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.