15 October 2009
At the ripe old age of 22, Thomas retired from CPEC on 13 October 2009. He has been a fixture at CPEC since late 2000, when he joined Moore Park Stables as a school horse and met his future owner, Sandra Jones, who was then riding at the school. Thomas' calm and forgiving temperament and an ability to 'anticipate' what was required of him made him a favourite of many at the school. He was nevertheless a 'gelding with attitude', always wanting to be in charge of the pack. He loved going to Centennial Park and would push through the other horses so that he was always at the front of the group. Thomas never moved an easy pace - power walking was his style.
Thomas became quite ill during the 2007 equine flu outbreak and as an older horse – he ‘celebrated’ his 20th birthday ten days into the quarantine period - his immune system never fully recovered. His temperament also changed and he became highly stressed and easily spooked. Regular lessons with Michelle Baker and several sessions with Greg Powell helped. However Thomas never returned to the Park, becoming overly tense and anxious when he did. Biting his lead rope - and the hand that lead him - became the norm. Nevertheless he was always waiting for Sandra to arrive at 5.30am for an early morning ride, even during the coldest days of winter.
X-rays taken in late 2008 / early 2009 revealed bone spurs on both hocks which made it uncomfortable for Thomas to trot and canter. Cortisone injections eased the pain and Sandra decided to keep him at CPEC over the winter months and then retire him in spring when the weather was warmer. While he lost some muscle tone, he certainly didn’t look like his 22 years. And at times he certainly didn’t act it!
Thomas has now started a new life at the property of Elaine Bronson at Wilberforce, travelling there with his stable mate, Misty. Ironically upon arrival, the Thomas of old returned. Cantering through the paddock, he quickly put the other horses in their place and stood by Misty, ‘protecting’ her from some feisty horses in the adjoining enclosure.
It was sad to see him go, but it was the best possible outcome for him. Happy retirement Thomas.
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Centennial Park Veterinary Practice is a specialist equine practice ideally situated within the Centre.
John Leckie has been providing agistment and livery services in Moore Park for over 30 years.