Living in Horse Country – The Scenery and the Art

Horse Country - Lexington, Kentucky
Horse Country – Lexington, Kentucky

We have lived in Central Kentucky for just over 20 years.  The Lexington area is known as the Horse Capital of the World, and for good reason, the area is noted for its limestone enriched fertile soil, its excellent pastureland and the perfect place for bluegrass to grow.  The area is known for its scenic beauty and  manicured landscapes.  Sometimes one needs only go into their own backyard to enjoy the ride..  Following are a few “Horse Photos” that I have taken around Central Kentucky, some scenic, but mainly horse art that I come across.

HORSE FARMS AND HORSES OF CENTRAL KENTUCKY

Horse Racing at Keeneland
Horse Racing at Keeneland in Lexington, one of the premier tracks in the U.S.

With hundreds of horse farms in the area supporting it, Thoroughbred Racing is a huge industry in Central Kentucky.  But there are many other events that occur here as well, especially with the world famous Kentucky Horse Park.

Show Jumping at Kentucky Horse Park
Show Jumping at Kentucky Horse Park
Polocross at the Kentucky horse Park
Polocross at the Kentucky horse Park

Along with the horse activities are the expansive horse farms with their signature black plank fences and their massive horse barns.

Typical scene in Horse Country
Typical scene in Horse Country
Winter scene in horse country
Winter scene in horse country
Fall in Horse Country
Fall in Horse Country
Large Horse barn on Yarnelton Rd. near Lexington
Large Horse barn on Yarnelton Rd. near Lexington
Grazing horse on a farm south of Lexington
Grazing horse on a farm south of Lexington
A road near Lexington KY with the shadows of the famed plank fences
A road near Lexington KY with the shadows of the famed plank fences
Thoroughbreds frolicking in the snow in Woodford County, KY
Thoroughbreds frolicking in the snow in Woodford County, KY
A playful horse gives me the eye
A playful horse gives me the eye

HORSE ART IN CENTRAL KENTUCKY

Part of a mural in Lexington, Kentucky
Part of a mural in Lexington, Kentucky

With so much involved around horses in Central Kentucky, it is no wonder that there is an abundance of horse art to be found in the area.  There are numerous paintings and murals and dozens of horse statues dotting the region.  Here is just a smattering of what I have come across in my travels around Lexington and the surrounding area.

Angry Horse statue in Hamburg shopping area in Lexington.
Angry Horse statue in Hamburg shopping area in Lexington.
Girl with a foal, also in Hamburg shopping area
Girl with a foal, also in Hamburg shopping area
Horse and rider outside of Rebecca Ruth Candy Shop in Frankfort, Kentucky
Horse and jockey outside of Rebecca Ruth Candy Shop in Frankfort, Kentucky
Foal Statue on a Gate Post on Cleveland Road near Lexington, KY
Foal Statue on a Gate Post on Cleveland Road near Lexington, KY
Scrap Metal Horse at Woodford Reserve near Versailles, Kentucky
Scrap Metal Horse at Woodford Reserve near Versailles, Kentucky
Horse Statue at an upscale apartment complex in Lexington, Kentucky
Horse Statue at an upscale apartment complex in Lexington, Kentucky
This is a large horse mural on a water tower off of I-75 north of Lexington
This is a large horse mural on a water tower off of I-75 north of Lexington
A giant horse made out of wire that stands in front of the courthouse in Lexington
A giant horse made out of wire that stands in front of the courthouse in Lexington
Another view of the horse through a fountain with the courthouse in the background
Another view of the horse through a fountain with the courthouse in the background
A Chinese Horse statue in front of a bank in downtown Lexington
A Chinese Horse statue in front of a bank in downtown Lexington
Show Jumpers at shopping center in Lexington
Show Jumpers at shopping center in Lexington
Another set of jumpers in the same shopping center
Another set of jumpers in the same shopping center
Part of a mural on a wall on a building in downtown Lexington
Part of a mural on a wall on a building in downtown Lexington
A mural on a water tower in Versailles, Kentucky
A mural on a water tower in Versailles, Kentucky
A rustic horse head on a building in downtown Lexington
A rustic horse head on a building in downtown Lexington
Horse and Rider in downtown Lexington
John Hunt Morgan statue in downtown Lexington
John B. Castleman Statue in Cherokee Triangle in Louisville
John B. Castleman Statue in Cherokee Triangle in Louisville

As a side note on the above two photos of Morgan and Castleman.  These are both on the National Register of Historic Places and are the only two Civil War Monuments in Kentucky with equestrians.

THOROUGHBRED PARK – LEXINGTON

Thoroughbred Park in Downtown Lexington
Thoroughbred Park in Downtown Lexington

Perhaps the shining monument of horse art in Lexington (and Central Kentucky) is Thoroughbred Park. This 2.5 acre park, with its fountains and benches and walking paths offers a splendid retreat.  It also provides a unique history of the thoroughbred. The park contains 42 plaques honoring historic figures in the thoroughbred industry, and has 13 life-sized horse sculptures, including the seven horses storming down a track towards the finish line of a race.  All of the horse art in this park was done by Lexington artist Gwen Reardon. Following are a few scenes from the park.

Horse and rider racing down the track. Perhaps my favorite photo of all from Thoroughbred Park
Horse and jockey racing down the track. Perhaps my favorite photo of all from Thoroughbred Park
Top view of the horses racing
Top view of the horses racing
Jockey pushing his horse at Thoroughbred Park
Jockey pushing his horse at Thoroughbred Park
Frolicking Foals in Thoroughbred Park
Frolicking Foals in Thoroughbred Park
Grazing mare on a hill in Thoroughbred Park
Grazing mare on a hill in Thoroughbred Park
Monument of a 1800s race horse and sire named "Lexington" at Thoroughbred Park
Monument of a 1800s race horse and sire named “Lexington” at Thoroughbred Park
New foal promises the future of the industry
New foal promises the future of the industry
A final view - front view of the horses...you can almost hear and feel them
A final view – front view of the horses…you can almost hear and feel them

ARTSY HORSES – HORSE MANIA 2010 AND MORE

Lady's Godiva's Horse - created by Jean Isaacs Bramlette and Audwin Price
Lady’s Godiva’s Horse – created by Jean Isaacs Bramlette and Audwin Price

In July 2010, LexArts, a community organization dedicated to the promotion of art in Lexington, created a fund raising project called Horse Mania 2010, which featured 82  painted fiberglass horses that dotted the streets of Lexington. Since that time, many of these were purchased and added to private collections in Kentucky and elsewhere, but some are still visible on the streets of the city. The complete set can be seen HERE and all are clickable to see the whole story behind each one.  Following are a few that I have captured over the past three years.

Madame Ivory by Kelly Rice Welker
Madame Ivory by Kelly Rice Welker
Running Around in Circles by Blake Eames
Running Around in Circles by Blake Eames
Color Bars by Martha Chute and Jamie Pyles
Color Bars by Martha Chute and Jamie Pyles
Fionghan by Megan Gilvin
Fionghan by Megan Gilvin
Cloisonneigh by Priscilla Roberts Fallon & Family
Cloisonneigh by Priscilla Roberts Fallon & Family
It's Rocking Lexington by Lloyd Hughes
It’s Rocking Lexington by Lloyd Hughes
Lexington Landmarks by Jennifer Conrad-Barber
Lexington Landmarks by Jennifer Conrad-Barber
This one is in Chevy Chase, but can't find the name
This one is in Chevy Chase, but can’t find the name
This colorful Zebra is in Hamburg Shopping area, but is not on the list
This colorful Zebra is in Hamburg Shopping area, but is not on the list
This horse was in downtown Lexington during Horse Mania, but is not on the list either
This horse was in downtown Lexington during Horse Mania, but is not on the list either
Then there is the unusual Toaster Horse at Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louisville
Then there is the unusual Toaster Horse at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe in Louisville

Obviously, there is much more art to be found.  The Kentucky Horse Park has a dozen or more outdoor sculptures, photos of which can be seen here.  There are also more to be found in surrounding towns such as Paris, Versailles, Cynthiana, Richmond, Danville and more.  Its a great place to visit and an even better place to live!!

