When Aladdinn Was Presented for the Last Time

A 30-year-old Aladdinn got to be celebrated for four days straight at the 2005 U.S. Nationals in Albuquerque. People of all ages and backgrounds traveled from around the country for the chance to meet the legendary stallion. He was presented each day by Isaac Taylor (his wonderful caretaker) in a small, humble arena on the grounds to a packed-out audience of hundreds of people each day. At the end of each presentation, he stood quietly and patiently posed with every single person for a coveted photo with the great horse.

His celebration culminated with a formal presentation in center ring on Saturday evening before the finals began. It was an incredibly emotional night. He was unforgettable. Quiet, calm, poised in old age, he walked around the arena actually making eye contact with those in the front row. Tears flowed when it was announced that there was some unfinished business to attend to... for when he was crowned national champion in 1979, he was never given a rose blanket. And so, that night in Albuquerque, he finally received his roses, and was able to parade around the green arena one last time. He loved every moment.

Later that night after the festivities had ended, I walked into his barn aisle. The lights were out. It was quiet. Aladdinn was snoozing from his big week. But he wasn't sleeping facing the back... his head bobbed right at the front of his stall, making the grey in his forelock and face stand out. It was in this moment that I was forever grateful for this opportunity, not just for me, but for him as well. He knew he had one last job to do, and even through exhaustion, he was perfect to the end. And loved it. His heart radiated that week. It was an experience I will treasure until I die.

I love celebrating our breed's seniors. They are such a precious link to our past. We must never forget that.

~ Evie Tubbs Sweeney

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