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Little Silver Charm & Bull Inthe Heather
While many of the specifics of Little Silver Charm's life history are missing, he is one of the most beloved, charming personalities living at Old Friends. Here, in his own words, is his story, which should give everyone some insight as to why he has stolen the hearts of so many who know him well.
His Story: I am a miniature horse, the smallest stallion at Old Friends, but I like to think that I am the smartest and the most handsome. Michael’s trainer, Lorita Lindemann, found me, on a big, smelly truck that pulled up one day at Rockingham Park in New Hampshire. I was on a one-way trip to a very bad place. Lorita paid $40 for me. She called me Brownie, put me in a stall and cleaned me up because I was a mess. It was fun at the track. People fed me lots of treats. I made friends, horses and humans, and goats, too. But after a while the people who ran the track said they didn’t want me around. Michael was moving to Kentucky and he said he’d bring me along. He re-named me Silver Charm, after my idol, the great Thoroughbred who used to stand at Three Chimneys and who now stands in Japan. Sometimes people see the sign on my paddock and say, “You’re not the real Silver Charm.” Well, I am just as real as he is, only smaller. And my mane is silver and I am charming. So my name is appropriate. I like living at Old Friends, surrounded by famous Thoroughbreds. They all take orders from me. I am the center of attention, not only because I’m adorable, if I do say so myself, but because I have appointed myself Old Friends’ official spokeshorse for equine rescue. You can help me help other horses by donating $25 for a share in me. Take my word for it, it’s an unbelievable bargain.
December 2009 Old Friends Newsletter: Another personal note from Silver Charm himself...
Greetings of the season to all my fans and friends. You are probably wondering how a busy little horse finds time in his packed schedule to write these updates for the Old Friends Newsletter. I can almost hear you asking: How does he do it all? I am a born leader, accustomed to delegating responsibility. Between snacking, napping, playing soccer, greeting visitors and fulfilling my many obligations as official Old Friends spokeshorse, I somehow manage to find time to dictate my thoughts and observations to my biographer.(She claims to be ghost-writing my autobiography but I am beginning to wonder just how hard she is working at it. I will spare you the details of my doubts since the holiday season is no time for recriminations and accusations, no matter how well founded.)
I have been throwing myself selflessly into helping Black Tie Affair, one of our newest and most illustrious residents – he was Horse of the Year in 1991 – regain his health. The veterinarians have put him on a special regimen that includes acupuncture, various medications and supplements, state-of-the-art podiatry and intensive carrot therapy. Between you and me, though, I think I can take most of the credit for his improving health because I provide crucial inspiration and emotional support. I’m always there for him, just outside his window. He can look out and see me anytime. He adores me, naturally, and that gives him a reason to live.
I’m having a more difficult time winning over another of our celebrated new residents, Commentator. He thinks he knows everything, just because he had a brilliant career on the track. He’s still young, and he has a lot to learn. I have been trying to help him adjust to retirement but he says he doesn’t need any advice from a know-it-all midget. I suspect he’ll have to eat those words sooner or later when he needs the benefit of my experience. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.Ever since the Midway Eagle Scouts built my fabulous custom-made run-in shed (to my specifications, of course), some of the other retirees have made no secret of their envy. Will’s Way has been especially mean-spirited about it, ever since the roof blew off his cheesy pre-fab shed in a big storm. (“What makes you so special?” he asked me one day, in that haughty Multiple Grade 1 winning tone of his. I didn’t dignify that question with a response.) I’m happy to report that, under my direction, Steve Head and his team are building new run-in sheds for all the horses who need them, although Will has had to settle for having his old shed refurbished. Tough luck, big guy. I’ve had so many visitors since the last newsletter. Our Jockey Day event was especially memorable. Chris McCarron, Jean Cruguet, Kent Desormeaux, Bobby Ussery and Patty Cooksey all came to the farm to see me. They visited some of our retirees, too, and reminisced about what it was like to ride them. But, as usual, I was the center of attention. Imagine my surprise when Kent Desormeaux suddenly jumped on my back and yelled, “Giddyup!” Who does he think he is? OK, he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness on Big Brown. And he is in the Hall of Fame. He may be a great jockey, he may be able to push Thoroughbreds around, but I showed him that we miniature horses are made of sterner stuff. I dug in my hooves and refused to budge. I wanted to demonstrate to our retirees that when they come to Old Friends the shoe is definitely on the other hoof. They don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. And neither do I.
Bull Inthe Heather
Pedigree: 1990, gray, Ferdinand—Heather Road, by The Axe II
Trained by Howard M. Tesher
Starts: 33; Wins 3
History: His name may look like a typographical error, but there is no mistaking his heritage. Bull Inthe Heather is the greatest son of Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner whose death in a slaughterhouse in 2001 helped drive the formation of Old Friends.
Bull, like Riva Way, was not destined to the greatness his genes might imply. In 1993, having lost 5 out of 6 starts, the cool gray could hardly see the top of his 3-year-old division. But then, as they say, the Thoroughbred got his blood up, and, at 29-1 he bulldozed the competition-including the undefeated Storm Tower–and captured the G1 Florida Derby at a muddy Gulfstream Park. Suddenly, the railbirds were buzzing: Could he follow in his sire’s footsteps and take the Kentucky Derby? Despite a game effort, Bull lost the Derby that year to Sea Hero. Still, what he lost in glory he made up for in guts: He raced for three additional seasons, was on the board 11 times, and earned a respectable $508,000.
Retired to stud in 1997, Bull Inthe Heather originally stood at Leckbee Thoroughbred Farm near Onalaska, WA. In 2001 the G1 winner was relocated to Running Horse Farm near Albuquerque, NM, where he stood until coming to Old Friends in 2006. Among his runners is the stakes-winning mare Bullishdemands.
To view the couture Derby hats from previous hat auctions, please click on the following - Old Friends Hat Auction Portfolio