On the final Sunday of October (can you even believe it?) we had another terrific autumn day at Old Friends. The weather was sunny but cool, making for horses that either napped in the sunshine or ran around. Some of them, like Patton, couldn’t make up their minds and opted for both—nap a little, run a little, nap a little more!
This morning I met our newest stallion for the first time. His name is You and I, and he is perhaps best known for his good racehorse daughter You, who won the Kentucky Oaks. Like Prized, You and I is a son of Kris S., and there is a clear family resemblance. Both Prized and You and I are dark, nearly black horses. Prized is a little larger, You and I is a little blacker. Prized met us at every corner of his paddock for carrots—a record, all four corners on one tour. You and I is a little more hesitant (probably only because he hasn’t quite gotten the hang of the carrot bucket) but he seems very sweet. He could turn out to be another one of those kind-hearted, easy-to-get-along-with stallions that we love on tours. Time will tell, I suppose. You can see You and I’s pedigree here.
In all the time I’ve been giving tours at the farm, I don’t believe I have ever had a visitor who came because they actually knew Swan’s Way when he was racing. Because you know Swannie, while he had a long career, was not the most famous of racehorses! So it was quite a shocker today when a woman came on the tour whose sister trained Swannie when he raced. She was so excited to see him, and took picture after picture to show her sister. Her first response when she saw him this morning was that Swannie sure has put on some pounds since his racing days! I think Swannie, who by the way has moved to the paddock right behind the office, was thrilled to get his own personal visitor. This is a horse who loves to be fussed over, so it suited him just fine.
Old Friends is leasing a new property a few miles down the road that will house a number of our overflow horses, some of which either were boarded out elsewhere or we living at the annex farm next door. This weekend has been moving weekend, so Viv kindly took over my 1 pm tour while I “helped” Kent catch and trailer horses to the new farm. I use the term “help” very loosely, since I mostly opened and closed the door to the horse trailer. The moves went quickly for the most part—racehorses know how to lead onto a trailer easily enough. But it nothing goes totally smoothly, and there is always one horse who wants to be bad! Today it was Thornfield and Hussonfirst who didn’t want to be caught, so we had to use some strategy—divide and conquer works best. Once their buddies are caught, they pretty much give up. And then Hussonfirst did not particularly want to get onto the trailer. I’d like to say we won him over because we are smarter than he is, but in truth I think he just got bored with being stubborn. After a few minutes, he gave up and walked onto the trailer like he should have from the beginning. The new farm has large fields, and the horses loved their new space to run. When I left them, Seek Gold, Early Pioneer, Thorny and Husson were showing off, tails in the air and heads tossing as they explored their new home.
The cool weather really encourages more active horses—even Sunshine came over at a canter for carrots this afternoon. I saw Wallenda acting bad this morning, trotting over to the fence and then kind of bouncing into a half-rear a couple times. I told him to knock it off—those back legs cannot handle that kind of activity! At one time or another today, we saw Gulch, Patton, Prized, You and I, and Afternoon Deelites run. But the champ was Stormy Passage, who ran, bucked and kicked during his outside time this morning. The most fun was watching Stormy and Marley mirror each other’s actions, the dog and the horse playing together with the fence between them. Stormy sure feels good, and it’s pretty cool to see his personality develop more all the time.
I haven’t mentioned Marquetry today, because he went to the clinic for surgery after a bout with colic this weekend. Marq, being the smart horse that he is, made sure Kent knew he was hurting by banging on his fence in the very early, still-dark hours Saturday morning. The surgery went well, and today he was doing well enough to eat dinner. He should be back home within a few days. Colic is a very dangerous thing in horses, as they are animals with seemingly endless amounts of intestine to twist and knot. We were fortunate to catch it early enough that Marq could be treated. As any horse owner knows, sometimes you aren’t so lucky.
Now that Keeneland’s fall meet is over, next weekend is Breeder’s Cup weekend. This coming Sunday we’ll have our Breeder’s Cup event, and then we head into the “quiet season” for tours. The next few months are a great time to tour the farm—cooler weather, more active horses, and fewer visitors make for the best opportunities to interact with the horses and get to know their personalities. We are open for tours throughout the fall and winter, so if you are in the area, please come see us! In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.
P.S. Congrats to OF volunteers Nick and Jackie on the birth this weekend of baby Ace. The next generation of tour guides has arrived!
P.P.S. Happy Birthday, Cam!