Just Ask Them!
Our quartet of resident know-it-alls are ready to spill the beans about life at the farm. They know a bit about racing too!
Submit your questions on our Contact Us page.
I’m Little Silver Charm, the little horse with all the answers. I need no introduction. But, if you insist. I am the hardest working horse on the farm. Our retired Thoroughbreds lounge around in their paddocks all day, waiting to be admired, while I work my little hooves to the bone – leading tours, posing for photographs, initiating public outreach and a lot more – raising money so that they can continue to stand around and do nothing. I continue to branch out in all directions. My latest venture involves being spokes horse for the town of Georgetown, where Old Friends is located. The tourism office has produced a handsome brochure featuring Georgetown’s, “Pure Small-Town Charm”. Guess whose picture is on every page? That’s right. Yours Truly, “Georgetown’s celebrity miniature horse”.
Questions for Little Silver Charm
Ultimately, the decision is Michael’s, but I help him by acting as a sounding board during our daily walks. We like to achieve a balance, so that for every champion we welcome, we try to take in a horse who needs a home. Michael always listens to me and rarely accepts a horse without my approval.
The horses you see alone are stallions who tend to be aggressive especially with other stallions. Some stallions will accept a companion animal, the way Alphabet Soup made friends with Gorgeous George, a miniature donkey.
Silver Charm is a perfect gentleman, kind, friendly, and dignified without being aloof. He is everything his admirers say he is, and more. In contrast with some other champions who live and have lived at Old Friends – I will mention no names – he is gentle and even-tempered. And he has a great sense of humor. He always laughs at my jokes.
Thousands! They come from everywhere, from as far away as Mongolia and South Africa and Australia! It’s possible that they come to visit some of our other horses at Old Friends, but I’m the one they talk about when they’re heading home. I may be little, but I make a big impression.
They’re our favorite treat. Each week we devour 250 to 300 pounds of carrots here at the main farm. That’s a lot of carrots, more than 13,000 pounds a year.
My name is Fonzi and I’m from Ohio—that’s right, I’m a Buckeye (Go, Bengals!). And yeah, sure, that spokes-horse dude on the main farm gets all the limelight, but I’m small and really cute, too, (I’m a paint, for God sakes) and I essentially rule the lower ground over here at Old Friends’ Mari Hulman George annex. LSC may be the quarterback, but I’m like a left tackle. Don’t mess with me.
I moved “south” to Old Friends in 2015—my dad, Jim Benson, wanted a better life for me after all the kids left and I was alone all the time—and my first job was as First Mini at our satellite at Kentucky Downs right near the “other” Bowling Green. When that closed, I relocated to Georgetown and took the job here.
Questions for Fonzi
I have my own bodyguard, Dueling Alex, who never won a stakes but pocketed over $178,000 in his career.Sweet!I hooked up with him right away. I may be small and mighty, but having a full-time, 1,200-pound security officer can’t hurt, right? And he’s the son of Medaglia d’Oro, so I figured he might have, you, know…connections in Youngstown.
We don’t have many tourists, so the treat train pulls into town less often (what I wouldn’t do for a good cheese coney dog…). But we have lots of horses here, 57 altogether, and Bill, Tammy, and James take great care of us. In addition to me and Alex, we have all the other Kentucky Downs residents—like Canadian Horse of the Year Thornfield, Ball Four, and Sgt. Bert, among others. Other big names include multiple graded stakes winner Joking, the stallion Doneraile Court, and Syndergaard—who, I hear, is still waiting for Noah to show up and pay his respects. (Syn, he’s too busy getting whooped by Gutierrez, ha!)
At my age—I’m 23—not too much. On a slow day, I get to watch reruns of The Drew Carey Show.
Hey, y’all! Gorgeous George here to satisfy your curiosity about some of the numerical aspects of Old Friends and our retirees. Now don’t let my country vernacular and humble face lead you to make judgements about my depth of knowledge when it comes to numbers and stats. I may not be as tall, as sleek, or as athletic as some of my fellow colleagues and I may not have been born on a thoroughbred farm in the Bluegrass, but you can rely (ne…you can bet) on the accuracy of my knowledge where the numbers about this place and these horses are concerned. So without further ado, let’s get crunchin’! (Numbers…not carrots. Not yet anyway.)
