Playing Dirty aka ‘Soap’ 2000 – 2011

Yesterday Soap had to be taken to the Equine Hospital in Lambourne. He had pulled a shoe off in the field, just days after being shod on Monday and despite wearing his customary over reach boots. Somehow when he pulled the shoe off a nail from the shoe managed to pierce his tendon sheath and make a hole in the tendon, the dirty nail infected the tendon wound and the tendon sheath. The vet from the hospital phoned me and explained that she had bad news, she very clearly explained the injury, and that if I chose to try and treat his injury he only had roughly a 30% chance of making a sound recovery. With his Navicular his chances narrowed further because the length of box rest that might be needed would also have an impact on that leg as it took the strain off the injured off fore. I knew as I thanked her for her explanation and asked for a while to decide what to do that I had no choice.

My mother and I sat pulled over at the side of the road in the lorry crying together in the silent knowledge of what had to be done. After a while I called the vet back and asked her to put Soap to sleep, she was very supportive and reassured me that she thought I was making the right decision for him.

I’ve always tried to be pragmatic and unsentimental when it comes to the welfare of my horses, but reason and logic are no comfort at all when you have to make this final decision.

After the turmoil of deciding I had to be strong and sell Soap earlier this summer, then being faced with his Navicular diagnosis I really thought we had had our share of tears and bad luck. Only just on Tuesday I rode him for the first time since he went lame, and his Navicular treatment had been a total success, walking him round the arena I was just enjoying being back on board, and riding my perfect polite sound little horse again.

Soap has been part of my life for the last 6 years, but more than that he was my inspiration for this blog, and he was my motivation as a rider to improve. My mum Soap and I travelled the length of the country together during this time, a happy little trio all enjoying each others company and the highs and lows of competing.

I will never forget what a kind, generous, and forever hard-working little horse he was. I feel lost, so so sad, and heartbroken because I have lost so much more than a horse, I have lost a friend. We navigated such a big learning curve together, and when I asked for more he tried to answer, he wasn’t a world beater or any great talent, but he was funny, we ‘got’ each other, and he did all he did for me, and I loved him for that, and now he’s gone and I am heartbroken without him.

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