Thursday, March 25, 2021

Alfie Memories

Still trying to accept and get used to the "new normal" at the farm without Alfie.  I've been trying to understand why his death in particular hit me so hard. Sega, my other "forever horse" is 27 and I've owned her longer than Alfie and we had a more successful career together than Alfie and I did.  I guess I just wasn't "ready" for Alfie to go and I've been preparing myself for Sega's departure for a few years now.  We had a bout with laminitis with her a few years ago and I thought we had lost her then but she rallied so we've come close with her.

Alfie was never retired.  Yes, my horse show life with him slowed quite a bit the past few years, but I always kept him going and he was a sound horse given his age and career.  I fully expected him to keep going for at least two more years.  At his last horse show in November, he kicked butt, out of 29 horses he was 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th.  We had not shown over the jumps in a year which made his ribbons that more impressive.  My plan for 2021 was to show him in equitation - over the jumps and on the flat.  He could go to a show, show in 2 or 3 classes and go home.  He was quite a good equitation horse too - you could ride him that way unlike Madison and Sega.  I was never going to show him enough again to win year-end titles so this was a good plan and I was excited about it.  

I think Alfie and I really bonded once we moved to Virginia in 2010.  Sega retired from the horse show world in 2011 or 2012 (and that took me also by surprise) so Alfie very quickly became my "show horse" all by himself.  Once we were here, we never traveled that far to show.  We went to Raleigh a few times (4 hours), Warrenton (2 1/2 hours), Rosemount (2 hours), Roanoke (an hour) and then we showed the local circuit which is like a rated B show circuit but it's not rated.  Alfie won the Adult Amateur title a few years ago and was always in the year end standings even when we did not show nearly as much as many people.

Alfie was very funny about certain venues on our local circuit.  He HATED Sweetbriar's indoor and Liberty University's indoor.  But he loved Randolph College's indoor.  I took him to Sweetbriar twice and he was equally awful both times.  At one of the shows, I just stopped him and took him out of the ring. At Liberty, the only time I took him there I asked a local rider to show him in a class because he was awful (I was there without my trainer) and she was a very good rider.  He threw her off.  But at Randolph he was fabulous. There was a very fancy horse there named Sunny Banks and the one time we were there, we beat that horse in every class, even the under saddle (and that horse is a fabulous mover).  So he was quirky about rings.  He was not a spooky horse and he never looked at jumps. He looked at what was going on around him so you had to make him focus.  He was like a kid with ADHD.  He tended to have two speeds - good and bad - he either was fabulous like our last show - or he was was just terrible like at Sweetbriar.  You never knew which Alfie was going to show up - the great one or the terrible one - until you were in the ring.  You could not tell warming him up.  I guess he just decided which Alfie he would be that day when he entered the ring.  So you either loved him or hated him at shows, but I eventually learned to accept this behaviour - it was the way he was wired.  And he was a sweet horse - he never meant to hurt you if he threw you off, that's just the way he was.

More memories to come........

1 comment:

  1. Awwww I'm sorry your beautiful horse has died. It's heartbreaking when we lose a beloved animal. It took me years to get over losing my basset hound Sabastian to old age. It's been 9 years and not a day goes by that I don't think of him. Jane


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