Sunday April 26, 2009

This was one of those weekends to remember.   Lots of people visited the farm—LOTS of people!  It was the Rolex Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park—jumping, cross-country and dressage.  It’s a big deal–people come from all over to see it.   That alone makes for a busy weekend for us.  But then, on Saturday, we had the Friends of Barbaro visit.  Add to that our usual numbers for a nice summery day, and we pretty much ran tours non-stop on Saturday. 

Today was busy, too.  We started out with maybe 20 folks scheduled for the morning tour, but more just kept coming.  I bet there were 40 people by the time all was said and done.  Michael took part of the group, I took the rest and I think everyone had fun.   A couple of the horses were cranky—Will’s Way grabbed hold of one lady’s shirt and wouldn’t let go.  (I swear he thinks he’s funny.)  Thankfully, he didn’t get any skin and no damage was done.   Shortly after that, Awad made a grab for a different lady.   He missed, though.   Of course, The Wicked North made up for the others, being his usual kind and dignified self.  He let everyone who wanted pat him, feed him and even stood for a couple kisses.  Fortunate Prospect was the same, waiting patiently while everyone patted him.  (Remember to root for Fortunate Prospect’s grandson, Musket Man, in the Kentucky Derby next week!)  Kiri’s Clown had a great time with the FOBs.  He apparently wanted to be scratched, because at one point I think he had three or four people reaching over the fence to scratch some part of his body.  He just loved it. 

The Friends of Barbaro were great.  They have a small stuffed animal Barbaro who has apparently made it all over the United States, with photos to prove it.  The toy Barbaro had his picture taken next to every paddock sign at Old Friends—Barbaro with Clever Allemont, Barbaro with Sunshine Forever, Barbaro with Pops and Ring.  Kind of cool, really.

Having had a big hand in rescuing Clever Allemont, the FOBs were all very excited to meet him.  I bet my group he would take one look at all the people and walk directly to the far side of his paddock.  Sure enough, that’s exactly what he did.  Michael had to go get him, at which point Clever Allemont graciously allowed his public to ooh and ahh over him.  He looks so fabulous—shiny, with not a rib to be seen.  In fact, he is a perfect counterpart to our new horse…

By now, you may have read in the news about the big Thoroughbred farm in New York State.  The short version of the story is nearly 200 horses were found neglected and starving at that farm.  The SPCA has taken over the care of the horses and is finding new homes for them.  On Thursday, one of those horses arrived at Old Friends.  He is a little, 4 or 5 year old, bay stallion. He is very skinny and malnourished, and he doesn’t even have a name.   At some time in his short life he broke a front ankle, which fused as it healed.   He is curious but shy and unsure, and has yet to take a carrot or mint.  I don’t think he has any idea what a treat even is.   He isn’t sure of what to make of all the people, and yet he was kind and gentle with a couple of little girls who fussed over him.  Janet has him going outside for a few hours each day, getting used to the grass.  I promise that in two months you won’t recognize him!  Much like Clever Allemont, good food, green grass and love will make a huge difference for this little guy.  And, because he has no name, we are going to have a contest to name him.  Steve Haskin, the Blood-Horse writer, Chris McCarron and Jean Cruget, the retired jockeys, are going to pick the winning entry.  Watch the website for details!

A couple of my friends from Pennsylvania were here this weekend for Rolex.   We had lunch at Wallace Station, then Marta, Tracy and I took our own tour of the farm.   We had a great time catching up and seeing all the new horses.  By the way, Polish Navy and Glitterman have arrived at the farm.  Both horses are beautiful old boys who really seem to enjoy attention.   Gold Spring, our other new stallion, is across from Mighty Mecke and Williamstown.  Willie doesn’t care much about who his neighbors are, but Mecke apparently isn’t too happy being across from Gold Spring.  I heard he was being kind of cranky the past few days, although he was fine today.

The mares and geldings in the new paddocks are also enjoying their space.  Futural has gotten downright chubby—he might be rounder than Special Ring!  Bonapaw looks great and is having fun romping with his pasture mates, including Kudos and Futural.   

Next Sunday our annual Homecoming fundraiser.   We are looking forward to it, especially because we see a lot of our out-of-town supporters who make a point of coming to this event.   With so many new horses, it’ll be fun to introduce everyone.  I have to wonder what the horses think about all this.  The Wicked North figured it out in less than 10 minutes and never looked back.   But the new boys like Gold Spring, Glitterman, Polish Navy, and our poor little rescue horse must wonder what all the fuss is about. 

In any case, given the Homecoming next week, I am pretty sure the blog entry for next week won’t be posted until Monday, so look for it then.  In the meantime, thanks for reading, and for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.  We hope to see you soon!

-Val

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Sunday April 26, 2009

  1. Jean

    Sounds like such a fun weekend. So glad that the new little rescue has the loving and caring home that he deserves. Hope all that were rescued with
    him will find the same.
    Everyone there does such great work for all of these magnificant creatures.
    Again, thank you for the updates.

  2. MRO

    Thanks for taking one of the SPCA horses. I was hoping at least one would find his/her way to Old Friends.

    • Thanks for another wonderful update. Sounds like a busy, but rewarding weekend at Old Friends. So glad that one of the SPCA horses found their way to you. He is very, very lucky to have found such a great home.

  3. Barbara

    Val,

    you make it feel like being there every weekend. Thanks.

    Barbara

  4. Brianna Quinn

    aww the horse from Paragallo “farm” has finally found a loving home…you guys are awesome.

    I’ll be there tomorrow for the 3pm tour, sad I won’t meet you! Have a blast at homecoming!

  5. Colmel

    So glad to know that at least one of those poor Paragallo horses found a new home at Old Friends. A YOUNG friend at Old Friends… Can’t wait to get back to see all the new faces.

  6. Gail

    Im so glad that at least one of those horses will have a good home. Even though he doesnt have a name, do you know his pedigree?

    I hope that you have a good turnout for your Homecoming. I am finishing up a handwoven basket in memory of Ruhlmann to send to Sylvia for the silent auction. When it is done (tomorrow, I hope), I will post a photo here – if I can figure out how to do that.

    • oldfriendsblog

      Gail,
      The NY rescue horse is by Aristotle, out of Prospect Street by (our own!) Fortunate Prospect. He is seriously cute, and will be quite handsome once his extreme makeover is complete!
      Val

  7. Christine

    Lots of good news, fun, and excitement at Old Friends this past week – congratulations to the staff and retirees!
    It is precious to hear about the young NY rescue horse making it to the farm for plenty of TLC and an introduction to Granddad.
    Best wishes for Homecoming!

  8. Ruth Ann

    Thanks for the wonderful update, Val! I’m one of the FOB’s and sure wish I had been able to get away this past weekend to visit Old Friends! :( Sounds like it was a wonderful day! I especially had to laugh at Will’s Way (though if it had been me I probably would have cried) grabbing that poor visitor’s shirt! Maybe he just tried to give her the message that he wanted her to stay & visit and not walk away! LOL!!! As they say, “monkey see, monkey do” with Awad trying the same maneuver! :)

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