Racing

Kentucky Horse Park

Kentucky Horse park.

Last month, guest Kathryn Jane told us interesting facts about the Kentucky Derby. This week I’d like to talk about the Kentucky Horse Park, a unique facility celebrating America’s horses.

Located in Lexington, the home of the Kentucky Derby, the Park is a tribute to the racing Thoroughbred. A huge statue of Man of War stands over his grave in a courtyard near the entrance. On the path leading up to the memorial are markers showing the stride length of a few of the most famous Thoroughbreds of all time. The distance that Secretariat covered in one leap vividly demonstrates why he is still the fastest horse ever. All throughout the park you will find statues and graves of many famous racers and other tributes to the state’s most important industry. In addition, at the Haman of warll of Champions you can see retired Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter Horse racing champions exhibited daily.

The Park was designed as a living museum dedicated to all horses, not just Thoroughbreds. One of its most fascinating features is the International Museum of the Horse, the world’s largest museum chronicling the history of the horse and its importance to man. Associated with the Smithsonian, the IMH uses its 60,000 feet to educate the public about the horse’s unique contributions to human history. As you walk up a long, winding ramp you follow the development of the horse and its various roles throughout time. Also there are interactive exhibits about the Arabian horse, the Kentucky Thoroughbred, Draft horses, Horse Shows, the famous Buffalo Soldiers, and horse-drawn vehicles. In addition to the IMH, there are the American Saddlebred museum and the Wheeler museum, which details all aspects of the hunter/jumper world.

KHP tourOne of the most popular attractions is the Horses of the World. Over thirty different breeds live in the Park and are featured in daily shows or tours. Many unique horses with costumed riders are presented and after the shows visitors can meet and pet their favorites. In addition there are horse drawn tours and carriage rides, horseback riding and pony rides, and in the Spring mares and foals to visit.

If you are at all into horses and end up near Lexington, you should try to visit the Kentucky Horse Park. It’s a fascinating and totally unique experience that the whole family should enjoy—especially any horse crazy female members.

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Photo Kentucky Horse Park courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/rbglasson/3742826141
Photo Mar of War Memorial courtesy of http://www.fotopedia.com/items/kweaver2-JCMfVLC4B
Photo Horse Drawn Tour courtesy of myoldkentucky.blogspot.com/2007/10/kentucky-h
 
Categories: Horses, International Museum of the Horse, Kentucky, Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Horse Park, nature, outdoors, Racing, Show jumping, stables, Thoroughbreds, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

Kentucky Derby Facts

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May is coming soon  and with it the Kentucky Derby. Today author Kathryn Jane, a race horse trainer, tells us some interesting facts about the Derby and its traditions.

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With the approach of the first Saturday in May, better known in my circles as Kentucky Derby day, I thought I’d share six  interesting facts for writers and everyone else.

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When including the Derby in your writing, there are a some things that really shouldn’t involve artistic license so I’ll save you the embarrassment with a few details that may help you with your work, and those of you who aren’t writers will have a tidbit of knowledge to impress your family and friends as you settle in front of the television on May 3rd to watch the 140th Kentucky Derby.

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Fact 1
The Kentucky Derby has been tagged as the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” because the journey begins before a horse is born, takes years of preparation to get to the race itself, and then the whole thing is over in about two minutes.

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Fact 2
The Derby is exclusively for Thoroughbreds in their three year old year. This year, all entrants will be foals of2011, and because Thoroughbreds are typically born between January 01st and May 31st, most of the horses competing will be literally, three years old. (Officially, Thoroughbreds are all considered to have the same birthday, January 1st.)

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Fact 3
The field will be made up of mostly colts. That is, unaltered (unneutered) males. Geldings and fillies are allowed to compete in the race, but fillies usually run in the Kentucky Oaks instead, a race restricted to three year old fillies. There have only been three fillies and nine geldings to win the Derby. Colts and geldings carry 126 lbs, and fillies carry 121lbs

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Fact 4
The Derby is run on a dirt racetrack, never on turf. (Turf is a grass track and a much different surface for horses to run on. Horses are very rarely successful on both surfaces as the two require different types of conformation and running style. It is not unusual for a well-bred horse that has been a racing disappointment on dirt to be switched to turf and show amazing talent.)

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Fact 5
Approximately 400 foals will be nominated each year, and no more than 20 of those will be allowed to compete in the Derby when they turn three. Entry eligibility is based on money earned.

