A sad post today as Dina Shale tells us the story, in her own words, of her most precious horse, Harry, who had to be PTS last week due to colic:
Here is the story of Harry who I rescued from one of the worst dealers in the area.
My daughter had started to go off the rails at 13 after me and her dad had split up. She had always had a horse since she was 7 and we had shared some lovely moments while she was growing up. We had sold her last pony 12 months before.
I looked on preloved and found a beautiful looking 15'2 horse that I thought might work for us both. 'A perfect mother daughter share' he was advertised as.
We went to see him and fell in love with his face as we went through the gates. He turned round and looked at me in a way like no other. He was friendly, happy to see us and gave off a lovely energy. I was a bit shocked to see him tacked up and covered by a sheet and could see he was very skinny and boney .
I was cautious about buying so I had asked if Georgie could go and have a few lessons on him before we bought him. He was perfectly behaved and absolutely fine for her . Georgie got on really well and I had ridden him a few times but felt he was probably a bit too much for us but I really wanted Georgie to do the riding and I would do the caring and mucking out. So after a week of viewing and seeing him again I couldn't wait any longer, and decided to buy him.
When he got to the yard where we decided to keep him I could see he was very twitchy coming out the trailer. They were late and he was snorting a bit which I hadn't seen before. I was shocked that he was even skinnier than I had remembered, boney and pooing all the time.
Little did we know that the dealer I had bought him from was the most cruel individual out there. She was on horse watch and moved from yard to yard. She didn't feed her horses, give them water and tied them up with bailer twine by their ears or round their faces over night if they misbehaved or gave them beatings She also had buried 3 horses she had starved at the last yard she had been on. She now lives out of the area, but, is still dealing horses!
Harry was really difficult to ride, he reared, would buck. I researched and learnt he had been bred by a top dealer yard in Dunton Bassett, and his father was 'Its the Business' a jumping stallion in Dunton Bassett. Harry hadn't made the grade as he wasn't brave enough or as big as his father and had been pushed too far too fast which made him have a breakdown. He'd had been chucked in a field for 2 years before being bought back into work by someone in Leire who then passed him on to the world's worst dealer.
I had such problems with Harry as he was so difficult to ride and if I was having a bad day then I would have a bad ride. I felt I wanted an easy ride to help me chill as I had a stressful job. So I decided I would try to sell him... With everyone that came to view him he acted a twit, tried to rear them off, run off with them, scare them. Then when a man became really serious about buying him I realized I couldn't do it as I had then formed an amazing bond with him. So I decided to keep him and started to build a stronger bond with him doing Parelli.
He loved it and we had great fun playing on the ground. I then decided I wanted to do my Equine facilitator training which took me 2 years. I started my business helping people in the way my horses had helped me. Harry was the starting block. I hadn't realised how clever he was and the reason I had problems riding him was that he could read my moods, emotions and feelings. If I was scared he wondered what was sitting on top of him! We started to help people with low level mental health issues releasing their innermost feelings using Harry.
He was absolutely amazing and so many people had amazing experiences with him and I trusted him not to hurt a human, animal or a child. He taught me so much. I am sure he knew he was to be with me for the therapeutic sessions and I had him four and a half years. I took him from a life of cruelty and god knows what would have happened to him if I hadn't bought him. The woman wouldn't budge on price for him and the way he looked at me I knew I had to have him. He was the most gentle clever, horse I had ever had and so gentlemanly.
He never was disrespectful. So I used him for my most reflective sessions and the first being my now husband who was then my friend. He was blown away by how fab the sessions were with him and how much Harry loved what he did.
We have recently moved out of our therapy centre as the lease was up. The horses have since been on a friends land. But we are not able to work from there.
I promised Harry he would never want again, and he never did. His coat shone with how well he looked, he stopped pooing and I started to understand he knew what was going on inside me. He stopped rearing as he knew I wasn't going to take him outside of his comfort zone and was always the first to the gate to work. He would run and nay when he saw my car come to the gates. He knew the sound and my footsteps. I had wished I could ride him one more time as I understood him far better having worked with him so much on the ground but unfortunately he was taken so sudden. Harry always had this way of communicating by scraping his foot on the floor. He would tell me if he wanted water or that he preferred haylage rather than hay. He was spoilt as he always got what he asked for.
One the day of 15th July 2017, I arrived at the yard to the usual neighing but he way lay down. I thought it was odd but carried on as he got up and came to the gate . He immediately started to scratch the floor with his foot. I thought he wasn't happy with his breakfast. I thought he was having a strop. Then when he went down I stood and listened. I called the vet as I could see in his eyes he wasn't right. After the hour sedation and pain killer he was still scraping the floor. I let him go down and wind came out.. maybe that did him good. I rang the vet and he said he should be back to normal now. He was still telling me he was in pain so I let him go back to his herd to see if that picked him back up and he still kept going down so I had the vet come again with pain killer. Still no improvement. I could see in his face it was the time. I always said to him I would never let him suffer.
At 4.45 my most precious horse was pts.
To say I'm devastated is an understatement.
I have no where to trade from and want to continue my valuable work. I have helped over 30 families a week and so has Harry. He was my amazing rescue that made so many people understand their emotions and talked to me. I could tell if people were scared/anxious and on a scale of one to ten Harry could tell me.
He had signals I had learnt to read. He was my default horse, I always knew I could trust him and that he would help people.
Please help us continue Harry's legacy at 'The Way of the Horse'.
When we re-establish ourselves we will dedicate one of our rooms in his memory for all that he achieved and all the lessons he taught me. We owe it to him and his memory to keep battling for new premises to continue the work that Harry has started using our other horses. There can only ever be one "Big Harry" and we will love him forever.
Our other rescue horses are Smokey, Yorrick and Maydew.
Mrs. Dina Shale
Medicine Horse Way Instructor & Trained and Certified in Horseboy Methods for Autism
Horses Helping people build authentic skills for life...
find us on www.thewayofthehorse.co.uk
The Way of The Horse is currently seeking new premises in Leicestershire if you can be of any assistance please contact Dina. Thank you.