Sometimes, a horse just commands your attention. They pull your eyes in their direction, and no matter who you’re there to see, your eyes gravitate toward them instead. Perhaps they look straight at you. Their ears keep pointing just the right way. Their coat, their nose, their build mirrors what you love to see in a horse.
No matter why, they compel you. It’s an instinct…keep your head turned their way. Let your eyes linger. If you’re lucky enough to have a camera, click that shutter. Again. Again.
Often, such a horse hasn’t shown up in your neck of the woods before. They’re a first-time starter, or they just started running on the circuit. Their face, their way of carrying themself around the paddock…it’s new to you.
Other times? You take a moment to peek at the program to see the horse’s name, to burn it to memory by the time they walk back around your way. You pause, knowing you’ve been missing something all along.
You already know her name. You’ve already seen her run five, even ten times, right in front of you. You wonder why you’ve never before found her face more compelling than the fact that she was bred in Illinois, but her name evokes Indiana so clearly.
As observant as you fancy yourself to be, you can’t believe you missed her face so many times before. You can’t believe this was the first time you appreciated her chestnut coat, her kind eyes, her alert ears…as hers, not just as ones that belonged to any horse, and which were cute and pleasant in the same way that every horse is cute and pleasant.
Hers, as in, you’ll see the name Hoosessential in the program, and your first thought will no longer be the superficial incongruity of her name. Instead, you will remember the details of her face: the peak of her ears, the sweep of her forelock, the clarity of her eyes, the shine of her chestnut coat.