I have a good friend, who is also a author/writer/reader/ blogger/ avid tennis player, whom I took a short road trip with to Lexington, KY. Horse country! The landscapes were beautiful– rolling vistas and statuesque stallions. Pictured above: Claiborne Farms, Kentucky.
The reason for our trip is my friend’s obsession with thoroughbred race horsing, more specifically, Triple Crown winners, and most specifically, Sir Barton, the first Triple Crown winner in 1919. She is researching and writing a book about Sir Barton, hoping to release it in 2019, the hundred year anniversary. She travels to Lexington periodically as part of her research, and occasionally, as with this trip, to soak in the joie de vivre of this unique area. She invited me along because I have listened to her talk about her obsessions on multiple occasions, encouraged her, and she had gotten tickets to meet American Pharaoh, the 2015 Triple Crown Winner.
Traveling with someone who is obsessed with a topic and an area and the history of the area is fascinating. You develop a keen appreciation for their obsession, even if you don’t share it fully, you can share in their joy. It helps that she is super knowledgeable about all things thoroughbred racing, thus making the times we were not talking about the minutiae of our lives an interesting history lesson. The tour guide at Claiborne Farms was equally knowledgeable. Listening to them interact and occasionally interjecting a question was a joy. Also, I got to truly appreciate the passions of another, because she was also an expert on the topic. Traveling to a place with an expert or semi- expert on the history of the area is a pretty neat experience. Plus, I got to take a picture with Secretariat’s bones.
(I am smiling because I am excited, not because the horse is dead).
The guide told us that when Secretariat was retired to their farm, they had to build a larger fence around his paddock to keep fans from climbing into the pen with him.
Also, I learned about the fascinating history of breeding thoroughbreds. Below I am pictured with the stallion War Front, who is quite the prolific fellow. He has sired a ton of famous horses, none of whom I can name. He was big and aggressive. But he ate peppermints out of my hand, and I got this picture, so there is that.
If you get a chance to take a trip with an expert in a niche field, jump on it. I’m glad I was able to experience this trip, and I met the only Triple Crown Winner in my lifetime!