We typically rise before the sun, but not all sunrises are as beautiful as this one where we are parked at Keeneland Race Track. The grounds are lovely here, with a lot of room to park the motor home.
We walked up to the Track Kitchen at 7:00 for a hearty breakfast. Along the roads at Keeneland, you don’t find fallen leaves. It’s horse manure. Aren’t I gross? Bloggers will take a picture of anything. Truthfully, the birds call it breakfast, only I didn’t catch the birds.
The barns stretch out on both sides of the main road to the track. The horses get exercised several mornings a week. A groom bathes this beauty while the hot walker holds the reins. (Left click to make pictures larger.)
I looked back, and the hot walker was kissing his charge. The horse is now wet and soapy up on his thighs, and the groom is working his tail. These horses are treated like princesses.
An exercise girl is just returning her horse to the barn.
She turns the horse over to the grooms. After a bath, a hot walker, walks the horse in a circle for about 30 minutes to settle down after the run.
And if the horse is lucky, he or she will get a nibble of grass before being returned to a stall.
Dozing in a bit of sunlight shining into his stall, waiting for an attendant to feed him or give him a treat.
Each groom has to get rid of the old straw each day and replace it with new straw. It was steaming in the crisp cold of morning.
The horses so beautiful, the workers so practiced and fast, I just didn’t tire of watching them.
The horses and riders came streaming in groups back from the track. We thought we’d missed the exercise, but one girl told us that they were coming in for a break and would start again in 10 minutes.
Always, the wrapped cannon, and ankles, the most vulnerable part of a race horse.
The exercise saddle is almost like riding bareback.
Then another horse comes in from the track with leather blinders to keep the horse focused and free of distractions. Only his back ankles were wrapped. I guess each trainer and horse gets individual attention, but whatever is needed.
I watched him turn into the barn and couldn’t believe how fast the groom removed the wrappings.
A good view of the soapy hooves.
In the adjacent barn, a groom was allowing his charge to nibble fresh grass. The horses love that. I asked who the owner was. He told me Greg Burchell and pointed to a stall.
Greg is an owner trainer and he was feeding his horses grapes for a treat. The horse is blurry in this photo but the pure joy on Greg’s face is clear. He invited us to pet the horses.
Horses are such intelligent animals. They return your affection.
If you’ve never been tempted to nuzzle the soft nose of a horse, you can’t imagine what a pleasure that is. He loves his horses and it shows.
She wanted more grapes, but all I could offer was a salty hand to lick. She brought her owners a million dollars. But the cost to care for them is horrific.
Then he introduced us to Sticks, a young horse of unusual height at 17.2 hands. He had the groom turn her around.
He checked her feet.
And we got a good look at her. A real beauty. He says she has injured herself on the stall because she is too tall for the stall. And, tall for a thoroughbred. She is named for one of the owners and Greg’s good friend who carries Stick for a nick-name.
We finally got to the track where we met Ashley, a medical technician. A lovely job for a young girl. She worked as an Emergency Medical Tech for the fire department. Now, she works the races, much more exciting. She sometimes rides the race with the horses in a van. She is there to see to an injured rider.
We didn’t get a correct website for Greg and hope to have it tomorrow when we’ll share our race track photos.