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Meet Monty

Posted in: Animals2 Comments

It wasn’t love at first sight when I first met Monty, I think it took about four minutes.

I looked into his eyes and knew I was the presence of greatness. Only a few times in my life have I felt such immediate trust and understanding with an animal. Usually it is a process that takes days or sometimes weeks. But as I stood there I got the uncanny feeling that I was an open book and he was reading the pages. It didn’t take long (pretty short book obviously). After about a minute he accepted me and then I felt his trust. He radiated confidence and a down to earth goodness and I knew I was lucky to have met him.

How Monty came to be part of my life is an unusual story.

The week after Duke died in June I received a card from the Mounted Police unit thanking me for giving him a loving home and sympathising with my loss. It was a lovely gesture and I really appreciated it. A few weeks later I received a call asking me would I be interested in taking on another horse, a young horse that was being retired for medical reasons. He was a cross Clydesdale gelding, 15.3 hands high, 13 years old and was developing arthritis in his front feet. The constant shoeing and high workload would exacerbate his condition and they wanted to rehome him but still use him occasionally for ceremonial duties. I was touched by their offer and glad that they didn’t blame me for Duke’s death but I saw it a replacement for Duke which I knew couldn’t be done. So I simply said no.

A few weeks later I received another call asking me again would I take Monty. This time I started to feel torn and I offered a string of excuses in my defence. I put down the phone and wondered whether I had done the right thing but my heart was still in a dark place. I felt lost and bewildered.  The faith that was usually so strong inside me had evaporated and I no longer trusted my judgment. It was a bad time in many respects, not just because of Duke.

A few weeks later I received another call, just to check that I hadn’t changed my mind and although my mouth actually formed the shape to say no, the word that came out was yes.  I was assured that I would love him, that he was a dude and that he would not cost a fortune to feed as he was a very good doer. The paperwork would be finalised in a few weeks and he would be delivered then. I put down the phone and tried to work out in my mind what had just happened.  Why did I say yes when I was still so scared, so guilty and so afraid.  It was almost as though the universe, tired of presenting me with so many opportunities, had intervened and made the decision for me and now I am glad that it did.

I mentioned that I was afraid but that is quite a common feeling for me. I am afraid whenever I take on a new animal. I fear that we won’t bond, that I won’t be able to manage, that they won’t be happy. I also fear the responsibility involved as they are so totally dependent on me for their health, nutrition, safety and happiness. Fear has become a natural part of my life and I have learnt to live with it. I acknowledge it, accept it and move on, clinging to my usually optimistic outlook. Thankfully things do work out, I do manage, we do bond and I wonder how I could ever live without them. 

So Monty is now a cherished member of Tallara Park. His ability to communicate on an intuitive level continues to astound me.  Sure he listens intently to everything I say but his awareness goes far deeper than that. It is like your soul is laid bare when you are with him. I have ridden him several times and it is the same feeling and each time I have been in awe.  He is just an extraordinary animal.

But I’m pleased to say that’s not completely perfect, he does have one bad trait. He is incredibly intolerant of other animals when he is eating. If Marlee happens to stray too close to him he stamps his feet and shakes his head and Kitty gets the evil eye from even 100 metres away. This is particularly remarkable as dear little Kitty (aka Gutzoid )has never met an animal before that she couldn’t convince to share their dinner with her. At least now in the same paddock as Monty, I don’t have to worry about locking her up for an hour, morning and night.

Monty at the moment has been clipped but will become hairy and whiskery, complete with feathered feet, courtesy of his Clydesdale blood. His arthritis is something that we will deal with. Being barefoot on soft ground with moderate exercise will help and I have a wonderful farrier, Jeff Levy who is highly skilled and compassionate. He will trim his feet so that his heels are lifted. Medication will be given when it is needed but we hope that Monty has many comfortable years before that happens. It is so sad to think that such a beautiful creature will have to endure such a painful condition but then I’ve learnt through bitter experience that the world is not always fair or just.

So thank you for taking the time to meet Monty. I hope you like my gentle giant, my beautiful friend as much as I do.

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  1. Virginia Sullivan said on 25/08/2011 at 3:38 pm

    Oh Diana, what a wonderful story. I am so glad you have found each other. He looks truly beautiful and knows it lol

  2. The Beagle said on 01/09/2011 at 6:19 am

    So lovely to meet Monty in cyber space after having the joy of meeting him in real life – such a divine scent. A real gentleman, your lives together have just begun and I delight in being a part of your journey. Enjoy x

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