Sunday, September 16, 2007

Earlmont's last hurrah

The horse known as Earlmont Coup D'etat is an American Saddlebred and has had a long career and many a ribbon and trophy to her credit. She is a direct descendant of Wing Commander, one of the greatest Saddlebred showhorses of all time and the preeminent sire of the breed. Her bloodlines showed in the ring where she was most at home. She is 20 years old now, and has shown for at least the last 15.

In the life of every horse who works, whether it is a racing thoroughbred, a drafthorse, or a Saddlebred showhorse that they send the unmistakable signal to their owner and rider: "I'm tired. You are welcome to ride me and love me, but I can't do this show thing anymore." Last night was the night that Earlmont Coup D'etat-we call her "Baby"-sent that signal. She just made it clear by her behavior in the ring that she didn't want to be shown anymore. She had won far more than her share of blue ribbons and first place trophies, and she did her bit, and said to the human world "I did a lot of good, now its time to retire."

That doesn't mean we aren't disappointed to lose her as a show horse. She has a spunk and a verve about her that she hasn't lost over the years, and it is because of her unique ability to communicate her wishes to people through the way she acts that Nicole could tell she wasn't up to showing. Nicole was nearly in tears when she told me "I knew this day would come, but it doesn't make it any easier." I told Nicole that considering the number of shows Baby has been in over the years, that it was only fair that she be the one to tell us when she didn't want to show anymore-she always seemed to enjoy showing as much as her human handlers did.

She did manage to wait and let everyone know she wanted to retire until the last regular-season show. Although she didn't perform terribly well in her final show, she did very well overall in her final season. Her last accomplishment in the ring is that she won Riverdale Saddle Club's high points trophy-her fifth such award, and a pretty good retirement present

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