My Tribute to Junior and Jack

Dearly loved and now desperately missed horses of Catherine and David.

Two field mates always running together, their lives ended together as they ran freely.

Jack (left in photo) was a Welsh Section D Cob and Junior (right) was an Irish Sports Horse.

Jack's date of birth, 14 May 2004, Junior's date of birth, 11 May 2001.

Both horses tragically died together on Thursday 11 December 2008.

I have always loved horses and meeting my partner, David, he developed the same love for them when I took him to see a horse I looked after. David gave me the opportunity and support to finally get a horse of my own in May 2006.

Junior was left in a field and had no attention – as soon as I walked into his stable, I knew he was the horse for us. He was so friendly from day one. He gave David confidence in learning to ride and was bombproof on the roads. He had problems in his hind movement from early days – a vet told us to hack him out to ease the stiffness, but tried to tell us to return him to the previous owner. But we stuck with Junior and a year later he was jumping over 1 metre. It took a long time with lots of lessons to ease his stiffness and finally get out to our first competitions. We suffered from numerous comments from the horse world as to his movement not being "right". He went on to show everyone that just because he did not have the perfect moves, he was able to do everything he was asked. On 10 December 2008, he won his first show jumping competition. He was my best friend and an honest, genuine gentleman. Always ready to try what was asked of him. Standing at 16.3hh, he was our Chestnut gentle giant.

Jack was Junior's companion. We went out to look for an older horse and came back with Jack, a 15.1hh three year old! He looked at us from his field as we looked at another horse with his black and grey flecked face. He was such a mischievous little horse and was very protective over his bigger pal, Junior. No one was allowed to go near Junior without passing through Jack first. In comparison, he was a delight to ride – David was able to hack him out and on the beach he learnt everything from Junior. He had a fear of road signs, but that ended as the calm way in which Junior carried himself was a great influence on Jack's character. They went most places together and were our horses for life.

They gave us back so much enjoyment and reward; they will never be forgotten or replaced.

Sadly I had some terrible news before Christmas 2008. Junior and Jack were involved in a road accident on 11 Dec 2008 and both horses were killed outright. I found out on my way home from work that winter evening and it was the worst journey I have made to get home. It happened about 5.30 pm, they somehow had got out of their field through two five bar gates and travelled about 1.5 miles down the country lane and out onto a busy country road. Five horses escaped that evening and Junior and Jack were the unlucky ones who got hit. No one knows how it happened and we have resolved ourselves not to torture ourselves thinking about someone letting them out or how they escaped through two gates by themselves passing their open stables. My friend was the last to see them alive and said she heard hooves passing in the dark and saw their shadows. They were kicking their heels and heading off to somewhere we don't know.

It has been a really hard time – I cannot imagine what it can be like to lose a human member of the family as this is the worst thing I have had to deal with yet.

The only comfort is that the vet was on scene almost instantly and said they would have felt nothing as she had to do nothing to them to put them out of pain. There were no terrible injuries visible when I said my last goodbyes. Thank goodness no people were killed or seriously injured as that would have been a terrible thing for their families to deal with.

Their sudden departure from our lives has left us with a huge hole. Never again shall I be too weary to muck out a stable or pick wet mud from hooves.

I stayed late on the evening in their stables before the accident to groom each of them down. I am so grateful for this to remember them. I pray they are kicking their heels up together freely somewhere nice. They were laid to rest Saturday 13th December 2008 in their summer field, The Winds.


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