‘We think she’s wonderful’: dealer gives horse to customers whose pony broke her leg

  • The mother of a child whose pony was put down with a broken leg just before her birthday has credited the “astonishing” generosity of the dealer, who gave her a horse and would not take any money for him.

    Rebecca Dickie told H&H she and her 12-year-old daughter Rosie were devastated when Rosie’s pony Madge suffered the fatal injury in the field. They had owned Madge since August, having bought her from Natalie Vincent, of Niart Stud.

    Rebecca said she rang Natalie to let her know what had happened.

    “It wasn’t anything to go back to a seller about; I just told her because we’ve known her so long, she’s really nice and I just told her what had happened, that we were so sorry and I hoped she didn’t think we didn’t love the pony,” Rebecca said. “Then she got back in touch to say she had a horse she thought we’d find very similar to Madge, she’d spoken to Eric Gillie the horse transporters and they’d agreed to bring him up here free.

    “He arrived on Saturday and it’s just such a huge thing to have done. We’re overwhelmed by Natalie and Eric Gillie’s generosity.”

    Rebecca, who lives in Shetland, said she had known Natalie for years; her mum bought a cob from Natalie in 2016, then Rebecca went back to her looking for a pony for one of her other daughters. Natalie put the family in touch with the Irish owners of a pony she had had, Ollie, who also went to Shetland.

    “When Rosie outgrew him, we went back to Natalie and she had this beautiful pony Madge,” Rebecca said. “We travelled down to Northallerton and she was perfect. We got her on 11 August and we thought we’d won the pony lottery. We had 11 weeks of heaven getting to know her, and watching Rosie’s confidence grow.”

    Last Tuesday, a neighbour phoned to say one of the ponies had lost its rug, so Rebecca ran down to the field.

    “It was so shockingly abrupt,” she said. “When we rugged her back up, it was apparent she was hurt, and tragically the vet discovered a broken leg. We had her put to sleep, and waited for Rosie to come home from school and tell her the bad news.

    “Even worse, it was Rosie’s birthday on Friday and everything we’d bought her was to do with Madge. It was so sad, and she was devastated.”

    Then King, a seven-year-old 15.2hh thoroughbred, arrived at the weekend.

    “She had a ride on Sunday, all kitted out in her body protector and her dad holding the headcollar because he’s huge compared to Madge!” Rebecca said. “But he was so good; it’s been a brilliant start.”

    Rebecca said Natalie wrote to Rosie to say how sorry she was about Madge, and that she did not want any money for King, but that the Dickies could one day “pay it forward” instead.

    “King’s beautiful and he was for sale for mid to high four figures, and she’s given him to us,” Rebecca said. “We’ve used Eric Gillie a lot as they’re a super company, and they gave us his journey too. It’s a lot of money and such a kind thing to do.

    “Everyone needs money, and she’s a young woman running a business, but she’s still done this. We think she’s wonderful.

    “We will do something to pay it forward; we’ll find a way to help someone else.”

    Natalie told H&H she had had offers for King, but she wanted to give him to Rebecca and Rosie.

    “They’re so lovely, and have been so lovely to me over the years, and I knew they’d give him such a good home; it’s nice for me to know he’ll be so well looked after,” she said.

    “Don’t get me wrong, the money would have been nice – I could have bought my Black Country saddles! – but my horses are here, hers isn’t.

    “I have to give equal credit to Eric Gillie; they’ve always used them, and I couldn’t afford to give them the transport but god love them, they did it.

    “That family has always been lovely to me so I thought I could give a bit back. You can do one little kind thing, and now maybe they can do that for someone else and brighten their day. There’s not enough of that out there.”

    Eric Gillie’s son Michael Gillie told H&H: “It was so sad what happened to the little girl and every once in a while, it’s good to do something to put a smile on someone’s face. It’s a pretty cruel world, and it’s nice to be nice.”

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