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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!
photos by Laura