It’s been a week ago today, since the riding accident. Boy do I…, have a lot of time on my hands. I wrote down several topics to read about, possibly migrating them in to my blog. I’m interested in so many things, so it’s hard to pin down a topic. My head is exhausted and it’s nothing more than a hodge-podge mess of information. Narrowing it down to a couple of small spaces occupied between my ears, I began looking at dog grooming articles. Pet grooming is my occupation. Spending upwards of 100 hours, a pay period on my job, decided it’s definitely, not…, something I want to bring home and write about. I don’t even have dogs of my own, that require hair cuts. We’ve always had the wash and wear variety, of short-haired dogs. Ya wash em’, ya pat em’ dry, and they roll in the grass. Job’s done! (By-the-way…my whole body feels like the jello in a bowl, left out on the counter all day.)
Shaking some cob-webs out of my head from the medication…thought, hey!…Urban riding is what I really know best. I’ve been doing it, since I was a young girl. I grew up in Ft. Worth, Texas…, right smack-dab in the middle of suburbia. We lived in a sub-division, with our property backed up to the busy, NE 28th ST., and area was heavily populated. As kids, we were confined to the limits, of our backyard. Can I say…,hated it. Dad was working most of the day, most days. It afforded me perfect opportunities to sneak out of the yard. Though having to suffer the consequences when my, dad got home, (in my mind) it was a fair trade-off. I couldn’t stand being cooped up. In the summer-time, usually barefooted, I must have covered every square inch of ground; with-in a several block radius. There was a park at the end of the street. The over grown hedges, that lined the outer limits of the park, was an imagination station. They appeared like portals and pathways to unknown regions. A natural gateway in to the mind of a child. I loved exploring, and would pretend to be a cowboy, riding his horse. Steve McQueen was the cowboy of choice during those years.
According to my mother, I was a handful. Defiant, was the word they used most often, to describe me. I, must have been, hmm…, around 13 years old at the time, and was always managing to get my self in trouble. Being the oldest child, mother spent the majority of her time, tending to my younger siblings. My sister is 5 years younger, and my brothers are, 10-11 years younger than I am. Mother did have her hands full. Looking back now, it was simply a matter of, wanting more attention. Reckon she must have thought of many different ways, to try to keep me out of mischief. And, after much deliberation, my parents made a mutual decision, to buy me a horse. We really didn’t have enough space to keep a horse on the property. We were most likely, not even zoned to keep horses. My dad makes due with the things we had available. A small car port that parked 2 cars, sat out behind the house, so Dad built a small enclosure to confine a horse. I can’t remember how small the yard actually was. It was tiny compared to other backyards on the block. It was now time, to catch the local horse sale.
We went on a Saturday night, to what was then called, ‘The Fort Worth Horse and Mule Barn’. We arrived early. It was still light outside and the parking lot was full of trucks and horse trailers. Some were small and some very large, but they all had a horse…, tied to it. My head was spinning like a whizzing top, and it felt like the inside of my stomach was being tickled by butterflies. ‘I was in horsey heaven!’ We walked into the barn and started down the main alleyway. There must have been hundreds of animals to choose from. The corrals were crowded with horses, mules, sheep and goats. I must have tried to pet every last one of them. Not forgetting why I was there, began, watching the men ride their horses, up and down the alley ways. Each one of those men, had one, just for me. When we entered the building sometime later. It was near the time they were going to start the sale. We climbed about middle way up on to the bleachers and sat down. I could really get a bird’s-eye view now. All of the sudden, I heard a sound, I’d never heard before. It was the auctioneer. “50 dollar bid, now 55, now 55, will ya give me 55?, 55 dollar bid, now 60, now 60, will ya give me 60? 60 dollar bid, now 65, now 65, will ya give me 65? His words rhythmic and clear.
The first of the animals to come through the ring, were sheep and goats. It didn’t take to long, and I began bugging my Mom. “When are they going to get to the horses?…Mom, what about the horses?….Mom?” And, it didn’t take her long, before she replied, “if you don’t be quiet, we’re leaving without looking at any horses!”. I got very very, quiet after that. I felt as though, I had been muzzled. It was hard for a chatter box to button up tight. Finally. here come the first horse. I glued my eyes on the arena. Barn hands were pushing the horses through the ring, one after the other. The auctioneer kept chanting his song, and gates slammed shut behind the horses as they were…sold!, to the highest bidder. All this action, was melodic to my ears. I’d never seen or heard anything like it in my life. My mom, sitting next to me, had struck up a conversation, with an elderly couple seated beside her. Mom, explained to them, we’re looking for a beginner horse. The woman told her, they might have what we were looking for, outside in a trailer. The couple hadn’t any intentions of selling him there. They were there in the company, an other party. Mom agreed to take a look.
We arrived near the trailer and the owner unloaded the most beautiful horse, I’d ever seen. A huge, muscular, dark bay, and they called him, Smokey Joe. His mane was long and silky, and his tail; was dragging the ground. The only marking he had, was a half-moon under his neck. The man told her, the horse had been caught as a colt, and the rope burned him, leaving the mark. He lowered his head as I approached him. He stood there, while I gently rubbed his nose and forehead. Mom!, “he’s perfect” as I breathed in to his nostrils. I learned this from watching, ‘My Friend Flicka’. An Indian boy, had done this to his horse, on the TV series. The couple laughed. My mom, said “don’t be silly”! The man set me up on top of the horse, and his wife led me around. My Mother and he, were going to talk business. I’m not sure how it all went down, but I saw my mother gasping for air. 200 dollars must have been a lot of money in those days. Now, my mom was a penny pincher, and they must have negotiated, it seemed like hours. She finally settled on the price of 200 dollars, if the guy, threw in the saddle and tack. The man agreed. This is how I got my first horse, and why urban riding is all I know. I rode that horse for years, on the city streets of Ft. Worth, Texas!
Thanks, Mom and Dad