Ferdy's Next Adventure

It was a blustery, frigid November day as we headed to the Blackburn Correctional Facility to pick up our former mascot, Ferdinand’s Star. Ferdy was retired from his life as our mascot this fall due to arthritis but has continued to gain fans in his new life of ease at Blackburn.

Ferdy’s new home is Old Friends, a Thoroughbred “retirement home.” The facility offers tours to admirers of the breed the chance to visit former champions. Ferdy loves his admirers and his new home is a bit more his style than Blackburn, where visitation is limited.

Our day started picking up Ferdy, with Alberto, our wonderful Brook Ledge driver. As the inmates said their goodbyes to a favorite, this playful, affectionate chestnut gelding took his final bows (a trick he learned at MMSC) from the trailer. He was sent on his way with one last peppermint from his most adoring fan, a grizzled man with a friendly smile for his favorite horse. Upon arrival at Old Friends, Ferdy caused quite the stir. Aside from his new four legged companions stretching over fences to greet him, there was a camera crew filming a documentary on Old Friends, capturing his arrival into his new home.

As Ferdy pranced down the lane, he was greeted by many former champions, eagerly welcoming him to his final forever home. Ferdy’s new neighbor is his half-brother, Bull inthe Heather. Though they share a famous sire, his handsome grey sibling does not share any family resemblance to our striking chestnut former mascot.

Ferdy’s new pasture mates, He Loves Me Not and Wallace Station, waited at the gate to welcome him to their field. As Ferdy was set free in the field, all three horses danced and raced around the field. Watching him run, it was easy to see why he wasn’t meant to be a racehorse. Though he took off in the lead, with his staccato stride his speedier new friends quickly overtook him with their lengthy lopes. Michael Blowen, founder of Old Friends, watched his newest horse get acclimated to the new environment. As Ferdy’s nameplate was put on the fence, Michael told us how that sign had been made in 2003, when he thought Ferdy might come to Old Friends after completing his racing career. Instead, Ferdy enjoyed his second career as a lower level dressage and pleasure horse until his owner was to sick to keep him. Concerned that her beloved horse would have a loving home, Ferdy was donated to us to be our mascot and reminder of his sire’s tragic end. Eight years later, after a life of appearances, school trips and riding lessons, Ferdy has finally settled down into his final forever home, to live out his days with his new friends and adoring fans.