Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Series

Michael stretched some small canvases for me with leftover pieces. Small, very small, 8"x10" or thereabouts. Picky little brushes and aching shoulders. I can't decide to stand or sit, paint at the easel or flat on the drafting table.

thoroughbred racingFirst in the series: "Runners Without Ponies", 6"x12" oil on canvas

I decided to begin a series. I'm calling it "Runners Without Ponies". It has sort of a Degas look with jockeys and their horses on the turf before the start. In Europe, Australia and most other foreign racing, the runners warm up without ponies (actually saddle horses, sometimes ex-racehorses - bad) pre-race and then are joined by their grooms to be led to the starting gate.

As an American, I think it's a hoot to watch these grooms jogging down the track with their charges, always dressed to the nines, while the American horses are escorted with ponies. Most turf courses in the U.S. put the brakes on ponies as they step from the main to the grass but it depends on the rules of the individual track. It's interesting that we've become so heavily dependent on ponies in this country. Most jocks are pretty good riders and don't really need them. As an former ponygirl, my various jobs were to hide items handed off from riders, let them run off, pick them up, calm nerves (both horse and rider), fix equipment, assist the drunk, the terrified and the pre-occupied. Oh, and did I mention throughout all manner of awful weather?

A very under appreciated and tough way to make a living.

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