In Delay of Game’s passing we’ve lost one of our most valued friends and role models.
As some of the best do, he grew to wisdom after a rambunctious youth. Sarah Arnold, who’s known him since he was two, once told me that when she was his exercise rider her nickname for him was Stinky Dee. Sarah had the right to call him that. No one knew him longer or better, or loved him more than Sarah. By the time he came to Old Friends at seventeen he’d matured into a quietly dignified horse, patient about most things, and infinitely kind.
Delay of Game wasn’t one of those horses whose presence takes up a lot of extra space, but you felt his class at once. He wasn’t flashy, but his proportions had a rightness, his magnificent chest looked like it housed a powerful heart, and the pale celadon green flecks in his eyes were as beautiful as their intelligent, friendly expression.
Oh, he had plenty of spirit. His accumulating old age issues notwithstanding, he let us know that when it was time to do feet. But what I’ll remember best was the pleasure he took and returned. Being groomed on a summer evening. Trading nuzzles with his human friends. In the company of his paddock mate, Judge’s Case, who felt secure in his leadership. Delay of Game may not have understood all the words spoken to him, but he was remarkably willing to listen, to be open to his friends in happy times and sad ones. To the end, his strength was quiet, supportive and deep. He was a horse of genuine class in every sense. If we humans can achieve half his wisdom and grace in old age, we’ll be doing admirably. We’ll never forget him.
photos by his good friend Laura