Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Harnessed Speed" a poem

Historical Racetracks and Harness Horses HERE

Harnessed Speed

We'd often see
a cloud of dust
rise and linger
upon the horizon,
knew father's fine pacer
was sweeping
the winding road
back towards our farm.
He'd arrive
eyes a-twinkle,
hair askance,
us eagerly awaiting
the buggy switch.
Head back into town
proudly, sedately steer
the Pierce Arrow
down Main Street;
no matter our urging
for speed. We knew
Race Street paralleled,
but the early morning's action
wasn't for young ladies.

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, July 17, 2012

Here is my great grandfather (my grandmother back row, left) with his four girls in perhaps ... a Pierce Arrow?

Most cities and towns have a "Main Street", but back in the day, many had a "Race Street" and/or "Trotter's Alley" as well.

This poem is loosely based upon my Grandfather, Herbert Hutchins.  (How I wish I had a photo of him with his fine horses!  I do have a few of  him with his plow horses, but not his pacers).  My grandmother said he loved his horses and was one of the first to purchase a car.

I do not know what kind of horse he had, and whether he had a pacer or a trotter.  If he owned a Standardbred, here is a little history on them:  The name originated because the early trotters (pacers would not come into favor until much later) were required to reach a certain standard for the mile distance in order to be registered as part of the new breed.  The mile is still the standard distance covered in nearly every harness race.

The first Standardbred races were contested along long roads, with men challenging their friends to     see who had the swifter steed.  Often the streets of major cities were cleared and races conducted.  That's why so many American cities have a "Race Street".

If you are interested, HERE is a link with some nice old photos of historical racetracks and harness horses.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love those old black and white photographs. The way they posed for them give them an almost theatrical feel.

Interesting bit of history. Pity those traditions all died out. It would be great to gather on a Sunday and either watch races down the Main Street, or compete in them!