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Farewell to a Babe, Our Farm Matriarch


May 15, 1983 - August 15, 2015

We are sad to report that our beloved draft horse Babe passed away this past weekend on Farmer John's birthday. She was surrounded by people who loved her and the farm that sustained her. At 32 years, she was ancient by horse standards.

Mango, our stock dog, heard her in distress overnight and alerted via barking. She was down, and, despite efforts, was not able to get up. The vet’s assessment was that her spirit was strong but that her body too weak from age.

A small group of us gathered around her for the morning, keeping her cool and sheltered from the sun, feeding her apples and water. Bertha stroked her head, and we held a phone to her ear so that Tom (in Michigan) could say say good-bye. We gave thanks together for the gifts she gave to so many: wide-eyed children feeding her carrots, farm animals whom she fostered, and adults who found solace in her presence.

Our vet, Dr. Peabody, was gentle and kind with both Babe and her mourners, and his companion, Kristy, braided her mane and listened intently as her breathing slowed over a long silence. She intuited that Babe was a true elder in the animal world, in whom many had entrusted their sorrows and their own souls, including several children in particular. For Babe to move on, she needed to release the others whose spirits she carried as well. As we absorbed Kristy’s words, Babe took her final breaths.

She is buried south of the Lot of Worms, covered by a blanket of hay and soil, with a bouquet of wildflowers and her legs positioned in a trot.  As her body re-absorbs in the earth, we remember her large heart, gentle presence, and the joy she brought so many.

By Deb Crockett, Senior Program Director

We encourage you to write your memories of Babe in the comment section.