The owner of a horse who took her to her first Badminton, not to mention Luhmühlen and a World Cup final, has paid tribute to her companion for 27 years, after he was put down aged 31.
Serena McGregor made the “desperately sad and difficult decision” to say goodbye to Irish gelding Two Tone Tyrone, whom she had owned since he was a four-year-old, on 27 May.
“He was in the most amazing condition, which made the decision so much harder,” Serena told H&H. “But he was struggling with arthritic joints, he was sore and stiff, and it was the right time.”
“Paddy” arrived when Serena was at university, and the pair went on to compete at top level, also completing at Pau, Blair and Blenheim.
“He was initially bought for my brother but I soon took over!” Serena said. “He progressed up the levels quickly; he always had a good jump and the more you asked, the more he did. He wasn’t your typical four-star horse but he was so genuine, and wanted to do it.”
Serena added that Paddy struggled in the dressage but came into his own once that phase was behind him.
“He was so temperamental in the dressage; he had real strops, although out hunting, he’d be fine to stand when everyone else was galloping about,” she said, adding that the ride at Badminton, in 2006, was her career highlight.
“I remember arriving there; it’s what I had been working towards but it was an amazing feeling,” she said. “Looking back, I think maybe I didn’t quite make enough of it. He was the first proper horse I’d had and maybe I took it for granted that all horses were that special, but he was one in a million.”
Paddy retired from the top level after the 2006 Malmö World Cup, but enjoyed three more seasons competing up to one-star level with Annabel Neasham. Serena hunted him until he was 19 or 20, after which he was fully retired.
“We couldn’t ever just turn him out; he always came in at night or during the day because he wanted to be part of the action and part of the yard,” she said. “He always wanted you to notice him because he knew he was special.
“He was a big part of our family. It was hard saying goodbye when he’d always been around – getting married, having children, breaking my back and 10 ribs in a bad hunting fall; Paddy was always here to go the stables and have a cuddle with.”
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