It wasn’t love at first sight.
She didn’t look unpleasant as such.
Just not my type.
A bit on the small side.
Skinny too, painfully thin.
And a funny shape.
Not weird, just not completely normal; big bum, head slightly too large for her body, big bum, dumpy legs, big bum.
And she had a big bum.
But she looked at the world through the sweetest, gentlest, most trusting pools of soft brown eyes that I’ve ever seen.
With a lot of pain behind them.
We spent half an hour together.
And I decided to give things a go.
For the next six months Taal and I worked together.
I altered her diet, gave her a fitness and exercise plan and got a specialist remedial farrier to see to her poor, poor feet.
The first time I met Taal she had chronic laminitis in both front feet; was 100% lame.
Almost a year later we’d graduated from walking out in hand to lightly hacking around the Somerset countryside, frightening the living daylights out of motorists.
Eight months after that and we were taking part in fun rides and leaping over small fences.
We became well-known on the local show scene; that loony bloke and his equally mental mare.
We were together for six years, my Taaly and me; six tremendously fun-filled years.
Five years ago this summer she just stopped having fun.
A week later she was gone.
But the photos show her doing what she did best…