December 4, 2016, evening

What a day it’s been! At 9:00 a.m. Charismatic was turned out for his first look at the farm and a chance to stretch his legs. He looked noticeably rested and took in his surroundings with alert curiosity. As he swung into a trot a collective ahh! went up from all of us. What a surprisingly gorgeous, floating, extended trot this horse does on those flashy white-stockinged legs! A winged Pegasus trot, barely skimming the ground!


It was an overcast morning and neither my camera or I are great at photography. This is the nearest I came to capturing that trot.


Of course, all the intriguing smells in a new paddock must be investigated immediately.

He spent much of his morning introducing himself to the interesting personalities around him. Not the humans. The really interesting ones–the horses.


Charismatic meets Fighting City Hall and Danthebluegrassman.


Let’s race.


No contest. (By the way, the paddock has rounded corners and he negotiated them all smoothly and gracefully.)

So, what about that big guy over on the other side of his new digs?


Afternoon Deelites: Who do you think you are, new kid in town? I ran in the Kentucky Derby.

2016 1204 Charismatic first morning 17 AD whos studlier.jpg

Charismatic: Oh really? I won the Kentucky Derby.

2016 1204 Charismatic first morning AD makes faces.jpg

The highlight of the morning, one of the biggest highlights of any morning, ever, at Old Friends, was the welcome-back visit paid by Charismatic’s trainer, D. Wayne Lukas. The Hall of Famer remarked on how good Charismatic looks, and on his excellent muscle tone. “He looks exactly the same,” he kept saying happily.


A long awaited reunion – Charismatic and D. Wayne Lukas. Photo by Laura Battles.

Mr. Lukas also delivered the Charismatic’s Inner Circle certificates he has generously autographed–all 300 of them, and recounted stories of Charismatic’s racing days. While he and Charismatic spent some time together I found myself standing next to Dr. Waldridge, who said he’s pleased with the preliminary exam. In the next few days these will be followed up by the full exams and recommendations that all Old Friends’ new retirees receive. The barn staff reports that Charismatic has been drinking a good amount of water–important after travels for maintaining a horse’s health.

For more (and better) pictures, see @oldfriendsfarm on Twitter and check out Barbara Livingston’s gorgeous photo of that extended trot on Facebook. Now there’s a photo that does that trot of his justice!




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4 responses to “December 4, 2016, evening

  1. Linda Hoge

    Are the retired stallions gelded when they come to Old a Friends?

    • oldfriendsblog

      Old Friends gelds young whole male residents who either haven’t bred or haven’t done much breeding. These horses are better off gelded than frustrated and as geldings they get to join a herd, which instinct tells them means safety. But it’s usually not a good idea to geld an older stallion who’s been an active breeder. A big reason: the risk of the surgery would be far higher to an older horse. Also, many stallions who’ve been longtime active breeders don’t respond well mentally to gelding. War Emblem is the exception. The government required us to geld him because he refused to comply with the test breedings the law stipulates when a stallion is imported from overseas. (War Emblem was retired from Shadai Stallion Station because he refused to breed, so unsuprisingly he also refused to breed on government demand.) He didn’t like breeding, and gelding doesn’t seem to have changed his temperament much. He definitely still rules his own solitary territory (paddock). Charismatic will remain a stallion. Afternoon Deelites, who’s 24 and had a full career at stud, is stallion. So are all the other residents who fit that profile. Over the years we’ve found that most older stallions, once they retire, mellow out noticeably. They keep their territorial and dominance behaviors, so each has his own paddock and we follow proper precautions for their, and everyone’s, safety. Visitors take guided tours only, for instance. But given respect, most of our stallions are extremely kind. And we do respect and admire them for who they are. Entirely, who they are.

  2. Pattie Benedix

    A BIG HUGE Thank You for the photos & blog on Charismatic coming home. I Agree, he sure is handsome πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to my next visit to Old Friends & meet, “Mr. Handsome” !!

  3. Shari

    Thank you Chris Antley. Thank you for saving him.

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