Old Friends has only a few absolutely, strictly observed holidays: Derby Day, Preakness Day, Belmont Day and Breeders’ Cup Saturday. The Saturday crew all being race fans, we close at some point on those afternoons and dash for the nearest TV. So last Saturday there was no 3:00 tour, but the 10:00 and 1:00 tours brought us some especially nice visitors. Particularly considering the idea about…ahem, decorating? that occurred to Special Ring (read on!).
The gator that used to do the feed hauling and other farm work having bit the dust a few weeks ago, the big golf cart has been pulling double duty as farm vehicle and tour-mobile (as needed), so we were extra grateful to the folks on the 1:00 tour who thought to reserve it ahead of time. So the timing was perfect. We had the golf cart recharged in the nick of time and as Barbara played host in the office Michael was in the back yard hosing and scrubbing the mud from the farm chores off of it. Voila! A freshly washed, mostly dry chariot arrived to whisk the group off to their adventure on the farm! And to make a good thing even better, the insights provided by tour guide Laura and questionable driving provided by the chauffeur (me) were supplemented by the services of Old Friends’ very best tour guide…Buddy the office cat, who decided to accompany us. At least, part of the way. After all, he had to return to supervise the junior office cats, Lucy and Desi.
Most of the tour was more fun than eventful. Gulch posed, Danthebluegrassman wanted Flick’s carrots, Ogygian wanted the whole bucket to choose from, and Bull Inthe Heather wanted a back scratch. Popcorn Deelites and Special Ring did their favorite routine, Ring avidly stealing the thunder from Seabiscuit movie star Pops by showing his identification tattoo for people to photograph (and for more carrots, of course). Their part of the tour over, we headed down the hill to the corners of the four paddocks occupied by Pops and Ring, Patton, You and I, and Prized. Patton was being his usual sweet natured self, gently accepting treats and—rare for a stallion, but typical of him—allowing his admirers to pat his nose and stroke him. Or, starting to. Down the hill thundered Special Ring. Wait a minute! He wasn’t ready to give up all that attention. Not just yet! Reaching the puddle that had collected from the recent rain, Ringy gave it his all (see the photo)! The runs where the humans are, even at the paddock corners, aren’t all that wide, and Ringy was very determined.
He didn’t just paw the water a little, he kept it up vigorously for about two minutes, managing to splash most of us and—just as he hoped—to completely steal all the attention back from polite Patton (who you can see looking puzzled in the background). If you’re wondering why no people are in the photo, they’d all jumped back. Luckily, Ringy’s captive audience (canvases for his abstract painting? human Moneighs?) were gracious about his antics. It’s all in a day’s work for multiple G1 winner and inventively intelligent Special Ring.
Apologies for the low quality of the above photo, which I grabbed my phone and snapped. Below are some better ones Laura took this Saturday.
And just a reminder that you’re invited to the Memorial gathering this Monday, May 27, at 1:00 pm, when we will honor the Old Friends who passed during the last year, the superb Marquetry, Canadian Horse of the Year Benburb, the dependable and loving Eternal Orage, Kano Doble alias Mick, and from Merefield, Buzzovertomyhouse. We miss them and hope you’ll join us on the farm, 1841 Paynes Depot Road, Georgetown, Kentucky, to remember them.