Horse owners often speak of their ‘Heart Horse’. The horse that made the biggest impact on their lives and (although we’d never admit it to the other horses) took the top spot as their favourite. This is a tribute to Ellis, a heart horse to many people.
Equine vet Jacqui had the privilege of working with Ellis and his family for many years. Earlier this year she even attended his 30th birthday party! Unfortunately, a few weeks after turning 30, Ellis suddenly developed severe hind limb laminitis and the heart breaking decision was made to let him cross rainbow bridge.
30 fabulous years of life allowed Ellis to help so many people.
We had the privilege of talking with Jo Newton, owner of Ellis, to talk about his fabulous life and how many people he touched.
‘Ellis a.k.a Double Gold was one of those horses that left a lasting impression on all that came across him. Not because of his stunning good looks, super paces or outstanding conformation, nor his jump! But above all because he was a real gent, honest and wise who always gave his very best in whatever situation he found himself. A horse to get up for and ride before everything else, good or bad. He took me to Boekelo Three Day Event in Holland! We had many an exhilarating ride across country, achieving far more than I could dream of together when I bought him just broken as a 5yr old. He turned his hoof to showing as a veteran and spent many hours hacking with various ladies aboard. He has also given many others the benefit of his experience, whether to gain their confidence or learn how to ride a move properly.
“After losing my own much loved mare I didn’t really want to ride and knew it would take a really special horse to get me to move on. And there he was The Most Special Horse! I can honestly say I never had a ride on him that I didn’t enjoy”
“To be given the chance of cantering Ellis, super fit and in his prime round the fields, was like climbing behind the wheel of a sport’s car!”
“Thank you Ellis for being amazing over the years”‘
Jessica met Ellis when she was 15 and spent 3 years being his ‘foster mum’ before heading to university. As luck would have it, when she returned from university, Ellis was looking for a foster mum again, and Jessica jumped at the chance to be with him once more. She spent many years dedicated to him, even passing the love on to the next generation meaning her little boy also got to experience the joy of Ellis. This beautiful poem was written for Ellis by Jessica
‘Ellis the cheeky chestnut
Is a handsome old boy
And all through his lifetime
He’s brought a lot of joy
But Ellis is a clever fellow
Knows every trick in the book
He’ll embrace every opportunity
To try and push his luck
He will leap fallen jumps
When riders’ legs are weak
And wander out the stable door
To take a sneaky peak
He will shy away from branches
That have been there for years
Or canter round in circles
Increasing pre-show fears
He’ll roll around in all the muck
After a thorough bath and groom
And when he should be slowing down
Along the track he’d zoom
But sometimes he will ease up
And take a lot of care
All the young horses reassured
Knowing he is there
It’s the highlight of the day
To give him just one hug
Even if you’ve found
ANOTHER hole in his rug
His ears are at attention
Carrots are the best!
Or giving you heart failure
When he’s having a well-earned rest
He always takes his time
When eating in the rain
But it doesn’t matter what he does
We love him all the same!’
“My dear friend Ellis, patient, kind and gentle with a hint of mischief. You taught me so much, taking me to my first dressage competition and on many wonderful hacks. When life brought me low it was you who lifted me up. You are missed every day.”
“Having known Ellis since Jo first bought him as a 5yr old; my outstanding memory is of his half pass which was to die for.”
“In Ellis I found a great teacher and wonderful friend to horses and his people. He taught me how to apply my aids and how to rise on the correct diagonal. He was also very clever, and knew how to wrap his people round his hoof! A wicker greeting always worked- tea and treats were always forthcoming.”
“Ellis was his namesake ‘Double Gold’ amongst the silver in the yard, his shoes will be hard to fill as he wrote the book on excellence.”
‘There are many others of you out there who have fabulous memories of Ellis and the special thing he brought to you. Young or old, able or not, it made no odds to Ellis you were all a huge part of him and I thank you all for being his people.
That special horse truly a unicorn has gone to unicorn land.’
Compiled by Jo Newton