Be Unlimited – Free at last!


Hello. My name is Bertie, well that’s my new name as my real name is Be Unlimited. I’m actually quite famous. Google me if you don’t believe me. Get that, tap in my name, and up comes my life history in a flash. I’m a Standardbred Bay gelding who started harness racing when I was only 2 and finished when I was 10.

At the moment I’m 12 years old. You can see that I’ve raced all over France 94 times and my colours were orange and green. I won €216,000.00. Not bad, don’t you think?

My past life wasn’t too bad really. Good food, good accommodation, and good health care. I travelled to a lot of places to various race courses all over the country.

I won’t lie to you but I did get a buzz from racing especially when we were getting close to the finish line and the crowd were roaring and I could hear my name being shouted. Come on Be Unlimited, come on Be Unlimited. It made me gather up all my strength to try to win. If I won I got lots of praise and attention, and I loved it, I felt proud.

At the racecourse, I saw a lot of horses I knew from previous races. We would have a good gossip. My friend, Cissie always moaned about her back.

Many I just knew by sight, and of course, there were the youngsters! So full of themselves and very cocky. I just used to say to them – kiss my arse because that’s all you are going to see until the end of the race mate.

I used to say to my friends, have you seen so and so, because I haven’t seen them for ages. I was very naive at that time and I didn’t realise where they’d gone.

I know now!

Life carried on in the same way for a long time, and I didn’t really think about anything else. Not very long after my last race everything changed drastically.

Even though I came in second, someone decided that I had to go. Maybe it was my age, as I was 10 at the time. Who knows?

Everything changed drastically so quickly and I was sent to a different place. I was confused and absolutely terrified. Looking around I saw Cissie across the yard. I couldn’t get near to her as the pen we were in was very crowded.

I tried to call her but it was so noisy with horses screaming and milling around. There were a lot of other horses there. Young, the same age as me, and some looked as if they had medical problems. I learned the young ones were around 3 years old but I was told that they hadn’t made the grade. Whatever that means.

The worst day of my life was when I found out we were going to Italy. We were just waiting for the butcher’s lorry to take us there. My mind was in turmoil. I was horrified, scared, confused, and terrified. I didn’t know what to do.

Then my luck changed.

Before the lorry was loaded a few people had arrived. They were looking around and studying all of the horses intently. Then a lady stopped in front of me and started asking some questions. She looked very serious but I couldn’t hear what she was saying.

The next thing I heard was a man shouting, ‘get this one out, he’s not going to Italy’. You can’t imagine the relief I felt, I couldn’t believe my luck. I also felt sad as I realised that it was the last time I’d see Cissie. Goodbye my friend.

Loaded onto a lorry again, but this time I just didn’t know where I was going. I felt nervous, relieved, excited, and all sorts of emotions at the same time.

The following day I learned what my task was to be. I was bought for a few hundred euros and I was going to be retrained. This lady was going to train me to be a riding horse, then sell me on for more money.

I was “taught” to canter.

I thought, yes, I’ll humour them. Are they having a laugh, I’m a horse, of course I know how to canter. I didn’t canter before because I was told I could only trot for the races. I finished my training successfully and off again.

This time I’m in a riding school. A huge place with all the facilities. I did a lot of trotting and cantering around a sand arena. I was teaching children so I did a bit of everything. They were nice people but, it was so cold there and the mud!! I’d never seen so much mud. Thick sticky stuff up to my knees. You guessed right. I got mud fever. My legs were swollen and so painful and I was lame.  There was no getting away from this mud.

Another surprise came my way.  I heard them talking that a lady was interested in buying me but she lived a long way away so her friend was coming to see me.  My legs were still painful even though the boss lady had started washing the mud off my legs and picking off the scabs.  Horrible. 

It was a freezing cold day when Kate arrived to try me out.  She said she was sorry about my legs but she needed to make sure that I would go out on my own.  She said that I would really like where I was going next so I thought that I’d do my very best to impress her. 

We went up the lane and we had a little trot all on a long rein.  Very relaxed and I tried not to show how much my legs were aching.  When we arrived back at the yard I was pleased with myself and thought that I’d made a good impression, then Kate said that I was a very naughty horse. 

My heart stopped.  What had I’d done? 

Then she said that she hadn’t ridden since she lost her beloved horse and the moment she put her bum in the saddle she knew she wanted to ride again.  I felt relieved and good for her.

It was a Saturday morning,  -3 degrees, and the yard was really busy.  The ring was full of children having lessons, children leading ponies all over the place.  Dogs running around.  Trailers coming and going.  The big building where all the boxes were had children, rugs, and horses everywhere.  Outside there was a pony having the mud washed off his legs with the freezing water.  It was very busy.

Then I caught sight of Kate again and she had another lady with her.  They looked perished. 

I was in a small concrete enclosure eating hay and Kate called to me.  I was led out and told I was waiting for the vet.  I had to take my coat off and it was freezing.  The lady vet tested everything I have from head to tail.  It was difficult to trot as my legs were so painful.  She was supposed to give me my injections but she said that I was too cold so it wasn’t advisable. 

The verdict was that except for the mud fever, I was fit and healthy.  She also said that in a few weeks’ time, I’d be a different horse after I’d seen the dentist and had the worming treatment.

I was thinking, now what’s happening?   I had a nice warm stable rug put on and off I go again.  This time I was loaded into a trailer and headed off on a long ride with my new owners. 

When I arrived at my new home I was led to my stable.  It was all ready for me, with straw, hay, and water.  Across the alleyway was my new friend.  He was really pleased to see me as he had been so upset and lonely since his beloved companion of 7 years had died a few weeks before. I had this lovely feeling that I was going to be happy here.

My last race was on the 31st of August 2021, and now one year and four months later I have arrived at my new home in the Dordogne.  

During the first 10 years of my life, I didn’t think that I would experience so much change in such a short time. I’ve only ever known life in a professional environment but here it’s entirely different but I’m getting used to it.

I’m going to be a happy hacker. Whatever that is. So that’s the story of my past life and now I have a new one and I might tell you about it one day.

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