By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
Finding a way to make life interesting can be a challenge for many retirees, but Jack Butterly with the help of his horse, Whiskey, has found a way.
Butterly, of Toms River, brings Whiskey, who lives in Jackson Township, for regular horse back riding excursions to Asbury Park.
“I guess you can say I adopted Asbury Park; it has such nice boulevards to ride on,” he said.
Butterly had a long career as a caddy at some of the most exclusive golf courses on the East Coast, including Baltusro in Springfield, Westchester Country Club in New York and Seminole Golf Club in Florida, all of which hosted many US Opens.
He also drove a school bus for many years, and still does.
“I started back when they had stick shifts,” he says.
A Bay Ridge Brooklyn native Butterly moved to New Jersey 30 years ago.
Always an animal lover, he said it was through an act of shear fate he was able to indulge his love for horses.
Many years ago at a singles dance club in Edison he met his wife Judith and they started dating.
Judith came from a wealthy family and after marrying they lived in a house in East Hanover with a backyard barn where their horses could be kept.
“I met a wealthy lady, it was a Peter Pan type of thing,” he said.
Married for 18 years, Judith, whose son died in 9/11, has since passed away.
Butterly says riding Whiskey through the streets of Asbury Park has opened up a new social avenue for him.
He explains that because horses have the right of way in New Jersey and in most states there are no laws prohibiting him from riding Whiskey around the city.
But as a courtesy Butterly said last year he checked in with city police who now give him a thumbs up when they see him and Whiskey take a stroll on city streets.
“I meet so many people, it’s so fabulous, it’s the greatest thing in the world, better than being a bartender. It’s like being a parish priest. Nobody talks to each other anymore. I feel like Napoleon when I’m up there,” he said. “And I get exercise”
Butterly purchased Whiskey, seven years ago at a horse auction, called Camelot, in Cranberry.
He said the key to having a pleasant ride with Whiskey is exposing him to everything.
“Nothing spooks him, except fireworks. I can be within 20 feet of a train going by and he’ll hold up,d” he said. “It’s a bond and trust, he trusts me, we have a great relationship. I love Asbury Park, with the beautiful tree lined streets and the homes, the old houses. I love to meet people, have a three or four minute conversation; and they’re total strangers.”