Gaby Cooke’s blog: saying goodbye to Sir Roscoe leaves a huge hole

  • As many of you will know, we have had an awful week, to put it mildly. My beloved top horse Sir Roscoe sustained a freak injury at Belton during his final “prep” run before the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials which ended in him being put down.

    I’m not going to bore you all with the depressing details which have already been published, but after showing the vets the boots we can pretty much 100% confirm that the overreach into the back of the tendon was the cause, especially as the severity of this injury is hardly ever seen in eventing.

    Looking at the positives, he did a very sweet dressage test – he was so calm and listening that I didn’t put any pressure on him whatsoever during the test as a reward for being such a good boy. Lots of little pats and whither scratches!

    Showjumping was by far our best ever round, I was trying my new bit and it was wonderful! I was finally able to ride him properly to a fence. He had also jumped his record height for him of 1.30m at home the night before in his old bit.

    It wasn’t just the change in bridle. I have been working very hard with Equifeast, who took Roscoe into their blood trials last autumn to try and understand more about how calcium and magnesium can change horse’s behavior and performance. Although, as always, Roscoe didn’t follow the book, we had had a breakthough on Monday when Malcom Green of Equifeast had a brainwave and altered the percentages within the product especially for Roscoe. By the weekend Roscoe had made the improvement in his behavior that we were after.

    As for the cross-country, all I wish to remember is that the plain fences weren’t big enough and the combinations were like gridwork to him. He really had endless power.

    As gutting as it is to see your dreams shattered for the next few years, it really isn’t about that at all. That isn’t how I see my horses or how I run my yard, it’s losing a friend, which is heartbreaking. Although obviously his talents didn’t take him as far as talking back to us, I still knew all his quirks and problems and issues, when to leave him alone and when to get down with him in the stable for a cuddle (pictured left at Blair 2010).

    I had such a special relationship with him. Every little face over the stable doors is a special one, but Roscoe’s was particularly bright. The whole yard used to revolve around him and his odd routines and habits. Everyone has or will have a tragic story to tell, whether you’re a competitive rider or not. I can only hope that there is someone out there that might in the future at least consider sending me their lovely horse, whether it’s a top ride or a baby.

    Roscoe has certainly left a huge hole. It goes without saying how many tears have been shed, but at the same time I’m completely at peace about it. What happened at Belton was beyond anyone’s control or judgment, but he never suffered and I was with him the whole way through to say my final goodbyes and thank yous, which he thoroughly deserved.

    Off to Burnham Market

    Onwards and upwards. Monday morning came round and there’s only one thing to do and that’s to get your head down and work harder, try harder and look into the future.

    So we set off down to the farm to pick up two rather moose-like four-year-olds, who are both to produce and sell to fund my current rides. The length of the cat hairs and feathers was quite something! They are complete chalk and cheese, but I’m really looking forward to getting them de-haired and ridden again. Hopefully it won’t be too long as they were pretty straightforward last year. Famous last words…

    Anyway we’re off to Burnham Market tomorrow with Liberty Rock (“Bertie”) and Saunders Lady (“Poppet”) to have another run in a novice. I’m starting to get rather concerned if I’m going to remember any of the courses, let alone my dressage test. My head still isn’t quite back on straight, hopefully the emotional hangover will lift soon. On that note I’d better go and see which test it is…

    Before I go I would like to say thank you to everyone out there who has sent me messages, you wouldn’t believe how much it means. I have literally been amazed at the response and the lovely uplifting things said. It’s so wonderful how the horsey community all pull together and offer support during such a sad time.

    For everyone out there who has sent messages and I don’t personally know, if we’re ever at the same place at the same time tap me on the shoulder and say hi, I’d love to be able to thank you personally.

    In the meantime, I’m going to print off and keep every message and make up a little scrapbook with them and Roscoe’s funniest and best photos. It looks like my boyfriend Jeremy’s Afghanistan parcels will be going on hold while I do that. Although there is a big “Easter parcel” sitting in Bastion and no doubt probably melting, waiting to be flown up to where he is.


    Gaby has now joined H&H’s regular team of bloggers so will be keeping up her weekly diary.

    Read all Gaby’s diaries

    Gaby Cooke’s website

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