Sunday June 19, 2011

For the first time in a while, we had a rainy, stormy, sunny, windy, cool, humid, warm day in Kentucky.  Really.  At one time or another, today’s weather covered the spectrum.  The only thing it didn’t do was snow, and I don’t even want to think about that.

The horses loved the weather today. A number of the stallion paddocks were mowed this week, so having a cool, rainy morning with tender, freshly mown grass?  Yeah, definitely happy horses.

The famous, or infamous,  mud puddle is back in the corner of Pops’ and Ring’s paddock.  I warned the afternoon group the boys would try to splash us and sure enough, they did.  Pops stood right in the middle of the puddle, which is plenty big and deep enough for him to paw, splash, splatter and generally make a mess.  He plops his front hoof flat onto the water and sends muddy water everywhere.  Even Marley backed off.

It rained pretty hard this morning, so most of the horses were nice and clean—until the rain stopped.  Then I watched one horse after another go down for a good roll.  And just like that, no more clean horses! Even though all our paddocks are plenty grassy, every horse manages to find, manufacture, dig, stomp or otherwise create a horse-sized spot of dirt/mud.  I saw Commentator at 12:30 and he was spotless.  By 1:10, he was covered in mud from head to tail.  We watched Fortunate Prospect roll and roll—in the wet grass, no mud for Gramps—and he must have scattered insects as he did so, because he was surrounded by birds.  Birds were darting all around him, in the grass, swooping over his head and landing right next to his rolling body.  It was not your normal bird and horse event, that’s for sure.

This morning’s group, in the worst of the rain, had visitors from Alaska, which is not among the places our visitors are more commonly from.  Unfortunately, we had to spend our tour in the big barn talking, visiting with Marquetry and watching the rain and lightning.  None of the people on this tour were horse people, so it was fun to go over some of the basics.  After our rain-abbreviated tour, they headed off to Churchill Downs for an afternoon of racing.  Mission accomplished!

The other horse in the big barn during the afternoon is a gelding named Spoon River Lew. Owned and supported by a friend of Old Friends, Lew is in residence for a short while as he transitions to a new, non-racing career.  A big, handsome, friendly chestnut horse, Lew is a direct male descendant of my first-ever favorite racehorse- 1969 Kentucky Derby winner Majestic Prince. So I have a built-in soft spot for Lew.  Although to tell you the truth, I don’t need even that much of a reason to have a soft spot…

This afternoon I gave a tour to two people from Alberta, Canada.  We get plenty of Canadian visitors, but this lady was a world champion cutting horse person.  That was more unusual, and quite an accomplishment. They especially wanted to visit our two Canadian champions so we went to the annex to visit Benburb and Thornfield.  I don’t mention those two horses often enough.  Thorny is beautiful, red and handsome. He loves attention and came over for kisses and treats.  Well, I should say he came over as soon as he saw the other horses in his paddock getting some attention.  Jealousy is quite the motivator!

 Bennie, our other Canadian champ, is very special.  You may know he has melanoma, as evidenced by a number of rather unsightly tumors.  But he is fat (very!) and happy, and probably flat-out the nicest horse on the farm.  We have plenty of kind, easy going, classy horses on the farm.  But the best word for Bennie is just plain “nice.” 

So after the morning folks who weren’t horse people, I had two visitors this afternoon who were accomplished horse people.  Two extremes, that’s for sure, and all were extremely enjoyable to talk with. One of the terrific things about Old Friends is just how many people we meet, from all over the world, with all different professions and interests.  Interesting people, great horses.  What more could you ask for on a Sunday afternoon?

We hope you can make plans to visit us sometime.  Until then, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends!  -Val

P.S.  Happy Father’s Day to my dad, and all the dads out there!



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12 responses to “Sunday June 19, 2011

  1. Mary

    We have named most of our dogs over the years after racehorses–We currently have Majestic Prince (Prince) and Dahlia (Lia) and Thor (Thor’s Echo). My husband particularily liked Majestic Prince when he was running.

  2. Hows Marquetry? I remember him nickering at me last year when I was there 🙂

  3. Anne

    I find it so funny that horses react the same way to a puddle (no matter the size) of a child. They too will jump with both feet into a puddle or just scuff through it making sure someone has an unexpected bath. Then have that look on their face as if to say, “What?”
    And…it always just takes one to get the ball rolling. ha.
    Love the Sunday stories, Val. Keep them coming they are priceless.

  4. Gae

    Majestic Prince was a good choice for a first ever favorite race horse. He was the first race horse that “broke my heart” when he lost the Belmont Stakes to Arts and Letters.

    • oldfriendsblog

      And to this day I have never seen a more beautiful horse than Majestic Prince. And that is saying something!

      • Gae

        Yes, Majestic Prince was a beautiful horse. His son, Coastal, was very impressive looking. I saw Coastal up close warming up before a race at dusk at Belmont. Coastal looked so powerful – Majestic Prince out of a Buckpasser mare and he was a half brother to Slew O Gold. Wonderful memory.

  5. I always love hearing about the antics of Pops and Ring, all of them for that matter.
    Your blogs are a great way to start the week, Val. THANK YOU.

  6. One of my fondest memories of Gulch was when we were at Lane’s End to see Alysheba right after he was retired. What a HAM he was. LOVED the camera and anyone who would fuss over him. Sure miss him! But our little Gulch was such a fabulous racehorse, I was so looking forward to seeing him. Imagine my surprise (and extreme glee) to see this horse (at least I think there was a horse) underneath a ton of mud! The only places not muddy were his eyes (the lids were caked). I recently found the photo I took of him that day. I’ll have to digitalize it and send it to you. What a scream!

  7. Exciting to see that one of Williamstown’s grand-babies won a stakes at Prairie Meadow, yesterday.

    Freedom Star, Bay Mare, 5, by Street Cry (IRE) – Willie’s Luv by Williamstown

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