Castle Farm: In Memoriam

Castle Farm is not only a business. It's a home and a life for these animals, and unfortunately we have to say goodbye to them from time to time, hoping that we've given them the best life possible in exchange for the great lives they've given us. This page lets us remember the great friends that we've lost over the years.

(Photo by various)
Name: Captain Morgan
AKA: "Morgan"
Stats: 2006 Domestic Shorthair female (S)
Owned by: Heather King
Duties: Barn cat, mouser, lap warmer
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge: March 15, 2017
When I first met Morgan, she was the last kitten left from a litter that had been born to a momma cat that was dumped on the side of the road. Someone had brought the cat to my vet's clinic, and I ran into her when I was there to get a horse treated. I asked if I could hold her, and that was it - I never put her down. One of my students was with me at the time, so we concocted a story to tell Chris about how Morgan wasn't really going to be my cat, she was also going to be Rachel's. Well, obviously, he saw right through that one, but he knows me so well that he also knew it was pointless to argue. He knows that I love cats almost as much as I love horses, and this was to be Morgan's new home. She started out in our house, but she really enjoyed the outdoors a lot more, so we let her become an indoor/outdoor kitty. However, we soon found out that she preferred to use the bathroom outside, and not in a litter box, and if we were not going to be around to let her out, she was going to poop in my tub. Well, that definitely wouldn't work, so she became a permanent resident of the barn. She mostly liked it, although she did whine a lot when it got cold. So, because all my animals are pretty spoiled, we got her her own bed and blanket. And when it was too cold for her liking, she would ask anyone who was available, in her whiny, almost human-like voice, to please put her in her bed and tuck her in with her blanket. Sometimes, she would commandeer your coat or your lap too! She was very strict about timeliness, and if she thought that one of the feeders was running even a little bit late with her meal, they would probably receive a stern talking to or a swat on the leg as they walked by. She could even be heard calling her favorite feeder, Lois, by name! She tried her paw at being a horse show cat (kind of like a horse show dog, but, a cat). That didn't really work out (for a number of reasons I'm sure you can guess). However, she was great at keeping stray dogs away from the farm. On several occasions, I saw her take off after a dog that was not supposed to be here. Then there was the time she took off after the vet's dog. He thought he was all big and bad, but Morgan had him running and screaming like a baby! In her last days here, she was still showing her disapproval to our new barn cat Jose. (Luckily, he doesn't get offended easily, and just took it all in stride). I could go on and on with stories about Morgan. She definitely brightened up our lives for the past 11 years, and will truly be missed by all who knew her.

(Photo by Heather King)
Name: Gin and Juice
AKA: "Ginny and OJ"
Stats: 2015 Pekin Ducks
Owned by: Heather King
Duties: Egg suppliers, companions
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge: October 31, 2015
Every spring, for several years, I would see the baby ducks at Tractor Supply and tell myself "One day I'm going to get some ducks". Well, one day, in the spring of 2015, finally arrived. They were so cute and fuzzy and had the tiniest little squeaks. After just a few short days, they followed me everywhere with their little feet going "flap, flap, flap". As they grew and changed into big, beautiful, white ducks, their personalities really came out. Ginny was definitely the bossy one (just like a woman ;) ), while OJ was very shy and more reserved. I trained them with little pieces of apple, their favorite, and eventually taught them to come when called and to go up the ramp I had for them into their pool. Oh, and speaking of their pool, they did not like swimming at first AT ALL. You've heard that phrase "like ducks to water"? Well, not Ginny and OJ. They were terrified of their little pool. But once they figured it out, they LOVED it and would play in it all the time, really mucking it up! Finally, they discovered the pond, and then it was all we could do to bring them in at night to keep them safe. Unfortunately, keeping them safe at night wasn't the problem. They were attacked in the middle of the day right out in the middle of the field with several people at the farm at the time. I still don't know what got them, but I was completely devastated. They had brought such joy to the farm, and I loved hearing them call to the feeders in the morning. They will definitely be missed by all who knew them.

(Photo by Brian Murphy)
Name: Top Deck Jet
AKA: "Jett", "Jet, Jet, Space Cadet"
Stats: 2001 Quarter Horse/Arabian gelding
Owned by: Heather King
Duties: lessons, hunters, eventing, native costume, jumping
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge: September 4, 2011
May 2008 Boothill Hunter Show Limited Hunter Reserve Champion (rider Jordyn Dunson)
July 2008 Sharon Oaks Stables Hunter Show Low Hunter Champion (rider Jordyn Dunson)
February 2009 Double D Hunter Show Mini Equitaion Division Champion (rider Jordyn Dunson)
2009 NC State Fair Half Arabian Mounted Native Costume Champion (rider Jordyn Dunson)
2009 MacNair's Country Acres year end 4th place Maiden Level Combined Training Division (rider Jordyn Dunson)
October 2010 Sharon Oaks Stables Hunter Show Open Walk/Trot Champion (rider Elena Freedman-Scott)
July 2011 Sharon Oaks Hunter Show Walk/Trot 12 and under Champion (rider Claire Williams)

