(Big Bend Doc Davis X
June 28 1990- November 6, 2017 bay gelding, 14.2
Pat was a very laid back horse, and had been like that from birth.
In fact, I actually worried about him when he was a foal because he was so quiet- I kept thinking he must be sick!
As a green broke three year old, I let several visitors to the farm ride Pat, and one of my rather high-brow boarders
(who owned another breed and looked down her nose at Morgans) was horrified that I would do such a thing. When I asked her why, and noted that after all,
we were talking about Pat, her dismissive comment was "well, I guess your horses are born broke".
Although she did not intend to do it, she had actually complimented
Attempts were once made to get Pat to move for a farm video, using firecrackers, which was met with the horsey equivalent
of a yawn. He was always calm and thoughtful- but there was little doubt that the wheels
were turning in that head of his, and he seemed to
know exactly what you were thinking, as well. Pat had a tendency to pudge (which I did my best to keep
under control)-- a trait that prompted my friend Cassidy to
coin a new nickname for him- "Patso"!
Pat's sire, the legendary
Big Bend Doc Davis, was the first Morgan in the US to go all the way to
Grand Prix level in dressage. Pat was only shown twice (training level dressage)
but was in the ribbons both times. He proved to be a worthy successor to his dam Marie, and was regularly used for lessons and as the
mount of choice for non-horsey, beginner or young riders and visitors to the farm over the years- always steady and dependable. After a cecal impaction colic in 2010 and surgery, Pat recovered and continued to be my main riding horse for another
4 years, until EPM ended that in 2014.
The following year he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and I knew his time was coming.
My beautiful Patented went over the rainbow bridge on November 6, 2017 after a 26 hour battle with a gas colic that would not resolve.
The vets suspect something was blocking him (probably a tumor) and the situation was getting progressively worse; he had colicked
twice previously in the past two months.
With no improvement after more than a day, I made the horrible decision to let him go.
On that unusually warm and sunny November evening as I waited for Dr. Kittrell to arrive, I watched my three week old filly, Sweetie, running joyous circles around the cedars in the pasture-
a stark contrast to the dear old gelding lying next to me on the grass, his time
on earth nearly up. The beginning and the end of life, illustrated.
I have heard it said that geldings have no use on a breeding farm, but Pat was proof positive that this is not
I will always consider him my number one example of the attributes that we strive to produce here at Brookridge.
However, I believe that Pat's main purpose in life was simply to make me smile. And he did just that- every day.
Visit Pat's Memorial Album on
You can view Pat's complete pedigree
Big Bend Doc Davis
|Green Mountain Doc Bird
|Green Mountain Darling
|Big Bend Connie F
|Windcrest Ben Davis
|Cresta's Silver Leaf
It includes pictures of many of his ancestors.
More photos of Pat
(click on a thumbnail to enlarge)
Pat was calm by nature.
As a foal he discovered a great way to cool himself off on a hot
Georgia summer day- the sprinkler! I about had heart failure one day when I looked out in Pat and Marie's paddock,
where we had placed a sprinkler to try and germinate some grass seed, and Pat was playing in it, backing up to get his butt
wet and turning so every part of himself was cooled off. Then he put a hind hoof in the sprinkler itself, it
got stuck there and
I thought I was going to watch him destroy himself. Instead, he calmly stood and shook the sprinkler off his foot. And then
backed up and did it again. He never panicked. He seemed to know exactly what he was doing. We didn't put the sprinkler back in with him again though!
He grew into those ears! In fact, he
ended up with some of the smallest, cutest ears I've
ever seen on a horse. Pat was about two weeks old here, July 1990.
Pat (age 2 months here) and his half sister Mimi had great fun with the big box our new washer came in
Pat, all grown up, at his first dressage show. Bar-Lyn Farm's Evening Dressage Show, summer 1994.
taken at Bar-Lyn Farm's Evening Dressage Show, summer 1994.
My niece Abby Atkins stayed with us for a week in August of 1999. She had been taking huntseat lessons in her home state of New York since February 1999. Dressage and the influence of the rider's seat was a totally new
thing for her! This was her second lunge lesson on Pat.
Pat gets a pat! This is Jessica Hecker, age two, up on Pat during the Southern Model Horse Convention, October 1999. Lisa
Garcia is holding Pat and proud father David Hecker is with Jessica.
One of the blessings of having so many sweet, calm, and reliable Morgans is that friends can come over
and ride too! Here is Cassidy Evans on Pat and I am on Topaz, November 2000.
Cassidy and Pat again, November 2002. Pat looks so very much like his dam.
Pat was very out of shape as I'd been too busy to ride him much, but he was
always a generous soul and put in a good effort anyways!
