Day 22 – The Land of Bluegrass

Sean’s Journal: I am in Lexington, Kentucky. What a great day. For starters, Vince, my dad wants me to thank you for including excerpts of my journal in your blog and for the way you add to these and share the wisdom we’ve both acquired. He tells me that there are people in the Juniper area who are following us day-by-day as we journey together. Thanks, Vince. You are a most excellent traveling partner.

Bluegrass. Why is it called “bluegrass” when it’s actually green? Well, in the spring the grass produces bluish buds that give it a blue cast when seen across a large field or lawn. Travelers would ask how to obtain the bluish grass from Kentucky to take back home to plant in other parts of the country. It is a popular variety of grass enjoyed around the world. In Latin, it is poa pratensis. Kentucky is green! I love it especially when accentuated by the white fences that surround the pastures where magnificent horses are frolicking. Kentucky is known as the “Horse Capital of the World.”

Today, I believe the core purpose of my journey is beginning to be fulfilled. I headed straight for The International Museum of the Horse. I had been inspired by a PBS special entitled “Equus: Story of the Horse.” Then I visited the world-famous Keeneland Racetrack. There are many sites that celebrate the horse. Nothing does this better than a thoroughbred horse farm. I visited the Darby Dan Farm. This is a coincidence. Vince, isn’t a good friend of yours named Darby? Go to: http://www.darbydan.com/

Something Clicking. Back in Utah, I rode my ATV up the canyons, but every chance I had, I would go horseback riding with my friends who had horses of their own. Vince, I know your family raised quarter horses on your small ranch in Phoenix, Arizona. You have told me about your horse, “Flicka,” and how much you enjoyed riding in the South Mountain Park near your home. Well, things are “clicking” for me here in Lexington. I am so excited to visit Louisville tomorrow. Why two days in Kentucky? I want to also spend time at the Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is run. And I want to end up just hanging out for an afternoon at one of the horse farms to witness their operations and to talk with groomers, trainers, jockeys, vets, and everybody who takes care of horses.

A close look-alike for Flicka

Vince’s Response: Hooray for you, my dear young friend. I can tell you are onto something big. You are so right, I had a quarter horse named Flicka. (Yes, there was a TV show by this name.) My Flicka was a buckskin mare with a black mane and tail. She was so loyal and responsive. After school, I would saddle her up and we’d take a ride through the orange groves of South Phoenix and then up into the hills of the South Mountain Park. Back then, there were no ATV’s or OHV’s or side-by-sides—motorcycles, yes. However, I can tell you after riding my man-made zoom-zoom machines in recent years, there is still nothing to compare with the exhilaration that comes from feeling a horse trot, then lope, then gallop at full speed. That muscular, undulating, stretching movement of a horse is pure power and the rider feels it. My dad had a powerful Arabian stallion named “Frey,” who no one dared to ride except my dad. We had other horses and ponies for the younger children. Oh, how I wish I had been able to give my own children an experience with horses. I have a couple of granddaughters who are into horses. This makes me happy. BTW: Our ranch in Phoenix was called “Happy Acres,” and that’s exactly what they were. I was blessed to have such a place to grow up. 

Bookends: (1) Thanks to your dad for his support. Be sure he knows how we both feel about his goodness and determination. (2) Kentucky bluegrass is lovely, except when you have to mow it. (3) Find your own “happy acres.” During our senior years, Marie and I found our “Owl’s Nest.”