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Fact 6
The race is a mile and a quarter, is run counter clockwise (as are all US horse races), and has never been run in less than one minute and fifty-nine seconds. Secretariat still holds the record for the fastest win at 1:59:4

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It’s been fun to stop by and I’ll stay posted for any questions you’d like to ask

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DaringToLove(2) final coverDaring to Love

A woman who reads hearts…
“Help me…” As an empath working for an organization dedicated to locating missing children, Liz MacKenzie is accustomed to using her unique abilities to sense the emotions of others. She’s not accustomed to hearing them call for her. That’s the specialized skill of a telepath.

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A man who reads minds…

Galen Keifer’s special method of interrogation involves telepathic seduction, a technique that drove away the love of his life two years ago. In spite of their rocky past, Liz has reached out to him again. He’s the one man who may be able to discover the truth about the mysterious voice calling to her.

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A voice from the darkness…

Liz can’t ignore the child’s voice, one that may be connected to a dark secret in her past. Barely recovered from her last rescue mission, she doesn’t trust her own senses, or a man who uses seduction in such a devastating way. But with the possibility of a child’s life in danger, Liz and Galen can’t afford to let it get personal again. Finding the child comes first, even though their hearts and minds are daring them to love…

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THE INTREPID WOMEN SERIES
Stubborn, self-sufficient women, and the men who dare to love them.

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You can find out more about Kathryn at:

Kindle : http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I13NB9U
Print: http://bit.ly/1d8Wq0w
Website: http://kathrynjane.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kathryn.jane.921
Twitter: @Author_Kat_Jane

 

Categories: Horses, Kentucky, Kentucky Derby, Racing, riding, Thoroughbreds, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 16 Comments

Gaits – Not Gates

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Today I’m going to talk about how horses move—their gaits. Contrary to what the movies usually show, horses do more than walk or run flat out. In fact the most commonly used gait of all, the trot, is only seen if they are pulling carriages. So what is the reality?

You’re probably familiar with the horse’s four natural gaits—walk, trot, canter and gallop. But did you know that some horses have six or more gaits? I’ll talk about the basics first.

small_10020981376The walk is a slow four-beat movement. First a rear foot moves, followed by the front foot on the same side, then other rear foot followed by its front. With this pattern three feet are always on the ground providing a smooth, easy ride. Horses vary greatly in size, shape and energy, but an average walk is about four miles per hour. Some have much faster walks, in the six mph range.

A good rider knows to keep his/her body still and quiet so as not to disturb the horse’s balance. If you allow yourself to move in the saddle, the horse has to constantly deal with a shifting weight that can interfere with his equilibrium. Therefore, it’s important to keep your upper body still—but not rigid. Your pelvis needs to move with the movement of the horse’s body. At the walk, this means allowing each side of your pelvis to move forward and back independently as first one rear leg steps forward and then the other. At a normal, casual walk this is usually no problem. At a speed walk, it’s surprising how tiring that can be.

The trot is a faster two-beat gait where opposite pairs of legs move at the same time. small_369623604As each pair goes forward, the horse’s back drops a bit, which causes the rider to feel a jar when the feet land and the back rises again. Learning to ride a trot comfortably is a beginner rider’s hardest task. The easiest way is to learn to post, which means rising out of the saddle and sitting back down in rhythm with the gait. Some horses do a slow jog that has very little bounce and is much easier to sit, but it doesn’t cover a lot of ground. If you want to go a long distance fairly fast, you’ll be doing most of it at a trot. This applies whether you are riding or being pulled in a carriage or coach. The trot is the “working” gait for going places. Something to keep in mind if you write about people traveling distances.

small_2431865552The horse’s third gait has a couple of names. If you are riding English style it’s a canter, but it’s a lope when you ride Western. Either way, the canter is a three-beat leaping gait with a moment of suspension, but is much smoother to ride than the trot. Here the rider needs to let her whole pelvis move forward and back with the movement. The canter or lope is a controlled fast pace that allows you to cover ground quickly, for a shorter period of time.

The gallop or full out run is the fourth standard gait and used for racing or fleeing a predator in the wild. It’s a four-beat, stretched out, ground-covering canter that can only be sustained for a relatively brief period of time—one to two miles. Despite what you see in the movies, horses can’t run fast for long periods. Usually the rider stands in the stirrups when galloping.

In addition to these standard gaits, there are a number of additional gaits specific to certain breeds. These horses are unusual and fun and I’ll talk about them next time.

Here’s video about gaits:

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Race photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kubina/185495090/”>Jeff Kubina</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
Horse walking photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/63942879@N05/10020981376/”>Katherine Mustafa Photography</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
Horse trotting photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikkis_pikkis/369623604/”>nikki_tate</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
Horse cantering
Categories: dressage, Horses, nature, outdoors, Racing, riding, Thoroughbreds, training horses, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Free Book Spotlight

Today I’m spotlighting Time Will Tell by Sandy Lloyd. This is the first book in her Timeless Series and is set on a Kentucky Thoroughbred farm. If you like horses and think time travel is intriguing, come take a look.

