HEARTBROKEN staff at a much-loved riding school have said goodbye to a loyal mascot who has sadly passed away.
Barney the Shetland Pony has died at his home - the Nuneaton and North Warwickshire Equestrian Centre.
Employees and volunteers at the centre in Galley Common were devastated at the news after he died on Friday morning.
Sue Hately, director of equine services at the centre, said: “We noticed that Barney didn’t want to eat his breakfast and we knew that something was wrong.
“We called the vet straight away, but there was nothing that could be done.
“Barney was healthy and there was nothing really wrong with him, but we think that it was some kind of neurological condition.
“Staff and volunteers are heartbroken and many came to the centre to say goodbye.”
Barney was 40 years old and had spent most of his life at the riding school, which is based on Valley Road.
Now staff are planning to cremate Barney and scatter his ashes in the centre.
Sue Hately added: “It is going to cost more than £500.
“But Barney was with us for a very long time and we feel that it is something that he deserves as a way to honour his life as he has been a mascot of the centre for many, many years and is a familiar face to many people.”
The death of the Shetland Pony is still very raw for staff, but Sue Hately said that they will be looking for another Shetland Pony in the future to become the mascot once again.
She said: “We are all very, very, very sad at the moment.
“But we will be looking for another Shetland Pony sometime in the future.
“We have 13 horses at the moment, it was 14 with Barney.”
Anyone who would like to offer help to the equestrian centre through donations or volunteering can contact 024 7639 2397.