“I Know Great Horses Live Again.” 8/12/2012

Saturday was a very subdued day at the Festival of the Horse – for all the workers and anyone connected in any way to horses.  Shortly after returning to the Island from the airport, the devastating news of a tragic fire at a horse training facility downstate reached me online – nine horses were lost, and one of them was Ferrari, one of Maryanke Alexander’s glorious Friesians.  Maryanke and Ferrari had begun competing in Dressage, and her goals for the future with him were etched deeply in her heart.  He was a very, very special horse, and, as she does all her horses, Maryanke loved him passionately and completely.  Maryanke left on the first ferry out Saturday morning to go downstate.

I was scheduled to work the Festival from 12:30-3:30 at the admission table.  My work-time coincided with the Breed Show – an event I’ve written about for the past two years – so I really had no plans to photograph it again.  But my co-worker at the table said, “Go – photograph!  I can handle this!”

Just as I was walking away from the table, a family with three children stepped up, wanting to go on the pony rides, which were offered at specific times every day of the Festival.  The rides had ended 15 minutes earlier, and all the horses were on their way back to the barn.  This precious little 3-year-old boy had been crying all morning to “ride a horse”, and his parents were so disappointed they had missed the opportunity.

Just then, I looked up to see Barb walking onto the Burroughs Lot, leading their family pony, Topaz – with one of her grandchildren astride.  Topaz would take the arena later in the Paint division of the Breed Show.  On this day, filled with such sadness, it just seemed extra-important – if possible – for anyone with a love of horses to connect with them – no matter how young, no matter how briefly.  I walked over and asked Barb if she would allow the little boy to ride Topaz around the arena, and she beamed  “Yes!  Of course!”

Down came the grandson, and up went Jacob for a thrill-of-his-life THREE circuits of the arena, led by Barb.

A happy little boy.

Jacob’s six-year-old sister Madelyn also got to ride. Thanks so much, Barb, for making the day for these two!

I stayed out at the arena and snapped photographs for an hour.  Here are a few of my favorites (some from Friday) of our precious Mackinac horses -and the owners and riders who love them so.

From Friday – Maryanke on her beautiful Regina for the musical kur, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”.

“Puttin’ on the Ritz” was presented again on Saturday – with Michelle Stuck stepping up for Maryanke and riding Gysbert.  That’s Ann on Lars East, Katie on Teddie, and Kate on Hercules.

Michelle – on her magnificent Gysbert on Saturday.

Little Blaze, a Haflinger – and every 4-H child’s favorite Island horse. He can do it all, and he can do it well.

Ann Levy on Lars East.

The mighty Percheron, Dan.

Every little girl wants a horse, and this one got her wish very early. She’s on her much loved Ricky – a miniature.

Kate – on Hercules – walking onto the Burroughs Lot.

Topaz, our “fill-in” for the pony ride! Here, Barb leads him with grandson Aiden aboard.

Doc Al – with Skip, a Standardbred.

Katie on Mary Stancik’s Teddie (my handsome god-horse).

From Friday – Maryanke on Regina and Katie on Teddie.

Regina looks on as I pose with Teddie – just before he slobbered all over my head.

“Wow! How many oats do I need to get THAT big!?”

In Loving Memory of Ferrari

Somewhere…somewhere in time’s own space
There must be some sweet pastured place

Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow

Some Paradise where horses go.

For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.

Stanley Harrison

Ferrari and Maryanke – in a recent Dressage competition.

At a past Festival of the Horse – Maryanke on Ferrari – riding the wind.

We pray God’s peace to Maryanke and all the owners who lost horses on Friday night.  


26 thoughts on ““I Know Great Horses Live Again.” 8/12/2012

  1. In loving memory of Ferrari. Deeply loved and missed. In loving memory of all the horses who were lost in the fire.

  2. Bree,
    I am in tears. My condolences to Maryanke. I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost one of my horses that way. Please let her know we are praying for her comfort.
    Mary Jane
    in Thomasville

  3. My heart aches for those precious horses. Their owners must be devastated. How kind of you to make sure that the little boy got to ride.

  4. How very sad. I can tell you wrote that with alot of love as I have tears in my eyes from reading it. Please pass my condolences on to Maryanke and to all who lost such a special friend. My heart goes out to them 😦

  5. Please send my thoughts to Maryanke. Losing my horse CC after 27 years ( she was 32) was very hard, but losing one early in their prime… My sympathies.

  6. The farm where Ferrari was boarded belonged to my veterinarian and his wife. We drove by the farm yesterday and it is just such a terrible loss that it is beyond words to describe. As someone who lost a horse unexpectedly recently, I have such sympathy for everyone who lost their horse in this tragic event. There is just something about horses that touch your soul and losing one before their time is something that you just never seem to completely get over – at least I haven’t. My heart just goes out to all of them.

    If you would like to know more about the story here is the link to the local news story.


  7. Heart felt condolances and good blessings to all who lost a beloved friend in the fire. One day you will ride together again in a great green pasture across the Rainbow Bridge.

  8. How very sad!!! Hoping and praying for peace at heart for all of those affected by this tragedy!! And thanks for making that little boy’s trip to Mackinac Island an “unforgettable” one!!

  9. That is just heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing the photos of Ferrari. What a beautiful horse. Sending prayers and healing thoughts to Maryanke and all the other owners.

  10. How devastating about that horse fire. What sad news, Bree. On the other hand, your photos of the horses are a fine tribute to these magnificent animals which mean so much to those on the island.

  11. My heart goes out to Maryanke. Such a horrible thing to have happened. Very glad you have that photo of her and Ferrari, I imagine she will be too.

  12. The loss of a beloved equine companion is a pain words simply cannot define. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute. I remember when I lost my beloved mare suddenly just over a year ago; those same words (“all great horses live again”) were shared with me at that time, and still bring me comfort. I believe it was Maryanke who I hugged when I stopped with food on my way home Saturday. Dr. Thome has been our vet for nearly a decade and helped us through many difficult times; I felt I needed to do something for them as well. The words “I’m sorry” just don’t seem enough in times like this. My prayers are with the entire Winterspring Dressage & Meadowview Vet family during this horrible time of tragedy.

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