September 12, 2017

How are they settling in? A little update on new resident Johannesburg Smile and old favorite Archie’s Echo.

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Johannesburg Smile

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Archie’s Echo with his new paddock mates, Early Pioneer and Dinard

Johannesburg Smile, who arrived at the farm in August, completed the standard quarantine for new arrivals with flying colors. Until last week he had morning turn-out in the paddock connected to his stall and in the barn he learned how to meet and greet the afternoon tours–which is to say, he quickly learned how to work the crowds for the maximum carrots. From the beginning he had all the best qualities of a host in the making. He’s beautiful, he’s curious, he’s very nice, and he adores attention.

This week things got even better. Johannesburg Smile has graduated to turn-out all day long. He loves the freedom and running room of his new lifestyle. And I have to admit I’m thrilled too. After his many years on the track, the paddock where he’s learning to be a happy retiree is the paddock that belonged to his great-grandpa, Ogygian. (Johannesburg Smile’s sire, international juvenile champion Johannesburg, is the son of Myth, a daughter of Ogygian.)

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Johannesburg Smile noodling around in the paddock his great-grandpa Ogygian loved.

Here are the best of the snapshots I took of him this afternoon. Outdoors he’s an even better host than he was in the barn. His expression says it all. He’s easing beautifully into the laid-back life that all his hard work has more than earned.

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…Enjoying the breeze in his mane…

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And the trees. And knowing that the photographer thinks he’s special.

It’s the perfect place to learn retirement. At night he goes into the barn and Alphabet Soup, who greets visitors in the barn by day, gets to enjoy that paddock during his 12 hours of turn-out each evening and night.

For Johannesburg Smile, these digs are temporary. When the weather gets cool he’ll be gelded and will probably continue his current lifestyle, where he can have plenty of attention and extra T. L. C. until he settles into gelding-hood and can begin his life as part of a herd, a lifestyle that comes naturally since it’s how horses live in the wild, and it’s how race horses remember their early, playful years, first in their mom’s mare and foal herd, then as yearlings in their own herds. When a young male horse doesn’t have a prospect of a breeding career, gelding him makes the safest and kindest future for him.

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Early Pioneer (L) and Dinard look across the way at their neighbors, Affirmed Success and Kudos, while Archie grazes.

Archie’s Echo had been splitting his own time between the barn by night and that paddock by day. He’s one of our oldest horses at 28, but he’s doing so well that he, too, has graduated to a lifestyle of more freedom and more company. Archie has moved in with Early Pioneer and Dinard who at 29 is the Georgetown farm’s oldest Thorougbred resident.

Early Pioneer and Dinard have been close companions for a good while, so it’s wonderful how peacefully and kindly they’ve accepted Archie. The new threesome all seem contented with their new property, the paddock that was Tinners Way’s. This paddock is next to the tree line at the back, with plenty of shade in the afternoon. When winter comes, the trees make a good windbreak. The only disadvantage is from the perspective of visitors since this paddock isn’t on the regular tour routes. It’s too far up at the back for that.

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Archie’s Echo and Dinard – already good friends.

So if you’ve fallen in love with Archie on a visit–and if you’ve met Archie you probably have fallen in love with him–I just wanted you to know he’s doing great, he still enjoys plenty of attention from all of us on the farm (and plenty of carrot shreds). He’s pleased as punch to have paddock mates. Though not on regular tours, Archie, “Earl” and Dinard can be visited by appointment, as long as any staff is available to take you up to the back. We’ll do our best.

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A love bite.

Speaking of visits, the weather is gorgeous in Kentucky right now, mostly sunny and cool for September. The big tour crowds of summer vacation time have eased into smaller groups with more chance for one-on-one moments with the horses. If it’s been awhile since you’ve visited with us, this is an absolutely ideal time.




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6 responses to “September 12, 2017

  1. Just so beautiful to see them all so happy

  2. Amy Gulbrandson

    Loved this update! That Archie…..he was still in the barn when we visited in May (on His 28th birthday) and he nuzzled my husband shamelessly, apparently aware of peppermints in his pocket! So glad he’s settled in so happily! We are so looking forward to our next visit. Thank you all so much for all you do each day.

  3. Kathie Balfour

    Thank you for the lovely words about these beautiful and HAPPY horses… nice to hear about them and I really appreciate how well you care for them (and care about them.) So thankful for you people.

  4. Thank you, Beth. Interesting blog, as always. Johannesburg Smile is so handsome!

  5. Darlene Daniels

    They are all beautiful. Johannesburg Smile is a total hunk. I really enjoy these monthly posts. Thank you so much. God bless all at Old Friends. Love Darlene

  6. Carl (Venice FL)


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