Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Stills - Billboards

You gotta look for 'em ;-).

I love the reflection of the horses and wish I'd thought to try to capture that.

Check out the groom/navigator hanging off the back. The person on the very back of the carriages moves from side to side to provide important ballast. Sometimes you'll see them hanging way off to one side on sharp turns, turns on hills, really fast turns...

A Canadian driver - for our friends to the north :-). Beautiful horses.

From the first shots, you might think it's all refreshing and water-ful around here. This is the reality. Kentucky Brown Grass. It doesn't happen often. Why oh why did it have to happen this year...

You were either driving through water...or dust.

And if you saw any grass, it had been irrigated. A small oasis in the middle of the desert.

The basic idea of driving the obstacle section of the marathon is to find the fastest way through each of the eight hazards. This one is Spook Hollow.

If you watched the video from last night (Head of the Lake), you saw the horses making turns back and forth, around and around. They were negotiating "gates" marked with red and white letters - A through F. Red on the right, white on the left and you have to go through them in the correct order, the correct direction.

Many of the gates offer big, sweeping options for turns. You are penalized for every second you spend though, so a tight turn like this one - if you can negotiate it - can save you precious time. Take a good look here. Measure how close this carriage is to the fence, the width of the gap in comparison to the horses. The FOUR horses. Galloping.

USA driver Tucker Johnson negotiating what, at first glance, looks to be a small hill in the middle of The Spring. Look again. Envision what it might feel like to be that high over the backs of your horses. At speed. With a "hard right" at the bottom.

The look on their faces says it all. Just the most fun.

The Spring was the last hazard on the course. We about killed ourselves running over there to catch the last of the US drivers. As Johnson blazed out of this hazard, he stopped at the top of the hill, turned around and saluted all the spectators. I had put my camera down to cheer and too late realized I'd missed a great shot. I didn't realize how great a shot I'd missed until later. He's retiring. That was his last hazard as an international driver.


  1. What incredible skill to maneuver those horses through the obstacle course! The billboards pale in comparison to the action shots!
    Are the horses wearing rainboots?

  2. That gave me goose bumps just looking at the stills- I can't imagine what it would be like to have been there! I bet you are really glad you went.

  3. Your photos are always so wonderful. I didn't even realize they did this kind of obstacle course. Looks just plain dangerous to me to go that fast!

  4. What a wonderful event. I bet it was exciting to watch and I can't imagine the skill it took to drive that wagon.

  5.'s amazing is all I can say!

  6. Hi Punkin, do you make those adorable little sheep on your ETSY button?

  7. Amazing photos of an amazing event!

    I love the still water reflection in the midst of all that action going on...wonderful contrast!

  8. Your photos and commentary bring this event to life for those of us who can only dream of being there! Thank you so much for the exquisite detail that you bring to this incredible sporting event.

    The ability to click on your pictures and make them HUGE really allows us a close up view and lets us see nuances that would be missed by the 'casual' observer ~ not that I can imagine anyone "casually" observing this competition!

  9. Man, oh man, oh man, oh man!
    What great shots - I would have loved to have seen this.

  10. Those teams look amazing. That must have been very exciting to watch.

  11. The drivers have to have a bit of crazy in them to do this. I can imagine how exciting it must be to watch. Beautiful shots.

  12. I agree with Shirley! That is an incredible sport. Thanks for going and sharing :)


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