Sunday February 1, 2009

What a week it’s been in central Kentucky!  The big news, of course, was the weather.  By now everyone has heard about the winter storm we had this week.  Lots of folks in the state were severely incapacitated by this weather, although as of now I hear most of the power is back on and cleanup is under way.  Luckily, Old Friends escaped any major damage and never lost power—some downed tree branches are about all the evidence remaining of the storm.  Well, that and some piles of rapidly melting, slushy snow.  Kent had the tractor out and was plowing the heavy wet stuff off the driveway when I left the farm today.   (Oh, and by the way Kent, thanks for “accidentally” tossing that shovelful of very wet, cold snow on me….)

Despite the damage and the power outages and the lack of water in some communities, the iced-over trees and fences and even the frozen blades of grass were outrageously beautiful once the sun came out on Friday. I wish I had taken my camera to work.  On the drive home Friday night, as the sun was sinking and backlighting the trees, the entire world seemed to be made of glass.  You know those little blown glass ornaments you see in gift shops?  Just like that, only life-sized.  Unbelievable.   And this morning all that ice had fallen off the trees in piles, making the trees look like they were mulched with broken glass.

The horses did just fine during the storm.  We’ve had numerous phone calls and emails from all over the country asking if the horses are ok.   Probably the only horse who was “inconvenienced” by the storm was Wallenda, who had to stay inside overnight during the worst of the icing.  He has that weak back ankle and we didn’t want him to slip and injure himself.  I doubt he was all that happy about it, either.  But for the most part, during the worst of the storm the horses hung out in their run-in sheds and went on about their business of eating and napping. 

Today however, was another story.  The day was bright and sunny with temperatures in the 50s—it felt like spring!   All afternoon you could hear sheets of ice sliding off the metal roofs of the run-in sheds.  The spring-like weather felt great, and horses were all clearly happy today.   Danthebluegrassman, Kiri’s Clown, and Leave Seattle were prancing around with their tails in the air.  Because we’ve had nearly a week of snow on the ground, no one was muddy.  All the horses were shiny clean and velvety-looking, with their plush winter coats.  Silver Charm rolled at least four times that I saw today.   Even Swan’s Way was clean, although he had been rolling as well and was rather wet. 

No running around for Clever Allemont today, as he was busy soaking up the sun.  Since last week I think he has put on even more weight and now pretty much looks like all the other horses at the farm—chubby!  Ruthann and I walked down to see him and we had to laugh.  He was standing in the sun and was very nearly asleep.  His head was drooping, his eyes closed and his front legs nearly buckled a couple of times.  He caught himself at the last second, just before he toppled.  Monty either had to lie down, or he was going to fall down!  But he quickly realized that his neighbors were getting treats, so he roused himself and took the few steps over to get his share of the carrots.  Last week’s new horse, Flick, is next door to Monty and he came right over for his treats. Flick is a long, tall horse who is best described with one word: elegant.  And he loves his treats too!  Sunshine wanted to play, as usual, and rubbed his head against both Ruthann and I.

We have a couple of new horses this week, too.  Summerwind Farm, directly across the road from Old Friends, is graciously hosting the two new boys until we have room for them.  The first horse is named Max A Million. He is a 9 year old son of Jules who earned over $100,000 during his racing career.  He is pretty little bay horse who already loves mints and carrots.  Ruthann, who is on the short side of tall herself, thought he was the perfect size to be her personal riding horse.  Um, maybe not, Ruthann!

The second new horse is Easy Grades.  He is a 10 year old son of Honor Grades, out of an Easy Goer mare.   Easy Grades finished 13th in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, behind War Emblem.  He is also a pretty bay gelding, an almost-twin for Max, although maybe a little taller.  When we went over to Summerwind this morning, Easy wanted nothing to do with us.  I am pretty sure he was making it clear he likes his new pasture time.  But by this afternoon he was a little more willing, already having figured out that people with treats is a good thing. 

I think we are all happy to be done with this week’s crazy weather.  Hopefully, today’s sunshine was a harbinger of the coming spring.  Tomorrow is that famous day when Punxatawny Phil makes his weather prognostication—cross your fingers for an early spring!  And thanks to everyone who called or wrote this week to make sure the horses, and people, were ok.  We appreciate your concern and we hope you will be able to come visit us soon. 

Lastly, as a former resident of western Pennsylvania who is married to a Pittsburgh native, I just want to say….Go Steelers!




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5 responses to “Sunday February 1, 2009

  1. As always, thanks for the updates, Val; good to know that you all emerged from last week safe and sound.

  2. Glimmerglass

    That is sensational news about Easy Grades! He is just one of those horses who was being kept in the game well beyond his interest. Yet back in the day (2002) he finished 2nd in the San Rafael Stakes (G2) and the Santa Anita Derby (G1) with Gary Steven’s up.

    I recall just a few weeks ago Gary on set at HRTV before a race he was in and the on-air crew remarking “this can’t be the same horse you rode Gary, is it?”

    Glad to see he’s gone to a most deserving home for retirement!

  3. MRO

    I’d like to hear more about Judge’s Case. I know he’s at the other site. I fell in love with him after seeing his picture on

    • oldfriendsblog

      MRO–Judge’s Case is the most gorgeous, almost-white horse with long legs and a pretty face. He should be someone’s show horse because you can just envision how handsome he would look in a show ring.
      He came to us from Florida, with no winter coat, so he has been wearing blankets to stay warm. I’ll head over to see him on Sunday and post an update for you then.

  4. Jean

    Thanks so much for the updates. I’m glad everyone and all of the beauties did okay during the awful weather.
    I always look forward to reading your new posts.

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