Farewell to Hollywood

Hollywood -  An Absolute Dream

Gill was hooked on horses from an early age, always riding the family ponies every moment she could. After moving to Whelans Road, we had lots of space, facilities and lush paddocks. Gill aged about nine and Travis, 10 years, had been having riding lessons on a well known older quarter horse stallion named Salt Bush. Horse riding wasn’t quite Travis’ thing, however it was Gill’s. An opportunity arose enabling us to purchase a four year old bay quarter horse mare named Hollywood, after looking at her in a back paddock we liked the look of her and decided she was for us. What a great decision that was!
I didn’t think we should simply give Hollywood to Gill, but rather, she had to earn the right to own this exceptional creature. Five years, was the set time, so, if after this time Gill had taken complete care of Hollywood herself, then she was Gill’s. Gill rose to the occasion not finding it difficult at all. Hollywood was easy to love and relished in the attention she was given. The five years went quickly.

Going off to their first horse show was an experience. Gill had spent many hours brushing, washing and trimming Hollywood who stood calmly and patiently knowing something special was in the air. Although it was a drizzling morning it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Gill, Hollywood and Louise, a horse loving friend. They entered a variety of events including horsemanship and western pleasure. Many blue, red, white and green ribbons were placed around Hollywood’s neck filling them both with glee. Showing wasn’t Hollywood’s favourite past-time however it did have its benefits -  lots of standing around eating the best hay, heaps of brushing and kind pats, and not forgetting, never-ending praise. All the attention and extra treats made Holly a content and happy mare. She was the perfect Youth Horse. Hollywood had several endearing nicknames, mostly being Holly, Woody and Woodster. Please forgive me as I fluctuate between these loving names.
Sadly, Hollywood’s first foal died. We had been out all night checking on her, hoping she would give birth when we were close at hand, but no, not long after we went inside a small Hollywood was born. At first light we were out searching the paddock looking for the new mother, we found Hollywood who had signs of having given birth but no foal, until sadly, in a difficult corner of the paddock, was a perfect little, but still, treasure. She must have lain down to rest but those long gangly legs found it too difficult to manage the tight corner-the morning was fresh with a slight frost, making it cold enough to kill a new, unmoving foal. We were all devastated. Hollywood was beside herself.

Mike, our young vet, came to examine both the foal and Woody. In discussion he told us of a Racing Stables in Steels Creek that had a foal which had lost its mother earlier that morning replica orologi italia and would we consider offering Hollywood as a foster mum. After some discussion, we said, “Yes, as long as Hollywood was well cared-for”. Once there, it took only a little persuasion and encouragement before the foal was suckling and Holly was softly nickering. Hollywood felt like she had her baby back. Nature is amazing!! We visited daily checking on their progress. Sadly, the foal was weak and fragile only living a few weeks. Then another Racing Stables was in the same predicament, desperately in the need of a foster mum. Off Woody went, this time close to the airport. The new foal and Hollywood bonded quickly and spent many happy months together.

Maternal instincts were strong in Woody. When Gill was managing the yearling side of a Racing Stables in Buxton, there was a young foal that had not long been weaned. Hollywood thought she should take care of this orphan! And so she did, making sure it was safe and protected. She even produced milk for this new offspring of hers!

In about the early nineties I was working with a group of women one of whom passionately wanted to ride a horse. Mary was an older person, gentle and kind, I instantly thought of Hollywood. After seeking Gill’s approval and making sure all legal and safety issues were addressed I ran some riding lessons for Mary at out farm. She was overjoyed. We took it easy. Getting to know Hollywood first, leading, brushing and feeding- husbandry skills are essential. Week after week we would go a little further, a gentle walk, an ever so slow jog, and lastly the lope. Turning, backing and halting were all important things to learn too, Hollywood was in her element-she loved a slow pace!! I wonder if she knew how much pleasure, satisfaction and confidence she gave to Mary. What a wonderful example of the rapport that can develop between humans and animals.

I also remember Annie; a friend of Gill’s who had a deep desire to learn how to ride but lacked the confidence. Hollywood again, was the perfect choice and Gill the perfect teacher. What happiness when Annie was astride Hollywood, comfortably sitting on Gill’s old western working saddle, then Hollywood would treat her to a slow armchair jog-it was heaven. Annie eagerly contributed a message for the back of Gill’s Award Winning Memory Quilt.

You can easily lose track of the weeks and years including all the wonderful times you have spent with your much loved pets. They are a part of you and you wonder how you will live without them. I have many fond memories of Hollywood and Gill together and have passed some of them on to you. I never imagined Hollywood would outlive Gill but there it is. I’m sure they have met on the Rainbow Bridge and have lots to catch up on. Thank-you Hollywood for being the most wonderful, gentle, tolerant, but occasionally stubborn, motherly replica uhren and giving, mare and friend, that we all loved and enjoyed.

Something is missing when I go outside each morning and evening to feed and check the animals. It will take time to become accustom to this emptiness, this hollow feeling, all I can say is, thank-goodness for memories.

(Gill’s loving mum who has tenderly taken care of Hollywood for the past two years).