I just received a very very sad email from Marilyn Checki. Gayfields Vida Blue has passed over the bridge. 3-28-76 to 12/20/07. I will call her and talk to her. Having a "Vida" son standing at stud, I was very much in awe of him and what he could produce. It is a sad day.
Just spoke to Marilyn. She does not post on the forums, so I told her that I would copy and paste the replies and email them to her. So, she will be reading them. She is very very sad as this is the end of an era for her. No more Vida foals, or ponies are on her farm.
When I read the title of this thread I had a sinking feeling about what I was going to read.
That is very sad news and it truly is the end of an era. He was one of the all-time greats, having so many of his get winning at the highest level.
RIP, handsome guy.
He was the same age as me (a few days older, actually), not that that matters. What a sad day. He was a great one, and he will truly be missed.
May I post this info on the Paisley Pony forum (if it isn't already there)? I'll also be passing it on the the Welsh breeder I work for.
My hugs and sympathies to Marilyn and all of his peoples.
"IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique
I'm so sorry to hear of his passing, I know he was very loved by his family. Vida has had an incredible impact in the pony hunter world, he was such an outstanding producer. I can remember how excited I was when I managed to purchase a Vida daughter, I recently had the pleasure of passing that feeling on to her new owners who had been looking for a Vida daughter for quite some time.
Also, I'd like to thank Sandy for continuing the Vida Blue legacy by offering his son Traveller at public stud and more importantly keeping him intact!
I have a wonderful Vida Blue grandson this year by Alra Blue Radiance who is himself a Blue Danube son. At the moment he is being a lovely boy so for the time being he will remain intact.
I have been blessed to know so many wonderful Gayfields ponies, unfortunately i never got to meet this guy, but read all about him and his foals. He will be greatly missed by the welsh world, but his impact with be noticed for years to come. Our condolences go out to all who were touched by this grand man.
How very sad for Marilyn and Ed. Vida was such an important part of their lives.
I am fortunate to have known this amazing pony personally in his later years. Far beyond the record of his sons and daughters (Pony Finals, Devon, and Indoors winners, Grand-Sire to two HOTY larges) he was always a gentleman, and one of the most beautiful ponies I have ever seen. I could never resist his huge, intelligent pony eyes peeking out from a shaggy forelock. I wish I could have seen him while he was still showing...even in pictures he was breathtaking.
Probably because I grew up riding (and winning!) on Vida sons and daughters, they will forever be my standard of hunter ponies. My mom and I tried to count today, and came up with at least 25 Vidas that I have started or shown. They all have the same presence, beautiful front end, engaged, huge-strided canter, and incredible jump. I think that is what has most impressed me with Vida over the years, is that he stamped all of his babies with those qualities. I can see a pretty gray pony (and they're all gray!) canter across a schooling ring, jump one jump and know it's a Vida. We have several grand-children, both through Vida daughters, and our stallion, Hillcrest's Top Hat, and they have all retained the Vida work ethic, athleticism and presence. I have a new small, just starting her green year, one of the last bred by Marilyn, out of a Vida daughter, and by a Vida son...she's amazing! The longer I work with her, the more I think she'll stick around as a lease pony until I can breed her. Thankfully Vida's legacy will continue through his daughters and the few sons he has at stud.
I hope the Checkis know we are thinking of them. Vida was truly a once in a lifetime pony, and I feel honored to have known him. May he graze peacefully in green pastures...
This is from Gail Thompson of Gayfields Welsh Ponies, Vida Blue's breeder. She wrote this email on 12/22 and gave me permission to post it here on COTH.
"Thank you Jocie for putting up the information on Vida Blue's death. He had a very inauspicious baby-hood and we were so happy when we finally got him past that and into the hands of the Checki's. I remember getting permission to turn him loose in the ring at Lebanon, PA at one of Mrs. duPont's shows so we could shoot home movies of his movement. (after the halter classes finished and they were about to lock us out of the ring-the Checki's were showing him there). He was a high-wide-and-handsome mover then, winning lots of Championships in hand. He was the pony that taught me that a pony who used every joint and muscle when he moved could be anything he needed to be...with a good farrier and a good trainer. My younger daughter's last class as a Jr. exhibitor was a costume class at the Tulsa State Fair Show in about 1981. Vida was Grand Champion (this was before they started giving Supreme, maybe, but if they gave it, he won it) and in terrific shape. Marilyn and Ed dressed him up like a poodle...it was very authentic-looking...foo-foos on his head and ankles, etc. and asked Dyke (who was a freshman at the U. of Ark. a few miles away) to show him. The class was huge with Eric Caleca judging. Dyke stood him at the gate end of a long line-up for inspection (to keep a ready exit if the little kids also in the class needed him to disappear) and he stood so quietly not many people realized he was the animal who was the first to defeat Findeln Blue Danube at halter after we brought him to the U.S. As Eric approached the entry...a young girl, dressed in scotch-plaid knickers and knee socks with a flatcap on her head and a Sweater with ponies trotting across it...walking her dog, the rowdy spectators started shouting to Vida "he looks like a fireplug to me, Vida, go ahead!" which Eric took in his always fun-loving stride and so Dyke won her last class as a Junior with an unlikely poodle. Vida lived a long and very productive life and we are proud that this animal, who was an A/B cross made such an impact on the breed and the hunter world and appreciative of the Checki's who enjoyed him, cared for him and guided his career. Gail Thomson PS. He was so ugly as a baby and yearling that we hid him when visitors came...the Checki's were the first people who every actually got to see him other than "family"! Then our vet (this was pre-Ruth) stood behind him with a microscope, found the offending amoebe and either I had to learn to nose tube medicine into him twice a day without killing him or just put him down. We didn't have the money to leave him with Dr. Smith for two or three weeks for the treatment, so every day, before work, I put him in a little pony-sized squeeze trap that Coleman Cowan had built and attached to the side of our outdoor ring, got the stuff mixed up, poured it down surgical tubing into his stomach through a funnel as prayed I'd been right when I sniffed the tube and that I was actually IN the stomach and not his lungs. Then the same after work. I can say now that he was worth it, but it scared me to death at the time...yet who could refuse to try, at least???"