08 Oct

I am still in shock and grief stricken, and it's taken me a little while to be able to write this,  but I should let you all know, that last Thursday we said goodbye to one of the biggest presences at Abbotts View, Oscar. After a week long battle with the worst case of lymphangitis I've ever seen, the decision was made to end his suffering. It literally appeared overnight. The Wednesday evening prior the Thoroughbreds had their dinner and Pepper and Oscar cantered off into their grass paddock for the night, like they do every evening. In the morning at feeding time, I called to them and only Pepper joined me back on track. Oscar appeared to be stood resting, but he loved his feed and always came over. I called again, and Pepper then left her feed, neighed frantically and ran back over to him. I knew something was wrong.I went over and Oscar was stood still halfway down the paddock, with his left hind the size of an elephants leg, I've never seen anything like it. He was distressed, and painful and couldn't move nor weight bare. Our amazing vets Farr and Pursey Equine arrived quickly to administer pain relief and complete X-rays. The X-rays confirmed no breaks, which could be the only other reason his leg was so swollen and so suddenly, and lymphangitis was confirmed. Que 48 hours of hand walking him every hour (I stayed at the farm so I could continue it through the night) and daily vet visits to administer medication, and he seems to make a turn for the better on Saturday. We continued with the hand walking and medication but on Sunday he started to down hill again. The swelling had reduced but was still large, with yellow tissue fluid seeping trough his skin and his coronet band started to show signs of cracking and separating. Monday saw a slight improvement but by Wednesday the coronet band was frightening and the hoof capsule had started to separate, and it was clear we were fighting a losing battle. He spent his final night drugged up on pain relief in a field of lush grass I was saving for him for winter, and the following morning he passed quickly and peacefully surrounded by people who loved him, His owner Claudia, Myself, groom Hannah and Em. It was such a shock and emotionally and physically draining week and AVL feels very strange without him. Oscar was an ex race horse, who had lots of battle scars from his previous life and he deserved the best retirement. I am glad he got experience two years of his retirement here, being loved and spoilt by humans, and happy within a herd environment, but it should have been way longer. Although I had noticed subtle deterioration in him physically (arthritis and an old neck injury) he still remained his bright self, and I expected him to be around for a while yet to come. I struggle to put into words how much I loved this horse. I loved him like he was my own and he made am smile and laugh everyday. I couldn't make feeds on the mezzanine without him spotting me and staring me down and neighing at me, even if it was hours till feed time. He stole my shovels and brooms daily and had a vendetta against my wheelbarrows. He licked everyone, horses and humans alike, and although he wasn't fond of cuddles he would stand by and watch the world go by with you. Often seen bucking and farting for joy in his paddock, pawing the air to show the others how fantastic he was, making the most exaggerated happy groaning noises whenever he had a big roll (often in the biggest mud patch he could find), and pulling ugly faces at me whenever I was 'late'  for breakfast/lunch/dinner feeds (which was always in Oscar time), or dared to check he was warm enough under his rug. Oscar I miss and will continue to miss you every single day. You have left a huge hole in my heart and in AVL and the lack of your presence is impossible to miss. I can't believe you are gone and have to continue without you. The day to day jobs feel so different without your interference and I have to stop myself from making up your feeds. I know the pain will ease and life goes on but I will never forget the impact you had on me and on AVL. Rest easy sweet boy.

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