Victor J. Blue
"PARLAY - A PORTRAIT OF MAN AND HORSE"
My grandfather Richard Taylor has bred and trained and raced harness horses for more than 65 years. He is among the last of a dying breed of horsemen. He lived through the depression, went away to WWII, and came home to start a small farm in central Indiana. From there he built a career as a small-time breeder and trainer, racing his own horses, living life on his own terms. His 3-year-old trotting filly CC Heartistry was a welcome success this year, racing well, finishing in the money often. As he has aged, there have been fewer and fewer successful training seasons, but he keeps going, quietly frustrated by the physical limitations of his 84 years. This story is my exploration of my grandfather, of his passion for horses, and a consideration of what it means to age. He doesn't think much of the future, or how many or how few seasons he might have left. He starts every spring like he did this year, with the promise of speed and soundness. After all these years, he says "Hopefully I'll know more about a horse tomorrow than I do today. I've tried to do that all my life."
Richard "Dick" Taylor thumbs through a standardbred racehorse registry in his home in Noblesville, IN, on Wednesday May 19, 2010. Taylor, the photographers grandfather, is a lifelong breeder, trainer, and driver of harness horses. Much of his success can be attributed to his careful attention to racehorse genealogies, and he pays particular attention to the maternal line, which he believes is undervalued in horse breeding. But he still believes that "horses make trainers, trainers don't make horses."