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.