Sunday June 12, 2011

While today wasn’t as hot as last weekend, it still was a day with all the attributes of a horse  farm summer:  sun, heat, and lazy horses.  There was plenty of tail-swishing, napping, and grazing, with small interludes of activity.  Some of the horses came over for treats at a canter—Pops, Ring, Commentator.  Swannie and Awad raced each other along their fences to get to us. There is more than a little competition between those two and I think it gets more intense all the time. 

Afternoon Deelites is wearing the “in” summer accessory—the grazing muzzle.  Our tour group this morning initially assumed it was to keep him from biting, but in fact it is a diet aid.  I guess coming from Louisiana to the grass of Kentucky has been somewhat disruptive to his waistline!   Anyway, he is handling the contraption well, and he has already learned to push his mouth all the way to the ground, forcing more grass up through the small hole and into his grasp.  AD is also sporting the other must-have Old Friends fashion accessory—comfort shoes, courtesy of Dr. Fraley.   All in all, he is well decked out for his life in Kentucky.  And I will say it again—he is a spectacularly handsome horse with the most beautiful, intelligent face.  I might have a crush, to tell you the truth.  Don’t tell Wallenda.

Ogygian refused to come out of his shed to see us today, and Bull was ankle deep in a nice patch of grass so he ignored us as well.  It was kind of funny.  Bull and Tator live across from one another, and were roughly the same distance from us as we walked over to their neighborhood.  I called Bull and barely got the flick of an ear in response.  I called Tator, and he flung up his head and came at a run.   That horse will not miss an opportunity for a peppermint.

One of the best things about this time of year is the horses’ coats are at their peak.  Shiny and smooth, the sun hasn’t yet bleached them and the colors are true.  Clever is beautifully dappled and Gulch is a rich deep mahogany.  Pops and Ring are bright rusty red, and Kiri’s Clown is black.  Even Gramps’ coat is as short and summery as it gets, given his age.  There is more gray hair on his face every time I see him. Still, he looks great for 30 and ate his share of carrots today.  By the way, Gramps had a grandson win a big race on the Belmont undercard yesterday. Mission Approved won wire-to-wire in the Manhattan Handicap.   And Kiri’s Clown’s grandson Get Stormy ran third in the Monmouth Stakes today.  It was a good racing weekend for Old Friends horses.

Special Ring is still working the crowd with his lip-flipping tattoo trick.  Since it never fails to elicit laughs and bring out the cameras, Ring is going to use this trick forever. The horses absolutely respond to people, and outside of treats not much makes an old racehorse happier than attention. I bet there were 20 photos taken of his lip today. 

There was no shortage of visitors today, including the usual smattering of kids visiting with their grandparents. But it was the oddest thing: every single visitor this morning and for the first part of the afternoon was from Columbus, Ohio.   They didn’t arrive together, they didn’t know one another, but they all were from the same area.  We get plenty of people visiting from neighboring states, but it was unusual that they all lived so close to one another. They were talking about mutual schools, restaurants, people they knew in common.  It made for an interesting tour, that’s for sure.  Part of the Columbus contingent on this morning’s tour was a group of Harley motorcyclists. The women of the group had a few laughs comparing stallion behavior to the behavior of their husbands. Perhaps not surprisingly, there are some similarities…and that’s all I’m sayin’!

I want to say congrats to Brandywine Farm in Paris, who co-bred yesterday’s Belmont winner Ruler on Ice.  The Brandywine folks are nice people and I’m happy to see them breed a classic winner.  If you breed racehorses, breeding a Belmont winner is a BIG deal.

It’s hard to believe half the year is nearly gone.  The stream of visitors has been steady and it’s been a lot of fun, as always, to meet new people and greet returning friends. We hope you can visit us soon. In the meantime, thanks for spending another Sunday with Old Friends!  

-Val

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Sunday June 12, 2011

  1. angela

    was happy to witness an old friends weekend for my self this past weekend! i must say everyone looked great! i think Sea Native was happy to see me, or maybe he just assumed i had something to eat! i too noticed the fashion accessories. not only do they have fancy shoes, i noticed most also had a lovely chapeaux (fly mask)! and very nice ones at that, the kind with the fleece trim! i pulled out of the drive already looking forward to my next visit. but, in the meantime, i will just have to live vicariously through your posts! thanks val! i always look forward to them!

  2. Nick

    I recently found this blog and must say it’s a delight to read. Your love for the horses comes through with every word. I hope to someday make the trip to visit in person, but for now these posts are a great substitute.

  3. Hey Val,

    Don’t you know Bea and I have been trying to convert the Ohio contingent for years now? I have unoffically renamed Columbus the northern most colony in the Bluegrass empire. LOL. Hugs, Viv

    PS – Tell Grampa I bet Mission Approved just for him and am a little richer for it!!!! I owe him a special treat next visit for sure.

  4. Dawn

    Val, I read your blog every week, and you paint such a pretty picture of the horses and the whole facility. We were lucky enough to visit last month, and everything was just as you describe! I took a particular liking to Gulch and Ball Four. I think it might have been Ball Four’s first day getting visitors. He’s such a handsome boy. We didn’t get to see Wallenda that day (he’s a favorite of mine), so I hope to be back in the fall to visit him and many others.

  5. Hey Val
    Great to know F. Prospect is doing well,also my pal Clever. Please say hello to Michael for me.

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