Summer is here. I know this because even as early as 10 am this morning, horses were dozing, dogs were panting, and cats were completely hidden in the cool recesses of the barn. Only the silly people were out walking around, somehow expecting activity. All the horses looked at us like we were just being ridiculous. And frankly, we probably were.
If a horse wasn’t within 10 feet of the fence, he was not coming over for carrots. The old timers—Kiri, Sunshine, Swannie, Awad—are smart. They know they can doze just as easily right next to the fence and get their treats, no walking required. The new guys—Patton, Afternoon Deelites, Ball Four–they either had to walk over (Four did) or they just didn’t bother.
Despite the heat, we had a full day of tours, with people from Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin and New York. The folks from New York live near Saratoga, and my mission was to convince them to go to the track for some live racing this summer. Because, if you come to Old Friends and you like horses, then you probably ought to go to a good track to see Thoroughbreds doing what they are best at. I like doing two things when I give tours—making kids into horse fans, and turning adults into live racing fans!
One of the downsides of summer is the appearance of fly masks, those portable window screens that the horses can see though, but keep us from seeing their faces. Yes, I know the masks keep flies off their eyes, but I miss seeing faces! Swannie already had managed to remove his mask, leaving it lying in the dirt. He really doesn’t like anything on his face. We put it back on him, but I doubt it’ll last long.
Bluesthestandard is back in the big field with his pals Wallace Station and Mighty Mecke. He seems very happy to be back outside after a long stint in the barn healing his bowed tendon. This afternoon he was the impetus for the only real activity we saw today—he got into mock fight with Wally and then the two of them cantered in circles to show off. Mecke just stood and watched them, too sensible to expend that much energy in the heat.
This afternoon, we took a golf cart and rode up to the “back 40” to see the mares and geldings, not that many of them cared. Too hot, too much grass to eat I guess. Kudos came over, as did Regal Sanction and Siphonizer. AP Slew and EscapedfromNewYork met us at the fence. I guess I haven’t stood right next to Escaped for a long time—he seemed huge to me. I still think of him as the scrawny, skinny, malnourished horse he was when he arrived. He must be 16 hands tall now, fat, shiny and pretty. He sure lucked out, given what could have been…
But the real reason I took the tour up the hill was to see Cozy Miss. I can’t even begin to describe how adorable she looks with her partly-shed buffalo hair. He winter coat must have been a good 6 inches long, and it is as silky as a golden retriever’s. But if you have ever seen buffalo in the spring, with the tan clumps of long winter hair interspersed with the dark brown summer coat, then you know exactly what Cozy looks like! She met us at the fence, along with her friend and protector Hidden Lake. Personalized and Miss Hooligan never showed their faces, preferring to hang out down over the hill.
It sure seems like the lazy days of summer are here, with lots of tail-swishing, fly-swatting, and napping around the farm. Like every season, summer has its charm and if you like lazy horses who want nothing more than someone willing to scratch a back or chase some flies, this is the time to visit. We are open for tours daily. We hope you can come visit us soon!