Old Friends Receives Donation Of Stone Grave Markers From Kentucky Monument

by | 02.08.2019 | 4:12pm

Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, KY., has received a gracious donation from the Bardstown-based Kentucky Monument company.

Owned by Pat and Shannon Spalding, and specializing in granite headstones and personalized memorials, Kentucky Monument has donated three new markers for graves in Old Friends's horse cemetery.

In addition, the company has made a commitment to donate several granite headstones annually so that the all the horses currently interred will eventually have a fitting headstone.

“While all horses who pass at Old Friends receive a grave marker, only some receive permanent stone markers,” noted Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “They are quite expensive, so many that we do have were paid for by an owner or track connection or sometimes a group of fans,” Blowen added. “Some have even been contributed by our volunteers who were particularly attached to that horse.”

While touring the Old Friends facility in Georgetown, Shannon Spalding, who also owns BourbonTown Tours, also in Bardstown, with her partner Ron Freeman, noticed the discrepancy in the grave markers. “We thought every one of these magnificent animals should have a fitting headstone, regardless of their track record,” said Spalding. “So we saw an opportunity to help, and to maybe inspire others to help.

“Every Old Friends retiree deserves a headstone that will withstand the test of time and be a tribute to their lives and careers,” she added.

“We are incredibly grateful to Shannon and Pat for this generous donation,” said Blowen. “The cemetery is a moving part of Old Friends's very popular guided walking tours. When you are dealing with horses in their twilight years, death is a part of the circle of life here, and visitors find it very consoling to pay their respects. This will be a great honor to all of our retirees.”

Currently, there are 84 horses interred in the Old Friends cemetery; 32 of the graves do not have stone markers.

Three have already been set by Kentucky Monument: Ohio-bred millionaire Catlaunch, Turfway Park regular Easy Ellis, and Hollywood Gold Cup winner Early Pioneer.

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