Nearly 3 weeks ago we had to say goodbye to Baz. Having been very happy – albeit a bit stiff and unfit – he suddenly deteriorated and appeared to develop neurological symptoms. Whilst we could have investigated, after discussing at length with the Vet we felt it would be the kindest thing to do was to put him out of his misery and clear distress. It was the hardest decision, but also the only one. He was 24 and 1/2, and had lived with us for 3 weeks short of 20 years.
Not surprisingly I am devastated. We had continued to play about every week, sometimes hacking, sometimes schooling where his favourite moves were his changes and trot half passes, often accompanied by a few broncs! I had always hoped Baz would be with us until his 30s, and it feels that he has gone much too soon.
Right now I feel quite lost. Baz is the real reason that Ready to Ride even exists. It was the training and success I had with him that inspired me to pass on my knowledge to others, and he has been central to my social media presence ever since I first got started in early 2019. Although of course he remains at the heart of everything I do, without him actually here in my life anymore, I am having to adjust. Even though he had been largely retired for several years, our history was a living one, and it has now shifted to being fully in the past.
Baz had a very varied career. He started out in-hand showing , very successfully, until we bought him aged 4 1/2. Together we evented up to BE Novice – not that successfully mind – and did a bit of BSJA – even less successfully – and dabbled in Riding Club dressage. In 2006 my mother and I thought it would be a good idea to do a few BD shows on a ticket, but when we looked at the costs we decided we might as well register fully. And the rest really is history. Over the next 10 years Baz qualified for the regional at Novice, Elementary and Medium, and at Advanced Medium freestyle (we didn’t make it to that one though because he refused to load into the trailer we’d had to hire owing to ours having brake problems). He was placed at Novice and Medium, and went to the Nationals at Novice. We also did the Pet Plan Area Festivals at Medium and Advanced Medium, going to the finals at Medium. Baz’s top score at Advanced was 66%, so I could have easily upgraded my rider grouping to compete him at PSG. Back then though, this would have affected which classes I could compete in with Lizzie, so I chose not to upgrade. Instead, a couple of venues very kindly agreed that I could go HC in their BD PSG classes. At Baz’s last show in October 2016 he got 62% at PSG, and even before I knew the score I knew it was the best he could have done- no better way to finish his career!
Baz was a complete ratbag. In his younger years, he had a habit of dumping me, including once in front of a very angry pig. He never really got the hang of galloping, although he did once when he thought he was being chased by a sheep! On the other hand he was excellent to shoe, load (bar the regional time), travel, and great in traffic unless if was a tractor with spikes on the front…. As a youngster he hated being caught, but in his later years he pretty much took himself in and out, although he would escape from the yard into the woods for a whizz, or into the field for extra grass, if we weren’t careful.
Polos were Baz’s favourite treat; he always said please and thank you. His favourite ride was one where he could pootle along, admiring the view, but without expending too much energy and preferably where he could be admired by random strangers!
Baz taught me so much about perseverance and hard work, the importance of rider performance, and about keeping trying and having faith in myself. He was without doubt my horse of a lifetime and I adored him.
Aladdin’s Bazaar 12/5/97-7/9/21