Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Life's a Roller Coaster Ride

I'm on a complete rollercoaster ride these days. I think at some point things will level out for me but right now I'm just hanging on.

While I was away working the US Women's Open championship, I got the news that Palmer, my loyal friend for the past 12 1/2 years had passed. He had been in failing health but was doing really well by the time I had left for the Women's Open. Bless his devoted heart, he became depressed like he usually does when I go away on my business trips but this time his body didn't have the strength to carry on. He died in his sleep on a sunny afternoon in his favorite spot in my yard. I can't think of a better way to go for a dog that gave so much love. I just wish I had been home for him at that moment.

I walked out of the womens open media center, found a quiet spot behind the usga office trailer and let my heartache out. A security guard came over to ask if I was ok and if I needed help. Poor guy - he tried to be helpful but I just wanted to be left alone.

Palmer's death is easier for me to accept. He had a full and wonderful life. I have so many great stories about him and his quirky behavior.

palmer headshot

He will be missed by so many.

That night I had a long talk with the man upstairs about all the heartache lately. I think he answered me.

The day after I received the news about Palmer I was sitting in my spot in the media center (with sunglasses on to hide my swelled up eyes) and tending to some mindless tasks for work. I had my facebook page open and up pops an instant message from my dear friend Maggie.

Maggie: Sweetie, I'm so sorry about Palmer! I know my timing may not be right but I think I have a horse for you.

Me: I just can't think about another horse right now Maggie

Maggie: This guy is lovely and wants a job so badly. His owner is looking to place him into a good home. I think you should look at him. Lydia and I fell in love with him and think he'd be terrific.

We continued the conversation by telephone. It seems that Lydia and Maggie were at this awesome farm in Baltimore to write a story for Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred. They were looking at a cute pony in the barn when this very attractive gray head popped over the door to say hello. They come to find out that he needs a good home. Maggie gives me the name and number of the person to speak with about the horse. When we connected, we found out that this guy is a Michigan bred! Surely this was meant to be...

My flight home was scheduled at 4:30pm out of Newark, NJ on the day after the Women's Open. I typically schedule an afternoon flight after a championship so I can sleep in and take my time to get to the airport. Not this time... I rented a car, woke up at 5am, drove almost 3 hours to Baltimore to look at the horse, and drove north to Newark Airport to make my flight. What a day!

In a nutshell, I loved what I saw. His name is Hola C Bright. Raced 61 times, 12 wins, 11 places, 12 shows to earn $157,633 in his racing career. He placed and showed in stakes races, won a few allowance races and had a pretty decent racing career! He raced in Michigan, Florida and ended up racing in the Mid-Atlantic region (Monmouth, Pimlico, Laurel, Philadelphia Park and Delaware Park).

I'm getting him checked out so I know what I've got in terms of wear and tear. I want to be sure it's manageable wear and tear. The farm he's in is not only giving him to me, they will also ship him to Lexington with one of their other shippers to help me with getting him to Michigan. After showing my friends, I have a few that have offered to pick him up in Lexington! It's all going so smoothly. I hope he checks out well - I anticipate that he will since he's very sound on his barefeet - and he gets here soon!

Meet Hola C Bright:

He has lovely daisy clipping movement:

Hola C Bright

and nice top line for a horse that has been in a pasture for the past year:

Hola C Bright conformation

He is 16 hands and a cool looking dappled rose gray. I know he'll get whiter as he ages and it'll be a challenge to keep him nice and white but I think he's very cool!

Hola C Bright


  1. WOW! He is gorgeous! Love me a gray! Good luck with everything sorry to here about Palmer

  2. Very cute - I hope he works out for you! Sorry you lost your dog friend - we lost one of our dogs about this time last year and it was very hard.

  3. I can't think of a better distraction for a broken heart than a new horse to look forward to! He's lovely, and I hope he checks out so he can be an able dancing partner for a long time to come.

  4. He's got an intelligent head and a nice eye. And as for his colour -well no one could accuse you of trying to buy another Jag! Maybe a complete change is exactly what's called for.

    I love those black tips to his ears (maybe a teensy bit of Jag then) :0)

    Ali Bannister

  5. He has a nose that's as soft as Jag's was. But he has Palmer's friendly personality. He has Jag's workmanlike attitude and grace without the exclamation points Jag liked to throw in. He's a great combo of both my main men.

  6. I'm sorry to read about Palmer. Glad to read you have a grandson of Damascus. My OTTB is by Eastern Echo by Damascus. Small world (or busy grandsire ;o)

    Am looking forward to reading all about your next "new journey." He looks wonderful.

  7. Oh congratulations! I know even when my barn is full there is always room for a new OTTB.. they're just so delightful.

    Love your boy's look.. and ped ain't bad - Ribot in the third gen and Damascus in the second.

    I have a 2000 project as well, I'd like to think that at 9 their brains have started to appear.

  8. He's gorgeous! He looks alot like my OTTB. I use baby wipes to clean some of the stains in the winter; they work wonders and they're very safe to use. :)

    I'm sorry to hear about your dog. He sounds like he was a good friend.


  9. I'm sorry to hear about Palmer, but excited about the new horsey prospect too. Sometimes the best things come when we aren't looking for them. He has such a handsome face and kind, intelligent eye. Hope it all works out!

  10. What a nice post, Wendy! I'm so glad that Hola will likely not feel the need to add those exclamation points that Jag sometimes provided. As a friend, I always worried that boy that you loved so would some day buck you in a bad way. Now it's just the bucking of life you have to deal with - that's plenty to handle! Keep hanging on!

  11. Wendy,
    I am so very sorry to hear about Palmer. His face would absolutely melt anyone. What a precious boy. I know how you will miss him. May you take comfort in all the memories you have of him and know that you gave him a wonderful life. They leave us all too soon. We're never ready. Sending a hug to you.
    (my OTTB Couch Man)