(A day at the Keeneland Race Course. In January. In the bitter cold. In absolute paradise. / All Photos by Holly M. Smith)
I think most of us all would agree. There is nothing more beautiful than watching a Thoroughbred do what a Thoroughbred is born to do.
The ease of the motion.
The drive of the engine.
The glide through the air, when all four wheels have left the ground.
The stretch of the neck for lift-off.
The reach of the legs for another touch down.
And, all the while, the rider sits, stands, crouches, and guides.
In harmony. Synchronized. A team. A pair. A tandem.
It is amazing to watch the horse and human.
It is fun to hear them come, like a train in the distant future.
It is great to watch them go, like a jet into the soon-to-be past.
It is what makes us get up in the morning. A cold, winter’s morning on some occasions. And, it is what compels us to go to the track to just watch. And, listen. And, smile — underneath a parka and hood; far below the surface and hidden behind the growler of wool.
If nobody else could tell, you feel the smile inch across the crusty cold face — stiffened by a wind chill factor of one.
If nothing else, it will warm the soul — even when the wind numbs the toes.
If nothing else, it is why Kentucky and Kentuckians love the horse. Why some roll out of a warm bed too early. Why others roll down the highway some 65 miles. Why some brave Mother Nature to capture Father Time in poetry forever.
On this day, our very own photographer, Holly M. Smith, bundled up and headed off to Lexington and Keeneland — two of the most beautiful places on God’s wintergreen Earth.
On this day, our very own horse aficionado, Holly M. Smith, took her camera in hand and captured both the snow on the banks and the horse in the river of dirt.
On this day, our very own artist, Holly M. Smith, took time to refuel her love for the horse by looking; searching; and clicking. The photos don’t tell the entire story. But they give you a strong hint.
Thoroughbreds go to the track each and every day.
Not just on the warm days.
Not just on the sunny days.
Not just on the convenient days.
And, along with them, go the people to wash them; feed them; train them; care for them; and most of all?
Holly M. Smith loves them. And, she loves to photography them.
In all their glory.
On Saturday, they were in their glory.
Take a look: