Laurie and Sham: A Typical QUIET Day

This post is about a normal, quiet day (!) for Laurie as an exercise rider, while working for the Frank Martin barn.  At this point, they were all still out in CA, Santa Anita.  Before the Woodward, the Derby, Preakness and Belmont… just a day that Laurie loved, like all the others Laurie also exercised Knightly Dawn and Autobiography for the Martin Barn (among others). – Linda

It began early of course. Because SHAM was ridden at 6 a.m. daily, I was always there at 5 a.m..  So were some of the guys of course, as well as the boss (Frank Martin) most mornings.

I helped feed, water, fill hay nets, and tack up a couple horses, usually SHAM, and Knightly Dawn, sometimes Autobiography, if he wasn’t off to a big race somewhere.



Knightly Dawn


Four bandages, a light snaffle bit, & SHAM was ready to go out. Today would be a light exercise day. We would walk around on the narrow road which circles our section of barns.  After two turns around, we would zig-zag between barns, going back and forth, SHAM sniffing, sometimes snorting and always calm.

Activity in the shedrows is picking up, horses walking and being tacked up. Some are on the track; jogging and galloping.  SHAM would toss his head at this, eager for a run.  Not today, big boy.

We’d make our way to the old sand track where a few are walking or trotting slowly. Others were being led (ponied) by a saddle horse.  Some days, Moody, our stable pony, would go with us, but not today.   We were still in California, still enjoying that WARM, early morning sun. Soon, we would be back in New York, back to some cold, wet mornings. But not yet, not today.

We don’t go on the track today. Too many out there. We go around, back to the barn area. I like how Frank trusts me to make that call.

When we get back, I get down as Gato (SHAM’S groom) holds the reins. I remove the saddle, and he walks SHAM around a circle, while I put my saddle on Knightly Dawn, who I will jog and gallop two miles around the racetrack.

Sham pictured with his groom, Gato (rear)



While I am gone with Dawn, Gato will take SHAM to the small paddock so he can roll in the sand and play a bit. Dawn ran well, so I am in a good place in my mind, going back to the barn.

SHAM is in his stall, eating his morning hay. We wash down Knightly Dawn.  My turn to walk, while Gato cleans his stall.

We were not racing that day, so it’s a quiet afternoon…everyone going their way for a few hours. My favorite place was the beach of course.  Waves, water…

Late afternoon, back to take SHAM for a hand walk, to eat grass. Sometimes (most days) Frank did this. Today, it was my turn. What an honor it was.

Supper for horses was prepared. NO steroid powders, NO hormone injections, whatever else!!   Oats, barley, molasses, bran, carrot and warm water. And maybe some crushed corn thrown in there.  And, lots of it…happy, healthy horses!

Back to Aqueduct soon, see you there.

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