HE IS the magnificent performance horse who has captured the hearts of animal lovers across the UK.
A Lusitano called Tetua has taken part in London's New Year's Day Parade for the past four years and has been painted by several artists, including Ronnie Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.
Tetua has also attended weddings and funerals as well as making morale-boosting visits to patients in hospital.
Now the 18-year-old horse has made a remarkable recovery after losing his left eye to uveitis, a rare condition that causes inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.
Owner Patrick Kempe, 67, of Pilley, near Lymington, took Tetua to Seadown Vets in Hythe after noticing that his eye was closed and weepy.
Initial treatment proved successful but the uveitis returned two months later.
Patrick said: "When Tetua's eye closed for a second time, we went to Seadown again straight away. One of the vets, Kate McMorris, advised us that his damaged eye should be removed.
"I was devastated but completely understood that it was the most sensible solution.
"Kate carried out the operation and did a very neat job. She and all the staff at Seadown gave me the greatest confidence and re-assurance throughout and gave Tetua the very best of care.
"He has adapted amazingly well.
"Riding out in the New Forest hasn't been a problem. He's enjoyed a little jumping and has also continued to give displays - he's thoroughly enjoyed life to the full.
"The only risk factor is that if I'm on his blind side and he turns to look at me, I have to duck out of the way of his head."
Kate added: "After discussions with Patrick it was decided it was in Tetua's best interest to remove the eye. He is a display horse and we were worried about his appearance, but it was more important to make him comfortable.
"The eye was removed under sedation and his recovery was speedy. He was back to his cheeky self the following day when he went home.
"Removal of an eye is always a last resort but in a blind and painful eye it's often the best option for the horse.
"Nowadays it rarely involves a general anaesthetic and so is a much safer procedure than it used to be - and most horses go back to their previous working life."
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