Alfie came to live with us in 2002 .
She belonged to an English family that lived near my parents. They had bought her on a whim, not knowing anything about horses at all but thinking it would be nice for their 2 young daughters. Of course they soon realised that there was more to keeping a horse than just tethering it on the grass verges all day, and when she had untied her rope and walked off one too many times, they asked us if they could keep her on livery at our place. Never one to say no to a horse in need, I agreed to have her and she duly arrived.
When she staggered out of the horse trailer it was obvious that she had big problems, and the fact that she was grossly overweight led me to the conclusion that she had Laminitis. The poor girl, all she had done for months was eat fresh hedgerow grass, with no exercise and she was in a terrible state. We set about slimming her down, accepting the fact that she would not be any use as a riding horse; her feet were too weak, but that she would make a good companion for our youngster Leo, while we took the others out riding. Amazingly, once she was at a normal weight, her health had improved so much that we were able to ride her, and she proved to be a lovely riding horse for a few years, until she succumbed to Leo’s charms and became pregnant. By this time we had taken on full ownership, as her previous owners finally admitted that it was pointless paying us to look after her when they had no interest.
As Leo was only a year old, we did not suspect a thing until fairly late into the pregnancy. Once the pregnancy was confirmed, the vet suggested that as she still had a few months to go, we should carry on with light riding to keep her fit, so the afternoon of the vets visit I took her out for a leisurely hack. The following morning I popped to a friend for a coffee and when I arrived back home I could see my neighbour Pedro down in the horses field with what looked like a big dog beside him. I ran down and discovered to my horror that it was a foal – apparently Alfie had given birth in the field with all the other horses and Pedro, worried the others might harm the foal, had removed it to the adjoining paddock. Thank goodness I was not out all day, or I dread to think what might have happened, but luckily I was able to lead Alfie into the paddock to join her foal and to my relief they bonded immediately. Spirit, being premature, was tiny, but perfectly healthy and Alfie was an adoring mum until the birth of Spirit’s little sister Fern, a year later, when Spirit was firmly replaced. After giving birth to two foals in two years, and being in her early 20’s, Alfie was retired, and now in her late 20’s , she lives in the ‘oldies’ paddock, with her best friend Bracken, the Shetland pony that came to us soon after her arrival and has been by her side ever since. She is a moody and bad tempered old mare, with scars round her front feet from her years of being hobbled and scars on her nose from the awful Spanish bridle with metal teeth that dig in – she has had a hard life, but despite all that she is still plodding on, (and she still has the knack of untying ropes!)
R.i.p Alfie, sadly put to sleep 17.1.15 age 30 we will miss you xxxx