Sunday April 11, 2010

Summer tour season is here!  We have been very busy—I bet we had over a hundred people came to Old Friends for tours today alone.  We had two groups out at 10 am, a nice-sized 1 pm tour, and then at least two groups out at 3 pm.  I heard that yesterday was even busier. The horses were thrilled with all the treats, that’s for sure. Many carrots and not a few mints were consumed today.

It’s fun to watch the horses react to this much activity.  Fortunate Prospect was sound asleep this morning, so the morning groups never did get to meet him.  At his age he has his priorities, and sleeping was it for him today!  Cherono and Gulch happily came over and visited, but the gold star of tour antics went to, (surprise!) Commentator.   Tator ran. He kicked. He bucked. He reared.  He did it all over again.  And then, for good measure, he changed it up and did it again.  He makes me look good, since I had just finished telling my group how much personality the horses have and how much they enjoy attention.  Anyone who thinks retired horses need a “job” need only come to Old Friends and see how handily the horses work the crowd.  No boring retirements here. 

There was a man on this morning’s tour who is a fan of Polish Navy, so we took the long walk up the hill toward the Back 40. Nearly every horse came over to see us and they were all well-behaved.  (Williamstown was the exception, though. He totally ignored us.)  Of course, Clever, Ogygian, and Jade Hunter are always perfect gentlemen.  Sometimes Bull can be a bit demanding, but he was fine today.  The Name’s Jimmy loves company and he came right over, as did the three geldings—Wallace Station, Mighty Mecke and Bluesthestandard. 

Glitterman looks terrific, but Polish Navy won the Pretty Horse Award this morning.  He has just about completely shed his winter coat.  He is beautifully dappled in a rich cocoa with hints of black and gold. He is absolutely gorgeous.  Added to that, he is a nice horse who enjoys attention.  He stood for pictures, and let people pat him and rub his face. 

This afternoon we walked a different part of the farm, visiting Pops, Ring, Awad, Sunshine, Will, and Swannie. Lots of hair has been shed, so most of the horses are looking nearly summery.  Except for Pops.  He has long, faded winter hairs hanging on amongst his shiny, short, summer coat.  As is normal for him at this time of year he looks, well, moldy is the best word for it.  It is not a good look for a former movie star! 

Leave Seattle came over for carrots, and then we discovered that both Sunshine Forever and Swan’s Way are wearing halters that say “Leave Seattle” on the brass nameplate.  I am pretty sure some folks in the group thought we were having one over on them.  It did get a bit confusing for the people trying to keep track of the photos they were taking!  For the record, both Swannie and Sunshine managed to lose their halters in their paddocks.  We needed to catch them this past week, so they got whatever halter was handy.  Apparently that was two more Leave Seattle halters.

 We had a number of “regulars” visit today—some of our most loyal fans came out.  It was great to see them and another sure sign that summer travel season is underway.  I took a group of them to see horses that had come to the farm since their last visit.  So we went to see Gulch who ignored us, and Tator who didn’t. They also wanted to meet Blackie, Academy Award, Jade Hunter, Glitterman, Blue, and Polish Navy. (Polish Navy had a full day of fans!)  One of the women asked for a lock of Academy Award’s mane.  I kind of thought she might cry.  Sons of Secretariat, for those who remember dad, sometimes have that effect.

We then drove next door to meet Smokey Stover.  He was waiting at the fence for us.  I stopped to see Luke and we wandered over to say hello to Klassy Briefcase.  We finished up the day over at Dr. Byer’s farm with Riva Way, Bingo and Cappucino Kid.  A couple more locks of mane, plenty of mints, a visit with Dr. Byers and we all headed our separate ways.  All in all, I think everyone had a terrific day.  Dogs, small children, and tour guides are all pretty tired tonight!

We are winding up for Triple Crown season—the Kentucky Derby is a mere three weeks off.  Zenyatta is an undefeated 16-for-16.  (And Tator still thinks he could beat them all!)  May 2 is our annual Homecoming, and we always look forward to that event.  We hope you can visit us soon.  In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.




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6 responses to “Sunday April 11, 2010

  1. Jim Kozatek

    Thanks for a great 10:00 tour today, Val. It was wonderful to see all my favorite horses. Got to see the new ones since my last visit.
    Tator sure has gotten the hang of entertaining for treats. He was a wonderful and honest as they come racehorse.He deserves the attention and love that he receives.
    Thanks for all Old Friends does for our equine heroes.

    Jim (the 10:00 Polish Navy fan)

  2. Oh dear, my poor movie star Pops! I must sent him some cash for treats, he feels that when you are a star you can look pretty much any way you wish. Love your blog, you are good people.

  3. Bertie

    My husband and I are from Chicago and we made a trip to Old Friends during our short visit to Lexington this past weekend. We did the 10am tour on Sunday and it was a beautiful day – I’ve never been so close to horses before and they were all amazing.

    Commentator was a real showman and Jade Hunter was a true sweetie. Thanks to Val and the rest of the Old Friends gang. We’ll be back with mints.

  4. Brianna Q

    Lovely update as usual 🙂 I’m coming up from FL for my first KD and I really hope I can go to the homecoming. I haven’t been to Old Friends since April 2009 and there have been many additions!

    • oldfriendsblog

      It was a fun Sunday, wasn’t it? Looking forward to the next time you all are here. Brianna–find me if you are at Homecoming. I’ll be there, wandering around. Jim and Bertie–we had some fun on Sunday with those big, old, lovable hams, didn’t we? Barbara–Pops says send mints fast, maybe they will help! ha! -Val

  5. Hi Val:

    It looks like I will be there when I’m in town to give a talk at the Kentucky Equine Summit (April 26-27) later this month… and especially to see my old friend Blackie (aka Tie) for my friend Linda, Blackie’s trainer’s daughter. I may have to visit on Monday though and miss out on meeting you 😦 But I’m so looking forward to it!


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