Visit Horse Country in Lexington, Kentucky? Well, that sounded like a no brainer when Christy asked me to join her on her trip to Kentucky! Lexington, Kentucky is one of a few places to tout the title of Horse Capitol of the World. Christy’s travel was to attend MagnaCon 2020 in Louisville produced by Magna Wave. The Magnawave PEMF machine is just one of the many tools she uses in her practice at Interactive Equine Bodywork– I will share more on Magnacon in my next post.
Visit Horse Country
I suspected that traveling during late Covid-19 time was going to be an adventure. However, besides the Mask Mandate, traveling seemed the same. Very crowded, full flights, long lines (forget the 6 ft Social Distancing) and fast pace short tempered humans. We were both wearing our Horse Face Masks so we received lots of compliments on our masks and you could tell people were smiling with their mask envy.
The landscape/terrain in Arizona is dry and brown so I was especially looking forward to Horses in lush green pastures and moisture and Kentucky certainly delivered on both!
Our Horse Country Farm tour began in Paris, Kentucky at Claiborne Farms. I can’t say I have much experience or knowledge of Thoroughbred Horses. My brother has owned a few and I certainly love the Horse, Secretariat. We watched the movie several times before our travel to Claiborne. Our tour guide, Joe who has worked at Claiborne Farms for 31 years shared the history of the Farm and the many famous horses who lived there and were bred there. Joe educated us on the Stallions past and present: we met the acclaimed Race Horse War Front , since retiring from racing he has become one of the most expensive sires in the world. Claiborne Farms employs close to 100 staff and you could see how meticulous they care for the grounds and the horses. Run Happy was another of the 14 Stallions standing for the 2021 breeding season. I recall Joe mentioning they breed 800 mares during an average season.
Breeding season for horses typically starts on February 14th and ends on July 4th. A mares gestation period is 11 months and all horses born that year (regardless of their actual birth date) turn one year old the following January. So the earlier in the year the mare gets pregnant the better so the foal will have an opportunity to grow by the time it turns one.
Christy was having fun talking to Blame: even the top Thoroughbred Race Horses can make the funniest faces.
Secretariat Race Horse
“Over the decades there have been many outstanding Thoroughbreds associated with Claiborne. From horses who were foaled and raised on Claiborne soil, to racetrack legends, to stallions who called Claiborne home as they made their everlasting impact on the breed. For over a century, the masters of Claiborne Farm have faced many changes in the industry, but have succeeded while adhering to the best principles of stewardship of the land, the horses, and the sport of Thoroughbred racing. In 2015, Seth “Walker” Hancock, Jr. is the fourth in a line of Hancock men who have guided and nurtured a major agricultural pursuit with steadfast integrity and dedication for what is good for the horse.”
“The longest period of leadership in Claiborne Farm’s history is that of Seth Hancock. Seth was 23 when his father Bull Hancock died, giving him the daunting task of taking control of not only Claiborne’s farm management, but shouldering the legacy of a legendary businessman and horseman. In his first year at the helm, Seth conducted a risky record-breaking deal to syndicate Penny Tweedy’s sensational Kentucky Derby winner, Secretariat, for $6 million before the famous colt won a historic Belmont Stakes and cinched the Triple Crown.”
Clairborne Farms is home to the gravesite of Secretariat-buried full body. He lived out his retirement years on the farm and in 1989, after Secretariat was euthanized to prevent further suffering from incurable laminitis, a necropsy revealed what his fans always knew – Secretariat had a huge heart. His organs were all normal in size and shape except his heart which was twice the size and a third heavier than normal.
Stay tuned for more adventures and photos from my Horse Country Tours as I work this week to download the images and write my stories.
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries: Van Gogh’s Ear Gallery on Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ and Coops Coffee House at Talking Rock Ranch. Arizona Downs OTB Room offers few of my Canvas work and several images are also available at The Phippen Western Art Museum