May 21, 2015

Old Friends in Kentucky has had the biggest, busiest Keeneland and Derby seasons ever. We send a huge thank you to all who visited us this spring and we hope you’ll return soon. As a tour guide, I’ve never felt more proud of the residents I’m lucky to introduce to people. What a thrill it is to bring people to meet a Kentucky Derby winner. And not just any Kentucky Derby winner, the remarkable Silver Charm himself. But it’s not just superstars like Silver Charm, Game On Dude, Gulch and Commentator I’m so proud of.

Commentator moseys over to say hi. Photo by Laura Battles.

Commentator moseys over to say hi. Photo by Laura Battles.

It’s a joy to show off Sea Native, Silver Ray, Count the Gold, W. C. Jones, Stormy Passage and all the residents, and the grounds, and the barn, and…

Here they come!

Here they come! Lusty Latin, Stormy Passage, Ukiah, Diamond Stripes, Ferocious Won. Photo by Laura.

Greys on parade. Lusty Latin, Ukiah, Diamond Stripes. Photo by Laura.

Greys on parade. Lusty Latin, Ukiah, Diamond Stripes. Photo by Laura.

Everybody’s contented. Old Friends has never been able to give a secure home and great care to as many horses. We couldn’t do it without you. And it couldn’t happen without the utter dedication of hard-working, knowledgeable farm manager Tim Wilson and his team. They’re all great, but I want to make special mention of assistant manager Carole Oates who does so much of the hands-on care, day in and day out, and knows each and every horse so well that she spots the slightest signs of any change in their demeanor. Carole’s horse intuition is as deep as her knowledge of horse care.

Carole and Lion Hunter. Photo by Rick Capone.

Carole and Lion Hunter. Photo by Rick Capone.

We’re now in one of my favorite times of the year, the lull between Derby season and vacation season, as summer comes on, and the horses feast on the richest grass of the year and relax in the warm sun. The stallions hang out in pairs and threes at their fences in neighboring paddocks. The mares and geldings enjoy mellow times with their paddock mates. Canadian Turf Champion 2013 Forte Dei Marmi has passed the quarantine period all new residents go through and is making good friends with Starspangled Heat.

Forte Dei Marmi and Starspangled Heat. Photo by Tim Wilson.

Forte Dei Marmi and Starspangled Heat. Photo by Tim Wilson.

Starspangled Heat and Forte Dei Marmi. Photo by Tim.

Starspangled Heat and Forte Dei Marmi. Photo by Tim.

Game On Dude and Yankee Fourtune continue to be the best of buddies.

Yankee Fourtune and Game On Dude. Photo by Laura.

Yankee Fourtune and Game On Dude. Photo by Laura.

And there’s another friendship on the farm that it’s great fun to watch grow and deepen.

Silver Charm and Michael. Photo by Laura.

Silver Charm and Michael. Photo by Laura.

I love the long evenings after hours, when all is peaceful, and Ring stops flashing his tattoo for the day, and Rapid Redux grazes quietly beside Amazombie, and Rail Trip no longer feels he has to keep an eye out to make sure Catlaunch doesn’t get carrots he doesn’t get.

Fabulous Strike - I'll take another carrot, anyway. Photo by Laura.

Fabulous Strike – I’ll take another carrot, anyway. Photo by Laura.

Most of all, I love watching the horses interact with each other in their paddocks and across their fences. Like the inseparable Ukiah and Easy Grades.

Ukiah and Easy Grades. Photo by Laura.

Ukiah and Easy Grades. Photo by Laura.

And newer friends Shadowcaster and Maybesomaybenot (Maybe and Bobby Sands are still best buds, but everybody loves Maybe).

Shadowcaster and Maybesomaybenot enjoy an impromptu race on Preakness evening (See? Se're faster!). Photo by Laura.

Shadowcaster and Maybesomaybenot enjoy an impromptu race on Preakness evening (See? We’re faster!). Photo by Laura.

Two longtime friends of mine are developing a new friendship of their own, Affirmed Success and Kudos.

Affirmed Success, Kudos in the background (but don't believe that for a moment - these guys are well matched). Photo by Laura.

Affirmed Success, Kudos in the background (but only for a moment – these guys are well matched). Photo by Laura.

And a friendship of long standing is still going strong, Canadian stars, Begg family homebreds, Victor Cooley and El Brujo.

El Brujo rests his head on his friend Victor Cooley. Photo by Laura.

El Brujo rests his chin on his friend Victor Cooley. Photo by Laura.

Victor rests his head on his friend Brujo. Photo by Laura.

Victor rests his head on his friend Brujo. Photo by Laura.

Last, but never, ever least, when Mixed Pleasure (via his human, John) invited some of us to celebrate his 30th birthday yesterday, Little Silver Charm came over too. He didn’t sing “Happy Birthday” with the rest of us, but he gave Mixie the best gift of all, a special birthday kiss.

Mixed Pleasure gets a 30th birthday kiss!

Mixed Pleasure gets a 30th birthday kiss! Photo by Barbara Fossum.

Beth

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

7 responses to “May 21, 2015

  1. Jeanne Wolverton

    Thank you for the updates and info. Love hearing about these guys. Do you still have some mares there? Looking forward to visiting all the newbies.

    • oldfriendsblog

      Yes, we have some lovely mares. 1997 Older Female Eclipse Aware Champion Hidden Lake shares a paddock with Ferdinand’s daughter Hidden Dark and Euronfire. In the original mare paddock are Santona, Miss Hooligan, Bint Marscay, MissZoey Belle, and Al the Bingel. We do have some mares at our nearby satellite facilities, but the ones I’ve named are on the main farm and can be visited. Since the back of the farm can’t be covered during a regular tour, anyone wanting to visit a horse on the “back 40” should arrange for this at the time you make your reservation to visit. With advance notice, we’d love to accomodate!

  2. mybigred

    I enjoy catching up on the latest news via the: Old Friend Blog. I had the pleasure of meeting Carole last month while visiting Old Friends. All of the Volunteers, are Awesome, by donating their time to help out. If I lived closer, I’d be there too. I’m so Grateful to Michael & Diane for their Love & Dedication to the Horses.

  3. Gae

    Lovely photos. It is good reading about the care and attention to detail provided by the team. Are those little red halter tags veterinarian vacinnation tags? I noticed them in several of the photos.

    • oldfriendsblog

      Fly tags. This is the first year we’re trying this particular form of fly control. We’ve tried others. Personally, I think fly predators are great, but they’re very expensive for a horse population of the size of our main farm.

  4. Linda R

    Just found this lovely grouping of photos and i saved every single one of them to my Gallery of Thoroughbreds and thank you to all who took such great photos and the time to name each horse. The 3 greys running together caught my attention, greys of a color stick together! Thanks every so much. I especially loved the last photo of Mixed Pleasure on his 30th and Little Silver Charm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s