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.




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7 responses to “Sunday April 1, 2012

  1. Dawn

    Val – I look forward to your blog every week! I’m so glad Marquetry is doing well. Is he part of the tours again?

  2. Maureen Miller

    It doesnt surprise me about Gulch!!! he likes things on his own terms. I felt extremely fortunate that when i came to your farm last may that he stood right there for me to feed carrots and take his picture.. I will never forget meeting my favorite horse since Sham… its Gulch…!! I had thought the reason Gulch stood right there was because i talked soft enough to him telling him how handsome he was. That he felt like it was alright to hang there for some goodies. Dont let him fool ya… He loves having his picture taken. He is such a ham…..When I see his son Scrimshaw…it makes me think of Gulch…. so magestic

  3. MRO

    I love Gulch too. I started really following racing in ’84-’85 when he was starting his career. He was at the fence when I visited. I made him interact with me & got just enough back to make me happy. It was just cool to rub his head and be able to saw I met him.

    I’m sorry to hear about Connery’s death, and I can’t wait to meet Arson Squad. I know it has been too long since I last visited. There are a lot of new horses there.

  4. Viv from Ivytree

    Val, did you know that Gulch likes it when I sing to him? I learned this last year when it was his birthday. I don’t think it’s on account on my melodious voice, either. I just think he likes the attention in spite of himself and for some reason, happy birthday pleased him. He nickers when he sees me…I think someone else should try this and find out what happens. What’s the worst that can happy a group of grown adults standing around singing to a horse? LOL. It IS his birthday coming up again. Let me know if you try this experiment and what happens. Maybe he just has to be in the mood. Hugs, Viv

  5. Viv from Ivytree

    Should have been happen…sorry.

  6. Alexandra

    Thank you for the lovely update. Your love for these beautiful creatures comes shining through. Though I live too far from Kentucky to ever come and visit, I am planning to go to Old Friends in upstate NY soon.

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