It took me more than 25 years to part with the hair, but I’m so pleased I did. When I wear my necklace it feels like my boy is still with me. Thank you so much Alison!
This is the story of Megan and Silvanus, I hope you enjoy reading it.
In 1973 my mum bought her mare, Megan, who had a yearling filly foal at foot, with her friend. They bought Megan from Mr Shepherd, a dealer who had bought her from a local market, Mansfield Sales. Mum and her friend paid £150 for Megan whilst her filly foal, later named Chloe cost £50. Megan was in very poor condition her backbone stuck out, ribs were clearly visible and she had very prominent hollows at the top of her eyes. After a year my mum bought her friend out and Megan became her own. The following year mum got her own fields. By now Megan was looking much better with the TLC mum had given her, she was enjoying a lovely life doing lots of hacking. In the spring of 1976 mum took Megan to stud to be covered by the TB stallion Silver Hand Shake a 17hh stallion son of Aberdeen, who was owned by Benson Brightmore.
It was an awful winter, and Megan’s foal Silvanus was born a full six weeks late, we think she crossed her legs to wait for better weather! Mum recalls that the night Silvanus was born she had a vivid dream that he was born with little silver horse shoes on. Mum says that going to the field in the morning and seeing him up and suckling with his dam looking proudly on was one of the most joyous moments of her life. Megan was a very good mother and Silvanus stayed with her for nearly two years to give him the best possible start, it looked so comical to see him at nearly 16hh suckling from his mum who was only 14.2hh. Megan had another foal, Gideon and the two brothers were the best of friends.
Silvanus was a truly amazing horse, he had the best upbringing and everything with him was easy as he just wanted to please. He didn’t take much breaking in because Mum took every opportunity when he was lying down in the field to sit on him, lay on him, he loved that because he loved cuddles! Mum did the early work with him and rode him as a 3 year old, I took up the reins when Silvanus was 4 and I was 13 and had outgrown my 13hh pony.
The rest as they say is history. Silvanus was without doubt my horse of a lifetime and my best friend. He loved jumping, hunting, cross-country and hacking, he thought dressage was boring but basically he turned his hooves to anything. We even did gymkhana games once for the riding club team, but he was a little large for that! I ended up focussing on affiliated jumping with Silly and had extraordinary success with him for a one horse amateur rider. He never had a day sick or sorry and lived life to the full, he was a real enthusiast! Silvanus rarely caused us any difficulties, although I distinctly remember a trip to a show one May. After jumping 2 beautiful double clear rounds, he flatly refused to load into the lorry and I ended up having to ride him 33 miles home! To this day, whenever I drive along that stretch of road, I’m taken back to the 1980s riding my boy home!
On 21st January 1995 Silvanus died suddenly at the age of 17, taken way too soon. I was devastated. Silvanus was outlived by his mum, but in July of the same year Megan’s health began to fail and she was put to sleep on 21st July exactly 6 months after her son. They are both buried next to each other by the side of Mum and Dad’s house. A place for quiet reflection and a little chat now and then!
For more than 25 years I kept some of Megan’s and Silvanus’ mane in a pot along with Silly’s jumping studs. I have had a number of pieces of jewellery made by Alison from other horses over the years, and just before Christmas I decided that I should have something made from their hair. I spoke to Alison about what would be possible and she advised me given the age and condition of the mane hair. Alison was fabulous, she was so sensitive and understanding, she gave me the confidence that I needed to part with such precious hair.
I decided to have tassel pendants made for mum and myself. Alison kept me informed throughout, I was so excited when she told me that she had posted the necklaces. I was so delighted that the unused hair was returned, and made sure that it was back in its rightful place in the pot, before I allowed myself to look at the necklaces. They were absolutely beautiful, I was thrilled with them and knew mum would be too. It was very tricky to keep them a secret until Christmas!
Christmas 2020 was far from normal, and our present exchange occurred outside on the doorstep along with coffee and mince pies! I left mum’s necklace until last, it was very emotional for us both but happily she loved it as much as I did!
Dawn, February 2021