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Friday, October 3, 2014

Old Friends [Retired Thoroughbred Stallions Welcome!]

Look at those pretty horses...so sweet...sweet and spirited, but sweet, nonetheless. 

I'm not saying I recommend thinking about this often or regularly, but a girl has to have a plan.

I know where I want to be buried. I don't think the Cemetery at Old Friends will accept me, but I'm hoping that if I put their organization's name in my will, and leave enough money as payment, that the humans in charge will take pity on me and lay me down next to their sweet, beautiful departed racehorses.

I'm not saying I need to be allowed to hang out with the Hall of Famers. (A space of pretty, green land at the front of the property is designated solely for deceased Hall of Fame horses who've passed on in search of greener pastures.) I mean, seriously, I understand that my pedigree lacks appropriate credibility for such elusive, grand endeavors as the Hall of Famers section. But if you could nestle me in between two of those four-legged beauties who raced for human entertainment and enjoyment in their career, it would be immensely appreciated. Truly.

What the heck am I talking about, specifically? A wonderful farm near Keeneland race track in Lexington, Kentucky, Old Friends Equine Farm in Georgetown, accepts retired Thoroughbred racehorses at the end of their racing careers. Horses receive different forms of training while on the farm. Some stay at the property permanently, if he or she can not be trained for a second professional career. They contentedly graze in one of the 145-acre property's pastures for years. Other horses, receptive to new ideas, routines and physical requirements, train as dressage, jumper, show horses or pony companions and are found new second homes when ready.

The star of the show, LittleSilverCharm, Michael Blowen (the owner) & Me
I was fortunate to meet owner Michael Blowen on my recent visit to the farm. He was most gracious, letting me pet the farm's famous miniature horse mascot, LittleSilverCharm, as much as I liked. If you love a sweet horse with just the right amount of savvy attitude check out LittleSilverCharm's Facebook page.

As beautiful, helpful and successful as this lovely farm is, it is also a non-profit in need of donations to sustain itself and purchase additional land for new horses. Currently, the organization has a "horse wait list."

If you'd like to tour the property and visit with scintillating Thoroughbreds such as Arson Squad, I'm Charismatic, Rapid Redux, and Sarava, call or stop by the farm when in the Lexington area. Tours run $10 per person and are free for kids 12 and under (as of June 10, 2014).
Old Friends boasts a bevy of fancy volunteer tour guides. Charlie Brown (no relation, unfortunately, to that phenomenal beagle, Snoopy) led my tour and shared more information and knowledge than my brain could contain. He's got good fun horse stories too. Ask him if you can feed the horses a carrot after arriving at their pasture rails for a super good time.

You can also always call Old Friends at: (859) 873-1612 and make a general donation. 

The horses thank you in advance. They do look forward to their daily carrot treats. 

Retirees' Running Land, go horses, go! Be free!!

Horses at Old Friends currently range in age from 5 to 31 years. I asked about the 5-year old gelding in particular, because it made me curious why he was so much younger than the other horses at the facility. (Most are around ten or twenty years.) Long story short, the horse simply needed a place to call home after he could no longer race. I LOVE THIS PLACE! 

If you've ever longed to spend time with a bonafide movie star, Old Friends is the place for you. Fancy pants, Popcorn Deelites, played Seabiscuit in the film adaptation of the book. Can't get any better than feeding that guy a carrot if you're into celebrity crushes. 

Other horses waiting for you to visit and tell them how fabulous they are and how much you appreciate them are: Ogygian, Kudos, Gulch, Danthebluegrassman, and Affirmed Success. 

If you are anything like me and literally long for the day when you will have enough land to accommodate all the horses you can safely fit and care for, but do not currently have any way to purchase said land, pretend-own a horse by buying a share of one of the horses being cared for at Old Friends. Visit the organization's web site to make that happen by clicking here. Scroll down to the heading...

Like I said at the onset of this post, one day when I pass on from this breathtaking planet I hope to be blessed with good fortune that affords me the peace and quiet of permanently residing in the rolling green hills of bluegrass Kentucky. 

I'm talking to you Old Friends cemetery. No pressure, I'm just saying think about it. I know my pedigree is definitely lacking by T-bred racehorse standards, but I'd promise to be grateful for the ground space under your trees. 

On a more serious note, it was truly a joy to visit Old Friends equine farm and see these gorgeous racehorses who worked so hard to entertain humans at the tracks, being properly cared for in their retirement. Every horse I saw in pasture or stall, was in good health and if he or she had an ailment, it was being tended to with the utmost concern and care. If only, every owner took equally grand care of his own horses at the end of their careers, what a lovely world it would be. 

One last shout out: horse trainer Tim Wilson is actually the wonderful person who pointed me in the direction of Old Friends. He's a trainer working out of various farms, including The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, KY. He knows his stuff. And he's an enjoyable person to talk to who knows how to effectively communicate important things about racehorses. So if you're looking for a second home for your burgeoning two-year old, look no further. Thanks for the fun morning, Tim. I loved Secret Twelves!

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