I think this particular weekend arguably has become our busiest each year. You probably think it’s the summer weather, or at least summer vacation, but neither is the reason. It’s Breyerfest weekend at the Kentucky Horse Park. You know Breyer horses: the collectible, plastic, model horses, usually replications of various breeds or specific famous horses. Breyerfest attracts a lot of collectors—adults that have collected since childhood, moms collecting with their kids (mostly daughters, I think) and people who just love horses. And so, since Friday, Old Friends has been a popular stop with the Breyer crowd. And boy, have we been busy. I had plenty of bucket carrying volunteers today!
Many of today’s visitors, as you can imagine, were kids. I think I met at least 25 kids and it was a lot of fun. They ran, they chattered, they fed carrots, they patted and they asked questions. The horses seem to understand kids, too. It still surprizes me, no matter how often I see it happen. But every single horse, every one, was exceedingly kind and gentle throughout the day. Clever, Escape and Swannie graciously let lots of little hands reach out and pat them. Sunshine sniffed, snorted and smelled every hand, which earned him lots of giggles. Pops and Ring let everyone admire them, and then raced about 10 kids (and one dog) up the hill. Talk about a thundering herd…
The Wicked North gobbled his share of carrots and posed for photos with his new fans. You probably think, what is so special about that? Well, Norty didn’t just pose. He stood still, ears pricked, so each mom could get a perfect photo of her child kissing Norty. As soon as each photo was snapped, he waited for the next child and posed again. He must be the star of 15 or 20 smoochy pictures today. You can’t tell me he didn’t know what he was doing.
One of the mares, Klassy Briefcase, is in the barn recovering from a little tendon pull. At first, you could see her thinking about whether she really wanted all these people hanging around her stall, but as is usually the case, the carrots won out. She gently took her share and then completely turned her back on us. The mares always let you know when they have had enough.
The far corner of Ogygian’s paddock is his favorite spot. His tree is there, where he hangs out in the shade and waits for his share of the treats. I suppose in his youth Ogie had his share of aggressive stallion behavior, but you wouldn’t have known it today. And as so often happens, he could care less about the adults, but the kids could pat and feed him no problem.
Another horse who had a great time with the kids today was Jade Hunter. When a new horse arrives you never really know what his or her temperament is like, but Jade Hunter is a very nice horse who comes over to the fence as soon as he sees people walking his way. He makes me laugh though, because he doesn’t have the most graceful lips. Kind of clumsy, he knocks more carrots to the ground than he nabs. Some horses can pick up a bit of carrot as delicately as anything. Jade Hunter, not so much!
The other new horse we have on the farm is Canadian champion Benburb. Ben is suffering from melanoma and is undergoing treatment for his tumors. But he is a wonderfully nice gray horse who greets visitors with a loud, enthusiastic neigh. Carrots are high on his list, as well. We are also awaiting the arrival of another great old stallion: Black Tie Affair should be here in the next week or so, once transportation arrangements are finalized.
But I have to say without a doubt, the horse that enjoyed himself the most today was Kiri’s Clown. This morning he stood parallel to the fence while 10 or 12 pair of hands reached over, under, and through the fence to scratch him. Some of the littler kids stood on the fence boards and the taller ones reached for his back and neck. He wouldn’t even eat his carrots because he was enjoying his “grooming” so much! He had kids scratching his back, neck, chest, belly, butt and ears, with a look of sheer bliss on his face.
Of course, we had adult visitors as well, but today was mostly all about the kids. The kids asked some well-thought out questions and made some very intuitive comments. Really, they are my favorite visitors. I think they are the horses’ favorite visitors as well. I told all the kids to pester their parents for a return trip next summer.
And so another Breyerfest, and another summer weekend is past. We hope you can visit us soon. Until then, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.