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TIME WILL TELL is free on Amazon September 16 through September 20.
Link – http://amzn.to/10zmPM0

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TIME WILL TELL - Front Cover (for Kobo and Book Interior)

Libby Edwards, a gifted horsewoman, unwittingly wishes herself back in time to Louisville, Kentucky just before Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby become a reality. During Libby’s journey in the past, she stumbles upon her destiny. Unfortunately, he’s in the wrong century. In 1874, there’s no electricity, no internet, no modern medicine, no antibiotics—no Starbucks! And even worse than that, women have no rights. Libby has no desire to stay.

Widower, Colin Thorpe, a renaissance man of his time, has big dreams. He is a horse breeder who names his thoroughbreds after Mythological Gods because he has a reverence for past cultures and an appreciation for the unexplainable.

Libby and Colin can’t resist falling in love with each other. After all, Colin accepts Libby for who she is and she understands Colin’s dreams better than his deceased wife ever did. Yet he grasps early on that Libby doesn’t belong in 1874. And because his wife never adapted to the move from Virginia to Kentucky, becoming bitter and unhappy in the process, he won’t take the chance of the same thing happening to Libby. Can these two lovers find a way to be together despite their challenges?

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TIME WILL TELL is free on Amazon September 16 through September 20.
Link – http://amzn.to/10zmPM0

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Here’s an excerpt.

Libby heard the laughter again. That’s when she noticed the heat—not terribly hot—but warmer than minutes earlier. She looked up into the green tree, now fully leafed. Through a narrowed gaze, she spotted a boy about ten years old, dressed in what looked to be homespun clothes. He

hung on to a tree limb while standing on the branch below.

“Hello.” Her voice held none of the apprehension coursing through her. She forced herself to remain calm.

“How’d you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Appear from nothing. Are you magic?”

“No. I’m Libby. What’s your name?” she replied, hoping to distract him from asking more about her appearing from nothing, because she had no ready answer. She glanced around, still trying to figure it all out.

“Nathan.”

“Nathan? That’s a nice name.” Libby placed a hand over her eyes to shade them. “Hey, Nathan? What’s the date?”

“Are you daft?” Everything about his look said he thought so. “How come you don’t know?”

She laughed and shrugged. “I must be daft because I don’t know. It’s also why I’m asking.”

He contemplated her reply before nodding. “It’s June nineteenth.”

“And,” she prompted.

“Huh?”

“What year?”

He stared at her as if she were a Rubik’s cube. Finally he smiled. “Eighteen seventy-four.”

Libby blinked. “Eighteen seventy-four? Are you sure?”

When he nodded, his look now indicating he thought she’d lost more than just her marbles, she fought to keep the panic out of her voice. “Where do you live, Nathan?”

He pointed toward the main house. Without the treelined drive, the roof was barely visible from where Libby stood. “We live in the caretaker’s house. Behind the big house. My ma is Mr. Thorpe’s housekeeper and my pa runs his stables.”

“Stables?” Libby looked to where the boy pointed.

Nathan nodded. “Mr. Thorpe breeds horses.”

With her eyes on the landscape, reality hit her. Thorpe? The same name of the man who owned this land in her own time—Sam Thorpe. Of course. That made sense, but what in the world should she do now? Libby kept her shaded eyes on Nathan as her mind churned.

The trees. It had to be the trees, especially since she’d made a wish under them. Only, being in 1874 wasn’t exactly the answer she’d expected.

Thoughts of Dave, Bev, and her dad, along with Sam, Doug, and her new job went through her mind, as did the memory of riding Thorpe’s Pride the day before. As much as the idea of seeing the past intrigued her, she had no desire to be here. Apparently her wish had something to do with it, and she just had to figure out what. If the oaks truly had some kind of power to make wishes come true, then they had to be her ticket home. Or maybe all she had to do was wish herself home. She closed her eyes and wished. “Please take me home!” Libby chanted the words over and over.

“Whatcha doin’?”

Nathan’s voice slipped into her thoughts and was a clear indication that wishing wasn’t working.

“I’m thinking out loud.” Maybe she needed to do something while she was here. Or learn something. Yeah, that seemed like a decent explanation. Maybe discovering something in the past would help her deal with Dave so that her wish could come true. Or maybe she was just plumb crazy. Either way, it didn’t matter.

Blend in and stay by these trees. That’s what she needed to do.

Libby looked down at her clothing and an indelicate snort popped out. Yeah, right. I’ll blend in. The same way pepper blends with salt. She was pretty sure women didn’t run around in the late nineteenth century in jeans and short hair.

