Friday, January 22, 2021

Flashback Friday: Day 1 Chuck

Happy Friday, everyone! What a week... Well. What few months lately... and, uh, what a year, and I'm not even mentioning the past four years. Sheesh. 

So. How's about something light hearted today, yes?

It's no secret that I'm a bit of a hoarder. Naturally, this obsessive tendency toward accumulation extends to my digital content lol --- like pictures on my cell phone

I was trying to clear out space on my clogged and cluttered 64Gb iphone, tho, and came across the day I met Charlie at After the Races back in September 2016. And... What the hell, let's remember that day <3 Some of these pictures have been published before, but not all of them. 

I'd been communicating with Bonnie at ATR for months leading up to this fateful visit --- including very serious communications about horses that were snatched up before I could make the trip. So. When the day finally came, I had a list of horses. Charlie, however, was not on the list. He wasn't even on the website yet. 

But Bonnie knew what she had with him, and showed him to me first. The above is the very first picture I ever took of him --- when he, oh-so-typically, struck a majestic pose on the way into the round pen. 

Inside the round pen, Charlie showed himself to be a fairly average creature. He's almost exactly 4 weeks off from his final race in these pictures, and you can tell. He was also notably hoof- and body- sore.

Charlie had only been at ATR for about a week. Combined with his soreness, this meant nobody on staff had ridden the horse yet, so I would also not be allowed to ride. 

That was fine by me, tho. Mostly I was just watching how Charlie absorbed this world around him.

And ya know. It was intriguing. Charlie was observant and sensitive to the world around him -- he noticed everything. But he also wasn't overly reactive and seemed to sort of think through every moment. 

Really, tho, in terms of movement and expression, there wasn't anything at all particularly remarkable about Charlie's round pen session. 

Instead, things got interesting when I got to observe the volunteers bathing him afterward. 

I'm sure these volunteers have a lot of experience in this regard -- but I'm also pretty sure this was their first time handling Charlie, and his first time inside this wash stall. 

And guys, it should not be forgotten this is a very large thoroughbred still fairly race fit.  

And he was very very busy in the wash stall haha. Scrolling up and down through this photo series shows pretty clearly that.... he was sorta constantly moving the volunteers around in there. 

He never tried to leave tho --- didn't try to get away from them or resist the bath. 

He accepted them as quickly as he accepted the wash stall itself. But, more so than just that --- he was immediately very interactive with his environment. 

Charlie looked at everything. Nudged everything. Poked and prodded in the same gentle way at his handlers, shampoo bottles, the window, random buckets... Anything and everything around him haha. 

Again -- none of this to discount the volunteer's ability to control a horse haha. They were very good about staying on top of his behavior while also not cornering him into a claustrophobic moment (something that can be very common in ottbs).

All the same, tho, Charlie is incorrigible. He gets into everything haha. At one point he got that bucket STUCK on his FACE. And it took a moment for anybody to actually notice, lol, bc he was just straight chillin, like, "Oooh yas - I gotta bucket!!"

And... Ya know.... You just can't train that haha. 

Obviously there were a lot of unknowns with Charlie -- his soundness, his ability, his interest... Not even mentioning that he's objectively too big for me. But... Eh, I'd been through the ottb restarting process a few times already and felt strongly that his disposition suited my ability. 

And the rest, they say, is history haha.  


  1. <3 Charlie!

    It's great that you have this early media of Sir Charles. I'm a picture hoarder (not much for video) and love finding baby/past show photos of my horses. I scoured facebook/the internet for pics of the offspring of the mare we bought this summer. Lol

    1. seriously tho one of my greatest sadnesses is that i still haven't managed to uncover bebe charlie pictures! can you even imagine? i'm sure his ears were HUGE lol

  2. I love it. I love Bonnie and ATR and this post. So glad you took a chance on him <3

    1. honestly me too! ATR definitely makes it fairly safe to take those chances thankfully, which really (REALLY) helps -- since there's a big safety net in terms of making sure people get paired with the right horses and have options if it's not working out, for ANY reason

  3. Happy Anniversary! I think you and chuck are a great couple.

    1. aw thanks haha <3 i think i'll keep him ;)

  4. Oh Charles!! <3 I always forget how fun his breeding is.

    1. lol he likes to remind me frequently of his notorious lineage with the absolutely evil facial expressions he can pull. i call it his "angelic kitty" face LOL

  5. What a neat look at your first Charlie encounter. Glad you took a chance on him, glad he's sticking around for more!

  6. Haha his expression in the wash stall is priceless

  7. Charlie is SUCH a good egg! ❤️

    I was lucky enough to come by a yearling shot of Val - a cell phone pic of a paper photo from the breeders records - but I'll take it.

    Hearing you on the media hoarding issue. I keep thinking I need to carve out 15 minutes a day for mass deletion purposes and see how long that takes lol...

  8. Aw, I love this! What a great pile of media to stumble upon. Thanks for sharing!

  9. It's so cool seeing how far he's come from!!


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