Autumn, fall, beginning of winter, whatever you call it, it is pretty much here. The color of the grass changes—it’s still green but with an undertone of gold. The trees are starting to show hints of yellow, red and caramel. And the horses are beginning to grow winter coats. Some are getting fuzzier faster than others—Clever, Commentator, Swannie, and Sunshine—but everyone is showing the signs. Summer’s sun-bleached colors are returning to winter’s deep blacks, reds, and browns. Williamstown is back to his velvety black, Kiri’s Clown to dark chocolate, and Danthebluegrassman is vibrant carrot-top orange.
We had some terrific tours today, beginning with the morning group. We had three people lined up next to Bull for the requisite back-scratching. As much as Bull loves treats, I believe if he had to choose, he would give up treats to have three people scratching his itches! The thing with Bull is that it’s an either/or proposition: either he snacks, or he accepts a back scratch. Now, on the other hand, Prized is a multi-tasker. He can eat carrots, get scratched, quiver his lip and drool all at once! As new stallions acclimate to Old Friends, you start to get a sense of what kind of horse they are. Prized seems to be a very nice horse—trotting over to the fence for every tour, greeting people and generally behaving like a gentleman. I am always fascinated by pedigrees, and Prized has an interesting one. He is the son of Kris S. and grandson of Roberto, and thus related to Sunshine and Kudos. But he also is a great-grandson of Kentucky Derby winner Dark Star, the only horse to beat the famous Native Dancer. You can check out Prized’s pedigree here.
The afternoon began with a number of young girls on the 1 o’clock tour. Girls of that age group—8, 10, 12 or thereabouts—are most often the horses’ favorite visitors. There is something about that age that makes every horse act just a little bit more gentlemanly. Afternoon Deelites, who is a stallion you have to be on your toes around, takes treats nice as can be from 8 year olds. But grown up men–you better pay attention! And forget about Clever—no horse enjoys that age group more than he does. The same is true for Sunshine and Kiri as well. Patton is plain nice. He pushed his nose into a lady’s neck today and just snuggled with her.
I mentioned a couple weeks ago how nice it is to see I’m Charismatic outside in a paddock every day. He loves it and is (literally!) gobbling up the attention on tours. This afternoon he felt good enough to try to run away when it was time to go inside for the day. He broke into a canter, albeit a somewhat awkward one, but a canter nonetheless. It lasted for a few strides and then good sense took over and he waited calmly to be caught. A couple of people lamented the hitch in his stride today, but to tell you the truth he doesn’t know there is anything different for him. He gets to go outside next door to his new friend WC Jones, eats grass, gets visitors and munches carrots. Then, when he’s had enough, he goes back into his nice, clean stall for dinner and a nap. There’s nothing wrong with that life!
The other really good news was seeing Stormy Passage outside in the round pen for a short while today. Stormy has been stall-bound, recovering from a bowed tendon, and today was the first time I’ve seen him outside since he came to Old Friends last winter. A 6 year old, he has filled out—he’s not in racing shape anymore–and is a very handsome horse. It’s nice to see him progressing in his recovery, knowing that he is getting better and will eventually be outside for longer and longer periods. Janet, Kent and Dr. Fraley deserve loads of credit for getting both I’m Charismatic and Stormy Passage to this point in their recoveries. In fact, we should probably count all the horses who are, or have been, lucky to have Dr. Fraley take care of their feet—Wallenda, Bull, Afternoon Deelites, Williamstown, Kiri, Black Tie Affair, Academy Award, and the list goes on…
Next weekend Paris (Bourbon County) Kentucky has its annual Secretariat Festival. Our own Riva Way, a grandson of both Secretariat and his stablemate Riva Ridge, will be in attendance for visitors to meet. If you are in the area, stop and say hello. For more information on the Festival, go to http://www.secretariat.com/
That’s the news from here in central Kentucky this week. Tours continue daily at the farm throughout the fall. We hope you can visit us soon. In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends! -Val