Once Dave arrived he did an initial assessment of Betty, he took her temperature and checked her heart beat but they were both close to normal. Like Nick he also initially thought it might have been colic but he quickly ruled it out, so he asked us to try and get Betty up. I said we could try but I didn't think we could as I thought her right hind leg was injured. Straight away as soon as we tried, he agreed it was her back leg causing the problem. Upon closer inspection he informed us unfortunately Betty's leg was broken and there was nothing he could do. He said it was the type of break you would see on a race horse who has fallen whilst galloping on the track. It was a clean break at the joint. With a break of this type I was fully aware there was nothing Dave could have done other than put her to sleep. Whilst he went to his car to get his kit we all kissed, hugged and talked to Betty. I also rang Helen to give her the sad news, she was understandably incredibly upset but agreed it was the only option and the kindest thing to do for Betty. I felt awful delivering that news to her when she was supposed to be on a romantic break away with her husband. Dave was lovely with Betty and us. He showed great compassion and empathy. I held Betty as she went to sleep, kissed her and said goodnight to her. She went very peacefully. Dave told us he felt it had just been a freak accident. There were no signs of kick marks or anything of that nature so he thinks she must have been galloping around and she has just fallen awkwardly, unfortunately breaking her leg in the process. He did not think she had been there very long as the swelling wasn't very noticeable yet which indicated it had only recently happened. This made me feel better as at least she hadn't been there for very long. Whilst all this was going on Barbara was very distressed, I think she could sense something was wrong with her sister. Dave advised us to leave Betty's body where it was for the night so the rest of the herd could say goodbye and come to terms with her passing. The next day Neil witnessed Fella biting at Betty's leg to try to get her to stand up. On the Wednesday when we arrived to move the body Fella was licking her face and Barbara was pawing at her try to get her to stand up. This is a natural reaction of horses when one of their herd falls, but it was heartbreaking to watch. Since Betty's passing the rest of the herd have been very somber and subdued so I think they know she has passed.
After a conversation with Helen we decided we would bury Betty in our field, then she would always be with us and the rest of the herd. In England horses and ponies can be buried if they were pets. The next day Neil took a half day from work and started to dig her grave and I asked some of my friends Michael, Adam and Cory to come and help us move her body down to our field and next to where Neil was digging her grave. Myself and Helen will be forever grateful to those lads for helping us move her with dignity. On Thursday Neil finished digging her grave-for which we will be eternally grateful to him for, so we decided we would bury her today, which was Saturday morning. Myself, Helen, Neil and Helen's husband Kev arrived at the field this morning to lay our little lady to rest. We carefully lowered her into her grave along with a carrot and some horse treats as she loved her food. Helen and I then both said a few words as we threw the first handfuls of earth over her. Neil and Kev then did the rest until she was fully covered and her grave was complete. They made a lovely job of her grave and we are both very thankful to them both. Helen and I made a cross out of some wood and buried a tree in remembrance of her and to mark the spot of her grave. We then said our goodbyes and laid some white roses for her. It is nice to know Betty will always be with us and the rest of the herd in our field and that we have a place we can visit and remember her.
Helen rang the RSPCA shelter to let them know what had happened. They were lovely and said they were happy we had been able to give her such a lovely life while she was with us. I am very grateful for Helen contacting the shelter as I think I would have found this too upsetting. Betty was an absolute legend and in the short time we had her, which was a year and four months she brought such joy to our lives. She was the type of pony that didn't let anything phase her. She was more than happy to help herself to Fella's tea on a regular basis, which I don't think he was ever very pleased about! She was always first at the feed room at tea time, she loved her food! She was a master escape artist, she could get through any type of fencing. She would happily stand of her own accord, untied and get a groom, she loved to be fussed over. She took the starring role in my work Nativity and she got 1st and 2nd in her first ever show with us. She loved to go out for hand walks, any type of traffic would pass us and she would barely raise her head. She would have made a fantastic children's pony as she was bombproof. Below are some pictures of Betty showing happy memories during her time with us.
On Thursday we received a lovely card from my vet Nick offering his condolences. I thought this was a really nice touch and just exemplifies why I have been with his practice for over ten years. We also received a lovely card each from our friend Vic. As well as the cards, Helen and I also received a lovely bouquet of flowers each from our friends Alex, Cory, Leanne, Michael, Adam and Lauren. What a lovely group of friends we have to make such a thoughtful gesture.
Below is the last picture taken of Betty a couple of days before we lost her.
Rest in Peace Little Lady.
RSPCA Felledge Betty Boop 2012-2019