Signs of spring continue to appear in central Kentucky—daffodils are 6 inches tall (not flowering just yet, though), trees are just beginning to bud, and paddocks are more green than brown. With temperatures hovering in the 40s today, the soft rain of this weekend was more cool and spring-like than cold and wintery.
The horses are shedding winter hair in earnest now, and loose winter hair itches. Itchy horses roll in the mud. The resulting mud-covered, shaggy horses look as far removed from shiny racehorses as they ever will! We have a photo poster in the office of Commentator winning some of his races. Tator looked nothing like that sleek racing machine today. He had mud stuck to him top to bottom, nose to tail. With mud matting his shaggy winter hair, he looked remarkably like some vampire-playing teen idol with carefully coiffed bed-head!
I spent much of my time inside the barns today—with the dampness and intermittent rain it was the place to be. I watched Kent doctor and wrap Academy Award’s front leg. I spent some time with Black Tie Affair, who was happily munching hay in his stall. I think being able to get outside in the sunshine for a bit a couple of days this week did him a lot of good. Wallenda got a good brushing. He was covered in mud, too.
This afternoon we had a tour with a bunch of kids. Kids are my favorite visitors, since they always have the most fun with the horses. One little guy named Jack had a blast, feeding carrots and apples to every horse he could reach. The kids all wanted to race the horses, and most of the horses obliged. First they raced Tator—who needs no excuse to run around and show off. He loved having a bunch of laughing kids (and two dogs) running back and forth with him! Before the end of the tour, nearly every horse the kids met ran at least a few strides. The kids’ enthusiasm was infectious and I think the horses all picked up on it. Even Leave Seattle came over to the fence at a canter; unusual in itself, but then he dropped his head and let Jack pat his nose. Wonders never cease, but certainly Leave is plenty smart enough to know that Jack meant him no harm.
Awad was pretty wound up—even a little obnoxious. He reared up and pawed at us as we stood at the fence, letting us know that he was unhappy that we would dare pay attention to Pops and Ring while we were in his royal presence. Of course, as soon as everyone gasped and backed up, Awad did it all over again. He is a ridiculous, ridiculous ham.
Gulch came over to visit as soon as he saw us head his way. He was kind and gentle taking carrots and letting the kids reach through the fence to pat him. Clever came over as well—maybe more than any of the stallions, he loves a tour with kids. Norty was his usual patient self and Wallenda arched his neck, tossed his head and tried to look big and bad. Academy Award came over to his stall door but was a little hesitant about taking carrots. I suspect he maybe hasn’t been around kids a lot. He wasn’t unkind, just unsure of the protocol.
Blackie, of course, conversed with the kids and then we went over to meet Silver Charm. Kent came out and kicked the soccer ball to him, and Charmie kicked it squarely back at him. Dan, Flick, and Jade Hunter all enjoyed some attention. Creator ignored us, barely even flicking an ear to see what was going on.
Kiri’s Clown ran along side us as we made our way down to Sunshine and Will’s Way. Will tried to bite me as I handed him a carrot, so no interacting with him today. He was clearly cranky! Sunshine hung his head over the fence to let all the kids pat him, and then raced with the kids up the hill toward Swan’s Way. Swannie made out best of all, as one of the girls let him put his head into the carrot bucket and eat all he wanted. He knows how to work the crowd.
A day that began as a quiet morning ended up being a loud and fun afternoon. The horses were great, showing off the unique personalities that make them so fun to be around. But if you ever think horses aren’t totally entertained by the silly people, guess again. As much fun as the kids, dogs and I had with the horses, I know the horses had more fun with us. No boring retirement at Old Friends!
We hope you can visit us soon. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.