Sunday September 12, 2010

What an absolutely gorgeous day in Kentucky: dry, no humidity, bright sunshine and about 80 degrees.  It was a perfect day for a walk around Old Friends, visiting horses and enjoying the late days of summer.  Added to that, the people who visited today were as nice a group as you would ever want to meet.  And last but not least, I saw something today that I don’t think I have seen in nearly four years at the farm.  But more on that later… 

This morning’s group featured seven-year-old Brooklyn, who has a marvelous personality but maybe was a tiny bit unsure of the horses.  She hesitantly gave Norty a carrot, and cautiously patted Clever.  She got a little braver and reached through the fence to pat Glitterman.  By the time we ended our tour, at Marquetry’s paddock, she was standing on the bottom rail of the fence, scratching Marq’s back.  He stood like a champ, gazing at her as if to say, “I like this kid, she should stay longer.”  After she tried to get her mom to leave her at the farm for the afternoon, Brooklyn’s final words to me as she left were, “I’ll try to come back on another Sunday!”  I surely hope she does. Because, you know, my secret mission is to create more horse-crazy kids who drive their parents nuts! 

This morning was one of those sparkling mornings where the air seemed especially crisp and clear—a sure sign of impending fall, but very enjoyable nonetheless.  It was cool and slightly breezy, and as a result I saw more equine activity that I’ve seen in months. We watched Creator canter across his paddock, which I haven’t seen him do since spring.  But most surprising to me, I saw Leave Seattle run, and I mean fly, across his paddock. He made a graceful sweep around the corner and started another loop.  If he had run that fast when he started in his three races…well, who knows? But I was thinking about it on my way home and I am sure I have never seen him run. Canter, once or twice, maybe.  Jog, certainly.  But never a flat-out romp, like I saw him today.  He must be feeling fantastic. Of course, by this afternoon’s tour he was back to his usual self:  give me carrots and leave me alone. 

We didn’t have anyone scheduled for the 1 pm tour so I took some time to go visit Wallenda.  Dinard and Early Pioneer came over for some treats, and I passed out mints to Benburb, Gasconade, and Buzzy. I told Klassy that her last baby was supposed to make his second start on Friday but was scratched.  Smokey Stover got all worked up because Bennie got a mint, but it was mostly the idea of the mint—he rarely eats them. So I patted him for a bit and he was happy.  

This afternoon’s tour featured toddler Harrison.  Harrison began the tour in his stroller, but he soon had enough of that and pretty much led the rest of the tour. At Glitterman’s stall, I told everyone that G-man would happily drop his head to say hi on Harrison’s level.  Glitterman is fascinated by little kids—babies, toddlers, the smaller the better.  And as it turns out, Harrison is a horse guy—he’d grab a carrot and reach and reach up as far as his little arms and legs would let him so he could give the carrot to the horses, with a little help from his dad. Thankfully slobber made him giggle, and as usual the stallions are kind, gentle and dignified when they take carrots from little fingers.  Harrison is just learning his sentences and his mom said “horse” was among his first words. Not surprising then when he called out, “bye-bye big horsey” as we left each paddock.  My kind of guy, that Harrison! 

I also have to mention another visitor today—the lady who loved horses but was scared to death of them.  She got better at feeding carrots as the tour went on, but they definitely have some photos of her holding out her hand, with a nearly painful grimace on her face.  I’m not sure if she was more afraid of being bitten or being slobbered on, but I do know she had a lot of fun when all was said and done.  I hope she comes back for another visit, too. 

All in all, it was a terrific day at the farm.  With weather like this, it is easy to take some extra time to linger– with the horses, at the cemetery, or even under the trees at the picnic tables.  Given the upcoming busy season—the World Equestrian games, Keeneland’s fall race meet, and the generally nice autumn weather, tour reservations are greatly appreciated.   We hope you can visit us soon. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends! 

-Val

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Sunday September 12, 2010

  1. Colmel

    Ah, a wonderful day at Old Friends – and another wonderful post. Your word pictures are terrific, Val! I could almost smell the sweet smell of horsey!

    Terrific to know another “old friend” of ours is there. Dinard! Watched him win the Santa Anita Derby. We were wearing Paulson colors and thrilled to see him win in 1991. Can’t wait to get back to Old Friends to see him again – and all the others, too!

  2. Gae

    Always enjoy reading about the little visitors and the G-Man.

  3. MRO

    I would have given anything to have seen Leave Seattle run.

  4. Pat

    Not only am I looking forward to seeing Dinard again, who I followed when he was racing & got to meet several times while he was at the Horse Park, but now Tinners Way is at Old Friends too! I would have loved to leave right away to see him but I’ll have to wait until we visit during Breeders’ Cup. Thanks for taking such good care of everyone & letting us visit each week.

  5. Carlette

    Val,
    This is the lady who loved horses but was scared to death of them. I did have a great time and I also returned for one last visit before my vacation was over. I will always remember my visit to Old Friends and how much fun I had feeding the horses. I was more afraid of being bitten and unsure of those huge horse lips so close to my hands. On my second visit I feed some of the horses with the confidence of a regular horse person. You would have been proud. My husband took some pictures (I think). I will send you one of me not grimacing at all. Hope to see you again!

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