Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Goodbye Niles Allen-Jenkins

In November 2007, after the loss of my beloved dog Spike to a six-year battle with cancer, the Bluegrass Barkery and I teamed up to help raise money for canine cancer research. Spike had only been gone less than a month when I found myself standing in the kitchen of the Clay Avenue store taking pictures of patient dogs along with an even more patient Santa, Jim Harvey. I felt like I was standing in a dream as I was still in such great mourning over the loss of Spike and taking pictures to honor her death, did not seem real to me. Dog after dog and picture after picture, my day was moving along as usual with bouncy dogs and wagging tails; that is until I saw Niles. I had turned my head to glance into the store to see how many people were standing in line waiting for photos, when I noticed a large elderly greyhound standing quietly by his owner’s side. The main door to the Barkery was open as I saw them in near silhouette form. I could see from a glance that Niles was an older dog (one of the first that I had seen all day long). At that moment the room was silent and thoughts of my old dog Spike came flooding back to me. Spike was one day shy of her 14th birthday when she passed away; she has always looked so young and so strong up until six months before her death. The cancer and her diabetes had taken a toll on her once beautifully muscled body. I had to look away from Niles as I felt my eyes well up in tears, somehow he and Spike felt like one dog. As the afternoon rolled on, Niles found his way into the little make shift studio at the Barkery to have his photos taken with Santa. I stood in the corner filling out orders all the while I had one ear listening to Niles’s owner Robert, talk about Niles health. Robert talked about all the vet appointments, different medications, modifying the house, etc. So many of the same things my husband and I did for our baby girl Spike. So many similarities were stacking up for Niles and Spike, that Niles immediately found a special place in my heart. I remember clearly how Robert came over to pick out his selection of photos for printing and through the tears that were now streaming down my face; I offered him the entire CD of all the photos taken. I knew in my heart that time had become precious for the two. I think in death that we truly learn how precious life is, how precious time with those we love is. That was where my journey with Niles began. We spent many years in studio sessions at my house along with Santa photos at the Bluegrass Barkery. I always looked forward to petting Niles beautiful soft gray coat, and smelling his natural baby-powder-like scent. Niles was a special dog. He lived to the age of fifteen, an age that is unheard of for greyhounds. I know in my heart that the love of his owners kept Niles alive. Next to their lives, love was the most beautiful thing they shared together. Goodbye sweet Niles, may Spike be there greet you as you leave this life behind and race off toward Rainbow Bridge.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. 
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. 

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

Author unknown...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Edward Gal takes home three Gold Medals at the World Equestrian Games

Freestyle Win Gives Gal Three Gold Medals at Dressage World Championships, Presented by Alltech


Lexington, Ky., Oct. 1, 2010 – In an historic sweep, Dutch rider Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas captured three gold medals at the Dressage World Championships, presented by Alltech, part of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Friday night, in front of a sold-out crowd at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Main Stadium, he won the Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 91.8 percent.

Earlier in the week, Gal and “Totilas” earned the gold medal in the Grand Prix Special and were members of the gold-medal-winning team from the Netherlands.

The Grand Prix Freestyle’s top placings mirrored those of the Grand Prix Special, with Laura Bechtolsheimer of Great Britain capturing the silver medal with Mistral Hojris (85.35%), and Steffen Peters of the United States taking bronze on Ravel (84.90%). Peters, with two medals now, is the only U.S. rider ever to earn an individual medal at a World Equestrian Games. The three top riders also finished the team Grand Prix on Sept. 28-29 in the same order.

Before the medals ceremony, announcer Brian O’Connor brought Gal into the arena to thank him for taking dressage in an “unbelievably new direction. … You are in charge of what’s happening worldwide in dressage,” O’Connor said.

Linda Zang, president of the ground jury, discussed her impressions of the top three horses: “They’re actually, to me, three totally different types of horses. Totilas is a horse that shows so much power, but at the same time is very easy and seems very light. I think Edward does an amazing job to be able to sit and keep a horse with so much power and energy into a frame and work happily with him. Laura’s horse, for me, has a lot more power and is a very big horse. And Steffen has a different kind of horse. It’s a horse that is very elastic and soft and has a different kind of harmony. All three of them have harmony.”

Gal, who came into the World Games highly touted, said he was relieved that he and his horse lived up to the expectations.

“When I came here, I knew I could do it, but it also has to happen. And then it’s quite difficult, and there was, of course, a lot of pressure on me because everyone expected it,” he said.

Peters noted that he dedicated the freestyle ride to his fellow U.S. rider Courtney King-Dye, who suffered a head injury after a riding accident in March. Peters wore a protective helmet in his celebratory victory lap aboard Ravel.

Also, during the post-medals ceremony press conference, Gal said, “It is not a rumor” that Totilas has been bred to Brentina, an Olympic and WEG medalist and a World Cup titlist.

Nations represented in the Grand Prix Freestyle were the Netherlands, Great Britain, the United States, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Austria, Poland and Switzerland. Judges were Zang (United States), Mary Seefried (Australia), Ghislain Fouarge (the Netherlands), Evi Eisenhardt (Germany), and Maribel Alonso (Mexico).

Attendance on Friday was 46,496, including a sold-out Main Stadium of 25,00 for the Grand Prix Freestyle. Thursday's total attendance was 34,211.

About the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championships of eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). The Games are held every four years, and this will be the first occurrence in the United States. Tickets to the 2010 Games are still available and can be purchased at,, through the Ticketmaster hotline at 1-800-745-3000, or at your local Ticketmaster outlet.

The Games are being broadcast on NBC Sports, which marks the largest commitment to network coverage of equestrian sport in U.S. television history. The 2010 Games are expected to have a statewide economic impact of $167 million, and current sponsors include Alltech, Rolex, John Deere, Ariat International Inc., Meydan, Kentucky Ale, and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. For more information on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, visit

About Alltech

Founded by Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech is a global animal health and nutrition company with 30 years’ experience in developing natural products that are scientifically proven to enhance animal health and performance. With more than 2,300 employees in 120 countries, the company has developed a strong regional presence in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. For more information, visit

To download photos from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, go to

Media Contact:

Amy Walker

Public Relations

Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

(Office) 859-281-7940

For audio interviews, go to:

Steffen Peters:
Edward Gal (English):
Edward Gal (Dutch)
Laura Bechtolsheimer:
Isabell Werth (4th) in English: