Friday, 30 June 2017
Horses I've loved: Uggy
I know, I know, it's a terrible name for a horse. There was a car at the stables at the time I bought him that was called Ugy because of its number-plate, and basically Uggy became Uggy Two the first day I brought him home, named by my stable mates. He was far from conventionally beautiful, I will admit.
He cost me $50 straight out out of a paddock and I rode him home bareback. Turns out he had a local reputation for being a bolter, but he only did that with me a couple of times in the years I had him, and in those days I knew no fear, so what the heck.
I loved him to bits, but he wasn't a great purchase in that he pretty much ended my pony club years. He could and would jump anything, but put him in a showjumping ring and he'd stop at the gate and nothing you did could get him past it. These pics are of my one and only showjumping round with him, BEFORE we got to the gate!
I was eliminated, but the jump judge did say it was nice to see that horse in good condition for a change, so goodness knows what he'd looked like at times before I got him. He had a very distinguishing paint marking on his near side neck, so he'd have been easy to recognise.
That's him looking perky and happy after I'd had him for a while. He was never much in the conformation stakes, but he and I traveled for miles and miles, him skittering along with his odd running walk that ate the distances, and we'd jump any log we came to, and at times also gates if we couldn't be bothered stopping to open them.
That's me looking teenage and sulky. An old owner had turned up to visit him and asked to put this incredibly harsh bit on him that she'd used to use. I was not impressed. Gods, I could be a snotty little cow in those days. Guess everyone is at that age sometimes. Hope so!
He really could jump and it was interesting that some time after I got him, a man I met somewhere, can't even remember where, recognised Uggy and gave me this photo. He told me he'd seen Uggy jump a car bonnet. Poor Uggy, he looked so scrawny and miserable in the pic. I'm glad I got to have him in his old age.
He had this utterly bizarre condition where he had an open pocket inside his lip, sort of a hole that went into a gap between layers of muscle and skin, that collected food in it. I had to clean it out every day or it went smelly and horrible, and it was hard to get to it all because you couldn't get your finger in there far enough! Erk! The things we do for our horses! :D
In the end we got a vet to come out and he had to cut from the outside and pull all this crappy rotten feed out then sew up both the hole on the inside and the cut he'd made. Erk! Wish I'd been sedated like Uggy was! It seemed to fix the issue after that, but he always had a slightly lower lip on that side.
I think he became happy with me. He would do this thing where I would softly stroke his neck over and over and he would turn his head and just look at me with his old-horse eyes and we would be so peaceful together.
I can never decide if I failed him at the end or not. He was in a great paddock and looked so happy every time I went to see him. I was busy being Miss Independent on shitty wages and living in weird share houses. I think I forgot to pay some of his agistment, I'm not sure now. Anyway I got a phone call to say that he was doing such a great job babysitting the owners' weanlings and they wanted to keep him, and I said yes. This is the last photo I have of him, taken at that last agistment place. I hope he looked this happy to the end of his days. He deserved it.