In the midst of the celebration of our new residents yesterday, joy was tempered by the knowledge that one of our own was suffering. This morning, Appygolucky was euthanized. A rapidly-worsening spinal condition was making it hard for him to stand, let alone move freely, and he had been stall-bound as a result.
Appy wasn’t famous, exactly, unless you were among those who had followed his career primarily at Beulah Park in Ohio. His best quality just might have been his tenaciousness, a trait that allowed him to earn $125,000 over 10 years and 100 races. That is a hard lifetime of work for any horse, but especially for one who was just a little guy with a kind heart.
Two of Old Friends’ great fans, Bea and Viv, helped to retire Appy this past spring. They made a trip down to say good bye this weekend, and I know it was difficult for them. They loved Appy deeply and my heart goes out to them today.
I don’t know one single thing about Appy’s life prior to Old Friends—was he loved, cared for, and appreciated? Or was he just a racing commodity? It doesn’t change the end result, I suppose, because someone ensured he spent the last part of his life comfortably. As I took tours through the big barn, Appy never once failed to come over to his stall door– he did enjoy his carrots and mints. More than that, he loved to be patted, brushed and fussed over. I don’t think he was in pain; his body just wasn’t his to control anymore. Even so, he was always patient and gentle with people.
You could say Appy’s story is the other side of racing, that of the everyday horses who pay their way on the track but never become famous. While he was a far cry from the kind of racehorse who wins big, well-known races, in the end maybe he was among the lucky ones. He lived his final days among people who cared. And he’ll be remembered for far more than his 100 races. I’ll remember the little bay horse who tried to the very end, with kindness, heart and tenacity.