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Celebrating Mares - Ria

20120214_195117000_iosSam Harvey tells us about her special mare, Ria.

“I’ve had her 15 years on the 13th of October! We have been through so much together…when I first got her I was told she was 4 and untouched…turns out she had been beaten by her previous owner and proved very difficult to back…

I spent a year and a half working with her, was advised to give her up before I got badly hurt but I saw something in her and I gained her trust over time. She was the first horse I had owned and I wasn’t about to give up easily…anyway the years have gone by and we have competed in showing, sj, xc hunter trials and most recently she has taken to dressage and is currently working at novice and elementary level!

I bred a foal from her 10 years ago now who I sadly lost at 4 years old in a nasty field accident…that was a horrendous time for me and my girl but I decided to breed from her again as she was such a super mum and I wanted to have a part of her to bring on in the future….sadly I turned up at my field one afternoon about 2 weeks before she was due to drop and found Ria in an awful state…I rushed her to Bell Equine to be told she wouldn’t make it past an hour…I was devastated…the vets asked me if it came to it which would I save…my darling Ria or her unborn foal…to which I replied Ria…I have to put her 1st….sadly 2 days later her filly foal was born with Ria knocked out they manually got Angel from Ria and sadly after an hour I lost Angel to fluid on the lungs…again I was heartbroken….

I was still told that Ria may not make it as she had salmonella….her life was on the line…she wouldn’t eat unless I was there and it was vital that she ate to have any chance of getting stronger….so I sat everyday for 13 days in the middle of April on her stable floor, I was wrapped up in a contamination suit so as not to infect any others….the vets thought I was crazy sitting there day after day, an hour and a half travel from my home but I didn’t care…my girl had to make it! I took every type of feed I could get my hands on to try and get her to eat and slowly she made progress..I fed her by hand, had several different feed buckets lined up for her to choose what she wanted…13 days later the vets allowed me to bring my baby girl home!

I was so relieved…when she was admitted she had a heart rate of 140 per minute so it’s a miracle she got through any of it! She is my world! Again I never gave up on her and she is with me for life…sorry for the long email but we have been through so much together and she is still going strong at 19 years old! My Ria…my horse of a lifetime!

What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking of owning a mare/bought a new mare?

“Anybody considering buying a mare should absolutely go for it! Mares can be quirky but they give 100% in everything they do! You may have to ask sometimes but they are friends for life! I love my mare, she always looks after me and she knows exactly what I’m thinking, if I’m sad she is loving and cuddly, if I’m stressed she is forgiving and when I ask her to try her heart out for me she absolutely gives it her all! However if she is grumpy she lets me know, not in a nasty way but I know when she wants her own space.”