I haven’t been to the Florida Carriage Museum/Austin Carriage Museum/Continental Acres for several years, so I was eager to see what changes had been made. Gloria Austin, the driving force behind this one-of-a kind facility, graciously agreed to meet with me for an interview which will be featured in a future issue of Driving Digest. I knew Gloria before she moved to Weirsdale, Florida and made her vision a reality, so I engaged the artistic theory of pentimento – the name of my business – as I wandered around before our appointment began. (Pentimento means letting the old shine through the canvas where the new painting has been created.) I think it is the perfect term to apply to carriage driving because as modern as it might become, the basic concepts are still there.
I spent the first hour in the library interviewing Gloria, and then she generously offered to show me through the museums. I’ve been through them before, but not with Gloria herself. It was a very quick tour – 30 minutes at the very most. The most fun was watching the other visitors who looked and then – I imagined – whispered to their friends “Look – that’s her!”
Tomorrow we are off to Live Oak where the competition will begin with the ever important Horse Inspection in the afternoon. I will try and post a daily blog as long as the internet gods are smiling. The forecast is for temperatures in the high 80s – almost 90 for the marathon. Let’s hope everyone is prepared and prepared to do the right thing for their horses and ponies.