Sunday May 23, 2010

Today was a beautiful day in Kentucky, with temperatures in the mid 80s and plenty of sunshine.  The horses are all adjusting to the summer-like temperature, which means there was very little activity.  Commentator actually walked along with us, instead of displaying his usual show-off antics.  Pops and Ring broke into a slow trot, for about three steps.  Then, it was back to a meander.   They know we’ll wait for them.  Ogygian spent most of the day inside his run-in shed–all we could see was his tail sticking out.

We had plenty of tours today, including the usual organized bus tours.  Visitors came from Illinois, New York, and Tennessee. One of the bus tours had folks from Canada and Argentina.

Black Tie Affair spent some time outside today, napping on the sun.  He doesn’t move around a lot, but he sure manages to follow the sunshine. He regularly turned from side to side, like he was at the beach working on his tan.  I’m sure the heat felt good on his old bones.  With Blackie outside in Silver Charm’s paddock, Charmie was inside the small barn in a clean, deeply bedded stall.  Charmie must have given up trying to move around in all that straw—he was hanging out on the edge of the stall, where he didn’t have to wade through straw as deep as he is tall. 

This morning one of the women on the tour remarked at how short the horses’ hair is.  The first horse we saw was Gramps, and at his age he is always a little shaggier than the younger boys, so maybe she thought his coat was the norm.  But by the time we got over to Pops and Ring (or more accurately, by the time they puttered over to us) she was patting some silky, shiny necks.  Awad’s coat is so shiny this year, a beautiful dark brown with red highlights.  Unfortunately, his next door neighbor Kiri’s Clown was covered in crusty dried mud.  He had mud balls in his mane, mud caked onto his back, and mud on his chest.  He really enjoyed the hard rain on Friday evening, judging from how much rolling he must have done.

The lone exception to the lack of activity today was Clever Allemont. With so much rain, the paddocks are being mowed pretty regularly, and this afternoon it was time to mow Clever’s space.  I’m not kidding here–we watched Clever play “chicken” with the tractor!  Clever stood in the tractor’s path until the tractor got right up to him, then he took off at a run half way around his paddock, only to stop and wait for the tractor to catch up. Then he did it all over again.  We watched him do this three or four times, laughing at him the whole time.  He was just having a blast, racing that tractor!  He sure feels good, for 28 years old. Or, as one of the men watching said, “hey, I can only hope to race a tractor when I’m 90!”

This afternoon I took a group into the big barn to see Academy Award, Wallenda and The Wicked North. As we stood outside Norty’s stall, one of the ladies was telling me how long it took her to become comfortable hand feeding her daughter’s horse. As she was telling me this, she was holding an opened can of Coke.  Well, guess what?  Norty, like any horse, has a nose for sugar.  He stuck his nose out and took a quick swipe of his tongue over that Coke can, trying to get a taste.  We poured a little into my hand and after a tentative test sip, he slurped it right up.  The poor lady wasn’t sure if she should drink out of her can anymore, but after awhile she bravely took a drink.  I assured her Norty has had all his shots!  You sure have to hide the sweets around these horses.  They can sniff them out quick as a wink– he’s no dummy, that Norty.

Next weekend is the long Memorial Day weekend, and I will be taking the weekend off from tour guide duties to entertain out-of-town company.   On Monday May 31, Old Friends will be hosting a tribute and memorial for the horses we’ve lost over the past year or so.  If you are in the area, please join us.  Details are on our website,

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



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4 responses to “Sunday May 23, 2010

  1. Derek Fuciarelli

    Hello Val,

    Thank you so much for the updates. I read them every chance I get! I really enjoy visiting the farm. The last 2 years I have shown up for the “day after the derby homecoming”. Everybody is so nice and the horses seem to enjoy the day too! I love my Gulch “Moneigh” I won at auction and get many compliments on it. I hope to visit in a few weeks to say hello. MANY Thanks goes to you and all who keep this barn running!

    Derek from

  2. Deborah Childs

    I really love what you all do & visit your website often, although the Memorials make me cry. I hope one day to actually get to visit the horses in person.
    Please keep doing what you do!

    Deborah from

  3. MRO

    Some good stories in this week’s edition. I loved reading about Clever Allemont & the tractor.

  4. Gae

    Thanks for a great tour. We got such a kick out of Clever Allemont’s game of chicken. Ogygian looked very good for an old guy. What an honor to meet Black Tie Affair. And Glitterman — what a friendly funny guy — he tugged at our heart strings.

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