21/11/2018 Rocket Ron says his last goodnight

It's been an incredibly tough few days. After having to say our final goodbye to senior resident Vernon, we then lost one of our biggest characters very suddenly. Rocket Ron, also affectionately known as Rubber Face, was found down and in a very bad way in the field during morning checks and as the team raced to bring the rescue kit to him to help, our gorgeous boy had a massive heart attack and passed away. Ron had always hated vets and needles and it was almost as if on seeing the vet approach, he took final matters into his own hands. Ron was only 21, not old for us, but he had survived a few close shaves with colic in the past, sometimes ending up in hospital. Ron's terror of all things veterinary was legendary, so bad was it in fact that we had to come up with novel solutions for some everyday problems, from the casual walk by vaccination technique, to the pipe lagging on the stocks (a top tip from his former army home at the Defence Animal Training Regiment). Ron got more relaxed with time, but he never shook off his phobia completely. Rocket had served 9 years in the army, first in The Kings Troop and then at the DATR as an instructor's horse.

He was retired relatively young at 13 due to girth galls. This is very sensitive skin in the girth area that reacts badly to being under saddle for extended periods. It meant he could still do a little bit of work here and was our school master for a while, helping young rescue ponies to be cool and calm around traffic. Whilst he could be a challenge in hand, he was a true gentleman under saddle. What we will all remember Ron for most is of course his hilarious facial contortions. Rubber face gave us so many smiles they could never be counted. Very strangely, he and Vernon arrived within a week or so of each other in June 2011 and passed away within 24 hours of each other. Goodnight Rocket Ron, you were so special, in so many ways, and deeply loved. This place will not be the same without you. Every time we get sad that you're gone from us, we will look at a picture of your gorgeous funny face and smile through the tears.