I have a confession to make. As much as I genuinely enjoy giving tours and meeting the fans who come to visit Old Friends, I rather enjoy days like today. I pretty much had the farm to myself. I spent a little time chatting with Michael and Diane, but other than that it was just me, Jake, Marley, and the horses. And added to that: yesterday I saw, among others, Curlin, AP Indy, Big Brown, and Smarty Jones, as well as my favorite racehorse ever, Point Given. Let’s see, between them that group of horses won two Kentucky Derbies, four Preaknesses, two Belmonts, and a couple of Breeder’s Cup Classics. Truly, if you are a horse fan, there is no better place than central Kentucky. Am I spoiled here or what? I know. I almost feel guilty!
While it rained all day yesterday, today it was cloudy and cold with little wind, a perfectly good day to be a horse. A couple of times I didn’t know which way to turn—do I watch Pops and Ring run and buck, or do I turn around and see who was thundering behind me? Everyone was feisty and active today. Kiri ran across his field like a youngster, and even Leave Seattle cantered over to his gate for a treat. He never does that! Creator was fascinated by the horses that live at the farm next door. He was alternately prancing in circles, then snorting and blowing with his tail up, ears pricked, and his neck arched. Gorgeous. He sure does not look, or act, like he is 23 years old. While Creator was getting all worked up, Fortunate Prospect was letting me know he was unhappy with my pocket full of mints. He spit two of them out, giving me a disgusted look, and yes, I walked back to the office for carrots. He was much happier once the carrots were in hand, and I am clearly at his beck and call.
I stopped next at Clever Allemont’s paddock. My apologies to everyone who knows him as “Allers” but once again he pricked his cute little ears and came over as soon as I called out “Monty.” He took a couple of mints, patiently waiting while I unwrapped the stubborn candies, and then decided to show off a little. He ran two laps around his paddock for me, bucking and executing several perfect flying lead changes. Monty’s ribs are no longer showing, and he hangs out near Swannie much of the time. They munch their hay in unison and seem to get along very nicely. Monty looks great and seems really content, although maybe his association with Swan’s Way has had one negative result: Monty was even muddier than my little pigpen Swannie!
I took advantage of the quiet day to brush Wallenda, who always enjoys the attention. Last week, Wallenda nipped me hard enough to leave a bruise and maybe he felt bad about it, because he was exceptionally nice today. He loves having his face brushed and closes his eyes so I can get every part of his face. I also spent some time with the Wicked North, who was only moderately dirty today. He knew I had treats, and he kept trying to wiggle his nose into my jacket pocket to get at them. He’s very gentle about it, too.
I refilled my pockets and went to see Dan, Stage Colony and little Silver Charm. Michael was trying to clean Charmie’s hooves and Charmie was being somewhat uncooperative. (I think Charmie laughs at us most of the time!) Williamstown trotted over for a treat and then wheeled away and cantered around his paddock. He likes to race Marley and the two of them, dog and horse, ran the length of the fence. Pops and Ring were patiently awaiting some treats, so I gave each of them a horse cookie and a pat. Next door, Awad is always more than a little jealous of any attention given to Pops and Ring. When Awad got his treat he took off at a run, digging in so hard he threw clumps of dirt, grass, and mud 20 feet in the air behind him. I was afraid for a second that he was going to run right into the fence, but he stopped just in time to rear straight up on his hind legs. Awad is 19 this year and still a complete show-off. Beautiful, though.
One thing about Michael and Diane: they keep treats stashed everywhere—for horses, dogs, cats, and people. Treats can be found in the office, the barn, the house, and the garage if you know where to look. Jake and Marley keep an eye out for Diane and head right over when they see her, knowing that she keeps treats handy. I tried to make sure I had a cookie for everyone today but Sunshine begged the ones I was keeping for Swannie and Mecke, so I poked through the garage. Sure enough, plenty of mints on hand! So Swannie got a handful of mints and so did Mecke. They didn’t complain a bit.
As you can tell, it was a pretty quiet day at the farm. I know that Sylvia and Ruthann are deep into the planning for the Lava Man Luau, as well as a number of other events and happenings that are in the works for the coming spring and summer. Keep an eye on the Old Friends website for details. In the meantime, we hope you can visit us soon. Thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends!