I had a love for horses and a love for competition but I couldn't stay in thoroughbred racing after my experience with a cruel man.
Knowing my of love and how I handled horses, a friend took me to a little hobby farm just out of town---I say hobby but they ran a herd of Jersey milking cows and trained Harness racing horses.
I was introduced to the trainer---an 87 yo woman who had brought a thoroughbred stallion from England to Australia, trained a polo string for the rich and famous and knew more than I could ever learn. Her "foreman", a WW11 veteran who shook hands with his left because his right arm had been nearly shot away during the war--he had worked Clydesdales on the wharves of the local Port, had ridden buck jumpers and could read a horse from first sight. And the trainers daughter, a very plain woman, divorced and bitter from a war time marriage to a US soldier---and accomplished track rider and show ring competitor.
We spent the day talking about horses and watching the foreman, virtually one handed, harness up and work the racing horses.
By the third, I helped him unharness, cool down, clean up rug, water and turn the horse out in a yard to play----he said "You learn fast"
His name was John, they called him Jim---I still don't know why----I asked if he was working another----I would get it out and help him harness up.
He looked at me and said "Son, you will learn a lot and you could be of great help around here but you don't need to touch this next one"
My friend knew what Jim was talking about but said "Let Clyde bring her out---he will be OK"
I went to the stall and looked over the door and ducked as a wide open mouth full of horse teeth lunged at me---her ears were flat back on her neck, her eyes were glazed and her head shook daring me to try to touch her.
Jim laughed and said "her name is Granite Rose---we have her and two full brothers and they are all like that---she's the best behaved"
I opened the door and she charged as I waved her off---I spoke softly to her and told her that if she bit me that I would bite back---Jim laughed---I stroked her neck and waved away her flashing teeth, she stomped her feet as I scratched her behind the ear and patted her chest (girls like that)---and slipped a halter (head collar) over her nose and buckled it up-----Jim yelled that she would try to knock me down coming through the door, so as I opened the door and she charged, I side stepped, let her out the door and led her back in.
I stood with her---she was quivering----I held her close by the rope and collar and said "right, we are going out but you are going with me at my pace"----we walked forward, talking every inch of the way, her chest hard against me ready to knock me down but we talked, we stopped, we talked, we stopped and then we walked out of the door together----
But then I had to let her win---I gave her enough rope, flicked it at her and let her rear up over me----told her she was a good girl and walked her to the harness tie up rail.
I helped Jim harness her up with the warning that "she kicks with every leg"---and she did---he was like me---don't raise your hand, raise your voice.
Once in the cart, she was a professional----worked like a machine----it was like watching a butterfly float----I had seen many harness races but she was different.
Old Jim told me that she could be a good horse but she was a barrier rogue and only got away well at the starts one out of twenty.
That weekend we took Granite Rose to the official race trials----she had been banned because of her barrier manners so she had to qualify to race again.
She played up very badly at the barrier and missed the start by a long way----every one was so down in the mouth---she was working so well but she just would not go away with them----the stewards would not lift the ban.
I asked if she could try again later that morning----the stewards re entered her for the last trial----old Jim looked at me like the new boy is mad but said we might as well try again.
She was in the parade ring with old Jim driving her as a warm up when they called for the horses to come to the track-----I grabbed her by the bridle as the driver took over from Jim but before I let go, I threw a hand full of dirt in her mouth.
Jim looked at me and said "What the fuck was that"
I had just thought that if she was so worried about trying to clear the shit out of her mouth, she wouldn't be thinking about the barrier-----and she didn't----she charged out as they said go and they never saw which way she went----she won the trial and the stewards lifted the ban.
One week later she was at the races---Jim said to me not to get caught throwing dirt in her mouth----he was down in the mouth himself when she left the parade ring with no dirt----"she will gallop away and get banned again" he said----I laughed and told him to have faith----she stepped away and won as she liked.
When she returned to the stall with a very jubilant crowd around her I said to Jim "take that rubber band off her ear before it cuts of the circulation"----he looked and realised that it was just another way to take her mind off the barrier.
