June 3, 2016

On Memorial Day we gathered to honor the five residents of Old Friends in Georgetown who passed during the last year. They were Mixed Pleasure, Francis (Do One Dance), Flick, Gulch, and Wallenda.

2016 06 03 Mixed Pleasure

Mixed Pleasure (1985-2015)

2016 06 03 Francis 2015 2

Do One Dance, a.k.a. Francis (1984-2015)

2016 06 03 Flick 2

Flick (1992-2016)

2016 06 03 Gulch 4

Gulch (1984-2016)

Wallenda 090826-01

Wallenda (1990-2016)

Supporters, staff and volunteers listened to Old Friends’ official eulogist Bill Mooney’s tribute to each horse. Bill said so much that was so meaningful, in so few and so eloquent words that each horse seemed to stand there for a moment, clear, himself, unforgetable.

2016 06 03 Bill M 2

Bill reads the eulogy


Those who were especially close to a particular horse or who wanted to share some powerful experience inspired by Mixed Pleasure, Francis, Flick, Gulch or Wallenda, generously shared how that horse came into their lives and made a difference in them.

2016 06 03 John

John talks about his friend and teacher, Mixed Pleasure.

2016 06 03 Val

Val tells the story of Francis.


We very much missed Bucky Sallee’s Call to the Post, but the tradition of the Last Call to the Post continued with Steve Siegel doing the honors. Those who remember, or have heard about, some of the residents’ interested responses to previous memorial Calls looked around and caught some heads flung up, some ears pricked. War Emblem was too far away for us to see if he responded, but Touch Gold seemed to love hearing “his song.”

2016 06 03 Touch Gold

Touch Gold charges over when he hears the call. “Where’s the race?”

Silver Charm just looked over and continued munching the lovely early summer grass. And with every right. Who’s been there and done that more convincingly than he has?

2016 06 03 Silver Charm

As always, Silver Charm exhibits the ultimate cool.


On the eve of the groundbreaking for the new barn on the site of the “small barn,” our former hospital and quarantine barn that burned down last winter, the sign was unveiled that will adorn the new barn, dedicating it to the memory of pioneering Thoroughbred aftercare advocate John Hettinger. Old Friends is grateful to Fasig Tipton and the many other generous donors who have enabled us to replace the all-important hospital and quarantine barn. Follow its progress on our Facebook page and on this blog.

2016 06 03 John Hettinger Memorial Barn

This beautiful sign will be on the John Hettinger Memorial Barn, now under construction.


People take for granted that humans can deeply affect each others’ lives, perceptions, and wisdom. Sometimes it isn’t recognized that an animal can contribute just as profoundly to our ability to live, feel, and gain wisdom. All of our supporters who have made Old Friends possible and make it continue to work possess a clear understanding of the powerful effect these horses have on us, both the track and as they continue to enrich our lives in their retirements. As handicapper, fan and longtime OF supporter Kate Dunn said after Monday’s gathering, “I guess Michael was thinking about helping horses when he started but I wonder if he knew how much the horses would help people.”


2016 06 03 Mixie and John 2015

Mixed Pleasure

2016 06 03 Francis 1

Francis (Do One Dance)

2016 06 03 Flick 1


2016 06 03 Gulch Nov 2015


Wallenda 091012-02


the good photos – Laura
the snapshots – Beth


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5 responses to “June 3, 2016

  1. colmel

    I thought I could read this – just this once – and not cry. I was wrong. Beautifully written and the photos (all of them!) were terrific. If one is human – really human – animals do touch your lives in so very many ways. To many of us, when one of our beloved animals goes to their reward, they take a huge piece of our hearts with them.

    • oldfriendsblog

      I think there’s always be an Ogygian-shaped hole in mine. Thank you for the caring words.

      You know, doing tours there’s a Memorial Day moment during each visit to the cemetery. I try to choose a different horse to focus on each time so all get their due. Occasionally I get a little choked up unexpectedly, and not always for the recently passed ones. Ruhlmann, Proper Reality, do I ever miss them. But I’m lucky to have so much opportunity to help share and pass down memories of them. – Beth

      • colmel

        Beth, I need to have a few moments in the cemetery alone the next time I’m up there – just to have a good cry. A couple of the horses there are family. They were related to my own horses who have gone on. I don’t know where my “kids” are buried (if, indeed, they were buried at all), but I can honor them by visiting their grandfather, great grandfather, and cousin at Old Friends.

        • oldfriendsblog

          Absolutely. Next time you make an appointment for a visit be sure to mention this. We’ll do everything we can to make it possible for you to have quiet time in the cemetery. If you visit on a Saturday remind me of this, and of any particular living horses you especially want to see this time.

  2. GAE

    Yes Ogygian must be sorely missed. My husband took a nice photo of that handsome dude back in 2010. Was it ever possible NOT to take a nice photo of Ogygian? If you’d like a copy just send me a private e-mail. BTW, that little squirt Silver Charm dictates a marvelous story and who knew he was so photogenic himself? And Big Silver Charm — the King of Cool!

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