Sunday, September 2, 2012

On September 2, 2012, I remembered a host of horse stories. On the day of the horse, ride the 17 days of summer remaining as if they were a horse.


She rides her hips as if they were a horse. I read that as an example of simile in the manual of poetry writing, Western Wind. I haven't a copy of the book. I should be able to Google that phrase and find the poem and the poet, as I could find the song, "City of New Orleans" by googling, "Hello, America, How Are You?" One summer afternoon in 1995, I saw a woman run east on Kercheval in Grosse Point Park, and she ran swiftly and with great form. She rode her hips as if she was riding a horse. I haven't forgotten that line of verse and I haven't forgotten my brief glimpse as she ran through a moment of my life. I was running then, and I was about to run in the Detroit Free Press Marathon, which I barely completed. I performed better at the half-marathon distance. I once ran in a weight category for men nearing two hundred pounds, the Clydesdale division. I posted pretty good times for a Clydesdale, running miles in less than eight minutes an hour. I can make that time on a bicycle now.

Girls take to horses quite dearly, and luckily, my daughter and I had a huge horse show to visit at the exhibition center at Novi Road and US-96, south of Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, Michigan. One of the exhibitors, a young woman, declared to me, "Girls who love horses don't get into trouble". I bought my daughter a flute and I hope it has the same effect. She's been out riding the horses on girl scout adventures, so she has had brief moments of an equestrian girlhood. I have heard many stories of families who have given their daughter a horse to love, either to raise at home or to board at a neighboring horse farm. I was talking to a photographer who had taken a series of beautiful photographs of a young woman and her horse. She was departing for graduate school in the later part of the month of August, and she had found a good home for the horse. If she wasn't home, the horse wouldn't receive the right, personal care. He had gotten the text message early in the morning, and he had come out to take pictures before dawn. One picture had the mists of a small Michigan lake in the background.

I met a woman who had won championships and a professional income as a hay bale racer. When I met her, she wore a silver seahorse around her neck. She had divorced, and the horses were lost as part of the financial shock that divorce evokes upon a person's life. She had a child whom she wanted to teach to ride, so she was saving to buy her girl a horse. She had moved home to run the family farm, so there was plenty of room on the Newaygo spread to feed and exercise the new family member.

In the same place where I had met the woman with the seahorse, I met a woman who had acquired a pygmy horse from a rescue operation, and she added it to her stable of two paints. Her father wanted her to acquire an iron horse, a Harley Davidson to ride in the Rolling thunder parades. She was preparing for the day her daughter departed for Florida to study marine biology by uploading all of her horse riding pictures from a laptop to Facebook folders. I certainly hope Facebook plans of allowing people to use their accounts forever for free. There's too many albums of memories up on the Internet counting on the Facebook promise.

I have taken my daughter to see the ponies at the horse races, including the action at Sports Creek and Northville Downs. She has an idea of earning credentials as a veterinarian, and seeing animals at work, running in a sport that many think honorable, has to be a good experience. I bet on every race, and made ten dollars for my trouble, showing her how to pick horses from the racing digest. I thought of that as a mathematical experience. Many of her friends expressed dismay when she told them about our visits to the races. The sport is dying slowly, and Great Lakes Downs has fallen to the changing tide of the gambling industry. It's no longer necessary to keep horses and run a clean race to have a horse race. It's easier to simulate a horse race on a computer system, and I've seen one of these at Firekeepers in Battle Creek. You can't smell the scent of the horse hair on the wind.

Photography Credit
Two young Nokota mares

Fran├žois Marchal

No comments: