February 27, 2015

Williamstown. Photo by Laura Battles.

Williamstown 1990-2015. Photo by Laura Battles.

One Friday around noon in December 2007, Michael got a phone call from Aubrey Insurance Agency in Lexington. Lisa, the staffer who called, was a racing fan. A 17 year old stallion had been pensioned due to infertility and, having not worked out at an equine program at the University of Minnesota, was scheduled for euthanasia. “We’ve got to do something!” she said. “It’s Williamstown we’re talking about!” Do something, Michael did. He spent the day on the phone, tenacious as a bulldog, until he got to the people who needed to be got to. By that afternoon it was all arranged. Williamstown, one of the best sons of Seattle Slew, was coming to live at Old Friends.

Williamstown. EquiSport Photos.

Williamstown. EquiSport Photos.

Williamstown arrived at the farm a few days later. He was—and stayed through the very end—one of the most magnificent looking horses Old Friends has ever had the privilege to care for, a big horse whose nearly black coat was complemented by four flashy white legs and a broad white blaze. His racing career had also been distinctive. When he set his mile record at Belmont in the 1993 Withers Stakes, he bettered the time set by Conquistador Cielo, who was carrying 111 pounds. Williamstown held that mile record for ten years. To break it, Najran had to equal Dr. Fager’s world record, and was carrying 113 pounds. Williamstown had been carrying an impressive 124 pounds.

Williamstown. EquiSport Photos.

Williamstown. EquiSport Photos.

At 17, perfectly healthy aside from infertility, Williamstown wowed us as he got to know his new paddock by putting down his head, stretching his muscular body out long (shades of his great dad!) and running faster than any wind. He was a gorgeous sight thundering around, or flashing out his white legs in play, neck arched. And he put himself on duty immediately, taking on the job of guarding the farm. A house was being built nearby, and William kept his vigilant eye on the construction workers, making good and sure they toed the line. There was no way they were going to come build a house in his paddock!

Williamstown. Photo by Laura.

Williamstown. Photo by Laura.

As he aged, time told on the splendid stallion. The arthritis in one of his back legs caused him increasing mobility problems, though William continued to have good spells where for weeks or months, when the mood took him, he’d tear around his paddock like a cyclone. He could be a bit independent, maybe even aloof. He was tough, too. But with his friends, Williamstown was open, willing to meet you more than half way, and kind. He was too dignified to be a cuddler, but in his way he showed affection. He made you earn it, but if you did, he was generous.

Williamstown. Photo by Laura.

Williamstown. Photo by Laura.

When it was time to go, William let us know in no uncertain terms that he felt it was the right time to go. He went peacefully, calmly, with the confident assurance that had characterized him all his life. Williamstown was a horse with absolute class.




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3 responses to “February 27, 2015

  1. Tupster

    Beth, Thank You For These Wonderful Blog Today, It Is An Absolutely Beautiful Send Off To William….As With Reading It I Felt Like I Knew Him In A Way!!

    And I Always Feel That When You Write About Each Of Them In Your Such Beautiful Blogs Beth, Because When You Write It’s From Your Heart And That’s Why It’s Always Memorable!!! 🙂

    I Just Want To Send My Sincere Condolences To Yourself Beth, Michael & Everyone Who Cared For William & Also Creator……As I Know It’s A Very Sad Time To Lose Both So Closely Together, But Always Know They Loved You Just As Much As You Loved Them!!!!

    Plus Like All Of You Will Always Have Each Of Them In Your Hearts & In Your Memories, They Have All Of You In Their Hearts & In Their Memories Too And I Promise That Each One Of You Will See & Be With Each Of Them Again One Day!! 🙂

    Take Ever Such Special Care & Sending Loads Of Gentle Hugs To You All & All The Beautiful Horses That Live There…..xoxoxox

  2. MRO

    I loved Williamstown. I absolutely adored him. He had a look like no other. A gorgeous Slew boy. I am so, so sad. Rest in Peace.

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