Patches the horse passed away on September 1, 2006, at the age of 24-1/2. He died where he was born, on a Northern Florida ranch owned by Herbert Thompson and his family.
Mr. Thompson had trained Patches to not only ride in the car, but waterski, play the drums, count, and do other tricks. He said that Patches liked to learn things and was highly intelligent, which I'm sure was true. When I spoke with Mr. Thompson a little over a year before Patches' death, he didn't once mention his own skill at training--in his opinion, the project was all about Patches' talent. I would say both of them showed a lot of talent.
Just in case you were wondering, Patches WAS spotted in his youth, which is why he was named Patches.
When I first posted the Patches video, I asked my readers to tell me anything they knew about it and finally was contacted by the Thompsons' daughter who arranged an interview, which was a big treat. Since then, I have had the fun and honor of fielding the media inquiries for Patches and have had the sad task of passing on the messages of condolence to the Thompsons.
The good news is this: before Patches died, he sired a son whom the Thompsons named Chip (I am guessing they were hoping for a chip off the old block). Chip's training is coming along nicely and as of December 14, he had been in 11 parades, winning his first trophy November 6, 2006. I am waiting for a new interview so I can find out Chip's birthday and what color he is.
The Thompsons want everyone to know they appreciated all the emails they received after Patches' death and will keep his fans posted as to Chip's progress. And if you want to see Chip for yourself, keep an eye open for events involving parades in the Northern Florida area!