‘We thought he’d broken his leg’: stallion who survived blackthorn poisoning is set for the top

  • A Welsh section A stallion who nearly died from blackthorn poisoning was pulled forward to take reserve supreme in the Price Family in-hand supreme qualifier at NPS XI’s Heart of England Show (23 May). 

    Caroline Crouchman’s four-year-old Idyllic Perseus (Percy), who is out of the prolific in-hand mare and former Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in-hand finalist Idyllic Perdita, was foot-perfect throughout the day to lift both Welsh section A and B and small breeds accolades before just missing out on the coveted ticket. 

    The Crochmans, who have shown Welsh ponies for many years, have owned Percy since he was a foal. 

    “Every year Liz and Mark Kilbey of the Idyllic stud always let us travel to them and see the new foals,” said Caroline. “I’d initially gone to see another pony, but Mark told me to come and have a look at this other foal, and there was Percy standing with Perdita. He was so upstanding I just had to buy him. When we first got him home he thought he was supremo, but we managed to get a handle on him and he had successful seasons in hand as both a yearling and a two-year-old. I’ve always thought a lot of him; he’s the most stunning boy.”

    Percy’s tally as a youngster included winning the Spillers mountain and moorland (M&M) in-hand final at Equifest two years on the trot. But when Percy was two, Caroline nearly lost her treasured pony.

    “I was at work and asked my daughter to go and check on the colts who had been turned out in a new field,” she explained.

    “Initially, we thought he’d broken his leg and were prepared for the worst. We had him at Newmarket within 15 minutes of taking him out of the field, and after the X-ray we we were told both good and bad news; it wasn’t a break, but he’d been pricked with a blackthorn, which was equally serious, but gave us more chance of saving him.

    “The vets managed to get the thorn out, and once the poison had gone from his system, in true native spirit, he made a full recovery.

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    “It was a complete freak thing. The blackthorns had been in the very long grass. In hindsight I wish I’d checked but we’d never had any issues before. When we found him the field it was a mad rush to unload the lorry which was filled with lots of heavy furniture we’d moved from a shed.

    “The procedure was expensive, but we were just so relieved we could save him. I do remember at the time saying ‘right boy, you owe us big time now’.”

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