Having a week to adjust to the loss of Cracker I read the poem that Georgia wrote and was very touched. Although I have had so many horses it does not make the loosing of anyone any more easy. There is always the feeling of guilt and "what if I had the vet earlier?" however I know that in my heart I tried my best and give all my horses the best chance I can even when the costs are monumental, however, unlike Dudley, who amazingly came out of this very complicated disorder Cracker underwent the operation which had been a success and on her recovery had struggled to get up and had fallen and had broken her tibia necessitating her to then be put down. On behalf of all the people who I phoned to lend me a horsebox Thank You and especially to a distant neighbour who dropped everything and gave the speediest drive I could have hoped for to get her to the vets in time. Of Crackers past she came to me about 9 years ago having been bought for £4000 to do competing, she had shown promise but had sustained an injury and was allowed to live but not compete so the insurance money could be claimed. I went to see this hugh Chestnut mare in the middle of nowhere and said I'd have her as long as she wasn't too lame. On boxing her here some gunshots had been fired and she got her front foot stuck in the loading door gap. When she arrived here her foot was covered in blood and looked very suspect. She was given a months of rest and finally was able to be ridden. She gave a great many of our tall and nervous riders a reassurance she helped many people learn to canter and in all she never put a foot wrong. She was a gentle giant, not one vice did she have and because of her lovely nature she paired up with Hilary who has shown complete devotion to her over the years each weekend. Her physical problems of her foot caused a necessary operation which was done 2 years ago and her constant tendency for thrush was dealt with by Hilary which was no easy matter as her feet were extremely heavy. Her terrible feet grew a lot better and were beginning to look reasonable but she had always had a tendency to colic and it was this plight that ended her premature life at only 16. For myself I hardly noticed Cracker despite her size, because she was so easy, I never had to check her bed or her feet or grooming because Hilary had done it, she was easy to get in from the field and would allow any child to lead her in and she in turn brought 5 others friends in. Every morning I had to adjust her rug that always slid slightly but even that she kept perfectly. And it is now the words of the song stick in my head, "You don't know what you got till it's gone". I miss her bigness, her pinkness, her standing at the gate, being tied in the yard at the entrance next to Dudley, her laying in her fluffy bed with chippings in her mane. Dudley missed her and called for her but I think somewhere in their make up they understand, as he has been much calmer than I expected. Although he did look lost and hesitant when I let him out on Friday it was Tango who came to his rescue and played, reared, nuzzled and pushed him to the field as Reggie did with Paddy when Suzie died. As always when my animals die it grieves me inwardly but I know at least I've given then all the same equal chance and a home that they all have enjoyed with people who have had such a pleasure and been given so many memories which is exactly why I carry on because the pleasure way outweighs the pain and hopefully will continue to do so with all your support and commitment to my lovely animals.