Sunday March 1, 2009

Not exactly springtime weather today, but if you looked past the cold, steady wind there were some encouraging signs.  The sun was shining, the horses were picking their way through the faintest growth of new green grass, and winter coats are starting to shed.   Nevertheless, it’s going to take me awhile to warm up now that I am home.

We had several nice groups of people visiting today; I think we had about 20 in total.  Among them were some folks who didn’t know a thing about racing, so they asked questions about basic horse stuff.  We talked about things like how long horses live and are they smart (YES!), and how only Thoroughbreds can race in the Kentucky Derby.  The horses must have known we had rookies.  When someone asked if the horses ever run around, Awad answered by racing up to his fence and rearing straight up on his back legs.   Sunshine came at a run (always impressive to see) and Dan cantered beautifully across his field, as did Kiri.  Of course, for every showoff there was a Williamstown who barely glanced over or a Leave Seattle stretched out for a nap and totally not interested!    Once the people left for the day, all the horses turned their tails to the wind, or stood in their shelters and went right back to their naps.  It was like a movie—lights, camera, action.  Until the audience left, then…nothing!  It’s definitely time for tour season to gear up.

For the first time in awhile, Siphonizer, Affirmed Success and Futural were lined up at their fence waiting to see us.   Futural and Affirmed Success are great people horses but today even Siphonizer did well, taking his share gently and letting people pat his face.   When Siphonizer first came to the farm he wasn’t too sure about being fussed over, but today he was outgoing and confident.  You have to think the horses talk amongst themselves, telling the new horses what to expect and how to behave.  Of course, they communicate nicely with us, too.  When I talked too much, rather than give him carrots, Ogygian stuck out his nose and pushed me.  Everyone got his message, too, laughing at me while Ogie looked mighty pleased with himself.

Speaking of horse communication, Dan brought Flick over for treats when we got to their paddock this afternoon.  Flick’s education continues, though, because Dan had to make it clear that he is the star and Flick merely his sidekick— Ed McMahon to Dan’s Johnny Carson, Tonto to his Lone Ranger.   After a little bump and shove, they got it settled:  Dan was first in line for treats and Flick second.  Sometimes they might as well speak, you know?  Once we moved on, Dan laid down for a little naptime in the sunshine with Flick standing next to him, keeping an eye out.

Among the visitors today was a little girl named Caroline.  As is usually the case with little girls, she had no fear.  I tried to get her to give a kiss to Mighty Mecke or The Wicked North but she declined.  She did say she wants to come back, “when it’s warm” so maybe next time, Caroline!

Backtracking a little, last evening was the Seelbach Hotel event in Louisville, “Old Friends along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.”  It was a great success and a lot of fun.   The Seelbach Hotel is very historic, and their Rathskellar is a room completely created of Cincinnati’s Rookwood Pottery—walls, arched ceilings, pillars and whimsical pelican statuary.  Very cool.  The food was terrific, and matched well with the various bourbon samples from seven distilleries.  A heartfelt thank-you to the Seelbach Hotel and the master distillers from Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey, Makers Mark, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Four Roses, and Buffalo Trace.  (The Seelbach’s bourbon pineapple soup appetizer?  I know it sounds unusual but….yum!)    And here’s a little tidbit I discovered at the party last night and am going to share:  there is a series of Old Friends posters in the works.  We saw four of the proofs last night and the photography is just beautiful.   Look for them soon; they are going to be very much worth having. 

Now if spring would just…spring!   Next up—we await the arrival of Lava Man and follow that with the Lava Man Luau.  Details are on the website.  The horses are also waiting for spring, and winter hair is about to start flying.  I didn’t brush Wallenda today but I bet by next weekend I’ll get a mouthful of hair when the brush gets going!   Still, I am looking forward to having more tours and meeting more people.  I know the horses are ready for the attention and extra treats, too.  We hope you will visit us soon.  Until then, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends!

-Val

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