Diary Post #137

Photo by Barbara Livingston


Good Morning All!

What a day I had yesterday…all filled with GREAT surprises! I now know all of my friends here at Lane’s End had a wonderful surprise planned for me…and they filled TEAM ZENYATTA in on it!  

For days, as you know, I have been walking around in my new paddock.  The Farm wanted me to be totally familiar with every inch of the area.  This is all part of my ‘baby steps’ process.   Each day, I was given a bit more space to investigate and explore with Charles, Donna and the crew here!   They ultimately had me on a very loose hold during these adventures. I was also given ample time to look at all of my beautiful surroundings and thoroughly relax and enjoy my time outdoors.

After several days of this, the FARM felt I was totally comfortable with my new paddock. A plan was then developed to establish the day when I could be ‘on my own’ outside. It was organized for this to take place YESTERDAY. TEAM ZENYATTA WAS PART OF THE PLAN…and they flew into Lexington TO SHARE THIS MOMENT WITH ME!  

As I was being prepared for my morning ‘walk’, David and Mike picked up Team Z at the airport. SURPRISE!   Within minutes, they were all right here with me  at my Lane’s End Barn!  SUCH FUN!   (Carrots and mints for EVERYBODY!)  Yippee!

Barbara Livingston, from DRF, and Anne M. Eberhardt and Alex, from THE BLOODHORSE, were also on hand.  Sweetly, ANN MOSS  was going to take some of her own videos…….and MY DEAR JOHN  brought his new camera to add to the fun!  

When I was ready, we all walked out to my paddock together. It was crisp…but not as cold as the last time they were here. For quite a bit of time, I walked around with Charles.  We wanted to show everyone how well I handled this. We walked all over this large paddock…and I checked out everything….just like I have been doing for days now. Ann, Jerry, John, Dottie, Mario and Carmen…all thought I was doing very well. I was really feeling very confident in this space and with the footing.

Then, suddenly, (and to my surprise…and delight) Charles took the shank off me.  I was allowed to be  ‘ON MY OWN’. Lane’s End positioned many people from their staff all over the perimeters of the paddock area as they wanted to be sure I was very logical and safe at this moment.

GUESS WHAT???? I WAS! At first, I just played around with some alfalfa they had carefully positioned in 2 places in the center area of the paddock. I moved from one patch of this to another…walking and grazing. Then I thought…Hmmmm…this is different!  I don’t really have anyone right next to me. Suddenly I looked up and saw so many of my friends all standing several feet away. At that moment, I noticed Mario. I walked over to him and stood there. He hugged me and scratched my neck like he has done for YEARS! It was so special! I walked over to the Moss’. Ann and Jerry both hugged me and gave me some great treats from home.

Then I looked at my dear JOHN…and walked over to him. He gave me several loving pats and then looked down and ‘checked my legs’. (Old habits just don’t go away. This is a TRAINER kinda’ thing. John has checked my legs every single morning for over 4 1/2 years. It was like great old times!) For several minutes more, I was able to walk around and greet all of my other friends. THIS WAS REALLY GOING WELL!

Now…I thought…HMMM! Let’s see what happens when I walk farther out to the other part of the paddock. So I did. I walked around looking at everything. I was careful..and enjoyed this. I WAS ALL BY MYSELF! I stood at one edge of the paddock just staring over the fence. 2 squirrels were playing in the tree…and I just loved watching them. I walked over to see the geese playing in the pond.  I then went to greet all of my Lane’s End friends standing in each part of the paddock…..making sure they knew I was safe.

This went on for many more minutes. I just walked, looked, stood…and enjoyed every single moment.

Then, the thought occurred to me…CAN I JOG OFF and RUN? No lead pony, no Steve, no Mike Smith…no equipment…JUST ME! I put up my tail and planted my feet in the snow. It felt good. I jogged a bit and felt the brisk air on my skin. I stretched my legs and stepped right out! Hmmm, I thought! This is fun…and it is really going well. I went over to the other edge of the paddock. Donna was there to meet me. WOW!!!! Am I really doing this? I’m all by myself!

I pranced to the side of the paddock where all of my other friends were standing. I danced for them…and even walked right over to Dottie and gave her a BIG KISS!

I walked back around and greeted every single person as I made my way to the far side of the paddock! SUDDENLY (my confidence now was really strong)…….. I TOOK OFF! 

I stretched, I bucked, I played…and then I RAN. What a lucky girl! As I rushed across the paddock, I squealed with delight. It was my way of THANKING EVERYONE for my wonderful, wonderful life.


After running free for several more minutes, Charles put the shank back on me. As you know, they have to monitor my time like this to be sure I am safe and don’t get too excited at first.  The crew then took turns walking me around the paddock some more. Mario took his turn…and it was ALL FABULOUS!


After all of this exercise, it was time to go back to my barn and have something to eat. My friends and TEAM Z followed me and stayed and visited with me for hours.

What A MOMENT, what A DAY…and what SPECIAL MEMORIES!  

I hope to share more photos of this day with you soon. Thank you to Barbara for the one we are using today. This day was all very, very special to me…and I know in my heart it was also very special for all of TEAM Z.  They traveled thousands of miles to share this one new stage of my life with me! They all told me…they would not have missed today for anything!