Cassidy was in college so she wasn't getting to ride much either. Our beautiful fall weather
was too nice to waste however.
A warm and sunny February ride, 2004.
We'd been enjoying a warm, pleasant fall but I knew those days were numbered, so I tried to get out and enjoy the horses as often as possible. Pat's motto
was "will work for food"; so, I brought him carrots,
he toted me around, and everyone was happy! Late October 2004.
Pat and his half sister Mimi
working off a few pounds, October 2005.
Another shot from the same day, October 2005.
The first Saturday in October brings our annual
model horse event at the farm. Begun in 1988, the Southern Model Horse Convention introduces model horse hobbyists to the wonderful Morgan Horse. During the show's lunch break everyone
is given the opportunity to ride. Trusty Pat was the mount of choice. Left is Valerie Hussain and right is Katie
Zajdel at the 2006 show.
Garcia took these pictures of
Pat and I at SouthCon 2006.
December 2006- I always enjoy seeing kids and Morgans interact but since we have no children of our own I have to borrow some from time to time ;-)
A few days before Christmas, my brother in law and his two young children visited us. Josie
was 8 at the time, and loves animals, but was very scared of the horses at first. Still,
she was drawn to them, a good thing for overcoming fear! She wanted to ride so Pat
was pressed into service. Josie has a rider's build and a good seat. Here she is getting instruction from me before we start.
Josie and Pat again. She looks pretty good up there, and has forgotten all about how scared she was an hour or so earlier!
This was an exercise where she was to stretch out one arm at a time.
She was amazed when she could get Pat to stop just by sitting deep in the saddle.
No one rides for free! If you want to ride, you must groom the horse before and after.
It is empowering to a timid child to move a horse around in the crossties with just a touch.
Pat was quite obliging about his feet, too, which was the hardest part for Josie because those feet are heavy.
The smile says it all, doesn't it?
Fellow Georgia Morgan owners Susan Visi and her hubby Bill visited in late September to see Charli. Susan brought her brand new
JJ Maxwell Wade saddle
to show me. I needed to mop up the drool- what a beautiful thing! A true work of art :-) It is all hand tooled with a floral pattern,
definitely a woman's saddle, and the seat has inlaid padding. Susan told me how comfortable
it was. Then
they asked if I wanted to ride in it.
I did not need much persuasion.
So we saddled Pat up- well, they did most of it because I did not know how to girth the durn thing up, it is a special type of rigging (not like my western show saddle). So here is Pat and Laura gone buckaroo- well... sort of ;-)
And YUP... it was VERY comfortable.
After I rode I asked Susan if she wanted to try Pat. She wasn't dressed for riding but she did have her helmet with her, so she was game.
October 6, 2007 was the 20th Annual Southern Model Horse
Convention, held here at the farm. The Friday evening before the show anyone who wishes
can come and ride a Morgan. For many years we used Pat for this very important
task. One of our regular SouthCon attendees is Paula Hecker
from Tallahassee FL. This year Paula brought her 10 year old daughter Jessica to show at SouthCon. Paula has three girls but only Jessica
is horse crazy like her Mom :-) Jessica has been on Pat before (see the
picture earlier on this page, from the 1999 show) but since she was only 2 then, she didn't remember. She groomed Pat and then
got a lesson on the lungeline. By the time we finished it was getting dark, but she had figured out how to use her seat to get Pat to halt, walk
and was gleefully urging him into a trot- just a grinnin' away. She had no fear and was a very quick study!
November 2007- My sister Aimee was here for a visit from Ohio. She is the only other "horsey"
sibling I have (there are 6 of us) though I have another sister who is a small
animal vet, so she too got the "creature loving" gene :-) Aimee is also artistic and loves to take pictures. She took a bunch of
pictures of my horses. Here is a kind of artsy one of me on Pat.
Aimee thought Pat looked very elegant standing all parked out in the cross ties. I taught him to park out years ago with food as "bait", so now after a ride, when
he's in the cross ties getting untacked, he "begs" for a treat by
parking out ;-) So here is a pic Aimee took of him doing his pose in good light,
and a close up of his cute face.
October 2008: Pat during a lesson with my friend Cassidy Evans (now Sutherland)up.
March 2, 2009. We had 4"-5" of snow- a rarity for Georgia! Coral and Charli were
running around feeling good after a night in the barn out of the blizzard, and
Pat and Mimi wanted nothing to do with their shenanigans. Pat was wondering what
all the fuss was about. After all, moving might burn off some calories.
August 31, 2009- Ericka Miller and her family came by to drop off some items for
the 22nd Annual Southern Model Horse Convention's benefit auction.
All of the Miller girls- Sam (4 years old and fearless!), Morgan, Danielle and Megan- took a turn
on Pat. Ericka asked if I could take a picture of their family with Pat. A couple of the girls had some fear of horses
before meeting and riding Pat. His quiet ways won them all over, and Morgan especially wanted another turn!
December 2009- I'd always wanted to do a Christmas card with all the horses on it. So when I saw these pet antlers at the Dollar Store, I had to get them. The next step
was taking a picture of each horse wearing the antlers, then creating the Christmas card you see here.
February 13, 2010- We had a rare snowfall and I was outside early to enjoy it before it all melted. The horses would rather search for
bits of greenery under the snow than pose for pictures. The second pic is Pat trying to interact with Mimi- not sure what he was asking her, but it was cute!
He loves his big sister and they are always together.
July 2010 was a difficult month. On the 2nd, I found Pat down in the run in shed. I honestly thought he was dead. He'd apparently been struggling with colic
for awhile that afternoon and was pretty beat up. He did not improve after my vet saw him, so we hauled him to the University of Georgia Large Animal Teaching
Hospital. He was dehydrated and in a lot of pain, with a pulse of 80, and an ultrasound showed distended small intestine. The decision was made to send him to
surgery, leaving me wondering how in the world I would pay for it- and if I would even have a live horse in the end. Well, Pat might
have been getting older but he was a
MORGAN, and he was a fighter. He came through surgery, which showed he was suffering from an illeal impaction and enteritis,
most likely due to eating coastal bermuda hay. This is a
common cause of colic here in the south where bermuda is the predominant type of hay fed to horses. Pat
was up and down for the next week, then started to do much better. Two weeks after surgery we brought him home to recuperate. Here are pictures of Pat in his
stall at home giving me his "please FEED me" look :-)
Our most sincere thanks go to Dr. Axel Varela and the team at UGA for their careful and considerate treatment of Pat. Dr. Varela kept me updated
twice a day which was most appreciated. You all are THE BEST!
August 31, 2010- After a month of stall rest and a month of individual turnout in our small paddocks- per the doctor's orders- Pat
was finally back with the herd.
Both Pat and Mimi seemed very happy to be together again. I was happy too! And Pat
was eating hay again, though
we will no longer feed bermuda to any of our horses.
Our annual Southern Model Horse Convention was held on October 2, 2010.
As promotion for the breed, which is the purpose of SouthCon, we let folks ride one or two of our Morgans after the show. Pat
was once again the horse we choose for show attendees to ride, but he was only cleared for riding again the week before the show
and I hadn't had time to take him for a spin, what with all the preparation needed around the farm for SouthCon. Here we are after the show on Saturday,
my first time back on Pat in almost 4 months.
He felt just like he always has- moving forward nicely, dropping softly on the bit- just like he'd been ridden every day.
All day long at SouthCon, 11 year old Emma Huffman was telling everyone she was going to get to ride after the show. She was positively radioactive
(I only have faint memories of having that much energy!) especially when she got to groom and ride Pat! She took instruction quite well
and soon had Pat stopping off of her seat, instead of pulling on the reins as she is used to doing on the lesson horses
that are her usual mounts. I wish her family lived closer so she could come ride Pat regularly!
11/28/10- Pat was
back to getting ridden regularly, and since the surgery, with his usual dry lot stay for 12 hours a day and Remission, he has really slimmed down
with no more fatty deposits on his crest and tailhead, though he still has a bit of a belly. Not sure that will
ever firm up now that he's had surgery.
I seem to recall reading that the abdominal muscles are weaker after they've been cut. But I digress.
My long time friend and riding student Cassidy Evans (now Cassidy Sutherland) rode him for her lesson today.
It was cloudy early on so I didn't plan to take pictures but then in the middle of the lesson the sun came out, which was nice because it was COLD
yesterday! But the sun made it comfortable.
I hate winter, but at least here in the south we don't have as long of one nor as severe as folks up north get.
Pat can still move like a much younger horse and he is on no joint supplements or shots.
Just amazing for 20 years old and a colic surgery survivor!
1/10/11- We got a good amount of snow, which unfortunately changed to ice due to freezing rain that came after it- shutting Atlanta down for a week
after due to treacherous road conditions. After two days in the barn during the
storm I put the horses back out. Pat, along with his sister Mimi,
just hung around the gate wanting me to either give them more hay or put them back in. This
was his "cold weather sucks, feed me!" face ;-)
July 24, 2011- My friend Cassidy came out to the farm with her Mom Rhonda and Katie Sheriff, who is Cassidy's
brother's fiancée. Katie used to work at a barn and loves horses. After Cassidy
had her lesson, Katie had one too. I am almost embarrassed to show this picture. He really
not as fat as he was a few years ago, but he is very unfit and the colic surgery
combined with age seems to have left him with weakened abdominals, giving him a
pregnant look. I knew he had redistributed his usual weight because his girth was
now too big; I needed a new, smaller one.
