A summer sensory triptych: Warm sand, warm breeze, and warm colors from the July 4th fireworks.
It’s a cliché of landscape photography that the huge scale of a landscape can best be conveyed be including a human. Though there is indeed a person in this picture, I think Laurel Falls needs no help. Perhaps that’s because of trail experience to reach it.
Roots draped elegantly over rocks beside a burbling brook create the more-naturally-occurring equivalent of a Japanese garden.
While my normal images capturing the “civilization gradient” tend to be more focused on space (traversing from nature to dense urban areas), I sort of like the way this image reminds me of a traversal through time, from the Stone Age to the Information Age. As William Gibson says, “The future has already arrived—it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
Or perhaps it really just reminds me of the vantage point from Caspar David Friedrich’s “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog“.
On a hike with my extended Decaseconds family to Laurel Falls, we paused by the flowing water to explore some strange arrangements of roots and rocks. Landscapes are so much more enticing to a human viewer when there are obviously human forms in the picture, they say, and this image definitely supports that thesis.
The start of August marked Pony Finals 2021 (and a partial re-do of the aborted Pony Finals 2020.) Unlike recent years in the Walnut Ring, this year’s Pony Finals was held in Kentucky Horse Park’s dramatic Rolex Arena—and I was there with media credentials for The Plaid Horse.
Getting the show up and running meant moving a lot of resources, like the stack of bedding here, around the Horse Park… But the result was occasionally some unfortunate traffic jams.
Rails for jumps, likewise, were stacked up and ready to go.
The pony model classes happened relatively early on in the competition. Though spectators crowded the rails, stewards monitored them carefully to prevent any coaching of the young competitors.
Achieving victory in the model has a lot to do with conformation. Front legs should be even with one another.
When the class ended, the competitors exited beneath the massive Rolex sign.
Just outside the Arena was an area for warm up and golf-cart parking.
…Then exit the Arena in an orderly fashion when the class has ended. The pool of competitors in some divisions was so large that they were broken into multiple groups.
While some ponies were in the ring, others were in the schooling ring for trials.
With horses and ponies involved in all kinds of activities, the Horse Park had a festival atmosphere.
Small ponies look even smaller in front of big signage.
And the huge Rolex Arena looks even bigger with a small pony in it.
At the end of the day, though, this is ultimately about what pony and rider can do together in the ring.
Fences on fences on fences.
The list of what pony is in what class… While this board might be small at some shows, here most divisions number in the dozens.
A bird’s eye view of the warm-up ring.
So many ponies are on the grounds that tents are used to supplement stall space.
Bath time outside the tent. Drying off the pony after washing is important to prevent overheating on humid summer days.
Back at the cottage, the trailer rests before another day as “pony taxi service”.
Along the trail to Laurel Falls, smooth, flat creekside campsites with well-defined fire pits make ideal rest stops.
Breakfast with ponies is the best way to start the day—but it’s only possible for me when we stay in Kentucky, where they can sometimes come home from the Horse Park in the evening.
Though the cottage’s paddocks may be the charming/rustic remains of enclosures for goats, that doesn’t lessen the beauty of a sunrise over its tree-lined rim.