If Brad Pitt had been a horse, he would’ve been Creator.
When I met Creator at an early version of the Kentucky Old Friends Farm nearly ten years ago, he cut a dashing figure. A caramel apple chestnut with a teardrop of a star nearly obscured by a lush forelock. He pranced. He tossed his head.
Catnip to horse crazy girls.
At a farm where feeding carrots to former champions is the big tourist draw, Creator was hands-off, yet irresistible, a quintessential “bad boy.”
As the years passed and my visits became more sporadic, even fewer than once a year, white hairs sprouted like scattered snowflakes near his star. Time isn’t particularly kind to anyone, especially to old athletes who may have fallen on rough times for a while.
Creator was a European champion in the late ’80s, early ’90s. He won seven of his sixteen starts, mostly in France. He and the late Sunshine Forever were among the first champions flown to America from stud service in Japan to populate Michael Blowen’s start-up stallion rescue Old Friends Farm in 2004.
On the last day of February 2015, Creator passed away, surrounded by loved humans – yes, family.
I’d been to Old Friends several times, sometimes annually, taken the tours, and visited with Creator. On my last visit several years ago, he’d begun looking like an elder horse. White hairs like snow flurries sprinkled his chestnut coat around his teardrop star.
On one of my last trips to the Kentucky Old Friends, on the walk back to the parking lot near the road, I chatted with a volunteer. She’d moved to Kentucky to be with the horses. She volunteered at Old Friends.
We arrived at our cars parked near at the end of Creator’s paddock. She excused herself for a moment and then walked over to the rail.
Creator grazed at the far end of his enclosure over by where my tour group had gaped at him while our tour guide fed him carrots.
She planted her feet hip-distance apart, cupped her mouth with her hands, and sang his name.
“CRE-A-TOR!” rolled out across the rolling Kentucky hills. Three soprano syllables with a rising note in the middle.
The handsome head with the draped forelock raised, ears perked, and Creator swung around to trot toward her. She hurried ahead closer to the black plank fence, where they could meet halfway over the rail.
Her hand caressed his head under his forelock. He didn’t take a chunk out of her, but bowed his head to allow her to coo to him.
I went to my rental car and cried.
Five, maybe six years later, here at my desk in Connecticut, I’m weeping again.
Creator gets a shout out in this memorial to Ruhlmann.
The Old Friends blog has a lovely eulogy to Creator.