This is not a blog post. This is an appreciation of an incredible animal who has given me so much pleasure.
I've been emotional all day. Partly lack of sleep (3am reveille), partly Veteran's Day and partly because it's Fred's birthday. I went to see him today. He's on the same property but at a different barn. He is being leased to two very nice ladies who ride him three times a week each. He does very easy stuff with them, flatwork, low cavaletti, and behaves like a perfect gentleman, as one would expect. He was positively gleeful when I visited this morning with my bag of carrots and oaty granola bars. It filled me with enormous gratitude. So much so, that I burst into tears. We played, did his tricks (he can bow, like a circus pony), nuzzled each other. Today is his 17th birthday, born in New South Wales, Australia in 1992. I know this because Australian thoroughbreds (his mother was TB) are marked on the shoulder with their birth year(92) and the number foal born in the barn (1). On his other should his brand is the Superman S. No other horse deserves this as he does. He winks at me, puts his nose in my pockets, rubs his ears on my shoulders, and watches me walk all the way to the road as I leave.
And so the Surtees quote:
"There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse."
-- Robert Smith Surtees
Aargent aka Aartie aka Fred as a baby (same foal: he was chestnut, bay roan and finally grey)
Freddie himself, in fighting form
Furry Fred, out at pasture last year
Aachen, Aargent's Hanoverian sire. Dam: Zola Bud (Australian Thoroughbred)
Argentinus, Aachen's Sire