in loving memory...

The Master Musician - "Apollo"

M-One Jazz x Jazzs Precious
Apollo was one of the most wonderful horses we have ever had the opportunity to meet. The impact this little colt had on our lives was so extreme I can barely begin to describe it. Apollo came into this world on the evening of March 27, 2010, just seconds behind a twin sister, Artemis. Born to Jazzs Precious, a full sister to WGC Master of Jazz, and M-One Jazz, a full brother to WGC N.Y.P.D., we knew from the moment he beat 10,000 - 1 odds that this little colt would go on to do great things. He didn't disappoint.

  Everyone who had the opportunity to meet Apollo - and many who didn't - were touched by this incredible little colt's story. The story of his miraculous birth was printed in many publications including the Walking Horse Report, Voice of the Tennessee Walking Horse, and Marshall County Tribune. E-mails of congratulations and people wanting to meet the twins flooded in. Apollo wasn't yet 2 months old, but he was already famous.  

  When it came time to register Apollo, we dubbed him "The Master Musician" - a name fit for greatness. Not only did it have a catchy ring of its own, paying tribute to the colt's spectacular bloodlines, but the phrase was in fact synonymous to Apollo; the Greek god who was this colt's namesake was known as "the master musician." 

  Little did we know that Apollo would have accomplished all that God sent him to before 5 months had passed. In that short time, Apollo gave us and many others an unbelievable amount of joy, hope, and faith. A complete underdog at the moment of his birth (there was, after all, just a 1-in-10,000 chance of him surviving), Apollo valiantly fought to beat the staggering odds. His courage, strength, and friendly nature touched everyone who was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet him, and even many who didn't. Despite living less than 5 short months, Apollo had in fact accomplished a great deal.

  This page was created to keep the memory of Apollo alive, and for those who don't already know it to be able to share in this colt's amazing story.

(each image is click-able to view full size)


Apollo & Artemis's story:

The Twins: The birth of Apollo and Artemis, and pictures of their lives

A Tribute to Apollo - College Application Essay - Written By: Margaret E. LaFlamme

"Although I was too far away to make out the words, I knew exactly what my sister Sara was trying to tell me when I heard her barely audible cry pierce the brisk March air. Her voice reached my ears, and I froze. A strange partial paralysis seized my body. I had been waiting for days for such a cry to alert me of the news I had been expecting for weeks. I knew what that cry meant, yet, somehow, I couldn’t remember for a moment. The knowledge lingered at the back of my mind, intangible, just out of reach. My head tilted as my mind fumbled for an instant in a dreamlike haze to grasp the elusive thought. Suddenly, the knowledge hit me – Precious, our beloved Tennessee Walking Horse mare, was going into labor to deliver the foal that was now two days overdue.

            Just as the smile of joy and realization reached my face, I heard my sister’s voice again, penetrating, this time with a sharp note of panic in it; something was wrong. I reached the barn before I even realized I had been running. Loud groans of agony echoed in the stall where Precious lay next to Sara, who stood looking at her in helpless bewilderment. I knew something was seriously wrong as soon as I looked in the stall and saw not the normal two legs and a nose, but instead four legs and a nose, emerging from Precious. As we watched, uncertain of what to do, Precious pushed again, and we saw one of the rarest sights a horseperson will ever see: a second tiny nose had appeared next to the first. We were witnessing a twin birth, one of the most uncommon scenarios in the horse world.

            Sara and I immediately sprang into action. Working in rhythm with Precious’s contractions while our mother called our veterinarian, Sara pushed the second nose back in as I pulled the first foal out, quickly but gently. Within a few minutes, two healthy foals, a black filly and a chestnut colt, lay resting on the stall floor. The vet arrived and informed us that only one in 10,000 twin births in horses results in the survival of the mother and both foals. We knew then that we had witnessed a miracle, and we named our divinely blessed foals Artemis and Apollo, after the Greek twin gods. It soon became apparent, however, that Apollo, the weaker twin, would need some assistance if he were to survive.

