farm tours

Busy summer

Posted on July 15, 2009. Filed under: farm tours, TheHorseySet.Net, writing | Tags: , , , |

We all could write that same headline. I just wanted to update y’all on what’s been going on since I got my bermudas in a bunch over Uhura.

Trip to Virginia

A friend and I went to Virginia for the Hunt Country Stable Tour. I’m milking the trip for all it’s worth for posts for The Horsey Set Net. That link is the gateway to more links to the previous entries, if you’d like to read them. Photos, too. 🙂 I have two (maybe three?) more planned.

BISW (Book in Six? Weeks)

In our case, it’s Book in Seven Weeks. The Charter Oak Romance Writers group, one of the two RWA chapters to which I belong, is having an amass-pages-like-a-maniac event from early July through the third week of August. Even though I’m too repressed to be much of a maniac, I’m moving forward. Last week? Crazy good. This week? Oh, not so much.

I pretty much set aside the summer to work as much as I can on my long-standing WIP.

I reduced my posting schedule for the horse blog to twice a week, after having posted daily during the Triple Crown races.  Curiosity about those races drove a lot of traffic to my little horsey blog. Some of those readers have stayed on to become RSS feed subscribers.

More travel planning

I’m going to Saratoga for the first time during The Season. Heck, I’m just going to Saratoga for the first time in the nearly 30 years that we’ve lived here.

I’m also working on a strange combined trip to Kentucky and Indianapolis for the fall. Fly into Louisville, drive to Indianaoplis for an event, drive back to Kentucky for a few days, then fly home from Louisville. It seemed like a good idea when I dreamed it up.

At-home feline health care

Our 12-year-old kitty Amber has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. First, we had trouble figuring out how to get the meds into her. Now, we pulverize the pill and mix it into soft food. Twice a day.

Soon, she got too much of the medication and turned into Yoda with itchy ears. We got her meds balanced (more like, reduced by half). She has  mellowed out and looks fluffy again, but she’s getting a bit dodgy about the meds and her “treat.” It’s ongoing. When I finish this, I’ll lure her out for her morning’s dose. I hope.

In case you’re wondering, she lets DH give her her “treats.” But we’re the only ones. Travel as a couple may be out of the picture for a while. And I don’t want to really think much beyond that. 😦

Frankly, how she is while I’m in Saratoga and after my return will tell me if I should go hrough with my travel plans to KY in October, let alone next October for the World Equestrian Games (like the Olympics, but rarer – it’s never been held outside Europe.)


I’m battling genetics (a long line of British bulldog women), leftovers from three years on steroids and the menopot. I’m not sure that boot camp at Parris Island would take this off. But I’m doing what I have the strength to do.

* Oh yeah, DH and I scored tickets to see Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig on Broadway in “A Steady Rain.”

I know, I know – some of those spill over into fall. But I have even more big plans for fall, including setting up a blog on my author (to be) website, which is now dormant.

When that finally happens, I’ll link there from here.

But, first, I need to amass many more pages on that novel. And keep that kitty stable.

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Visiting an Old Friend

Posted on February 26, 2008. Filed under: farm tours, horses, KY, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

The horse with his eye on the ridge ahead is Creator. (Let me know if the picture is too big and too slow to load. Creator at the old Old Friends farm

He lives at the Old Friends thoroughbred retirement farm. He’s handsome, egotistical (horse people call that “studly”), territorial and cheerfully willing to bite the hand that feeds him. Of course, anyone who visits Old Friends falls in love with him immediately.

Old Friends has moved since I took this photo. The farm had leased this property but now has its own farm in Georgetown, KY. I haven’t been to the new farm yet. What you see is from a previous location.

But the purchase of the farm has helped with the plan of offering a destination for horse lovers to visit with retired champions. Tours, of course, are offered. And a house on the grounds serves as a B&B. But the best reason for the new property was to expand. Old Friends is now the home to about 28 horses.

Creator was one of the first horses to retire to Old Friends. He’s a former European champion who stood at stud in Japan. Now in Kentucky, he greets adoring visitors to who long to pet that handsome head.

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Homes of the Stars – Part 3

Posted on February 22, 2008. Filed under:, farm tours, horses | Tags: , , , , , , |

As promised, here’s Part 3. If you’re reading this, then you’ve seen my question to Suzanne about obtaining photos. This kind of blog needs photos. So maybe I should just give the horse topic a rest and move on to another topic, until I get this snag solved? ;->

Anyway, I promised a Part 3, so here it is. Enjoy!