 

(2752)

Road Trip: Dallas to Lexington, KY via Branson, MO

Metals Horses in Durant, Oklahoma
Scrap Metal Horses by Doug Owen in Durant, Oklahoma

After being gone for nearly a month in Idaho and then a few days in Dallas for work in mid June (2013), I took the final leg of this adventure and a two day trip to return home to Lexington via Branson, Missouri, where my wife was visiting with her sister.  This would turn out to be another fun adventure as I traveled through Oklahoma and the Ozarks.  Following is the route I took for the trip.  I left in the afternoon and arrived about midnight in Branson.


View Larger Map – Dallas, TX to Branson, MO

I headed straight up US 75 to Denison and while there at least got a glimpse of the HUGE Eisenhower statue that can be seen off of the freeway.  I took a photo of it while driving by, so it is not as good as I would have hoped.

Eisenhower statue in Denison, TX - Burthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eisenhower statue in Denison, TX – Birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower

I continued north on US 75 until it turned into US 69 as I crossed into Oklahoma and made my way into Durant, Oklahoma. Durant is one of those unique small towns that brings me so much enjoyment in travel.

Bench in Durant, Oklahoma
Bench in Durant, Oklahoma

Durant is in the Choctaw Nation and is currently ranked as one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.  It is in a very nice area near lakes and rolling hills.  There are colorful horses dotting the town and some other surprises as well!!

Painted Horse in Durant, Oklahoma
Painted Horse in Durant, Oklahoma
A painted horse in Durant, Oklahoma
A painted horse in Durant, Oklahoma
A painted horse with Native American designs in Durant, Oklahoma
A painted horse with Native American designs in Durant, Oklahoma
Old Wall Advertisement in Durant, Oklahoma
Old Wall Advertisement in Durant, Oklahoma

Turns out that Durant, Oklahoma is also home to the “World’s Largest Peanut”, a title it shares with two other monuments in Texas and Ashburn, Georgia. This monument is for the peanut growers in Bryan County and I found it on the front lawn of Durant’s city hall.

World's Largest Peanut
World’s Largest Peanut
Sumoflam with Durant's Giant Peanut
Sumoflam with Durant’s Giant Peanut

Finally, on the way out of town I ran into these unique scrap metal horses in a park in Durant. These appear to be the handiwork of South Dakota “found metal sculptor” Doug Owen.

Scrap Metal Horses - Durant, Oklahoma
Scrap Metal Horses by Doug Owen – Durant, Oklahoma
Scrap metal horse - Durant, Oklahoma
Scrap metal horse by Doug Owen – Durant, Oklahoma

From Durant I headed north on US 69/75 through a number of small towns until I got to Atoka, Oklahoma.

US Routes 69/75 north of Durant, Oklahoma
US Routes 69/75 north of Durant, Oklahoma

Atoka, Oklahoma is a town of a little over 3000 people.  It was settled in the mid-1800s and was an important stop on the Butterfield Overland Stage Road.  The small town was considered the capital of the Choctaw Nation in the late 1800s and was named after Captain Atoka who led his people here during the “Trail of Tears” in the 1830s.

Large White Buffalo statue in Atoka, OK
Large White Buffalo statue in Atoka, OK

Due to my time constraints, I didn’t have a lot of time to stop along the road on this trip, but I did make my way past the beautiful Atoka Reservoir and into McAlester, Oklahoma.

US Route 69 north out of Atoka, Oklahoma
US Route 69 north out of Atoka, Oklahoma
US 69 heading towards Atoka Reservoir
US 69 heading towards Atoka Reservoir

Upon arrival in McAlester I got to see a throwback to the 1950s…at the Happy Days Hotel there are 50s themed rooms including the “Elvis Suite,” “I Love Lucy,” James Dean and Marilyn Monroe rooms at the hotel.

