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!