7 Ways To Dodge Nostalgia


In planning for the CAA Carriage Festival, there was one question on everyone’s mind. How would I handle it? In the end, the weekend didn’t turn out so bad. [Show Report, Show Photos]

Looking Back
I wasn’t nostalgic because … I already held the pity party.

“The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home.” Where I stayed. New owners. Still gorgeous.

For over a decade, I would spend the week of the then-Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event running around the Kentucky Horse Park. I’ve mentioned it once or twice [Peregrinatio in Stabilitate 2012]. When I left WEG on the last day, I made a point of stopping and looking back at the arena, knowing it would be a while before I came back. It was seven years. [Kentucky Memories 2013]

I wasn’t nostalgic because … everything looked different.

I’ve seen Iron Works Pike often, but never from this angle.

The CAA Festival was in the Alltech arena, which was built for WEG in 2010. It stands off to the side behind the maintenance area. So we were on a completely different patch of turf. The trailers were parked in a section of KHP that I didn’t even know existed.

We did not go near the big arena all weekend. I only saw it in the distance. We were specifically told NOT to take the carriages down Nina Bonnie Boulevard, so that we didn’t spook the exhibitors at the Arabian show and they didn’t spook us. When I walked up to see the show, I went through the barns, something I could never do when they were fenced off as FEI stabling. Instead of a trade fair, the covered arena held classes that looked a lot like an ASB show.

Even cross-country looked different. Obviously, the white ropes and flowers were not there. Seeing unbarricaded, naked jumps was odd. Plus the jumps themselves have changed. Now it’s all portables, skinnies, and angled lines. Difficult, but not the heart-stopping impossibility of a broken bridge.

Lexington has changed, as cities do over time. deSha’s is gone, which seems unreal, Herald-Leader: It’s closing time for deSha’s restaurant in downtown Lexington.

DeSha’s corner is to the left. I refuse to take a picture of the global brand that now occupies the space.

OTOH, we discovered North Lime Coffee & Donuts which produced a pastry product that tested my loyalty to Dunkin’ Donuts. We would have gone back every day had their hours been more horse show friendly.

Looking Around
I wasn’t nostalgic because … I was busy.
No princessing permitted [Reign of the Swan Princess, Show Report]. If something needed to be done to the horses, one of the four of us had to do it. I loved it. IRL, I’m horrible barn help. I do good work but I’m too slow to be a professional. However, for the handful of days at a show, I am an awesome groom: perky, organized, obsessive. Everything one would want in a minion.

Taking care of what’s important.

Didn’t get to Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Didn’t get to Commotion to try on schooling jods. Didn’t get to Freedmans to drool over leather goods. Did get to Old Kentucky Chocolates.

I wasn’t nostalgic because … I have new friends.

The Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show takes place the week after CAA. Stepping Stone Farm came up to represent in the Adult Eq division, Upton Claims Back-to-Back USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal Final Titles. Despite all that time in Lexington. I had never seen the Red Mile. Heard of, yes. Driven past, sure. Gone to see? No. Now that I had a reason, we stopped on the way home out to check out the showgrounds.

Sunday morning during our doughnut run, I texted Coach Courtney.

Sunday afternoon, she texted back.

Photo by Courtney Huguley

Missed ’em by that much.

Looking Forward
I wasn’t nostalgic because … the carriages will be back.
Will we go to CAA next year? Depends what horse Greg is driving. On one hand, it’s hunterland in a cart. On the other hand, we do not suffer an overabundance of driving competition opportunities. Plus, half of the classes were speed classes, even if one does have to do them in fancy dress.

I wasn’t nostalgic because … the Saddlebreds will be back.
In 2018, the Junior League show is moving to KHP, in the big arena no less. I’ve read what they said publicly in the Special Junior League of Lexington Announcement. Since it is the horse world, I have to imagine an element of drama accompanied that decision. One reason given was the all-weather footing. Remember, show Saddlebreds do not consider themselves to be all-terrain vehicles.

Memories of #thelastmile, Red Mile 2017.
Photos by Courtney Huguley

I wonder if I could start a movement for an Adult Leadline class.

I wasn’t nostalgic because … I’ll be back.
Would I forego an event in Georgia that was closer to me or drive right past a hunter/jumper show in Tennessee just to compete at the Kentucky Horse Park? Absolutely.

Rolex in Rodney’s Saga over the years [list of posts].

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

2 thoughts on “7 Ways To Dodge Nostalgia

  1. show saddlebreds do not consider themselves all-terrain vehicles. sadly, show arabians are much the same – except those who do things other than show. all horses should be able to do all sorts of things, even if one of those is just being a pet. being a show horse is fine, but a mental break now and then is important, too.

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