Wednesday, December 10, 2008

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

I faintly remember the first time I stepped foot on the race track with my adopted mother, Crist. She was training a horse that she had rescued from the track a few years prior. She was working with a nice older gentleman named Freddie S. Wilson, who had a few horses of his own. I remember waking up at the crack of dawn anxiously getting ready and awaiting her arrival to pick me up. I also recall the bitter Southern California winter mornings that caused me to cuddle deeper into my jacket. For some strange reason within a short time period I grew an attraction to Freddie's big chestnut gelding Kingofthebullring, which I ended up owning a year or so later. I grew an appreciation for mucking stalls and laying a fresh bed of straw down. The one thing I can't remember is the time we stopped going to the track because Crist took her horse out of training. I know for the longest all I wanted to do was come back to the track and gallop horses. Everyone looked to be having such a great time. At 14, my lifetime dream was to be an exercise rider for my 16th birthday. Needless to say my dreams fell very short and the dream died with me over all having no interest of returning to the track because the backside didn't appeal to me any longer.

My swift kick in the hinny for the track again came to me in June 2007. I was working at at my current job in the evenings and was not waking up to start my day until about 10AM. I would dilly-dally my way through the day until I had to go to work at 4:30PM. At work there was this lady that was into horses just as much as I was. She was from Australia was a gallop girl in her home town then came to the states and was training horses here. Since we chatted about horses' everyday she had convinced me that I should go watch the horses work in the morning time. Honestly I felt that 8AM was too early to go stand around looking stupid to watch horses go by while others talked about what ever they talked about. And on the other hand, I really didn't want to be up that early on a weekend I didn't have to work! But one week day I dragged my butt from bed and took my camera to make myself appear more 'dutiful'. While standing by the gap at Santa Anita looking a quarter lost, another quarter pitiful and half interestedly bored while rotating from pacing and standing still I caught the eye of a few people with my camera asking what I was doing. For some of them I jus said "Oh taking pictures" with a sweet smile because I just had that feeling they wouldn't give me a job or a chance in hell for that matter. Who knows what made him talk to me but this trainer walked past and struck a conversation with me while I was pretending 'busy' taking photos. When he asked me if I was just taking photos, I told him I was in search of a job as a groom. He looked at me with a look of interest and invited me to come with him to the grand stands to watch his horse jog. After having an indepth conversation about school, life, and what the race track entitles he decided to give me a chance. His name was Barry Holmes....

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the new blog! Looking forward to reading more about you and Barry Holmes :)