Sunday July 26, 2009

Another month is almost over.  It’s been an odd summer, weather-wise, with a fair amount of rain and cooler overall temperatures.  It may be odd weather to us, but I have no doubt the horses have really liked this summer.  For whatever reason, there seem to be fewer flies and the ground isn’t so hard and dry.  Not to mention how green and lush the grass continues to be.  We are still routinely mowing pastures, unusual for late July, and a hay farmer I know expects there will be good quantities of hay available this winter.

No tour duties for me today, as Greg and I had family in town for the weekend. Greg’s sister, brother-in-law and two nieces were here from Pittsburgh.  We spent yesterday showing them around central Kentucky a little.  Along with Old Friends, we had lunch at Wallace Station (excellent, as always!) and checked out Rupp Arena for my brother-in-law, a big college basketball fan.  We also walked around Keeneland.   No racing in July of course, but it’s still a great place–even empty, it’s full of atmosphere.  Yesterday there was a wedding party having pictures taken in the walking ring.  Talk about a pretty place for wedding photos!   One of the gentlemen working in the Equestrian Room saw the girls and gave them Keeneland coloring books, crayons and stickers.  It was very nice.

Our nieces, Shannon and Kayla, are at a fun age where everything is an adventure.  Shannon, who is nine, is very much an animal person, and she happily spent all weekend hanging out with Marley and Jake.  She had also seen “Seabiscuit” and when I told her we could meet the horse who played him in the movie, she was pretty excited.  

When Saturday morning rolled around, the girls announced they were ready to meet some horses, so off to Old Friends we went.  We grabbed a bag of carrots and went to the big barn.  Black Tie Affair was the very first horse we saw.  It is the first time I’d met him, and he is beautiful.  He is not real big, and quite refined with a pretty, almost delicate head and face.  Unfortunately, like Benburb, he has melanoma and will be undergoing treatment for his tumors.  He came right over to his stall door to meet us, looking very interested in the kids.  Kayla, who is seven, had told me on Friday that she likes gray horses best, so she was totally taken with him.  I think she would have stood outside his stall talking to him all day, and Black Tie Affair would have stood and listened!

We tried to visit with Wallenda, but he was sleeping and couldn’t be bothered to get up.  That horse.  I talk about how he is my favorite and he won’t even flick an ear to acknowledge us.  Makes me look bad!  Ben, who like Black Tie Affair stays indoors and out of the sun during the day, was his usual friendly self.  In fact, I think, given his health issues, that Ben is one of the most dignified horses I have ever met.  He is one very classy guy.   Cross your fingers for both him and Black Tie; hopefully their treatments will help.

Clever came right over to see us.  There are times when he doesn’t bother to come over to the fence to visit, but it seems to me if there are small kids, he comes right over.  He ate his carrots, got his face rubbed, and seemed happy.  Shannon has a naturally calm, animal-friendly personality and Clever took right to her, letting her pat his forehead and neck.

Kayla, the younger niece, is a riot and cheerfully tells us she is a “diva.”  Norty is in the paddock across from Bull and both horses were looking for attention.  While we fed Norty his treats, Bull was banging on the fence and when we fed Bull, Norty stomped his feet, wanting us back with him.  Kayla looked at the horses and annnounced that they are both divas.  Oh, how true!

Klassy Briefcase is still on stall rest, and being a small mare with a calm and gentle way about her, she is perfect for a little girl.  Shannon fed her carrots and then stood and patted Klassy for a good while.  For the rest of the day Shannon talked about how Klassy was her favorite.   Shannon also loved Janet’s dogs.  She kneeled right down in the barn for a nose to nose conversation with Duncan.  Once again, where is my camera when I need it? You think I’d learn…

Fortunate Prospect has moved to the field across from Jade Hunter and you couldn’t ask for two more friendly stallions.  They stood directly across from one another, and we all just took the three or four steps back and forth between them as they munched their carrots.  From there, we saw Dan, Flick and Silver Charm.  Kayla decided, “I like that little one, he’s just my size.  I could probably ride him!”  Perhaps not, as I am pretty sure Charmie would be highly offended at the idea of having to work!

We finished up our mini tour with a walk over to Pops and Ring.  Both horses were at the bottom corner of their paddock, down by Leave Seattle, Kiri, and Awad.   Pops saw us and immediately ran up the hill.  I tried to tell the girls it was because he saw them, but they quickly figured out that Pops saw an opportunity to get carrots without having to compete with four other horses!  That horse is one smart cookie.   After dinner last night, we all watched Pops in his big movie role.  I hadn’t watched “Seabiscuit” in probably a couple years, and we had a lot of fun watching for Pops in the film.  Knowing him, it was easy enough to pick him out.  It’s no wonder he’s such a ham.

Thanks to Tim Ford for taking over my tour guide duties today–I’ll be back at tours next week.  We hope you will visit us soon.  In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends. 

P.S. Happy Birthday to my sister Karen, tomorrow…



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4 responses to “Sunday July 26, 2009

  1. Gae

    I remember seeing a picture of Black Tie Affair after he returned to the USA. Is he almost pure white now?

  2. Hi Val,

    Could you take and post a picture of Black Tie Affair like you did a month or so ago of some horses, please!! I would love to see Black Tie Affair.



  3. Jean

    Thanks again Val for taking time to make me feel that I was visiting Old Friends.
    Sorry to hear that Black Tie Affair and Ben both have the same problem. Hope they will get along okay. I know they are getting the best treatment in a place that they are loved.
    Congratulations to Jade Hunter whose son Global Hunter won the Eddie Read.
    Have a good week and give everyone a hug.

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