Happy Days Hotel and Angel's Diner - McAlester, OK
Happy Days Hotel and Angel’s Diner – McAlester, OK
Happy Days Hotel - McAlester, OK
Happy Days Hotel – McAlester, OK
Angel's Diner store front - McAlester, Oklahoma
Angel’s Diner store front – McAlester, Oklahoma

Angel’s Diner has the black and white checkerboard floors, diner seating and more.  I wish I would have had time to stop in…..but I had to continue on to Branson

Eufaula Lake, Oklahoma
OK Hwy 9 bridge across Eufaula Reservoir, Oklahoma

One of the more spectacular sights along the drive north on US 69 is the huge Eufaula Lake, with over 600 miles of shoreline, it is the largest lake in Oklahoma.   It was beautiful as I approached close to sunset.

Another shot of Lake Eufaula
Another shot of Lake Eufaula

Shortly after passing by the lake I arrived in Checotah, Oklahoma and then headed west on Interstate 40.  It was getting dark, so I zipped my way on to Branson, Missouri through Arkansas.  Sorry…too dark for photos…

Branson, Missouri water tower
Branson, Missouri water tower

The next morning my wife and I took two cars and drive back from Branson to Lexington, Kentucky.  We had to get back, so we didn’t have much time to see anything in Branson.  I did get a photo of a huge guitar sticking out of a building….

Grand Country Fun Spot - Big Guitar neck - Branson, Missouri
Grand Country Fun Spot – Big Guitar neck – Branson, Missouri

Our route from Branson to Lexington was not a direct route as I wanted to take my wife by Lambert’s Cafe in Sikeston, MO for lunch, as you will see later on.  Here is our nearly 600 mile route for Day 2:


View Larger Map – Branson, MO to Lexington, KY

The drive across southern Missouri is always nicer OFF of the freeways.  I had been on US 60 between Branson and Sikeston three or four times.  But, of course, there are always interesting things to see along the way.

US 65 North near Busiek State Forest south of Springfield, Missouri
US 65 North near Busiek State Forest south of Springfield, Missouri
Uncle Rooster's Restaurant near Seymour, Missouri on US 60 East
Uncle Rooster’s Restaurant near Seymour, Missouri on US 60 East

Gotta love a name like Uncle Rooster’s!!  They even have a giant rooster out front….

Uncle Rooster's Big Rooster on US 60 near Seymour, Missouri
Uncle Rooster’s Big Rooster (ROHO) on US 60 near Seymour, Missouri

From Seymour, the countryside becomes mainly farmland until about Mountain View and Cabool.  We saw thousands of rolled bales of hay and other nice rural scenery along the way.

Rolled hay bales on US 60 east of Seymour, Missouri
Rolled hay bales on US 60 east of Seymour, Missouri
Long Train Running along US 60 near Norwood, Missouri
Long Train Running along US 60 near Norwood, Missouri
US Route 60 west of Mountain Home, Missouri
US Route 60 west of Mountain View, Missouri
More bales of hay near Mountain Home, Missouri
More bales of hay near Mountain View, Missouri

We stopped in Mountain View, Missouri for a quick rest break and a drink.  While there, lo and behold, I saw some scrap metal horse sculptures that looked amazingly similar to the ones I had seen in Durant, Oklahoma the day before.  I believe they are the work of South Dakota artist Doug Owen.

Scrap Metal Horses in Missouri
Scrap Metal Horses by Doug Owen in Mountain View, Missouri

From Mountain View we proceeded eastward on US Route 60.  Here are a couple more scenes from the road:

US Route 60 east of Mountain View, Missouri
US Route 60 east of Mountain View, Missouri
Low flying plane near Dexter, Missouri (aerial spraying)
Low flying plane near Dexter, Missouri (aerial spraying)
Aerial Spray plane rounding a turn near Dexter, Missouri
Aerial Spray plane rounding a turn near Dexter, Missouri

Not soon after seeing the aerial acrobatics of the plane above, we made our way into Sikeston, Missouri.  Sikeston is at a major junction of US 60 from the west, Interstate 55 (N-S thru Sikeston) and Interstate 57 from the east.  But for me, the real highlight was being able to once again visit Lambert’s Cafe.  I had been to the one in Ozark, Missouri a number of years ago, but never to this one.

