Your horse? A friend's horse? A famous horse? Is there a horse, living or gone, that is your favourite of all time (so far)? A horse whose memory makes you smile...or cry...
Mine is John Henry, the small, Kentucky born, humbly-bred, plain, crabby-to-the-end, throroughbred gelding who raced mostly in California until his tenth year! He died at the age of 32 at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2007. He overcame being passed around and so much more in his younger days to eventually become the highest earning gelding of all time (6-1/2 million in winnings). I think that only Cigar (a stallion) earned more.
He'd lived for 22 years at the Horse Park, where he was stalled in the Hall Of Champions, and he was much admired and much loved. His special treat was donuts! Sometimes you'd see him playing in his paddock, giving the other horses dirty looks. Other times you'd see him trying to stare down Cigar whose stall was across from his.
I was sooooo surprised to find him when I moved to Kentucky, assuming that he had passed away many years ago. But there he was! He was quite famous for his bad temper. But if I stood very still and very quietly in front of the bars of his stall, curiousity would eventually get the better of him and he would come over, lift his nose up to the bars, and say a brief, snorting hello...and I do mean brief!
I attended his funeral a the Kentucky Horse Park along with about 500 people from all over North America. There was music and flowers along with many tears. You can visit his grave which is located in a place of honour at the entrance to the Hall Of Champions, where his statue will greet you.
I also attended Eight Belle's and Barbaro's "funerals" at Churchill Downs, but John Henry's funeral was not only the largest, but the most touching. He was so very much loved by so many.
I miss you, John.