Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Things You Might Not Know About Me

I began riding horses when I was six.  We had friends who had a dairy farm just north of Salt Lake.  When the adults got together the kids went riding. We rode bareback with simple rope halters.  In the morning after milking, we herded the cows back to pasture.  In the late afternoon we rounded them up and herded them back to the barn.  We helped with milking in the days long before milking machines.  I would sit on a stool and lean my forehead into the fragrant warmth of a cow who seemed grateful to have her udder emptied.  I was proud of my strong hands and the feeling of competence I got knowing that my help was welcome and praised.  Barn cats would line up to get a squirt straight from the teat.

I learned to ski when I was six and I got very good at it.  There was never a ski season that I didn't sprain a knee or ankle getting in one last run on a dying day.

 I played softball at school when I was seven, eight, nine.  I was the pitcher on my team and my best friend, Mary Dorsche was the first baseman.  We vied for home-run champ honors at bat.  She lived on a horse farm down the road and across the highway to town from our house in Redmond, Oregon.  After school and on the weekends we took turns riding horses and practiced pitching and batting.  I was a grubby little jock.  And then hormones flooded my little body making nipples tender and swollen, making pubic hair sprout.  And in the space of a couple of months I could no longer slide into home-plate on my belly.  Mary and I were now in a race to a freakishly early puberty.  But gone was the wild freedom of our fearless athleticism on the playground.

Throughout my long life I have kept riding horses. I had a girlfriend who ran the Equestrian Classes for the University of Utah.  She always had at least thirty or so well behaved horses for classes.  I taught beginning western riding and took kids out on trail rides up Corner Canyon in Draper, Utah.  Now and then we would take a group on an overnight camp-out carrying provisions on pack horses.  We crewed in the Park City Ride and Tie.  I crewed for Terry on National Endurance Races.  We would begin the very early morning with a joint and a beer.  Now that's the breakfast of champions!

In my early fifties I was helping a male friend condition his polo ponies during the winter months and very early spring.  In exchange for this help he taught me to play polo.  There is hardly anything more exhilarating than galloping down a polo field on a great horse, reigns in left hand and polo mallet in the other, leaning far forward and making contact with the ball to out maneuver an opponent.

I wrecked my knees skiing.  In my late forties I had to have my anterior cruciate repaired and gave up downhill skiing.  But in all my long life of riding horses, I had only one fall, landing on my tailbone in winter on the frozen ground.  It was the final insult to my sacrum.  I have suffered back pain ever since, but I can't blame it all on that fall.  And if I had the chance to ride a great horse on a good trail, I'd fly like the wind grinning from ear to ear.   Only one of my friends shared my love of the wild ride, the power of well conditioned horseflesh between my legs, the feel of strength and competence I felt in my skill as a rider.

In the early 1990s they closed Corner Canyon and developed the land my friend's riding stable was located on, forcing her to move to Greenriver. I miss her and her great horses.  Now I only dream of riding.

10 comments:

themom said...

I can relate to all but the skiing. that is one sport I never learned. Horseback riding was my favorite - and our "nanny" (more like a mother) took us to her farm - and again, the milking episode brought back a rush of memories. There are times I wish we could go back to those carefree days - but so not happening. Have a great day friend.

Utah Savage said...

It's so good to see you. I hope you're well on the mend. Growing old isn't for sissies.

Jennyablue said...

Thank you for sharing snippets of time filled with experiences from your intriguing life. I read of your passion and pain and think of those corralled horses as metaphor. Then I think of horses that run wild and free. ox

Randal Graves said...

In spite of your snarky commentary about my proclivity towards the sporting post, I always knew you were a fanatic.

Utah Savage said...

Jenny I'm glad you left a comment on the story, Happy Ending. It was very helpful. I just read it again and it turned me on.

Hi Randal, I'm so glad to see you here. I'm busy writing porn or I'd pay you a visit. Maybe after my bath and a nap. Multiple orgasms can wear you out. But then you probably wouldn't know anything about that...

La Belette Rouge said...

I am still of dreaming of horses. I haven't started riding yet----but I can't stop dreaming of them. Maybe I will see you in my horsey dreams.
xoxo

Utah Savage said...

LBR, get thee to the riding school. You will love it. It's a full body work out and exhilarating.

susan said...

If I had access to horses I'd ride again but perhaps not with the sheer abandon of my youth. Jumping I did. Polo I can only imagine.

Utah Savage said...

Susan, I took dressage classes in Denver where I was exiled while my third husband was getting his PhD. I never got very good at dressage, but the idea of jumping scared me. Then later in my life helping to train a friends horses for a ride and tie I found that the horse knew how to jump and I knew how to stay on and ride no matter what. I wish I'd known that earlier.

Left Coast Oracle said...

I used to be in sales & traveled to SLCity to call on Kimberly Clark. I confess I would fly in early in the day and back out before dark because you couldn't even go into a bar & buy a drink. Add to that the fact that I'm a lesbian and, well, I guess you get the picture...