            Sara and I slept in Precious’s stall that night. Every half an hour, we had to help him stand up and nurse since he was too weak to do it himself. For the next week, the whole family worked tirelessly to build Apollo’s strength and help him learn to take care of himself. We monitored him constantly and almost never left the barn. Finally, after a week of sleepless nights and struggling to stay awake at school, I came home to find Apollo able to stand up on his own; he no longer needed our help.

             For the next four months, I watched Apollo grow and play with Artemis and the other foals. Watching him frolicking, bucking, grazing, and napping brought a special feeling to my heart that no other horse brought – a sense of love and wonder and fulfillment that could only come from the knowledge that I had helped to provide him the chance to live the life he was so thoroughly enjoying. I developed a deep and exceptional bond with Apollo, who never seemed to forget the favor we had done him. He was always loving toward people, companionable, and endearing. Naturally, it was not long before such an irresistibly charismatic colt attracted the attention of someone else who hoped to own him. A young man named Taylor, who was, coincidentally, a twin himself, offered to buy Apollo when he was weaned; after meeting him, we knew he would be a loving owner who would provide Apollo with a wonderful home, so we agreed to the deal.

            Like everyone who met Apollo, Taylor fell in love with him. He sent us many emails with photos of the two of them together and told us how well Apollo was doing. Taylor’s affection for Apollo was obvious, and Apollo seemed equally devoted to his new owner. Unfortunately, their time together was extremely brief. After just a month, we received news from Taylor that Apollo had become very sick and had to be put down.

            The news of Apollo’s sudden death hit my heart like a sledgehammer – swift, hard, and merciless, in one shattering blow. As I wept for Apollo, for Taylor, for myself, and for the injustice of it all, the knowledge of Apollo’s severed life resonated in my head, amplifying the agony I felt. The burden of grief and regret deepened as I wondered why this had happened, and a barrage of questions was triggered in my head. I racked my brain for something, anything, to prove to myself that Apollo’s life hadn’t been in vain.

            Initially, I couldn’t find a way to justify Apollo’s death. I focused on forgetting the experience, tucking the memory away into the farthest corner of my mind. I soon realized, though, that remembering was inevitable; I couldn’t simply force myself to forget. The very next time I walked into the barn, I sensed Apollo in everything around me. I saw his eyes when I looked at Artemis’s face, heard his nicker as I walked past his stall, and felt him following me like a shadow as he had always done when I walked across the pasture. The vivid flashbacks made me realize that even though Apollo was gone, he had lived and, in doing so, he had touched everything around him.

            Apollo’s life taught me that some sacrifices, no matter how great, are worth making. I never doubted that the time, energy, and love that I put into Apollo were worth it to give him the chance to live, even for such a brief time. His life was happy, and he had brought happiness to the lives of others that no other could have brought. I also learned to cherish those you love because you truly never know when you may lose them; life can be extremely short. I know now not to take any life for granted. The experience reinforced the fact that life is unpredictable, which was demonstrated first in Apollo’s unexpected birth, then confirmed in his abrupt death. Apollo’s death influenced me as much as his life did. It showed me that it is better to remember what I had than to forget what I’ve lost.

Miracles happen all around us every day. Some may see this tale of Apollo as a tragedy, a life cut short and the broken hearts it brought to the people in it. But I have learned to see the time Apollo had in this world as a miracle, a gift which brought joy and love to those who were blessed enough to know Apollo. If I were given a chance to change what had happened, to take Apollo out of the picture completely as if he had never existed so that I could avoid the heartbreak of losing him, I would turn down the offer. Apollo’s being was worth everything it cost, monetarily, physically, and emotionally. I know now that all good things come to an end, but it is important to emphasize in our memories the good thing that we had, not its end. Apollo taught me to pay attention to the miracles that precede tragedy, for tragedies come from the end or loss of wonderful things. And for the kind of miracle that Apollo was, any tragedy is worth enduring."

Stand up sequence, 2 days old: