March 17, 2015

Ogygian. March 17, 1983 - March 14, 2015

Ogygian. March 17, 1983 – March 14, 2015

I can’t do this. Can’t capture such a great spirit in mere words. Or describe the emptiness of his empty paddock. I just want to say that in his last hours he was with people he knew and trusted, on a mild night under a starry sky. He ended his life peacefully. We caught the colic symptoms early, Dr. Waldridge got there soon with pain relief and gave heroically of his efforts and expertise. Everything that could be humanely done to try and save Ogygian was done, and Ogygian was strong and loving through it all. My gratitude to Michael is beyond bounds. He made the right decision not to opt for radical hospital treatment that had little chance of working, to let Ogygian go peacefully in the paddock that had been his kingdom for so many years. To make all the caring decisions he made that night. Ogygian left life the way he lived it, with courage, wisdom and a loving heart. I will never know another like him.


  Ogygian’s halter. Sitting on my dining room table, it looks forlorn and more than a little lost, just like those of us who knew and loved O became on Saturday night. In a lot of ways, his halter symbolized O. It had longevity. O was famous for cleverly ditching every halter put on his head. Four or five years ago, as my bond with O was growing and after the latest ditching, I decided to try my luck. O’s constant companion, Beth, and I deliberated over the most comfortable size and the ideal font type to use on the nameplate. Everything had to be perfect. I can’t recall the details of either, but something about this halter worked for O. With Michael’s coaxing, on it went (of course, Michael was the only one who could actually accomplish this), and we waited to see how long it would last. As it turned out the halter had staying power, just like O.

O, Beth and the Halter January 2015. Photo by Laura.

O, Beth and the Halter January 2015. Photo by Laura.

O traveled over 14,000 miles during the course of his life, until he settled for good at Old Friends. His halter looks like it’s been around the world and back, too. The nose band is a little warped, the ends of the straps are curled up, and the nameplate is scratched and worn with age. It’s a halter with character, experience, toughness, fitting for a warrior, a survivor like O. O and his halter were never separated. Until Saturday night. And now, it sits on my dining room table. I think I’m going to give this halter to the person O loved best in all the world, Beth. I think that’s what O would want me to do. And I never turned down a request from Ogygian.


For the past several years, Ogygian has been my “Saturday night horse”. After the visitors go home, Saturday evenings are spent wandering the farm and visiting with the wonderful horses at Old Friends. One horse that was always part of the nightly ritual was Ogygian. He always wandered over for a visit with Beth, Barbara, Alex, John, myself, and whoever else was out in the evening.

Ogygian was a very particular horse. Some things were only allowed if done in a special way. One of those things was the weekly application of a hoof-strengthening cream to his hooves. Beth couldn’t just go in and rub it in. Ogygian required a minimum of two other visitors, preferably female, to praise him and provide carrots while the cream was applied. It was usually Barbara and me cooing and praising as we passed carrot after carrot to him. When someone was not at the farm, we would press John in to be part of Ogygian’s “harem”.

In old age, O got an extra dinner to keep his aging body in good weight. Beth would call him and they would race around the paddock to his feed tub. I used to try to get over to the feed tub first to get the right light for photos. The sight of the old stallion with his mane and tail streaming behind him is forever etched in my mind.

Race to the feed tub. Photo by Laura.

Race to the feed tub. Photo by Laura.

O loved to stand in the back of his paddock under “his” tree. Sometimes, he would fade into the scenery. I remember bringing a tour over to see him one morning. I was looking everywhere for him and calling his name and just didn’t see him. I think he decided I must be blind as he started talking as he cantered across his paddock to the “oohs” and “aahs” of the admiring crowd.

Last Saturday night, I had to say good-bye to my old friend. Saturday nights won’t be the same for a long time to come…


Ogygian. Photo by Laura.

Ogygian. Photo by Laura.



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9 responses to “March 17, 2015

  1. ann

    Oh ogy just received your poster in the mail on Friday then read this notice of your passing you have fans and friends you have never met we will mourn your passing and celebrate your life rest in peace old warrior you have touched many hearts thank you old friends for giving him the best retirement a horse can have

  2. Becky P

    I will miss Ogygian very much. He was one of first horses I met at Old Friends in 2008 along with Fortunate Prospect, Creator, Flying Pidgeon and Ruhlmann. He has been my favorite since. With loving goodby, we’ll see you at the rainbow bridge. Thank you so much for your excellent care and love.

  3. colmel

    Loving tributes to a completely amazing individual. He was superb at everything he did. He was made by Damascus and embodied all the strength and beauty of the steel of the same name. Ogygion, you lived up to your name and your birthright. God graced us with your presence for 32 years. His loan was called and we must say farewell. Never good-bye.

  4. colmel

    Reblogged this on Colmel's Blog and commented:
    In less than 2 weeks the world has lost two of the greatest thoroughbreds of our times. I first met Ogygion when he went to stud in Kentucky at Claiborne Farm. It doesn’t seem possible that so much time has passed. He lived to be a few days shy of 32 years old. As I said in my response to Old Friends, “He was made by Damascus and embodied all the strength and beauty of the steel of the same name. Ogygion, you lived up to your name and your birthright. God graced us with your presence for 32 years. His loan was called and we must say farewell. Never good-bye.”

  5. Jeanne Wolverton

    See you on the other side old man.

  6. GAE

    Thank you for making a sound judgement not to prolong Ogygian’s suffering. You did everything you could to treat him humanely. Ogygian was a gracious host when my husband and I visited him five years ago. I’m glad he so patiently allowed us to spend some time with him, lots of time actually, with lots of petting, admiration and a few treats. He did his best to pose and allow us to take some great photos on a sunny Spring day. What a handsome boy. HIs sire, Damascus was a wonderful race horse and a great sire — Ogygian, Honorable Miss, Zen and Highland Blade were some of my favorites and I had a chance to see them race at the track and/or on tv racing broadcasts. God Bless.

  7. Very sorry to hear of his passing. Was looking forward to visiting him this spring.

  8. Mary McLeod

    Ogygian was quite a personality in horse’s clothing. Steadfast in his love for his caretakers and fans, he was a true gentleman and gracious to all. He has his new body now, free from that demon colic…he awaits all he loved and who loved him. Learn the ropes, dear boy, so you can teach them to us when we see you again. Love to himself and All who loved him, Mary in Boone

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