Diamond Dale Farm--Life at the Farm

[align=center]Diamond Dale Farm[/align]
[align=center]Chapter One: Hope on the Horizon[/align]
The bay colt leaned his head over his stall door, his long, intricate ears pricked forward as he watched Rose walk up the aisle with sparkling dark eyes.  Every couple of seconds, the heavy barn silence was broken by the scraping of front hoof on the stall door.[br]

The morning sun was just rising as Kayte walked out to the 10 stall barn behind her house, following the well-worn gravel path that led to the small, aluminum-sided building.  Giving a yawn, she remembered the late night she had had, briefly wondering why she did this to herself.  Walking through the open sliding door, she was quickly given the answer to her silent question.

Four Thoroughbreds hung their heads over their stall doors when they heard her boots on the concrete floor just inside the entrance way, ears forward and eyes sparkling with eagerness.  The air that was silent was suddenly filled a chorus of whinnies, snorts and kicks of hunger, as if the animals hadn’t been fed in ages.  Kayte gave a rueful smile as she pulled the first flakes of hay from a nearby haybale.  Of the nine horses that called Diamond Dale home at the moment, four had been kept indoors for the night- the other five were enjoying the cool summer night air.

“You guys act like I don’t feed you.” she commented with a chuckle, tossing her first handful into the first stall to her left.  The small liver chestnut colt, Blind Ambition, gave one last kick with a foreleg before darting to follow the hay, dipping his head to roughly grab his first mouthful.  Stopping for a moment, Kayte eyed the 2 year old, trying to figure out what she was going to do with colt.  He was a handsome animal, despite being very small for a Thoroughbred at a scant fourteen hands three inches high.  Kayte wondered if that was part of the reason why he had been such a disappointment at the track so far, with no effort thrown in any of his three starts to date.  He had been sent to the track recently with the thoughts of another start nearly 2 months after his previous one but he had tired quickly during training.  Not wanting to injure the horse, Kayte had him sent back to the the farm, with the plan to let him have the run of the paddocks for the next couple of months. Maybe some time given grow would help the colt and there was a small hope the horse would make it to the track as a 2 year old and gain some experience before the tougher 3 year old races.

Moving, she grabbed another few flakes and tossed it to the second horse across the aisle from Blind Ambition.  Gold Edition was the newest edition to the farm, now one of the two steeplechasers Kayte had decided to keep on in training.  His second place finish across the pond in the Tiverton Stakes had been stunning in her eyes and when she had heard that the farm that owned him was looking for an owner, she quickly snatched the chance.  She was going to give him a rest at the farm and bring him back in a month or so, hoping that he could recreate the success in his last start when she ran him back in North America.

“Hope you like the American turf, buddy.” she said to the bay gelding, watching him politely drop his head and pull away some hay.  The muscular sixteen hand high horse watched her thoughtfully, as if he were still unsure of what to make of her.  Kayte like his look and knew that when his career was over, he would easily make the transition from steeplechaser to stadium jumper–while tall, he was well-put together with lovely round set of hindquarters.

Next door, Humble Trick was snorting and pacing his box stall, pawing anxiously at the straw by his door.  The massive horse was so unlike his former competitor to his left–where Gold Edition was compact and muscular, Humble Trick was tall, lanky and sinewy.  This was Kayte’s baby, the reason why she was starting to consider branching into steeplechasing.  The strawberry roan gelding relished on distance and had been the woman’s first winner at the trying distance of 2 miles.  Due to that fact, she had switched the gelding over from flat to jumps when she couldn’t find a dirt or turf race that suited is amazingly long stride and deep well of stamina, hoping that the switch wasn’t too much for the horse.

His first start as a steeplechaser had been both a disappointment and thrill at the same time.  Entered in 12.5 furlong allowance at Woodbine over the jumps, the distance showed how much he seemed to enjoy pushing himself as far as he could go- he had settled his massive bulk far back and started rolling just as the wire flashed.  Even the jockey had commented that he seemed to want to go further and was surprised that he was being pulled up when he was.  Just that alone gave Kayte the confidence to throw her golden boy into the Tiverton Stakes.  While he didn’t win, his fourth place finish gave her even more reason to keep him in stakes company–an exciting prospect as she had never been able to consider that before with any of her horses.

Humble Trick practically ran to his pile of hay, taking a mouthful before he seemed to remember who gave it to him.  He stepped back to the front of his stall, nudging Kayte’s shoulder as if in thanks for breakfast.  Kayte smiled.

“You’re welcome, dude” she whispered, before moving onto the last horse, her newly retired grey gelding Say the Word.