Today, horse racing Hall of Famer Silver Charm celebrates his 25th birthday at Old Friends thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown, Kentucky. (I got to meet Silver Charm in the fur when I visited Kentucky – check it out).
Silver Charm’s birthday is a significant milestone for several reasons:
- Thoroughbreds generally have shorter lifespans thanks to breeding and genetics.
- Too many racers, even winners, do not experience full lifespans because they outlive their financial usefulness. But thanks to rescues like Old Friends, this changes for some.
- It helped renew my passion for horses … and writing about them.
Ok, that last one might be just for me.
Admittedly, I have been neglecting my horse blog for a few months, after an ambitious goal the last two years to trail ride somewhere interesting monthly, maintain regular riding lessons and profile – celebrate – a horse rescue once a month.
That sounded like a good idea, but two things happened:
- The barn where I rode casually closed and beloved horses dispersed. That one shocked me more than I thought.
- I learned from rescue organizations more than I was prepared to face about the dark, often tragic, side of horse ownership and horses’ fates – many once treasured pets.
Yes, I thought I knew all this but didn’t really. Instead, I focused primarily on the lives of my friends’ pet horses, lovingly cared for from purchase to pasture (and beyond – some are buried on private properties). Turns out, I wasn’t prepared to learn the extent to which horses are abandon annually and the over-whelming need for horse rescues.
I also haven’t found a regular lesson opportunity but as the snow melts and green trails call, I’ll give it another try. I’ve been lucky finding good people and ethical barns, and I hope that continues with a little effort.
So, it’s taken me some time to process, refocus on the success stories and balance expectations.
In the meantime, here’s what’s happening at Old Friends today: From 1 to 4 pm, the farm is celebrating Silver Charm’s birthday with a fundraiser open house and birthday card contest. Visitors will lunch on locally made soup, go home with a gift bag and find out who won the greeting card design contest.
Silver Charm with continue retirement in the comfort he’s earned. He won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1997. The Dubai World Cup in 1998. He was retired for stud before relocating to Japan. Japan! Then, Silver Charm was repatriated to the US, becoming a popular draw for fans at Old Friends since 2014.