In the past week, two very special and beloved horses passed away; both animals led remarkable lives, yet neither ever cantered into the show ring. We want to celebrate their lives here because as we know, every horse is special and deserves a long and healthy life.
The first is Dusty, a 25-year-old mare who lived out her years as a wild horse on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. A stunningly beautiful horse with a dappled coat and flaxen mane, the Foundation for Shackleford Horses posted on Facebook that Dusty was the daughter of Dionysus, who the group says was arguably “one of the most prepotent and dominant stallions on the island in his time.”
There are approximately 100 wild horses living on the Outer Banks, according to the National Park Service. Evidence suggests that horses have roamed the area for centuries.
Online comments marking the wild mare’s passing included this one from the Corolla Wild Horse fund: “Rest free, Dusty. There’s nothing quite like a grand old Banker mare. We’ve known a few too. Smart, classy, and stronger than anyone would ever imagine. May she live on and on through her offspring.”
Across the ocean in England, the Horse Trust charity announced the passing of one of its most famous residents, a Shetland pony named Uncle George (previously Boy George), who lived to the ripe old age of 43. He’d been at the charity’s farm for 17 years.
He became a social media darling, dishing out tips on blanketing and other pressing issues to the charity’s followers. In the stable he kept watch over young horses and was described as ” the very rare kind of Shetland pony who never gets chubby.”
“So many years we were worried that with his advancing years he may not winter well and then he would utterly confound us with his determination,” a Horse Trust Facebook tribute read. “He had a truly amazing life and also contributed so much to the welfare of other ponies along the way.
“We miss him like you can’t imagine, the funny faces he pulled, his very fancy trot and his extremely loving nature. Knowing when to say goodbye is the greatest gift we can give our animals and after 43 extraordinary years, we have now had to say one of the saddest goodbyes of all.”
Having lived such a long life, his death leaves a hole in the hearts of those who knew and cared for him.