Sunday September 6, 2009

What a mixed bag of a day—a little sun, some big rumbles of thunder, rain, hail (close but not actually at the farm) and a cool breeze. The back part of the farm had some nice rain, while the horses up front barely got wet.   Summer?   Fall?  Who knows?

The horses loved that cool breeze and the rain, though.  Swannie, Awad, Dan, Flick—they all ran around happily today.  Dan and Flick have apparently learned that rearing up in a mock fight earns them plenty of attention, since they pulled that act again today.  Swannie arched his neck and pranced around every time the thunder crashed.  One of the guys on the 1 o’clock tour made no bones that he was somewhat (ok, totally) afraid of horses.  His friends tried to get him to stand next to Swannie for a photo, but it thundered, Swannie danced, and the poor guy ran for cover.  

I think most of the horses were wound up today. Escape took a little nip at one lady.  (I warned her not to turn her back, but so few people ever really believe me!)  Escape left some green slobber on her nice sweater and a lovely little bruise on her arm.  She didn’t seem to mind too much, though.  Her granddaughter, who is three, was a total animal nut.  She arrived at the farm and announced that she loves horses, and let me tell you, she had no fear.  Her name was Lauren, and she had a blast.  She kissed Norty, patted Black Tie, fed Jade Hunter and Gramps, and walked next to Jake with her arm across his back.  When we got to Swannie, he dipped his head down to her level.  She put her little hands on either side of his nose and said “I love you, Horsey.”  Oh, is her dad ever going to have to pay for riding lessons some day!  I bet she had a nice nap this afternoon as well, since her energy gave out on the way back to the office—she laid down right in the middle of the driveway.  She did leave with a stuffed horse that she promptly named Norty.   Yep, my job was done today– another lifetime horse fan, courtesy of Old Friends!

Because of the looming thunder and eventual rain, the afternoon tours were all cut short.  We didn’t get very far and saw fewer horses than we normally would.  We spent some time with Sunshine and Awad, as well as Dan and Flick. But the storms were so close that no one wanted to be caught too far from shelter.  We never even made it over to Pops and Ring.  But thankfully, Clever came over for every visitor, as did Norty. 

Black Tie Affair, Appygolucky, Wallenda, and Benburb, because they are in the big barn, had it made today.  Lots of treats for them.  Appy really enjoys any attention he gets.  Of course, since he is next to Wallenda, it’s hard to talk with Appy since the Wallenda makes such a ruckus waiting for his turn.  No manners at all.  Black Tie Affair nickers every time he sees the treat bucket.  He isn’t a big fan of peppermints, though and doesn’t even want them in his mouth.  Smart horse—carrots and peppermint?  Can’t be that good of a combo.

But horses in general, of course, have a sweet tooth.  All the horses love carrots, and various horses at Old Friends have some unique taste buds.  Futural loves bananas, Creator loves pears, the late, great Ruhlmann loved gingersnap cookies.  A lot of the horses like the hard, red and white peppermint candies, but some of them are picky and don’t like the green version of the mints.  Awad has to be different as he dislikes apples, but Swannie will eat anything.  Today one lady, who wasn’t used to horses at all, pulled out a roll of the old-fashioned fruit flavor lifesavers—the green, red, and orange ones?  She asked if the horses would eat them, and I told her to give them a shot.  Huge, huge hit!  Everyone LOVED them.  Who knew? 

I want to wish a Happy Birthday to my niece Mikaela in Buffalo, and Happy Labor Day to everyone else.   We hope you can visit us sometime soon, but in the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.




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8 responses to “Sunday September 6, 2009

  1. Jean

    Thanks Val for another great update on my favorite Old Friends. Always look forward it reading.

  2. MRO

    I came across an old VHS tape of the 1989 Pimlico Special this weekend. The quality is surprisingly good. Proper Reality finished second. There is some good footage of him. The field included Slew City Slew (the reason I taped it!), Brian’s Time, Little Bold John, Blushing John etc. If I can figure out how to transfer the race from VHS to DVD, I’ll drop a copy in the mail. It was great to see him in his racing days after reading about him here!

  3. Sam Anderer


    Would you please post or ask Michael to post an update on Lava Man’s status, and when he may be arriving at Old Friends? I know it has been put off several times.
    Would really like to know how the old boy is.

    Sam Anderer
    Cave Creek, AZ

    • oldfriendsblog

      Hi Sam.
      this is what I know about Lava Man…I hear he is doing really well with his treatments, and he is still scheduled to come to Old Friends sometime this fall. I’m sure Michael will let everyone know as soon as there is a firm date. Frankly, I think it will happen quickly–he’ll get on the plane and we’ll be waiting at the other end! Michael was talking about Lava Man last weekend on his weekly local radio spot, and so that is the scoop!

  4. Mary

    Val, you are the best! I look so forward to reading your posts every week. I just want to say thanks, you make me feel like I am there with you.

  5. Dan

    Thanks for the tour today and thank you for giving my daughter Lauren such a neat experience.
    You are correct; she slept like a log when we got home that afternoon. Because of you guys at Old Friends, she’s now a horse lover and I’m gonna make sure she gets all the riding lessons she wants.


  6. Viv

    Val, you do such good work, especially in relating to the kids…so important, too, as kids are going to be so key to making future changes that will ensure a safe, dignified retirement for the horses of tomorrow. It is wonderful to hear they walk away from your tours at OF with that love instilled in their hearts…with the same gift my grandparents gave me so many years ago when I was a child, a love and respect for horses….You have special gift for introducing the horses to young folks and I just wanted to thank you for that. Thanks for looking out for the App as well. We will be seeing you all in October again, can’t wait. Viv

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