadly died. Nelson had been a livery at Oldfold since he was four years old (some 12 years!), so when he lost his owner, we offered to take him on to ensure that he could end his days at Oldfold.
When we took him on, we thought we would use him as a field companion, and some staff training/hacking.... but Nelson was a revelation. He absolutely loved work, and became one of our best, nicest school horses. We always gave him a fairly light work load as he had slight athritis in his hocks, so he did mainly flatwork and was only allowed to do poles and very small fences very occasionally. He didn't really agree with the light work and spent most of his years trying to get in from the field (when we wanted him to have a day off), cantering with people (who really only wanted to trot) and charging over to the school for his work when the members were trying to lead him over quietly. Mind you, when we first moved to Oldfold and met Nelson, he used to spend his Sundays dragging his owner away from the trailer she was trying to load him into, and taking off up to the furthest away field on the farm! So we really should have known what to expect.....
We had semi-retired (or tried to!) Nelson over the last year, and he was getting older and stiffer, particularly in the cold weather. We had discussed his future for this winter at length and decided that he would tell us if he was happy in the field......
The decision was made on Wednesday 1st September, when Nelson became lame in the field. When the vet came to see him, we suspected that he had damaged a tendon or ligament fairly badly in his front leg. Whilst in a younger horse, this can be treated with lengthy box rest and very gradual reintroduction to work, we didn't think this was fair on Nelson as he hated being stabled and would have had to spend up to 6 months in his box. We decided that it was much more respectful to him to put him to sleep on a nice day, when he was in good condition and happy. It was a really difficult one for the staff, as Nelson was everyones favourite because he was so lovely to handle and work with, so big thanks for all your work Nelly - you were a complete star.
On a happier note, we have taken ownership of a new young chap for the riding school. Blaze is a 5 yr old chestnut welsh cob gelding. He is strikingly handsome and has settled in very well already in his field with him companion Fuzby. He had a test to confirm he is clear of any disease today so we will hopefully be able to take him out of isolation soon and introduce him to the rest of the farm. He was only backed around 6 weeks ago, so he will be working with our staff for a good few months before joining any lessons.
We'll update about him soon.

No comments: