A “golden girl” who was rescued wounded and neglected but went on to help train fire services and highways officers has “grown her wings” at the age of 24.
The Horse Trust said “beloved” palomino Vienna had to be put down at the end of April, after 12 years at the charity.
Vienna was rescued by the RSPCA in 2009. When she arrived, she was malnourished, with an untreated wound on her face and rain scald.
“With our devotion, we nursed Vienna back to full health and she has lived a happy and full life ever since receiving the attention she deserved,” a Horse Trust spokesman said.
“Even through Vienna’s early suffering, on arrival and through treatment, she showed us nothing but her kind and placid nature. She really was the whole package: stunning with the gentle personality to match. Vienna really shone through and we soon realised that she was not quite ready to kick up her heels and retire fully.”
The spokesman said for 10 years, Vienna had been “our greatest and most valuable training pony”, helping people on internal and external courses “learn the ropes” of caring for and dealing with horses in emergencies.
“Vienna spent a lot of her time training local fire services and Highways England the basics of horse handling,” the spokesman said. “As calm as she was, Vienna was perfect at her job and the ultimate schoolmaster, meaning she knew when to test the boundaries when training too! Lots of laughs were shared when Vienna would decide to trot off or get a little peckish when a learner was trying to put a headcollar on.
“We are sure there will be many servicemen and women who will owe their knowledge and confidence to our darling Vienna.”
Horse Trust director of training Charlotte Lauder added that friendly Vienna helped many emergency responders learn how to handle horses, standing patiently to let people learn how to put on a headcollar and load on to a trailer.
“She gave so much back to help so many people learn and in turn helped so many horses that the responders would then deal with in the future,” she added. “She will be sadly missed, by the training team and we thank her for her service.”
Vienna was also a favourite with visitors, often found “lapping up all the attention or scoffing in the corner of the stable”.
“Her two true loves, people and food!” the spokesman said. “We hope the fields in the sky are filled with nothing but all the carrots in the world Vienna, you’ve earnt them.”
In April, Vienna’s mood and behaviour started to deteriorate and she underwent tests. It was found she had kidney damage and there was nothing that could be done.
‘Officer’s lessons were always a mix of excitement and terror – he was a talented all-rounder if you could sit
“We are proud to have given her six months of the care and devotion that she so deserved but we
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“The kindest thing we could do for our precious girl was to let her go and say our goodbyes,” the spokesman said.
“Vienna, there are just no words we can find to express how lost we feel without you. The thought of not seeing your gorgeous blonde mane flowing in the Chiltern breeze makes us just so incredibly sad.
“The only thought that keeps us positive is that we know you will be reunited with your best friend Bess. You two can finally be together and please do not worry, you will never have to be apart again – look after each other for us. Sleep tight sweet Vienna – our golden girl.”
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