I spent many months
contemplating this loss and couldn't
ride at all. In fact, I couldn't even
walk because grief had rendered me
incapable of moving ; my back seized up
badly and the only upside was that I had
a very clean and tidy house and there
were meals on the table every night and
every one in the house put weight on .
Even the ironing was done. Perhaps it
was this that made my husband realise
that clean and ironed shirts do not
equal a happy wife and he indulged me by
driving me the length and breadth of the
country looking at horses. I had put a
tentative advert in Horse and Hound
offering a seven star home to the right
horse and got scores of replies offering
me all kinds of animals , none of which
were MGB re-incarnated.
I think that people advertising horses
for sale and putting "no time wasters"
should take a long and hard look at
themselves . Some of the respondents
were genuine people , others shouldn't
have been left in charge of a bike never
mind a horse. All of them had overblown
ideas of what their horse actually could
do. Taking into account the
"qualifications" some of these people
boasted , some of them should have been
in court for mis-representation of the
Sale of Goods Act .
One horse I had vetted was supposed to
be 15 and I later discovered was closer
to twenty but more of that one later.
In the end, I crawled back into my pit
and got to the point where I didn't want
to leave the house.
Then in October 2006 , I bucked up a bit
, contacted a lady called Sherene
Rahmatallah, went to Portugal on holiday
and ended up in Golega a week before the
horse fair to try lots and lots of
lovely Lusitanos , mainly stallions.
I could write pages about the encounters
I had with breeders and trainers and
horses but to cut a very long story
short, I fell, "just a little bit"
in love with a rose dapple grey mare
called Utopia (born 2001) . She was
unusual because she was a mare and they
don't often get broken in, just used for
I thought that I wanted her but I was so
scared that at my age I couldn't handle
such a young horse and a full blood at
that. Also, she was a lot of money and
also at my age, you can't sell your body
except maybe for parts.
I did make tentative enquiries about her
and found that her owner was in England,
had MS and had to sell her because she
could no longer cope with her but
information was never very forthcoming
and I let it go.
On the morning of my birthday , I awoke
and was presented with four cards from
my husband. The first was a birthday
card for 2006, the second a Christmas
Card for 2006 . Then a birthday card for
2007 followed by a Christmas Card for
2007. I was so low that I thought he
wanted rid of me and started to cry.
Then I opened a parcel with a model of a
lovely dapple grey Iberian type horse
and my husband told me that the deal was
all done apart from the x-rays from the
VET and that Utopia was mine. He had
done the whole thing behind my back and
I was a horse owner once more.
I was ecstatic , and scared and
exhilarated and all kinds of things and
then I planned to go back to Golega to
arrange to bring her home asap. Then I
broke my foot !!! I did it whilst
standing up after fixing my daughters
The homecoming was delayed until Mothers
Day 2007 (I visited Utopia at Lusitanus
in the February and fell even more in
love with her even though I was still
walking on crutches) . Utopia bounced
off the lorry and into my heart ,big
time ,at around 8 pm that evening after
being on the road for four days.
Taken back into the fold by Charlotte
and the Boss, my lovely horse is coming
on in leaps and bounds (that's not
always metaphorically by the way) and I
hope that we will get to compete this
year although Charlotte may do the
Riding Utopia (Tia as she is known) is
like driving a Ferrari. When you learn
how to handle her and take off the
handbrake, she is so powerful and
obedient and responsive , it takes my
breath away . Not only that, but she is
clever and kind in the stable too , when
she's not flat out on her side snoring
her head off that is because she likes
her afternoon siesta, being European and
coming from a hot country and all that.
She's in love with Felix, Charlotte's
Hanoverian horse and is a bit scared of
coloured ponies because I think she
thinks she should be herding them into a
corral not working with them in clinics.
I know that I am biased but she is also
one of the most beautiful horses I have
ever seen. Dapple grey, long flowing
mane and tail like a shampoo advert ,
15.3 hands etc. She likes food more than
she likes Felix and because she gets a
lot of it on the yard , she is very,
very happy and so am I .
I know that I have been lucky . To buy a
horse abroad is a huge risk but I
managed to do it and get exactly the
horse I both wanted and needed .
My husband gave me the means, the Boss
and Charlotte gave me the nous and the
back up and after a very depressing
period in my life, I am now back in the
saddle and back on track with my life.
Forget all the advice that people give
you when your horse dies, You can rant
and rave and have nervous breakdowns ,
you have my permission to hit people who
berate your misery for saying "but it's
only a horse" and "will you replace her
?" . Try asking them "If your husband
died, would you go out and buy a new one
?" and see what they say then!
RIP, MGB - I'll never ever be able to
thank her for all that she gave me and
welcome "Utopia de Santarem " - she's
made me whole again !
Hope that updates everyone.
the beautiful 'Utopia de Santarem' . . .
More affectionately known as 'Tia'