Sometimes, in the middle of what is turning out to be a long, cold winter, Mother Nature rewards us for our perseverence with a day like today. It was beautiful, the bright sunshine and milder temperatures (in the 40s) making for a day where you didn’t need gloves, ear muffs, or even a heavy jacket. Days like today are my favorite, a brief break from winter’s grasp and a great time to be a tour guide with hardly any tours! Wandering around the farm on a day like today is pretty terrific.
A morning like this is made for horse napping, and at one point I looked over the paddocks to see Fortunate Prospect, Kiri’s Clown, Free Spirits Joy, The Wicked North and Delay of Game all stretched out in the sunshine. Marquetry was standing in the corner of his paddock next to Sunshine Forever, and while they were standing up, they were snoozing as well.
This afternoon, when we had a small tour headed out, Spirit was still down for the count, as were Awad and Kiri. All three got up when the carrot bucket headed their way. Spirit and Kiri came awake pretty quickly, but Awad took a few moments to fully awaken. He stretched and kind of yawned and finally, finally meandered over for his carrots. We thought he obviously needed his morning coffee.
All the horses were kind of lazy and mellow today. Pops and Ring came over at a trot but it was hardly an energetic effort. Leave Seattle strolled over and Creator did the same. Creator is showing some signs of his age. He gets a little stiff if he stands in one spot for too long and it takes him a few steps to limber up. Not that it makes his attitude any different; he wasn’t getting carrots quickly enough and he threatened a nip at our visitor. Although I suppose there was a time when Creator wouldn’t have stopped at just threatening, so maybe it is different.
Among our visitors today was Laura Battle, who takes so many of the photos I post on this blog. She wanted to go to the annex farm to take pictures, so our little group piled into our cars and headed next door. Now, to an ex-racehorse the only thing nearly as enticing as a carrot bucket is someone with a camera pointed in their direction. All the geldings in the big field, among them Dupars, Hussonfirst, Sgt Bert, and Thornfield lined up at the fence for photos. They crunched carrots, begged mints and posed beautifully for Laura. Across the drive Seek Gold, Sea Native, Judge’s Case, Marshall Rooster, Dinard, Mark of Success and Early Pioneer stood at their respective fences and waited their turn. Even the two mares—Buzzovertomyhouse and Klassy Briefcase—eventually came over to see what the fuss was all about. Of course, we had to walk most of the way to the end of their fence while they walked maybe 5 feet over to us. You know, the mares are not nearly the easy treat hounds the boys are. They make us work for it.
A couple of times today, mares at the farm across the road were running, neighing and generally making a ruckus. It was funny to see the stallions throw their heads up and prick their ears at the fuss. Marquetry, and Creator didn’t miss a trick, and even the geldings—Dan, Flick, Pops and Ring—were enthralled. They were nothing more than frat boys hoping for an invite to the party!
Later this afternoon, Laura and I went back out with one of our regular visitors. As the day wound down, we spent some time with Falcon Scott, Gulch, Ogygian and Commentator. As we leaned on Ogie’s fence, we talked about being racing fans, and how much fun it is when we get to spend time with our favorites. We all agreed we are really appreciative whenever we have that opportunity, whether at the track, at a breeding farm, at Old Friends or even in a virtual way online. This is part of what makes Old Friends so great. Yes, we provide a good home for so many wonderful horses. But we also offer a wonderful place for fans to come and meet their favorites, up close and nose to nose. You can scratch a neck, give a kiss and get slobbered on by an animal you watched race when you were a kid, or more recently perhaps on TVG or HRN. When we saw Gulch win his Breeder’s Cup race, or Awad set his record in the Arlington Million, whoever thought one day we could give Gulch a mint from our pocket or watch Awad stretch after a nice nap in the morning sun?
Today reminded us that spring will be here before you know it, no doubt after a few more snow storms and some more freezing weather! We continue to offer tours every day. You can make a reservation by calling Old Friends at 502-863-1775. We hope to see you soon, but in the meantime thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends. (And yes, I’m hoping Laura will share some of today’s photos with us at some point!)