Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Hearing horses’ hooves during the holidays December 9, 2022

A horse-drawn wagon rounds the corner from a side street onto Central Avenue during Winterfest. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

LAST WEEK THURSDAY EVENING, I hurried down the sidewalk in pursuit of horse-drawn wagons along Faribault’s Central Avenue. I hoped to catch a few photos, realizing the challenges of night photography with a moving target and a new-to-me camera.

Those beautiful horses up close. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

I try to be in the moment also, noticing details so I can convey the experience in words. But mostly on this evening I focused on catching up to those horses without falling on occasionally snow-packed and slippery sidewalks. It wasn’t easy. Hurry with caution.

And while I hastened, I felt the cold nipping my exposed fingers. Another hazard of winter photography in Minnesota. I own mittens that flip open to reveal partially-gloved fingers. But on this evening, those were stuffed inside my coat.

The horse-drawn wagon, one of two, giving free rides on a Winterfest evening. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

In the end, I got some photos. None clear. But I rather like the blurred images, which convey a sense of movement. At one point during the chase, I was nearly slammed into by a man exiting a restaurant. It wasn’t intentional. I was walking close to the building to avoid snow and he happened to exit at the exact time I passed by.

Almost back to the starting point at Buckham Center. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

The whole chasing-the-horses episode seems a misadventure. I should have prepared better, planned ahead, given myself more time to photograph this Winterfest event before I had to be elsewhere. But I didn’t. I expect many of you are feeling like me, somewhat overwhelmed by all you need to get done during the holidays. Shop. Bake. Write out Christmas cards. Attend holiday events. It’s a lot.

But too often we put this pressure on ourselves. We don’t have to do it all. We can choose to slow down, to hear the clomp of horses’ hooves on pavement, to hear the jingle of bells on harnesses and, yes, even to feel the bite of cold on our fingers.

A banner in downtown Faribault recognizes Winterfest sponsors last week. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo December 2022)

Enjoy a slow-paced December weekend.

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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10 Responses to “Hearing horses’ hooves during the holidays”

  1. beth Says:

    I love the sound of that familiar clip-clopping

  2. I hope to slow down but there is so much to do, right?

  3. Loving your photos 🙂 I can hear the horses coming down the street indeed! I am ready for a sit down and ease into the Holidays with a hot cup of something and a stack of cookies. That would be the right pace for me. Happy Weekend – Enjoy

  4. Colleen Gengler Says:

    I like the horse photos. There is something about the blurred images, as you said, but also the darkness in places and the lights. It reminds me of something Old World. I now have more time to do all that I want to for Christmas, but still it is good to remember to slow down sometimes and enjoy the moment. I may just go out for a walk in the snow we got last night!

    • A walk in the snow, how lovely. I think you got more than us. Enjoy. And thank you for appreciating my dark and blurry images. I think you’re right about the contrast of dark and light seeming Old World. I appreciate that perspective.

  5. Valerie Says:

    I do enjoy the sound of horses clip-clopping along. I went on a horse-drawn wagon ride at Northfield’s winter walk.


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