The enormous Margaux Farm seems, like some equestrian Jurassic Park, to stretch from one horizon to the other.
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.
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.
This image is another in a series of my re-processings of less-than-new RAW files with Photoshop’s “Super Resolution” machine learning algorithm. As in those other cases, the added impression of detail is particularly astonishing when viewed at full size after clicking through to the original image on Flickr.
The hike to Laurel Falls brought a mix of sand and stone (and sandstone?) in its geology that differs from the Adirondack settings that I’m most used to. The mixture of geological features and stunted trees in the setting has a calming “natural equivalent of a Japanese garden” quality to it that I really appreciated.
A visit to my home town of Clarendon Hills brought a surprise: the unremarkable train station from the mid-twentieth century has been replaced by a modern station and platform with a lot more greenery and some really interesting materials.
The station itself uses both lacquered rails (on the left) and wooden slats at odd intervals (Fibonacci-esque, but I didn’t measure to be sure.)
As a child, I was deeply interested in the idea of islands—these isolated, well-defined chunks of land that were separated from everyone else. My favorite LEGO sets were those modeling pirates marooned on desert islands. I wonder what my childhood self would have thought of living in a town with an uninhabited island at its center?