Sunday July 18, 2010

Hot, humid and sticky were the best words to describe central Kentucky today.   The horses mostly tried to find a bit of shade, not having the enthusiasm for much playing or showing off.  Thankfully there was a fairly active breeze today, because otherwise it would almost have been too hot to walk around.  In fact, of couple of our visitors gave up after a bit. They ended up looking for the same bits of shade as the horses.  The only horse who maybe liked the heat was Pops.  You are probably wondering, why Pops?  It’s because Ring was too lazy to walk over to us for carrots, leaving Pops in the rare position of having all the attention, and treats, for himself!

Being Sunday, one of our volunteers, Tom, was at the farm as he is every Sunday.  In addition to his weekday stint as a tour guide, Tom takes care of our cemetery.  It’s totally because of him that the headstones and plaques look as fine as they do.  Tom mows, pulls weeds, cleans the fountain and waters flowers.  He generally makes our cemetery, and its shady benches, as inviting a place to sit and contemplate as anywhere on the farm. 

Old Friends is fortunate to have many volunteers–giving tours, helping in the office/gift shop and otherwise taking care of the odds and ends every farm needs to have done.  We all volunteer because we love the horses.  But that isn’t to say our paid employees don’t love the horses as well.  This afternoon one of our farm workers took time out of his hot and busy afternoon of chores to walk Fortunate Prospect to a patch of shade and brush him.  It just doesn’t matter what your role is at Old Friends.  There is something about the old guys (and girls) that makes everyone want to spend time just enjoying their company.

In that regard it was rather nice today, because with the heat the horses are more than happy to stand close to you while you chase flies for them!   It also allows for some quieter moments, when it’s somehow less about the treats and showing off, and more about the company.   After the tours ended this afternoon I found myself at the annex farm visiting the horses that live there.   Wallenda loves having his back and withers scratched, maybe even more than he likes being brushed.  His lip quivers and he starts to drool.  If you move from his prime itchy spot, he swings his head over and looks at you like he is saying, “not there you dummy, the other spot!”

 At one point, Tim and I stood next to the fence, with Sgt. Bert, Dupars, Hussonfirst, and Seek Gold all face to face with us, giving kisses and receiving pats.  We didn’t even have treats, so at least for today it was all about the attention.

Even Glitterman, who is usually an affectionate little guy anyway, wanted nothing more than to hang out with the people.  It was the same for nearly all the horses, including the more active ones like Commentator and Dan.  Even Creator wandered over and was kind of affectionate.  OK, so maybe that is a complete and total lie.  Creator just wanted treats, and maybe a personal fly swatter.  Kiri is still none too happy about wearing his grazing muzzle, but he has definitely lost a few pounds.  Since that was the intent I guess we can say it’s working, despite his annoyance with the contraption.

 When we opened Marquetry’s stall door, he stood like the most perfect gentleman with his head right up against my arm, enjoying the company.   He is a nice horse.  Norty did the same, although he tries awfully hard to get his head right into the carrot bucket and his big nose into the pocket of my jeans that holds the mints.   Gulch couldn’t be bothered to come over at all, and Jade Hunter got a little insistent when we fed Bull first.  There might be a little competition happening there. But regardless of the heat, both horses and visitors seemed to have a good time today.

Michael is in Saratoga, preparing for the grand opening of Old Friends at Cabin Creek, the Bobby Frankel division later this week. Some of our Kentucky volunteers are headed to New York for that party. The rest of us will be right here at the main farm, waiting to show off our horses to visitors.  We hope you can visit us soon. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends!

-Val

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Sunday July 18, 2010

  1. Bob Butkus

    If you need additional volunteers, please let me know. My schedule is tight, but, I’ll do what I can.
    Bob Butkus

  2. purrxlots

    As always, thanks for letting me be a part of your day at Old Friends. Always enjoy hearing about everyone there.
    All I can say is wish I were there.
    Give hugs and carrots/mints to everyone from me.

  3. Hi Val,

    I have something to post on your blog, it’s for Black Tie. Please let me know if I should enter it as a comment on your most recent blog or on the earlier entry you had for Tie…

    Thank you, Val,
    Sally

    • oldfriendsblog

      either way is fine Sally, but I think the more recent post you attach it to, the more folks will read it.

      Val

  4. From a Distance…

    Thank you, as always, Val, for your insightful, heartfelt entry for sweet Black Tie Affair. Unlike so many who had the enormous privilege of knowing him up-close and personal, I knew Black Tie from a distance. Yet his death left me with such a deep ache that I have wondered how one horse could steal my heart from so many miles away. Last fall, I created a hat for Black Tie. He was the first horse I chose to honor from Old Friends in the “Hats Off to the Horses”online Derby hat auction. And I chose him because there was just something about him. Your wonderful blog entries, Val, and the many photos taken by Rick and Matt told me the story of this amazing Friend who seemed to draw people to him like a magnet from the first minute he set hoof on Dream Chase Farm. I, myself, was smitten. Black Tie was the Black Stallion, Misty of Chincoteague, Flicka, King of the Wind, Silver, Pie, Black Beauty, and “all the pretty little horses”, all rolled up into one. He embodied courage, charm, gentleness, and class. And all of these impressions and feelings became part of the hat that I created for him. He is there in every stitch, every fiber, every fold, every layer. On the inside, I am just a girl who loves horses. Black Tie – and all the horses of Old Friends – helped me to connect that little girl who loves horses with the adult woman who now creates these hats to support them. I still have yet to have my own horse, but maybe the dream of having horses in my life has come true after all. Black Tie Affair did that for me, and for that I shall be forever grateful.

    On a larger scale, I think part of Black Tie’s appeal was that he tried so hard. And by example, he helped us all. As I read of his battle with various health issues, I personally felt inspired by this amazing horse who lived with courage and grace, against enormous odds. And from what I can tell, he seemed to invite everyone who knew him to try, too, right along with him. We all need our heroes, heroes who win our hearts and inspire us to be better, to be better in our own lives. I am happy to say that Black Tie, for now and forever, is one of mine.

    My thoughts are with you all at Dream Chase Farm, and with all those whose lives have been touched by this gentle silvery white stallion. On your way, sweet Tie, it was a joy and a privilege to know you… from not so very great a distance at all.

    • Rich H.

      sally: thank you so much for sharing.

      • You are so welcome, Rich. It’s been hard letting go of Black Tie, from a distance. The writing and sharing has really helped. Do you know if there is still going to be a memorial service later this month for Tie?

        • oldfriendsblog

          Sally,
          Your remembrance was wonderful. For myself, I’m still having a hard time not seeing him every week at Old Friends. BTW, the memorial for Black Tie Affair is this Saturday, July 31 at 2 pm at the main farm.
          -Val

  5. Bert

    Special thanks to whoever brushed Forty – I know he appreciated it. 🙂

  6. Thank you for your reply, Val, I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be to set foot on the farm and not see Tie there. Such a presence he had, from all that I have read from your blogs. I’ll be thinking of all of you tomorrow as you say a final farewell to Black Tie Affair. I sent along a little something for Tie this week, since I can’t be there in person to help send him on his way.

    You are all in my thoughts,
    Sally

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