I'm beyond mid-life crisis age-wise but I'm experiencing the symptoms. Bored with the muse and disillusioned over changes in the racing biz, I'm restless about the future direction of my artistic life. There's a new crowd in the paddock who possess different goals and priorities. Ownership has undergone major restructuring and the "Kings & Queens" in the sport no longer reign supreme. Race track management have their own profit-driven agendas with little respect for tradition and history within a very old and storied sport. Loud, repeated calls for proactive changes in medication use, infractions, after care for retired horses, moral responsibility, etc., are agreed upon by the industry insiders but are rarely enacted and those that attempt to implement change are confronted with bickering power struggles. It's wearisome to an old race tracker like me who dearly loves the game.
Over a year ago I channel surfed onto a PBS documentary that quickened my pulse rate. I won't spend a lot of time explaining, you can read about it in my blog post here. The abbreviated version: Indian Relay. Tribes compete in a horse race (of a very different color) that I found to be excruciatingly exciting. I was so jazzed and inspired. Re-energized, if you will.
The plan was to attend their national championships taking place in Billings, Montana after the Saratoga race meet concluded. For reasons that would require another blog post, it was not to be. Undaunted, I returned to the documentary, studying it in it's entirety - frame by frame. With my knowledge of equine anatomy and referencing the scenes illustrating this extreme, dangerous sport, I decided to forge ahead anyway.
This is the first of several planned paintings:
The title is Chaos, and for good reason. This is the thrilling part of the race - the exchange of riders as the team catches the incoming horse (at a gallop) while the rider simultaneously leaps off in mid-air and then frantically swings/jumps/leapfrogs onto the next. Collision and confusion. Pure adrenaline. The riding skills and horsemanship are superb. All bareback.
You know I'll be there this year, for sure.