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  1. The blog I never ever thought id be writing….

    So, my last blog was 99% positive about Rocky and what was happening in his life, I’m sorry to say this one is far from that…

    I’m going to keep this brief, and basic, to enable me to type! Here goes….

    After a few weeks of shear joyousness at being back together with my best friend in the whole world, things started to deteriorate, and rapidly. I had a call from the yard to say Rocky was struggling to walk out his stable, so in a mad panic I dropped everything to go see, and well, to be honest he looked normal (?) so assumed he was a bit stiff, I had been following a very strict rehab programme, and had been in constant contact with my excellent vet – sorry Janette (!)- with anything remotely “odd” or “exciting developments” I had felt, however the old Rocky had been returning, was this unseen by me or did I not want to see this? I really couldn’t say, but his attitude had returned to him being naughty and ridden work was definitely taking rapid steps backwards, but I really didn’t want to be seeing or feeling these things, so had weekly visits from Sorcha to ensure his back was ok and obviously Janette to see what was happening, with alterations to his rehab programme as deemed necessary….

    Things went from bad to worse one afternoon while doing some gentle exercise in the school, something we had been doing ok for ages, suddenly the spooking and high alert rocky was back and boy, did he mean it, I do believe I would have had a 10/10 for a few “well sat’s!!” and then to top it off, when I asked for a very quiet trot, something he had been finding harder but not impossible, the sudden stop – stand vertical- toys out the pram- returned, well my heart sank. This is exactly what I never wanted to feel ever again, but here I was faced with the same symptoms from day 1, I was heartbroken. Something I’d also noticed was the, now more often, collapsing of the hock, as if it suddenly went numb (?) even when not working, just walking to and from the field, but again, I think I was opting to think this was unrelated.

    A swift call to Janette (again!!) followed after the ridden incident, and she agreed to come see him – again!- we had organised to do a ridden assessment, however once she had done flexions and seen him move, we had to accept that our efforts had been in vein, the joints hadn’t reacted the way we hoped they would and effectively we had used all our ammunition on the problem. He was in pain again and it was bad. We discussed the subject in depth and after a LOT of thought over the next few days, and so many tears I should have drowned, I agreed the kindest thing to do was let Rocky go to sleep, permanently. I never imagined id ever have to make this decision, not for the kindest loving horse I ever met, a horse who even after owning horses for 35 years I never had such a connection with, a horse who had been slowly trying to tell me our best efforts just hadn’t been enough so he had to behave the only way he knew he could tell me, a horse who for a few weeks was absolutely hoof perfect and the happiest he had ever felt, no not MY ROCKY.

    On Wednesday 28th June 2017 Rocky went to sleep, peacefully and without any fuss, “a perfectly behaved boy right to the end”, quoted from the vet.

    The only consolation I can take from this whole sorry episode is that I tried my very best, as did my vet and physio, an amazing team effort, but sometimes our best simply isn’t good enough…

    I miss him every moment of every hour I’m awake and I know there was nothing else I could do, but that doesn’t take away the pain of the emptiness left behind.

    RIP my beautiful boy, I’m so sorry.


  2. I bought Murphy in July 2015, but for 2 ½ years prior to this I had been sharing him with his previous owner. From the very first time I rode him I knew he was going to be a challenge! He was quirky and incredibly sensitive – just a slight brush of the leg or gathering up of the reins and he’d tense up and shoot off! Due to being hunted a lot in the past and never properly schooled, he had it drilled into his mind that work = run really fast, jump everything and hold your head up like a giraffe! As a result of all of this he had a lot of “upside down” muscle, especially noticeable on his neck. This allowed him to be very strong and resistant to my aids, making it incredibly difficult for me to form any sort of contact with him or do any proper schooling. It was frustrating, but I was determined to make a change and turn things around.

    When I bought him in 2015, I decided to find an instructor. A friend at my yard suggested I have a lesson with Sharon, so I booked in with her and that’s where our little transformation journey began!

    I was pretty nervous about the first lesson – I hadn’t had one for a good few years, and was a little apprehensive about how things would go. Murphy was of course on top form, showing Sharon his best giraffe impressions whilst cantering at 90mph and threatening to jump out of the school…not our finest moment. I really expected Sharon to leave afterwards and never return, but for some reason she came back (mad woman) and since then has changed both Murphy and myself so much more than I ever expected!

    Over the past year and a half, we’ve taken him right back to basics, encouraging him to relax and remind him that he is in fact a horse (whether he likes it or not). We’ve had many tricky moments and his stubbornness has often resulted in temper tantrums lasting up to 20 minutes, but thanks to Sharon’s support and positivity we’ve worked through those moments and finally it’s paid off. I now have a horse who respects my aids and is balanced and happy in his work. His muscles have completely redeveloped in the correct places and while we do have the odd giraffe moment now and then, he’s a completely different horse to the one I rode in my first lesson!

    Since starting with Sharon we’ve had so many breakthroughs, and have also attended our very first dressage competition where we came fifth which I was thrilled about! Whilst we still have a little way to go with him, I’m very excited for the future – at 18 years old it’s a tough job trying to get him to forget those 16 years of doing things his own way, but slowly and surely he’s starting to realise that this new way of going isn’t half bad after all! Thank you Sharon ????

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