November 1, 2017

Awesome Gem plays peekaboo

A peek-a-boo from Awesome Gem.

Yesterday Dr. Emma Adam, one of the wonderful vets who donate their care to Old Friends’ residents, visited the Georgetown farm for fun, bringing her mother, Chris Adam, who is a tour guide at the National Stud in Newmarket, England. As we golf carted around the farm Chris told me about guiding visitors around this Jockey Club facility that stands stallions, boards broodmares, and provides sales consignment services (Zenyatta’s half-sister Eblouissante is among their graduates). I’d thought maybe visits to the National Stud were limited to prospective clients and others with racing connections, but not at all. The National Stud does group tours for the general public most days by reservation just as we do. Their visitors see stallions, mares with foals in the spring and summer, and yearlings. Chris told me many of the tours she gives are to school groups and senior groups. She enjoys educating people about the phases of the horses’ lives that race goers don’t see, their early life and preparation to begin their racing careers, and the care and breeding of mares and stallions.

Marshall Rooster

“I’m from England, too.” Marshall Rooster

She loves those wonderful moments, also familiar at OF, when the sight of the horses brings light to the eyes of a visitor who’s battling cognitive issues connected with aging, and a smile to their face. The beauty of a horse is a powerful source of joy.

So, though the National Stud is larger and more elegant than Dream Chase Farm, Chris’ priorities and experiences there struck chords. I very much hope some day to take one of her tours.

Here’s the National Stud’s site. Beautiful, eh?

GR in his new paddock

“Tours? That’s my middle name. Genuine Reward in his new paddock

Speaking of tours, a reminder: on Nov. 7 Old Friends in Georgetown goes on its winter tour schedule. We’ll be offering one tour a day at 11:00 am. So come see us this fall or winter!


Amazombie in his same paddock (which he shares with Rapid Redux).


Little Mike (L) and Game On Dude, new friends at Old Friends.

And speaking of out on the farm, I want to share with you some of Laura’s recent photos and a nice partnership that’s growing up. It’s between Game On Dude and Little Mike. “The Dude” liked sharing his paddock with Catlaunch, but “the Cat” currently needs TLC in the barn because of recent dental surgery and, unrelated to that, coordination issues due to EPM. Catlaunch still greets the tours along with some other residents who spend the day in the barn, but he takes his turn-out time in the paddock area connected to his stall, so Game On Dude wanted a new paddockmate.

revving up for a race

Revving up for a play session

What could be more fun for the three-times winner of the Santa Anita Handicap than a buddy who can run with him however fast he wants to go? And what play could be more exciting for the winner of the Arlington Million and Breeders’ Cup Turf than racing a horse as (comparatively) young, (completely) sound, and (still impressively) fast as he is?

Dude and Little Mike race

They start to get their run going.

Dude runs

Dude ain’t kiddin’ around anymore.

These two are having a great time enjoying several impromptu races a day. In their youth both excelled at a mile and a quarter, but since the Dude raced on the dirt and Mike on the turf, who’d have thought to ever see these two champions racing each other? It could only happen at Old Friends!

Little Mike rolling

Mike luxuriates in a nice roll.

Mirroring 2

After play, it’s great just to relax together. Or, “I can do anything you can do, and I can do it just like you.”


photos by Laura



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5 responses to “November 1, 2017

  1. Betsy McGrath

    I fell in love with Marshall Rooster~love at first sight! Positively Shakespearean. I must come and visit! Thank you for the wonderful history, news, and photos of all the thoroughbreds you coddle.

  2. Amy Gulbrandson

    This was the highlight of my day (probably of my week!) to have a “virtual visit” with all of you and to imagine being there seeing and hearing all of this. Thank you so much for keeping all of us far-away folks close in spirit, and many thanks to Laura for the beautiful photos.

  3. Jeanne Wolverton

    I didn’t even know Little Mike was there. I saw him win The Million and the BC Turf. So happy I’ll get to see him again! Thanks for the photos!

  4. Thanks Beth. The National Stud is a beautiful place! I lived in England for seven years and used to ride in the New Forest. Happy memories. Didn’t know about the National Stud tours at the time, so interesting. Always good to hear about Dude, hope Catlaunch is doing better.

  5. JD

    Always wonderful to read your posts. Thanks for letting us know why Catlaunch left Dude. We saw them both together when we visited Old Friends earlier this year. A highlight of our visit! Hope Catlaunch fares well in the barn. Kind regards to all.

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