On a very (VERY) warm day last week, I went to meet Simone and her lovely boy, Will. I’ve been to this yard once before, this summer and it’s such a lovely place to shoot, with so many beautiful backdrops.
Will is a twelve year-old Thoroughbred, ex-racer and Simone has had him since he was just five and fresh off of the track.
She tells me that when she bought him, despite him passing a five stage vetting, she had her doubts, but had never imagined things would go as badly wrong as they have. But she just fell in love with him and couldn’t part with him.
Eighteen months into their partnership, Will started having ‘issues’. Some said they were just typical ‘naughty Thoroughbred’ behaviours, but Simone knew there was more to it.
Eventually, after alot of vet visits and a trip to Rossdales, it turned out he had kissing spines and arthritis in two thirds of his body, aswell as bony calcification in his neck. Poor chap!
Simone was advised to put Will to sleep, there and then, but just couldn’t bring herself to do it. The vet decided to medicate his areas of concern and eventually put him on rehab programme. After much in-hand (freezing cold, early winter morning) walking and plenty of physio, Simone finally began to see an improvement.
It has been a long, laborious road for Simone and Will, but she tells me that he is finally happy and as healthy as can be.
Last November, Simone and Will competed in Will’s first novice dressage test, which was Simone’s goal and the pair even managed a score of over 60%.
“He is a lovely, gentle boy who cares about his special people and has learnt to put his guard down and trust those around him. I couldn’t ask for more in a horse. We may not be out eventing, like we had planned, and our journey took a path I could never have predicted, but I’ve learned so much with Will, that I’ve never experienced with another horse and very much doubt I could with another.”
Having chatted to Simone about Will’s health before our shoot, it was so lovely to see him looking so well and trotting around the field as if he hadn’t a care in the world. You’d never imagine how poorly he’d been. And he certainly took to modelling like a pro.
Thank you, Simone, for having me and to your lovely mum and incredible, ninety-three year-old Nan, who Will was a little obsessed with, lol. Honestly, I wish you guys all the health and happiness in the world. You certainly deserve a little luck!