Memorials and tributes invited!

There's no doubt that horses can have a profound effect on a person's life! Like you, we truly love and cherish the time we get to spend with these creatures. It's been said that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person, and there's no denying it! They sure do get under your skin. We invite our clients and friends to share their stories as a tribute or memorial to living or deceased horse friends you have known. Please email them to us, and include a picture if you have one.

Memorial to Skip Haughay and his favorite horse Regal Bull, aka "Bully", son of Holy Bull

Every once in a while, if you are lucky, you get to meet people who are passionate about their horses, their work, and their lives, and when you do they affect you deeply, even if you've only known them a few short years. I had the honor and privilege of getting to know my friend Skip when he called a couple years ago on Christmas eve because a shipper had not shown up, stolen his deposit, and was no longer answering the phone and he was livid, looking for someone who would actually show up and take care of the horses well while they traveled to Chicago from the east coast. How fortunate for me, as we quickly discovered we were kindred spirits both in the horse world and technology.

Skip had taken his dream job at Apple as a senior Ipod engineer a couple years before we'd met, moved to California, and was so happy, he was making the hard decisions of selling some of his horses still on the east coast so he could focus his energies on his work at Apple and the horses and animals he already had with him in California. While I hadn't met him during this first move, we discovered through our many phone and email conversations we were both great fans of Apple products, technology driven, and passionate about our horses and animals.

In July, a year or so before Skip's untimely passing, we arranged to bring the last of his three horses to California so what was left of his equine family would be complete. He already had his most favorite horse "Bully" with him, but was so excited to be getting his friend Daryl's black horse Cowboy who he knew would LOVE riding at the beach and in the hills out there. Skip made a point of inviting me to stay for a week, or as long as I wanted so we could ride, go to parties, and meet all the great horse people in his neighborhood. Of course I took him up on this!!! Not only did he arrange for everyone to be there when we arrived to meet the kids, but he took time out of his busy schedule to take me to meet all the great people responsible for creating Apple's Ipod, Ipad, and Iphone products. We had lunch in the quad and I can't tell you how exciting it was to be amongst such creative people. Of course we had a great week, riding horses, meeting all the cowboys in the area with their beautiful dancing "Aztec horses" who literally will piaffe and passage as soon as they hear music. I had the great opportunity to ride a lovely three year old mare who you could tell was really something special! Every few months Skip would send an email and pictures of all the animals, saying when are you coming to see us? The new riding ring is in! Bully is doing great! The dancing cowboys are asking about you", but it was not to be.

Skip lived in a horse-friendly community in the Coyote Valley part of San Jose, CA where nights were for riding your horses and visiting with neighbors, and usually there'd be a party going on with lots of fun music, dancing horses, and great food for all who stopped by. On the evening of Saturday, September 3, 2011 Skip and Bully were riding over to the night's party with friends when Skip and Bully were hit from behind by a GMC pickup truck traveling at about 45 mph, throwing both of them through the air, Bully about 30 feet, and Skip into another car. Sadly both Skip and Bully were killed at the scene.

My heart goes out to Abel, Skip's partner, his family, and his friends, especially our mutual friend Daryl Glanzer who was Skip's biggest fan on the east coast and keeper of his horses before entrusting them in my care for the long journey to California.

No Delay - by Green Forest 1990-20011

When I met No Delay, a 17 hand thoroughbred racer, I was completely taken by his beauty and athleticism with his long legs, short coupled back, and big bone like a warmblood. He was at the farm I kept a horse at for some R & R as he made the transition from turf to dirt and recovered from some minor inflammation in his legs. He was owned by one of the big racing Sheiks who had bred some really nice horses, one of which I already owned and was the foundation mare for my own sport horse breeding program.

Once it was determined No Delay would not make it as a dirt horse, he'd already made enough money, and the risk of injury on his legs built for turf was too great, No Delay came to me. He was a challenge from the start, a horse with a 16 minute work ethic, and any second over and he became a rearing, bucking tiger! He knew how long it took to work a couple miles at the track and he was not about to entertain these silly circles in a ring for a second longer than he was programmed for. It took about a year of re-training, really re-programming, for him to develop a work ethic of up to about 40 minutes, though if you took him on the trail he'd go for hours, forgetting his commitment to getting me off after his allotted time had been exceeded. Silly horse.

No Delay went on to love fox hunting, though several times we were in danger of passing the hunt master, loved jumping and excelled as a jumper, and had phenomenal lengthenings and would have gone far in Dressage, but he HATED it and never surpassed first level, though he loved eventing.

At the end of his career, No Delay needed a job. I had tried to retire him because I felt at 20 he'd had a great career, but shouldn't be out jumping anything of height. He had other ideas. He HATED retirement. He ran around the field, he was unhappy, he expected to work and was generally miserable. I tried to find him a lease person, but unfortunately, he was an advanced rider's horse, but the advanced riders that came to see him had visions of jumping big fences, and that wasn't what I wanted for him.

