Although he was only here for three years Duke was one of my favourite horses ever. Like most horses, he was always kind, generous and willing to please, but he had something extra that is difficult to describe. Whether it was a look in his eye or some unseen quality of is own, I was drawn to him from the moment I met him. He came from a young lady who had found him abandoned in a field after his hunting days were over. She kept him at her father's farm for a short time and then had to find a permanent home for him. He travelled four hundred miles to get here and he was still thin. He put on weight over that first winter and after the following winter he was so well that I even rode him lightly on a few quiet hacks. He was a lovely horse to ride, forward going and completely obedient. He must have had a good rider in the beginning. The only time we had a slight disagreement was when others went for a canter and I asked him to stay behind. I didn't let him do fast work for the sake of his joints but he really wanted to keep up with the others.

Sadly the following year he went rapidly downhill and the vets suspected a tumour. He went off his food and became very weak. Our vet helped him to go peacefully. It was a brief but very memorable encounter.

Animals in my life

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