Most of us have seen photos of a relaxed Subbie visiting children in hospital or attending bustling public events. The catalyst for “indoor work” came about through Lee, who had bought a bar in the city and wanted Subbie to attend the opening. After some thought, Graham agreed to take Subbie along — but he certainly wasn’t forcing him to go inside, as he didn’t want to risk breaking the trust they had. However, Subbie was no ordinary horse; a little hesitant at first, he quickly made up his mind that heading inside wasn’t a bad idea and it wasn’t long before he was standing at the bar for photos! Speaking in 2018, Graham explained that Subbie would follow him anywhere, and over the years they visited hotels, casinos, and clubs — as well as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. “He’d walk through fire with me, that horse,” said Graham.
Well-travelled, Subbie has been all around the country and even overseas. A trip to Dubai for the World Cup saw Graham fielding offers from two Arab sheiks who were impressed with the charismatic grey. However, not even a Mercedes or $100,000 could convince Graham to part with his beloved friend.
Particularly over the past decade as Subbie’s Clerk of the Course work wound down, he and Graham visited nursing homes, charities and hospitals, bringing joy to many. Graham always felt that in nursing homes and hospitals, Subbie had a “sixth sense” as he would always go straight to those who were really sick and in need of cheering up.
Approaching 30, Subbie’s workload had eased but he hadn’t hung up his horseshoes altogether — keeping active was partly how he defied his years. That, and first class care from Graham; even in his twilight years, the horse still had a full set of teeth! As well as Graham’s dedicated attention, the team at Bendigo Equine Hospital were long-term supporters, offering the horse complimentary care.
In his final years, Subbie still enjoyed the odd trip out and about, and the rest of the time he spent in his three-acre paddock on a property in Heathcote with Graham and his wife, Anita, and their daughter, Nicky. He would greet Graham every morning with a nicker, and once breakfast was over, Graham would sit with him for half an hour for a chat — just as great mates do.