Just when you think you have seen any and all possible Kentucky weather, today happens. You begin with a nice, autumn day. Toss in some sunshine. Add nearly four months with no rain to speak of, and thoroughly puree it all with a lovely gale-force wind. The result? A little dust. Dust in your eyes, dust in your nose, in your hair and in your mouth. Dust all throughout your clothes. Just, dust.
There is no grass to speak of in any of the paddocks, so the horses are getting hay along with their regular grain. It seems early in the fall to be feeding hay, and the big, multi-horse paddocks have large round hay bales in place. Gulch, who normally won’t walk farther than 10 or 15 feet for a carrot if there is grass to eat, is now walking clear across his paddock for treats.
The horses handled today’s wind and dust in different ways. Pops and Ring hid behind their run-in shed, trying to avoid the wind. Awad stood at the corner of his paddock and neighed at anything that moved. Leave Seattle was so irritated he wouldn’t even eat carrots. He turned his back on us–carrots versus tail to the wind, and carrots lost. Commentator pinned his ears flat back and bucked along the fence line. I guess he thought we should somehow make it stop. Williamstown ate his carrots but then turned right around. The only horse who was mostly unaffected was Cherono. His paddock behind the office is in a little bit of a dip and it seemed the wind mostly blew right over top of him. Although now that I think about it, Bull didn’t seem to mind the wind either. Unlike Leave Seattle, Bull would never dream of turning down a carrot. Not wind, nor rain, nor the dark of night ever kept Bull from his treats!
This morning, before the wind really got whipping, was the most pleasant part of the day. It was cool enough to wear a sweatshirt or jacket, and at that point the wind was more of a slight breeze. Fortunate Prospect actually cantered over to see us. It’s pretty amazing that at age 29 he still feels good enough to do that. He continues to grow more and more white spots in his nearly black coat. Each spot is about the size of a quarter, and along with the ever-increasing amounts of gray in his face, gives him a rather unique look.
This morning’s tour just went on and on, for nearly two hours, since we had late comers joining us at several points along the way. We probably spent the majority of our time along the row that houses Kiri’s Clown, Tinner’s Way, Sunshine Forever, Falcon Scott, Free Spirit’s Joy and Marquetry. It is always fun to watch people who have never been around horses, as they start hesitantly handing out carrots, graduate to tentative pats, and eventually to kisses. Marq is a perfect horse for that, as is Spirit, since they have all the patience in the world for people who aren’t too sure of this whole horse thing. Tinner on the other hand, is not so patient. Just give him the carrots, thank you very much.
We had several groups today that were made up of parents, grown children and grandkids. Usually there is one person who wanted to visit Old Friends and they drag the rest of the family along. Everyone generally ends up having fun, and I have a suspicion that inevitably the person who least wanted to visit is the one who enjoys himself the most. But still, the kids are the best visitors. We had a lot of kids today, ranging in age from toddler in diapers, to 5 or 6, all the way on up. One little guy named Jack got to the point where he just grabbed carrots from the bucket and handed them out. I don’t think I ever heard him say a word, but the horses don’t care about that anyway. And never ceases to amaze me the difference in the horses’ behavior with the kids. Every single horse took carrots as gently as can be from Jack. The horses are much more eager, or maybe determined, when adults hand them carrots. But with little hands the lips are as soft and gentle as can be.
In two weeks, we are having our Breeder’s Cup fundraiser event. Details are on our website. If you are in our area that weekend, we hope you will join us. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends. (Oh, and cross your fingers for some rain!!!)