Sunday, March 21, 2021

RIP Alfie

2021 ended yesterday for Alfie, just like it started - abruptly.  While most are cheering our return to normalcy soon, we are trying to wrap our heads around the new normal here - life without the horse that had been the life of the farm and a huge part of our life for 16 years.  Alfie was a class act no matter how you saw him - the beautiful black horse with the cutest ears ever, that face, those eyes, the long neck and that jump. No horse could jump quite like him.  He was sweet, kind, complicated and somewhat bi-polar. The other horses saw it in him too. He was the like the great looking most popular boy in the class - everyone gravitated towards him.

I'll never forget how it all started. The phone rang one day, it was Chad.  "Ann, I'm on your horse."  He was in Europe.  A month or so later, "Ann, your horse is here, you have to come see him."    And so I did.  And when I saw that beautiful specimen that was Alfie, how could I not bring him home?   His American life started in Middleburg, Virginia and it ended in Brownsburg, Virginia - an appropriate entry and exit for a horse that was the epitome of what a classic hunter should be.

Alfie never made it easy for any of us, though.  At the time I was living near Pittsburgh and the weather was damp and cold most of the winter. Note to self - try not to buy a young new horse in the dead of winter unless you are in Florida.  I rode Alfie every day for weeks on end, despite the temperature hovering around 20 degrees.  My trainer at the time was not in on the decision to buy Alfie and she was not happy about the purchase but I asked her to hold judgment until she saw him because I thought that she too would learn to love him. 

Once the trainer signed off, I kept him in work but he was young, only four, and I knew I could not bring along a complicated young horse without help.  I took Alfie to his first horse show in early March, where Chad (the same Chad that had found Alfie in Europe) showed him to the first of many tri-colors he would win in his career even though he added down lines in the course - he was just that good that he didn't need to be perfect to win.  But I knew someone else needed to keep riding him so I sent Alfie home with Chad that March with the instructions to bring him back in mid-April to the same venue for the next horse show.  We never told the trainer that this had been our game plan - they always thought that I had kept him going that spring while she was in Florida. 

When Alfie returned to an even bigger A show in April, he threw the trainer off after the first jump. This became his trademark, spinning off the rider, after the first jump when the first jump was off the right lead.  He threw off many well-known professional riders in his career (and this Adult Amateur a few times along the way) but he won the next two classes and his second tri-color. 

I have so many stories and memories of my black boy.  He traveled well - Vermont, Tampa, Ocala, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  He was not a great indoor horse but he shined in big rings where he could show off that incredible jump.  I've never seen a horse that could jump two inches off the base of a jump like he could.  He loved that distance and he could pull it off so well. It was a gift. 

My heart aches for him today.  He did not suffer. But this year was such a struggle for him - his initial injury happened on January 5th.  By mid-February I knew in my heart that he would likely not make it more than 3-6 more months.  We did the best to manage him, keep him happy and comfortable but in the end, he made the decision that he wanted to live his way or not at all.   RIP my black boy.  A piece of me left this earth with you.  I'll see you upstairs eventually.  Love.My.Boy.


  1. So sorry to hear. I always enjoyed seeing him on your blog.

  2. I know very little about horses, especially the Hunter/Jumper class. It is easy to tell Alfie was a magnificent horse even by someone like me. I am sorry for the loss you feel in your heart and hope the memories bring you peace.

  3. I'm so sorry to hear this. He was such a beautiful boy. Such style over fences.

  4. Oh my, it is so hard. They become so mcuh a part of us. Reports on him and your others was is alwasy a special post. This is the post none of us wanted to read. take good care.

  5. Oh Ann, I’m so so sorry for your lose. Animals add so much to our lives, when we lose one, it truly is like losing a family member. I hope “telling Alfie’s story” is cathartic. The pain is so much to handle in the beginning. I hope you’ll keep writing to help with your healing

  6. Crying as I read this...we have all felt that pain and there are no words to ease it. I'm so very glad you had him in your life.

  7. I always look forward to seeing Horse Country Chic pop up in my email box. This one took me by surprise. After the paragraph I had tears streaming down my face and had to get up and walk away. It brought back painful memories of losing my horse to a freak accident. I am so sorry for your loss. RIP Alfie.

  8. Thank you everyone for your very kind words. Losing him has been a huge blow and we are trying to accept it. Hugs to everyone and I hope to be writing again soon! Hug your horses today please!


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