I started saving my pocket money when I was about ten, and in february of 2007, at the age of fifteen, I saw a horse advertised for sale for a tiny sum of money - a horse which I could actually afford!
This horse was advertised by a private seller, and sounded lovely - A 10 year old 15hh Knabstrupper gelding, broken to ride and drive. After a lot of nagging I convinced my parents to take me to see him, and it was not a pretty sight.
For starters, the yard was very obviously not a private owners yard - and Ozzie was in a dark ban, standing 2' deep in manure, crammed in with about 30 other extremely neglected horses. We left straight away, but that sight haunted me, especially Oscar... So after weeks of heartache, I went with my dad, armed with money and the trailer, to collect him. According to one of the kids there, Ozzie had gone to exeter market a few days before, to be sold for meat, but hadn't sold as he was too thin. He had however injured himself on the livestock lorry on the way back, and had massive cuts down the inside of his knee. We took him home with us.
We got our vet out - not only was he 6 years old and more like 16.1hh, he was covered in scars, had the worst mud fever she had ever seen, an infected front knee, a fractured tooth which made it hard for him to eat, rainscald, girth galls, and bone spavins in both his hocks. He had three months of feeding up and ground work, until he started to look like a normal horse.
Turned out he wasn't broken to ride, but we got him going beautifully, until deterioration in his hocks meant he could no longer be ridden. During this time he started to show his personality, and he is a horse with such a lot of character, and so lovable! Because I spent hours with him every day, he trusted me more than anyone, and I have never had a bond like that with a horse, before or since.
The yard I bought him from was shut down by trading standards and the RSPCA three months after, and Oscar will live out the rest of his life with me, as a fat, happy field ornament!
Here is Ozzie when I first got him:
This is the mud fever on his back legs, taken a couple of months after he arrived. It was much worse when we first got him, it was bleeding and infected and he was very lame on it.
And here are some photos from this year!
He's such a great horse