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15 September 2014

Breaking news ..Argent of Ballydougan announces his retirement from Grampian Branch rides - at age 15 and a half.

Lizzy Thornton sent me this piece last November,

Archie is sure there will be a few sighs of relief from various Officials and Clipboard Ladies as he was notorious for breaking loose, scattering all and sundry  persons/equipment/articles in his wake. His usual excuse was to see what other equines had in their buckets - pushing startled Equine out of the way and scoffing contents - nobody foolish enough to try and remove him from the scene ever succeeded!!  

Lizzy felt it only polite to write on his behalf to Lynda and Ria, also Barbara and April after one such incident at Kirkhill a few years ago. Archie was unrepentant but agreed it was rather rude and that he was sorry. The other valid excuse was trying to find Lizzy who had foolishly in his opinion left him unattended. He was more often than not left standing by the Thornton Trailer with a pretend knot attached to his headcollar. David, being understandably impressed with his rocking and perhaps eventual overturning of such valuable piece of equipment, said (quite rightly) it was worth a great deal more money than Archie. 

On a positive side he has given Lizzy, David and Dawn Saunders (who once did a pleasure ride on him at St Fort), a lot of pleasure over the 9 yrs he has been with the Thornton's.

Some of you may remember the article Dawn wrote called "The Seduction of Archie” which took place when he was a mere lad of 7 . Dawn came to collect us to attend a Tayside ride and on unloading Archie staggered out covered in slobber followed by Ali the Slut who had come into instant season as soon as he climbed on board her trailer at Easter Quartains. Ali was unable to trot in a straight line at the obligatory pre-ride vetting - for a Gold series Lady this was not the sort of example to set!

The actual ride went ahead with no further incident but on the return journey when Dawn pulled in for fuel - her trailer started to rock from side to side rather alarmingly. He was still being courted very enthusiastically and this continued all the way back home where a very bemused gelding fell off the ramp.

Archie also completed 2 Silver Boots the first one within weeks of arriving with his owners and has more engraving on the "Boot Trophy"

Finally Lizzy and Archie would like to thank in particular Molly Atkinson and Finn plus Yvonne Thomson and Schadow for helping them get their 2 BTQ qualifiers; Simon Jacyna and Bobby who did their best to help them get their 30ml BTF on a scorching August Sunday down at St Fort which they only failed because Archie had an alarmingly high heartrate at the vet halt. The charming Tayside Vet man said he wasn't at all surprised given his bulk and helpfully suggested next time to scalp him with the clippers! 

Please Dear, he said to Lizzy, who was dehydrated and really quite pleased at not having to fly round the remaining 10 miles, don't be upset as he had already spun quite a few Pl riders for the same   reason. Please bring him back in 30 mins to see if he will be fit to travel home.  Yvonne (who was crewing) and Lizzy discovered a tap and hose in an outbuilding not far away and both proceeded to blast him (and Lizzy) with cold water for 10 minutes. The nice vet was amazed at the drop in his heart rate and declared him well able to travel. Yvonne and Lizzy rushed  to Simon telling him to get Bobby over to the hose pronto before his vetting!!   It worked brilliantly for Bobby too- he also being a slightly heavier boy than the usual Arab type of Enduro Horsey. Many thanks also to Les for some super trips away including the Champs  held at Inverleithen some years back- He is as you all know a true Gentleman of whom Lizzy is very fond as he is  an unfailingly good friend.

Lizzy suffers badly and most horribly from Bipolarness which means her behaviour is sometimes completely over the top. At times she retreats into her bedroom for long periods which can stretch to a whole year and then never leaves the house or contacts anyone (and she means anyone). Her good friends from Grampian have been very understanding and simply wait for the re-emergence phone call of "Hello I'm back again from the weird planet and the alien beings". Most have never judged her as an unsuitable friend which is so encouraging.

Lizzy cannot thank the longsuffering David enough for all his care and unfailing love over the past 7 yrs when the bipolar horribless started up. Without him, Tara and she would never have achieved a Gold doing their 2nd BTQ

Finally Archie, although technically unsound due to 2 unpleasant bouts of Laminitis during the past 2 years, says he will still be attending Pony club events especially XC at Dunecht; enjoying ODE at the enthusiast Highland Pony Branches  (not the Dressage bit- neither Lizzy or himself can cope with that malarkey) generally carting Lizzy round the neighbourhood, and to make up for that, escorting neighbouring PC members who are nervous in traffic for sedate well behaved hack

p.s  Addendum to story

Archie is appalled at missing out thanks to Heather Duncan and Pride, Mac and Micky (fellow endurance Highlands). Tara, our young mare - who has far superior manners - reminded him. Heather and I had some great laughs and had several adventures down at Tayside rides together. Also we would like to mention Morven Lawson and Jenny Herd from Tayside who have known him since he was purchased at 6yrs old and with whom we have had some good chats over the years.

Lizzy.T & Archie