January 26, 2011

Big Red Fire

I spoke to Dr. Bob again on Tuesday.  We agreed given the sudden onset of Solo's discomfort and the fact that he wasn't "warming up out of it," he's probably tweaked something while leaping around in the pasture on the crappy winter ground.  So now it's a week of bute and no work for him and a week of staring despondently for me, while I hope fervently every day that this is just a passing ache and that I'll soon have my horse back.

As a consolation prize, I had the DVD release of the 2010 film "Secretariat" in hand, eager to revisit the magnificent horse I met long ago (left). Since it was the Disney version, I braced myself for historical inaccuracy and cheesiness. Turns out, they should have named it "The Penny Chenery Story," as Secretariat seemed to play a minor supporting role. And the horse who played Red could not capture the legend's incredibly regal eye and proud soul. But it was a fair introduction to this mind-blowing athlete for people who may not have grown up with his story and included Big Red's bitter rivalry with Sham, a brave bay (ironically, bred and owned by Claiborne farm, where Secretariat retired) who never raced again after his defeat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes.

But the redemption of the film is in watching beautiful horses run; it never fails to make me catch my breath and go still. Because I know how it feels to sit on top of 1200 pounds of red fire. I know the sound of each foot as it hits the ground and pushes off, propelling a chestnut rocket to ever greater speed. I know the chug of air that rushes into two flared nostrils to fuel the flame stoked within. I know the incredible surge of muscle as a burnished copper back and hindquarter coils and releases immense energy in the name of the gallop. And I know the electricity of sitting on top of the unadulterated joy of running, the flaming of a soul who lives to stretch out well-muscled legs and eat up the earth in quickening strides.

I have been lucky. I have been blessed. And I will never forget it.



  1. Stop, seriously you should smile a little while galloping through that water. Really though that pic of you and Solo is friggen hot! You guys rock! Secretariat is on its way from Netflix. I cannot wait to watch it.

  2. I actually didn't like the movie, since as you said, it was mostly about his owner and not the horse at all. Sad I paid $9 to see her cry in every scene. However, the cinematography of the horse races were really cool. I loved the shot under the belly looking to the back legs while they gallop.

  3. Hahaha, Amy, I can't help it!

    Checkmark, I agree. I suspected such might be the case, hence my waiting for Netflix. That was a very cool shot, it must have been hard for the horse to run with a cameraman hanging from his chest, LOL. ;-P

  4. Being on Team Solo, I have learned over the years: running around going jumpy jumpy = big cheesy grin.

  5. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  6. OK, I am an idiot, as I thought the first pic was of Solo. I see a chunky (as in muscle-y) red pony on your blog and I just assume!

  7. lh -- you are right, I cannot deny!

    Amy, you are soooo welcome! :-) It's fun to play Photoshop!

    AHAHAHA, Frizz, wouldn't that be awesome! Solo is a badass but even he can't replicate the Big Red gaze!