Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sunday April 29, 2012

It seems like forever since I’ve written a blog!  After taking most of April off from tour duty (vacation and family visit time) it felt good to be back in the swing of things today.  Despite the potential for thunderstorms, the weather cooperated, the horses were happy, and we were very busy.  We saw people who made reservations, drops-ins, van tours, returning regulars, first-timers, adults, kids, grandparents, locals, people visiting Kentucky for the first time, you name it!  It makes the day go by quickly, that’s for sure. And everyone seemed to have a great time.

I think all of the horses enjoyed the day as well, with two exceptions.  Both Afternoon Deelites and Kiri’s Clown are sporting their spring-time grazing muzzles.  Grazing muzzles fasten onto their halters, and only allow for small bites of grass at a time.  The grass is especially lush right now, and both horses are especially sensitive to foot problems as a result of weight gain.  So on go the muzzles, and out come the resulting bad moods!  AD refused to come over this morning—he sulked in the far corner of his paddock with his back to us.  Kiri also refused to come over and once we walked to him, (because who trains who, exactly?) he immediately started trying to knock his muzzle off, using me as the means to do so.    It was very clear how aggravated both horses were feeling.

In their defense, AD and Kiri are not the only, ahem, chubby horses out there.  Patton is looking especially well-rounded.  And Commentator has not missed any meals either, that’s for sure.  There are also a lot of sleek, dappled coats out there in those fields.  Tator, and Williamstown look especially fine right now.  You and I also looks great.  In a few weeks the sun will have taken its toll and bleached coats, but for now, Tator, Tinner’s Way, and Creator look like copper pennies.  Danthebluegrassman is carrot-orange, Kiri, Williamstown, You and I and AD are black, and Pops and Ring are deep red-brown. 

I’d like to add Bull to the list of shiny and pretty, except he was pretty much covered in mud. Gray or white coats aren’t generally shiny anyway, because they don’t reflect light well.  And I know we had some rain last night, but surely there wasn’t enough to get Bull that muddy.  I didn’t see any big mud puddles in his paddock, but nonetheless, Bull was covered.  He enjoyed his carrots, but what he really wanted was a good back scratching.  I’m sure dried mud itches…

There was one large mud puddle this morning, directly in the middle of the path up the hill to see Tinner and Willie.  We had a little girl on the tour, maybe 5 years old, wearing stylish pink rain boots.  She watched Marley walk directly through the puddles, and her mom could just tell she wanted to do the same.  Mom paid close attention, until that one split second. Sure enough, the little girl was awfully proud, standing there in nearly knee-deep mud.  When her dad reached out and pulled her out of the mud, she came right out of her boots.  I know it probably isn’t good to encourage such behavior, but we all laughed like crazy.  Mom and dad were good sports—they pulled clean jeans out of the car when the tour ended and all was well. But the look of pride, mixed with “ I’m in trouble now,” on that little girl’s face as she stood in that puddle? Classic, and hilarious!

Clever and Ogygian were very happy to see that we had little girls on the tours today.  Both horses are quite content to be fussed over by the elementary/pre-teen/tween set; in fact I think they would exchange all other visitors for more girls.  Flick is much the same way, and Dan also enjoys kids.  Pops and Ring ran their tag-team routine for more carrots, and the most active horse today was Prized, who jogged and cantered along the fence with us.

By the way, a giant of a stallion died today.  Three Chimneys lost their great old man, Dynaformer.  I know they are all mourning the loss of one of the great sires of our times, as well as a major, major character and personality who was an integral part of their farm.   I feel badly for them.

Next weekend is a busy one, as Kentucky Derby weekend always is.  Patton is attending the Governor’s Breakfast in Frankfort on Derby morning.  On Sunday, we have our annual Homecoming Barbeque.  Hopefully we will see some of you then.  In the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.

-Val

P.S.  Happy Birthday (yesterday) to my Dad!

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Sunday April 1, 2012

I think the weather gods knew today is April Fool’s Day and they decided to play a weather joke on us.  All weekend, the “official” weather report promised 77 degrees and mostly sunny.  Yeah, right!   The day began gray, cloudy and cool.  It progressed to colder, drenching rain, wind and more clouds.  As the day’s tours wound up–with everyone wet and cold–the sun finally came out.  Now?  Sure enough, it’s 77 and sunny!

Despite the discomfort for people, this was a fine horse day.  The grass is tender and well over ankle deep. There is plenty of mud for rolling. It was cool enough to encourage activity, but not so cold that no one wanted to move. Winter hair is coming off by the handful, and some of the horses are well on their way summer coats.  Of course, some of the horses (Ogygian comes to mind) still look like wooly bears.  And for others, (Swannie!) you can’t hardly tell under the layers of mud.

Gulch has moved into Fortunate Prospect’s old paddock behind the office, and he seems to really like it.  There are only a couple of places along that particular fence where it’s convenient for a horse to meet up with tours, and Gulch is fine with that. It’s not like he cares all that much.  Today as we left the office and walked alongside his paddock, Gulch lifted his head to peer at us, but made no effort to come visit.  On the other hand, Swan’s Way came over at a gallop and was more than happy to gobble both his and Gulch’s carrots.  By the time we walked to Marquetry and Afternoon Deelites, Gulch did wander over to the fence to watch us but it was clear he planned to come over only after the people had moved on.

Marquetry and Afternoon Deelites both met us at the fence, and you could not find two more opposite horses.  Marq is tall and red with lots of white on his face and legs.  He is very friendly; he likes people and loves attention.  AD is stockier, dark brown and even in retirement has well-defined muscles.  AD also likes people—mostly if he can take a bite out of them!  AD is not the fuss-over type.  He’s more of the “give him a carrot and move away from the teeth” type! He is handsome though, and a complete show-off.

One of the most entertaining things today was listening to Arson Squad yelling at us out his open window.  He has figured out he is missing something.  He isn’t sure what he is missing, but he knows something is up.  Every time he saw us, even if we weren’t close to him at all, he set up a ruckus.  His injured and surgically –repaired leg is healing nicely and he has progressed to being hand walked each day.  He is not accepting visitors yet, but his interest in us today tells me he loves attention and wants some for himself! 

Pretty much every horse came over to visit today, many of them at a canter.  But anytime Sunshine Forever decides to run, which he did today, is kind of special for me.  He is so big and strong and he moves so powerfully yet with so much grace.  I find it hard to imagine he’s 27.   We wrapped up both tours today with Sunshine and Patton, who have become a tag-team of sorts.  The two stallions spend a lot of time hanging out near one another in their respective paddocks, and when we visit them we end up as one large group—all the people, one dog and two big horses with one red bucket of carrots, plenty of kisses and lots of attention. Both horses are happy to be fussed over as long as we want to stay, making them a great way to end a tour. 

On a sad note, we lost one of our old geldings this week.  Bingo was 24 ,and when I first came to Old Friends, he was one of the geldings lodged in what used to be the back of the original part of the farm.  He was part of the gelding pack that, in my mind at least, consisted of Bingo, Riva Way, Futural, Kudos, and Invigorate.  Eventually, the group moved onto different groupings in different pastures, but I still think of them together in what is now Bull’s paddock.  Probably most of you have read the various postings and emails about Bingo, and I can’t add anything to what has already been said.  Suffice it to say he was a sweet old boy and we will miss him. 

That’s about all for today.  We had a busy weekend at the farm, weather or not!  We hope you can visit us soon, but in the meantime thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends.

-Val

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