Sunday February 7, 2010

As in indicator of how cold, wet and snowy this winter has been in central Kentucky, today seemed like a mild, enjoyable day to be outdoors.  And it was only 22 degrees–not that mild!  But apparently we’ve gotten used to the cold.  We have a little bit of snow, maybe an inch.  By this afternoon the ground began to thaw just a little bit, putting a thin top coat of mud over the frozen ruts.  The mess was just enough to stick to boots and add to the muck on dogs, horses and farm equipment.  It was a reminder that mud season isn’t too far off!

The horses are all doing great.  There wasn’t a lot of activity today, with the usual suspects acting up and everyone else just hanging out.  Only Swannie, Pops and Ring made a half-hearted effort to show off.  All of them ran or bucked for at least a few strides.  Gramps took his usual afternoon nap, stretched out in the snow– black on white.

We had four people tour this afternoon—from Toronto and Maryland–and we had a great time. We visited most all the stallions around the main part of the farm, including Jade Hunter, Awad, Kiri and Sunshine.  I especially enjoyed myself, I think because between being sick last weekend and the rain of previous Sundays, it felt like I haven’t seen the boys in forever.  Jade Hunter was in his shed, but trotted over when he saw the bucket.  Bull inthe Heather now resides across from Jade and he was actually pretty clean, for a nearly-white horse in the mud!  One of the women was interested to learn that gray horses are born dark and turn gray with age—a factoid that often fascinates people.  Ogygian was waiting at the fence for us, and Dan came right over as well.  Flick was more interested in his hay and completely ignored us.  Gulch ignored us as well.  He hasn’t been at the farm long enough to learn about the bucket brigade, but once spring rolls around he’ll figure it out. 

Commentator made sure he came over both for the start and end of the tour, being the double-dipper that he is.  He got the last handful of carrots and was looking for more.  I watched him walk along his fence line today, nibbling the icy snow off the top board.  The horses have water in their automatic waterers all the time, so I guess he just likes snow! 

Today was my first chance to meet our newest stallion, Academy Award.  He is a son of the great Secretariat, and looks rather like him, except in miniature!   Even though I knew Academy Award is a little guy, I was surprised to see just how small he is. He can’t be much over 14 hands.  And I can’t tell you much more than that, since I mostly saw him curled up in the straw sleeping today.  I guess he isn’t a big fan of Wallenda, who is in the stall next door.  I heard the two of them huffing and puffing at one another this morning. But by the time I wandered on down to his stall, he was again curled up in his straw -with his back to the door, ignoring everyone.  I’m thinking maybe he is a bit of a curmudgeon!  He did get up once, for the tour and some carrots.  He sure is cute.  And if he is, in fact, a little curmudgeonly then I bet he hates it when people say that!

This morning Black Tie Affair received the latest dose of his anti-cancer medication.  He is such a classy horse—he stood quietly while the vet set up his IV line, and except for trying to rub his head on me, he barely moved while the pint or so of drug went into his system.  To me, perhaps because I see him weekly and not every day, the difference in his tumors is noticeable—in a good way.  The veterinarian told me, and I am paraphrasing here, that the drug attaches itself to rapidly reproducing cancer cells and kills them when those cells split.  With luck, Blackie’s tumors will die and then eventually heal.  Knowing Blackie, seeing how calmly and stoically he takes everything in stride, I cross my fingers and wish a wish every time I see him.  I took off his blanket today and spent some time brushing him.  He is shedding and by the time I finished, my black sweat shirt looked like a white, fuzzy, hairy sweater.  I had to take a clean brush and brush myself.  It didn’t help all that much, though.

This afternoon our little tour group walked along visiting Kiri and Awad, and across the way at the annex farm Smokey Stover stood by his fence watching us intently.  I figured he wanted some attention, so after the tour left I drove over to the annex to see him.  But I think I was wrong, because he didn’t pay any attention to me.   Or maybe, since I was alone and there wasn’t a whole group of admirers, he just couldn’t be bothered!   It was peaceful and quiet at the annex—there was a hawk sitting on Luke’s paddock fence, just surveying the neighborhood.

We hope you can visit us sometime soon.  In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.

-Val

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Sunday February 7, 2010

  1. Jean in VA.

    Thanks Val for the update.
    I love hearing about everyone at Old Friends.
    It always makes my weekend.
    Give everyone a hug and a carrot or mint for me.

  2. Mary

    Thanks for the update, especially on Black Tie Affair. I didn’t realize he was getting treatment and I certainly hope it helps. Have been thinking about another trip to see everybody, but the weekend weather has been terrible. Our 32 year old mare died today (we had her for 28 of her 32 years) and it reminds me not to wait too long.

    • oldfriendsblog

      Hi Mary.
      yes, there is a lesson in not waiting too long. Sorry about your mare–32 is wonderful but still it isn’t easy by any means.
      Val

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