Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Race Horses and Spaced Horses: A Journey Into The Scrub Brush

Hollywood Park, nowhere near the actual Hollywood.Image via Wikipedia
by James Jarvis
from Letters From Lalaland

     Broke even at the Hollwood Park Racetrack a few weekends ago. Got lucky on an eight-to one hunch. Missed a 30-to 1 longshot by a few noses. Never bet on a short-nosed horse. Duh.

     The next weekend a friend took me out to her friend’s ranch about 50 miles outside L.A. for some horseback riding. It was her belated birthday present to me.

      It was like a trip back in time to me, reminding me very much of my high school days when I dated cowgirls on horseback and went on hayrides and hauled hay in the summer for extra spending money.

      The mother and four daughters who run the place board all kinds of horses on the ranch: race horses, studs, jumping horses, roping horses, riding horses.

      The main house was a big old wooden-floored mammoth with doors that it seemed they never closed. There were big, shaggy, horse-sized dogs everywhere and swarms of flies that seemed invisible to everyone but me.

      They gave me a big, tall redbone horse because I’m a big guy myself now and probably too much of a burden for the average-sized horse.

      We strapped on the saddles and rode out across the brush land like old hands. I was surprised at how quickly it all came back to me. I was lopping and galloping and turning that big horse in no time. Yee haw. After the ride, we sat out on the veranda eating barbeque as the sun set over the purplebrownpink hills in front of us.

      They have no TV at this ranch, so they like to tell ranchspun stories about the time they drove the Thunderbird off the road over a cliff and down a 300-foot revine or about local politics, jughead laws and the flood of ‘94.

      I had worn my Harley Davidson riding boots and belt-chained Harley wallet for the visit and they guessed that I was either from New York or east Texas. I don’t get the connection.

      The friend that gave me this present of space and sanity is a rootin’ tootin’ 5’1” Irishwoman from Wyoming. She teaches sex education in South Central. She used to be a volunteer firewoman and lived in Saudi Arabia for a spell. I met her here in L.A.

      This is what I love about L.A. You can bet your hunches and it's a 30 to 1 longshot you'll meet people like this anywhere else.

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