‘A wonderful legacy’: much-loved British stallion put down aged 21

  • The much-loved thoroughbred stallion Primitive Proposal has been put down aged 21, leaving a “wonderful legacy”.

    Primitive Proposal, by Primitive Rising and out of Louella With Love, had been owned by Charles Upham of Langaller Stud for the last eight years. “Percy” competed in eventing, showjumping and dressage in his youth; he qualified for the Burghley Young Event Horse final as a four-year-old and in 2008 qualified for the British Dressage winter regionals. He went on to concentrate on his breeding career.

    Charles told H&H Percy was put down on Wednesday morning (12 May) owing to cancerous melanomas in his sheath.

    “He was becoming swollen and was obviously in a fair bit of discomfort, and there was no way back,” he said.

    “On the morning he was put down we stuck to his routine. I took him out and he trotted across the field and was whickering and calling to the mares at the bottom of the hill then came trotting back to the gate as he usually does, and we put him down there.”

    Charles described Percy as a “lovely person”.

    “He was always pleased to see you, he greeted you and wanted you close to him,” he said. “He would always put his head in your hands and stick his tongue out through his teeth. Whenever you left he would call to you as if to say ‘don’t leave me, stay and talk to me for longer’.

    “He was really good to handle and to collect from. For a thoroughbred and an older horse you couldn’t have wished for a nicer or more genuine horse. He used to go in the paddock every day, but after 10 minutes he’d always be back at the gate kicking it, wanting to come in. He wanted to go out, have a buck and a roll and then he’d say ‘I’ve done that now I want to come back in’.”

    Percy’s offspring include advanced eventers and show horses, and stallion The After Party, owned by Nick Gauntlett.

    “Percy was a very popular stallion. He was an incredibly good-moving horse and was a true-breeding bay – he only ever threw a bay,” said Charles.

    “We’ve had some foals by him this year and he has foals due to mares next year.”

    Charles said Percy will be “very much missed”.

    “When you work with stallions they get under your skin; they’re just a bit different to any other horse. Their work is so instinctive for them and in that instinct they would be fairly dominant yet they become very submissive in as much as they respect their handler, they wait to cover mares. You really build a lot of trust together,” he said.

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    “We still keep walking past his door, looking in and realising of course he’s not there. The response we’ve had from people has been amazing and the impact he’s made on people over the years.”

    A spokesman for British Breeding said the organisation is very sad to hear of the passing of the “wonderful British stallion”.

    “He has left a wonderful legacy,” said the spokesman.

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