Above: Alan, Kendra and Mary Ann Knobloch help photographer Jeffery Noble as he takes pictures of Mavis (mare) and Karen (foal).
Nothing prepares you for an encounter with a Clydesdale foal. As we walk into a barn just outside of Princeville, we encounter a large Clydesdale mare—and behind her, a lanky foal bounds up toward us. “Be careful! She might nip you,” the horses’ owner, Alan Knobloch, warns with a smile.
Soft and awkward, this beautiful foal stands nearly as tall as me—I assume she is at least six months old. “She’s just 2½ weeks,” Alan says. It was only then that I realize just how magnificent these creatures truly are. After spending a year cooped up in our home offices, heading out to the country is like a trip to another planet. A cold front is moving in, and the sky is filled with clouds as sublime as they are ominous.
It is a welcome respite from what otherwise would have been an afternoon filled with Zoom meetings. We watch with delight and laughter as photographer Jeffery Noble contorts and moves around, attempting to get the perfect photo of the foal as it bounds happily, seemingly caught up in the steadily increasing winds. All told, Jeff snapped nearly 5,000 photos that afternoon.
Looking on, I realize just how little I think about the farmland that surrounds us. Having grown up as a proud member of 4-H, you might expect that I would be familiar with the agriculture industry. But as a city kid, my projects were focused on visual arts, journalism and computer programming—leaving me to throw curious glances at the farm kids as they headed off to the barns at the county fair.
When I disclose this to Alan Knobloch, a man who has lived and breathed farm life since he was born, he chuckles. “This is the important thing,” he tells me. “The good Lord put Adam and Eve in the garden. He said, ‘You take care of my garden.’ Now, you’ve got a different garden than I’ve got. The important thing is that we take care of it to the best of our ability. You don’t need to know everything about what we do out here, and I don’t need to know everything about what you do! You just need to take care of your garden and I’ll take care of mine.” —Mae Gilliland Wright, Director of Business Development