Monthly Archives: December 2010

Sunday December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays from all of us at Old Friends!

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Tuesday December 21, 2010

Jake 1999-2010

I talk to him when I’m lonesome like; and I’m sure he understands.  When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat.  For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that.  ~W. Dayton Wedgefarth

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Sunday December 19, 2010

It always comes down to the weather, doesn’t it?  Kentucky has had somewhat unusual winter weather of late, in that it has been below freezing for some time.  The three or four inches of ice and snow and ice again that stuck on the ground are frozen into a hard, crunchy and slippery mess.  Ice coats the trees and fences and sparkles in the sunshine.  But it’s difficult for people, dogs and horses to get around with any kind of grace.

Unlike plain, unremarkable, soft snow which often encourages horses to run around and show off, this icy ground is mostly conducive to standing around munching hay.  No running, no trotting and no showing off, except for Commentator.  He managed to show off while standing still, tossing his head and giving the impression of movement when he really wasn’t moving at all.   Glitterman, no dummy he, puts each foot down toe-first, breaking through the crust and reaching firm ground before he puts weight on that foot and moves another one.  He’s very deliberate.   Gulch didn’t move at all, having found a spot he likes and sticking to it.   Awad couldn’t be bothered to walk over, once he saw there was no carrot bucket in sight.

The Wicked North did, however, crunch right over to see me.   I was trying to take some pictures for next week’s blog but after sticking his nose into the camera lens, he stalked away in a huff when he discovered there were no treats to be had.  Norty is a large, heavy horse and he breaks through the crust with no problem.  The same is true for Marquetry, who meandered over to the fence and posed for his photo.  Marq has lost his halter; with his orange-y coat and white face against the snowy ground he looked really handsome. 

I had to choose my path carefully today, having no wish go head over teacups.  So I stuck to the paddocks with some dark ground showing through the ice, making for somewhat firmer footing.  Most of the horses were happy to pose for photos, pricking their ears and looking handsome.  Leave Seattle actually posed for me, but tried to bite me when I reached out to pat his nose.  Pops and Ring posed but stayed away from the fence, looking fat and fuzzy.  Creator glanced at me, and as soon as he saw I had no bucket, he turned his back to me and pretended I wasn’t there. 

As you can tell, it was a quiet and uneventful day at Old Friends.  No tours, no excitement and not much activity–I will post today’s photos later this week.  From everyone at Old Friends, we wish all of you a most wonderful Christmas and Holiday season.  Thanks for spending this quiet Sunday with Old Friends!

-Val

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Sunday December 5, 2010

Winter is settling in, and this time of year brings a different routine to Old Friends.  Tours drop off, sometimes dramatically.  People who do visit are often returnees, in town for a visit.  On some winter days, like the past couple of Sundays, there are no tours scheduled.   Farm work slows down, horses nap, and unneeded tour guides have time to walk around and hang out with the horses. 

Last weekend, as I strolled around the farm, it was peaceful.  The sun was shining, and there was barely a breeze, making the 45 degree temperature seem warm enough.  Today, there is 4 inches of fluffy snow and a biting wind. It sure makes last week’s weather seem a distant memory.  And there is one other big difference.  Sunny and 45 makes for good horse napping weather. Snowy and 28 makes for good bucking, running, kicking, biting, head tossing, ear-pricking, keep-the-blood-flowing weather!

This morning I stopped over at the annex farm.  The farm’s back fence borders a cow pasture, and the farmer put hay out for his cows just beyond the fence.  Most of the horses ignored the cows, but Gasconade was standing down by the cows with his ears pricked, watching them closely.  I’m not sure why he was so fascinated, but when I walked over to his paddock he came at a run.  He said hello, discovered there were no treats, grumbled at me, and dropped down for a good roll in the snow.  He bucked his way back over to the cows, where he continued to watch them closely.  I don’t know.  Maybe he just likes cows.

Gasconade’s activity brought Wallenda over to see what was happening.  He tugged at my jacket, accepted a kiss and a face rub, and wandered back over to his empty feed tub, just in case some grain had magically appeared.  Speaking of feed tubs, one of the geldings was prancing around his paddock carrying his feed rub in his mouth.  I think it’s this weather—I tell people all the time that horses like colder weather better than hot, as long as they have lots of food and water.  There was plenty of activity today to prove that.  I saw Seek Gold and Marshall Rooster trying to get their paddock mates worked up, and the big field of geldings—Hussonfirst, Dupars, Sgt Bert and the gang were also more active than usual.  Of course, the two ladies—Klassy and Buzzy—were far, far too sensible to act like kids in the first snowfall! They stuck to business—munching hay, and well, munching hay!

I always try to make it a point to visit any of the horses who are on stall rest. Polish Navy, who is in the big barn with a hip injury and a “no tour” restriction, dozed as I leaned on his stall door and told him how handsome he is.  He kept one ear pointed at me and the other flopped back.  His single eye fluttered closed, and his lip drooped.  I think he liked the company, much as anyone who is not feeling well does. 

Our other old man with arthritis, Glitterman, was outside in the small round pen, as he is most days in the afternoon.  G-man is funny—if I approach him he often backs right off.  But if I lean on his fence and just be still, he can’t stand it and comes over to nuzzle me.  His tongue seems to hang out of his mouth more all the time.  With his gimpy knees and his swayback, he looks like the old warrior he is. 

Marquetry was worked up today too.  He trotted right over to see me, but he couldn’t take his eyes off Marley the dog.  As she ran along his fence, Marq reared up, spun around and ran for a few strides with her.  I wasn’t nearly that much fun for him, so he ignored me after that.

Tinner has moved to a new paddock, part way up the hill where Navy used to be. This puts him across from Williamstown, in a bigger space with more room to roam.  I’m sure he likes it.  I can tell you this much: I bet Kiri is glad he moved.  You could kind of tell that Tinner’s manly-man attitude irritated Kiri no end!

It’s almost hard to remember how hot and dry it was just a short while ago, given the snow, mud and cold today.  But if you like to see active horses in playful moods, and you enjoy a nice, refreshing walk on a winter afternoon, this is a great time to visit Old Friends.  Especially at this time of year, we greatly appreciate reservations.  We hope you can visit us soon, but until then, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.

-Val

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