[aand they’re off!]

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Today we went to the horse races! A past time that Roger enjoys indulging in. And it would be Laura and my first time at a horse track. 

We went to the “Courses de Villedieu” as they say in France. The Villedieu horse track is probably the smallest track in Normandie. Since Roger doesn’t speak French and my French vocabulary is limited, I don’t know too much more than what Roger told us. It was about 5E to get in and Roger was nice enough to pay for us. 

It was really quite interesting. I’ve never seen or even imagined a horse race like this before. The riders sit on a two-wheeled cart behind the horse and the horses must speed-trot a couple laps around the track. On the grass, there’s a van of judges that determine whether the trot is acceptable. If a horse is caught running or not-trotting, then the rider/horse is disqualified and the top of the van will display the disqualified horse numbers.  Matt will later tell me that this is known as harness racing. 

Before the second race began, a few of the horses had a false start so the horses had to line up at the starting line again. As that happened, one of the horses was frightened and ended up knocking the rider off the cart! And since the cart was still attached to the horse, it was dragged across the field while the horse kicked up. Not surprisingly, the cart broke. In the meantime, another horse was startled and ended up falling over onto the grass!  It was quite the calamity. Some of the viewers watched in horror while others ran up to the fence to assess the damage. 

My favorite part of the races was the people watching. It’s just as I thought it would be. There were a bunch of old men standing around, eyes squinted, brows furrowed, binoculars in hand. Some of the wives sat, uninterested, staring at the horizon beyond the track. And as the horses rounded the faraway corner, all the men stood up for a better view of their horse. There was an ominous cloud coming in from the left and soon it began to rain. 

Our silent people-watching must have been misinterpreted by Roger. He quickly got up after the second race and said we should leave. It must have only been an hour. And then we were off. 

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