If you are a horse, today was probably your idea of great weather. It was a little cool, a lot rainy and very gray. There was just enough of a breeze to notice and the grass is deep, juicy-looking, and really lush. No 10 o’clock tour because of the rain, so it was a great time for me to just enjoy the peace and quiet of the farm. There is a load of fresh clover hay in the big barn waiting to be stacked, and it smelled wonderful. The aroma is sweet, kind of minty, and really fresh—better than the best potpourri.
Shortly after I arrived at the farm, I stood under one of the big oak trees and watched Creator run around his paddock. He was pounding the ground, shaking his head and bucking. Dan and Flick wandered out of their shed and over to the fence, to watch. No running for them; I think they thought he was a little nutty. They kind of rolled their eyes and wandered back into their shed, out of the rain. To give you an idea of how good all the horses felt, even Fortunate Prospect cantered around his paddock today. While he trots around if he is feeling especially frisky, at age 28 you don’t usually see him canter. The old guy still has it, too.
While it never did clear up today, by noon or so the rain had pretty much tapered off. And so, at 1 pm we had nine or ten people show up for a tour, and about the same number for the 3 o’clock tour. We had a great time, as always, meeting the horses and getting to know them. While we stuck close to the main part of the farm, in case the rain started again, I never get tired of sharing the personalities of the horses. Pops and Ring raced the kids, Escape came over for treats, Swannie is covered with mud and Leave Seattle took a nip at someone. Awad got mad when everyone admired Kiri, and Sunshine had to snort and smell to see who else we had been patting. By the way, both Escape and Clever continue to thrive. Both horses bear no resemblance to their former selves. I wondered today if Escape isn’t actually growing a little.
Those of you who have been to the farm in the past year or so have probably seen the special shoes that Bull wears. (Ruhlmann wore the same kind as well.) Unfortunately, nature bestowed upon Bull tender, thin feet. He often was sore and gimpy. For awhile now, he has worn special shoes that are affixed to his front hooves with acrylic—I call them his fake fingernails. I was able, this weekend, to see the blacksmith take care of Bull’s feet. First, the blacksmith uses a long knife to pare off the old shoe. He then peels the old acrylic off Bull’s hooves like he is opening a can of sardines. After trimming and shaping Bull’s hooves so they are even and angled correctly, the new shoes go on. The shoe itself is rubber, with built in padding and attached acrylic webbing that is plastered to Bull’s outer hoof wall with a pasty, acrylic bonding material. The entire hoof is wrapped in plastic wrap for about 5 minutes while the plaster sets up, then he is unwrapped. Once both front feet are done and his back feet trimmed, Bull is ready to go back to his paddock. No nails, no metal. The entire process took over an hour. It was fascinating to see. The blacksmith matches the acrylic to the color of the horse’s feet—Ruhlmann wore black and Bull wears a kind of yellowish color. I doubt Bull cares that his sneakers match. He just likes how they feel!
Today’s tours wound down by about 4:30. Wallenda was already outside for the evening and Clever was in his stall eating dinner. Kent took Norty out to his paddock, brought Escape inside and then headed off to feed everyone else their dinner. Even the cats were snoozing somewhere inside the barn. The day ended up as it began—gray, damp and quiet. Overall, nothing was out of the ordinary. It is comforting to know all is well.
We hope you can visit us soon. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.