Boy, what a weekend it’s been! On Friday, that strong storm system pushed through, leaving so much tragedy, damage and destruction in its wake. While parts of Indiana and Kentucky were terribly damaged, the bluegrass region of central Kentucky was fortunate to escape the brunt of the storm. For everyone who has been asking, the farm and the horses are fine, there is no damage to report.
So while Friday’s temperatures were in the 70s with rain, severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings, today we were in the mid to upper 30s. It snowed on and off all day, in between periods of bright sunshine. And of course, the cold wind was just shrieking. I’m not sure what other weather could possibly have been crammed into one 48 hour period.
It was quite a weekend, for reasons beyond the weather. On Friday, Janet and I dodged thunderstorms to go watch an off-track Thoroughbred named Spoon River Lew compete in his first horse show. Lew belongs to Old Friends supporter (and friend of Wallenda) Charlie Pigg. Lew spent a couple weeks at Old Friends last year after he was retired from racing, so we are a little attached to him. At Lew’s first show, he won several ribbons, and was named Reserve Champion in his class! That is pretty amazing for a first show—Lew has a good show career ahead of him. He sure liked going over those jumps. And though Lew is still going over “baby” jumps, some of the other classes had horses jumping 3’6”. Let me tell you, those jumps are big, and the power that the horses generate going over them is every bit as amazing as watching racehorses cross the finish line. It’s some kind of athleticism, in both cases.
As I said, today was a cold, muddy, windy, frigid kind of day, especially after the teaser warm weather last week. But the horses seemed to love it—I watched Creator run around like a 2 year old. He ran fast, slid to stops at the fence, and then started all over again. He bucked, kicked and tossed his head. He’s going to be sore tomorrow—like so many of us, Creator is too old to be acting like that! But he sure was having fun.
Dan, Pops and Ring also came over at a run, while Kiri’s Clown was down for a nap and Afternoon Deelites stood inside his run-in shed out of the wind. There are some new shoots of green grass here and there, so Gulch was hunting the green wherever he could find it. Fortunate Prospect, whose grandson Ron the Greek won the “Big ‘Cap” at Santa Anita yesterday, alternately grazed and napped. For those of you who saw the movie “Seabiscuit,” the Santa Anita Handicap is the big race for older horses that Seabiscuit’s owner so wanted to win. Gramps, at age 31, is seeing his grandsons have a top-notch racing year thus far. It’s pretty cool, not that Gramps gets too worked up over it all.
Despite all the activity, today’s star was clearly Swan’s Way. Roberta, Bea and I watched Swannie as he pirouetted, bucked, kicked, and ran around his paddock behind the office. At one point it looked like Swannie had a ghost rider. He was cantering though show-horse figure 8s, with perfect flying lead changes, all collected up and balanced as perfectly as if he had a rider giving him cues. Unlike a horse with a rider, however, Swannie ended his routine by making a vertical leap straight up in the air, taking all four feet off the ground and landing in almost exactly the same spot he took off from. He was channelling the Lippizaners, at least until dropped down for a good roll in the mud! Talk about a horse that felt good and wanted to play. And the whole time, Gulch watched him and you could just see him thinking, “Stupid kid. He’s going to hurt himself!”
I finished up the day by introducing my friend Gena’s 11 year old daughter to some of the Old Friends’ horses. Nicole is quite the young rider and I think she enjoyed her time at the farm. I also think her mom is going to be learning a lot about horses, as Nicole continues her involvement in the sport. Might as well start learning the lingo now, Gena…
I can’t say I really enjoyed the weather this weekend—tornado sirens and snow, ugh. But those are signs of spring in Kentucky, so we have to deal with it. Again, we are thankful that central Kentucky escaped the damage, and our thoughts are with those who were not so fortunate.
We hope you can visit us soon, but in the meantime thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.