What more could a GIRL want or have…than so many people who love her SO MUCH!
With love,


  1. Love you Z

  2. This story just makes me cry. I am so happy that Zenyatta is enjoying herself and being well cared for.

  3. You are a very lucky girl Zenyatta! you look so beautiful running free in the snow! and with all your friends there to play with you!!They love and care about you so much, that is obvious! Mario seemed especially proud of you!

  4. Oh, Lady Z—-you and your team made me cry! This was so awesome to see and to read about! I can imagine your excitement. My birthday is Christmas Day, and I consider this a double treat for me, because there isn’t really anything I want but oh, to see you happy certainly made my Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and all those who care for you, on both coasts!

  5. Z, you are incredible!!

  6. I’m so glad that you had a wonderful time, Zenny- and that your loved ones were there to share the special moment with you. <3

    I hope you have a safe and happpy christmas!

  7. Congrats! You look beautiful as always! It brings tears to my eyes to see you so happy! You deserve such a wonderful retirement!

  8. IM so glad you had a great day and were safe and didn’t hurt yourself! Enjoy being a horsey! LOVE YOU Z!

  9. I cry every time I watch it…so happy! I wish Mario could be with you all of the time…he shows such affection to Z. I love this video! Thank you all so much for taking good care of our girl!

  10. Of course you did fantastic,,, You are our girl…. I can hear your Whinying all the way back to Hollypark… I can see your bucking and carrying on….. Oh Zenny Merry Christmas Baby!

  11. I saw the video on the Blood-Horse website of you running and playing in the snow. So beautiful! It is apparent that you are a HAPPY HORSE and loving your new life. You looked like a young filly, running and bucking and squealing! Happy holidays, big girl; you already got your big present :)

  12. I AM SO HAPPY!

  13. What a wonderful dictorial. I really felt like I was there watching the excitment unfold!
    She was beautiful to watch free!

  14. Beautiful!!!!! Wish this for all retired race horses.

  15. The video is on bloodhorse and linked to facebook. Z you looked SOO happy!!!

  16. so magnificent….I’m speechless.
    Thanks Team Z and Lane’s End for sharing these magnificent moments with us

  17. Poetry in motion…the power is breathtaking! She was free and beautiful and flying like the wind! Imagine how she must have felt! Well I think the dance at the end told us how she felt. What a wonderful Christmas present for Zenyatta, her family and all of us who lover her! I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart and much LOVE to Zenyatta !!

  18. thanx for sharing everything about this AWSOME girl…she is an example of love,dedication, fidelity…love from Uruguay

  19. All I can say is TEARS!!!!

  20. Just love your diary posts! Keep writing!

  21. More than 500 people have viewed the video of Queen Z, team Z, and her Lane’s End family over on her website. At this moment, over 220 people have commented. We are all so thankful that the Queen’s connections have so graciously shared her with us. The video is like a holiday gift – Zenyatta is happy, healthy and much loved.

  22. Saw the video on Bloodhorse today and yippee!!
    Z looks great and what a terrific thing to bring Mario out to see her on this special day…kudos to everyone involved.
    Even in retirement Team Zenyatta are wonderful ambassadors of the sport to the world!
    Thank-you for sharing these pics, ad this story with us!

  23. I saw the video, you were stunning and so beautiful running and kicking up your heels. Oh how I would have LOVED to have seen this special moment in person. How thoughtful and kind of Lane’s End to invite Team Z out to share this special moment. The special bond between Zenyatta and Mario and John brought tears to my eyes. You look sooo happy Zenyatta and that warms my heart. Hugs & Kissess, we all love you!!!

  24. I am still crying (good tears) and I just love the fact that Zenyatta is so well loved that they all flew all the way from California to be there to share in this special moment. She deserves such love and devotion and returns it in spades. She is just so very special.

  25. Beautiful picture! Thanks for sharing. Barbara needs to do a picture book of Zenyatta.

  26. This video is a blessing. At Christmas, it is the greatest gift one could possibly give to those of us who love Zenyatta “from afar.” To see our beloved Queen dancing in the snow and squealing with delight, joined by the family who has loved and cared for her throughout her career, as well as her new friends, is an incredibly emotional experience. So many of our favorites disappear from our lives once they retire. It would have been heartbreaking had this happened with Zenyatta. Thank you for all of the time and effort you spend in making sure that we are included in her new day-to-day life. This was a major event for Zenyatta. Thank you for making it possible for us to share the love!

  27. Zenny-So happy for you. We all knew this day would come. You have such wonderful people on team “Z”. I’m so glad Mario & Carmen got to come. It speaks volumns about the character of your team. You take it easy girl, take one step at a time. Soon you’ll be zipping around that paddock like an old pro. Love you girl.

  28. Oh Queen Z, to see you enjoy yourself in the video was the best! Nothing is better than some fresh air and a good romp in the paddock. You are a beauty!!!

  29. FREEDOM ZEN! It will be even better when winters over.

  30. Thanks for sharing the video, was fun to watch.

    I see Zenyatta has shoes back on the front. I thought she’d had all 4 removed but guess her front feet aren’t quite up to going barefoot just yet.

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