There was a palpable buzz in the air at Old Friends this morning; if you didn’t know what was happening, you’d assume the imminent arrival of a member of some royal family. And, in truth, that’s what was happening; Commentator arrived at Old Friends today. His limo (a Sallee horse van) pulled up at about 11:45, with a handsome red face peering out the window. The side door opened, and with a red carpet walk and a loud whinny, Commentator strode down the ramp to greet his waiting fans. His leg wraps were removed, and he strutted to his new paddock in front of the big barn. His fans lined up at the fence for the show, and he didn’t disappoint. With another loud neigh, he broke into a run along the fence line.
Commentator is a deep, dark, red horse. Even with his winter coat starting to come in, he is beautifully dappled. At Old Friends, we’ve seen our share of horses recently off the track and I have never seen one as fabulous looking as Commentator. He is muscular, but not too tall, leggy but not lanky. He has a pretty face and bright, inquisitive eyes. Like every other great racehorse I’ve ever met, he is competitive: of course, Bull inthe Heather had to race him. In Bull’s defense, he is 19 with suspect feet, and he gave a credible showing. Nevertheless, Commentator smoked him and then peeled off and ran up the other side of his paddock. On the other side of the driveway, Swannie didn’t even try to race the new guy—he was happy to just buck and kick. He knows he can’t run nearly that fast, so he opted for looking pretty.
After a few minutes of showing off, Commentator settled down for some grazing. He met his first tour at 1 pm, and had a couple of carrots before wandering off to graze some more. But by the 3 pm tour, he came right over and we discovered our first thing about him: carrots are ok, but mints… now there’s the ticket. He knows exactly what the crinkle of cellophane means and he happily crunches them right down.
Along with Commentator, our other new resident is a millionaire gelding named Bluesthestandard. He arrived this weekend from Kristin Mulhall in California. I don’t often immediately label a new horse as “sweet,” but Blue deserves it. He is a medium bay horse with a white star. When he arrived, Blue went into a paddock with Mighty Mecke and Wallace Station. It is a perfect match, because the three geldings looked at one another and immediately decided they are going to be friends. No squealing, no biting, kicking, or establishing a pecking order. It was all for one and one for all—the new Three Musketeers. By today, they lined up at the fence nice as can be. Blue followed us along the fence for more treats, and as we moved off he ran back up the hill to his new friends. This group is going to be a new favorite for visitors.
The arrival of a new horse always sets off some of the other horses, and we watched Escape run around this morning. Dan and Flick watched with interest but didn’t get too excited. Clever did not come over for single tour today—I think he decided it was just too much nonsense and he opted to let things settle down.
With Blue, Mecke and Wallace now next door, both Glitterman and Williamstown were a little put out. G-man was challenging them all. He doesn’t get that at his age he is supposed to be calm and mature! Willy was just plain cranky; he tried to bite me. We worked it out and by this afternoon when the owner of one of his sons came to meet him, he was much better behaved.
Like all the horses at Old Friends, Commentator and Blue are going to love their new jobs greeting people and being “spokeshorses” for racing, rescue, and horses in general. While they won’t be ridden, their job is just as time-consuming and engaging. They will get loads of attention, be patted, fed, loved, and admired every day. And in between, they will have lots of green grass, space to run and play, and plenty of rest for the aches and pains of a long athletic career. What more could a horse ask for? And lucky us: we can visit them, get to know them and share their personalities with their fans.
We hope you can visit us soon. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends!