Last week I exchanged email with Sally Steinmann, the millinery artist behind Maggie Mae Designs. This happens whenever she begins creating a hat to honor an Old Friend resident. These beautiful hats are important fund raisers for us. Her current project: Patton!
Almost as wonderful as Sally’s hats is the way she approaches creating them. It’s about so much more than the name, color and racing silks of the horse. We often zing emails back and forth for days about the horse’s achievements, life experiences, and especially the horse’s temperament. Sally collects amusing or moving stories about her subjects, asks questions, collects photos before she starts to work. By the time she designs the hat she knows just about as much about the horse as we do. All of her sense of who the horse is goes into the hat. And the results! The colors, the panache, the elegance, the flair! The harmonies and contrasts in texture and motion! If you haven’t seen a Maggie Mae Designs creation or haven’t visited her site for a while, treat yourself to a peek at the Hats Off to Horses portfolio of her creations that have raised funds for Old Friends, and last spring’s hat honoring Sarava. I can hardly wait to see the design she invents for the serene, sweet natured, yet occasionally unexpectedly mischievous Patton! Maggie Mae Designs’ site is here and Sally’s blog is here.
Another highlight of the last few weeks has been our second-newest retiree, Geri. He’s currently going through the routine quarantine the government requires when a stallion is imported from overseas. Some tests and lab results have to be completed before he can come to the main farm and begin greeting his fans. Michael says he should take up residence at our Kentucky farm in October. Meanwhile, he’s on a beautiful farm not far away, resting up after his trip in a large paddock with great grass and the best of care on a farm where some of our other residents spent their quarantines. It’s also a good chance for him to relax and put back on weight after the rigors of his trip. Geri, who’s now 21 years old, won the 1996 Oaklawn Handicap, Woodbine Mile and other topnotch stakes and went to stud in Kentucky and Japan, then Italy. On my visit with him I met an active, bright red chestnut with one of the most beautifully refined heads I’ve ever seen. Geri is all stallion. He expects respect—he’s certainly earned it—and when he gets it he’s friendly and nice. I took to him at once. He took to…my carrots, probably. I look forward to building a relationship with him. Of course, we have someone at Old Friends who already has a relationship with Geri, though neither of them knows it. Since 2008 we’ve given a home to A. P. Slew. Though not a graded stakes winner like his dad, A. P. Slew resembles Geri, but smaller. He has a comical way of looking at people…how to describe it? Askance. I had to grin when Geri gave me that same look.
And our newest retiree…
Old Friends is very pleased to welcome Silver Ray! The 24 year old stallion and son of Silver Hawk has the amazing resemblance to his grandfather Roberto and current Old Friends resident Sunshine Forever! He has the kind, family eyes; striking, prominent head; and is a complete cuddle bug just like Sunshine. He also may or may not let his tongue hang out like Sunshine does which makes him even more endearing! Old Friends owes many thanks to the California Polo Rescue for buying this horse for $30 at a local auction and allowing us the privilege to look after him here in Kentucky. Personally, I think Silver Ray is going to make a great addition to the farm!! He is such a gentle soul who is full of exploding love for people and his beautiful new home in the Bluegrass. I think our visitors will really enjoy experiencing the softer, more vulnerable side to a stallion while they are able to hug and pet this gentle giant.