Winter has been pretty much a non-event in central Kentucky this year. Outside of a couple of blustery days early in January, for the most part we have seen warmer than normal temperatures and rain rather than snow. This past week saw temperatures rise to the mid 60’s, which is hard to believe. Nothing is frozen, and with plentiful rain the ground is not just muddy, it’s MUDDY! I gave a brief thought to taking the golf cart up to the back of the farm today, until Michael walked in with some friends and they were all muddied up. They apparently had the same idea, and ended up with the golf cart stuck in the mud. That pretty much ended my plans, and I stuck with low-tech but effective hoofing it around the front part of the farm.
Of course, with only a few exceptions, most of the horses do love some mud. Right now, the mud is sticky, gluey and thick–in other words, perfect for rolling! I got a kick out of watching Gulch this morning as he “prepared” his mud spot. He pawed a perfect oval, correctly proportioned for his body. When the ground was nicely torn up and the mud good and loose, he dropped down right in the middle of his spot and rolled until he ground that mud as far into his shaggy winter coat as he could. When he got up, the formerly torn up spot was flat and dry. All the moisture was beautifully transferred to his body. He was so proud of himself! We rewarded him with carrots, of course, so I guess Gulch’s morning was just about perfect.
When I first arrived at the farm this morning and looked around at the paddocks, it seemed most of the horses were napping. But as we walked around with the carrot bucket there seemed to be a lot of showing off going on. Afternoon Deelites, for example, is always ready to put on a show. He firmly believes it’s his duty to impress us with his awesomeness. I almost hate to tell him he’s handsome since his ego is large enough as it is, but he is pretty gorgeous. Pops and Ring met us at the fence for treats calmly enough, but as we walked down the hill they followed at a playful trot. Creator, once he decided to meander over, tossed his head and pretended to be all mean and cranky. Unfortunately for him, we now know it’s (mostly) an act!
Prized was probably the biggest ham, following us along his fence at a canter with his neck arched. He moves beautifully; for an old guy he clearly has very few aches and pains to slow him down. Plenty of mud, though—Prized might have been the muddiest stallion out there today.
On the other hand, Leave Seattle was mostly clean–except for his head and face. I don’t really understand how he manages that. Does he plow his face through the mud? Maybe he stands on his head when no one is looking? Or, are Pops and Ring somehow to blame? Because let’s face it, they are more than capable…
Both Sunshine Forever and Kiri’s Clown took a few carrots from us, but rather than chewing both horses kept the carrots tucked in their mouths while they tried to get us to play. Kiri is quite a bit smaller than Sunshine but both horses will push against you to rub their faces. Today Sunshine was more interested in slobbering on me than knocking me over, and Kiri just wanted his face rubbed.
Bull inthe Heather is gearing up for his second bout with fame, the first being when his picture was in Sports Illustrated back when he was a 3 year old on the Kentucky Derby trail. Now he is awaiting the soon-to-be released Bull inthe Heather Breyer model horse. I can’t even imagine the 2012 Breyerfest weekend at the Horse Park. That is always our busiest weekend, but this year? We’re going to be inundated with Bull’s new fans. Is Bull going to love this, or what?
For those who are wondering about some specific horses—Marquetry is doing very well. Diamond Stripes is adjusting to farm life nicely, and Fabulous Strike is a happy horse, too. Fortunate Prospect looks fantastic at 31. He seems like he could go on forever. Stormy Passage is just so cute, and boy does he love his mud! Never saw a horse able to cram more mud onto his body. And my friend Wallenda just keeps on going. Personally, I think he looks great and I know he is as happy as can be.
So even though it’s early February and Phil saw his shadow up in Punxsatawney, it seems like spring is not that far off. The days are getting longer, the sun is warmer and I’m starting to see new babies in the fields romping with their moms. At Old Friends, the gift shop is in the midst of a facelift as we prepare for spring tour season. We continue to offer daily tours–you can make a reservation by calling the office at 502-863-1775. We hope you can visit soon, but in the meantime thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.