A Tribute to Southwestern
Republished with the Camilla Scott's permission from their post dated 20th January
We are so sad to announce that yesterday we lost Southwestern after he was put to sleep following a short illness. He was 18, fit, sound and incredibly well. His loss has come as a real blow to us all and he leaves a huge hole.
Southwestern was a horse of a lifetime for everyone who knew him. He joined us in 2005, having raced three times under Rules, and made a winning debut at Black Forest Lode in January 2006 under Neil Harris. That season the combination notched up six wins in total and Southwestern become the leading young horse.
Neil had an incredible bond with the notoriously keen Southwestern, who ran in the colours of the Exmoor Partners. Nicknamed Thomas The Tank after his penchant for carting off with his riders at home, Neil found the key to him, holding him up in his races and coming with a late flourish, pushing the button with half a circuit to go. Invariably they’d draw clear and win impressively, scoring a wide margin victory. Together they blazed a trail, always feared by the bookies, and by their opponents, and would more often than not start at odds on. Neil rode him on 51 of his 58 starts and they won 26 races together with our daughter Laura, who adored him and taught him to whinny for polos and carrots, on board for his 27th and final win at Cothelstone in 2013.
Southwestern’s haul included three hunter chases, the 2007 John Corbett and the 2009 and 2011 Champion Hunter Chase at Stratford. He was a valiant fifth in the 2008 Christie’s Foxhunters’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and sixth the year after. Infamously he fell twice at Punchestown in the Cox Cash and Carry Champion Hunters’ Chase when having the race at his mercy. In 2008 he was clear of the field and fell two out, and the following year he was just a length down on the leader and fell at the last – the only two falls of his entire career. I think there is still a dent in the ground, which matches Neil’s fists!
His favourite courses were Little Windsor, where he recorded six wins, Black Forest Lodge with five wins, and Stratford. In his retirement he found success in the dressage arena and show ring, under the tutelage of Laura who taught him to settle so that he could continue to enjoy his moments in the limelight. He was also an invaluable servant to the yard, looking after the young horses when he accompanied them hacking, although he was kept him off the gallop as much as possible as was still inclined to run away with his jockey!
We all will dearly miss Southwestern. He was a very special horse who helped put us on the map. Only on Sunday his old owners came to visit him for a pat and a cuddle. Some horses hold a very dear place in your heart, and Southwestern is one of them. We are privileged and lucky to have known him, and he will never be forgotten.