So, you just found out that tours of Three Chimneys Farm where the popular Smarty Jones lives are booked up for The Entire Time you’re in central Kentucky? 😦

Never fear — other fabulous horses live here! 🙂 But where are they? And how do you find them?

Thanks to the power of the Internet, you can find out. First, if you’re looking for an individual horse, Google his name and see which farm site has him.

But let’s say that you would like to visit a farm on your own self-guided tour. A Bluegrass thoroughbred breeding farm is a beautiful place to see, kind of like a historic house tour. What visitors usually see on a farm tour is the stallion complex. The facilities often show distinctive architecture and beautiful landscaping. Each one has a different style.

To get an idea, as well as some ideas of where to tour, the website for The Blood Horse is a great place to look.

The Blood-Horse Magazine is a trade journal for thoroughbred racing and breeding. If you love pretty horse photos, you’ll drool over some of the ads on this site. But right now, you’re looking for horse farms to visit.Scroll down the page and keep an eye on the right hand column for the Farm Directory. Heck, you’ve probably noticed that the whole right hand border is ads for stallions and farms.

Click on any one of those ads or listed farms and look for the “about the farm” page. The magic phrase that you’re looking for is “Visitors Welcome” or, better yet, a link to contact for tours.

The farm websites are so pretty that you can almost save yourself the plane, hotel and car rental fare with a virtual tour. Plus, the virtual tour can take you everywhere.

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Homes of the Stars – Part 2

Posted on February 21, 2008. Filed under:, farm tours, horse stories, horses, KY, Lexington, Smarty Jones, The Bluegrass, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Remember Smarty Jones? (A picture would be nice here, wouldn’t it? ;-> Sorry – workin’ on it! 🙂 )

Smarty won the hearts of millions in his bid for the 2004 Triple Crown. Was it his comeback story from a nearly-devastating skull fracture the year before? Or his charming senior owners, The Chapmans, who showed us that dreams can come true? Or the way he ran with his ears pinned flat against his head, as if he knew about aerodynamics?

Well, fans who plan ahead, can visit Smarty. I probably should add that you shouldn’t try to pet him, unless his groom gives permission. We’ll cover horse farm tour etiquette in Part 4. (Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. Just some common sense.)

Anyway, Smarty now leads the life of a breeding stallion at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, KY, which is between Lexington and Louisville. The farm offers tours by appointment only.

I remember that when Smarty’s retirement was imminent, the Chapmans toured the Bluegrass farms in search of the best home, according to articles I read in The One of their requirements was that Smarty retire to a farm where his fans could visit him. Three Chimneys fit the bill. So, a prospective visitor wanting to see Smarty Jones needs to make an appointment. The Three Chimneys website has a link for contact info to reserve tours.

Keep in mind that Smarty is a man in demand, both for human visitors and his dates with The Ladies, which is his real job. There are certain times of year that his human visitor appointment calendar is booked up: the week leading up to the first Saturday in May (KY Derby time) and when events are scheduled at the nearby racetrack Keeneland. Plus, the farm is open for tours probably during limited hours on selected days. “Book early” is good advice to avoid disappointment.

But what if Smarty’s people say he’s tied up (or booked up?) Well, there are plenty of other stars in the Bluegrass.

Finding them will be the topic of tomorrow’s installment, part 3.

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Homes of the Stars – Part 1

Posted on February 20, 2008. Filed under: blogs, farm tours, horses, Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), KY, Lexington, The Bluegrass | Tags: , , , , , |

Let’s say that you’re a fan of Michael Jordan. And let’s say that you find out that he offers “calling hours” every so often in his home. Wouldn’t you like to know more?

Well, if you’re a fan of champion thoroughbred race horses and if that horse is retired in the Lexington, KY, area, you just might be able to go visit him. Some of the farms, although fewer and fewer, accept visitors by appointment. After all, these are still working farms. And breeding thoroughbred horses is big business.

But so is equine tourism – to the tune of $8.8 billion dollars a year, according to the Kentucky Equine Education Project. The Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau offers tourists a page of info on touring the farms. Visitors have a variety of options, ranging from group tours to independently arranging tours with the farms themselves.

Even if you don’t have a favorite horse to see, visiting the farms is a wonderful experience. Many farms are distinctive architectural wonders in themselves. Plus, the farm employees tend to be appreciative of their charges and happy to see interest in them.I tend to prefer calling individual farms myself. My next post tomorrow will cover ways to set up a tour.

(Bear with me. I’m still finding photos and learning this photo isnertion thing. 🙂 Thanks for your patience.)

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