Saying Goodbye to Jet


Jet, this morning

There were tears and heartache yesterday when Cathy, Jet’s owner told us that she had found a buyer for him.  It came as a huge and unwelcome surprise as we had not expected him to go for quite a while yet, and had thought that those who had such a vested interest in him might have first refusal, individually or jointly, when the time came.

When he goes we do so hope he is placed in the West Country so we can easily follow his progress as he grows up, he has been so much part of the stables since his birth.


For those of you who have not been in such close contact with him in real life, here is the story so far. 

Jet was born in the early hours of June 4th  last summer. His owners, the owners of his dam, Smarties, Cathy and Edward were present as were Michelle and Charlie.

After foaling Smarties rolled and jumped up, causing irreparable damage to either the head of the femur or the pelvis.  The vet was called and beautiful Smarties had to be put to sleep, after Michelle took from her what colostrum she could. It was a desperate time, not only had we lost a great mare we now had an orphan foal to take care of.

Everyone leapt into action.  Chris Nurse headed to the Mullacott vets to get an emergency milk pack.  Di and Michelle were able to obtain more from an Arab Stud many miles away, the Bridgemans got the rest for us at a very competitive price.  The stables were also in touch with the foaling bank trying to track down a mare who might come to Sparhanger and feed Jet, but unluckily none were available. For the first 48 hours the foal was fed every hour with Aintree milk formula.  Angela and Chris came to stay to take over the night feeds until we could sort everything out, after day 3 we were on 2 hourly feeds, and this is how it stayed for the next four weeks.

It was planned in the most meticulous fashion, rota boards were drawn up, and every feed was recorded, time, the amount of milk consumed and who had done the feeding.

The First Trip Outside

The foal was introduced very early on to Myrtle, Bob and Di’s mare, who immediately took to him, and although she obviously had no milk, it meant he could have a life in the field with a caring mum, just coming in, both of them, at night, so that night feeds were more convenient.  He knew that the human who popped up in the field regularly during the day was the one with the milk!  When he was a month old he was on a 3 hour feed night and day until he was 4 months, everyone planning their days and nights around the feeding rota.  At 5 months the weaning process began, with milk gradually being reduced until there was none.

Feed time in the field

His young life has been followed closely, and we know that that interest will not fail, so when his new owners take him  we will tell you and we will ask them to keep us all regularly updated, as I am sure they will love to do. 

It’s amazing that people who only know of him through the blog, or by word of mouth have been so concerned for him, so here are the names of some of the people who have worked tirelessly for Jet, so that Chris and Michelle could get on with running the stables, and to support Cathy who does not enjoy very good health.

Bob and Di (and Myrtle), Ann, Johnny, Chris N., Sarah, Pat, Alex, Chloe, Jess, Jasmin, Angela and Chris, Charlie W., Charlie, Irene, Mary, Helen and Mark, Lynn, All the children from the Pony Club, Edward Stone, and Jackie, and a very, very special thank you to Peter, who although desperately ill came up every morning for the 6am feed.  Sadly Peter died just a few weeks after Jet was weaned.  We hope we have not forgotten anyone, thank you, all of you.


Sparhanger Equestrian Centre
Mobile 07968066973  or phone 01598 753283

Ben and Millie with Jet



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13 responses to “Saying Goodbye to Jet

  1. Catty Cow

    I know that Cathy, as the owner, can do what she wants with him, but I think it is somewhat selfish not to discuss it with Michelle, and offer him to her first.

  2. Mark Brown

    I agree, its a real shame to see Jet go and to be honest very sad we all didn’t know. Me, Helen and all the children will miss him. Ben most of all – we would have gladly put or brought jet for the stables if we had only been told he was up for sale.

  3. Susan

    I only know Jet through the blog and have been delighted to read about life at the stables.
    I feel I must make a comment on this post. Surely after all the time and effort made by so many people common courtesy would demand that he was first offered to Sparhanger or at least to one of the people so closely involved – maybe I am just old-fashioned.
    I hope you’ll keep up with him on the blog after he’s left.
    Someone told me that hand-reared horses can be
    tricky to handle, is that right and why?

    • Mary

      Hand reared horses can be more difficult to manage as they tend to be more pushy towards humans, especially if they are not with their own peer group after weaning. If they remain with their peer group they are kept in line and learn how to behave from the naturally raised foals.

    • Chelle

      Orphan foals often don’t make their full height and size, this is due to a number of reasons such as not having Milk on demand although we did our best with regular feeding, and of course mares milk is best.
      Because of the close contact with humans they can often become very pushy and over confident around humans which is fine when they are small not so funny when they are full grown. Jet having had Myrtle and then playing with his own age group should help.

  4. Catty Cow

    I don’t think you are old-fashioned, Susan, unless common courtesy and consideration are things of the past. Perhaps Cathy doesn’t realise just how much effort was put into him. Night feeds are no fun, even if they were done willingly as a favour to Chris and Michelle.

  5. Mary

    Although I was involved with helping to feed Jet when he was off the night feeds I managed to get away with the 9pm feed for about 8 weeks, I was amazed at how generous and selfless everybody else involved had been, often driving quite long distances: arriving exactly on time, filling in the record sheets which had been set up and organised so well, washing and cleaning the bottles so that the next volunteer could get on with the job as quickly as possible. It was a massive effort with a wonderful result and all the horse lovers involved – especially the night hawks should be very proud of themselves. However, somehow this makes it so much more upsetting to know that he is going somewhere else, and we won’t be able to see him grow up. I would be willing to contribute financially towards buying him so he could be kept at Sparhanger, if there is anybody else interested in doing this? If so perhaps it could be discussed and taken forward. Comments please, let us see if anything can be done.

    • Pat

      I can only agree with what everyone as commented on, I thought he was too special to sell on, Smarties lives on through him. I would be interested, Mary, to help to keep him at Sparhanger.

  6. Catty Cow

    And me. And quite a few others, I believe, from what I was hearing at the stables.

  7. Chelle

    We would like to say a big THANK YOU for all the kind offers to buy Jet.
    Chris and I feel that all the work and time we all gave to feed and take care of Jet, was done purely for his benefit. This cannot be put into monetary terms, it was PRICELESS.
    The offer to buy Jet from the volunteers would be like asking them to buy him for the second time.
    So with deep gratitude we feel unable to accept this generous offer.

  8. Edward53

    Jet should stay at sparhanger
    He is a great charactor and lots of effert was put in by everyone , i realy enjoyed feeding him and i am sure that everyone else did to.
    Everyone would put in someting to help him stay and he should be left at his home for all to love and learn how to look after with pony club.
    The stables have kept him alive through many tough times,long nightes and a very very snowy winter.I was looking forward to watching him playing in the fields in the summer



  9. Charlotte


    Please don’t sell Jet he is my favourite foal, i even wrote a story about him for my school project about how much work it was to look after a foal and keep him alive without his mummy.
    He feels part of the Sparhanger family i love him so much, so please don’t sell him!!
    Charlotte age 8

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