Sunday, December 5, 2021
HomeHorse Week‘Zebedee’: A tribute to my best friend

‘Zebedee’: A tribute to my best friend

IT was with huge sadness that I said goodbye to my long time equine best friend, ‘Zebedee’ last week.

He was 32 years old and has been part of my life and my family for 24 years.

I wished for a pony for my entire childhood, so whenever as an adult I eventually found ‘Zebedee’, a very handsome eight-year-old 15.1hh jet black gelding, he was my world.

We did a bit of everything together – although, I must admit that we only ever rode one dressage test, as it really wasn’t our thing and, while we also tried Working Hunter, the flatwork was our achilles heel!

We particularly enjoyed show jumping and cross-country and were curtailed only by the fact that he had no brakes…

When I first got him, I took him to numerous lessons and eventually plucked up the courage to join a Riding Club, through which we participated in countless lessons and competitions and, above all else, had lots of fun. His lack of brakes meant that he was great in a speed round, so our jumping progressed and we gathered up many rosettes, trophies and titles through the years. Some of our proudest moments included being on the winning team for Lagan Valley Riding Club in the Millbrook Crystal Inter-Club Team Challenge way back in 2004; being invited to take part in the so-called ‘Celebrity’ show jumping at Saintfield Show around 2007 and winning our class in the fantastic Midway Challenge League around 2009. We also competed for Downshire

Riding Club and enjoyed lots more successes. There will be many people in Riding Club circles who will remember our good days… along with a few not so good!

As ‘Zebedee’ got a bit older, we continued to jump smaller classes – with my long-suffering non-horsey husband taking over the ride while I was pregnant with our son, to participate in a Riding Club Mini League. Himself reluctantly went along to the first leg, not realising it was a league, but after ‘Zebedee’ successfully navigated the course and jumped double clear, the husband admitted he quite enjoyed it. It was then that I told him the league was running once a month for six months! Throughout the league, he and ‘Zebedee’ jumped double clear and their team won!

‘Zebedee’ also taught my husband’s daughter how to ride. She had lessons on him and, with her on board, he was like a different horse. He knew he had to be sensible and he behaved impeccably.

As old age took hold, ‘Zebedee’ retired, but he still managed to keep my other horses in check – he always whinnied hello and was always first to the feed bucket! While there have been many downsides of working from home for the past year, the greatest gift was that it allowed me to give ‘Zebedee’ the attention he so deserved.

‘Zebedee’ was a very special horse. He was very wise and he taught me such a lot about many things. I will miss him very

much.

I hope that he is now galloping through the heavens and, when I see the Lloyds Bank adverts on television, I will think of him and smile.

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