Ahh, the dog days of summer have arrived at Old Friends: hot, sunny and humid. The horses mostly stood quietly, sweating and flicking at flies. The tours meandered slowly, sweating and sticking to the shade where possible. Only a few kids today, all of them on one last trip before they head back to school. Marley the tour dog was so aggravated by the heat that she took after her buddy Shane and we had to separate them.
Despite the heat, the daily routine continues at the farm uninterrupted. Horses brought inside for the day, out for the night, or vice versa. Feeding time twice a day. Fences repaired, hay stacked. Stalls need to be cleaned and grass needs to be mowed.
A new stallion arrived last evening. His name is Proper Reality, and he ran fourth to Winning Colors in the 1988 Kentucky Derby. He’s a little brown horse, possibly now the smallest stallion on the farm. Of course, those little guys are awfully cute, which probably offends his stallion ego! He was in the stall next to Wallenda this morning for the first tour and we had to convince him to come over for carrots. I always say the good racehorses are really smart, and by the end of the day, he was waiting at his stall door when he saw us walking toward him. He picked that up quickly enough. This afternoon, he went outside to his paddock for the first time. Bull, Norty and Regal are his new neighbors and they were all worked up. But I don’t think Proper is going to have any problem settling in—he pretty much ignored the other stallions and went directly to grazing.
Even though it isn’t exactly springtime, we have a little Old Friends romance in the air. Klassy Briefcase is still staying in the small barn and she is making eyes at Clever Allemont. She watches him through her stall window, and tosses out a coy little nicker every now and again. Clever has limited vision and his hearing may not be all that it once was, but clearly something is working well enough. He spent all day showing off–trotting back and forth across from Klassy’s stall. Even when we stood in front of him with carrots he was too distracted to eat. Off he went, trotting back and forth, keeping his good eye on Klassy. I guess he knows how good he looks these days and figures, “what the heck, I may be 27 but that cute chestnut is 24 and we both look fabulous for our age!”
Today’s heat kept us close to the barns and their shade, but I did have a chance last evening to head up to the “back 40” to see the mares and geldings, as well as some of the other stallions. I’ve said it before, but that Polish Navy is one nice horse. He came right over for his share of attention, once again putting his head right into my arms for a face rub. I am a sucker for those big, bad stallions who are secretly softies, and Polish Navy sure is that. Both Glitterman and Williamstown also came over to say hi. No horse loves his paddock more than Willie—big, shady, and hilly enough that he can pretend no one sees him.
All the horses in the back part of the farm look great—Mighty Mecke and Wallace Station came over at a run, and Hidden Lake was waiting at the fence for some attention. Personalized and Bonnie were hanging out in their run-in shed and didn’t much care if we were there or not. I suspect Bonapaw thinks he rules the place back there, although in truth Bonnie is the queen. The horse who stuck out for me last night was Siphonizer. He has really bloomed compared to the horse he was when he arrived last year. Nearly black, he has become a big, muscular horse. There sure is a lot of him, and he looks very content hanging out with his pals Futural and Affirmed Success. Because you know, it’s a rough life—living in a large paddock with your friends, with plenty of food, water, green grass and a steady supply of carrots.
We had a wonderful group of visitors today, albeit fewer of them than usual. A nice couple who are big fans of Old Friends came from Texas, and we had visitors from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. One lady was a big fan of Black Tie Affair and we had to walk back to see him a second time before she left. A handful of kids, some grandparents and a few racing fans rounded out the day. In between tours I brushed Appygolucky, who is still in the barn, and Wallenda of course. All in all, it was a great day to be at the farm. I think all our visitors had fun, too.
We hope you can visit us soon. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.