February 22, 2017

Wherever you are, your presence and caring have been felt by all of us here at the farm. As the shock of losing Charismatic so unexpectedly went from feeling unreal to all too real, as the necropsy results came in and Old Friends vets Dr. Waldridge and Dr. Bell helped us all understand them better via Natalie Voss’s informative article in the Paulick Report, and as so many of you have sent your kind words and tokens of sympathy, your caring is strongly felt.

Ms. Voss’s article with Dr. Waldridge’s and Dr. Bell’s information, important for understanding what happened to Charismatic, can be found here.

For whatever comfort it may be, I too saw Charismatic’s remains Sunday morning. His position was peaceful and his bedding showed no sign of struggle or distress.

You may have seen this photo, the last one ever taken of him. There’s a little story that goes with it.

charismatic-last-photo

On Saturday, Charismatic and the other residents played host to a good number of visitors. Over his two and a half months with us, he came to enjoy these visits. What started as wanting the carrots but wondering what all those people were there for, had relaxed into a routine he liked, for the attention and admiration as well as the carrots. Charismatic impressed us with his dignity, his intelligence, his professional attitude, and his kindness. We looked forward to the long, fascinating journey of forming ever-deepening bonds with him.

That night, after the farm closed, Laura and I golf carted up to the “back 40” for Laura to spend quality time with her favorite girl, Bint Marscay. It takes a lot of carrots to get to the back 40. The horses in back of the main tour route all come to the fence for their due. It’s amazing how many carrots disappear on the way, and the rest disappear quickly as Laura grooms and treats Binty and I noodle around with the others in the back. But we were careful to save some carrots for the two visits I wanted to make before leaving. Half of those carrots were for Charismatic and the other half for Afternoon Deelites.

We stopped by the barn first. Charismatic was, as always, enthusiastic about his carrot dessert. He made short work of all his carrots while Laura took a few more photos of him, though the light was going and she knew they’d be underexposed. Charismatic was so beautiful it was always impossible not to take a few more photos.

But photos were definitely not his concern. Charismatic let us know, in no uncertain terms, that only one thing mattered: I’d stepped away, but I still had carrots.

He could see them plainly. There they were. So why was I not giving them to him? I explained they were for Afternoon Deelites. That didn’t wash. I had carrots. Charismatic wanted them.

This is what’s happening in that photo. His very alert attention is on those carrots.

I sighed. Well, after all, Afternoon Deelites was outdoors in his paddock and wouldn’t know about it. I gave in. Charismatic got to eat every last one of those carrots. I’ll always be glad he did.

And I’ll always be a little comforted that my last words to him were “I love you.”

Though the voice he heard saying the words happened to be mine, I respect and honor that I spoke them to him for each and every one of you who loved him.

Beth
photo by Laura

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “February 22, 2017

  1. Dee

    This is beautiful, thank you Beth. The photo will be treasured. Dee Ramirez

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. amyhelentremper

    Thank you for this. While it brings tears, it is also comforting get. Even from afar, it hurts…it just does.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. I wish every horse could have the love and care that the horses at Old Friends receive. And, as shocking as Charismatic’s passing was, I know that it was probably swift and painless which is a rare occurrence in the equine world. Having been there for many old horses at the end, I speak from experience. Bless you all for your care and compassion. And peace to Charismatic.

  4. Dee

    Your words and Laura’s photo brought on a new round of crying like a baby, I loved that horse so so much. Had already planned my trip to meet him in April. I am so sorry for all of us that loved him, it is heartbreaking news to receive. Can’t fathom it yet. Thank you Dee Ramirez

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. Julia Ray

    Thank you for sharing this, definitely not a dry eye here tonight. I am so heart broken from his loss I loved him dearly. I am so fortunate I came to visit Old Friends in January to see him. I was so excited to finally meet him upon his return. He was beautiful, magnificent and full of life. I was mesmerized by his stature and beauty. While I was there Michael was feeding him treats out of his mouth and I thought it was the most awesome thing. He was a true stallion and loved to try and bite. It was so cute though in his ornery way. I took a video of him doing it, and would constantly watch if it and smile of that magical day. It’s hard to watch now, for it constantly brings tears to my eyes to think of his loss. He was so loved by so many people. I’m so glad the last words he heard were those of “I love you”. I send all the sympathy of my torn heart to Old Friends for this painful loss we are suddenly faced with. Love, Julia.

    • oldfriendsblog

      I’m glad you got to visit him. I hope someday you can watch your video with gladness that such a brilliant athlete and beautiful stallion existed. I hope I can do the same.

  6. Darlene Daniels

    Thank you for sharing these lovely memories. Even though it is so heartbreaking that he is gone it is a comfort to know he was so happy and loved. Thank you also for knowing every time you said you loved him you were also speaking for all of us fans .God Bless you all for all you do. Darlene

  7. Amy Gulbrandson

    What a beautiful and comforting memory. You’ve all earned a place in heaven with the unending kindness and devotion you show to every one of your sweet horses. Looking forward to thanking you all in person in May. Until then, sending love and condolences, Amy & Rolf Gulbrandson

  8. Beautiful, I wish he could have spent more time at Old Friends

  9. Pattie Benedix

    Thank you for the beautiful story of your last night with Charismatic. I never have any doubts that all of the horses at Old Friends receive the “Very Best” of care and love. You have my most sincerely sympathy, with love.

  10. Gae

    Very thorough and thoughtful writing especially since this happened so recently and this had to be very difficult for you to prepare. And I commend you for linking the highly respected Paulick report update. Good timely reporting helps many to gain a better understanding and avoid speculation. From all accounts and my own common sense Old Friends did everything humanly possible to assist and love this retired older champion. That I believe. God Bless You.

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