Welcome to Sunday at Old Friends! I am lucky enough to be able to spend Sundays giving tours at the farm and I am going to try to post a weekly entry on the blog. Hopefully I’ll be able to write a little about the horses, give our out-of-town friends an update on how everyone is doing, and maybe share a few stories about some of our visitors. So bear with me while I get started on this!
Today was a cool, rainy day in the Bluegrass. The grass is ankle deep, lush and bright, bright green. (Nope, it isn’t blue, at least not to my eyes.) The redbud trees are blooming royal purple and even in today’s gray mist the colors are unbelievably intense. Crayola’s got nothing on Kentucky in the spring!
But horses love this weather and they let you know it. Williamstown showed off for a tour today—arching his neck and breaking into a slow, floaty canter. At 18 years old, his four white feet dance over the ground and he moves like the athlete he is—graceful, light on his feet and proud of his ability. Awad then trotted over for his share of carrots. He is not a very big horse, but when he moves you can see why he won over 3 million dollars. Even Flying Pidgeon got into the act today, cantering over to the fence and finishing with a fancy little mambo step when it was time for him to come into the barn for his dinner.
This afternoon we had a large bus come in with maybe 40 seniors from New Jersey. Unfortunately, they were on a tight schedule so they didn’t stay long, but they were great fun. I hope they have a chance to come back. We had a couple of high-school aged exchange students from Europe, some students from Midway College, and a number of racing fans in general. One lady was so happy to meet Special Ring.
But my favorite visitors are the kids, and we get some really terrific ones. The other day as we left the office to begin our tour, one little girl confided to me, “I have waited forever for this!” On that day, Fortunate Prospect was our first stop. He put his head over the fence and let the kids pat him and feed him carrots. He is an exceptionally kind, smart, and patient old stallion. Of course, after he showed his class with the kids, he tried to take a little nip at their mom. All just because he can! As that tour wound down, another little girl cupped her hand to her nose, glanced over to me with a grin and said, “I just love the way horses smell.” Yep, the kids are the best. The smartest, too.
A note for those of you who follow the Kentucky Derby horses—Fortunate Prospect’s maternal grandson, Z Fortune, was second in the Arkansas Derby yesterday. We keep Gramps updated on his family accomplishments. He acts like he doesn’t care, but we know he is secretly very proud! We all pay special attention when an offspring of one of our stallions races. Will’s Way, Wallenda, Sunshine Forever, and Ruhlmann all had runners recently. And several years after his retirement, Awad is still among the 2008 Leading Sires in Pennsylvania.
The weather is supposed to improve this week—warmer, sunnier and drier. Keeneland is in the midst of its spring race meet and breeding season is in full swing. The Derby is only a few weeks away. At Old Friends, the busy season is gearing up—three tours a day, every day. Come see us when you can. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed spending this Sunday with Old Friends. Val