Laurie and Sham: Santa Anita, Early ’73 A Training Day I’ll never forget

sham-on-track     Well…Training is training, some days and workouts more memorable than others.  Some days, however, something special happens.

There was a morning, when SHAM and I were out for our usual 6 am walk around the barns.  He was very, very distracted by girl horses, which is why he exercised early morning, or late afternoon.

I loved to go around so early, sometimes foggy, always quiet, activity just beginning.  Quiet times to chat, share a coffee, talk about the previous days races and  look forward to the upcoming day.  Even the horses were calm, walking to the track, grazing, or getting tacked up.  Still the best time of any given day!

SHAM was just going along, swinging his lowered head back and forth.   I was relaxed, too relaxed, loose stirrups, on his broad back.

From between two barns, suddenly, noisily, came: a goat. Yes, a goat, bucking, and yapping, and ran at us, right under my colt’s belly.  Of course, all hell broke loose!  Another horse, being walked, reared, and  broke loose from the surprised groom (probably half asleep also) and ran off bucking; he was safely caught. Poor SHAM, flew straight up in the air, came down, and went to bucking also, with me sitting too easy and unbalanced. Off I went, like the goat who continued on its mad dash.

I wasn’t hurt,  just surprised, probably swearing at the goat.  Someone was laughing, I began to, as well. SHAM, being the kind gentleman he was, stood there, looking down at me, waiting.

I am sure that I have the dubious honor of being the only person to have been bucked off sweet, gentle SHAM.  We walked back to the stable, side by side, together, with the memory of those few moments, always, forever, on my mind.

Things like this happen at tracks everyday. Part of what makes horses so special.


2 thoughts on “Laurie and Sham: Santa Anita, Early ’73 A Training Day I’ll never forget

  1. Adorable story! So fitting of that sweet horse’s personality. I am very surprised I did not run into Laurie along the way. She started on the track before I did, but were certainly were around the same tracks at the same time. Maybe we did cross paths and just didn’t realize. I started race ridung in 1972 and retired (the first time) in 1986. Rode all over New England, VT, NY, PA, Canada, FL. I learned how to break babies at Lucian Lauren’s farm in Hilly Hill, SC.
    Enjoying Laurie’s stories!


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