Owner’s heartfelt tribute to prolific Welsh mare lost to colic with her unborn foal

  • The owner of prolific Welsh section C Corstan Penelope has paid tribute to her much-loved “family member” who “loved the big occasions” following the death of the mare and her unborn foal.

    Corstan Penelope, known as Annie, scored countless wins during her career, in hand and under saddle.

    She retired in the ring at Horse of the Year Show in October, carrying her first foal by Nicole’s stallion, Popsters Tommy Cockles. The 12-year-old mare came down with colic last month and was put down at home, in her favourite field.

    Her owner, Nicole Musson, remembered Annie as “family”, and a mare as kind as she was sassy.

    “She was opinionated, sassy, and liked to be in the limelight,” Nicole told H&H. “For all her quirks, she was so affectionate and so loving. She would wrap her neck around you and ask for a cuddle.”

    Nicole bought Annie’s dam, Synod Lady Penelope, in foal to Tinvaal Gaucho at a sale 13 years ago – and Annie was the foal who came as a “buy one, get one free”.

    “She was a proper character from day one,” said Nicole, recalling stories of Annie’s antics as a foal.

    In her showing career, she had a penchant for blue rosettes – winning at Glanusk as a three-year-old and standing reserve in-hand many times. She blossomed into a top mare in her ridden career, spending three years on loan to Taran Hanover before returning to continue her success with Nicole.

    Her accolades include finishing second in the ridden section at the Royal Welsh and reserve champion in 2019 – also partnering Vicky Costello to win overall young handler champion the same year. She was best mare in the Mountain & Moorland ridden Welsh C class on her HOYS debut in 2019 and finished seventh on her showing swansong at HOYS 2022.

    “My other half said she was me in equine form!” said Nicole. “She did have a rather large sense of humour, however, and you never really knew which Annie you were getting in the ring. She would either be absolutely brilliant, or show you up.”

    Nicole remembers HOYS 2021 as one of those years, with Annie squealing and rodeoing when asked for canter in the ring.

    “She did it all with a smile on her face,” said Nicole. “I just laughed, because if you’re going to mess up, why not mess up in style?

    “She was always destined to be a broodmare. Last year I made the decision that it would be her last season under saddle.”

    She added that Annie had been “enjoying life and really blooming” over the winter.

    “Annie was always my dad’s favourite, he bought her first saddle and bridle.,” said Nicole, whose father died in 2016.

    “Annie and her foal were cremated, with the bridle he bought for her, and her mother’s headcollar from when I bought her at the sales, and their ashes are together with my dad’s.

    “Thank you for letting me share your life and for bringing so many memories and smiles, until we meet again.”

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