Room to Run

Old Friends Farm is a wonderful place. Opened in 2003 by a man named Michael Blowen, it is a beautiful farm where old thoroughbred race horses can live out their golden years. It’s a place where you can hear about the storied careers of these magnificent horses and get up close and personal with them. Carrots seem to be their favorite snack and our guide carried a big bucket of them with him on our tour. While some of the older ones needed them shredded a bit more, they all knew it was carrot time when we came to their paddock. Some would walk over and some would gracefully run to meet us. While you did have to pay attention and not turn your back except to a select few as they might nip you, the majority of the horses there were sweet and gentle. Everyone, old and young, myself included really loved having these horses eat carrots out of our hands. It was a real treat and put a smile on everyone’s faces.

Every horse had its own personality and character, and our guides were so knowledgeable and obviously truly loved these horses. There were some pretty famous horses there too, including Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners War Admiral and Silver Charm. War Admiral was in a double fenced paddock and you couldn’t feed him as he could be a bit moody, but Silver Charm was a charmer for sure - sometimes it’s funny what’s in a name.

War Admiral

Silver Charm

Movie Star Popcorn Deelites

We even got to meet a famous movie star while we were there. Popcorn Deelites wasn’t much of a racehorse, but bears an uncanny resemblance to Seabiscuit. He was one of six horses who played the famous thoroughbred in the 2003 movie about his life. Popcorn Deelites was used in all of the gate scenes, and also some of the racing scenes. I didn’t know I would see a star of the silver screen during my visit.

Alphabet Soup and Gorgeous George

One of my favorite experiences at Old Friends Farm was visiting with Alphabet Soup. Alphabet Soup won the 1996 Breeders Cup and earned just under 3 million dollars in his career. A striking horse in his own right, he was also incredibly friendly. What made him my favorite, though, was his roommate and bosom buddy Gorgeous George, a donkey who is always by his side. Everyone needs a best friend, and this was adorable.

All of the horses we visited while we were there seemed to really be enjoying a carefree retirement. They were well fed, had plenty of space to roam and got top-notch veterinary care. There was even a cemetery to mark those one-time residents who had gone to the great racetrack in the sky.

My time at Old Friends Farm outside of Lexington was excellent. I didn’t necessarily want to visit one of the horse farms in the area until I heard about this one. I love horses and thought it would be great to see these old fellas who may be past their racing prime, but deserve a nice place to live nonetheless. I loved our guides who had great stories to share and seemed genuinely happy to be there and show off their friends to us. If you’re ever in the Lexington area, you should definitely make it a point to get out to this farm and make some new old friends!

Who Wouldn’t Love a Face Like This?