Sunday January 9, 2011

So often, it seems, life is full of little balances. Only last Thursday, a sad day to be sure, we lost Polish Navy.  I always feel a little odd heading to the farm for the first time after a loss.  It isn’t dread exactly; more a reluctance to walk by a now empty stall or to see an unneeded halter hanging in the barn.   

Then today arrives and everything comes together to make you feel better somehow.  With bright sunshine,  no wind and warm clothes, 20 degrees seemed quite tolerable.  Add just enough fresh snow to cover the ground, a lot of happy horses, and magically a potentially sad day turns into something emotionally refreshing and physically invigorating.

This morning, I went over to see Wallenda. He was outside in his paddock but came over to say hello.  He chewed on my sleeve, drooled on my hand and let me scratch his withers.  He dropped his head and sniffed Marley’s ear, and I tried to get a picture of them nose to nose.  But by the time I got my phone ready to go, they were walking side by side away from me, like two pals out for a stroll.

Laura Battles often comes to Old Friends to photograph our horses and she stopped by to visit today. With no tours scheduled, we filled our pockets with mints (me) and carrots (Laura) and took a walk with no planned destination in mind.  We started with The Wicked North, who huffed his warm breath into my face and fogged up my sunglasses.  As usual, Laura had her camera going and she remarked that Norty is always among the most photogenic of our horses.  I just think it’s because he’s a ham who poses at every opportunity!  We strolled through the big barn, said hello to Jade Hunter who loves being an inside horse, and Falcon Scott who was waiting his turn to go outside.  From there, we made stops to see Clever Allemont, I’m Charismatic, and Bonfante. Laura wanted to get photos of Glitterman with his tongue hanging out, but he wouldn’t cooperate—either his tongue was out and his ears flopped, or his ears were pricked and his tongue hidden.   I’m sure he does it on purpose!

We kept walking, deciding to head to the back of the farm since it was such a nice day.  Every horse came over to say hi—Ogygian looking all fuzzy with his really long mane, Bull almost the same color as the snow, and Commentator of course looking for mints. The three musketeers—Bluesthestandard, Mightly Mecke and Wallace Station—came over for treats and then ran around while the tractor was in their field.  We visited with The Name’s Jimmy, and headed up to Williamstown and his new neighbor Tinner’s Way.  Boy, talk about two competitive stallions!  We made the mistake, from Tinner’s perspective, of feeding Willie first.  Tinner huffed and puffed the whole time, and by the time I tried to give him a mint he was too miffed to take it. So I turned around and gave Tinner’s mint to Willie.  That was an even bigger mistake!  I am thinking Tinner will never forgive me.  Makes me wonder if the two of them, sons of Seattle Slew and Secretariat, have a “my dad’s better than your dad” conversation going.

Kudos, Bonapaw, Futural, Regal Sanction, Affirmed Success and Siphonizer all said hello.  Kudos is as fat as I have ever seen him.  No ribs on him, even when I tunneled my fingers under his fuzzy winter coat.   Bonapaw was interested in checking us out, and he normally could care less about visitors.  Siphonizer pinned his ears at me, for a couple reasons I suppose.   Issue one, I was out of treats.  Second, and far more importantly Siphonizer has never forgotten, or forgiven, that I helped catch him last year when he was in his “wild horse” phase.

We probably spent the most time with the mares—Cozy looks like a buffalo, as she always does in the winter.  Hidden Lake is an attention sponge, and Miss Hooligan and Personalized both came over for their share of the love.  I tried to take a picture of Cozy’s ears for the blog but she wouldn’t cooperate.  She has these little fat ears and they are covered in three inches of grizzly bear fur.  Very cute!

I left the farm today feeling pretty good—horses can do that for you, and a visit to Old Friends is a great place to experience that feeling.  We are open for tours all winter.  We hope you can visit us soon, but in the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.




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11 responses to “Sunday January 9, 2011

  1. Victoria

    You took us on a lovely trip throgh Dream Chase — I got to be with the horses thru your words. Thanks. But there’s nothing like REALLY being there in person, up close and personal with these magnificent retired atletes. I urge anyone remotely interested, not to miss a visit. If you do– betcha can’t go just once!

  2. Jean in VA

    Thank you again Val for letting me spend a few minutes with you at Old Friends. I look forward to this every week. So sorry to hear about Polish Navy. Sorry that I didn’t get to meet him but he sounds like he had so many people that loved him.

  3. Gae

    Ah Glitter Man — he seems to be a wee bit difficult at times. He must need his big audience of adoring fans visiting him before he strikes that perfect pose. How is I’m Charismatic doing?

  4. Dear ‘Old Friends,’ Michael & Val: Your bringing ‘Hotstuf’ to live there, so soon after the loss of ‘Polish Navy’ is a sort of balance, too, and such a relief to the people who hoped he`d find a loving home. Michael`s note today at ‘Z`s #53 Diary Post just touched so many. Thank you very much for all the horses you welcome, especially the new ones, whose destinies now may rest secure.

  5. Kathy

    I was saddened to learn of the loss of our friend. Polish Navy; it was a privilege to visit with him last October.
    I especially enjoy your Sunday visits at times of loss as they do, a you commented, help bring us back to the ones still with us that provide that balance of joy and contentment.

    Hope to see you in April.

  6. Linda Kroells

    We are going to be in town, I have never been there but my Daughter has a share on one of the horses, she raised money breaking boards in Tae Kwon Do. She is one of the youth attending the USEF annual meeting and career workshop, My hubby and I hope to get in a tour, do you have tours every day? we will be there the 21st and 22nd.

    • oldfriendsblog

      Hi Linda. Hey, I remember your daughter and her Tae Kwon Do! We do offer tours every day and we’ll be thrilled to see you. Please call the farm at 502-863-1775 and make a reservation. If you are still in town on Sunday, I do the tours on Sunday. Otherwise, you will have another one of our great tour guides! -Val

  7. Teri

    Thanks for the update. Wonderful, as always. Just a note about The Wicked North. I was fortunate to recieve the Old Friends poster of Norty for Christmas. It is now matted and framed and hanging on a prominent wall in our home. As a friend of mine stated, “He is just breathtakingly beautiful.”

    • oldfriendsblog

      Nice, Teri! I’ll tell Norty he’s on your wall. Of course, he’ll want to know how many carrots are in it for him…. 😉 -Val

  8. Becky

    I wondered about the fact that you didn’t reply to my question about how Polish Navy was doing and now I know why. I am very sad about losing him, but know he is at peace and at the rainbow bridge for us…..

    • oldfriendsblog

      Sometimes Becky, its hard to know what to say and so you just can’t say anything…and that was one of those times. -Val

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