Just when you think winter is missing in action (see last week’s blog), we got a wintery blast this past week. And yes, I know compared to other parts of the country, “wintery blast” in Kentucky is a relative term! Still, we had single digit temperatures during a couple of nights, the snow swirled but didn’t really accumulate, and the wind was bitterly cold. The sudden change from nearly 60 degrees to the teens is not easy on horses or people. So even though this weekend’s temperatures were still only in the mid-30s, the lack of wind and bright sunshine made it seem more pleasant by leaps and bounds.
Yesterday I visited the horses over at the annex farm, spending some time with Wallenda and intending to visit some of the horses I don’t see all that often. But since the weather was such an improvement over earlier in the week, most of the horses were far out in their fields, either napping or grazing. Wallenda was in his stall and happy to be fussed over for a bit. WC Jones, who has a paddock at that farm, came right over to say hello. But that was it. As far as everyone else was concerned, since I didn’t come bearing dinner I wasn’t worth as much as a glance! These are some happy and content horses.
Today, for the first time in a while, I had a busy tour. With several families, six or seven kids under the age of 10, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, it was a family affair. A couple of the little boys were afraid of Marley, but eventually they stopped freezing up every time Marley looked at them. Silver Charm, who has reached new levels of shaggy this winter, was far more interested in visiting than playing soccer. Clever Allemont came over as soon as he spied children, his favorite visitors. He looks pretty shaggy too, but for a 30 year old horse with a hitch in his hip, one good eye and bad hearing, he does just fine.
Dan and Flick were next on our visit, and I think Dan likes kids best of all, too. He gobbles carrots of course, but he also tickles hair, licks hands and gives kisses. Dan is not above nipping at the grown-ups, but he can make a kid giggle like nobody’s business! Flick isn’t the clown that Dan can be, but he is unfailingly kind and gentle. The two horses are quite a team when you have a bunch of kids on the tour.
Of course, Dan and Flick are just a warm-up for the two princes of popularity, Pops and Ring. Ring was waiting for us at the fence, showing his tattoo and mugging for photos. Pops was right behind him, posing for family pictures with the kids like he was some kind of favorite relative. I would imagine some folks will be watching “Seabiscuit” again soon, looking for their new movie star friend.
The whole time we were with Pops and Ring, Prized stood and watched, patiently awaiting his carrots. Then, after getting many carrots from little hands, Prized met us at every corner of his paddock, just in case we didn’t recognize him from earlier and had more carrots for him. You know, I’m sure Prized had a nice life wherever he lived prior to Old Friends. But that horse just LOVES his carrots, as much as any horse on the farm. You’d think he never got anything but bread and water!
After quick stops with Leave Seattle, You and I and Kiri’s Clown, some of the kids were getting a little cold, so we finished up our tour with Sunshine and Patton. The littlest girl, who rode most of the tour in her stroller, for some reason was fascinated by Sunshine and wanted to give him carrots. She held out her little mitten-clad hand and Sunshine took carrots as gently as can be. As we left, she had to go back and give him one more. I say it all the time, but I am always amazed how the littlest kids are so unafraid of the biggest horses, and how gentle and kind those big stallions are with those tiny children.
Now that we’ve had a couple day of winter, I am fully ready for spring. That might be wishful thinking, but it will be here in no time. Until then, a nice winter day is a great time to visit Old Friends. We hope to see you soon, but in the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends!