Covergirl’s New Family Alan Thicke
By April Horowitz
(The Heart of a Horse Story, part 20)
I always like to keep an eye on our rescue horses after they’re adopted to see that they are doing well in their new homes. Covergirl was no exception. We had rescued her from a kill pen in Pennsylvania, brought her to California and gotten her adopted by Alan and Tanya Thicke. I had looked in on Covergirl during that first adoption year and then when the year was up I visited with Alan Thicke, who is also a Heart of a Horse board member.
Alan is a well-known TV personality and entertainer. He played the father on the hit show “Growing Pains,” and had own late evening talk show called “Thicke of the Night.” He is a compulsive jokester and said to our camera, when we created a promotional video: “I support Heart of a Horse and every other body part of a horse. So make sure you’re behind these people and doing your part. We appreciate that.”
What I didn’t know as we introduced Covergirl at the Bombardier Polo Open, and Tanya Thicke met her for the first time, was that Tanya had not told Alan she was adopting the horse. Alan was out of town working on the day of the event. It was a secret she revealed at the event itself: “I’m happy and proud to say that Covergirl will be coming to my ranch. I’m very excited to adopt her. She’s going to be the new addition to my family. I actually have a pretty funny story. My husband doesn’t know yet that we’ve adopted Covergirl. It’s going to be a surprise when she shows up! But being able to give a home to a horse whose life almost came to an end at a horrible slaughterhouse because she didn’t perform well, to be able to give her a second chance at a good life makes me very happy.”
I wrote up my interview with Alan for the Montecito Journal, a local paper that had reported Covergirl’s story and supported our efforts. I began by asking him how Covergirl came into his life:
Thicke: By total surprise, shock and awe. I was out of town working when you had your event at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. Tanya was there and was so moved by Covergirl’s story that the next thing I knew I had a horse. Tanya had cleverly recruited my son, Carter, so they basically ganged up on me.
I asked him how he felt when Tanya and Carter first told him about Covergirl.
Thicke: Oh, great. Another horse. When my wife and son confronted me with those big doe-y eyes and droopy faces, and said “We have something to tell you, I thought, “Uh-oh, the cat died.”
Actually, this was all Alan’s self-deprecating sense of humor. Four of Alan’s 12 horses had been adopted from friends who didn’t have the time or inclination to take care of them. He had a big heart for rescue and once he was told her story, he too was moved by Covergirl’s plight:
Thicke: It was very touching to save a perfectly grand horse destined for oblivion. My other rescue horses weren’t set on the path to oblivion but just lacked loving care due to absentee ownership. By the time I had acquired four of them I had to hire a stable manager to look after them. This was a prelude for the rescue of Covergirl.
I asked him what his favorite thing about Covergirl was. He said the way she had touched his son, Carter, who used to get up in the mornings at six to go to school, but now was getting up at 5:30 to be with Covergirl. “The irony is that with the beautiful stable we have and the twelve horses, none of us ever rode. We liked to look at them. They were beautiful animals, but we never rode. Covergirl is on her way to changing that. What I like about Covergirl is that she is really people friendly. I’m not enough of a horse whisperer to know if that’s her intention. But we’ve never had a difficult moment with her.” Then, he added, “Oh, and you don’t have to worry about Covergirl being undernourished or too skinny anymore. In fact, we’re going to have to put her on Jenny Craig.”