Niandu and I found each other 14 years ago.

A beautiful chestnut polo pony brought to the livery yard I was at  in England from New Zealand.  He was far too sensitive for the job he had been given. He had a reputation for being unsettled and bore psychological scars from his life in polo, and I didn't believe at first I would be able to  ride him.

When I sold the youngster I had at the time (who had not been a good match for me) and Niandu was retired from polo, with the encouragement of a friend, I agreed to try him. I knew before I rode him I had found my soulmate on the ground as I had by this time known him for a couple of years, and to my surprise and delight, I found riding him came naturally.

He gave me 100%, was kind, genuine and exciting. This was the start of so many perfect and happy years together. People say I rescued you, but you gave it back in bucket loads.

Each time we went out, it was like the first time, everything was so much fun. He was gentle in every way, and once you had earned his trust, he was happy and relaxed. We did so much together and made so much progress, both on an emotional level and in terms of what we were physically able to do. I had lost my nerve jumping with my previous horse, but even though he was over the age of twelve and had not been asked to jump before, Niandu did it perfectly. He gave his heart to anything that was asked of him. I was even able to catch him fairly easily, which was a big thing for him as he had always been so suspicious of people.

When my son was born 9 years ago, he started to come to the yard with me almost straight away, he grew up with Niandu. From the time he started to walk, he was able to lead Niandu on the lead rein and even progressed to riding him a couple of times. Niandu would tiptoe around my son, being so careful not to hurt him accidentally. It was hard juggling family, work etc., but Niandu made it all worth it. With the exception of the odd holiday, I had to see him twice a day or I would start to miss him. He was my other baby and I was very protective of him.

On the 30th March this year, I rode Niandu after work. It was a great ride, the evening was starting to get cool and there was a mist in the air. We went around the farm, just me and him. I remember talking to him and telling him how happy I was and how fortunate we were to be able to experience this.  Those are my last memories of him being well.  The following day something was very wrong and I lost him later on that day as a result of a ruptured stomach that had happened in the night.

That was three weeks ago. I miss him more than I can say, and now that the shock of loosing him is wearing off, the pain seems to get worse. He was my friend. I miss his trusting eye, his soft wicker when I went into the barn, his calmness,  his smell, the knowledge that we were perfectly matched, the freedom as we cantered around the farm tracks, everything about him. He was a part of me and our lives have been woven together for 13 years. I wasn't ready for him to go.

Niandu - my special beautiful boy, my star - I miss you - we all miss you. Murphey and Locky called for you for days when you went. People can't believe you have gone, you touched so many lives. I hope you were not in pain at the end. It is a comfort that you died at home where you belonged, it was just way too soon.

Helen xxx

It is now three years since I lost my beloved Niandu. Although I still miss him greatly and think of him daily, time does heal. I am still at the same yard and am surrounded by wonderful memories.

I have a new horse, a young mare, also chestnut, fiesty and pretty, Niandu would love her. She is very different to him in many ways which is perhaps a good thing.

He was a horse in a million and I will never forget him.

For anyone who has just lost a horse, have comfort in the fact that it does get better in time.

God bless you Niandu,
Helen xxx

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