July 1, 2012- Here is Cassidy and Katie on Pat and Rosie. They switched horses halfway through the ride
so each got a taste of
a forward, sensitive horse (Rosie) when they are more used to riding the laid back (PC for fat and lazy ;-)) Pat.
August 5, 2012- My niece Josie and nephew Jarrod visited from Ohio on August 5 and had a ride on my ol' reliable Pat.
This was my favorite picture from the day. Josie had dismounted, threw her arms around Pat and proclaimed "I love this horse!". We do too,
Josie :-) There are pictures of a much younger Josie riding Pat in 2006 elsewhere on this page. Josie is 14
I wish Josie lived closer so she could ride regularly. She looks really good up there!
Every lesson starts on the lunge, to get the feel of the horse and how the seat influences him (left). If all goes well, the lunge line comes off (right).
"Thatta way, Jarrod!" Pat liked to try to come to me in the center of the ring.
Pat, as usual, had an opinion about the whole thing ;-)
Jarrod is getting the hang of it, and the smile says it all!
The kids wanted to see Pat "run" so I popped on to demonstrate that yes, despite his pudgy and quiet appearance, there
WAS power there, if you knew how to ask for it.
I wish I had grabbed my chaps but I did not think that I would be riding.
It's funny, I never thought that I looked big on Pat, but seeing pictures of myself on 15.2 hand Rosie has changed my perspective a bit! Pat is 14.2.
What a difference 4 inches makes!
Lately Pat had not been wanting to take his left lead. Leads had never been a problem for him, but I figured at his age,
he might be getting arthritic. The ride previous to this one we had spent most of
our time trying to get the left lead and failing miserably.
So I was ecstatic that when I asked for the left lead on this day and he took it immediately, just as he used to.
It is hard, thinking that not only yourself but your horse are getting old and unable to do what you
This picture was kind of dark but I liked how pretty his face and mane looked. He reminds me so much of his dam, Reminiscing ("Marie"). I sure miss her :-(
September 15, 2012- Jennifer Bui came by this afternoon to drop some donations
off for the 25th Annual Southern Model Horse Convention (THANK YOU, Jen!) Of
course, no visit to Brookridge is complete without a ride on a Morgan. Pat was drafted.
Here's Jennifer getting used to Pat's "buttons". She had ridden him before, at SouthCon a few years ago, but this ended up being more of a lesson.
After working on a few position issues and learning to relax her back and follow for forward movement, and stop that motion and sit deep
for whoa, we worked a little on pushing Pat softly up to the bit to ask for collection.
And here you go- a nice soft collection, on a light contact.
5, 2012- Morgen Kilbourn stayed with us for the 25th Annual Southern Model Horse
Convention. The night before the show she took a bunch of really nice photos of
Pat and I. it was neat to see how consistent Pat looked. He had quite a nice
amount of energy despite the heat and (I think) looks pretty good for an old man
of 22. I think you can tell his daddy was the first Morgan in the U. S. to show
at Grand Prix level dressage! And his dam was a darn good dressage horse as well
This was a fun canter to ride. A lot
of power under you. Look at how far under he is reaching with his inside hind.
There is lots of bend in every joint of the hindquarters. When we were finished riding, there was no sweat on Pat's forehand at all- it was all in the stifle and buttocks area, a sure sign of a horse who is using his hindquarters to
carry himself, rather than pulling himself along on the forehand. It is nice to see how consistently he carries himself.
October 2012- Pat coming up to investigate the sheet I had flapping to get their attention for pictures. Topaz was thinking about it too.
October 5, 2013- Pat was once again the horse chosen to give rides at this year's Southern Model Horse Convention held here at the farm.
Here are some of the show attendees getting Pat ready for rides. Emma Huffman is picking
out Pat's hooves,
Kathleen Fisher is brushing him, Jennifer Taft Bui is feeding him carrots and Elyssa Cook, Jessica Zepp and Jorja Alewine are in the pic too.
Some of the folks who rode Pat at SouthCon 2013 included (L-R) Emma Huffman, Heather Jackson-Lain, Montana Cook (Pat
being led by Trish Albert), Jennifer Bui and Trish Albert.
