Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Off to the Races

This Saturday marks the the 137th running of The Kentuck Derby, the longest, continuously conducted sporting event in US history.  The annual "Run for the Roses" at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky conjures images of elegant ladies in decorative hats, silver cups of cool mint juleps, eager jockeys clad in bright, silk uniforms, and the familar sound of bell at the starting gate, signaling the beginning of what many refer to as "the greatest two minutes in sports."  And they're off!  I have a great appreciation for the powerful athleticism of the three-year-old thoroughbreds, running their hearts out for 1 and 1/4 about 120 seconds.


At the age of four, I was placed on the back of my grandmother's chesnut thoroughbred named Chipper and I've been a passionate horse lover and equestrian enthsusiast ever since.  My parents' house is full of horse-themed details, from weathered black leather riding boots lining the fireplace hearth, to painted portraits of our past beloved thoroughbreds on the walls of the foyer staircase.  My sister and I still have a few faded blue ribbons proudly hanging in our vacant bedrooms from horse shows of long ago.

Even if I'm headed to a life of coastal living, I would like to incorporate elements of hunt country style in my Norfolk nest.  I have an old tack trunk that would make a great coffee table in a wood paneled den, and I could repurpose a set of silver stirrup cups as bud vases on a side table.  I highly recommend the book "Equestrian Style" by Vicki Moon for inspirations.  Here are some other images that exude equestrian chic.

(Ralph Lauren Home)
(Blind Pash Interiors)

(Blind Pash Interiors)
(Amanda Harlech)

Bagdley Mischka's guest bedroom
(Elle Decor)
My family home provides some of my most influential inspirations for hunt country style.  My mother framed a large Hermes silk scarf with a circular horse motif and hung it on a wall in the sunroom.  I would love to frame a set of three equestrian Hermes scarves and place them above a sitting area in a study or guest room someday. Here are a few I really like.

A final note... no matter where you are this Saturday, whether it be in your Sunday best at Churchill Downs or gathered around a flat screen at a friend's house, you must sip at least one mint julep (preferrably in a silver cup) while you watch the race. Below is a fool proof recipe my husband and I were given when we visited Maker's Mark Bourbon Distillery in Louisville, KY.  This receipe will serve two Derby enthusiasts so double, triple, quadruple as neccessary!
8 fresh sprigs of fresh mint (leaves only, the stems will make it bitter)
5 oz Makers Mark bourbon whiskey
2 tsp powered sugar
4 tsp water

Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass. Divide into two silver julep cups with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.


1 comment:

  1. Loved your post. We are always game for a tailgaite. I am looking for that scarf!! Come by and visit us!


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