For 22 years, Winston the miniature horse greeted fans at the Kentucky Derby Museum.
But last week, in front of a large crowd, Winston finally said goodbye to the only job he's ever known, and he did it in style at a special retirement send-off.
The celebration took place at the Kentucky Derby Museum, where Winston spent most of his life. He took one last lap around, and enjoyed carrots and lots of affection from his many fans before heading off into the trailer and onto the new life that awaited him.
The Kentucky Derby Museum's president, Patrick Armstrong, was even in attendance, and had much to say about Winston's star-studded career:
"He's been our superstar. Whether it's an appearance in the stable at the end of the historic walking tour or through a picture on social media, Winston has created lasting memories for our visitors."
Some of those memories included "throwing out" the first pitch at a Louisville Bats game, supporting various charitable around the city, helping Churchill Downs predict the year's Kentucky Derby winner, and aiding in more than 10 marriage proposals at the museum with his "Will You Marry Me?" blanket.
But at 24 years old, Winston now has trouble getting around, and struggles with his eyesight, so the museum found him a very special retirement home — Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, Kentucky, founded and run by Michael Blowen and his wife Diane White.
Winston will enjoy his own private stall, a large outdoor paddock with grass, and the admiration of visitors three times a day. And, of course, he will be in good company. Old Friends is home to Kentucky Derby winners Silver Charm and War Emblem, multiple Breeders Cup and Belmont winners and another miniature horse called Little Silver Charm.
"When I retire I hope it's half as nice as his is going to be," Knight said.
Between the Lexington television crew that awaited his arrival and the group of 20 visitors, cellphone cameras at the ready, Winston's arrival to Old Friends Farm was nearly as exciting as his goodbye ceremony in Louisville.
He got to meet both Silver Charm, and his smaller counterpart, before settling down to eat some grass.
"It is going to be a change for Winston but we think he'll really love it," White said.
What do you think of Winston's retirement? Share your thoughts below.
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