Jock - RIP

Jock of Cradlehall - 1985-2004

November 4th 2004 was the day I made the heartbreaking decision to bring Jock's life to an end. His final three weeks were played out very publicly on the HPEC message board. What started as an innocent post telling everyone of Jock's lameness, gradually developed into a full scale drama as the initial diagnosis of pus in the hoof turned into the nightmare reality of a shattered pedal bone. Even then, I was prepared to do anything to save him but after just three weeks of box rest and two severe horrific bouts of impaction colic, I realised he was telling me that he'd had enough and it was time to let him go,

During those three weeks, however, I believe we both developed a real understanding of each other. I felt our bond grow stronger during that time almost as if Jock knew what I was trying to do for him.

Those long November nights were mostly spent with Jock in the stable: stroking him as he lay quietly; massaging him gently when he was standing; watching his breath, like mist in the cold air, and all the while telling him how much I loved him. As I led him out of his box for the final time, waiting every few steps for him to hobble behind me, I think he knew his time had come.

We stood for a few minutes in the darkness of the yard. He sniffed the ground, then looked up towards the fields as if saying goodbye to all his herd. The vet took the lead rope from me and asked me to stand back, Jock died instantly, hitting the ground almost before the needle had been withdrawn.

Funny what thoughts go through your mind at this time. I remember the security light in the yard shining down on our scene as if we were actors in a Greek tragedy. I remember the brightness of the blood from the withdrawn catheter against the whiteness of his fur as it trickled down his neck onto the concrete. I remember reading that when we are dying, it is our hearing that is the last sense to go, so I talked and talked to him long after he had gone.

RIP Jock - a very special pony.

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