It was a crayon kind of day—blue skies, white clouds, green grass, red and black and brown horses. Even the sun seemed to be shining bright yellow. With temperatures in the upper 80s and with a nice refreshing breeze, it’s hard to imagine how central Kentucky could be any prettier than it was today. And being a holiday weekend, we were busy with visitors from any number of different places—Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri and Washington State.
The morning tour turned out to be the kids’ tour. I’m not sure how many kids we had, but there were plenty of them! They were all terrific, well-behaved and fun. I love to see the little ones learn to feed carrots and pat those big horses. It doesn’t matter what the kids are doing, the horses are endlessly interested in them. And Marley was in boxer heaven, sitting in the shade with four or five kids hanging all over her.
We started out our day with Afternoon Deelites, who has already figured out that groups of people bring carrots. He met every tour at the fence, both at the beginning and end. He is an absolutely, drop dead gorgeous horse, and he poses for photos like he’s been doing it forever. Which, I suppose, he has. I’ll tell you, I always assumed Pops got his tendency for camera hogging because he was a movie star. Now I’m not so sure it isn’t genetic, because Daddy Deelites is a ham, too. And he is a very enthusiastic treat eater. He might need some practice distinguishing fingers from carrots, but that’s only because he is so eager. I totally enjoyed him today, and by this afternoon he was much more of a gentleman about taking treats. He fits right in at Old Friends, that’s for sure.
Another horse who loves his treats but who is extremely dignified about expressing that is Patton. It seems that everyone who meets him loves him—in large part because he is so kind. No nipping, no antics. He just stands quietly while people pat him, feed him and admire him. His only request is that we walk over to him–he is too cool of a customer to act very excited about treats. And he is too kind to be scary, so even non-horse people fall for him.
I have to say the best moments of the day came with the guys on the afternoon tour. They really got into scratching Kiri’s back. Kiri always loves having his back scratched, but usually that job falls either to the kids or maybe the women on the tour. I have never had a bunch of grown men have so much fun. And being men, they put some muscle into the scratching, much to Kiri’s delight. I thought Kiri was going to fall over in bliss. His neck was stretched out and his upper lip was quivering. When the guys stopped for a second, he stomped his foot and demanded more. Kiri loved it so much he turned around and presented his butt for more scratching, leaning right into his fence until he was practically sitting down. I wish I had thought to get out my phone and take some video; it was pretty darn funny. (And isn’t that something you never thought we’d say in the same phrase? Phone and video!)
Ball Four is also outside now and enjoying tours as well. He met us at the fence for every tour, gobbling his share of the carrots. He looks terrific, having put on enough weight that his racing fit days are long gone. He looks like what he now is: a happy, pretty, fat, retired ex-racehorse. No problems with that! He seems to like hanging out in the corner near Sunshine and Patton. Do you think they talk about the “old days?”
Even Delay of Game met us for tours today. He often chooses not to do so, I suppose because he is too busy relaxing and watching the traffic go by. It seems to mesmerize him sometimes. But he looks great too, all shiny and pretty. This is the best time of the year for shiny and pretty—winter coats are gone but the sun hasn’t done its bleach job yet. Delay is another nice horse that people really seem to like. I’m glad he is getting over his fascination with cars and joining us on tours!
As you may know, we lost one of our long-time gelding residents this week. Easy Ellis died sometime overnight earlier this week. Easy has lived at Old Friends since before I started volunteering at the farm, and it seemed to me he was kind of like the furniture—been there always and always will be there. He lived in one of the large pastures at the back of the farm, along with Kudos and Bonapaw. We aren’t sure what happened, but I know that horses, like people, can have heart attacks. Or maybe he just had somewhere else he had to be.
Easy, I have vivid memories of you in that back paddock and to me, you are still there. You must be a little ways over the hill, just beyond where I can see you. I’m sure you’ll be waiting at the fence next time I visit, or maybe the time after that…
Thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends. We hope you can visit us sometime soon.