Draft Horse Show at The Big E

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DraftHorseShow call
This is your gate call. 

Come along with me to the first day of the 2015 Draft Horse Show at The Big E, the state fair for all the New England states. The fair is held for three weeks in early autumn in the Eastern States Exposition Center in West Springfield, MA.

I rode in with my friend author Kathryn Orzech, who was selling and signing her suspense novels at the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association booth in the Connecticut Building. She had a four hour shift, so I took off to the Coliseum for the first afternoon session of the Draft Horse Show.

Percherons pulling carts
Two Percherons pulling carts head for the show ring.

For photographers, the Coliseum at the Big E presents lighting challenges. On sunny days, skylights send shafts of light (and “hot spots”) into the arena, but not on Thursday when it was overcast and made the light a bit muddy. I won’t use a flash to avoid startling the horses and exhibitors, let alone interfere with the pro photographer working in center ring.

Clydedale horse cart
Feathers fly when The Clydes enter

When the two-horse hitches entered, thunder echoed in the tunnel to the arena.

Open all breeds cart class
A rare all-breeds Open Cart class.




















The Last Days of the Knights – For a While

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No last-minute rescue, just a closure and a transfer followed by a waiting period.

Higgins Armory Entrance
A time travel portal? On the other side of these doors feels like a different time. The front door to the Higgins Armory. Photo by Rhonda Lane

The final weeks of 2013 are the last weeks for a Worcester, Massachusetts, landmark, the glass and steel Higgins Armory.

Let’s visit a bit before it closes at the end of this year.

Musée Vivant du Cheval – The Living Museum of the Horse

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From the Living Horse Museum
Photo by and courtesy of Christine Meunier

We have another contribution from globe-trotting equestrian and author Christine Meunier, photos and her observations from her visit to this museum dedicated to our favorite animal. I took the liberty of adding some history and, very important, movie trivia.

Located in the area of Chantilly, France, lies an establishment that encourages the equine lover to dream.

Visiting — or working at — Irish National Stud

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We have a guest post by world-traveling Australian equine studies professor and author Christine Meunier about one of her past jobs – working with the equine residents of the Irish National Stud. Take it away, Christine!

The Irish National Stud in Kildare, Ireland, is a great place to visit for horse fans and garden enthusiasts alike. Home to many thoroughbreds for breeding, the stud boasts gorgeous post- and rail-lined fields full of sleek equine bodies.

Depending on the area you visit, you may be able to view

What’s it like to go to the Westminster Dog Show?

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Madison Square Garden Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Up high above the arena floor, there’s no wondering where you are.

Every so often, we go a bit off-topic here. This time, we’re off to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for both day and night.  From horses to dogs usually isn’t a stretch. Do you watch the dog show on TV? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be there?

New York city is close enough to be a day trip for me. Until this year, my travel buddy Sheryl and I went up for day judging and return home. This year, we decided to stay in the city for the evening programs.

TV gets up you up close and personal to the competition action, but the cameras don’t show you all the fun little details.