“Billy Goat” Farkas 1991-2014

billy cameo

I had to put down my best buddy Billy last night, after a very long 24 hours trying to figure out what was going wrong.  Two vets, a trailer ride to the next county and lots of the usual colic treatments later both the attending vet and I could see that, stoic as he was (he was a Thoroughbred, after all!) he was in great pain. It gets confusing when the horse doesn’t clearly tell you what’s wrong. For one thing, his lips were very puffy and his eyes were swollen almost shut–as if he were having some kind of reaction either allergy or something toxic he had ingested. All the other signs definitely indicated colic, but could also have been a perforated ulcer or a poisonous plant. Given all his other physical problems and his age, he wasn’t a good candidate for surgery. So, seeing his suffering, I had no hesitation about putting a prompt end to it. It would have been inhumane, to say the least, to just “buy time” by keeping him drugged and on IV’s. I was fortunately vindicated in my decision by the necropsy I requested–I was determined to know exactly what went wrong. If I hadn’t acted when I did he would have died a slow death through the night and I wouldn’t wish that on any sentient being. It turned out to be a classic case of twisted gut with a couple of other aggravating factors, but we still have no idea what all the facial swelling was about and probably never will know.

So on the lighter side, here are a few looks at Mr. Bill over our 13 years together.

My first encounter with Billy. He did not like being groomed...or tacked up!

My first encounter with Billy. He did not like being groomed…or tacked up!

Check out the ears on this guy! Definitely not impressed with me. He disliked grooming so much he once bit me on the butt because he decided I had been a bit too vigorous with the brushing. Eventually he came to enjoy it, appearing to snooze through the whole routine. He would unfailingly put his head down for his forelock to be brushed.

Early jumping days. We both look pretty awful!

Early jumping days at Glen Grove. We both look pretty awful!

My trainer Paula could make him look a whole lot better!

My trainer Paula could make him look a whole lot better!

Billy with his winning ribbons at our very first hunter schooling show.

Billy with his winning ribbons at our very first hunter schooling show.

Eventually we looked better as a team. We got champion again at this Glen Grove schooling show.

Eventually we looked better as a team. We got champion again at this Glen Grove schooling show.

Mr. Studly at Freedom Woods

Mr. Studly at Freedom Woods

We moved about a mile away to Freedom Woods after a few years at Glen Grove. Billy had been blowing off some steam in the outdoor ring when he paused to survey his new kingdom.

On the road to Willow Tree in Michigan. Billy always preferred to travel looking backwards.

On the road to Willow Tree in Michigan. Billy always preferred to travel looking backwards.

After a torn ligament injury in 2009 and the subsequent discovery that he had suspensory problems on top of that, I knew he was probably done as a riding horse and decided to move him to Willow Tree where he could be out and about 24/7. It was the best move I ever made for him.

Mr. Studly found real mares to impress at Willow Tree.

Mr. Studly found some real mares to impress at Willow Tree.

At Willow Tree, with the inimitable help of Karin Bielefeld, Billy learned how to walk, trot and canter again. He had always been a really pretty mover but after his injury I hadn’t been able to bring him back into any kind of working condition. In spite of his bad suspensories and a questionable right hip, with Karin’s patient help he recovered to show off his lovely trot and fluid canter once again. It took three years to get there, but he made it and in 2013 we entered our first (and last) dressage show.

Billy's expressive trot

Billy’s expressive trot–2014

Billy's lovely canter--also 2014

Billy’s lovely canter–also 2014

Willow Tree dressage show. We were in the "Silver" class--horse and rider's ages had to add up to 80!

Willow Tree dressage show. We were in the “Silver” class–horse and rider’s ages had to add up to 80! We were way over that…

Can I have a treat--pleeeze?

Can I have a treat–pleeeze?

"I love you Mom"

“I love you Mom”

"I love you too Mr Bill!"

“I love you too Mr Bill!”

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
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13 Responses to “Billy Goat” Farkas 1991-2014

  1. jan fed says:

    Alli I cried seeing this. Billy was beautiful, bold and had the greatest person any horse could have. You were with him through good and bad…and did what any loving companion would do for another at the end. I remember him at Freedom Woods lying down for a roll on someone’s front lawn…a real clown! Thinking of you – and your beautiful boy.
    jan

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  2. Merry says:

    Oh Alli! I had some of my best times riding on Billy. For better or worse, he sucked me back into the horse world. Thank you for sharing him with me, even it was for such a short time. Both you and Billy taught me so much. I’m heartbroken! He was such a unique character.

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    • Alli Farkas says:

      I remember the first time you test rode him, Merry, and he decided to buck and run with you! I was standing there shouting “sit up, sit up!” but you had things under control and just seemed to think nothing of it. Yes, he was a great teacher!

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  3. Our journey together has been a blessing and Billy most certainly exemplified true heart and courage. I know ….he’s a TB!!!!!!! I reminded me so much of my TB stallion “Studly” . I hope they’ve met up on the other side and aren’t telling too many tales out of school about me (lol) As Jan says you were the best owner he could have. Your dedication can not be duplicated. Thanks for the journey Alli. Karin

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  4. So sorry for your loss. The photos make clear that he was a beautiful horse and judging by your comments must have been wonderful to ride. Thank you so much for the lovely photos you included in your post.

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  5. Theresa Pawlicki says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to Billy. Your friendship and devotion to each other has been inspiring to witness over the years. I am so sorry that you had to say good bye.

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  6. lori graydon says:

    I too am very sorry! It’s very hard to lose your friend…

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  7. Pingback: Something just for me | Alli Farkas Artist Adventures

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