Monday October 5, 2009

Appygolucky  1997-2009 

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.




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7 responses to “Monday October 5, 2009

  1. Viv

    Val, thank you for your beautiful tribute. Bea and I will miss Appy always but we will never forget him, will forever love him and will see him again on some bright new morning. We are so grateful to you for always giving him love and kindness. So blessed to have Michael open the very, very limited space at Old Friends to him. I also want to thank his connections for allowing his retirement and especially to Laura Rackar, volunteer coordinator at CANTER Ohio. Without her, Appy may have been a minor footnote in the history of a small track…thanks to her, we were able to locate Appy this Spring and thanks to her, he enjoyed his last months in Bluegrass pastures. Although the story will not end in this life as we wished it would, he died in peace surrounded by light and love. I know he’s running with Ruhlmann and Precisionist happy and free. Thank you, Appygolucky, for your heart and gentle soul. It’s what we saw the first time you ever raced, now what seems like so many years ago. Your friend, Vivien

  2. Michelle J

    Oh my goodness, I am so heartbroken. I just saw Appy on Sept. 24. He came to the stall door, ate some carrots and let me scratch his nose. Thank you all at Old Friends who made his last days very happy.

  3. MRO

    I was just down to visit on September 28th & 29th & spent some time with Appy. He was friendly & sweet, and he made a real impression on me. After I learned that he wasn’t doing well, I made a point to stop in for a last nose rub & a few kind words. I live in Columbus, and I’m proud one of Beulah Park’s many well deserving horses made it to Old Friends. Old Friends couldn’t have gotten a better little guy. I just wish he could have had more time to enjoy it.

  4. Mary

    Val, I know Appygolucky was one of your favs too. I’m so sorry but happy he had the love and care he needed and enjoyed. Thanks for being you.

  5. Chris

    So sorry to hear this. I know Laura and his connections were so happy that Old Friends was able to take him. His handler wept when she first learned he was going to OF. Thank you for taking good care of him. We always hope for a happy retirement for these veterans of low-level claimers, but sometimes it is just not to be. 😦
    CANTER Ohio

  6. Val,
    My husband Robert and I visited Old Friends on the 16th of August. You were our guide, and we want to thank you for letting us get to know Appy. I had loved Appy ever since I read about his history,(we are huge fans of Old Friends), and he is one of the many reasons we drove from Texas to visit. I thought I had one favorite, but I left with a love and deep appreciation for ALL of them.
    My heart is broken, but I thank God for you, and the connections of Old Friends, who put the horse FIRST. Appy is with all the great ones, taking his cues from Precisionist, no doubt. We will never forget him.

  7. Ruth Ann

    I’m so sorry, Val, to read this news about Appy 😦 He was one very lucky horse having been able to spend his remaining time at Old Friends. R.I.P. Appy.

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