Sunday March 7, 2010

Finally!  There are tentative signs of spring in Kentucky.  With sunshine and temperatures in the upper 50s today, spring fever is grabbing hold of us all.   It was fun to see the different ways we all reacted to the weather—dogs, horses, and people!  Some horses napped–Fortunate Prospect stretched out in the sun for a couple of hours.  Even Swannie was down for a nap, although he rousted himself for carrots.  Commentator, Pops and Ring ran around.  Gulch found a barely-there little patch of  fresh green grass and picked every tiny blade clean.  Clever was fascinated by the new baby calves next door, watching them intently.

This morning, Janet and I, along with dogs Jake, Marley and Shane, took a walk all the way up to the “back 40” paddocks.   Shane and Marley ran back and forth like they hadn’t been outside in months; thankfully Jake is more sensible and sedate.  As we walked up the hill handing out pats and mints, it was great to see the horses beginning to really shed winter hair.  Mighty Mecke, Bluesthestandard and Wallace Station all look pretty fuzzy still, Wallace Station most of all.  Glitterman, still shaggy, came over to say hello but Polish Navy was laying down for a nap.  He ignored us completely. 

I discovered that Janet has a secret soft spot for Williamstown.  She told me she thinks he is the coolest horse.   I’d have to agree.  He is sensible, doesn’t get too worked up over anything and, as a bonus, he almost always comes over to say hello.  Not to mention that for sheer prettiness, it’s hard to match a handsome black horse with four white feet and a wide white blaze! 

Once we worked out way up to the back of the farm, pretty much every horse came over to say hi.  Kudos begged a couple of mints off me, and Bonapaw came over as well.  Futural, Affirmed Success and Northern Stone met us at the fence.  Siphonizer didn’t.  No big surprise there—that horse would be happy if he never had to deal with people again.  He subscribes to the Creator/Leave Seattle school of relationships:  feed me and leave me the heck alone.

Perhaps most surprising was that all the mares came over to say hi. Bonnie was first.  Let me tell you, it isn’t hard to see which of the mares rules that roost, since she is clearly getting the choicest hay.  Fat and shiny?  Oh yes!  She looks terrific for 28 years old. Bonnie seemed to enjoy having her face rubbed for a bit, too.   Cozy Miss wins the award for shaggiest winter coat.  I told Janet she looked like a buffalo!   Cozy’s winter coat is coming out by the handful; there are going to be some happy nesting birds that get their beaks on some of her hair.  Hidden Lake managed to look quite sleek despite the time of year—her bay coat is shiny, not too shaggy, and mostly clean. 

EscapedfromNewYork has moved to a paddock in the back, and he now has a friend.  He’s has been paired off with AP Slew, and they were hanging out today like best buds.  AP Slew tends to be picked on by the other geldings, so his pasture pals are chosen carefully.  Escaped does not have the sturdiest ankle, as it was broken at some point in his past.  Because of their issues, they were a good match.  As Janet said, Escaped doesn’t pick on AP Slew, and AP Slew doesn’t get Escaped all wound up.  It works perfectly.

Since the ground has thawed and the mud has gone from slippery and wet to kind of half-dried, all the paddocks are getting dragged in preparation for the grass to start growing.  Awad was having a grand time racing the tractor around his paddock this afternoon, running and snorting like he was outrunning a fire-breathing dragon.  It was really fun to watch, since Awad is as beautiful as any horse could be when he gets to showing off. 

We had a couple of tours this afternoon, and it was a fine day for a walk around a farm.  A young lady named Jenna visited with her mom, aunt and grandparents.  She came armed with a large bag of carrots and apples. She was a little scared at first, but by the time we got to Norty she was giving kisses like a pro.  She even snuck a couple kisses onto Awad’s nose and I think he was too shocked by it to react!  Since Jenna really wanted to pat some horses, we made our way around to the kind stallions-Clever, Norty, and Jade Hunter.  I think Jenna would happily have taken Jade home with her. 

But for me, the best part of a really great day was seeing Black Tie Affair spend the afternoon outside in the sunshine, in Silver Charm’s paddock.  Blackie checked out the entire space—even wandering into Charmie’s pony-sized run-in shed, before settling in to eat some alfalfa and greet the afternoon tours.  His winter blanket was off for the day, and with his coat shining silver in the sun and his beautiful tail nearly reaching the ground, he looked like some magical, mythical horse.  As you know, Blackie is ill, and every day we have him is a wonderful thing.  He looks great, all things considered, and he is as tough and brave as they come.  On a farm full of great, smart, classy horses, I think he is just something else entirely.

While Black Tie Affair was outside, Charmie spent the afternoon in Blackie’s freshly bedded stall where the straw was piled nearly as tall as he is. You could barely see any of Charmie– mostly his thick pile of white mane kind of floating through a big pile of straw!  Frankly, THAT was funny to see!  

The weather today reminded me that springtime isn’t far off, and our busy tour season is about to gear up.   We hope you can visit us soon, and when you do, we hope you leave having experienced a little bit of the magic the horses provide for us each and every day.  Thanks for spending this Sunday with OId Friends!




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7 responses to “Sunday March 7, 2010

  1. Lexie C

    Another lovely update! Sure hope Blackie can hang in there a while longer and enjoy his wonderful retirement!!!

  2. Trish McGuire

    Thanks, Val, for another highly entertaining visit with all the Old Friend’s residents. I am so glad that Spring is just around the corner so the horses can have grass instead of mud although I am sure some of them will miss it a lot. I have never been to Old Friends but my husband and I plan to come one day. I feel like I have been there because you are so descriptive in your writing and show us so much of the various personalities living there (including cats, dogs, and horses). Can’t wait to give them all kisses in person but until then, please feel free to give out lots of hugs and kisses when you bring around the mints and carrots.

  3. Colmel

    What a wonderful post! It really, REALLY makes me want to come soon to see these wonderous creatures again. These horses have give us all so much over the years, it’s truly gratifying to know that they are being given so much in return.

    God bless these beasties and the marvelous souls who care so very much for them.

  4. Penni Smith

    Hi Val,

    Wanted to write to all of you at Old Friends. Just wanted to let everyone know how touched we were to visit with the wonderful dogs and horses. The tour was something we will never forget. A special memory for all times and a dream come true for one little girl. The horses are definitely in our thoughts. Jenna has left her heart there and if her desire to visit stays as bright in the future as now, we will most certainly be back for future visits. After returning to our hotel on Sunday, Jenna was somewhat sad and said she was missing Jade. She wanted to know if he was missing her. I told of course he was and he was missing her bag of carrots.

    Upon returning home, she is showing everyone her pictures and telling them her story. Her and her friends are planning on lemonade stands to send money to help support the horses.

    Thanks again for all your help in guiding us around Old Friends. Next time I’m sure Jenna will be prepared with LOTS of CARROTS and Mints!Hopefully, we see you again.

    Jenna’s Mom,

    • oldfriendsblog

      Hi Jenna and Penny.
      I know Jade Hunter misses Jenna–sometimes, a particular horse and a particular child just instantly develop a mutual admiration society. I hope you’ll be back, and we look forward to that day!
      Thanks for writing.

    • Colmel

      What a LOVELY story and what a fabulous idea your Jenna has! I hope she and her friends sell lots of lemonade. You know, once again, a child shows the way. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us could come up with our own “lemonade stands?” I know I’m going to try to think of ways that I can make some Old Friends money, too. If we all did just a little – it would add up to a lot.

      Tell Jenna “THANKS!”

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