Dear diary,

This week has been very sad for us all and as such I am not full of my usual jokey humour. Last Friday we lost my big brother Sidney.

He was Mum and Dad’s first horse (well Dad’s really, because Mum was a chicken about riding him — some things never change, eh?), a big, jet black 17.2hh Hanoverian, who made the ladies swoon every time he tossed his mane. I can only dream of being the lothario he was. The only reason I ever got a look in with Fit Mare was because he had left. He was also a big bossy brute, who ruled our field with a hoof of iron. From the day I arrived, he firmly ruled the roost in our house.

Sid never really featured in my first diary, because it started a year after I had arrived with Mum and he was already retired by then. He broke his leg in a fight for supremacy with one of the other bigger boys in our field, but was so tough he walked in from the field without anyone ever realising anything was wrong. He didn’t even limp, he was SO hard. When Dad was changing his rug he found blood and a cut on Sids knee and that was the beginning of the end. Months of box rest, a fortune in vets’ bills and Dad couldn’t get him right.

However, it didn’t stop Sid reminding me on a daily basis that Mum was his Mum before she was mine, that his sire had been a puissance jumper and his bloodlines could be traced back generations. It’s no wonder I have a potato on my shoulder about being a mongrel from the Irish bogs and aspire to being on the British showjumping team. Scarred I am, mentally and physically — my bum still has the imprint of his teeth in it.

Anyway, he’s been retired “field sound” for years (is that the opposite of “stable noisy”?), but late last week badly hurt one of his other legs. He went over the Rainbow Bridge on Friday. As those who have my books know, as I have always done when I have lost a friend, I have written him a brief poem…

There’s another equine angel in heaven
Another bright star in the sky
Sid, you’ll never be forgotten
Because spirits like yours, never die

On the day that you went to heaven
Even the sun came out to say goodbye
And some day in greener pastures
We’ll be reunited, You, Mum, Dad and I

Until then enjoy the bright sunshine
Turning and galloping, pain free
Joined by all the friends we’ve lost
And one day you’ll all come for me

So rest in peace my brother
I’ll comfort mum when she cries
Hearing you whicker beside me
Because spirits like yours never die

Hovis