Touring Derby Country: The Great Little Silver Charm

Little Silver Charm, the star of Old Friends Retirement Farm

I now follow a horse on Twitter and Facebook. But this isn’t just any horse, he is the great Little Silver Charm. I met him for the first time on the farm where he is spending his “retirement years”, Old Friends, an equine retirement center home located in Georgetown, Kentucky, just outside of Lexington.

Old Friends is home to many past Derby winners and race horses, but the real star is Little Silver Charm or 'Charmie' as he's known to his thousands of followers and fans (follow him on Twitter or his Facebook page). He was a rescue show pony who today considers himself an entertainer.

He’s a blonde, loves kids, carrots, and plays soccer in YouTube videos.  He often talks about his crush, a horse named Zenyatta, and he seems to enjoy posing for quite a few pictures that are auctioned off to benefit Old Friends. He even has his own miniature replica toy available on Ebay.

I was visiting Lexington to see the historic Keenland Racecourse when it was recommended I take a diversion to Old Friends. It was worth the drive.

The founder of Old Friends is Michael Blowden, a former film critic for the Boston Globe. Today, the not-for-profit organization operates three farms that house over 100 former race horses in what can be described as a "living history museum of horse racing". But as Charmie puts it, he’s the main attraction.

A trip to the farm is a lovely break during the Kentucky Derby week or any time when you are in the Bluegrass Area. Getting there is easy. From Louisville/the Churchill Downs area, the drive is about one hour. Take I-64 east towards Lexington to US 62 West and turn left on Paynes Depot Road.

Walking tours are available by reservation only and cost $10 per person; kids are free. There is a lovely gift shop where I bought a commemorative mug.

You can support Old Friends by making a donation on their website or participate in the Ferdinand’s Ball, a gala event at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, during Kentucky Derby Weekend.

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