Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's August in Saratoga County: All horses, all weekend.

The weekend isn't quite over yet, but it has been a pretty darn good one so far. Isn't summer wonderful?

We started out on Friday evening with overnight family visitors. Since our guests included a horse-loving 14-year-old niece, we packed up a picnic supper and headed over to Saratoga Polo.

The match was exciting to watch, with galloping horses sometimes only ten feet or so away from our lawn chairs. Because we went early, our niece was able to walk over near the horse trailers before the match started and get a close-up look at the polo ponies.

The crowd is not a rowdy one. It's like watching pro tennis or pro golf: everyone is fairly quiet and intent on the action. We knew nothing about polo and felt foolish for not having looked up the rules before we went. I know more now.  For example, most polo "ponies" are thoroughbreds or thoroughbred crosses. A polo match lasts approximately one and one-half hours and is divided into seven-minute time periods called chukkers. There are six chukkers in a match. There is a 15-minute halftime.

And speaking of halftime, polo is the only sport where spectators are actually invited to enter the playing field. Why?
Well, to replace the divots. of course. I think our young visitor even got a kick out of that part.

If you've never been to Saratoga Polo, I recommend it. See their website for more information. Here's my tip: if you choose to tailgate, bring a hat with a visor or brim because you will be looking into the setting sun. 

On Saturday, we were off to see more galloping thoroughbreds, this time with some former co-workers of my husband. 
I like to go to the Saratoga "flat" track about once a year (so called locally, to distinguish it from the harness track.)
I am too cheap to be a bettor, but I like to see the beautiful horses up close and you can do that here. The track atmosphere is always festive. This Saturday, it was about as crowded as I've ever seen it. The weather was perfect and many of us are feeling that summer is already slipping through our fingers, so I can understand why there were so many people there.
We spent the day with three couples, all much younger than we are. The men-folk all once worked together for the same regional newspaper. It is somewhat telling about the newspaper biz these days that out of the four guys, only one still works there.
There were cute kids involved (always a plus.) This is 9-month-old Nora. She is a cuddle bug with a wonderful gummy smile.

And 11-month-old Emma has the most amazing blue eyes. There was a delightful five-year-old, too, Lucy, but she didn't stand still long enough for a photo. She far preferred to spend her afternoon on the nearby jungle gym. It was a good day, I thought. Thank you, Justin, for organizing it.

Sunday dawned just as beautifully as the last few days. Today was our annual church picnic and service at the Armer Family farm near Ballston Spa. We had a good turn out.

There were happy couples...

and more cute baby girls...

and kids in ancient apple trees...

and, in keeping with this weekend's theme, more horses.
A sweet pony shared a barn with the Armer family's massive and handsome...

... Belgian draft horses.

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.