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The Impossible - The Story of Choc - Part 1
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   5th Mar 2014   •   3,570 views   •   1 comments
The Story of Choc

So I promised that I would write an article if Choc ever recovered from her surgery, and two gruelling years later, here we are. It has been a bumpy road with a lot of twists and turns along the way, but in the end, looking back at all the tears and turmoil, I can honestly say that I’d do it all again. Seeing the look on Choc’s face when I walk up with a bridle, I’d have to be mad not to.

You all know the story of Choc, the little foal that I rescued from a racing stud after her owner had died, leaving the entire string of horses homeless. She was a trooper from day one, a feisty little animal utterly determined to live out her life as she’d started it; devoid of human contact, and fighting all her own battles with a buck and fart. It took a lot of time and patience to win that little horse’s trust, but eventually, I managed it. From the first time she let me touch her face Choc and I were inseparable. Now, as long as I live, she’ll always be my baby – that special foal who gave me her trust, and slowly, learned to be one of the bravest, most loving animals I’ve seen in my life.

Related: Choc Showjumping Competition
Related: Choc Sand Colic
Related: Escape - Attacked While Riding Alone

Once that scampering ball of spunky fuzz had grown into a lovely young mare, we started training, and soon found ourselves taking the jumping ring by storm. In everything she did she always gave one hundred percent, and to this day she’s not once refused a jump that she had any chance of clearing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a ditch, a table, a water jump or even a wall towering over her head – if I put a house in front of her, she would jump it if I asked her to. She loved her job right from the start, and it showed in every jump, every prize and every lap of honour. She just tried her little heart out again, and again, and again.

It was in 2011, at the young age of six years, that my little adopted child helped me to realize one of my life’s goals. Ever since I started riding, I had dreamed of representing my province at the national championships. After narrowly missing the opportunity on Finola in 2008 when she injured her back, and subsequently finding her falling just short of the showjumping team every year, I had all but given up hope on this goal. It had never occurred to me that my goal might in fact lie in eventing rather than showjumping. And I’d be lying if I said that I expected for even a second, that the first horse to take me there would be my own baby Choc, as young as she was.

But life has a funny way of working out sometimes, and more often than not, what you least expect is, in fact, what becomes your reality.

I had spent the whole year working on Bronze, training him up in a desperate attempt to get him up to eventing team standard. For month upon month I slaved away, drilling dressage tests, trucking out to cross country courses for practice, and riding my heart out at shows, while little Choc just carried on in the background, hopping around her excitable little dressage tests, and getting clear after clear each time she went out in the country. Before I knew it, I had two horses at the top level – but that was when everything changed.

Bronze Showjumping Competition
Bronze Showjumping Competition

Related: Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze

It was just before our championship (as Lady Luck always insists it should be) when Bronze went lame and had to be rested. This, of course, left me with shattered hopes for the team, and only my green little Choc facing off against a number of older and more experienced horses at the championship. Who would have thought that a six-year-old Thoroughbred with a funny short stride and an inability to maintain a ‘medium walk’ would manage a third place at the championship? I suppose I should have expected it. From the day I first laid eyes on her, Choc has never let me down. She may not be the fanciest horse or the most talented, but when it comes to heart, she has more than all of her competitors put together. I guess the selectors must have thought the same, because that was how Choc made the provincial eventing team in 2011. At last, I had achieved my colours, and my loyal partner and I departed together to represent our province at the national championship. She was my last hope that year, and she came through, just like she always did, and just like she always will.

That championship was the last show that Choc and I did together. We were preparing for our first event of the new year when it happened. It was a freak accident, just one of those things, and yet the results were catastrophic. She was out, playing with Moony like so many times before, when she took a nasty kick to the elbow. I wasn’t there at the time, but I’ll never forget the moment that I heard the news. My mother fetched me early from school (which is never a good sign, as any child would know) and told me that Choc had been kicked. It was Friday. Her event was that very weekend. Usually, upon hearing such news, I would have been disappointed about scratching from the event – horses are getting kicked all the time; usually it’s a little knock or a cut, and it heals up fine with a few weeks of rest. But that day it was different. I don’t know how I knew, but I did. Not once did I think about the show. I remember asking

‘Is she going to be okay?’

The worst answer in the world is silence.
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
This article marks the beginning of my new series basically a diary of Choc's recovery from the day she fractured her elbow to the present. For those of you who have been wanting to know the story, please start reading and stick with it. :)
  Mar 6, 2014  •  4,213 views
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