The Story of Bertha
Seems a bit odd writing “The Story of Bertha” as although ARC have owned her for three years, she has never yet done a lesson J and she spends most of her time like she is in pic – lying down being lazy! However, Bertha is probably a good example of how much ARC invests in horse welfare and its commitment to a “home for life”.
Sally bought Bertha at Cavan Performance Sales as a five-year-old. She wasn’t expensive – £800 to buy, but she was quite green, so we were always aware that we’d have to put a bit of work into her to get her ready for the riding school.
Sally bought Bertha because she was a good weight carrying type and we needed a solid weight carrier for doing beginner/novice lessons. In theory (ha ha in Bertha’s case) cobs are low maintenance – they are made of tough stuff; they are normally very sound and low maintenance.
Only Bertha ripped up the book that says that. She laughs in the face of low maintenance. When we first worked Bertha, she was a little sharp. Tending to put her head down and buck/stop up rather than going forward. We
worked through this and got her going forward more and then once she had stopped bucking, we gave her to an experienced member to ride for us which normally gives them a good all-round Education for a few months before joining the riding school.
Bertha went lame quite soon after that and after a lameness work up and x-rays it was decided that Bertha needed special expensive shoes to keep her sound.
So, she got her new Jimmy Choos fitted and was quite delighted with them and started working again, then she developed a skin condition where she appeared to be allergic to something (who knows what!) and had a variety of tests to check out what her allergy may be. We’ve never gotten to the bottom of it – she does still get itchy sometimes but is better now she gets clipped out.
Bertha then decided she didn’t like her saddle and that what she really wanted was an air filled, Patriot – basically the fanciest saddle in the tack room – Bertha was much happier once she was fitted with that saddle so we hoped, 2 years down the line that Bertha may eventually earn some money in the riding school.
But no, the next thing was that Bertha started dropping hay when she was eating it. Turns out she had a weird problem with her teeth, where she hadn’t laid down cement in the middle of some her molars when she first got her adult teeth, and this meant she had massive holes right down them. So next thing on her “wanted” list was some fillings – brilliantly done by Ardene House once we had realised the problem.
So, we reckon Bertha has probably cost the best part of 5k in shoeing/tack and vets fees to date. She’s definitely in negative equity.But she is a very sweet horse, with a great attitude and we hope that eventually Bertha will be able to do some lessons, however as with all our horses, we take responsibility for her, and she be with us forever. Hopefully you’ll see her in a lesson at some point in the future!