Someone on a tour asked me today if I was a racing fan and of course, I am. And if you watched Rachel Alexandra win the Haskell Invitational today, how could you not be a fan? She looked like she was having the greatest fun running that race. She is something else.
Back at Old Friends, we had a full day of tours, visitors and horses. Of course, a couple of the boys must have known Rachel was set to run today. Both Awad and Will’s Way wowed the crowd with their antics this afternoon, reminding us that they were pretty darn speedy in their day, too. Awad came toward us at a dead run, sliding to a stop with a whinny. Will added some dramatic skills, standing still and intently staring off into the distance, before suddenly exploding into a bucking run across his paddock. We also had a chance this morning to visit with the boys on the hill–Polish Navy, Glitterman and Williamstown—and the biggest ham of the day was Silver Charm, naturally. He offered pony kisses to every small child who wanted one.
This morning I had a small tour of four people. One lady was admittedly not a horse person and I think she had the most fun, learning to feed carrots and pat noses. In fact, several people visiting today had never patted a horse before, and one lady said, “I had no idea their noses are like velvet.” We got a chuckle out of Jade Hunter, whose lips may be velvety but sure haven’t gotten any more limber, and watched Makor’s Mark run around like a wild thing. The Name’s Jimmy, who lives across from Makor, happily got his share of carrots while the group realized that when I said his name I wasn’t kidding– it’s “The Name’s Jimmy!”
Glitterman, whose daughter Glitter Rox won the Royal North Stakes in Canada this weekend, came right over to visit. He is just the cutest little guy. Polish Navy is also a real sweetheart, but Williamstown was grumpy and let us know it. Apparently we were interrupting his morning routine and he just wanted us to leave. After four or five teeth-chomping threats, we got the message and left him alone. I know it’s all for show, but he sure makes it look real.
One of our newer geldings, Appygolucky, is having a difficult time acclimating to his new pasture mates. Appy is a sweetheart and not nearly aggressive enough to stand up to his neighborhood bully, Max A Million. After some rough treatment from Max, Appy is enjoying barn time in the stall next to Wallenda. I spent some time brushing and fussing over Appy this afternoon. When I began brushing, Wallenda came over to the wall to check things out. Poor Appy. He must figure every horse is going to beat on him, because as big stallion Wallenda sniffed at us through the gap in the boards, Appy got very tense and nervous. But I think Wallenda knew–he just nickered very quietly at Appy. I’m not sure what Wallenda said, but Appy immediately relaxed. I know I tend to assign human emotions to the horses and a lot of folks would roll their eyes at me, but I do think horses communicate amongst themselves. I think Wallenda told Appy, “it’s ok bud, just relax and enjoy.”
The other human emotion I firmly believe horses share is a sense of humor. We’ve had a good deal of rain in central Kentucky of late and some of the paddocks have areas of lovely mud. A lot of the horses are covered with dried mud (none more than Swannie, but what else is new?) Pops and Ring, at the bottom corner of their paddock, have a mud puddle that is especially wet and watery. We were all standing around admiring Awad and Kiri this afternoon and it was too much for Special Ring. He stood in his mud hole and began splashing. And this is where the sense of humor comes in: Ring didn’t just paw at the mud like you would expect. Nope, he splashed mud forward, toward all of us. He was obviously enjoying his little joke!
Today’s moment when I wished for a camera occurred when three little girls and one little boy reached over the fence to scratch Kiri’s back. Kiri will pass up carrots and frankly maybe even dinner for a good back scratching. The kids were little but mighty—they must have really put some muscle into it, because Kiri just about closed his eyes in bliss. One of the girls, Valencia, gave him a big hug; she just wrapped her arms right around his neck before I could even guess what she was doing. She was so comfortable with Kiri and he seemed to really like her. Another example of girls-and-their-horses thing, I guess.
That’s about all from here. Hard to believe it’s August and summer is winding down. We hope you can visit us soon. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.