“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” ~ Mark Twain
I didn’t hear a thing until Mama Heis said, “There’s someone calling your name,” as she pointed toward the wall. I didn’t have my glasses on, so it took me a second to hone in on the smile. I couldn’t believe it: Laverne Fallen Yates! We have been missing each other at this event and that for years. Laverne and I both hail from Morgan County with strong ties to Cannel City. We’ve not been hurting for things to talk about for sure. It’s not place or people that have made her special to me, but her sense of humor, her compassionate heart, and her level-headed attitude that have been endearing. She has been walking the outhouse journey with me since just about the beginning. That gives you some idea of how long it’s been that we’ve been missing each other at various events. In hindsight, I should have bought a lottery ticket after I finally saw her. In seriousness, lotto winnings or not, I feel awfully lucky to count Laverne as a friend, and I’m honored she has kept up with me all this time. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another seven years to run into each other.
“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
There was no way it wasn’t going to rain last Saturday before the weenie dog races, but we had time to watch the warm ups and the lightning. It was interesting that they warmed up going the opposite direction of the race. But, ya know, everything else about harness racing was new to me, so why not? <snort> Changing gears, a note on Aretha Franklin’s passing today. If God had a voice on this earth, it rang out through Aretha’s songs. What a glorious gift she shared with the world. I was so lucky to live during the era of great music and she was leading the pack. Interesting that she and Elvis both died on the 16th of August. And Madonna turned 60 today. I now feel sufficiently aged, but boy, have I been lucky to be on this planet at the same time as these three and so many other pivotal artists.
“Yield and overcome, empty and be full. Have little and gain, have much and be confused. Not putting on a display, not justifying, not boasting, not bragging. Be really whole and all things will come to you.” ~ Lao Tsu
My horsey peeps came to the rescue yesterday with Freeze Branding; the act of using an iron dipped in liquid nitrogen then applied to the horse’s skin. Freeze branding permanently changes the color of the hair. A welt will rise for a moment after the freezing iron is applied, the hair falls out soon after, and new hair growth comes back in white. I’d love to know how they came up with that for a branding solution. Processing another photo this evening I saw something else I’d never seen. This horse has something in its ear. In the color image it’s pale yellow. I’ve never seen a horse with earplugs. Blinkers, sure, but not earplugs. Is that even a thing for horses? And the harnesses wrapped around the legs look like they’d be very constricting. Are these meant to encourage a particular kind of gait or are they really just to secure the horse to the, gosh I don’t even know what it’s called, the trolly? The buggy? The seat? Well, it’s that thing the jockey sits on. So, come on horsey peeps, tell me more. I’m all ears!
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” ~ Muhammad Ali
So, the thing that surprised me most about harness racing was the gate. I was expecting a stationary gate, the horses get in, the gate opens, the horses run, and then a tractor hauls the gate directly off the track. No. With harness racing, at least this harness race, the horses are behind a gate attached to a moving car that looks like a 1970’s model hearse, and when the car gets to the finish post, it suddenly speeds away and the horses start racing. Wasn’t expecting that at all. I have no idea where the car went. I got distracted by something else around me and didn’t see it.
Thoroughbreds have tattoos inside their upper lips to prevent theft either at the track, or sales, or another public venue. You would never see it unless you fold back their upper lip. I didn’t notice the tattoo on these horses until I processed the photos. I say tattoo but, really, it looks more like an ID that’s been painted on to their hair beneath their manes. If someone out there knows if this is a permanent ID I’d be interested to know. I’m going to enjoy shooting more of this harness racing business.
“Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself” ~ Robert Green Ingersoll
Before the skies opened Saturday evening they were able to run a single horse race. I’d never seen harness racing before, but I can see that it will afford me a cool op to practice with movement. In case you can’t tell (because weird things happen when I downsize for the blog), the lead horse’s head is in focus though nothing else is. I love that kind of thing. I shot a couple like this Saturday. I can’t wait to shoot more.