Brooke Schafer: A Tribute to Mighty Military

EN reader Brooke Schafer has shared several submissions with us, including her heartwarming story From Race Tracks to Galloping Lanes. Sadly, Brooke’s Thoroughbred star Mighty Military (“Ghost”) passed away over the Christmas holiday. We send our sincerest condolences to Brooke and Ghost’s friends, and thanks to Brooke for sharing a little bit of Ghost with us.

Brooke and Mighty Military. Photo by Jim Noetzel, used with permission

From Brooke:

Back in February I wrote a piece named ‘From Race Tracks to Galloping Lanes‘ highlighting my beloved gelding and all of his accomplishments as both a racehorse and an eventer. ‘Ghost’ as he was affectionately known, was battling a chronic sinus infection at the time which required multiple extensive surgeries and endless months of antibiotics and treatments. Throughout it all, his stubborn personality never faltered and he never showed any signs of pain or weakness.


The decision was made this past Thursday December 26 after the infection had unexpectedly ruptured through a new place in his cheek to lay Ghost down and say goodbye before further injury. Having consulted with several Lexington-area veterinarians we were told that his chance for recovery was bleak and dwindling. Not wanting to see my majestic grey jumper lose his health and spirit to an infection he could not conquer, I made the impossible decision to say goodbye while he was still bright and his white coat gleaming.

Having grown up the daughter of a trainer and riding instructor, I have been blessed with the opportunity to ride and show thousands of horses, many of which have been very special to me and have taken me to incredible heights. I can honestly say that none have ever touched me like my big grey OTTB who I initially found unimpressive and passed over for the first 3 years he was at our barn. I wish I had known back then what an incredible horse he would become and how much he would touch and teach me. I will never forget Sally O’Connor telling me that he was ‘really quite lovely’ and the transformation he made before my eyes in the short 2 years I rode and competed him.

Thank you Ghost for sharing your life with me and taking me to new heights I never thought possible. I am sure you are galloping away over the clouds somewhere, swapping leads as you go.

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