Monthly Archives: February 2020

February 17, 2020

W. C. Jones (2005-2020)


The loss of some horses hits harder than you expect. W. C. Jones lived with us for more than ten years. He seemed a permanent fixture on the farm, never a prima donna, modest in what he asked of his humans and paddock mates, always a kind soul. He hadn’t quite reached his fifteenth birthday. He was solidly paddock sound and seemed one of the healthiest horses on the farm. His fatal attack of colic was unforeseen. But colic can strike suddenly and can be as cruel to young horses as to old ones. W. C. Jones was enjoying his life. It didn’t seem time for him to go.


W. C. Jones, August 2017. Photo by Laura.


A son of Volponi, he came to us as an unwanted horse because he was unable to earn on the track. It was his trainer, Christophe Clement, who took the steps to secure his future. In his early days with us he was rather shy. What he seemed to want most was just to fit in with the herd. He tagged along with the other horses like a new kid in school, anxious to be part of the gang. Never at the top of the pecking order, but never at the bottom either, he was…I write this with love because he was such a character that I want to be true to him…Jones was sort of the herd nerd.


in April 2017, photo by Laura


Everybody who knew him, horse and human, was fond of him, and he was happy to accomodate to whatever others did. He was content to let others have the limelight. His secret was that he was a lot smarter than he let on.


W. C. Jones with Seek Gold, December 2009, soon after his arrival at Old Friends. Photo by Beth.


Jones was rarely to be found grazing alone. He was gregarious, nearly always seeking the company of at least one or two others of the herd. He’d rarely start a paddock race or horseplay, but if anything was going on, he’d usually be in on it. During his decade with us he was in a couple of different herds. These two photos show him with some of the first friends he made on the farm.

With Sea Native, aka Rhett (1999-2016), ca. January 2010. Photo by Beth.


He spent his last several years in one of the most spacious pastures on the farm, which is home to a herd of hardy, confident personalities, horses with the energy and exuberance to engage in enthusiastic gallops, games and busy rounds of herd politics.


W. C. Jones (R) with Bonapaw (1996-2007). Photo by Laura.


As this herd matured they bonded more deeply with each passing season. As Jones matured with them he seemed to me to move closer in to its emotional center. It’s an impression I can’t explain logically, but W. C. Jones became an important part of the glue that held them together socially. Though he was one horse in a large-ish herd, I think they miss him.


Jones (R) Grazing with Rail Trip (and Lion Hunter?), June 2017. Photo by Laura.


And enjoying games with Photon (center) and Cherono (R), on an evening in September 2018. Photo by Laura.


Of his good times on the farm, maybe the happiest event of all was the bond he developed with staff member Carole Oates. Carole gives the main farm horses a good deal of the daily hands-on care that keeps them sound and healthy. Formerly shy, under Carole’s handling W. C. Jones gradually developed a new confidence and trust. It became so much a part of him that he not only came up more readily for treats, he lingered with assurance and began to welcome caresses and neck and back scratches from all of us. The difference was noticeable. It was clear that W. C. Jones’ last several years were his happiest.


W. C. Jones snuggling with Photon (R), February 2018. Photo by Laura.

I think he was also particularly fond of Laura. Of his horse friends, he seemed to especially like hanging out with Rail Trip and Photon.

Jones is already much missed on the farm. His good nature, his occasional antics, his sociable eagerness to be part of whatever his herd got up to, the way his big, white blaze signaled even from a distance which one of the all-bay herd was W. C. Jones, are an absence that will take getting used to.

W. C. Jones was very much part of our gang, a personality that was, more than I think I realized, one of the essential ingredients in the mix that has for the last decade been Old Friends in Georgetown. I count myself fortunate to have known him.


Photo by Laura




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February 5, 2020

Right to Vote plays with Racketeer while Lubash looks on.

Old Friends in Georgetown is having some quiet days. We’ve been closed for tours while the office undergoes renovations. On Saturday, Feb. 8 tours will resume. Meanwhile, what have the horses been doing? A few of them have changed paddocks. Claiming champion Persie has moved in with Slim Shadey…

Persie and Slim Shadey

…while Diversify has found a new friends in one of the gelding herds at the top of the hill.


Comma to the Top and Fantastic Day have joined Fabulous Strike, Hussonfirst, Sokitumi Samurai and Marshall Rooster in their big pasture, their smaller paddock now being home to Soldat. Brilliant Decision and Wake Forest, who have bonded nicely, are now in a bigger new paddock overlooking the paddock where Easy Grades and Saratoga Episode have been joined by Tuneintobow and beyond that, Alphabet Soup continues to share his same paddock with his donkey buddy Gorgeous George.

In fact, most of the horses on the tour route have remained in the same paddocks, except for Nobiz Like Shobiz who’s where Soldat was, by the lake, and Patch who’s moved into Nobiz’s old quarters.

New resident Patch enjoys some hay

There’s less hullabaloo here than when he was on the Derby trail a few years ago, but there’s a lot to be said for resting on your well-deserved laurels (or on your warm bed of hay, as the case may be). You could now call this part of the farm the Derby Trail Neighborhood.

You and I

As the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail gets seriously going, does You and I remember flirting with the idea of 1994 Derby competition in the Louisiana Derby? As his particular strengths became more apparent, You and I focused on top races at shorter distances, winning that year’s Riva Ridge Stakes on Belmont Day and the 1995 Metropolitan Mile. Those are good memories for many of us, but You and I enjoys the here and now in this mild winter with his three good meals a day (he’s on the lunch program like most of our older horses) and lots of really nice hay.


Another of Patch’s new next door neighbors, Ide, had his own days of glory on the Derby trail, winning the 1996 Southwest Stakes and Rebel Stakes. These days he excels at handsomeness and personality.

It’s true that with tours temporarily suspended there’s been less action on the farm for the last 9 days. There’s lots of dozing going on…


Rapid Redux and Amazombie on the edge of a snooze

Our much-loved elders, 32 year old Dinard (about to doze) and 31 year old Archie’s Echo


But nobody’s being deprived of carrots by any means. Certain volunteers and staff have been spotted traveling the farm frequently delivering treats and love, and of course their care and attention from the barn staff continues on the usual schedule, tours or no tours.


War Emblem gets a carrot


Even geniuses love their carrots, says Einstein.


Miss Du Bois isn’t about to say no to a treat.

Hey Laura, is this a new kind of selfie? The horses thoroughly approve!


Classy Charm and Saudi Poetry

Some prefer to pose in a more Classical manner (no pun intended).

And some just can’t resist showing off their incredible beauty whether any audience is watching or not.


The ever-photogenic War Emblem


Touch Gold: “Who sez?”

This Saturday their little vacation ends and they’ll resume meeting and greeting their friends. We hope you’ll take advantage of the comparative quiet of winter with its smaller tours and more chance for up close and personal time with your favorite horses. We all look forward to seeing you soon!

photos by Laura


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