The Grand National – Teddy’s Story

He was named Teddy but his mother never gave him that name. Teddy stayed with his mother until his around two years old. His father had been stationed elsewhere but never returned to see young Teddy.

When he hit the fine age of two, a headcollar was placed over his head. Long, strange ropes were attached. He didn’t know what to do. The crack of a whip made him move and the gentle tugging on the rope made it clear to him what direction he needed to run in.

This was only the beginning of his training. Eventually, the whip became his best friend as he refused one too many jumps. He was useless in their eyes. Teddy failed his training, a lucky escape. So, as the Winter melted and Spring appeared he found himself helping the young riders on the farm.

That Spring his mother birthed a new foal. One who, hopefully in two years, would be able to clear jumps at a good rate. Frolicking in the fields, Teddy cared for his new brother as his spindly legs tried to find balance. For two years they ran the width and length of their patch. Until Teddy had to say goodbye to Midas. Midas would train for gold.

Midas was promising, a good pick; what they expected Teddy to have achieved. So, the following Spring Midas would get his chance. Thousands flocked every year to The Grand National and this would be his chance to shine.

A thudding in his heart. Tearing of the grass. Muscles ached as they overstretched trying to make the last jump but Midas did it. The assault course he faced, a mission to ensure he survived, it was over.

Celebrations took place, alcohol overly consumed. Ladies and gentlemen dressed in their finest.

For Midas, it was time to breathe. He didn’t understand why he had the whip at his hind and a small man punching his withers. Was he in trouble? Was someone chasing them? Did his life depend on it? Questions that would baffle him for three years.

The stable hand Catherine came to his aid. Helping to remove the heavy tack. Brushing down the sweat embedded into his coat. He would go back to the farm and see his brother again.

Teddy didn’t understand why he smelt of other horses, of leather, of the old smell he had got used to as a foal; the stinging smell of whipped flesh. They were free though, to run in the fields at their own choice.

So it was, every year when the snow melted and the nights were longing Midas would disappear for a few days, only to return to be with his brother.

This year Teddy was confused. Midas didn’t return. The heat of Summer had already started but still no brother. The autumn breezed past and glided into the icy winter nights. Still, no Midas. The ice thawed and the flowers bloomed but Midas never returned. Teddy pined for his brother and friend but no matter how many times he kicked his stable door, Midas never returned.

In memory of all the innocent horses that have fallen.

Photo by Pixabay on

Author’s note

What Teddy didn’t know was that Midas fell at The Grand National. He broke his leg so they shot him. Useless to them after that.

Every year humans flock to The Grand National. They dress in the best clothes they can find. Women often seeking advice from their friends. Men trying to find a suit in time for the event. Too much alcohol is consumed. Residents have to face the yearly clear up of human trash as many start fights after the races have finished.

However, humans fighting humans because of high levels of alcohol doesn’t bother me. Let them fight each other.

It’s the horses my heart beats for.

Every year horses are killed in this so-called ‘sporting event’. A disgrace is what it is. How have humans evolved and banned things like fox hunting and fur coats and yet given the chance to dress up, drink stupid amounts, gamble and suddenly they accept animal cruelty?

I can guarantee the majority of those who attend claim to love animals. That they would never agree to harm an animal for sport. That they think animal cruelty is disgusting. I bet one or two of them have even signed a petition to ban fox hunting, to try and keep it illegal.  

I have spent many years around horses and my belief? The best type of horse is a wild horse. A horse that can run with its herd.

We don’t deserve the love, compassion, and intelligence that horses bring. Sit with a horse, not on, for five minutes and I can assure you their beauty will reduce you to tears. Then think of this animal being forced to endure the brutality of The Grand National while you sip your poison.

selective focus photography of brown horse
Photo by Jakob on

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