We found Lady 16 years ago in a dark old wooden shed. There was a little hole in the door where a shaft of light shone through, illuminating what was possibly the ugliest horse I had ever seen. Moss Edge Duchess had a regal name but standing in front of us was a leggy, hairy scruffy waif of a horse...just wanting to be loved. We didn't choose Lady, Lady chose us and over the past 16 years has made us so grateful that we took that young Shire filly into our lives. Lady has been an ambassador for her breed, she has been loved by the young and by the old, she has given people from all over the world their first experience of the joy of horsemanship and despite her failing health over the past year was gentle and kind until the moment she passed away.
Lady wasn't always the angel. I have a vivid memory of one of Greg's early ventures out onto the open road under a heavy English sky. A big red L (commonly used in the UK to indicate a learner driver) was attached to her saddle pad to advise the unwary that the big gangly mare was not familiar with passing vehicles. Clearly, speeding drivers gave Lady a wide berth as they sped past. Sadly, a passing cyclist did not heed the warning signs and, barely escaped being launched into orbit as her huge Shire hooves took aim....I guess he peddled a little faster after that..and remembered to give horses a little more consideration.
Lady's last hours were spent in the pasture under a warm early Spring sun, under the shade of giant cedar trees and in the company of Quest the big bay gelding, her handsome 10 year old son. We kept everything as it had been every day for the past 16 years, she came back to her clean dry stall, I didn't soak her hay and she had as many apples as she cared to eat. She ate the grain she hadn't been allowed to eat and promptly threw her bucket at me, a longstanding Lady game. I brushed her and looked into her beautiful big gentle brown eyes, I told her that I was sorry and I thanked her for her years of faithful service. I told her that I would miss her and she would be remembered by many. I told her there would be no more pain and we would be with her. As Lady was led from her stall, we cried, Lady tried hard to trot through the pasture on hooves that could no longer bear her weight. Lady's passing was peaceful and she is no longer in pain. We were both with her just as we have been since we saw her in that damp dark little shed so many years ago. If there is a horse Heaven, she is there.
Our thanks have to go to Doctor Mark Ness of Olympic Equine Veterinary Services. Mark's kindness and compassion to our big Shire mare will never be forgotten. Even when her spirit had left her body Mark treated her body with sensitivity and respect. Thank you Mark.
Time to go, life on the ranch has to go on. We have our memories. Take care, keep safe, M