Yes, it has been forever since I wrote a blog entry! I am not really sure where the time went, and was rather surprised to see it has been nearly 2 months. Even while I was “deblogging,” I was at the farm, so there is a lot to catch up on. It’s good to be back.
So much has happened in two months. This summer of 2012 has been hot, considerably dry and very busy. We’ve lost a few of our old horses and gained a few new ones. In addition, Commentator is spending the summer at Saratoga. In return for Tator, the winner of over 2 million dollars, we got…Zippy Chippy, the losingest horse ever! Seriously, Zippy and Red Down South are spending the summer in Kentucky while Tator is up north. I’m not sure who made out better—Tator in the (somewhat) cooler New York State summer, or Zippy and Red who are in a very large, grassy pasture that normally would accommodate 3 or 4 geldings!
I have enjoyed getting to know Rapid Redux this summer. His trainer David Wells came to visit Rapid last month. Nice guy, loves the horse, and I think maybe he was kind of surprised to see how well Rapid has settled into life as Old Friends. The horse loves three things: carrots, mints, and visitors. And for those of you who wonder if he is bored after a racetrack life, I can tell you he most definitely is not. He occupies a stall in the big barn during the day and goes outside at night. The daytime stall is perfect because he gets lots of attention and carrots, from every tour that comes to the farm. Like every successful racehorse, he is more than a little bit of a show-off—and he loves a camera! Rapid likes his naptime, too. This afternoon we walked into the barn only to see him stretched out on his side, sound asleep and dreaming. His legs were moving—I’m sure he was running the Derby in his dreams! Just like a big dog, sleeping and dreaming…
Every year in July is also when the Horse Park holds its annual Breyerfest weekend. I know I talk about this every summer, but I am still completely amazed at the sheer number of people who visit. Minivans and SUVs with “Breyerfest or Bust” painted on the windows, full of moms, grandmoms, daughters and friends, all headed to Kentucky. (Yes, and plenty of dads and brothers—all just along for the ride, of course!) Someone described it to me as the horse version of ComicCon. Someone else referred to the Breyerfest folks as “Horse Trekkies!” You get the general idea, right? Lots of horse-crazy families taking a summer road trip! And most of them seem to find their way to Old Friends. I think on my Breyerfest Sunday we probably had over 200 visitors. Thankfully, we had a second tour guide on duty. Laura took the adults without kids who wanted to take serious pictures. I took the families with kids who wanted to be slobbered on! It worked out perfectly. I can’t take a decent picture but I am the queen of horse slobber…
Those of you who know me or who have followed the blog know that, like everyone at Old Friends, I have my favorite horses. Some of them just glom on and I am done for—Sunshine, Patton, Marquetry. The Wicked North, Academy Award, Jade Hunter and of course Gramps were like that, too. They get me with their charm, their kindness, or their winning personalities. There are the others who aren’t really warm and fuzzy, who demand respect, and even awe—Creator, Gulch, Williamstown. And then there are others that are so bad, and I mean B-A-D, that I instantly adore their badness! Afternoon Deelites and Commentator are like that; Wallenda is in a class all his own. Beautiful, yes. Not cute, not especially kind or easy, but loaded with that bad-boy gleam in their eye that says “pay attention to me, or else!”
Well, my newest favorite is Arson Squad. He falls solidly into the cutie–pie category. I know, I know. The horse won a million bucks over 5 or 6 years of racing and is recovering from an injury that would have ended it for many horses—you’d think he has to be tough, right? But this horse is so cute I could take him home and let him curl up in the corner next to the fireplace, like an extremely large puppy. He not particularly flashy; you probably wouldn’t pick him out in a crowd of dark bay horses, but there is something about him. He is still very limited in his outside time—a couple hours in the small round pen, no tours or treats. I sneak into his barn whenever I can just to say hello and pat him. Adorable.
So much of the country is suffering through a serious drought this summer, and earlier in the summer central Kentucky was no exception. But I couldn’t help noticing today how green all the fields are becoming. The past couple weeks have brought enough rain that the grass, which was pretty crispy by July 4, has turned around and begun growing again. All the horses are enjoying it—Patton, Gulch and Kiri especially. Afternoon Deelites isn’t wearing his grazing muzzle anymore, so he is enjoying the new growth. Of course, he came over for tours at a run today. Carrots still rule, the big show-off! Clever is fat, happy and sporting dapples any horse would be proud of. You and I’s black coat has bleached quite a bit. He kind of has a leopard-print look going on. Very fashionable and trendy of him!
There are too many horses to update them all in one blog, so I will get to a few others next week. But in general, they all are handling the hot summer weather just fine. The grass is green, carrots are plentiful, and for the horses, tours are entertaining. We hope you can visit us soon, but in the meantime, thanks for spending this Sunday with Old Friends! -Val