Monthly Archives: August 2008

Sunday August 24, 2008

There is an old song by Buster Poindexter called “Hot Hot Hot.”   It ran through my head all day today, because it surely was hot, hot, hot!  Tours were a little light today, no doubt because of the heat.  We had sightseeing tours at 10:30 and 2:30, and a fairly large group at one o’clock.  I try to keep the tours in the shade as much as possible, and maybe shorten them a bit if everyone starts to look a little wilted.  

The horses are all doing pretty well.  We haven’t had any rain this month and the pastures have gotten hard and dry, so the old guys seem to move around a little less.   Everyone pretty much just hangs out, swishing flies and napping.   Janet’s dog Duncan spent the afternoon in the air conditioned gift shop with Aubrey.  I tried to have Jake and Marley stay there too, but they won’t pass up a tour.  Or more precisely for Marley, she won’t pass up any opportunity for attention. 

We had a couple, and their young daughter, stop by around noon.  They were on their way home, I think to Michigan, and the little girl wanted to pat a horse.  So we took a walk down behind the gift shop to see Fortunate Prospect.  He was happy to oblige his new fan, and he took carrots from her little hand gentle as can be.  Turns out the majority of the 1 pm people arrived early, so we had quite a gang circled around Gramps.  Everyone seemed to really like him.  He certainly enjoyed the attention, and the carrots.  But I have to tell you, he is a very affectionate horse who will cuddle right up against you.  But he generates a lot of body heat, and it was waaayyyy too warm for him to act like a 1200 pound puppy! 

The morning group got a big kick out of seeing Wallenda stretched out on his side taking his morning nap.  He won’t even flick an ear at you when he’s sleeping—the earth could shake and I’m not convinced he’d move a muscle.   Silver Charm is quite pleased with himself since his “coming out” in People Magazine.   I sense a new confidence,  maybe even some movie star-type demands… he tried to nip at me today when I wasn’t handing him carrots fast enough.   I’m telling you, a little national exposure and he gets all uppity.

We spent some time with Ogygian this afternoon.  He ambled over for carrots, and seemed to enjoy a couple of the kids who were feeding him.  He was wearing his pirate fly mask today so he looked very dashing.  Like death and taxes, you can always count on Pops and Ring to come at a run for carrots (ok, so today it was more of a slow lope!)  This week, Pops had his fly mask and halter in place, but Ring had no halter and no fly mask.  Chalk one up for Pops!

Awad was very talkative to the group today.  He often nickers to people, just like he’s saying hello.  I think today he was saying, “Is it hot enough for you?  I can’t wait for cooler weather, myself.  Oh, do you have more carrots for me?   No, not an apple, I don’t like them.  I’m not a big peppermint fan either.  Thanks for coming, nice to see you, come again sometime.”

I guess Awad kind of said it all, really.  It’s always wonderful to meet our friends, fans and supporters.  Nice to see you, come again sometime!  And thanks for spending another Sunday with Old Friends!

-Val

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Sunday August 17, 2008

I know fall semester is starting at the local colleges and universities, because we had several incoming freshman and their families visit today.  They had mostly all seen the People article, so we were on the “things to do in Kentucky” list.   My unofficial assistant tour guide Emma was in town as well, so it was great to have her help with carrying the bucket and keeping Pops and Ring entertained.  I think if Emma’s parents would just leave her in Kentucky, she’d move in at the farm and be there every day!

Update on Williamstown’s fall wardrobe:  he is an unusual combination of bleached and dappled.  While he looked tye-dyed last weekend, today I would best describe him as a black and purple giraffe!  Really, it is the coolest thing.  Emma’s mom was taking pictures—I sure hope her camera can catch that coloration.  I have never seen anything like it.   If we get good pictures, I’ll try to have some posted.

This morning, I met a lady from Canada who was a big fan of Precisionist.  She was, I think, a little choked up when she saw his gravestone.    Visitors often tell me how a certain racehorse touched them, even if they never saw or met the horse in person.  Whether it was Precisionist, Secretariat, or a horse no one else remembers, it’s pretty amazing.   In her spare time, the woman I met today is a “foster mom” to ex-racehorses who need some healing time and care before they begin retraining for new careers.    

Speaking of a horse that has touched many, many lives, I also met some people from western New York, where I grew up and my family still lives.   The woman was a big Barbaro fan, and boy, was she happy to find out that Sunshine Forever is related to Barbaro.  (For those who don’t know, Sunshine is by Roberto, who is Barbaro’s paternal grandsire.)   Sunshine was his usual classy self, of course, letting a little girl feed him carrots and pat his nose.  

Pops and Ring have finally managed to destroy one another’s fly masks and thus are mask-free for the moment.  They were pretty well-behaved today as well, not displaying their hoodlum tendencies.   It’s nice to see their handsome faces, too!   Will’s Way tried to “sneak attack” and bite me.  He looks so innocent and pretty, then when you least expect it, wham, out come the teeth!   I had just finished telling the group that he sometimes does that, and sure enough.   Once again he proved that he understands English!  The other horse who managed to remove his fly mask today was Ogygian.  He sure looks good this summer, all fat and shiny.    Yesterday, I actually laid eyes on Bonnie’s Poker and Narrow Escape.  They looked fabulous, although as usual it was a distant view.  They really have no interest in visitors. 

