FORMER Olympic dressage rider Nicola McGivern has paid tribute to her “long-legged, black and beautiful” mare, who was put down shortly before she was due to foal.

Esmiralda was being transported home from Devon to give birth, along with two other in-foal mares, when she became distressed last Friday (15 April).

The 18-year-old Hanoverian went down in the lorry and despite the best efforts of vets, she was unable to be saved.

Her unborn foal, a full sibling to Scuderia, who was awarded premium status and a silver medal at the Oldenburg stallion grading in Germany, also died.

“We called her Naomi after Naomi Campbell because she was long-legged, black and beautiful,” said Nicola.

“She was coming back to have her foal – she was still six weeks away and we generally bring them back here to foal after they’ve been away for the winter.

“It was a tragic accident – the vet said it could have happened anywhere, two days earlier or later, but it happened on the lorry. Her foal just wasn’t in the right position.”

One of the other mares in the lorry (pictured below) was injured in the incident.

Picture by John McGivern

Picture by John McGivern

“We’ve got our fingers crossed for Minky, that she’ll be able to hold on to her foal, but it’s early days yet,” said Nicola.

It just doesn’t seem real that Naomi has gone, we’ve had her since she was four.”

Nicola was nearly three hours’ drive away when the accident occurred but members of the public, alerted by her post on Facebook, arrived to help.

“A big thank you to those people who dropped everything to turn up and help,” she said.

“It was one of those desperate things you put out on social media because your hands are tied and you can’t do anything yourself.

“ It was fabulous that those people dropped everything, it’s so appreciated.”


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“Luckily, there was a specialist vet nearby,” she added. “They were there quickly, and were able to look after them and make sure they weren’t in pain.

“That’s breeding for you, it can happen. We’re terribly, terribly sad.”