Monthly Archives: June 2009

Sunday June 28, 2009

Just a very quick post to let everyone know I am going to postpone this week’s entry until Tuesday evening.  As you may know, on Tuesday Calvin Borel is coming to Old Friends!   Calvin won this year’s Kentucky Derby on Mine That Bird, and he is the  regular rider of the fabulous filly Rachel Alexandra, who won this year’s Preakness.   We are all really looking forward to the evening, and I’ll post as soon as possible afterwards.   

-Val

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Sunday June 21, 2009

After a quick trip north, we’re back in Kentucky. I didn’t get to the farm this week,  so we have a different kind of blog posting today. If you move your mouse cursor over each photo you should see names.   Thanks to Rick Capone for the photos, and to Tim Ford, who took over tour duty for me today.  (If you can’t get enough of Rick’s photos, he has a nifty book available through the Old Friends gift shop.  Rick has kindly donated all proceeds from the book to Old Friends.)

-Val

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Sunday June 14, 2009

It was another warm, humid day in central Kentucky, although I can’t complain because we didn’t get any thunderstorms during the afternoon.  It’s a little after 6 pm now, and the storms are firing up, so we were lucky.  We had a full day of tours, lots of people, some kids and one handsome german shepherd!

First thing this morning, I got out of my car and heard a little voice sing out “hey, it’s me, Braden!  I’m back to visit Dan!”  Braden was last at the farm on Mother’s Day weekend, and during that visit Dan and Braden really bonded—Dan kept ticking his new friend until Braden couldn’t stop giggling.  Dan was not into tickling today but he was happy to visit with his buddy.  Today’s visit, as usual, involved lots of carrots, a few mints and some photos.  I am pretty sure Braden will be back again before the summer is over.

All the horses were very well-behaved today.  Most of them usually are, but there is always one who is a little obnoxious.  But even the hoodlums, Pops and Ring, behaved themselves today.   Creator took carrots like a gentleman and one or two ladies were able to sneak in a pat on his nose.  He must be mellowing, because I swear he liked it! 

Swannie was in his run-in shed out of the sun.  He might even possibly have passed on the treats, preferring to snooze, but as soon as he saw Escape getting attention it was just too much to bear.  Out he came, tossing his head and trying his best to distract the crowd.  It was kind of funny.   

The other one who got all worked up was Awad (of course!)  This afternoon we had the aforementioned german shepherd on the tour.  While he was leashed and extremely well-behaved, for some reason neither Awad nor Sunshine liked this dog. They both did the “I am stallion” thing—prancing and snorting with their necks arched.   After a few seconds Sunshine decided it was too much effort to be upset, but Awad never did want that dog around.  Considering how much Jake, Marley, Duncan and Shane are on the farm, it was kind of surprising.   But that’s Awad—something different in his routine and he gets all worked up.   He’s a creature of habit for sure.

Along with Braden, we had Haley this afternoon.   Haley and her dad are from Utah, making a “horse trip” to Lexington.  Haley is one of those young teen-aged girls who loves horses, and who horses love in return.  She fed them all, but I think Kiri liked her best.   (He’s still clearly miffed at me over my refusal to remove the grazing muzzle.)  He barely acknowledged me today, and took right to Haley instead.  Later this afternoon, several ladies on the tour reached over the fence to scratch Kiri’s back, so he was mostly happy.  He looks great, though, and the grazing muzzle is doing its job.  (Now that I think of it, there was a lot of back scratching going on today. Bull had a couple of fans taking care of his itches, as did Dan, Charmie, Escape and Gramps.) 

Speaking of Bull, if you’ve been to the farm in the last year or so, you know he has those special rubber shoes in his front feet—the ones that are affixed to his hoof wall with acrylic.  One lady today called them his “French tip manicure.”  A way too girly description for macho man Bull, but kind of true, too!  Bull was very well-behaved today—not once did he even try to take a nip at anyone.  I think it was the back scratching; he figured he better not scare anyone away. 

At one point, we had part of the group admiring Bull, while some folks fed Gramps.  That was enough to get Clever Allemont over to look for treats too.  He got his share, and was especially gentle with the kids.  I’ve said this before, but we are fortunate to have some exceptionally nice stallions. We had some horse people today who commented they never met such nice stallions.  I love to hear that, although do you think maybe I am biased, just a little?

The last tour of the day featured twin girls; I guess 3 or 4 years old.  Mom told me one was an animal person and the other was not, but as usual the horses and Marley won them over.  Both girls fed carrots, patted noses and generally enjoyed themselves.  By the end of the tour they were sitting in the shade with Marley, one on each side, climbing all over her.   Small children are Marley’s favorite thing, so she just sat there grinning.  I imagine there are some cute photos.

Before I wrap up, I want to let everyone know there won’t be a blog entry next weekend.  We are traveling to New York State to see my family, and so I am taking the week off.  I’ll be back in Kentucky too late on Sunday to go to the farm.  But who knows, maybe Kiri will be over his snit by then!

