Fred, an American Saddlebred who was the “lesson horse” for hundreds of William Woods University equestrian students over a 22-year period, has died at the age of 32.
“He was very kind, safe and gentle, and very forgiving to riders who made mistakes,” said Gayle Lampe, professor of equestrian science.
Considered quite old for a horse, Fred coliced and the decision was made to put him down rather than have him suffer through surgery. He died May 27.
Officially known as Candlewick of Hearthstone, Fred was given to Lampe in 1984 by Barbara Blacklaw of Singing Hills Stables in Oregon City, Ore. Blacklaw has also donated horses to WWU over the years.
“I want to say how much I truly appreciate Barbara giving me this wonderful horse to share with all my students for so many years,” Lampe said. “While he was my horse, I seldom rode him. He was here for the students, and I just rode him on trail rides.”
Fred was ridden daily in saddle seat classes, and Lampe said most students who passed proficiencies rode him without stirrups. He also was the first horse ridden by William Woods University President Jahnae H. Barnett, her husband Eddie and board member Dale LaRue when they learned to ride.
“He was so perfect. He was five-gaited, did equitation patterns, was gentle enough for beginners to ride and he was perfect as a trail horse,” Lampe said.
Fred participated in the World Cup competition in Louisville, Ky., and in all the World Cup tryouts held at WWU. In Louisville, his name was drawn out of a hat by the team from Great Britain, and he competed for them.
Lampe said Fred was the best teacher William Woods has ever had.
“He never asked for a raise, nor a promotion in rank. He never went to the president’s office with a complaint. He did his job seven days a week, and he worked every spring break and every Christmas break. What other teacher can boast that kind of record?”