She sighed. Considering her gender and the time period, one where men ruled, blending in might be a bit of a problem.

So, what could she do? Pretend to be a boy?

“That’s it,” she said out loud, laughing because it made perfect sense. With her size, everyone would think she was a young male teenager. It shouldn’t be too hard to pull off. Without makeup, Libby knew she was pretty plain. “Not real original, but so what?” It always worked in all those novels she’d read.

“What’d you say?”

“Nothing.” Libby craned her neck and grinned at the boy now situated on the branch with his legs swinging freely. “Nathan, do you think your dad—er, pa—could use some help with the horses?” She needed this kid. He was her lifeline to survival. “I’m looking for work and I’m a pretty good handler.” She slipped off her engagement ring and stuck it in her pocket. Boys didn’t wear diamond rings in 1874.

“I dunno.” Nathan shrugged. “I wanna help him, but he ain’t got time.” Then his voice became suspicious and his eyes narrowed. “Hey, where’d you come from? How come you just appeared outta nowhere?”

Libby smiled. Smart little guy. Hopefully he’d be an ally. Taking a chance, she confessed. “I came from the future. See these trees?” He nodded, his expression solemn. “Well, I think they brought me here. Only I don’t know why. I’m hoping you’ll help me.”

“Sure.” Nathan’s legs started swinging faster. “I’ll help ya if’n you’ll be my frien’. I ain’t got any since Tobby left to work on the docks in Lou’ville. I get to see him when we go to town. But that ain’t very often. ’Course, he was older’n me. But we’re still friends. Now all I have to play with’re prissy girls.” He hesitated a heartbeat. “So how ’bout it? You wanna be my frien’?”

“I’d love to be your friend, but you’ll have to keep my secret. You can’t say anything to anyone about me appearing out of nowhere, especially adults. They’ll think we’re crazy. OK?”

“Sure.” Nathan beamed and scooted over on the branch. “Wanna join me?”

“OK.” Libby lifted herself up into the tree and climbed. In moments, she sat with her legs swinging back and forth, imitating Nathan.

“Great.” The boy grabbed a branch to pull himself up and stood. “I’m glad you’re not some prissy girl.”

She stilled the impulse to smile. “I take it you don’t like prissy girls?”

He shook his head.

“How come?” Libby would have to make sure he didn’t discover her true gender.

“They’re bossy an’ think they know everythin’. Take Clara May Johnson.” Nathan rolled his eyes. “She’s as prissy as they come. Always bossin’ me aroun’, tellin’ me what to do. She thinks she’s so smart. She’s my sister’s best friend.” He stopped to take a deep breath. “My sister Sarah’s not so bad—only when she’s aroun’ Clara May. An’ I have a new baby brother. He’s only two though. It’ll be awhile before he can climb trees like us.” His words died and he remained quiet for a drawn-out moment, eyeing her thoughtfully. “So where in th’ future are ya from?”

“Same place, only a hundred and thirty-eight years from now,” Libby answered honestly, propping her chin on her hand and looking out over the landscape. From her position she could see for miles and the view didn’t look much different than it did in the future, except for the missing buildings. Twin Oaks, the horse farm in her time, had more stables along with another bunkhouse. Also missing were the cabins. “I’m pretty sure the trees brought me through time.”

“Really?”

She nodded.

Nathan’s eyes grew rounder. “They’re magical, just like you. I can tell.”

Libby offered a conspiratorial wink. “Remember, no one can know.” Hopefully, returning home would be as simple as wishing herself there. It had to work. Of course, it might take some time to figure out the correlation between her being here and her wish. In the meantime, it would be fun to have a look around and experience life in the past. At least for a day or so.

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If you’d like to read more about Libby and Nathan and 1874 Kentucky, Time Will Tell is free on Amazon
September 16 through September 20
http://amzn.to/10zmPM0

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Sandy authorpicfABOUT SANDY:

Sandy Loyd is a Western girl through and through. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, she’s worked and lived in some fabulous places in the US, including San Francisco and West Palm Beach. She now resides in Kentucky and writes full time. As much as she loves her current hometown, she misses the mountains and has to go back to her roots to get her mountain and skiing fix at least once a year. Otherwise her muse suffers.

She has published eleven books – four contemporary romances, four romantic mystery/suspense /thrillers, a time travel contemporary/historical romance and two historical romances that are sequels. She strives to come up with fun characters – people you would love to call friends.

Time Will Tell is the first book in her Timeless series.

Categories: Books, Horses, Kentucky, Love, Paranormal, Racing, riding, romance, Romantic suspense, Thoroughbreds, Time travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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