November 14, 2018

Goof-off time at the farm. Summer is over. The Breeders’ Cup hoopla is done. The Georgetown Farm is now on its winter schedule, doing one regular tour a day at 11:00. Not all the horses necessarily approve of this.

20181114 silly season Johannesburg Smile

Johannesburg Smile. (No pun intended.)

This year’s new option to schedule a private tour at a time of your choice, with a tour guide who’ll facilitate exactly the kind of tour you have in mind (if at all possible) has an advantage from the horses’ points of view, too. It makes the transition less absolute, since unexpected admirers may add surprise carrots to the day.

But let’s face it. On a chill, damp day like today fewer people schedule tours of any kind, and so the horses are always a little at loose ends when the shift to winter comes.

20181114 River Squall looks for entertainment

River Squall looks for entertainment.

Watching the farm crew work has only limited entertainment value. If you’ve seen one bright orange Kubota trundling by, you’ve seen them all. Unless the Kubota is doing duty as breakfast trolly or dinner-mobile, of course. That never gets old.

20181114 War Emblem on the lookout

Did someone say dinner? War Emblem.

Some of the horses let the cold weather inspire them to race each other. Silver Charm has found another amusement, chasing any great blue herons who happen to land in his paddock. I wish I had a photo of that. It’s quite a sight, the big, grey stallion in full horse-flight scaring up a big grey-blue bird with a swoop of its mighty wing-spread.

But winter also offers its own quiet pleasures. After a few days, waiting for tours shifts into restful relaxation.

20181114 rolling - AD

Afternoon Deelites has himself a roll in the fallen leaves.

20181114 rolling - Kudos

Kudos also enjoys a roll. If you don’t have fingernails it’s a great way to scratch your back.

Not that eating carrots three or more times a day all summer is a hard job. But with more down time, afternoon naps become more frequent.

And winter has its own schedule. Horses thrive on predictable routine, and one of their favorite winter routines revolves around the daily delivery of yummy hay. Along with the predictable delivery of their grain meals, plus Carole’s and Antonio’s year-round daily rounds to provide care, their winter routine is both secure and pleasurable.

20181114 hay Miss Du Bois Elusive Honey

Miss Du Bois (L) and Elusive Honey munch their hay.

Because hay has many uses. For one thing, hay is fun to run for when it gets delivered.

20181114 hay Nobiz 1

Hay delivery. James and Nobiz Like Shobiz.

20181114 hay Nobiz 2

…and Nobiz does an impromptu Hay Dance.

20181114 hay Bourbonize Joey P

Bourbonize (L) and Joey P.

Hay warms the tummy and the whole system delightfully.

20181114 hay AS and GG

Alphabet Soup (R) and Gorgeous George snack on their hay.

And when you’ve eaten your fill…

20181114 hay Bint Marscay digs in

Bint Marscay chows down.

…your hay becomes a warm, dry, delightfully fragrant bed.

20181114 hay bed Dinard Archie BCI

Dinard (L), Archie’s Echo and Beau Cashin’ In.

And there are ways other than napping and eating to have a good time together. Even old friends enjoy making new friends.

20181114 Yankee Fourtune Z Dager

After being one of the farm’s chief meeters-and-greeters all summer, Z Dager, now residing in a side paddock, enjoys a quiet moment with his newfound friend, Yankee Fourtune.

20181114 Game On Dude Green Mask

Game On Dude (L) gets acquainted with Green Mask.

20181114 Dan and Fighting city hall

Danthebluegrassman and Fighting City Hall do … something or other together.

If you didn’t get to Old Friends this summer, think of it this way. Isn’t it proverbial how special it is to visit Venice in the off-season? The weather might not be as warm, the day may be a little overcast or the breeze chilly, but visits during Old Friends’ winter season usually mean a smaller group and so more up close and personal time with the horses. When the visitors are fewer the “locals” (horses) are more eager to see them, and on a smaller tour there’s more time for quality conversations with your guide about that particular equine retiree whose race career you followed, or who has just charmed your socks off for the first time.

So, is Old Friends fun to visit in the winter?

Come find out!

Beth
photos by Laura

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “November 14, 2018

  1. Lucinda Smith

    Thanks Beth, heartwarming blog with great Laura photos! I fell in love with Old Friends the first time several Octobers ago, you’re right, the horses do appreciate visits in the “off-season”. I’ve been back many times, but will never forget the warm reception I got that first October.

  2. Beth Thompson

    Thank you for the newest blog. It’s great! I’m always happy to see a new blog in my email. I love the pictures and the stories so much. Is it possible to donate to Old Friends using PayPal? Thanks again, Beth Thompson

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • oldfriendsblog

      Absolutely! Go to oldfriendsequine.org and click “How to Help” in the top menu bar. You’ll see a big green and white button to donate to OF with Paypal. Thanks for asking!

      • oldfriendsblog

        It was such a good question that I added a link to the sidebar. It goes directly to the Donation page at the Old Friends site.

  3. Rhonda Peterson

    My visit to Old Friends, though many years ago, remains a favorite memory. In a lifetime of traveling and enjoying special times, nothing compares with the feeling the horses left me with… Someday I hope to return and experience them once again.

  4. Deb

    I love your farm/s. the blog makes me feel like I am there seeing them. I hope someday I can come during the off season.

  5. Amy Gulbrandson

    Thank you again for another wonderful virtual visit to the farm! It’s really great to hear about the daily routine and the photos are priceless. I’d love to see Silver Charm harassing those herons if you can possibly capture it!
    Special thanks for including Archie in the photos—sweet boy and glad to see he’s doing well.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you all, we are very grateful for each of you!

  6. Mary Campbell

    I was wondering if you will be able to photograph Bank of Dad sometime. He has been one of my favorites his whole career. I guess he is at your other farm. I am hopeful he can be added to the list of residents sometime as his life story is one that should be told.

    • oldfriendsblog

      Yes, he’s at our satellite farm. I’ll try to get a photo of him. With any luck the photographer will be a better one than me.

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