7. Trial and mostly Error

Blog 7 “Trial and mostly Error”

Gazelle was as quiet as a mouse all of the way home, no trouble to travel at all.  But she made her presence felt at home quite quickly.  

Gazelle on arrival home.
I introduced her to “our herd”, consisting of Dad’s now infamous Kate, my sister’s first pony Topaz, and my first pony Amber, all of whom were 20+ by now, in light work and good health.  

They were living separately from the liveries, either in their own paddock (the yard had 20 acres of grazing) or in a large brick and flint “colt yard” which had what was once a cowshed on one side and what was once a good sized chicken shed on the other.  

The colt yard and sheds were divided by a post and rail fence, I put Gazelle in one side and our three in the other.  It soon became apparent that Gazelle and Kate were never going to hit it off so after a couple of days she and Topaz stayed together and I moved Amber in with Gazelle.  

Nobody witnessed what happened overnight but one morning Amber, still on her feet but in some distress and a lot of pain had a badly broken humorous, probably sustained due to a kick from my recently shod foot (in those days I had my horses shod without question).  Rightly or wrongly we tried to save her but after months of box rest it was decided by me and the family that we would have to have Amber pts.  

Amber and I shared many exploits when we were young and carefree.  We got her when she and I were both 10 years old, she taught me, my sister and countless other young people the differences between what “riding school ponies” and “real ponies” are and lots of other lessons too, her last to me was how to live with the guilt of being responsible for the death of our families’ first horse.  

Amber was a special pony who should have had a much longer run.

I can only guess as to what Gazelle went through in her formative years which meant that she could not be turned out safely with other horses.  I did not have the skills and didn’t make the time to teach her how to do so and she lived the rest of her life as a solitary horse.

Gazelle.
As I had hoped Gazelle soon gained some condition.  She was like the little girl that had the little curl, “When she was good she was very very good and when she was bad she was horrid.”  Mostly she was affectionate, she was flashy in her movement but unpredictable, numerous and seemingly unrelated things could trigger her rearing up and going over.  

In those days I was “managing” rather than resolving horses’ issues.  I continued my coaching, riding clients’ horses and I backed Gazelle and started taking her out to competitions.

I was brave (and stupid) and before success at any reasonable level came our way I broke my leg - the first time.

Next time "That sounded like I broke my bloody leg" 26th Feb

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