Marquis Farrier Service
Goodbye My Captain

It has been a while since we lost Spirit but in memory to him we are leaving this up for those who may not of read about our friend who we dearly miss.


"Goodbye My Captain."

On December 17th at 11:30 The Arcadia Whip Crackers, Horse Creek Stables, and Family lost A Horse very near and dear to them.

 There have been many famous horses in history, Secretariat, War Admiral, Roy Rodger's "Trigger". But none of those horses were any more famous to the Whip Crackers Drill team than the horse they lovingly referred to as "Captain "Spirit".

Rescued from a abusive environment Spirit was purchased against Veterinarians advice The main reason the horse was purchased was because no one wanted to see him go back to a bad home. He was a big 16 hand Thoroughbred who had been retired from the racetrack and by his looks had not found a loving home for years. He was malnourished, he had open wounds that had not been cared for and was being sold as a nine year old horse even though his actual age was more around "nineteen". To Make matters worse he had been stalled in a "chicken coup" where he didn't even have enough room to allowed him to raise his head up".

It was a uphill battle at first, Spirit had to be nursed back to health, many years of neglect were showing through, his wounds were cleaned. Spirit was given all the Vet care he needed and special Farrier care due to injuries he had on his feet. He was fed well and before long spirit was back on the right track for recovery. During this time Spirit found all the love he needed at Horse Creek Stables.

Spirit was originally purchased for Kortney Norris, one of the riders on the drill team by her father Don. Spirit gained Kortney's trust, and when Horse Creek Stables started the mounted drill team The Arcadia Whip Crackers, "Spirit was Kortney's Mount".

The first several times we competed it was hard. I remember the stress on the riders and how their horses could always pick up on the nervous tension. Sometimes the horses would act jittery or spooky because they sensed the anxiety coming from the rider, "all but Spirit". Somehow he always kept a calm cool head about him, maybe it was all his years experiences coming through who knows?  Spirit was a leader from the day he started riding with us.

The Arcadia Whip Crackers would perform at fairs, local charity events, they even did private shows for nursing homes and at the end of the shows the public would come up and pet the horses and even get pony rides. It never failed that at the end of each show everyone wanted to pet or ride on the big majestic looking thoroughbred. "Spirit always had a line of children around him waiting their chance to climb up."

I remember one special show we did, a elderly lady about 75 years old came up with a loving look in her eyes and reminisced about her days riding when she was a young girl. She told us of her Thoroughbred and how he was so much like Spirit, she said how she wished she could get up and ride "one last time." Spirit seemed to have a sensitivity towards the lady and the team decided she needed to get her wish!

 I remember several people carefully picking her up and with the help of a trick pedestal to walk up "we got her on." No one was nervous about her riding up there because we knew Spirit sensed this was "special cargo." I still remember how gently Spirit walked around that arena while being led by the team.

And after her walk was done we took Spirit to the trick Pedestal where during performances he would step up with his front feet and stretch out. We looked in the face of the elderly lady and asked if she would like to let Spirit do the trick. She held onto the horn with her aged hands and Spirit slowly raised up onto the pedestal, she smiled and loosed up one hand enough to through it in the air as we snapped a Polaroid for her. The look on her face made our hearts glad! I don't think she would ever forget that moment and I know no one on our team ever forgot how Spirit gave her her last ride.

That's  how special Spirit was. He had the ability to be the high end horse doing dressage moves or to be the horse that would gently carry a old woman or baby around a arena. He carried confidence, poise and a sense of humor when needed. I think all  he ever wanted in his life was love and respect and he earned that from all of us. 

Eventually Spirit was donated to my husband Mike and I who run the stables. Kortney had to give up drill to pursue other activities and they had no desire to sell Spirit "they felt he belonged with the team".

 Mike rode Spirit in several competitions and shows and gained a great deal of respect for Spirit, that's how "Captain" got added to the front of his name. Mike said "this horse is a leader and deserves that title". It lovingly stuck and the team always greeted him with "Captain Spirit"!" I know spirit felt the respect.

A time came when we felt Spirit was getting too old for drill and we decided to "retire him" we were going to let him sit out competitions and maybe just trail ride him now and then but Spirit let us know that he did not agree! Spirit was miserable as a retiree, he got grumpy and when we practiced he would sit at the barn calling to all of us. So we put him back in the drill and once again he was a happy horse! He just wasn't ready to be handed a gold  watch and get a pat on the back! So he never did fully retire.

After The Hurricanes swept through our area the Stables weren't and still aren't the same. We had all our barns get decimated and our home was leveled, Spirit made it through all of the Hurricanes without a scratch, he went through it with the other horses like a champ! but with our pastures no longer divided and our stalls torn apart we couldn't separate the horses at feeding time which was really no big deal for the other horses they all got along well, but Spirit needed a larger grain intake as he was older and a harder keeper than the other horses and he just want getting it as other horses were pushing him away from it when they were finished with their food.

We watched Spirit lose weight and we got very worried, we decided that since we were going to be preoccupied with rebuilding that maybe Spirit needed to be where he could get more personal attention. We decided that if Spirit was going anywhere it would first be to a Drill team member who would appreciate him. We asked Emily Anderson and her parents if they would like to take over Spirits care and they gladly accepted, We were hoping that Emily would have years of fun with Spirit, He was a horse that wanted to be ridden and needed that kind of attention, And we knew without a doubt Emily would give him that.

     Spirit unfortunately didn't get to enjoy that much time with Emily He was with them a month or two before we got the fateful call , Spirit is sick, we rushed over to find Spirit showing signs of colic, "we thought" until we noticed he wasn't able to urinate. The vet came out and said he was probably "blocked" stones can develop in the bladder of older horses and unfortunately the prognosis is poor, sometimes cancer can cause it as well, it was a "wait and see" if Spirit could pass it. Spirit fought for a week until it was too much for him. he was a older man at 24 yrs old but he fought until the very end.

 Emily her Family and us  all fought with him. we tried to keep him as comfortable as possible through it all. But in the end he passed surrounded by people who truly loved and cared for him. We called everyone on the drill team and let them know. Many tears were shed for the horse we lovingly called Captain. His memory will be with us when we ride and when we walk his old pasture. He came a long way from a Horse that wasn't able to hold up his head in a "chicken coup" to a horse an entire horse community respected and Loved.

Spirit..  now you can hold your head up high!

"Goodbye My Captain"

you will always be missed.

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