Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Three Chimneys Tour

Today I went on a tour of Three Chimneys, and it was great! There were only a few people..I think there were 9 scheduled to be there, but mabe the weather scared them off. It was cold and rainy. I thought I got some pretty good pictures though!

Ok first off when I got there I went to the Visitor's Center, posted above. Apparently my pictures are going to go to the top. While there they had a short movie going and it seemed to be more about Smarty Jones than anything, but I didn't see that much of it. They have a couple of really nice paintings of him and Stewert Elliot on the wall, plus all kinds of letters and some paper clippings on the wall about Smarty. On the center table they have brochures about the farm and the stallions.

Sorry the picture is blurry, but I think my camera wanted to focus on raindrops lol. This is Big Brown waiting anxiously to be put into his stall. I think most of the other stallions were in and he knew that. He is the first horse we saw as his paddock is near the Visitor's Center.
Here is my photobucket site with the pictures. I don't know yet how to post them the way I want. They all want to go up to the top of the page!
thought Big Brown looked really good since he really just came off the track. He felt very good and he did have both front feet wrapped in Duct tape and Vet Rap, but The Stallion Manager said that his front shoes were still on, and his hooves need to grow out from where they were injured, esp the one where he took off his quarter. The wraps were just there to protect his feet.
After we looked at Big Brown, we trotted off to the first big stallion barn. They actually have two big barns and a couple of smaller ones that house 2 stallions a piece. When we got in Smarty Jones had just been "collected" in the breeding shed, which is right off the barn, so we got a treat as the groom let him out into the main area and let us take pictures.
Sandy Hatfield (stallion manager) said that the farm still gets letters wondering about Smarty, and some people are very concerned that Big Brown will take over as the "big" horse there, but not to worry. Smarty is still the guy.
I had a bit of a hard time with the close up's of the head, because it was dark no matter if I used a flash or not.
One thing about Smarty, Sandy said he doesn't have a mean bone in his body, BUT he LOVES to bite, and he probably bites his groom at least once a day.
As soon as Smarty was put away, Big Brown came in out of the rain. as you can see his front feet are wrapped up. He was feeling really good and had a hard time standing still.
Sorry about the blurr, i was trying to get a good picture of his "birthmark" as Sandy called it.
After we went to the first stallion barn, we went outside and Sandy showed us the exercise ring they use for the injured or horses too mean to ride (AKA Dynaformer lol). Somebody asked about Big Brown, if he was being ridden and obviously he is not. I am not even sure he goes in the ring yet. Sandy said they like to make sure the stallions have a really good heart before they go into breeding season lol.
Before we went outside actually, we went into the breeding shed and she told us the process of the breeding. The floor is covered with 14 inches of recycled tire shreds and there are two areas in the room for breeding. One area is for mares taller than the stallions, and one for shorter mares. The taller mares stand just slightly below ground and the shorter mares are on a bit of a hill to make it easier for the stallions. The mares go into the teaser's shed right from the truck. The very first thing is that she is cleaned with soap and water, then they are first met by the teaser to make sure they are ready and to make sure they are not going to kill the stallion lol. If the mare is ok with everything she is led to the breeding shed and first they are fitted with boots on their back feet, so if they kick out, it won't be so bad. Then a lip twitch is used, to distract from the stuff going on in the shed, as these mares tend to be a little scared and not knowing what the heck is going on. Then a leather strap is fitted around a front leg, so as the stallion mounts it is lifted up so the mare cannot kick out, then her foot is put back down so she can carry his weight. After she is bred she goes right back on the truck and away she goes. The whole process is about 15 minutes.
After the breeding shed we went outside and thats when she told us about the exercise ring, and we went into one of the smaller barns that had two horses in it. I didn't get any pics of that barn but its kinda like a smaller version of the big ones, but these are actually made out of 200 year-old logs and they are Amish design. I believe Good Reward was in that barn.
After that we went into the second big barn and there was Dynaformer!
I think he had just come out of the rain too. Sandy said that he is bred to about 90 mares because of his age. Their limit is 110 mares for each stallion. I think Dynaformer and Rahy get the same number. I asked Sandy if La Ville Rouge will be bred back to Dynaformer this year and she figures that she will be, but she cannot be for certain. She figures she will be because the Jacksons really want that filly lol.
They had just been fed so he didn't care too much about us. Their food smelled really good. He had also just been brought out from outside.
On the other side of the second barn there are a pile of pastures, with a really wide area down between them. It is really nice looking and ALOT of room. After seeing the stallons Sandy took us to the cematary. Wild Again doesn't have a stone yet, it's apparently on order. His grave is covered in hay, so there was really nothing I could get a picture of.
That's it for the pictures. It is really a nice place and Sandy Hatfield is a really nice lady and very good tour guide! It costs $5 for a tour This is the first year they are charging, and it's because they have lost money like everyone else and they don't want to cut back on their charities. They give over $150,000 a year to charities, and so the tour money is going towards that.
She said that they sell about 500 horses a year, and I can't remember how much they make, but she said they lost about the same percentage of money as Keeneland did this November sale, which was about 45%.
Hope everyone enjoys the pictures. Sorry some of them are blurry.
Hope you read this as you look at the pictures. I will eventually learn how to post them right on the blog.

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