Don’t judge a Basil by his brush

Some people are lucky enough to find ‘that one horse’, the one that changes everything, the one that gives you more than you ever thought possible. 

Back in September 2015, I introduced Genevieve, my dear friend of 20 years, to Basil – whom she referred to as ‘not a classic Connemara with a big head’. 

Now, Genevieve, God bless her fiery-self has never been ‘easy to deal with’, if something’s not to her strict specification, such as big-head Basil, she moves on immediately. Her mother insists, to this day, that I’m the only one who knows how to handle her. She has a sharp tongue, an even sharper mind and my word she’s opinionated. You disagree or step out of line and she will, metaphorically, pull your fingernails out with her retaliation – she’s normally right: I love her with all my heart and soul. 

So when I mentioned that there was a 6 year old, 15hh Connemara up for loan at the yard she jumped in the car and probably broke a few speed limits…I didn’t tell her it was big-head Basil, knowing full well she wouldn’t entertain it. 

‘Is this that Basil thing?!?’ I couldn’t stop laughing! Surprisingly she didn’t take much nudging and hopped on for a try. It was clear to see that he was going to change her world. Within five minutes she was flinging her arms around his neck, beaming, ‘how sweet is he, ohhh I’m in love, Jen what have you done?’

A few days later he had moved house and in the months that followed – it seemed like weeks at the rate they progressed – he was fit as a flea, looking and going better than ever before. They were having endless lessons, attending clinics and were generally out and about being a power couple. Then suddenly they’re out competing! And not noddy-rider stuff either. The girl, who will profess that she couldn’t jump a cross-pole before Basil, was out doing BE80, then BE90 then flirting with BE100. They were even invited to join a team to compete at Blenheim!!! I was very excited to be their tag-along/groom for the day. I was there mostly as Gen’s emotional support system, but I already knew that before we loaded up! Still, a few G&T’s later and me nearly slapping her, they were off. 

I would have cried with joy if it wouldn’t have tipped her over the edge! 

Not scared at all! 

They achieved more in fifteen months than most would achieve in as many years. Proud doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel about these two! 

Heartbreakingly and unexpectedly their partnership came to an abrupt end eight days ago. I shan’t go into the detail of how the story ended, I’d rather celebrate the journey they had together; horse and rider, best friends, soulmates. All I will say is neither of them deserved the ending they were dealt, it was cruel and unjustified. If there is a God; you are no God of mine!!! 

There is nothing more I can say about the bond these two had, it’s quite clear from the pictures. However I do have one last thing to say and it’s going to be the hardest to word. I’m already fighting the tight feeling in my throat and the tears are ready to fall…here I go…


I remember meeting you for the first time, you were four, flat out and fuzzy. Honestly…I couldn’t see it…but you were kind; you had something about you. I’m not going to pretend we had a bond at any point in those four years, we didn’t. Despite that, you will never understand how much you mean to me – for being everything for my best friend. You gave her more than I ever could have wished for, she deserved you and you deserved her. You are an absolute gent, in your own special way. You are a legend, a classic, a horse of a lifetime and I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, with every fibre of my being for bringing such joy to Genevieve’s life. You may be gone but you will never be forgotten and I will forever be in your debt. I love you Basil, for loving Gen. Sleep tight dear boy and keep an eye on her! 

RIP. Basil – one in a million ❤️



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