Though “one day, one photograph” is my typical style, the images from my springtime trip to the Kentucky Horse Park (mostly taken while hanging around at the warm-up ring) make a charming slice-of-life set.
Let’s start things off with The Plaid Horse‘s publisher, Dr. Piper Klemm, with Sundae.
While the warm-up ring is ostensibly a place to practice prior to showing, it also often the location of impromptu meetings and morning strolls.
Piper Klemm on Sundae in the warm-up ring.
The warm-up is also a place for horses to shake out some energy and get any necessary attitude adjustment.
Dapples mean a healthy horse.
That preparation time made for positive results in the ring. Trainer Emily Elek congratulations Reuben.
It’s bath time for a sweaty horse done with showing.
Compress-air-powered airbag vests are increasingly common on younger riders.
Early in the morning, the golf carts waited in lines outside the barns—mimicking the positions of nearby horses in their stalls in the barns.
Cell phone videos of warm-up make an exceptionally valuable tool for improvement.
Reuben very occasionally sticks out his tongue and I find it funnier than I should.
A close overlap between conversation-walk and warm-up-canter in the warm-up ring.
Piper on Reuben.
The pattern of planting boxes reminded me of the pacing of strides riders seek to find approaching a jump.
Junior rider Lexi Miller relaxes between rounds.
Fort Boonesborough was an early frontier fort in eastern Kentucky. In its modern recreation, the arsenal sits semi-abandoned at the center of the structure.
After a serious and staid dressage performance on a surprisingly chilly spring day, I have to imagine that it’s delightful to go for a bouncy stroll around the grassy fields of Kentucky Horse Park.
Kentucky Horse Park has a bit of a “Jurassic Park” vibe, but going for a stroll on a spring afternoon is far less likely to result in being devoured by a velociraptor.
The smooth, glossy coats of horses are no accident—they are body-clipped during the warmer months. Between combing and body-clipping, there is ample opportunity for cool patterns (as in this three-day eventing competitor at Land Rover Kentucky.)
I didn’t see this particular rider’s round in the dressage portion of Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Eventing, but based on the look on his face, I’m assuming it didn’t go as he’d hoped.
At Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Eventing, the dressage portion of the competition takes place in this tightly constrained box that, rendered against the footing of Rolex Stadium, looks like some surrealist dreamscape.
Kentucky Horse Park is an almost unreal expanse of stables, rings, and fields. During Three-Day Eventing, those fields are converted to a cross-country course.
The look of a mogul at the show—Publisher of The Plaid Horse, Dr. Piper Klemm—has changed a bit in 2021. The Bane-esque jacket for an unusually cold day at Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Eventing was combined with a Clarkson University mask (perfect for promoting her summer courses.)
I’ve heard that the Land Rover (previously Rolex) Kentucky Three-Day Eventing competition is the sport’s largest and most prestigious. In spite of that, no spectators were allows this year; the glowing press box looked pretty lonely in a darkened, empty indoor.
I’m told that visualization is key to a great hunter round, but I’ve never before captured quite so literal a photograph of the process in the warm-up ring.
When it’s time for their rounds, riders have to be ready to head into the ring and perform. Being late is not an option, so “hurry up and wait” is the standard: Lots frantic action to prepare, followed by lots of waiting. The sense of stillness amid chaos that goes with that waiting are captured well, I think, in this image.
From the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, this AH-1 Cobra was fortuitously placed relative to the flag.
The calm and gentle vibes of a broad and lightweight glider has a certain juxtaposition with the semi-sinister military-industrial implications of “Raytheon”.
Here is my Decaseconds partner in crime during our visit to Raven’s Run in Kentucky last summer. We were on a cliff high above the Kentucky River, getting our landscape photography fix.