Uncle George, the oldest resident at The Horse Trust in Buckinghamshire, has died at the age of 43.
George has become an institution over the years and became known as Uncle George back in 2012 when six-week-old Teddy arrived at The Horse Trust having been abandoned on a roadside.
Once Teddy had recovered from his ordeal, George was chosen as the perfect Godfather to the little foal as his nature was extremely gentle yet he would still keep the youngster in line when necessary. George did an amazing job helping us to care for the youngster, and no doubt shaped him into the superstar pony he is today.
George came to The Horse Trust with Briar the donkey in 2004 after many years at Battersea Children’s zoo.
“Throughout his time at The Horse Trust, he became the equine ‘spokespony’ for common sense in a crazy world! George would quite often give everyone on Facebook a jolly good talking to, be it about tinsel in stables, to rug or not to rug or how to help stop the spread of infectious disease. He became famous in the horse world for his sage advice, whilst closer to home he has always been a firm favourite with visitors,” the Trust said.
Reaching the age of 43 is no mean feat and there were some clinical issues he needed support with. He had Cushing’s, arthritis, cataracts and most recently appeared to have developed irritable bowel syndrome. All of these issues were managed by the team to ensure George was happy, and even when his sight deteriorated, he was given his own little paddock where he knew where every bump and fence was; so much so he was happily running around in there right until the end. George was always happy to be apart from the other ponies and keep an eye on goings-on from his little paddock.
“Unfortunately, George suddenly collapsed a couple of weeks ago in the stable. The cause was unclear at the time and he got himself up and was munching away (or rather slurping as a lack of teeth meant soup was the order of the day) very happily shortly afterward. When he was examined, he was showing signs that suggested the problem might possibly be in his neck or brain, so at that point the decision was made to watch him extremely closely and to act should this reoccur.
“Sadly, a couple of weeks later, George collapsed in his paddock and appeared to have a seizure-like episode (he wouldn’t have known anything about it except when he woke up and was on the ground).
“He recovered and got back up although was very disorientated (not helped by his poor vision). It was then almost certain that these episodes would become longer and more frequent with a poorer recovery. It was time. A goodbye we had all been dreading for so long.
“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.”
Horse Trust CEO Jeanette Allen said there are “simply not enough words to describe George”.
“He was an absolute legend, a tiny sweetheart, a national educator, an incredible foster dad and even though a solitary soul with ponies, adored people. The gentlest, funniest, loveliest pony of all. To have him to the astounding age of 43 makes us not just immeasurably sad but also incredibly lucky and honoured. He was an utterly unique pony and we will always have a George-shaped hole in our hearts,” Allen said.
“He had a truly amazing life and contributed so much to the welfare of other ponies along the way. We are so grateful that he was able to live out his 17 years of retirement with us at The Horse Trust.”
A tribute fund in George’s honour has already exceeded its target. It will be used to have George individually cremated “so we can keep him close to us at The Horse Trust and honour his memory”.