Sunday, October 9, 2011

Horses in Unusual Places, Vol. 1

While the officer didn't give me the time of day, his horse gave me the thumbs up with a kind swivel of his ear.

By Kitson

This year I have had the privilege of working on a writing project for the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. I helped the Foundation write a book about the creation of the memorial. It has been an incredible project and an amazing learning experience, but of course, it has had nothing to do with horses (other than helping to support mine).

But it doesn’t take much to redirect my thoughts to the equine species, no matter where I am or what subject bucket I have my head stuck in. Recently I toured my mother, my aunt and two friends through the newly finished memorial and shared some of the background details I’ve learned while writing the book – like the symbols of the living memorial, the original typeface, and the story of how the Chinese sculptor was selected. We got misty-eyed listening to a group of African American children singing God Bless America while looking up at the 30-foot sculpture of Dr. King that serves as the memorial’s beautiful centerpiece.

Then someone sneezed. It was a special kind of sneeze, long, unself-conscious, loud and accompanied by a noisy shake of a large head and the jingle of a bit. Could it be? A horse at the new MLK memorial? I left my guests without explanation and moved closer to the horse, who was standing solidly on what I knew to be delicate, newly laid sod. As I got closer, the mounted officer regarded me like an annoying tourist but obliged me for a photo. I bit my tongue and didn’t explain that I was, in fact, a card-carrying horse person. While my ego suffered momentarily, I came away with this priceless photo of this horse-framed Stone of Hope.

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