Granite Rose retired two years later winning 13 of her next 21 starts
She was a bitch but we respected each other-----of course she had the last laugh---I still have the scar of the biggest love bite a guy has ever had--oh, and as promised, I did bite her back
Jim and I never told anyone what we did----It was different nearly every time and we used the ideas over and over with barrier rogues
Monday, 23 November 2009
Posted by Clyde at 11:10 pm
Saturday, 14 November 2009
I heard him before I ever saw him
I heard him screaming, I heard the scrambling in the horse transport as it pulled up.
I was helping a "friend" (Gordon) run his Thoroughbred stable near the beach.
I heard him scramble down the tailgate of the transport and heard him skidding on the bitumen road----I heard him squealing like he was in pain.
I ran out of the stable to see this unruly little beast rearing and backing away from a man who held his lead rope
I saw the fire in his eyes, but it was the fire of fear.
There was an argument going on----"I don't want him, take him home"---"But you said you would take him and I've driven 150 miles to get here"----"He looks like a fucking pit pony, you told me that he would make a jumper"---"He can jump, he's qualified to race in hurdles"-----"I don't care, I don't want the little shit, he's a brumby, take him home"
All of the time this poor little beast was running around on the end of the rope and screaming his lungs out.
I walked up and grabbed the rope and said to the two blokes "look, you argue it out, I'm taking him inside for a drink and a feed"
The little horse looked at me like Satan had taken him by the tail but I grabbed him close and said to him "Come on son, we can give you something for your trouble"
He snorted and pulled back, the fire of fear in his eyes, but with me talking to him all of the way, we wrestled our way to the water trough----I think he nearly drank it dry---I let him loose in the sand roll yard and he was playing hard and rearing when I came back with an armful of lucerne hay"
I thought he was going to eat me as he pushed me out of the way and tore into the hay in front of him"
He was quieter but kept his eye on me---the fear was still there---there was no trust----he was small for a thoroughbred and those feet---they looked the size of dinner plates.
I left him to his feast and joined in on the argument still raging in the street.
"Look, Gordon, I know that you don't want him, but there is something about him that I like, so if you won't take him, I will"
Gordon looked at me like I had betrayed him to the enemy---"Clyde, you don't know what you are talking about---I told you that I would get you a horse, but not this little fucking pit pony"
I looked at his owner and said "Will you lease him to me and one of the stable riders---I'll give him a chance"
The war was over----it was agreed that he could stay and that I would pay his keep along with one of the stable riders.
My first horse---I went back to him, and he turned his rump on me and lashed out---"Hey Hey, little fella, come on, we have to get along or you might be going home"--he looked at me and snorted---his eyes were still full of fear----I stood there til he approached and stroked his face---he tried to savage the fingers that soothed him---I clipped a long lunging rein to his head collar and walked him out to the street.
"Changed your mind Clyde"----"no no, if he's gonna work on the beach he had better see it first"
No one rode him for a week---I led him to the beach every day and lunged him on the end of the rein on the sand and walked him up to his chest in the water---he was getting to trust me and I needed him to.
At the end of the week I put a bit in his mouth with a light bridle and took him deeper into the sea---he wasn't sure and pulled back but I kept encouraging him and talking to him til he finally kicked off and was swimming----I slipped onto his back and rode him back out of the water----we walked and talked for a good five miles, in and out of the water----he was starting to relax----there was another week of this and all of the time filling him with as much as he would eat.
My partner, the stable rider (Gary) came back from his holiday to the news of his new horse----he took one look at him and wanted out----it took some time but I talked him into giving the little bloke 12 weeks and if he showed nothing in ability, we would send him home.
The next morning I saddled him and sent him off with Gary to slow gallop him for five miles to the breakwater and plunge and rush him though the water on the way home.----he dumped Gary in the water and came home himself----I caught him on the beach and he seemed very pleased with himself----he acted like a naughty little boy.
Next morning it was the same work and he tried to get rid of Gary again but they came home together.
He developed a trust in Gary and I was his best friend but he would try to savage anyone else who went into his yard----oh, he hated Gordon (my mate the trainer)---the poor woman who owned the stables was on the end of some of his tantrums.
His 12 weeks was up and Gary wanted to see some results for his money---
Gordon had a good staying mare going to the track for a good searching training gallop----I borrowed another horse float and took the little bloke to the track
Gary had to ride Gordon's mare so I grabbed a jumping jockey friend of mine and sent the little bloke out to work with the mare.
Gordon had arranged a gallop with another horse from another stable----was not happy, but as long as the little bloke didn't get in their way, he could tag along.
They all warmed up just bowling along for a mile up to the 12 furlong start---they jumped out and warmed into their work---the little bloke tagging on behind---5 furlongs from home they started to get serious---the mare and her work partner side by side into the straight and two furlongs from home they really turned it on and sprinted to the post----both trainers very happy with their charges and oblivious to the fact that the little bloke had finished right on their tails.
I had unsaddled the little bloke and was hosing him down when Gary appeared and said that he didn't think that we should go on with the little bloke---before I could answer the jumping jockey said "what are you talking about son, I could have pulled out around both of you but Clyde told me to just let him run to the line"
Gary changed his mind and we went on.
We had a problem---the trainer only held an owner trainers licence, so if the little bloke was to race from his stable, Gordon had to be a part owner and had to sign the lease papers as a part owner and as the trainer.
I got the papers from the jockey club, filled in my part and Gary's part and gave them to Gordon with the registration fees to complete his part and register them with the Jockey Club.
I looked though the racing program and saw a race that I thought would suit the little bloke----he was qualified as a jumping horse and there was a jumpers flat race (a flat race for qualified jumpers with jumps jockeys to ride) in two weeks.
I got Gordon to nominate him with my friend the jumps jockey as his rider.
I checked the nominations on the Monday and there we were----but there was a lot of horses nominated---we probably wouldn't get a run---Thursday morning came and there it was---we were in-----I could not have been more excited----I grabbed my brother and my best friend and told them to be there because I thought that the little bloke had a good show.
Saturday morning I got to the stable at 5am---I gave the little bloke some breakfast and took him for a walk in the water------hosed him down and had him brushed out and tidied up ready to go
I transported him to the track myself and walked the stable parade ring for 30 minutes with him to calm down---he hadn't raced for two years so had to go through an inspection that upset him and had him very much on the toe-----
I was walking the parade ring with him when my brother caught my eye---he told me that the opening betting had him at 40/1---I told him not to worry til late and to have $100 each way on him just before the jump.
The saddle arrived from the weight room so I stabled the little bloke and saddled him up----they were ready---he was due in the mounting enclosure parade ring----he was snorting, he broke out in a sweat, he reared like his old brumby self---the others scattered away from him.
My jockey came out to mount up and said "Christ Clyde, will he get to the barrier or am I going for a rodeo ride"----I said to him "Hey, he knows you, just stand with me and talk to him til the stewards get shitty and make you mount up, then talk to him all the way to the barrier----and then he's yours---and remember how he worked that morning with the mare---well ride him like that but make him run home from the two furlongs and we will be in this"
He mounted up and I led my little bloke onto the track---I talked to him, I patted his neck, I walked him for 100 yards til they told me that I had to let him go and left him to the jockey.
I met my brother in the grandstand and he told me that he had my bet on at 60/1---but then he said "Look in the race book----look at the owner of the horse"
I looked and there it was---the only owner in the book was Gordon the trainer---Gary came over and asked what was going on---I said that we would sort it out after the race, that it must have something to do with Gordon's owner/trainers licence.
The fairy tale came true---Club Spirit (the little bloke) sprinted past the leaders to win by three lengths running away
In all of the excitement, the ownership issue didn't get raised til we were back home at the stables----Gordon explained that the horses owner wanted to lease it to him only but the prize money would be handed over to Us when it arrived.
It never happened and there was nothing that we could do about it----everyone involved except Gary and I, thought that he was Gordon's horse.
The little bloke hated Gordon and I stayed at the stables for the horses sake.
Club Spirit won the three biggest Steeplechase races in South Australia and ran second in the two biggest chases in Australia, getting an invitation to race in Japan and England----he never went.
He made Gordon into a public trainer with horses sent to him from wealthy owners.
I had to leave---I just couldn't stay with a man like that anymore.
He retired Club Spirit to what I thought would be a good home----the little bloke had made him a trainer and had won him a lot of money.
Gordon's daughter rang me and told me that the little bloke had been sent to Anna Creek Station---it was like a salt bush desert----just enough food to survive but Gordon didn't have to pay for him.
I rang the station owners who told me that Gordon had given them the horse---I bought him from them and sent him to a friends irrigated farm and paid for his keep for the rest of his life---of course he lived for another 12 years
Club Spirit---thank you for the trust---I'm sorry that I left you with that bastard but I'm glad that you enjoyed retirement----and you will be glad to know that Gordon actually has a heart---well had one, because he had a heart attack and died 10 years before you.
You were a champion
Posted by Clyde at 9:03 pm
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Now my last post was an attempt to let guys know something about womanspeak and try to interpret some of the common "speak" responses.
But now out of the blue someone sent me the rules according to men---
I have modified them a little but basically it will give ladies some idea of how men think.
You may say that your guy has never said anything like this to you but I'm betting that he is thinking it but just to keep the peace, he has gone out to the shed to start a handyman project(substitute beer here)
These are our rules!
Please note.. These are all numbered ' 1 ' because not one has a priority over another
1. Men are NOT mind readers.
1. Learn to work the toilet seat.
You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down.
We need it up, you need it down.
You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
And if you leave it down, don't complain that we pissed on it because we left it up last time.
1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides or girls nights. Let it be.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do.
Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.
In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one
1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both.
If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials..
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.
Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' We will act like nothing's wrong.
We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, Expect an answer you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really .
1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as Football or how hot your sister is.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!
1. Thank you for reading this.
Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;
But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.
Hey, there are some of them I can't agree with but then again I can see the reasoning behind them
Posted by Clyde at 7:17 pm
Monday, 9 November 2009
The English language is hard enough with two or three different spellings for a word and nine or ten different and sometimes contradicting meanings.
Of course we have the original language and spelling, then we have the Americanisations brought to us by 52 states and Microsoft and the bastardisations from Scotland and Australia.
But it doesn't matter what English speaking country you are from or who published your dictionary, there is not a publication anywhere that will give you that lifesaving incite into womenspeak---it is a language of its own and a lack of comprehension can have disastrous consequences
For the guys, a little look into Clyde's survival guide
NINE THINGS YOU MIGHT HEAR FROM A WOMAN
(1) FINE: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are
right and you need to shut up.
(2) FIVE MINUTES: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour.
Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more
minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
(3) NOTHING: This is the calm before the storm. This means something,
and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing
usually end in fine.
(4) GO AHEAD: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!
(5) LOUD SIGH: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement
often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an
idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing
with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)
(6) THAT'S OKAY: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women
can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard
before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
(7) THANKS: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just
say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true,
unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not
thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome' . that will bring on a
(8) WHATEVER: Is a woman's way of saying F-- YOU!
(9) DONT WORRY ABOUT IT, I GOT IT: Another dangerous statement,
Meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times,
but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?'
For the woman's response refer to # 3.
Learn and live longer
Posted by Clyde at 12:06 pm
Monday, 2 November 2009
We shared a love of the sea and the shore
We would walk for hours leaving bare footprints in the sand and tell each other every little thought.
We shared secrets that no none else knew and I have never told to this day
There were more sand dunes then---we would climb to the top and watch the world as it passed us by.
We shared a love of horses, the power and the beauty as they worked along the beach in the early hours.
I would dream of her at night---we were going to be together forever
Her father didn't like me---he thought that I was to old for her and that she was too young to be in love.
Her mother always told us when her father would be there and aided us behind his back.
I never contemplated us being separated but how could it be so far and why did she have to go.
Her family followed the Mormon faith and like so many world wide had been convinced of the second coming in Salt Lake City----they sold everything and went---they had to be there for the event.
She told me that they would be back after the event
I never saw her again---and I doubt that any member of her family or faith saw any great event in Salt Lake City.
But I will remember her to the day I die
Maybe her father was right---maybe I was too old----after all she was only 5yo and I was 6yo
If you are out there Barbra Chambers, I hope you found comfort in your fathers faith, I hope you found someone who would love you as much as I did---I hope you have had a wonderful life.
But just in case, I still walk that beach and I have never told our secrets
Posted by Clyde at 8:30 pm