We are really in the lazy days of summer, although fall is in the air.   Once school starts it seems that Sundays aren’t quite so busy.   I won’t mind some cooler weather when I’m walking around the farm, and I know that the horses won’t mind it either.   A couple of visitors asked me today if the horses ever run around, and once the weather cools off we’ll see them run much more often.   I’m looking forward to that.  I hope you can come see the boys show off their form sometime soon.  In the meantime, thanks for spending another Sunday with Old Friends!

-Val

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Sunday August 10, 2008

What a great weekend in Kentucky!  I don’t think we can complain one little bit about our summer weather this year.  The fields are still green, albeit a completely different green that what we see in springtime.  Summer grass is less intense, more muted, leaning toward an avocado or army green.  Still, the horses are happy to have green grass to eat.    

By now you may know our big news–Old Friends was featured in People magazine this week!  Yep, we are in the Brad and Angelina baby issue.  Pretty exciting, and today every tour group had seen the article.  Michael, Diane, Kudos, Invigorate and Silver Charm were pictured in the article, so we have some new celebrity status on the farm.   One lady was excited when she spied Diane, and I also heard that Diane was recognized in the grocery store this week.   Kudos, as a retired famous millionaire racehorse, takes this in stride.  Silver Charm, however, believes he was deserving of the cover.  He is supremely annoyed that he was bumped by those babies.   If you haven’t seen the article, look for it!

Someone today commented that Williamstown’s new summer color makes him look like he’s been tie-dyed, and they nailed that description.   His sides and flanks are a mixture of darker brown and an almost purplish, lighter color that is a perfect tie-dye pattern.  It’s pretty cool looking.  

Today a number of people also remarked how, ahem, well-fed the horses look.  Creator, the gorgeous one, has packed on a few extra pounds this summer.   Janet’s horse Monday is also looking pretty “well-rounded” and Special Ring could pass for a big, old quarter horse gelding.   Kiri is just plain chubby and Sunshine hasn’t missed any meals either!   Even Pidgeon is looking good, and summertime heat is hardest on him.   This afternoon a visitor said Will’s Way looked especially fat and lazy as he ambled over for carrots.  Will, being somewhat proud of his good looks, did not like that comment.  As soon as he had his carrots (priorities!) he threw his head up, wheeled around and ran a couple strides, then posed with his ears pricked and his nostrils flaring.   Done on purpose, and proving they understand exactly what we say about them!     

All in all, it was a fine day at the farm.  We hope you can visit us soon, but in the meantime, thanks for spending another Sunday with Old Friends.

-Val

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Sunday August 3, 2008

Wow, I just cannot believe that it’s August 3rd.  What a great summer day we had today, in the low 90s, not much humidity and clear skies.  The sun sure was hot, though.  We tried to spend as much “talk time” in the shade as possible!

 

Today was a fairly uneventful day, with the usual mix of  kids and families as well as some smaller groups who were out sightseeing.  This morning, we had about 15 high-school aged 4-H kids.  They were on a “horse” trip to Kentucky, from Northeastern Ohio.  After their tour they had box lunches delivered, and we all sat in the shade and had a nice visit.   We’ll be waiting for y’all to come back next summer!  

 

We are also a regular stop for the organized sightseeing tours.  This afternoon, the tour guide from the Thoroughbred Heritage group got Marley started with “fetch the stick.”   I always try to stop the stick game, but I was too late today.  Marley found a “stick” the size of a small tree and nearly took half the people out at the knees.   It’s just so hard to get mad at her though, since she looks so proud of herself carrying that big stick!

 

Greg and I, along with Jake and Marley the tour dogs, are staying at the farm this week while Michael and Diane are in Saratoga.  Jake, Marley and the house cats gave one another the suspicious eye for the first day or so, but now Marley is too tired to care and Jake never cares unless his food is involved.  So of course, the cats have found a new treat…Jake’s dinner.  Turns out Bella and Princess kind of like dog food… Jake just sighs and looks at us to say “aren’t you going to do something?”

 

For me, it’s been great to spend the extra time around the horses.  This evening after everyone left, I took Silver Charm out of his paddock for a little walk.  We walked over to the house; I stepped out of sight and knocked on the door.  Greg looked to see who was knocking, and it was the Charmster!   Greg laughed and I think Silver Charm kind of got a kick out of it, too. 

 

I think I mentioned last week that Wallenda has been going outside at night, and he comes in each morning pretty tired.  He spends a couple hours each morning lying down to sleep.  Yesterday Janet was in the barn and just as she looked in on a napping Wallenda, a little gray field mouse ran right up over his back.  You just could never get a picture of something like that. 

 

All the horses are looking great.  The dark horses like Fortunate Prospect, Flying Pidgeon, Williamstown, and Kiri’s Clown are bleaching in the sun.  Pidge has these sort of brownish dapples on his hindquarters, and Kiri actually looks almost bay.  Pops has turned to a buckskin color and Kudos has lightened up considerably as well.  Lots of beach looks, unless you look at Ruhlmann, of course.  Yes, another hot summer and that horse still manages to stay black as night.  I know he does it on purpose, so that he can be the only “black stallion” on the farm….

 

Another weekend is over, and another Sunday is on paper, (or on-line I guess).  We hope you can visit us soon.  In the meantime, thanks for stopping by and spending Sunday with Old Friends!

 

-Val

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