Sumoflam and wife at Lambert's Cafe - Home of Throwed Rolls
Sumoflam and wife at Lambert’s Cafe – Home of Throwed Rolls

Lambert’s is one of those places that buses full of tourists stop at, highway drivers stop and more.  All sorts of Kitsch with license plates everywhere, old photos and, most importantly – good food and LOTS of it.  But, perhaps the real drawing card is the “Throwed Rolls”, a tradition at these stops since the beginning.

The Throwed Rolls Guy - Lambert's Cafe, Sikeston, Missouri
The Throwed Rolls Guy – Lambert’s Cafe, Sikeston, Missouri
Throwing Roll's at Lamberts - this guy chucked them clear across the room
Throwing Roll’s at Lamberts – this guy chucked them clear across the room

To get a roll you must raise your hand and they throw it to you.  You miss and hits the floor….too bad!

Throwed Rolls soaked in Sorghum Molasses
Throwed Rolls soaked in Sorghum Molasses

Sometimes the roll throwers do miss.  We saw some up on the overhangs…

Oops - missed
Oops – missed

The unique thing about this place is the Family Style servings.  You order your food and a side and then they bring you a number of other sides – fried potatoes, fried okra, macaroni and tomatoes, black-eyed peas and more.  These are as much as you care to eat.

Bringing around the potatoes at Lambert's
Bringing around the potatoes at Lambert’s
More throwed rolls!!
More throwed rolls!!

The environment there is fun as well….

Flags hang in front of Lambert's Cafe
Flags hang in front of Lambert’s Cafe
Lambert's Cafe - Sikeston, Missouri - big place
Lambert’s Cafe – Sikeston, Missouri – big place
Walkway in Lambert's Cafe - Sikeston, Missouri
Walkway in Lambert’s Cafe – Sikeston, Missouri
The Original Roll Thrower
The Original Roll Thrower
Eagle at Lambert's
Eagle at Lambert’s
Big Metal Chicken on overhang at Lambert's
Big Metal Chicken on overhang at Lambert’s
Need a big cup? Plenty of souvenirs at Lambert's!!
Need a big cup? Plenty of souvenirs at Lambert’s!!

After a hefty lunch, we really wanted a nap, but we actually had to scoot onwards towards home.  Just a short zip up I-57 and we were in Cairo, Illinois where the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers meet for one of the biggest confluences in the country.  There are two big bridges to cross at this point.

Crossing the Mighty Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois
Crossing the Mighty Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois

One moment you are in Missouri, a few minutes later you go through Illinois and straight into Kentucky.

Welcome to Wickliffe, Kentucky - just after crossing over the second bridge
Welcome to Wickliffe, Kentucky – just after crossing over the second bridge
I love it when Kentucky welcomes me home with flowers
I love it when Kentucky welcomes me home with flowers after being gone for a month
Sign to Future City, Illinois...I guess it is not there yet??
Sign to Future City, Illinois…I guess it is not there yet?? Or have I come “Back to the Future?”

After driving the narrow KY Hwy 286 to Paducah, we were excited to get on the freeway, but, I got a taste of Dallas in rural Kentucky as we were stuck in non-moving freeway traffic for well over 30 minutes.

Stuck in traffic on I-24 east of Paducah - shades of Dallas....
Stuck in traffic on I-24 east of Paducah – shades of Dallas….

But, after it all cleared up, we were on I-69 breezing away and then eventually onto the Bluegrass Parkway.

Bluegrass Parkway near Bardstown, Kentucky
Bluegrass Parkway near Bardstown, Kentucky

And, finally, back home in Kentucky after being away and on the road for over 5500 miles, 33 days and driving through 15 different states during that time.

(2690)