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Program 1218

1. Old Friends Equine
2. the Heartland Dulcimer Club
3. tapestry maker Joanna Sosnicki
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Woodford County

For more information:
Old Friends Equine, Hurstland Farm, 484 Spring Station Rd., Midway, KY 40347, (859) 846-9094

Producer: Valerie Trimble
Videographers: Michael Follmer, David Dampier
Audio: Thomas Cooper, Charlie Bissell
Editor: Jim Piston

Retired Royalty

Old Friends Equine

In Woodford County, there’s a place where champion athletes are put out to pasture—and it’s just exactly where they want to be.

Old Friends, a retirement home for racehorses, lets fans get up close and personal with former track stars. Tours include videos of the residents’ racetrack triumphs and then a chance to meet the horses themselves.

Michael Blowen, a former film critic for the Boston Globe, started Old Friends to rescue horses that otherwise might meet ugly ends. The first horse to come to the facility, located on a section of Hurstland Farm in Midway, was the daughter of a stallion who had ended up in an overseas slaughterhouse and was herself in danger because she had reached the end of her breeding career. This mare, with the poetically appropriate name Narrow Escape, is now Old Friends’ grand dame.

In 2003, many more people became aware of Blowen’s cause when Blood-Horse magazine reported the shocking death of Ferdinand. Winner of the 1986 Kentucky Derby, he had been sold to a breeding operation in Japan, and for a time commanded high stud fees. But when he was no longer profitable as a stallion, he was “disposed of”—sold for slaughter. If there’s a silver lining to Ferdinand’s story, Blowen says, it’s the attention his death brought to a previously little-known dark side of the thoroughbred industry. Ferdinand’s death has led to reforms in business practices, including buy-back clauses in sales contracts with overseas operations, as well as the institution of special funds for caring for retired racehorses.

At Old Friends, there’s no charge to take the standard two-hour tour—but Blowen and his dedicated staff will definitely accept donations. The facility is the only one of its kind that accepts stallions, and bringing them back from stud duty overseas is particularly expensive.

At the time of our visit, the current complement of Old Friends residents included several such retired studs, plus mares and geldings—and one movie star: Popcorn Deelites was one of the six horses who played Seabiscuit in the Hollywood film.

Hardin County

For more information:
Heartland Dulcimer Club, (270) 862-9747

Producer: Dave Shuffett
Videographer: Prentice Walker
Audio: Thomas Cooper
Editor: Dan Taulbee

Music from the Heartland

the Heartland Dulcimer Club

In our next segment, host Dave Shuffett drops in on a meeting of the Heartland Dulcimer Club in Elizabethtown. These fans of mountain and hammer dulcimers and other traditional folk instruments gather at the First Presbyterian Church on the first and third Mondays of each month to play, share songs, and swap tips on technique.

The Heartland club is a performing group, too, playing events from wedding receptions to regional bluegrass and folk music festivals. It also sponsors an annual fall festival of its own, which includes both jam sessions and workshops. And thanks to CDs and the Internet, the club now has fans around the world.

Back home in Hardin County, the Heartland Dulcimer Club also fulfills an educational mission by maintaining an extensive library of traditional songs.

During our visit, Dave talks with President Lorinda Jones and Vice President Larry Stiles, and then everyone gets down to the main agenda of the club’s meetings: enjoying playing music together.

Simpson County

For more information:
• Joanna Sosnicki, (615) 826-2165

Producer, editor: Cassandra Arza
Videographer: D. Anthony Noel

Homemade Art

tapestry artist Joanna Sosnicki

Like many people, Joanna Sosnicki has long admired the artistry and skill of Old World tapestries. But purchasing these antique masterworks was a little beyond her decorating budget. So this talented Simpson County needlecrafter decided to start creating her own versions. In this profile, we visit her home to see some of the painstaking process—and some of the impressive results.

SEASON 12 PROGRAMS: 120112021203120412051206120712081209121012111212
1213121412151216121712181219122012211222: Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures

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