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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Skipingo Home (Part 2)

To fill you in a little more on Skipingo's story, here is his biography page:
I hope you can read this!
Skippy was the Lyons' daughter Karen's H/J competition mount for a while after he came back to KY, but suffered a career-ending injury and is now a spoiled pasture pet. His buddy Primerica, a long-term track campaigner, went straight into retirement. The two distinguished gentleman hang out with a few other guys in a beautiful pasture next to an elegant white barn. This is their view from the pasture, courtesy of Skipingo's book:
The horses immediately came over to the fence when we drove up - I think they are ever-so-slightly used to being plied with treats, so they know when the goodie train arrives. :-)  Here are Skippy and Primerica (I forget his nickname). Skip is on the right:
Skipingo, grabbing another mouthful of that good KY bluegrass:
He was a good boy and took his treats politely, letting us rub his face and ears.
Finally, here is my bad photo of a good photo of Skipingo and Primerica that appears in the back of Primerica's book. Skippy is on the right with Karen Lyons Bailey, and that's her mother Jane on the left with "P:"
After we had visited a bit with these two "famous" TBs, we were off to see India's 2011 foal. This girl was in a pasture with a bunch of other weanlings, and gosh, were they a rowdy bunch! The groom had his hands full separating Baby India out of the group and standing her up for us to see. I haven't gotten to be around baby horses all that much, but just watching that gang for a few minutes was enough to thoroughly convince me that people who think they should have a foal out of their mare so their kids can see the "miracle of birth" and because it will be so "kyyyyyuuuuuutttte" need to know that they quickly turn into multi-hundred pound energetic monsters with flying hooves and teeth. No wonder there are so many unfortunate yearlings and two-year-olds on Craigs List advertised as "unhandled!" I had no interest in even trying to pet one of those rambunctious kids over the fence.

I was really enjoying my farm tour, but unfortunately, I was beginning to have a pressing time concern. I wanted to get back home to MO before it was late at night, since I had to work the next day at 8:30. Here I was moseying around more than six hours away, and it was going on 3:30... and I wasn't even packed up yet at my friend's house. So when the rest of the group suggested we visit the cemetery next, I said okay, but hoped it was pretty close by.

Imagine my surprise when the first thing I saw upon arriving at the cemetery was not a horse, dead or alive. Nope, in a pasture just a few feet away it looked like... could it be... well, yes, unless my eyes were deceiving me, it certainly was a striped equine, aka, a ZEBRA. Meet Ziggy! (See, I told you this trip would be from A to Z. Your patience has been rewarded!)
Ziggy was pastured with some donkey friends. I was very excited, and leapt from the car to run over and say hello. I'd never gotten to see a tame zebra up close! I swiftly approached the fence and reached out to pet this exciting animal. Just as my hand connected with his cheek, I heard Liz call, "WATCH OUT - he bites!" Now, I guess I was lucky, because he didn't even snap at me, but since I wasn't interested in losing any fingers to an African mammal I kept my hands to myself afterwards (I can just see explaining that one in the ER... "You got bit by a WHAT???"). Turns out Mr. Ziggy is in no way, shape or form "tame." He and the donkeys are rescues, picked up from poor circumstances by Karen Lyons Bailey. The only way anyone has been able to do a thing with him is to dart him, so everyone hopes fervently that he doesn't have an accident requiring veterinary care. Luckily, his hooves are "self-trimming" so they have been okay.

I'm sorry to say my phone died after I took this photo, so I didn't get any pictures of the cemetery. This was a row of nice marble stones set into the ground, and marked the resting places of such horses as Skipingo and Skipaway's mother, Ingot Way. Fleet Indian's ashes had already been interred but her headstone had not arrived yet. It was in a pretty spot next to a row of lovely old trees, and a fitting place to commemorate the lives of horses who are all definitely much-loved by the Lyons family. Here's a link to an article about the little purchase Mrs. Lyons made during the sale that was taking place at Keeneland while I was in town: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/66105/love-me-only-brings-21-million-at-keeneland

I did make my departure after this, and eventually arrived back at my own home, tired but very happy. What adventures I had had! I will leave you with this photo of the last page of Skipingo's book. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes. I only wish all retired TB racehorses could find themselves in such wonderful circumstances...

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