For something a little different, Part One of this week’s Sunday Old Friends blog is posting on Saturday. I decided to take Sunday off from tour guiding, but I had a free day today and thought I’d spend it with the horses. You know, visiting the horses without a carrot bucket is a completely different experience than leading tours. I’ve always thought the horses have a gossip line—one finds out there are no carrots and they pass it on, and down the row the news is spread. You’d think that without carrots no one would bother to visit, but the opposite is true. Mostly everyone lined up to meet me at the fence. It was great fun.
We have a couple of new horses, and I began by stopping to meet Tinner’s Way. Tinner is a red son of Secretariat, and there is no denying the resemblance. Larger than our late sweetheart Academy Award, my initial impression of Tinner is that he is a manly man. He spent the afternoon in his stall yelling at everything. He yelled at people, he yelled at Silver Charm, he yelled for no apparent reason. He finally quieted down, sort of, at about 3 pm when he went outside for the evening. Although, he probably was quieter only because he was next door to Danthebluegrassman, and the two of them were posturing to see who was badder. Now, truthfully, Dan is not bad and I don’t know who he thought he was kidding. But he is Tinner’s great-great-great nephew, in a manner of speaking, so it might have been a family thing.
After Tinner, I went over to the annex. I brushed Wallenda, who was a mess. And of course, every bit of the dirt on Wallenda transferred to my gray t-shirt. You’ve probably heard that saying, “there’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of man?” Personally, I think it should be, “there’s something about the dirt on the outside of a horse that clings to the outside of man!”
While I was in Wallenda’s stall, I heard what I thought was someone firing up the weed whacker. It just didn’t sound right, though, and I thought maybe it needed a tune-up. But as it sputtered, I realized it wasn’t the weed whacker I was hearing. It was Benburb…and let’s just say he was making a nice, long, loud contribution to global warming…
Back at the main farm, I took a golf cart and headed off up toward the back forty. I was out of mints and when I got to Commentator I expected him to be miffed, but he gave me his usual sloppy kiss and was happy to be patted. His fly mask was off and I loved seeing his face again. Bull inthe Heather, in the paddock across from Tator, wanted his share of attention as well. You couldn’t ask for two more physically opposite horses. Bull–large and almost white with a long nose and loppy ears, versus Tator—small and red with mischief in his eye. And both of them are giant-sized characters.
I worked my way up the hill, stopping to say hi to The Name’s Jimmy, Renegade, Bluesthestandard, Mighty Mecke and Wallace Station. Remember a couple weeks ago when I mentioned how the sun had bleached Mecke to a near buckskin? No more—sadly, winter coats are growing in and Mecke has returned to his normal almost-black. As soon as I realized it, I turned to look at Williamstown. Sure enough, he is back to black as well. Here comes winter.
Willy isn’t the most affectionate of horses, and he doesn’t always want visit. You get the sense he has resigned himself to having company, as opposed to actually enjoying it. Today he got a back scratch, a nose rub and a quick kiss or two, which is about all he will stand for. By the time Willy lost interest, Polish Navy was at the fence, waiting for his turn. Navy is as friendly as Willy is standoffish. He leaned his head right over onto my shoulder as I scratched his chest. It’s a close to a hug as a big, old stallion can give, I guess.
Back tomorrow for Part Two of today’s blog -Val