Paddy

As many of you will know Paddy had to be put down last week on the same day I had to leave to go on holiday. He hadn't eaten his hay and was lying down so it was obvious he had a type of colic. After the Vet had tubed him he was still agitated and uncomfortable and left in Vicki's capable hands she, Hilary and Kathryn took him kindly through his final hours.

When Paddy came to me at 16, over 10 years ago, his owner had died of cancer and his loan girl couldn't afford him. He was pacing madly in his stable as his companion horse had recently been sold and had left him quite berieft (as was Paddy's nature). When he arrived at Bridge Farm he was quite lean and strong. We put him in the new light stable that Paul had built and awaited the arrival of Suzy who then became Paddy's new love. He was obsessed by her and amazed Sharon, my sister, when he determinedly neighed at the sitting room window to attract her attention to take her to Suzy who had the first of her illnesses. When the Vet came to see Suzy and noticed Paddy hovering and swaying watching over her she said "What will you do if this one dies? Shoot him too?''. She saw him as useless since he was so intense, what an understanding Vet, I thought. The next time Paddy helped his beloved Suzy was when he opened the field gate and let Suzy in to the yard as he knew she needed to lie down. He stood guard over her till the end. Reggie helped him out to the field later the next day and I'll never forget as the removal man went over the bridge Paddy galloped down the field and wailed for the departed Suzy.

He next befriended Zeebie and for many years they acted as a graceful pair who were a joy to ride and teach with. Paddy had the most beautiful extension, a lovely head carriage (when he wanted) and speed right up till the last week. He gave Charlotte, Louis and Tess memorable rides in the course of his life and he gave countless other people beautiful canters and sense of the joy of riding. I loved teaching with him and knew what a lovely gentle horse he was. He greatly took Clara and Marnie who were less than interested in him but as soon as I got Frosty he took him under his wing and they both became very fond of each other.

Frosty used to eat outside Paddy's stable and also used to sleep in the back of his bed neither of which did Paddy mind. When Paddy was ill and I led him to the indoor school Frosty followed as I walked Paddy round and round the track, Frosty still followed and as he stood Frosty nuzzled him. When he lay down an hour before I had to leave, I rubbed his ears and over his eyes whilst Frosty toothlessly sucked on his mane and rhythmically chewed up and down like a massage. Paddy was greatly soothed by both of us and Kathryn and I both thought how loving a scene it was.

I was glad I could do that, saddened that I was not there at the end but he still had his environment which he had loved and Vicki and Hilary who are always there. The overwhelming emotion when a horse, or in my case a workmate dies is great but it would never stop me doing it all over again and I am so glad I knew Paddy well enough to understand him and appreciate the beauty of him. God rest him.

Debbie.