Bazzy – The Pirate Horse.
~The Animal Therapist’s Tale.
When it started.
I started riding in Sweden as a child. I never had my own pony or horse, though. I stopped riding at 20 when I went to university, and only picked it up again in South Africa when I was way over 30. Bazzy, who I bought in 2013 after leasing for a couple of years, is the first and only horse I’ve owned. When I bought him, he was in his teens already and a level-headed, easygoing horse—just what I wanted to get me back into the swing of things.
We’ve had our ups and downs. He’s been hospitalised three times since I bought him. Twice for a persistent sinus infection—he ended up having three teeth taken out and holes drilled in his face. The scars are still visible. Then last Christmas he suffered an eye injury and subsequent infection, and his eye needed to be taken out. He has recovered remarkably well, despite getting on a bit (he’s turning 20 in September) and I’m already back to competing my ‘pirate pony’.
Bazzy the therapist.
Bazzy is my therapist, my gym, my child and my valued employee. He costs a bomb but then I don’t have to spend money on therapy, a gym card, or school fees… It’s a bargain, if you think about it.
The Five Day Ride.
I try to ride five days a week. Bazzy is getting on a bit and it’s important for him to keep moving, or he can get stiff. Just like me! I have a flexible job that allows me to ride during the day (I’m a journalist and I work from home). I’ve also chosen to limit my workload so that I earn a bit less but have more free time to spend with my horse.
What kind of riding do you compete in?
We showjump in the lower grades. I’ve done the odd dressage show. We used to compete in showing—working hunter classes—but we can’t do that anymore since he’s lost an eye. He’s not exactly ‘true to type’ anymore.
What have horses taught you?
To be in the moment. I have a very cerebral job, and I constantly worry about deadlines, editors, having too much work, or too little. But when I go to the stables I forget about everything except what is in the moment, because that’s the only way you can communicate with horses so they understand. When I get back in my car, it’s as if I’ve spent a couple of hours in a different world. That’s incredibly special.
What made you decide to do a photo session with your horse?
I’ve wanted to do one for a while, but then he lost his eye and I was reminded that nothing lasts forever. I didn’t want to try to recapture the past, but to capture the now—scars, wrinkles and all.