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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

1965 - Slice of My Life

Seniors, have you tried writing your life story? Or just short anecdotes or vignettes? Here is one from my blog at

1965 - A Slice of Life - Scandal and Me

Open the mind's closet for 1965.

I'm 13 years old, and this is the era of "Scandal and Me." Scandal was a black half-Arabian, half-thoroughbred mare. Scandal and I often stayed out on the trails in the snowy winters until after dark. I leaned down low over her neck, shining a flashlight on the paths. It was an adventure.

It's 1965, and I'm in the 8th grade.

A huge horse farm was built a few years ago across the corn field behind our house. For several years I've been working there after school and on Saturdays.

In the 6th grade I started at $2 a day and now I'm up to $3. I give the money to my parents to help with Scandal's expenses.

School's from 8 to 3:15, and by 3:40 I'm heading over to Fairlane Farms. Several years ago my parents put in a corral in the back. My dreams came true when I got a beautiful black half-Arabian, half-thoroughbred mare, Scandal.

It's winter, and after school it's dash out to throw the bridle and saddle on Scandal, ride through the fields to the horse farm.

Put Scandal in an empty stall, start brushing and saddling horses, get the students on their horses, accompany them on any horse that needs exercise or training to the riding ring where the stable owner gives lessons.

After half hour in the ring, then I take them for a 15-20 minute trail ride. Then we get the next group of students out for another lesson.

If it's raining or snowy the lessons are held in the indoors riding ring.

At 6 pm the second lesson ends, we unsaddle and put the horses away, and start filling water buckets with hoses, cleaning, getting the flakes of hay and filling the grain buckets.

The stable owner has a large family and by working there I am part of the extended family.

Speakers in the barn and indoor ring provide the times' popular music for our riding and chores. We might be trotting around the ring to "I Wanna Hold Your Haaaand."

Now we're done. My friends, who now have horses too, often hang around the barn as it's our second home. We can pretend to be horses.

We gallop around, whinnying and neighing, jumping hay bales, barrels, and low post and rails. Since the first grade we've been drawing horses, watching horse movies, dreaming horses, imagining what it's like to be a horse.

Now it's 6:30 or close to 7, and it's dark outside in the winter. Scandal and I set out across the snowy fields for home, under the stars.

I carry a flashlight in one hand to light her way on the paths, and lean over close to her mane for warmth, escaping the night wind. I know she will take good care of me. We're that close.

There's a flood light on at the hay barn and corral at my house. I take off Scandal's saddle and bridle, and brush her to smooth the hair.

In the winter she has a loooooonnnng shaggy coat, like a horse from the north pole.

I feed her some treats, we talk or communicate in our own way, and I break open a bale of hay.

She has a 3 sided shed but is free to roam outside. It's nice to see her have this freedom to roam instead of living in a stall.

It's important to me for Scandal to be happy. If I were her, I'd want that freedom.

I check the heating coil in the water trough to be sure it's working and she has water not ice. Janey, the retired racehorse our vet gave me, and her colt are there too.

My feet feel a little numb from the cold, although I've got them wrapped in celaphane to keep dampness out, am wearing a pair of wool socks and a pair of knee socks, and a pair of rubber riding boots.

Of course I have on long underwear tops and bottoms, wool riding britches, and a winter parka. It's a wonder a person can get a foot up in the stirrup to get on with all these clothes.

My ears are covered with a knitted ear warmer that goes under the riding helmet. One's hands start to get numb in this cold too but this is all unimportant compared to the rewards of horses.

Soon the horses are happily muching. There's a starry sky, a moon reflecting on the snow, and it's sooooo peaceful. I loiter but finally go back to the house. It's time to have supper, take the Irish Setters out for walks, and do homework.

Can't wait for tomorrow afternoon, when Scandal and I share another adventure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember riding to the hounds, in the cold, but when you're young nothing matters, and you are one with your horse. Some horses I wasn't so in tune with and remember falling off alot. But then the old saying was "you're not a good rider until you can no longer count the times you've fallen off." There is nothing better than the smell of a horse. All of my life I have given "my kingdom for a horse", and wouldn't have it any other way.