Questions for Gorgeous George
You and I is 31 years old. Our youngest resident is a three-year-old young lady. She’s so wet behind the ears that she does not yet have a name. We’ll be having a contest to help her out with that. She seems a kind and friendly sort and we’ll have her sorted out officially in no time.
Heck yeah! Shoot, y’all we’ve had three Kentucky Derby winners retired to Old Friends! Silver Charm (1997) is our super star attraction! At one time we also cared for Charismatic (1999) and War Emblem (2002), but sadly both of them have passed.
Preakness winners you ask? Ab-so-lutely! The very same three horses I just named! Believe me when I say I have been in awe of the two I’ve met and truth be told they have been in awe of my mathematical prowess. Well…Silver Charm is suitably impressed, and though he acted like he didn’t care, War Emblem was, too. I could see it in his eyes…when I had the nerve to sneak a glance.
Belmont winners? Now they’re a story. We have three Belmont winners here, too. That’s more than any other Thoroughbred farm! Residin’ here at Old Friends you’ll find Touch Gold (1997), Sarava (2002) and Birdstone (2004). The funny thing about these guys is they’re all spoilers and party poopers who burst the balloon of three horses who were certain they would be Triple Crown Champions. If you’re comparin’ dates, (and I know you number geeks like me are doin’ just that) you’ll have figured out who two of those horses are.
Horses in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame? Well, as a matter of fact, there have been two. Precisionist was the first Hall of Famer to live here. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003. He was long before my time, but I know he was exceptionally close to Michael, just like our other inductee, Silver Charm who was given the honor in 2006.
We sure do! Eleven of them!! We have horses that were born in Great Britain(Forte dei Marmi, Hi Dubai, Marshall Rooster and Rathor), Ireland (Boule d’Or, Daytona and Padua’s Pride), Germany(Wake Forest) , Australia (Interwin), Argentina (Star Plus), Chile (Porfido and Tricky Hat).
Now you’re talkin’ my kind of numbers! Our horse who earned the most on the track is…you guessed it… Silver Charm. He brought home $6,944,369!!! Game On Dude is next in line with career earnin’s of $6,498,893. I’ll save you the trouble of going for your calculator. That’s a mere difference of $445, 476. See how fast I did that? The combined earnin’s of all the Old Friends retirees, livin’ and deceased, comes to over $250,000,000!! Alright now. Pick your jaw up off the ground. It’s a bit embarrassin’.
Hi! I’m Winston, living the “mini” life at Ashton Grove Senior Living! My Mom and Dad, Christy and Kevin Cassady, trained me as a therapy horse, taking me to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where, they say, I brought joy to many. (How could I not?—I’m so freakin’ tiny and adorable, and I’m a real people mini.) Then–boom–COVID-19 hit and my career went belly up. When my folks read about Ashton Grove and Old Friends, they thought I could really make a difference here. Christy is a volunteer, so I still get to see her all the time. Win win. I’ve even been a carriage horse. It will all be in the autobiography I’m toying with penning in my spare time.
Questions for Winston
There are great advantages to actually living at a Senior Living facility. Human retirees are da bomb! They bring us goodies all the time, and come hang out just for the sake of hanging out. They say to them we are all Grade 1 winners—even me. I’m not sure what a Grade 1 is, but if it means continues treats, I’ll take it.
Nice, right? And no, it’s not Clairol–I was born this way. I’m called a pinto, which means I am white with large patches of another color, usually brown or black. If you really want the nitty gritty, our coat patterns even have names: like tobiano, and overo.
Duh, just look at us. We are vertically challenged. Actually, to be classified as a genuine “mini” you must be 34 inches high at the withers or under. This according to the American Miniature Horse Association.
Why do you ask—do I look peaked? Seriously, I do get this question a lot. Statistically, us bite-size guys can live up to one-third longer than average horses. It’s like a Chihuahua living longer than a Great Dame. Our life span averages from 25 to 35 years, sometimes longer. I’m only 13, so here’s to many more birthdays!
Eat. Roll. Score carrots. Nap. Repeat.