Jett first came to Castle Farm about 5 years ago as a barely broke horse with quite an attitude. Turns out some of that attitude had to do with a golfball size bladder stone he had rolling around inside him. Once we got rid of that, Jett proceeded to tear open his shoulder, which resulted in the vet having to shear off part of his shoulder bone. The (almost) final straw was that he developed locked stifles after having been on stall rest for several months. After several more months of physical therapy, we weren't making any progress and had to resort to a third surgery. All of this was much more than his owner could bear financially, so she agreed to let me train him for resale. However, once I started working with him, I discovered that Jett was a very talented horse that had a great personality too. I ended up purchasing Jett for the Castle Farm lesson program and never looked back. Writing this now, even after him being gone for several months, still brings tears to my eyes. Throughout the last 5 years Jett came such a long way, and brought all of us with him - from 3 surgeries in one year, to sturdy and confident lesson horse, to jumping much higher than even the pre-purchasing vet thought he could, to successful competitor in hunters, eventing and native costume, and even to finally learning to cross those scary ditches. No other horse will ever play "feed-pan" with as much gusto as Jett. I miss you so much, fella - you brightened so many lives . . .

(Photo by Chris King)
Name: Jack Daniels
AKA: "Jack"
Stats: ~1998 Domestic shorthair male (N)
Owned by: Heather King
Duties: mouser, lap quilt, friend
Lost, but not forgotten: January 2011

Jack once enjoyed the luxuries of being an indoor cat, but he started a bad hobby of chewing photographs and breaking collectibles that happen to be within reach. So, he was banished to the barn, where he lived "la vida sucia" (the dirty life) with the other residents of Castle Farm. Jack spent many years protecting the barn from all sorts of species, including, but not limited to, mice, moles, voles, birds, flying squirrels, regular squirrels, bats, and I'm sure there were more that I didn't even see. Anyone who knew Jack knew that he absolutely HATED to be picked up and would let out the whiniest meow anytime someone tried. He did love to sit in a person's lap, however, especially if it was cold out. Jack was not a very good house cat, but was a FABULOUS barn cat. We really miss seeing him around the barn. To my knowledge, he is not dead, he just disappeared. Maybe, one day, he'll come back . . . .

(Photos by Chris King)
Name: Solie
AKA: "Solie"
Stats: 1984 ApHC gelding
Owned by: Liz Murphy
Duties: children and adult lessons, jumping
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge: December 2009

Solie came to Castle Farm on loan from heather's mom, Liz, and quickly filled his role as a lesson horse. He took many riders to many levels over the years, and was well-loved by everyone who met him. He will always hold a special place in our hearts.

The Pets of Castle Farm

(Photo by Chris King)
Name: Jaqueline
AKA: "Jackie"
Stats: ~1998 Domestic longhair female (S)
Duties: Assistant barn cat, proof to watch what you ask for (you just might get it!)
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge: December 2005

Jackie was the cute one in the family, and always had the run of the house. However, she kept running away if we ever left a door or window open. So, after one too many nighttime trips to find her, we finally gave Jackie what she wanted. In the end, she shared the barn with Jack and helped keep Castle Farm rodent-free.

(Photo by Chris King)
Name: Sebastian
AKA: "Sebastian"
Stats: 2001 chinchilla
Duties: Beloved pet
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge: 2005

Sebastian was our resident ball of energy and primary "awww" recipient. He was named for Sebastian Cabot, who we (at the time) mistakenly thought was the voice of Tigger, whose overenthusiastic bouncing form Sebastian emulated so well. (As you may know, Sebastian Cabot was the narrator of Winnie the Pooh -- Paul Winchell was the voice of Tigger.) As a pet, Sebastian was great! He was very soft (that's why they make coats out of chinchillas), and he took baths in fine dust (extremely cool to watch). We bought him a big plastic ball for Christmas one year, and he rolled around the house in it, providing hours of amusement for both the humans and the other animals in the household.

(Photo by Chris King)
Name: Graylord, Master of the Barn
AKA: "Gray"
Stats: 1998 Pygmy Goat wether
Duties: He was cool!
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge: 2004

Graylord was a wedding present, and was a barn favorite at Castle Farm. He was a very loyal goat, and protected us from the evils of the world.

(Photo by Heather King)
Name: Lord Kerberos of Knightdale Tara's Sassi Scarlett
AKA: "Kerbie" "Sassi"
Stats: 2001 Catahoula male (N) 1995 Chow-chow female (S)
Duties: Associate guard dog and homeowner's nightmare Guard dog, lap dog, alarm clock
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge: July 18, 2013 December 11, 2013

Sassi was our barn dog. She got along great with everyone (some guard dog) except Jack and Kerbie. :) We never used to believe in taking a dog to shows -- we just thought they would get in the way, but Sassi started begging us - to point of getting in the car and not moving, or standing in front of the truck when she thinks we are about to leave for a horse show. So for years, Sassi went on every horse excursion with us - she was very patient at the trailer and loved the ride!

Kerbie was our other barn dog. His name came from a Greek version of the mythological guard dog Cerberus (who the Harry Potter character "Fluffy" was based on), and until the end, he only had one head.

Sassi and Kerbie had great long lives with Castle Farm and the Kings. Kerbie succumbed to bone cancer in the summer of 2013, and Sassi's health problems caught up to her (after 18 years) just before Christmas that same year.

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