Annie proves to be a class act

(Written by Anna Cole)

Back in the summer of 2017, my daughter and I were looking for a new horse for her to event, hunt and enjoy PC/RC activities.

Having lost some of her confidence in XC on the mare that she had, we wanted a forward thinking genuine horse with a willing attitude towards jumping. We opted for a rising 8 year old mare with a racing, P2P and team chasing background. Formerly trained by Peter Foster, Annie’s Act never really showed any form on the racecourse so was retired in 2015.

It was a step up for my daughter as Annie was fresh, keen and a bit out of her comfort zone on Dartmoor with roaming ponies, sheep and various ‘farm accessories’, but it didn’t take long however for horse and rider to bond.

They persevered with new experiences and Annie being a clever cookie rarely spooked at the same thing twice, and although she was bouncy and lively she was ridden with a kind, encouraging and sympathetic manner.

The summer consisted of lots of hacking, good lessons in grid work, SJ, flatwork and PC XC rallies. Annie was super and settled into farm life and became a much loved member of our family.It was then total devastation when my daughter called out to me from the yard one afternoon, having found Annie in the field with a massive 35-40cm long and very deep chest wound. It was bleeding heavily, she was very pale and starting to stumble with her head held low. We believe her field mate (with a history of pushing through gates), had broken metal gate, Annie had tried to go through small gap, caught her rug, reared up gone down on gate, broken top rail and staked herself. She has then pulled back and caused massive tear in muscle between her front legs.

Being a farmers wife and a veterinary nurse, I am fairly seasoned with wounds and injuries, but my heart broke. My daughter was hysterical and I genuinely thought Annie was going to bleed out before we could get the vet out. Husband, workman and I took it in turns to ‘clamp’ wound to try and slow the haemorrhage, whilst my daughter held Annie and tried to comfort her as best as she could. Annie, in all of this was very calm which was a good thing since we had to sit down right in front of her to be able to keep wound close with both hands. After a while our wonderful vet Sophie joined us and did an absolutely amazing surgical job in suturing the wound, followed by first class aftercare.

Annie was cross-tied for weeks, followed by stable rest whilst receiving wound care, laser treatment and physio. Yes, she got a bit grumpy, but she never kicked, bit or pushed us around. The wound eventually healed beautifully and by November she was being ridden out. She behaved impeccably, even doing gates was no issue.

I think we can all say that Annie does not appear to have suffered any ill effects from her injury, mentally or physically. She has a scar to remind us all, but she is supple and strong, beautiful to handle, groom, tie up and loves a cuddle from her favourite girl.

My daughter, and the rest of us, have found this little ‘spidery’ 16’1 bay TB to have the most balanced outlook on life we have ever seen in any horse. She hunts, hacks, gathers livestock on the moors and farm, super in all traffic, stands around at rallies and hunt meets and jumps like a stag. We are so thankful to the lovely Sarah who sold us a mare that was exactly what she said she was.

Annie has clearly been handled by kind professional people in the past who knows what they are doing. We would never hesitate to buy another racehorse and I know that for my girl this little mare is a horse of a lifetime.

I hope our story shows the strength and versatility of the TB. She is not a novice ride, but in contrast to all other horses we have owned and still own, she is snaffle mouthed, never bucked, reared or bolted. Beautiful to handle and lead, tie up and to have around dogs, kids and sometimes very chaotic farm life.