Thursday October 22, 2009

Invigorate 1992-2009 

Invigorate passed away this week.  Apparently he decided it was time and lay down, surrounded by his buddies, on a fine fall day in Kentucky.  He was only 17. Viggie was Michael’s racehorse and there was a special bond between the two of them.   I suspect that Diane is even more devastated by Viggie’s loss.

Invigorate was another example of the everyday side of racing. He wasn’t a particularly stunning horse, just a chestnut gelding with 69 starts and a little under $100,000 in earnings.  He wasn’t fancily bred, although fairly close up in his pedigree you could find Grey Dawn, Damascus and the great mare Mahmoud.  But he ran in the money 41 times in his 69 starts—an example of consistency, soundness, and grit. 

Viggie loved attention, carrots, and his pasture mates, not necessarily in that order.  When I first started visiting Old Friends, and later when I became a regular, Viggie lived in a large paddock at what was then the back part of the farm.  His buddies were Kudos, Remmington, Riva Way, Bingo and Easy Ellis.  I can’t tell you how many times that gang of geldings refused to come over for visitors, studiously ignoring us as if to say, “Please.  We are grazing here, no time for greeting guests.”  I often saw them all lay down for naps, as if they were preschoolers on rest time.  And yet, I also can’t tell you how many times I heard the echoing thunder of hooves well before I saw them gallop up the field to the fence, looking for treats. Viggie was a carrot hound, no doubt, and he thought nothing of threatening, biting, kicking or jostling his buddies for prime treat position.  

A couple of months ago I was at the farm on a day when the blacksmith was there to trim feet.  Now living in a different paddock, back in the “new” part of the farm, Viggie and his cohorts decided that having their feet trimmed was not on the agenda that day. The geldings ran, bucked, kicked, and otherwise made everyone’s life difficult.  I’m not sure if Invigorate ever had his feet done that day.  But throughout it all, there was no doubt he was having a very large time.    

We have lots of retired horses at Old Friends.  They are all different and they all have unique personalities.  But I can tell you that no horse, not one, ever enjoyed his retirement more than Invigorate.  He had everything he wanted—grain to munch, grass to graze, buddies for romping.  Lucky him. 




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9 responses to “Thursday October 22, 2009

  1. Cathy Riccio

    So sad that Invigorate had to pass. I was a fan of his sire, Vigors. He was a big grey almost white horse that Daryl McHargue use to ride in all of those high stake handicap races on the west coast.
    I remember when I was around 15 or 16, his connections did decide to bring Vigors back east
    to run. I stood down at the rail waiting patiently for a glimps of the equine beauty! He was all that too! He stood at Jonabell for some time and then passed away a few years back. Now Viggie is with his sire, gone but never forgotten!

  2. Sally

    Dear Val,

    Your stories of the Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm are such a connecting link for all of us who care about these amazing equine athletes — for those of us who want to know their stories, their everyday habits, their endearing qualities. And perhaps most of all, how they touch your life and the lives of everyone there at Old Friends. Your most recent entries have been such heartfelt tributes to the significant and enduring presence(s) of some of the Farm’s dearest treasures. Thank you, always, for sharing your insights, your experiences of these amazing Friends. Your contribution is not small… Be well. And thank you.

  3. Sorry to hear this news, but glad that the end came peacefully. Condolences to Michael, Diane, and all of you.

    Also sorry to have missed you last week…but I know that I’ll see you at some point soon.


  4. MRO

    So sorry to hear about the loss of Invigorate. I know his retirement years at Old Friends were great ones, and I know his buddies (equine & human) are mourning his loss. 17 seems too young, but it must have been his time to go. The only consolation is that hopefully a place is now open for the next deserving champion. RIP Invigorate.

  5. Viv from Ivytree


    Bea and I are so sad to hear of Viggie’s passing. We adored him and understand all too well the hurt of losing a beloved one. Our thoughts are with Michael, Diane and everyone there at OF during these times. Vig and Appy are running together, now, having a ball no doubt, kicking up their heels in the Light. As always, thank you for sharing your insight and love for them with us. Bless you, Val.

    As ever,


  6. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. My condolences go out to all of Viggie’s friends, especially Michael and Diane.

  7. Bert

    Lucky him, indeed. I hope that in time “not a bad way to go” will help to ease everyone’s sorrow. He was blessed to be in the care of fine folks like you all.

  8. Tom

    Val…thank you for your thoughtful comments about Viggie and Appy. You speak from your heart about these wonderful animals; no one could say it better. Tom

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