December 25, 2013- Christmas this year was hosted at Chez Behning South and participants included Jim Behning, his Mom Eldora Behning, Jim's brother Paul Behning
from Ohio, his kids Josie and Jarrod, and myself. Josie and I headed out to the barn straightaway, groomed and
rode Pat. This was not her first time on Pat, as you can see from earlier
pictures on this page.
February 2014- A few weeks after everyone recovered from the respiratory virus that swept the herd in January, resulting in the loss of our sweet Mimi mare,
Pat came in from turnout with a decided tilt of his hindquarters to the left, leaning heavily on his left hind, which twisted oddly as he weighted it. The vet wasn't sure if it was from some sort of trauma (there was not a mark on him, bur he could have fallen and not necessarily
scraped or cut himself, as the ground was wet from lots of rain) or EPM, but advised going ahead and treating for EPM. A
month of Marquis, one of the main meds
for treating EPM, runs just under $800. Credit card to the rescue! We also started Pat on a steroid to reduce inflammation. In 48 hours he was markedly improved, but backslid once
weaned off the steroids a few weeks later.
Another round of Marquis was suggested, but I dreaded putting another
large expense on our credit card. On Facebook many people had asked
if they could help, so I mentioned (despite my
initial reluctance) I would be grateful for any donations. WOW! I was
overwhelmed by the response! Pat has so many friends who
have known and ridden him him through the years- he has a fan club :-)
THANK YOU, everyone! I even had a little left over to have a chiropractic/acupuncturist
vet come and treat Pat. Also, two weeks of a different EPM med was generously donated by Melanie Sherwin Brown-
who I did not even know at the time, but who had offered the med up on a Facebook
group to anyone who might need it. Linda York saw the posting and told me about
it (yup, it's the power of friends!). Melanie's donated meds followed the
Marquis, and I actually saw much more response to it than anything else we'd
Pat got turned out alone now for his own safety. Here he was hanging out with the neighbor's goats for company.
February 2014- The first picture was Pat after 48 hours of being treated with Marquis and Prednisolone.
The second picture is about a week later. He was standing much more normally. Unfortunately, after coming off the Pred, he backslid.
April 6, 2014- Pat snoozing while watching Jim work putting soffit on the barn. This picture just broke my heart. I think you all can see the problem here.
I ended up putting him back on prednisolone, using up the last of what I had
left. Again, he improved.
May 17, 2014- After completing round 2 of Marquis, I used two weeks of a compounded EPM medicine donated by Melanie Sherwin Brown. It consisted of two
older EPM meds (Sulfadiazine - Trimethoprim - Pyrimethamine),
Vitamin E, Diclazuril, and Levamisole- a cattle dewormer that has immune boosting properties in horses.
I saw the most progress during these two weeks; he almost looked as good as he
had on the prednisolone. The left hind hock still wobbled as he moves and his
hoof slides inward as he plants the foot, but it slowly got much less
noticeable. My vet cautioned me that
nerve repair takes a very long time, if it happens at all.
May 22, 2016-
We discovered Pat had congestive heart failure last month. I planned to take some pictures once he was fully shed, since we
didn't know how long he has left- although he was doing pretty well when these
pictures were taken. I hadn't heard him coughing for many weeks.
With Jim's help, we took almost 300 pictures and most were very similar to the ones I chose here- although Pat's ears were
back in a lot because he was so bored! Thank you also to Erin Ashley Chalmers for Pat's fancy browband :-)
June 19, 2016- I had a delightful visit with my friends Rhonda Evans
(first picture, with Pat and grandson Evan) and Cassidy Sutherland. Cassidy brought her darling 8 month old son Evan (Rhonda's grandson) to see the horses. I had not met Evan yet since Cassidy lives in the Nashville area now, so this was a real treat. Cassidy was one of our boarders and a riding student of mine back when we managed Shadowrock Farm in Lithonia (1987-1997), and has continued to ride here over the many years (20-some) that I have known her.
There are many pictures on this page of her riding Pat. She also was THE BEST farm sitter until she had to move to Nashville, LOL!
Evan was a happy boy with all the horses, dogs and flowers around to look at! Cassidy wrote on her Facebook
page, "I've been taking lessons on Pat for many years now, and while he's
retired, he's still up for teaching a second generation the joys of horses."
November 19, 2017-We went out to eat last night with friends Dale and Doreene Gaustad and Jim was thumbing through photos on his phone while we ate our dessert.
He found this picture he took from the back porch of me turning out Lacey and Sweetie on the filly's first morning after her birth
(October 18). I did not know he had
taken it. Standing in the corner of the adjacent paddock looking on was... Pat. OMG I got all choked up again. I think this is the last picture I have of him.
You can see how good he looked.
I miss him so much. There will never be another like Pat.
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