Eat an apple on September 13th

Sugar and Spice
April 2, 1977 – September 13, 2004
18 Starts, 5 Wins, 3 Places, 3 Shows Career Earnings: $257,046
Won Mother Goose S. [G1], Ashland S. [G2], Cotillion S. [G2]
2nd Ladies H. [G1], Gazelle H. [G2], Firenze H. [G2]
3rd Alabama S. [G1], Acorn S. [G1], Delaware Oaks [G1]

Sugar and Spice, younger sister to Our Mims and Alydar, all out of the same dam, Sweet Tooth, died on September 13, 2004. Sugar will be forever remembered as the first official resident of Our Mims Retirement Haven when it became a 501(c)3. Many people do not know that the Haven existed in February of 2000 but was not yet named, nor was it a non profit horse charity. Before OMRH was granted the coveted IRS non profit status, Cheryl Bellucci and I supported several mares and a few geldings.

When Our Mims died in December of 2003, I almost did not go through with my plans to continue with my idea that elder equines still had an important role in our society. My heart broke when Mims died. So much so that the extreme pain in my chest had me seeing a cardiologist. In January, 2004, I decided the pain was too much. I could not bear another loss. I had cried a million tears. My family was accustomed to my swollen eyes and deep depression. One night I told my husband that I would not go through with the retirement haven. No new horse would come onto the farm but I would keep all we had until they died. Once again I cried myself to sleep.

That night I dreamt of Our Mims. I swear I heard her calling me and in dreamtime, I raced out the back door, through the gate to her favorite grazing place. There she was. To my surprise, Mims could talk. She hushed my frantic sobs of "I missed you," with a tone that could not be mistaken. She told me she was disappointed in my decision. She said, "There are many mares that need us. Some will benefit directly from your care and others as a result of our relationship." She asked me, "If you can't do it for yourself, do it for me. Right now there is someone very close to me who needs your help. Go get her and put her in my stall."

I awoke with her beloved scent surrounding me.

I almost discounted the dream as yet another part of my intense grief until I logged into my email the next morning and found an email from Barbara Livingston, telling me about Mims' younger sister, Sugar and Spice. Barbara said Sugar needed a place to go. "Someone very close to me needs your help.."

Well, you KNOW I immediately started trying to get that mare!

Sugar arrived here on May 7, 2004. I'll spare you the gory details but she was definitely a neglected horse. I knew we were dealing with a hospice case.

It's hard to explain the healing effect Sugar had on my heart. Sugar and Spice was, BY FAR, the sweetest, most gracious horse I have ever met. Every gesture of kindness towards her was met with a soft caress of her muzzle and a special chortle that I immediately knew meant "thank you." I often wondered if we would ever see the "SPICE" along with all that Sugar. Even though she was in dire need of nourishment, she NEVER took a bite of food without thanking me first. That is, until I was standing next to her stall one day eating an apple. Sweet, sweet Sugar became ALL SPICE. She snatched that apple out of my hand with such authority, I thought she took my fingers with it!

Now, some people may call me slow but I figured out pretty darn quick what Sugar's favorite treat was! From then on, Sugar got at least one apple a day. As she lay dying on September 13 of that same year, my aunt and I fed her all the apples she could eat. She was buried with honors at the place of her birth, Calumet farm, with a whole bucket of apples carefully placed near her head. Her older sister, Our Mims, is buried directly across the sidewalk and her brother Alydar, very close by.

Perhaps the most important part of this message is that without Sugar and Spice, there would never have been a haven for the mares. Through her courage, Sugar gave me the courage to carry on with the task Our Mims placed before me. Through her compassionate loving eyes, Sugar gave me the heart to love each horse who comes here, no matter how limited the time we will have together.

So, this year on September 13th, I am not asking for money, time or even lip service to horse rescues everywhere. This year I am asking that all who read this simply eat an apple in honor of the sweetest horse who ever walked the earth. Think of Sugar and Spice as you crunch down. Let it be a toast in her honor.

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