You may have noticed a couple weeks ago when I released my latest novel, that I mentioned turmoil in my life at the time. A large piece of that was that my beloved Merlin, my horse of a lifetime, my International partner, my superstar best friend for over 22 years, was gravely ill with a poor prognosis.
On Saturday he lost his final battle, and although I had plenty of time to prepare, somehow you never believe it’s really going to happen until it does.
So, I’m just going to share these pics of him, so you can all admire this little horse with the hugest of egos. He was a legend, and he knew it.
Baby Merlin, nearly 25 years ago
Then at six years old, what a smart boy!
Competing in a hailstorm (Sheepgate Premier League show)
One of his many reports in Horse and Hound, when I was still riding him for his owner, before I bought him.
At a local venue
And in Spain, competing on the Sunshine Tour, earning us the Union Jack flag
The sun was so bright in Spain he had his eyes shut!
Pas de Deux (Wellington Premier League)
In our last Grand Prix, aged 22
Giving riders the benefit of his knowledge (supervised by Frodo – they were a real team, my boys)
And showing them how to do it in competition too – at this point he was 23 years old
He was an escape artist extraordinaire, so had to be thoroughly secured in his stable
And, of course, my favourite photo – in the Grand Prix Special at Somerford Park Premier League Show at the age of 21. Right up until he fell ill, he was still performing the Grand Prix movements at home every week, and teaching new riders with his usual sense of humour, where he would do exactly what they asked him to do, which was rarely what they thought they were asking for!
He will be sorely missed, though there was no question his time had come. I’m just so grateful he was so fit and healthy up until those last few weeks. and I have a rake of fabulous memories of our amazing journey together.
RIP Holme Grove Merlin
Missing you already ❤