10 August, Lexington KY: Horse country means horse farms, so we spent our morning at the Kentucky Horse Park just north of Lexington. Lexington itself is about 5 miles across so even with our Homewood Suites on the south side, the Horse Park was just a few minutes away.
It was a hot and sunny day... horses in the paddocks and barns swished their tails batting lazy flies to a neighboring stall.... a whicker broke the quiet stillness... outside, a trainer swam through the heat, and led a bay round in circles with dust trailing from its shiny shoes...
OK, not quite novel quality, but you get the idea. All that's missing is sipping a mint julep while rocking on the front porch, right? The guest shop sold mint julep and sassafras but we passed.
We saw the parade of breeds, which entailed a show of just 6 of the horse breeds at the park; a tiny fraction really. I wanted to see the Zonkey in the ring, a zebra/donkey cross, but sadly it doesn't count as a horse. We spoke with a farrier and learned about why some shoes are so heavy (to force show horses to pick up their feet in short jerky movements), how often horses are reshoed (every 6-8 weeks), that plastic horsehoes are coming into favor as sturdy lightweight alternatives, it takes 30 minutes to 2 hours to shoe a horse and that different shape shoes are used therapeutically to reform hooves.
The boys rode ponies in a ring and the girls went on a 45 minute horsetrek... without us. They had docile creatures and didn't go above a walk, but they had fun and that's all that matters.
The rest of the day wore on with the drive to Charleston.
Charleston is not very exciting. There was a Kenny Chesney concert next to out hotel which brought out all the West Virginia, uh, chicks who looked IDENTICAL to each other. The city must survive on blue jeans sales, followed closely by spaghetti strap skin-tight shirt sales. With the requisite boots and cowboy hat sales. There were swarms of girls/women with the same hair, same makeup and same attitude. It was disturbing. We ate dinner at the Outback (yeah, I know, adventurous), and skedaddled out as fast as we could.