Sometimes there is so much happening; there are so many stories and anecdotes from Old Friends I don’t even know where to begin. Today is a perfect example. A little sunshine today, some rain, a ton of visitors, and so many fun things to tell!
We had a beautiful morning today—sunny, cool and breezy. The horses were all very happy, in large part because we had some much-needed rain yesterday, last night, and again this afternoon. The result? Today’s grass was tender, juicy and far more attractive than people with boring old carrots. A lot of the paddocks have been mowed this week, making the grass even better. Talk about a salad bar! Gulch came over only if he happened to be within a length or so of the fence. Further than that, and it took too long to walk over when he could be eating. Clever mostly ignored us. He did greet the 3 pm tour, but as soon as the raindrops started to fall, he took off at a canter for his run-in shed. Clever does not like to get wet. I think figures if the nutty people want to get wet, that’s our problem. He is going to stay dry, by golly!
I told a lot of stories today, trying to illustrate just how smart the horses are. Blackie is a fine example, of course. The arthritis in his back legs makes limber movement a near impossibility for him, but he also knows he needs and wants to lie down. Getting back up has been the most difficult for him. So he has taught himself to get up by lifting his front end up first, sitting like a dog. Then he leverages his back end, and up he pops. Not really graceful–but very, very effective.
I wandered up to the mares’ paddock, my mission being to brush some of the long winter hair off Cozy Miss. Unfortunately, Personalized took exception to Cozy getting attention and tried to interfere. Her presence was making Cozy antsy and uncomfortable. I thought I was out of luck, until Hidden Lake decided to take control of the situation. She put herself between Cozy and Personalized, making sure Cozy wasn’t interrupted. Eventually, I ended up sandwiched between Hidden Lake and Cozy—two swipes of the brush for Cozy, then two for Hidden Lake. It went on that way for awhile—two for Cozy, two for Lake. When I finished with Cozy, Hidden Lake led me over to Bonnie, making sure I brushed her as well. Eventually all the mares got their share of the brush. But Hidden Lake sure organized the day. She might have been an event coordinator in a previous life. If I hadn’t been there, I’m not sure I would believe what I saw. And yes, she organized me as well!
By far, most of the horses are really tolerant of small children. For some of the horses, like Clever, Danthebluegrassman, The Wicked North and Jade Hunter, kids are their favorite visitors. But twice now I have seen Academy Award back off from small kids. I suspect he has never been around them, and the higher tone of their voice seems to confuse him. This morning we had a terrific little guy named Elliott visit. Academy Award wanted no part of him. He wasn’t mean or aggressive at all, but AA backed right into his stall when Elliott came too close. Ironically, later today we had a retired policeman visit. He was great fun, but a big, burly guy—the kind of guy the stallions often try to bite. Academy Award leaned right into him, closed his eyes and about went to sleep. Go figure.
We had some fun visiting with Mighty Mecke, Wallace Station, and Bluesthestandard this afternoon. I have to keep a hold of Blues’ halter, otherwise he runs the other two geldings off so he can get all the treats. One of the women with us had a part in getting Mecke to Old Friends. She was thrilled to see him. The whole time we were visiting the three geldings, Jimmy and Bull banged on their fences, posed, begged, and generally tried to look adorable . Adorable is not all that easy for Bull. He’s more handsome than cute.
With the rain over the weekend, there was plenty of mud for everyone. Tator had a clean side and a caked side. Pops and Ring had mud everywhere. Dan was muddy. Jade was muddy. Kiri was beyond filthy. But Ogygian, Gramps, and Gulch? Totally pristine. They are clearly too classy to roll in the mud like a common ex-racehorse!
We had so many visitors today—in addition to our three regular tours, we had three van tours and overflow from the regular tours. All of the farm’s tour guides, myself included, are volunteers. On a busy day like today, it’s a lot of fun to meet people from all over. Today, we had visitors Florida, New York, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee, among other states. We also had visitors from the Ukraine, Australia, and Canada. It’s pretty cool to see how knowledge of Old Friends has spread all over the world!
I expect that next week’s blog entry will be a day or so late, since Sunday is our 6th Annual Homecoming celebration. I always look forward to that. People return each year for the event, and it’s great to catch up with the farm’s supporters. You never know who will show up. Maybe we’ll see you there!
I want to say thank you to everyone who left a comment on last week’s blog entry. I appreciate all the kind words. And once again, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends. We hope you can visit us sometime soon!