Winter weather? Ice storm? Snow? Boy, a week later and that’s all changed. Today was a simply gorgeous, sunny, and warm with a light breeze. I saw my first robin of the spring today and with temperatures in the mid 60s, the icy mess of last week is gone. Still, the reminders are everywhere—broken trees, branches on the ground, damaged property. I think there are still folks without electric in parts of the state. It has been a difficult couple of weeks for a lot of people.
But today at Old Friends, the horses are reveling in the nice weather. When I got to the farm this morning, horses were running around all over the place. Swannie, Monty, Sunshine, Will and Mecke were all bouncing around their paddocks. Dan was in his shed, but when I called he came to the fence at a run, slipping and sliding in the mud.
And oh yeah, did I mention the mud? It’s everywhere, and it is sticky and slippery and slimy. The horses love it, too; they are all muddy from ear to ankle. Leave Seattle was so dirty that when he laid down for a nap this afternoon you could barely pick him out in his paddock–he was wearing his mud-colored camouflage gear! Stage Colony was covered, and so were all the geldings. It was hard to tell Siphonizer from Affirmed Success, and you could only pick out Futural because of his white face. Visitors got too close at their own risk; the horses just felt so darn good they wanted to share their mud! One head shake, a face rub, a sneeze, and visitors were muddy as well.
Having said all that, it was still shocking when I first saw Monty today. I never saw so much mud on one little horse! I don’t know how, short of a fire hose, you could get that horse clean. His face was dirty, behind his legs and inside his ears, even his tail was caked and coated with mud. And he just looked so darn pleased with himself over the whole situation. He came right over to the fence today, working the visitors for more treats like a pro. In fact, poor Swannie was a little miffed, since Monty got my last treat. I guess I’ve spoiled Swannie a little. He is used to walking with us along his fence line while finishing off the bucket of treats. Not today, though. I’m going to have to hold back a couple mints for him next time.
Back to Monty for a minute—as you may know if you are a Clever Allemont fan, his “real” birthday is this month. (If you didn’t know, all Thoroughbreds officially turn a year older on January 1 each year. For racing purposes, that allows horses of the same year class to race others of the same age.) There has been an internet initiative about sending birthday cards to Monty. Let me tell you, the response has been amazing! We will take a picture of him with all his cards—we’re going to try to line the cards up on his paddock fence and have Monty pose behind them. Let’s just hope he’s somewhat cleaner when that photo is taken, or you won’t even be able to tell what he looks like!
The new horse, Flick, is having some “issues” settling into his new routine. It’s not that he doesn’t like Old Friends; it’s the opposite, actually. He is so friendly and seems to like attention so much that as soon as he sees people walking anywhere around the farm he gets all worked up. Today he paced, back and forth, up and down his fence, until we get to his paddock. By this afternoon he had worked himself into a sweat, waiting for his share of the attention! Once we worked our way over to see him and Flick got his treats, he settled right down and was calm-until the next time he saw people walking around the farm. It’s endlessly entertaining, the individual personality each horse has and how they express what they want in different ways.
We also had a photographer come over to the farm today to take some photos. He had Sunshine, Awad, Monty and The Wicked North on his list. He wanted to get a shot of Norty with the big barn’s quilt sign in the background. Norty, being the highly intelligent and most fabulous horse he is, obliged with a lovely canter across his paddock, headed in the correct direction, with his neck arched and his ears pricked. I surely hope that photo turns out as good as I think it will.
I had promised I would get over to the annex to see Riva Way, Cappuccino Kid and Judge’s Case today, but I wasn’t able to do so. I didn’t get over to see Max and Easy Grades either. We had a couple of tours today and I puttered around the main farm some, and then it was time to head for home. I will try again next week.
We hope you can visit us soon. There are lots of fun events on tap over the next few months at the farm and we are all looking forward to the busy spring tour season. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends!