Wanna go behind the scenes in Del Mar? Okay, let’s go. Early morning warmups in the back stretch. High octane blood and thunder. Walking quietly, looking for something just above the average. That great invention, chain link, right up there with the barbwire of The West. A contagion.
I spent most of my childhood reading racing (among other horsey) novels. A runt at 13, jockeyhood was calling. Only way to get near a horse in Singapore, save having squillionaires for parents.
But 14 happened and I grew. A lot. The folks balked at becoming rich.
Your picture brought it all back – being 13 again and wanting to know what it really felt like to be crouched over a thousand pounds of horse at full run, sweeping around the final turn through flash of mane and hoof, asking for everything my mount had to give. Inevitably, pulling away from the rest of the field like magic, the red colt’s legs pistons delivering us from the jostling pack to flash through the finish line.
Boy, those were some good books. Might be time for a re-visit.
If I had heaps of money, I’d share. I’d trade you a postcard though – a picture of mine for a print of the picture above?
(Texas Leica, haha!)
Postcard it is! Just need an address and ink for my tiny printer. When I was small I was riding in Wyoming with my sister, moving cows. My horse was at a dead run and stepped in a gopher hole. We went end over end. I slammed my head on the ground and when I came to the horse was on its side, across my legs. I didn’t feel anything. Turns out I was totally fine, so was the horse. But I was freaked out. Made my sister switch horses for the ride home.
Falling down unscratched is a handy superpower to have, personally speaking. Closest I have to anything similar is the one my friend and I got chased by a savage mass of swans, moorhens and other assorted ornithes at a lake in Perth. They chased us, beaks open, necks extended, from the lake shore all the way to the carpark.
My friend got to the car first and started driving away with the passenger side window down, yelling “just jump in!” So i dove in head first while she swerved out of the parking lot, legs waving around out the window.
The birds were only coming for bread, our local friends told us afterwards.
City slickers out in the wild.
(Still convinced the flock had darker intentions)