Sunday April 17, 2011

I think Mother Nature, or whoever is in charge of stuff like this, must have decided a nice day is in order.  It’s been a difficult few weeks at Old Friends, especially given the passing of The Wicked North and Glitterman, and the past couple of days have been kind of dreary.  But today, the wind seemed to want to blow the sadness and gloom away, leaving us with bright sunshine, blue skies, and green grass.  Of course, this is springtime in Kentucky, so the wind is still whipping fiercely!   But overall, you’ll get no complaints about the weather here.

We’ve been busy at the farm, too.  There must have been 25 people on the morning tour today, including some long-time farm friends who travel from all over the country to meet in Kentucky at this time every year.   I guess Fortunate Prospect pretty much doesn’t do the 10 am tours anymore. Scheduling conflicts—he has a 10 am appointment for a nap.  But Gulch, who absolutely knows he is The King of the World, happily came over to greet his fans.  In fact, besides Gramps the only horse who couldn’t be bothered to visit was Leave Seattle.  He had found a particularly tasty patch of grass and the carrots just couldn’t compete.  

Awad and I are still having a “thing.”  You know, he bit both me and a visitor a month or so ago.  I had to yell at him, and you think he doesn’t remember?  He keeps looking at me out of the corner of his eye like he’s wondering if I’m still mad at him, before he comes over to take carrots.  But he also hasn’t tried to bite me again, so maybe the remembering is a good thing! 

A lot of the horses have really shed out their winter hair.  Swan’s Way looks terrific—all shiny and dappled.  Awad is pretty much shed out, as is Kiri’s Clown.  On the other hand, Marquetry is so covered in mud (we’ve had a LOT of rain) that his coat is all curly and sticky.  Let me put it like this:  imagine a large, red poodle. Then cover the dog with melted chocolate, let it dry and picture the way that curly poodle coat would look.  And that is our Marq.

After the 10 am tour this morning, I took a small group up the hill to see Tinner’s Way.  At first, Tinner didn’t seem to want to come over but as soon as he saw Williamstown getting treats you can bet he was on his way, in a hurry!  It’s interesting how different horses can be.  The late Academy Award, our first son of Secretariat, was a little red horse who was happiest cuddled up next to someone.  Tinner, also a Secretariat son, is larger, more rambunctious, and far less affectionate. They have two things in common though—both have dad’s bright red color, and both of them get pretty jealous if another horse is getting attention.

I have a serious soft spot for Williamstown, so while Tinner was soaking up the admiration and carrots, I stayed across the way with our other son of Seattle Slew.  And this is another example of differences in horses.  Leave Seattle is not really a people person.  Don’t get me wrong, he loves his treats and attention as much as the next guy, but he generally doesn’t care to be patted or fussed over.  Willie, on the other hand, enjoys some love if he is in the mood.  Today, he was happy to lay his head over my shoulder and get kisses.  And he looks fantastic too—black and dappled with his four white feet and white face.  No mud, either.   He looks like black and white velvet. Or maybe like he’s wearing a fancy tuxedo.

As I was winding up my morning tours, a group of three guys stopped by the farm to see two of their favorites, Commentator and Gulch.  Tator, who has an uncanny sense of just when his fans are visiting, came at a dead run and slid to a stop at the gate.  Such a ham!  He let the guys pat and fuss over him. He also posed, more or less, for pictures.  Then we went over to see Gulch, who graciously got up from his nap to visit.  He also knows when people are there specifically to see him.  The funny part was that one of the guys really wanted to pat Gulch.  But  Gulch obviously heard him tell us how he once bet against Gulch.  So of course Gulch wanted no part of the guy—not so much as a touch!  Once of the other guys, who hadn’t made the ill-advised betting comment, was able to pat Gulch as much as he wanted.  I’m telling you, these horses know what we are saying!

Thanks to Tim for taking over my afternoon tours today.  I am going to take a couple weekends off from blogging for some family visits, but I’ll be back online soon enough.  Our annual homecoming in scheduled for the day after the Kentucky Derby, May 8.   I hope to see a lot of you there. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.

-Val

P.S. Congrats to Get Stormy and Sullimar Stables on Get Stormy’s first Grade 1 win on Friday in the Maker’s Mark  Mile at Keeneland. Get Stormy’s maternal grandsire is Kiri’s Clown!

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Sunday April 17, 2011

  1. Susan Allen

    Hi Val,
    Hope you have some “good” time off….thanks for taking the time to write today….will look forward to the next update. Hope you got to spend some time at Keeneland….wish I was there….it has looked beautiful on TV!
    Have a wonderful Easter. ( Hope the money is coming in for the farm!)
    sa

  2. Dianna

    Every Sunday evening I check the Old Friends blog to find a little something of Glitterman. It is with great sadness I read the blog tonight knowing that Glitter is no longer with us. Thank you Val for your blogging and thanks to Michael and the Old Friends staff for lovingly caring for Glitter~~~~~Some horses come into our lives and quickly go, others stay awile and leave hoof prints on our hearts and we are never the same. RIP Glitterman!

  3. KLB

    Val,
    Hope your time off is restful and enjoyable. I also adore Williamstown; he is one of the most gorgeous horses I’ve ever seen.
    KLB

  4. We know this has been a dificult time for you and all at Old Friends, we share your grief and worry…on a personal note I will be there on a Road Scholar trip Derby Day a.m., probably won’t get to meet you, and feel bad about that. We do appreciate your blog and everything about Old Friends.
    We must keep the faith! Best to all and a carrot for Pops…

  5. Colmel (Melissa P)

    Will definitely miss your blogs, but if anyone deserves a break right about now, it’s you! It’s been a rough several months for Old Friends – both on the farm and out here with those of us who love your honored guests.

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