Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Off to the Races

We spent the day at the horse races last Saturday. It was so beautiful outside. The horse races and I go way back.

We have owned horses ever since I can remember. This is a picture of me with my dad when I was a little girl. Seeing this picture takes me back to a time when my dad had two legs and we spent lots of time outside together at the barn. He loves horses and so do I.

Dad loved to raise babies and watch them grow, and I loved this too. He had many rules for me around the horses especially the babies since the mares were so protective, but I distinctly remember breaking those rules a few times. My love of horses has stayed with me throughout life even when a horse nearly took my life from me, but that's a story for another day.

Dad raced horses on the flat track in the summer. I can't believe how young he looks in this picture. These race horses were especially my favorites. They knew how beautiful they were. They were athletes and they loved the opportunity to run.

In the winter he raced horses on the chariot. It was so fun to watch him work hard with the horses and then cheer them on as they raced for the finish line. I remember it was so cold and we would gather in the back of the truck around a heater and drink hot chocolate. When they were finally over at the end of the day we always went home to eat mom's homemade chili and we watched Hee Haw while warming up by the fire. Our Saturday ritual in those winters past is engrained in my brain, and the memories bring back the cold air, the warm fire, the smell chili and being together with my parents. I remember it well.

Those days are long gone, and we don't own anymore race horses, but my kids love going to the track. They love to watch the horses run as they work together to be the first to cross that invisible line.

There are so many things to enjoy at the races. First of all it is a beautiful setting with the mountains sitting directly behind the track. How can we not be amazed by their majesty?

And then there is the thrill of the race. The anticipation of the horses as they make their way down the track, hooves pounding, tails trailing and mud flying.

The drivers do their best to keep the horses working together in the fastest line possible to the finish, and they are also anxious to see what the animals they believe in can accomplish each time they step on the track.

The three of them have worked hard for this day, and it is time to see what kind of a team they have become.

It all comes down to trust, rhythm, and of course speed!

Grandpa says, "Never bet against the grays." That is if you're the bettin' kind.

But this boy is too busy for bettin'. He would rather look at the horses and run up and down the rail racing against them in his mind.

And this girl, she prefers the pretty ones. The ones with braided mane and tails. The fancy ones.

And if we were the bettin' kind, we'd take this girl to Vegas!

Yes, my kids love the races and I'm so glad they do. I'm happy that they get to experience at least a portion of what I did when I was their age. Although we don't own racehorses, we do have horses. This is the only gray they are wise enough not to bet on. This is Hal, and if you can't tell he likes to eat. We would only bet on him if there was food at the finish line! He's no race horse, but oh how they love him.


Anonymous said...[Reply to comment]

These pictures are beautiful!! The way you capture the ambiance is just breathtaking.

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