Friday, December 12, 2008

The Horseman's Hustle [...the forward...] pt.3

Thankfully I had reacquainted myself with the owner in Dagoberto Perez’s barn who so happened to be a lady that Crist was boarding her stallion with out in Fontana years prior. She needed some help since my current boyfriend at the time was fired from them. I was in charge of getting her horse, PaceToBurn, ready. It was a lot easier than having to do three horses. I also expressed interest in learning how to pony horses. She agreed to help me with my desires. I went over to her house a few times and worked on taking some horses that needed to learn to pony. Dear heavens they were rotten little babies, who one simply refused to go with the pony and at some points tried to pull my arm backwards. While at the track I ponied Cape Kennedy, PaceToBurn and Ghostly Girl. I used her white horse Magic. It only took like two weeks for John the outrider at Hollywood Park to sign my card so I could get my pony license. During August sometime, Eva brought her other pony horse Joe for me to use for the summer. I ponied for a few trainers here and there and eventually had my steady barns which were: Martin Valenzula, Stacy Young, Paul Assenisi and Barry Holmes (yes, the guy who fired me, suddenly needed me…LOL), I also picked up others on occasion. Working at Hollywood Park was great because on a horrible day I did at least 4 horses and on extremely good days I did 10 horses. It was also easy to take care of Joe because I was good at working out goods and services for barns that didn’t always have the cash but had hay. Then there was this one barn that my boyfriend at the time worked for that would give me one or two wheel barrows of shavings per week and give me the scraps of mixed hay for the pony. Then another barn would strictly shoe Joe for me. Dago was an excellent person to be in the barn with because he gave me a stall to store all my tack and feed in, probably so I wouldn’t have to consistently bug Chewy for the key.

My first time ever ponying the races was during the September Los Angeles county fair in Pomona at the Pomona Fairplex. I was super excited because this was my first time to ever work the afternoon and it was exciting to be able to get paid double the amount for less the work. Some how Eva was able to find a double entry for a race of the day which was a mule race, I didn’t even think mules raced. The trainer agreed to let me take his mule to post. Magic was prepared and we were ready. I got the mule and just as we were heading back to lead them to the starting gate out of no where Magic starts bucking! I guess he totally forgot that we’d been using him the whole day ponying horses off of him and he appeared ‘tired’ by the end of the morning. The other part was that was that since I was used to speed horses up until ponying I thought that Magic had been getting worked a lot but was being good, so I had been giving him a nice little scoop of oats being cooked for the race horses as a treat. I hadn’t even told Eva about it until after I got bucked off. After the first two bucks, the mule had created even more havoc and dumped the tall jockey and another mule and it’s jockey. I got tossed from Magic and Magic went for a free for all blasting around the track jumping, bucking, and kicking at the outriders and people as they tried capture him. The outrider was so, so, so over furious at me and the white pony I didn’t want to go back out to the track…all I wanted to do was cry! It didn’t matter that the spectators from the fair were cheering me on as I did my best to hold on to Magic while he bucked moments early. They finally got Magic and the mules were loaded into the starting gate and they proceeded with their race 15 minutes later than originally intended. After the fiasco with Magic we took him back to his stall and have him two ace pills and loped him in a ton of circles before I took Eva’s horse, Cape Kennedy, to post.

As the Santa Anita meet came to a close for its racing season, Hollywood was going to be opening so Joe and I needed to be moved over to Pomona. I didn’t want to go over to Pomona at all. I was accustomed to Hollywood, I had all my clientele there, I knew I could easily find work. And now I was being uprooted to a place that I had heard nothing but bad things about and how work was hard to find and everything. Never the less I had to go and certainly it was tough finding work the first week. Eva gave me a few of her barns to work for so that brought a few extra dollars in my pocket to feed Joe. That was also another reason I disliked being taken from Hollywood was because I no longer had a way to use the barter system to make my life easier and cheaper for that matter for feed and supplies!

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