Sunday March 8, 2009

Last weekend if you squinted, closed one eye, and tilted your head you could just about see the faintest green tinge in the paddocks at Old Friends.  By this morning you didn’t need to squint, and by this afternoon the fields are definitely showing green.   It was much nicer today than last week although the wind, while warm, is blowing hard.  Yesterday we were well into the 70s, and today was maybe 67 degrees.  All the horses have that little extra bit of spunk that says “springtime.”

I began my day, as I often do, by taking a brush to Wallenda.  You all know I am unapologetically partial to him, but he looked so handsome.  His black mane and forelock are really long and thick these days (much to Janet’s dismay—she doesn’t like the shaggy look) and after being brushed he was nice and shiny.  Someone on a tour today remarked on what pretty eyes Wallenda has, and he does– very bright and curious.  I also spent a few minutes with Fortunate Prospect.  For his age, 28, he looks terrific—shiny and fit.  He still maintains his daily routine—a little exercise every afternoon, followed by a nice nap and then some dinner.   His grandson, Mighty Mecke, looks and acts so much like him.  Except for the daily nap of course—Mecke is far too young for that!  What they have most in common though, is their kind heart.

Clever Allemont is doing really well too.  But I agree with Michael; I think he does have some hearing loss.  While a horse may choose to ignore you when you call, they will almost always at least flick an ear in your direction.  Monty doesn’t do that, and if you are on his blind side, he can’t see you either.  Last week we had to walk around the corner of his paddock to get to the side of his good eye, and as soon as he saw us he came over.  The same thing happened today.   And how about this:  Monty is in the paddock that used to house Dan.  So guess who else likes the chives growing in that paddock?  Yes, Monty had his very own case of onion breath today!  The only difference is that Dan will push his nose right into your face and breath.  Thankfully Monty is a little more discreet.  You just haven’t experienced onion breath until you’ve experienced horse-sized onion breath!

As you know, because of their aggressive nature each of the stallions has his own paddock.  However, geldings aren’t that aggressive and thus are in paddocks with other geldings.  Generally, geldings are more like teen-aged boys in nature—playful and rambunctious.   They grab at each other, pulling and yanking on each other’s manes and halters. There is any number of broken, ripped, or torn halters hanging in the barn, having been replaced on one horse or another.  Pops and Ring have managed to be completely halter-free for awhile now.  So it wasn’t a surprise today to see Kudos, off in the distance, with the noseband missing from his halter.  Or so I thought.  Once I got closer, I saw where Kudos, or one of his buddies, had managed to slip the noseband of his halter down over his nose and into his mouth.  Kudos was happily chewing on his halter, drooling and slobbering all over.   When I fixed it, I thought Kudos actually looked disappointed that I took his new toy away from him.  By now, it’s probably back into his mouth.  

I had to chuckle at Silver Charm today.  Kent walked his horse Cowboy past Charmie’s paddock and what did Silver Charm do?  Yes, he puffed himself up and ran over to antagonize Cowboy.  Now, here is Cowboy, all 16-plus hands and 1200 pounds, trying to buck and kick at Silver Charm.  And here is Silver Charm, acting like he’s 17 hands and 1400 pounds of big, mean stallion. I know.  We’ve tried and tried to gently break the news to him:  he is a mini who weighs maybe 275 pounds.  Don’t mess with the big dogs.  Doesn’t matter, he covers his ears with that over-abundance of mane and ignores reality.   Silver Charm has no self-esteem issues at all!  

With the exception of the mares (next week!), I was able to visit with every horse at the main farm today.  I also stopped across the road to Summerwind to see Easy Grades and Max a Million.  (And those Summerwind yearling fillies.  So cute!)  Lots of winter hair is flying.  Some of the horses, like Kiri’s Clown and Will’s Way, shed out more or less evenly.  Their coats just gradually shed until they are left with their short summer coats.  Others, like Pops and Max, shed unevenly.  They seem to keep the longest hairs mixed amongst the shorter ones.  Last year Pops hung onto those random long hairs well into May, if not June.  Max appears to be shedding that same way.   But every horse looks happy and I saw lots of trotting, cantering and bucking today.   This is a great time to visit the farm because the horses are so active—once the really hot weather gets here, a lot of napping goes on!  We are all looking forward to our busy tour season and we hope you can visit us soon.  Until then, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.

-Val

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Sunday March 8, 2009

  1. Jean

    Thanks once again for your update. My Sunday evening is not complete until I’ve read it.
    I know this weather is great for the horses, as
    it is for all of us.
    I think we were upper 70’s today here in VA.

  2. Chrissy

    Val,

    Thanks so much for the Sunday updates. We’re coming down to Old Friends at the beginning of April and I can’t wait! We came at the same time last year and our tour with Michael was one of the highlights of our trip. I just love Kudos and getting to feed him carrots was awesome! Can’t wait to see him, and all of the new retirees, this year.
    Oh…and did you say that Bingo is no longer at the main farm? We just loved him last year and wanted to bring him some carrots of his own.

    Chrissy

    • oldfriendsblog

      Chrissy,
      glad to hear you are returning for another visit. I’ll tell Kudos he has a fan bringing him treats–he’ll be thrilled! Bingo is down the road a short ways at Dr. Byers place, but we are working on our new paddocks, fences, and waterers. You never know, he may be back at the main farm by then.
      -Val

  3. Thanks for the update. Being around all those horses would be amazing, but I must admit…I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Wallenda myself! Maybe someday I’ll be able to come down for a visit.

  4. Lee Owen

    Val

    I had the good fortune to meet Old Friends, the horse summer of 2007. How is he?

    • oldfriendsblog

      Hi Lee.
      last time I asked, and that was probably around Christmas, he was doing really well in his new career as a show horse. I’ll get an update this week.
      Val

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