Monday, May 18, 2009

High Hopes Steeplechase Fun

The High Hope Steeplechase, held annually at the Kentucky Horse Park, is one of our favorite days to be from the Lexington area, rating right up there with Cross Country day at the Rolex. We always see tons of people we know, and Paul's company sponsors the event and has a nice tent for friends and clients to enjoy. Today's beautiful weather just added to the beauty of this spectacular setting. There are about 5 races, and from what I'm told many of the talented horses racing are thoroughbreds that didn't necessarily show great potential on a traditional track but are still fast and can jump well. There is no starting gate, the horses start on an imaginary line between cones (above).The races are more scenic and exciting than the usual races on a dirt track, and it's fun to be close to the action. In addition to the horse races, many people bring their dogs and there are terrier races as well. I didn't get any good footage of those, but maybe next year. Munchie's not that thrilled with other dogs, but he loved being with us and even appeared to enjoy watching the races!
Occasionally a rider is unseated but there are rarely serious accidents. This horse kept right on running after his rider came off! I had picked him to win and he was before this happened- finishing without the rider doesn't count.
Another horse unseated his rider in the same race and was quickly apprehended by an outrider for his and everyone's safety.
All of the proceeds from the event go to Central Kentucky Riding for the Handicapped. Mirian and I enjoyed meeting some of the miniature horses that helped to represent the program, and we learned that they are used for all kinds of therapy with non-ambulatory participants and even in grief counseling and outreach. What a great program and an awesome day! Having our visiting family members and good friends with us made it even more of a bonus.

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