July 19, 2013

7/9/13 - Harness Racing Museum

This place used to be the Trotters Racing Museum.  At some point they decided they'd add Pacers too.  They they had to change the name to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. (Trotters, of course, trot.  Pacers move with both legs on one side moving together.  If the horse breaks out of whichever stride it's supposed to do, it loses.)  They induct horses, breeders, trainers, drivers into the Hall of Fame.

(See the woman washing the windows?  Every time we saw her in the museum, she was cleaning display cases or more windows.  I asked her if she wanted to come home with me to clean mine, but she just giggled.  Apparently she didn't realize I was serious.)

The museum used to be the site of Good Time Stables in Goshen, NY.  The old stables are incorporated into displays, and the race track is still out back.  No horses trotting--or even pacing--today.

Everything you ever wanted to know about harness racing is here.  Even if you didn't know you wanted to know anything about harness racing, there's still some pretty cool stuff here.  There are displays about famous horses, like Hambletonian  and Dan Patch.  Remember The Music Man?  "Like to see some stuck-up jockey boy sittin' on Dan Patch?  Make your blood boil?  Well, I should say."  (It's okay.  George didn't remember either...I just got another one of THOSE looks.)
There  are displays about famous breeders and trainers.
There are lots of educational exhibits; some are interactive, like the one where they show video clips of a race and you can be the judge to decide which racing infraction occurred.  You can learn about tack and equipment, the colors of horses and the rules for naming them.  There are bloodline charts, tracing Standardbred sire lines back to Hambletonian.  There's even a theater that shows clips from movies that featured harness racing.  If it's about harness racing, it's there.
My favorite was the 3-D harness racing simulator--it really feels like you're riding in the sulky behind a horse in a race!  Actually, it feels really weird with the seat bouncing like that, and at one point I even wondered whether I'd be in pain when I got up.  I liked it though--even more than some Disney rides (and it was FREEEEEE!)
I could tell George was getting bored.  Actually, I first noticed after the first 10 minutes, but we both chose to ignore it for awhile.  I did a quick zip through the Currier & Ives collection--they didn't just put snowy winter scenes on plates.  Then we trotted out of there.  (Sorry, but I really couldn't help that!)

More pictures?  Go here:  Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame 

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