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Finally the time came.
Nomade has been a wonderful member of our stables and we have given him all the love possible and all the time and money in the world to heal and come back on form for racing. The truth of the matter was that he was now 14 years old and racing in a class of horses who were 8 and 9 years old and on peak form. Nomade was never a horse that could take training slowly and always pulled like a steam train which did more damage than good when trying to build him up to race form so his training was tailored to suit his needs and surely enough he did get back to race a few times. He never regained his prior peak though and was respectfully retired to become a riding horse.
I worked with him a lot and rode him three times a week; during this time he learnt to walk, trot and canter to verbal command. Always a very intelligent horse he learnt very fast and finally it began to dawn on me that his life was so limited being stuck in Marsa. He was still around racing and spent most of his time wondering when he was going to get the command to cut loose and go for it! We worked well in the La Vallette paddock but anywhere else we rode he was always being passed by horses in training….
Martin was very honorable and kind and allowed him to stay in the stables even though he had retired and when he bought a new racehorse from Sweden had planned to build Nomade a stable in the paddock to live in permanently. It was during the costing of this building job that I was overcome with guilt. Guilt that I was perhaps being selfish. After much heartache and wrangling I decided to do some research and see if there would be any chance of finding him someone at Maghtab who would love him as much as I did and be able to offer him more of an interesting retirement than I could.
I posted in the Rehome a Horse Malta group on Facebook and had three people who contacted me. I thought long and hard about it and finally his new mummy was chosen. Luckily she had seen him about two or three weeks before when she’d been down in Marsa, seen him looking rounded and shiny and gorgeous as he’d gained a nice amount of weight since coming out of serious training. On the day she came to visit him, in true Nomade style, he had a fever!
On Sunday evening when we first noticed it, Martin gave him antibiotics and a fever reducer straight away and on Monday morning first thing, the vet came and she prescribed the same medicine so it was good we’d already got a head start on it. Nicole came on Monday afternoon and he was in a bad state, a fever of 40 plus and in discomfort. We continued with his meds but by Wednesday his fever still hadn’t come down despite drips and the other meds so we called in Doctor Borg. Borg said he seemed to have a bacterial infection as a virus would have been slowing down by now and he changed the antibiotic and fever meds. At this point, we were seriously considering what would happen if his fever didn’t come down because it was not fair on him to see him suffering and not eating. Nomade always eats……but not this time. By Friday it seemed his fever was breaking but he was still off his food. We started him on Gastropelle Forte to try and settle his stomach as he was always prone to stomach issues under stress, physical or psychological. He had started to eat a little at this point in time, we bought him Maltese Tiben because he was nibbling at some outside but he ended up sleeping on it instead. He didn’t want his hay so we then bought Maltese hay and bit by bit he started nibbling away at it. He was still off his hard food though although he was by now eating a little on and off. After a few days of he started eating better but was still not up to his normal rations and Nicole was waiting patiently to see if her new love of her life was going to make it or not. She came regularly and cleaned him and made friends but he stayed with us as he still had another week of antibiotics to get through. Finally he came back to himself and started being naughty and causing mischief again and we knew we had our old Nomade back……the only problem was he had lost so much weight!
We waited until he was happy and back to looking for food and then the big day finally came. He loaded into the box like an old pro and behaved himself on the short trip to Maghtab. When I unloaded him he reminded me of how tall he is by standing with his head so high the lead rein was vertical in my hands! He walked into Sunflower snorting and looking around and was put into his stall and immediately started making friends with the other horses. He wasn’t in that stall for long though because Nicole was up at 4am painting and preparing a new stable and paddock for him and she moved him into his nice new place.
It did not hurt as much as I thought it would to say Goodbye to him, probably because I see in Nicole the passion I had as a teen and I feel sure that will carry her through a steep learning curve with our boy AND I can go and see him whenever I want. She loves him to bits already and this smart horse knows and feels that. We are in touch constantly and for now, she is working on acquainting him with his surroundings and building back his weight, something that will take time to do properly.
I would like to thank her for loving my boy and giving him a future of love and companionship and at the end of the day, what more could you want for someone you love? I wish them both good luck and know that with the support of friends and myself, they will be a happy couple for a long time to come 🙂
He’s last on the inside with orange and blue for most of the race. Tall chestnut with a big white blaze.
After such a long time out of racing we have been really worried that Nomade de Mai was never going to find his form again. Realistically speaking, he is highly unlikely to be able to compete in the class he was in before entered his two years of drama. Today however I was so proud of him. He participated fully and was on the bit the whole time. He was stuck on the inside and looked fully involved in the action that was going on. At one point Martin had to hold him back off the horse in front! It was unfortunate for him that it was a long distance race over 2640m and I dreaded seeing him trailing at the back looking lost. I need not have worried, he held his own and even managed a good sprint at the end of the race coming in a perfectly respectable eighth out of 13 starters….I am not going to say another word or make any predictions as anybody that knows this horse’s luck knows that is lethal 😉
Nomade de Mai, my big French baby, is racing this afternoon. He’s not exactly ready for it but it’ll do him some good to have a go. We’re unsure if he’s lost his touch or if there’s some glimmer of hope that he’ll make it back on form one last time before calling it a day….we shall observe his reaction and performance today……it’s a bit unlucky that it’s a long distance race but I wish him good fun and that’s all I expect….mummy loves him anyway 😉
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