This morning I was almost back to my horse racing roots.
When I was very young, I hung around the horse barns associated with the half mile harness racing track in my home town. The town was the site of the county fair and thus had this race track. Now, I didn’t go there by myself. Very early every Saturday morning my father would take me there to see the horses and watch them train. This started when I was 4 or 5 years old and went until about high school. After that, I was too busy with music lessons on Saturdays.
When I was 7 years old my teacher’s husband owned horses and raced them there. So his horse(s) became our main visiting spot and we watched him train. I remember Ep Calvert even took me with him in the racing cart, called a “sulky”, for a trip around the half mile. The old trainers used to refer to me as “a natural” around horses. I calmed one of Ep’s fillies so much that he asked my parents to bring me all the way to Sandusky, MI (about 40 miles) so that I could be with the horse and keep her calm before her maiden race!
I don’t seem to have any photos of me with those race horses. But here I am riding my uncle’s part-Quarter horse, Bronzie. When I was older, I was allowed to ride him out on the country roads by myself.
However, today I couldn’t go into the barns. These days, the area with the horses is kept secure. I’d heard that the Quarter Chute Cafe had a good view of the horses going back and forth to the track. I went out early, arriving about 7:30 am.
Though the place has been listed as one of the best breakfasts, let’s just say I did not find it so. But the view was as advertised. I watched many horses walk out. The path was marked as “one-way during training times”. The outbound horses walked within about 15 feet of the restaurant window. The returning ones walked past and down the lane to the barns.
I drew so many horses as a kid that I can still draw them from memory! These are a composite of several I saw going by.