Saturday May 16, 2009

Ok, so I am cheating this week. I am not going to be at the farm for tours on Sunday. I’m actually going to the steeplechase races. Never been to jump races, so it’ll be fun. Anyway, since I won’t be doing tours this week, I took some time to visit with my own very favorite horses. Selfish, but what can I say? It’s a perk of volunteering! I also have a couple of links everyone might like to see.

As you know, any tour of my mine has to begin and end with Wallenda. I no sooner walked into the barn than he started nickering. He knows I think he is special, and he expects his attention to begin NOW! With the rain we’ve had recently, all the horses have found good patches of mud in which to roll. Wallenda had his share of dried mud on his left flank. And across his back. And completely ringing his left eye. And in his mane. You can just imagine, right? Dried, crusty mud. And every bit of it ended up on me! Wallenda loves to have his face brushed and rubbed, but I have to remind him of that every single time. He tries to avoid face brushing until he remembers “oh yeah, this feels good.” Once he remembered, he just closed his eyes and stood still until I was done. He was in an unusually mellow mood (for him, anyway) and I think he really enjoyed the attention.

The other stallion who stays indoors during the day is The Wicked North. Norty has the tour procedure down. As soon as he sees a group of people, he lifts a hoof and starts banging on his stall door. It would be hard to miss him, given the racket he makes. But once everyone gathers around him, he is so kind and nice I sometimes can’t imagine him being a big, bad racehorse. But he was a grand racehorse, an Eclipse Award winner with speed, heart and determination. Thus the first link for today, one I neglected to add last week:  Thanks to regular blog reader Rich for reminding me!

Having spent a couple of years getting to know the farm’s horses, the more I understand three things. First, the best racehorses are very, very smart. Second, they are good racehorses not only because they are fast and love to run, but because they are intensely competitive by nature. And third, good racehorses understand adulation and applause! Don’t believe me? Watch one horse start running, just for fun or to show off for a crowd, and then see all the horses around him run around faster. Want proof? Ahh, this leads me to today’s second link.

A wonderful photographer named Candice Chavez was at the farm all afternoon last Sunday. You’ll see a bunch of pictures of our new gelding, Appygolucky, as he is turned out in a paddock for the very first time at Old Friends. Scroll down and you’ll see photos of Will’s Way, taken at the same time, in the neighboring paddock. Will saw Appy run and said, “oh no, my new little neighbor. I won a million bucks and the Travers Stakes. I am the man in this neighborhood!”
Check out Will, Appy, Fortunate Prospect, and more, here on Candice’s Flickr page:
Thanks, Candice, for your wonderful photos.  I also want to say–aren’t dogs Jake and Marley pretty darn handsome, too?  Yeah, I know I’m biased.

As you can see from Candice’s photos, Fortunate Prospect is doing great. At 28, he is a little shaggy and a lot gray. But he maintains his routine—eat a little, nap a little, jog a little, do some serious sleeping, and round it all out with more grazing and greeting visitors. Gramps could write a book, ”The Fortunate Prospect Secret to Life, Love and Treats.”

At one point I looked up just in time to see Clever Allemont running across his paddock. No reason that I could see; he just felt like it I guess. He sure looked like he was having fun and feeling great.

The laugh of the day, courtesy of Silver Charm: Charmie’s little paddock is normally pretty devoid of grass, as we have to carefully manage his rather delicate little-horse digestive system. But with all the rain we’ve had, the corner area where he normally eats his hay is sprouting little blades of grass from the seeds in his hay. You think he would even lift his head to visit with me today? Not a chance. He figured he was getting’ while the gettin’ was good!

Mightly Mecke had some surgery today. Yep, he was gelded. It’ll be good for him as he was getting a little, shall we say, rambunctious. EscapefromNewYork (the horse formerly known as Nameless, from the Paragallo farm in New York) had the same surgery. Thanks to Hagyard Clinic for the services. I heard Escape did fine with it, but knowing Mecke, I bet he was a little unhappy!

Dan and Flick were hanging out near the fence today, hoping for some treats. Dan looks wonderful. It’s really taken him a year to fill out and lose his lean, lanky racehorse look. He is so handsome, and Flick has also put on significant weight. Dan rules that roost, but in a nice way. While Pops and Ring beat on each other rather relentlessly, Dan is much more subtle with Flick. He stretches out his neck like he is going to bite Flick, but then never really makes the final connect. He’s more like the big brother who picks on his kid brother in a lovable way, even though Flick is really the older child! Pops and Ring are just hoodlums with one another, even though no two horses are closer buddies.

I do have to comment on the Preakness today. Rachel Alexandra is awesome, and Mine That Bird is a real racehorse. But really, how about Musket Man? Count me as a huge fan of all three.

That about does it from here. We hope you can visit us soon, but in the meantime, thanks for spending this time with Old Friends.




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7 responses to “Saturday May 16, 2009

  1. Gayle

    Beautiful pictures–I put the link in my “Blue Day” folder. And I have to say, all three horses made believers out of me in the Preakness, but Rachel Alexandra was breathtaking!

  2. Tim Ford

    Here is a link to my photobucket that has pictures of Escapedfromnewyork coming off the truck and then pictures I took today…the shift from photo 9 to photo 10 is quite amazing.

  3. MRO

    I enjoyed the Flickr photos, especially the ones of Appy’s first day. Are Marley & Jake boxers/boxer mixes??? If so, that’s just one more reason to visit. I’m as crazy about boxers as I am retired racehorses. I’m planning to come down June 28 or 29.

    • oldfriendsblog

      both Jake and Marley are boxers. Jake is old and gray but still lively. Marley thinks she is a puppy still!

  4. Gae

    Musket Man — very consistent race horse. So nice to see him run well. Why not be a fan of all three?

  5. Pat


    Thanks for the pictures of EscapefromNewYork. The change is amazing. What was the date of his arrival? It’s amazing what love & care can do in even a short amount of time.

  6. Gae

    Hi Tim:

    Thanks for posting those nice shots of Snake. Yes, the pictures really show how much he has improved. I just ordered a few prints. It will be fun to follow his progress.

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