Playing Doctor




Initial Visit?

Thursday, March 24

Horses

I took my brother Anthony to the race track yesterday. I love it there, because it feels like old-time Miami, with old men in stained guayaberas smoking cheap cigars.

When we got to Gulfstream track, we found the grandstand had been torn down for renovations, and were relegated to a series of tents. We were stepping into the rain to watch the horses being circled in the paddock, then into the tents to place our bets, and then making the 200 foot trek to watch the race itself.

Papa Mark had printed out all the stats for the jockeys and trainers, as well as the favored odds and was explaining different gambling rationales to Anthony. Papa Mark usually does pretty well at the track, given that it is not fundamentally different than what he does every other day of the year: trading stocks. But I was the big winner yesterday, winning on a thirty-to-one longshot. Then I blew my winnings on a series of losing longshots, filled with the hubris that winning a single longshot will give you.


The other reason I love going to the tracks is simply to watch the horses.

I grew up occasionally riding but was never formally trained. My old roommate Tilden used to take me riding with her and would invariably give me this difficult mare. It had thrown a rider once and now had a bad reputation.

“No one has ridden her since the last time you were here,” she’d say.

I thought she trusted me because I had told her my man-versus-horse story.

When I was nineteen, I spent two weeks in South Carolina painting my uncle’s place. He had a horse, but it hadn’t been ridden in a couple of years. In a ‘controlled’ space, I put the brindle on it and climbed on bareback. The horse hated it, but submitted after not too long. I did this a few more times in the controlled space. By day three, I took him out for a real ride in full saddle.

We were out in a field, at full gallop, riding along the edge of the timber, when without warning, the horse turned into the woods still at full gallop, not on a trail, just racing through the trees. I was being hit with leaves and branches and thistles.

I circled the reins in my left hand and pulled—hard. The horse was running with his head crooked at ninety degrees. Still running at full gallop. So I reached across with my right hand, grabbed further up on the rein and yanked laterally, twisting the horse’s neck back and up with everything in me. The horse finally stopped.

Less than an arms-length in front of me, at the height of my chest, ran an eight-inch thick tree limb. At the speed we were going, not only would it have knocked me off the horse, it would have damn-near killed me. My heart was thumping so hard in my chest it was almost painful.

“Fuck you,” was the first thing I said, beginning a venomous diatribe against the now stopped horse.

Though now scared shitless and bleeding on my face and arms, I wasn’t about to give the horse the satisfaction of getting off him and walking home. I turned him around and we slowly made our way out of the woods and—slowly—back to my uncle’s place. The horse never tried that shit again during our daily rides for the remainder of my stay.

Though it’s not a story that I often tell, Tilden knew it. I thought that was why she gave me the difficult horse. One time though, she explained her rational.

“I just don’t know anyone else with an ego bigger than that horse’s.”

4 Comments:

3/24/2005
Blogger hot babe writes:

So you're a real live cowboy AND a doctor? Move over Brad Pitt, there's a new sexiest man alive.

 


3/24/2005
Blogger Erik writes:

Let’s nip this one in the bud, right now:

A) It is not sexy to be struck in the face by branches while riding an out-of-control horse, unless your name is Kate Moss.
B) When riding with Tilden, I wore protective gear including a riding helmet. Also not sexy.
C) If given the option, I would have worn a bullet proof vest to protect my tummy girth from tree limbs.
D) An effete physician reliving a wild episode from his youth is—frankly—more sad than sexy.

 


3/24/2005
Blogger hot babe writes:

I'm sorry, but a guy taking control of an out of control runaway horse & then riding the horse again despite knowing the horse could do that again *is* sexy. It doesn't matter that it happened X numer of yrs ago. Sexiness transends time.

The doctor thing is just a bonus.

 


3/25/2005
Anonymous Miss Kitty writes:

Man+horse+speed+danger+fear = SEXY

We imagine you sweaty and panting. This, even in fear, is HOT. ;-)

 


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