Labor Day weekend—can you believe it? Where did the summer go? It seems like just yesterday that Afternoon Deelites and Patton arrived at Old Friends, but it was actually several months ago.
Today started out warm and humid, even though it cooled off some by the 3 pm tour. It’s raining now, so the horses I’m sure are happy about that. Still, hot weather equals lazy horses, and several people commented today they wished they could see the horses run. The only ones who complied were Swannie, who broke into a slow, lazy canter, and Silver Charm whose little hooves churned as he ran over to get his carrots.
Yesterday, however, was over 100 degrees and today most of the horses were pretty sticky with dried sweat. As a result, they all especially appreciated a good back scratching. This morning I had a couple kids standing on Kiri’s fence to reach his back. He loved it, lifting his muzzle straight up in the air and sighing in bliss. The kids’ mom remarked that it was just like when you get the perfect spot on a dog and the dog’s leg starts kicking, and it is!
It occurred to me today that I think some of our stallions are mellowing a considerable amount. First, Creator actually tried to play today—licking my hand and curling his lips into my palm, then tossing his head and coming back for more. If that isn’t shocking enough, and it is, I stood and watched an older woman pat Leave Seattle–on the face, over and over—like he lets just anyone do that. If I didn’t know them so well, I’d think someone moved different horses into those paddocks. I’m still not sure what was going on.
In fact, a good number of the horses were either quite playful or just more accommodating today. Commentator wanted to play, but that’s normal. Ogygian actually stood motionless while everyone patted his face, and he’s normally a horse who prefers not to have people’s hands near his eyes. Afternoon Deelites was feeling a little playful, tossing his head and slobbering on my arm. WC Jones let anyone kiss him who wanted to do so.
On the other hand, Prized is a nice horse who loves to be fussed over, but don’t try to pat his face if he doesn’t know you. He’ll back right off. And High Emperor Gulch has royal expectations of how people will behave when they approach him. I suppose he’d prefer if we’d curtsey, but he’ll make due with an adequate perimeter of personal space.
On the last tour this afternoon we had a little girl—tiny, maybe three years old—who was pretty intimidated by the big horses. We tried and tried to get her to feed or pat one. It was a no go, until she decided there was one horse she trusted. First, she patted Swannie–several times. Then, she took a liking to Special Ring. Finally, she asked to pat, of all horses, Gasconade. Not that he isn’t a nice horse, because certainly he is. But he is a big boy, and perhaps more intimidating than some of the others. It didn’t matter, though. She decided he was pretty and she wanted to pat him. He stood like a champ while she stroked his nose. I often wonder what the horses think when they interact with all the people who visit, but in the end they always behave best for the little ones.
That’s about all from here for today. Here’s wishing everyone a lovely Labor Day weekend. We hope you can visit us soon, but in the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends!
(Happy Birthday, Mikaela Rose!)