A few years ago, one of my mentors told me “old horses and men just fade away if they cannot do what they love.” This was within the confines of an email that I received a few weeks after my father was in a serious harness racing accident which rendered him unable to work.
He and I spoke every few months like this: checked in with each other, wished the other well, hoped to see the other while in Philadephia or at New Bolton Center. Our Friday schedules during the spring semester of my first year meant that I would work with him directly on the admissions committee and get updates on his life in an almost passive manner, absorbing his knowledge and advice on the horse industry like a sponge.
As the years went on after our initial meeting, my mentor was there for me whenever I needed him. During my first summer at New Bolton Center, he took me under his wing and allowed me to practice my basic horsemanship skills. He trusted me and as a first year veterinary student it meant a lot. He always called me “young master”- a name that stuck with some of my friends who still jokingly refer to me in the same way.
During large animal block, he lectured to my class a few times. They were good lectures: practical and straight-forward. His style. I think my class really enjoyed his enthusiasm and his apparent love for horses. I know I did.
Interestingly, while cleaning out my email just a few weeks ago I came across that email from him in which he gave me the aforementioned sage advice. Bizarrely, this all happened right around the time that Dr. Martin passed away. It seemed almost “movie-esque” that it would happen at such a time, and it really moved me.
In honor of Dr. Martin, I will always remember do what I love: help the horses do what they love.