This museum was not something I knew even existed, but I don't know all that much about horse racing...of any sort. Harness Racing is when the horses pull a small trailer called a "sulky" where the driver sits. It is a very old sport, the Goshen Historic Track, where the museum is located, opened in 1838, and has been the continual host of races ever since. It's one of two sporting arenas on the National Register of Historic places!
An even cooler aspect of this is that my great grandfather used to take part in this sport. I never met him, as he died before I was born, but my brother did. All I know is that he was a driver, but I never realized something until we were there and talking about it...but my great-grandfather was an athlete! How cool is that? I don't know if he ever raced at Goshen or stayed at his local track, he lived in New Jersey at the time. But Goshen is not all that far away from New Jersey, so it's possible. It's something I want to know more about and as I would see later, they keep very detailed records...so I might be able to find out more some day.
Neither of us had ever been there, so we didn't know what to expect, but as we turn into the driveway, the track comes into view...and as we are driving in the driveway, we see some horses go by on the track! We happened to arrive there are the perfect time, because there were 4 horse/driver teams out there on the track practicing! Wow!
Now, the museum had a gift shop. I naturally explored the gift shop, and found some post cards...
Then, as we are getting ready to check out, I notice a small display of small white boxes...a step over to them reveals that they are indeed trading cards! The first museum I've ever been to that had cards! They are called Harness Heroes, and a little researching online tells me that they have been produced since 1991. They had six different years- 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2011 and 2013-and my brother got me each year. Each set is 36 cards, so I ended up adding more than 200 to my collection that day! One weird thing is that they use the exact same design every year...and have since 1991! They don't even change the color of the border. That's a little strange, but it's a pretty solid design.
Here's a few interesting photos from each set:
While we were walking around the grounds, we saw a sign for a car show they hold in August...which involves parking the cars around the track. We will absolutely be attending that show in the future, and I plan to check and see if they have new years of cards when we go...there is a set produced every year.
While I'm used to many more horsepower, this was a lot of fun- and seeing the horses on track was truly an amazing experience! I'm really glad my brother chose this one because it opened my eyes to a sport I knew very little about, but now have an appreciation for. Racing, the concept of competing to see who's fastest...it doesn't matter if it's a car or a horse, I enjoy it.
I ended up taking over 1200 photos that day. It is the 4th most I've ever taken in a day. You can see all the good ones on my website here: Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
You can see all the Harness Heroes card sets, both front and back, on Cardboard History Gallery here: Other Sports By Set I have them in Other Sports by Set, sorted chronologically mixed in with the other sports that aren't part of the Big 5, which are each listed with their own section.
Thanks for reading!