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August's Calendar Photographer

Published: August 1, 2021 11:43 am ET

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Lori Martin of Hanover, Ont., a contributor to the inaugural edition of the Heart of Harness Racing Calendar in 2012, was the photographer for this year’s August image featuring driver Ryan Holliday during an intense moment at the start of a race at Hanover Raceway.

“I have had the honour of being in the very first Heart of Harness Racing calendar, (2012) Zoom contests, The West Grey Spotlight Cover (shot of a Sunshine Beach colt), and twice runner up in the Canadian Horse Journal photo contest. The calendar is such a great way to share these magnificent creatures and how beautiful they are with all those who aren’t involved in the industry,” said Martin.

In addition to working alongside her husband Harry to help with their horses, Martin is employed as an Educational Assistant at John Diefenbaker High School in Hanover. “It has been a couple of challenging years due to COVID, racing with no fans, limitations on veterinarians when it came to breeding, being in school then pivoting to do online teaching and encouraging the students to engage. All the while keeping myself positive. When we would have our breaktime from school, I would go to the barn and clean stalls and belt out the classics on Cool 94.5 FM. It was a reprieve from sitting in front of a computer all the time. I did take some photos of the grandkids and horses but it was hard not being able to go to the track, and having to stay in my own bubble,” explained Martin.

The Martins have two homebred racehorses currently trained by Harry - Fear The Shadow and Meilleur Fromage. They also have a broodmare and her 2021 Betterthancheddar filly plus a riding horse, that Harry refers to as a ‘lawn ornament.’ The Martins have a special connection to Hanover Raceway as Harry’s Dad — the late Charlie Martin — was the last member of the Hanover Bentinck and Brant Agriculture Society, which was instrumental in getting harness racing to Hanover.

And it was at Hanover where Lori doesn’t miss too many, if any, race days where she captured this impactful moment during the start of a race.

“I have thousands of pictures of horses both on track and off, and on occasion when the regular track photographer is away, I take the win photos. I love being able to capture the strength and the speed that one sees during a race. This picture shows just how close horses and drivers are when behind the starting gate and the announcer declares them off and pacing. To be driving and not only concentrating on your next move, but to have the hot breath of a horse over your shoulder, to me is fascinating. A well-orchestrated waltz but with the added challenge that any moment you must change your course. These drivers and horses are true athletes, they spend hours perfecting their sport. I am not sure the average person (or politician) understands the work and hours and dedication that goes into having a top-notch steed.”

Like everyone in the horse racing community, Martin is ecstatic that fans can attend the races in person. “I am so glad that 'fans in the stands' has finally come to fruition. It was hard not being able to just hop in the car and go to a track to watch and of course take photos. It truly is a sport that needs the excitement of the fans; it was so sad racing and not having anyone cheering on the horses. My husband I never missed a Battle of Waterloo or North America Cup and to be able to attend these events again well, for me is exciting....I’ll be able to again take (more) photos. I am sure when my great great grandchildren go through my possessions, they will wonder why Nana had all these horse photos and masks!”


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