I want to thank all our regular readers, especially those of you who send comments each week.  We read them all and enjoy knowing we have so many friends and fans.   We couldn’t do what we do without the support of all of you.  So, many thanks!   

 We hope you can visit us soon.  In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.

-Val

P.S. I am testing an idea here–this is a photo of EscapedfromNewYork, taken by Rick Capone…

Escapedfromnewyork1[1]

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Sunday June 7, 2009

After missing last week’s tours, I was really happy to be back at the farm today.   I would like to think the horses were happy to see me, but I am probably deluding myself—anyone with a carrot bucket works for them.   I made a point to visit every single horse on the farm today—all 45 or however many; I have lost count.   Let me tell, you, I am beat.  Poor Marley worked every tour today.  She is crashed and out like a light!

I do think there was one horse that was especially happy to see me.  Kiri’s Clown is the latest to sport the hot horsey fashion accessory—the grazing muzzle. When he saw me this morning, his eyes lit up like “oh thank goodness, she’ll have pity and get this contraption off me.”  Sorry Kiri, no can do!  The grass this spring has been especially rich and lush, and we don’t want any colic or founder.  So, for the more susceptible horses, the grazing muzzle is the solution.   But the hole in the bottom of the muzzle is just large enough for a carrot, so Kiri still got his share.  

EscapedfromNewYork has turned into a nice little horse.  His coat is a beautiful reddish bay, all shiny and smooth.  He loves treats and runs right over to the fence when he sees people.  I guess he thinks he died and went to heaven—all the food he needs with lots of grass and water, topped off with treats and attention.  Couldn’t ask for more if you are a horse!  He really draws people in, too.  Everyone is touched by his story and amazed at how far he has come, in such a short time.   But as someone said today—those New Yorkers are a tough bunch!

Today was immunization day at the farm.  Now, everyone knows what Creator thinks of humans–we are not his favorite people.  As you can imagine, shots are REALLY low on his list.  But Kent caught him, and patiently hung out with him until Creator relaxed.  Then, a quick shot on each side of his neck, a little more bonding time and some treats, and it was over.  Very nicely done.  

We had some terrific people on tours today.   People came from Ohio, Illinois, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and New York City.   As he left, one little guy ran back to tell me “I’ll see you next time—I’m coming back again!”  His mom told me he was already making plans.  I think it was The Wicked North who got him hooked.  But then, who doesn’t get hooked by Norty?

For the last tour today, I took my group up to the “back 40.”  We walked up and back—this was the hike that did Marley in for the day!  But it was a fun walk.  Elvis, really named King James, came right over for treats.  He is a pretty dark brown horse with four white ankle socks.  He doesn’t have as much chrome as Williamstown, and he is very handsome.  I can kind of see why he is nicknamed Elvis. 

Speaking of Willy, he has moved to a new paddock at the top of the hill.  I think he loves his new digs—he has lots of space and a nice line of trees for afternoon shade.  He looked great too, and came right over for treats.  Glitterman and Polish Navy were waiting by their respective fences as we walked to see them.  Their paddocks overlook the housing development behind the farm.  I’d love to look out my back door and see those two guys grazing behind my house! 

Wallace Station and Appygolucky are paddock-mates now.  Wallace Station is significantly taller than Appy, so they are a bit of an odd couple.  Still, they seem very happy together.   My pal Kudos looks terrific.   One of the ladies remarked on how soft and smooth his coat and mane feel.   His mane lies perfectly and there was no mud or dirt on him. He looked like he just got home from the spa. 

Siphonizer has always been somewhat moody–standoffish one day and friendly the next.  Today he was a certified treat hound—he pretty much followed us around waiting for attention.  He, Futural, and Affirmed Success finally lined up perfectly for the group photo I have always wanted—you know–dark brown, chestnut and bay, all shiny and pretty.  But did I have a camera?  No, I did not. 

I think, however, the horse who looked the very best of them all today was Bonnie’s Poker.  She is fat, shiny and dappled. She, Cozy Miss and Hidden Lake were hanging out in their run-in shed out of the sun but as soon as Hidden Lake came out for treats, they all wandered over.   (Klassy Briefcase and Personalized apparently aren’t allowed in their little clique and were farther out in the paddock grazing.)  But for everyone who has asked how Bonnie has been doing since her friend Narrow Escape died, I can enthusiastically say she looks fabulous, maybe the best I have ever seen her.  No way does she look her age.  And Hidden Lake?  Gorgeous! 

Well, that about covers the day at the farm.  Great weather, terrific horses, nice people—as one man said this morning, “what a great way to spend time on a nice day.”  I am very lucky to be able to do this each week!

We hope you can visit us soon.  In the meantime, thanks for spending Sunday with Old Friends.

-Val

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