In the end we decided he should go to stay with my good friend and client Naipaul (King) Chatterpaul, race horse trainer at Belmont park where he would be the personal "pony" for the stakes stallion Mission Approved, a job he'd love as he was a professional race horse when he was on the track. He went to Belmont and was so happy, the second he realized he was back at the big show. He thought he was a two-year old again. He went up six weeks before Mission was due to come back from his winter at a Florida farm so he could get fit and we could see if he'd like jogging around the track. He really did. Then one day, he was jogging along with King on his back when his heart gave out, and he died instantly on the track, throwing King into the rail. It was a very sad moment, but in some ways a fitting place for a serious race horse to end his career when he so vehemently did not want to be a pasture ornament. No Delay will be missed by all who had the privilege of riding him!

Memorial to Seek and Find

Seek and Find was a lovely english-bred TB mare owned by Athena Haresign and Muddy Paddock Sport Horses. About a week after her horse show debut where she took first place in a green hunter division she fell in a quicksand type substance along a riverbed.

With no warning the ground gave way, and she was sucked in to her shoulder. She didn't panic, but reared back and pulled herself out with all her might. As you can imagine, it was very traumatic mentally and physically.

She'd pulled muscles, ligaments, and tendons all over her body, and was very painful. Sadly, she never became riding sound, however, she did produce three lovely Oldenburg approved foals, Dream Catcher, Fifth Element, and Dascha before stomach ulcers claimed her life at the early age of fourteen. Although she lived with some discomfort, she loved being a mom, going to breed shows, and showing off her foals.

Memorial to Fly Alex Fly by Deborah S.

Five years, ago, I had an uncommon stroke of good luck when I met Kathy D. and her Fourth-Level Quarter Horse, horse, Alex. Kathy was looking for someone to take a full lease on Alex, and I was looking for a schoolmaster. It turned out to be a perfect match for all three of us.

Alex had an amazing history. He was born in 1970 and spent his first years on the quarter-mile racetrack. Then he was ridden to Preliminary Level in eventing. By the time I met him, he had gone to Fourth Level in dressage, and he was 27 years old. But Alex was amazing not just because he could still do upper-level work at age 27, but because you knew the instant you met him that here was an old soul. I couldn’t possibly tell you in a few minutes everything I learned from this extraordinary creature. There are a lot of “Alex stories,” believe me! And the things I learned from him were not just about riding, but about life itself. Alex entered my life during a dark and difficult time. And in the years that I knew him, he taught me about getting through. About having faith in yourself, accepting life’s twists and turns, and coming out on top and winning in the end, against all odds.

Alex was the most self-possessed creature I have ever known. He knew exactly who he was, and he never let you forget it, either. He always expected others to be on their best behavior. He did not suffer fools gladly. And at the end, he left in the same way that he had lived—with grace and dignity.

In the time I had with Alex, Kathy D. did everything you could imagine to make him my horse in the truest sense. So before I present this award, I want to thank Kathy, who couldn’t be here tonight, for her extraordinary generosity and friendship. The other person who’s not here and who I want to thank is Athena Haresign. It was through Athena that I first met Kathy and Alex, and she has been a stalwart friend to us through the years. Athena was also with me and Al at the end, and I’m grateful beyond words for that, because he was in good hands, and he suffered no indignities. That would have been very important to him.

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Alex was greatly loved, and in return he gave us gifts beyond measure.

The lessons he taught me were about compassion, and trust, and loyalty, and honesty. About self-possession and dignity. About knowing yourself, truly and completely.

Lessons about joy, and strength, and perseverance. About pulling through, preposterously, against all odds.

And lessons about integrity, and about grace. About surrendering to time the gifts of youth. About having a sense of what is appropriate; of knowing where you belong, and who you are.

And he taught me lessons about love, the greatest gift of all. Alex’s imperious manner belied his generous heart, which he gave to us completely, but not freely; not without asking of us in return respect, and that we pay attention.

Gifts beyond measure. Like Athena said, Alex was a bright light. One that hasn’t gone out, and, I believe, never will. He’s just over there, just at the edge of what we can see, ambling across the pasture, looking for just the right rolling spot, having left behind a permanent incandescence that will illumuinate my heart, and the hearts of those who knew him and loved him, for all the days to come.

A tribute to Smokey Cody 288

Smokey is a 1988 quarter horse gelding who tore his deep digital flexor tendon in multiple places, and if that weren't bad enough, developed a tendon-sheath infection that required several surgeries to heal.

Due to the diligence of his owner, Elsie C, he was able to make a remarkable recovery! His therapy included swimming at Chanceland Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland, as well as at the Northern Virginia Swim Center. His owner, Elsie, diligently hand-walked him daily, wrapped his legs, and performed physical therapy to break down the scar tissue. Elsie's efforts paid off with a sound horse who was able to be turned out normally, ridden in dressage lessons, and jump anything on trail rides.