September! I can’t believe it—it seems like just last week that we were watching for the first green grass of spring. Now, paddocks are dry and the grass is parched and brown. Horses are dusty rather than muddy and springtime dapples have been replaced with sun-bleached coats. Can winter coats be far behind? Ugh, I don’t even want to think about it.
We had a nice group of visitors this morning and the first thing I noticed as I took them over to see Commentator was that the chestnut horse in Tator’s paddock wasn’t Tator. It took me as a second to figure it out; as I talked I was thinking, “this isn’t Tator.” I realized this just about the time one of the visitors informed me that the halter said “Jade Hunter.” So, I quickly deduced that Tator and Jade traded spaces. Yep, I am that quick! (In my own defense, it isn’t unusual for our horses to wear someone else’s halter, so the nameplate is not always the final word. And in this case, they are both chestnut horses…) But Jade seems to really like his new space. More people see him, as he is now in the prime greeting paddock of the entire farm. Plus, he is next door to Gulch and since they both were sired by Mr. Prospector, it’s kind of interesting to compare their looks. Or maybe that is something that just interests me!
One of our visitors today was a new shareholder in Marquetry. It’s always fun to let shareholders meet and greet their favorites. And Marq is just the friendliest horse—he loves meeting everyone. The other shareholder in the group wanted to see his horse, Bluesthestandard. So we took a trip up the hill to see Blue, Mighty Mecke, and Wallace Station. Mecke, normally a nearly black horse, is so faded from the sun you would think he is a buckskin. It is quite a transformation: Mighty Mecke, incognito.
I was more than happy to go see Blue and company, and even though they needed some coaxing to come over, they are always fun to interact with. The three of them are in a large paddock next door to a couple horses I haven’t seen in a few weeks, Williamstown and Polish Navy. I have a real soft spot for semi-cranky Williamstown. Willie isn’t much of a people horse, but he grudgingly visits anyway, probably since he knows I’m good for a couple peppermints. He always, always acts like he is going to bite me—baring his teeth and chomping. But in the end, all he does is kind of slide his teeth against my hand. We have an agreement. I don’t rub it in that he is all bark and no bite, and he doesn’t actually bite. It works for us.
The other horse I was glad to see was Polish Navy. Unlike Mecke, he has barely faded this summer. I don’t really know why this is, but he remains a rich cocoa color with hints of gold and black. Beautiful. Navy has only one eye, and some time ago I discovered he likes to have his empty eye socket lightly rubbed. I know that sounds kind of gross, but he enjoys it as much as a good back rub. I tell people this and I can see their cringing response—no one really believes me. But it is true.
As a stallion-friendly retirement home, we have only a handful of mares on site. But as of this weekend, we are home to a new mare, Buzzovertomyhouse. Buzzy is a full sister to the dam of Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone. So Auntie Buzz is Grindstone’s aunt, and relation to both 2004 Belmont winner Birdstone and 2009 Derby winner Mine That Bird. Buzzy has moved in with Klassy Briefcase, and the two mares are already inseparable. After one night grazing together, they tried hard to avoid coming inside this morning, staying one step ahead of Kent as he tried to catch them. As he said, they aren’t very fast anymore, but they are still faster than him!
September. It’s a short month to the opening of Keeneland’s fall meet. The Alltech-FEI World Equestrian Games begin later this month in Lexington. The Keeneland September Yearling sale begins next week. Next thing you know, it’ll officially be autumn and we’ll be heading into the season-that-must-not-be-named! But fall is a great time to visit some Old Friends. We appreciate reservations, and offer tours at 10, 1, 3 and 7 each day. We hope you can visit us soon, but in the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends!