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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Riding through a GOLF COURSE

My friend Katherine and I became cowgirl bandits once again and snuck our horses off the stable grounds, conveniently forgetting the part about stable rules, arena only, supervision, and something about a controlled environment. A mouth full of grit and horsehair at high noon during a heat wave with no one else around was enough to get a girl thinking about riding…. Riding free again.

I wasn’t a bad kid, but like my friends who loved me, knew authority I quietly bucked and with quick calculations lived the life of a little long-haired outlaw at the tender age of 10. The stable grounds once again mirrored a ghost town, miniscule dried-up weeds rolled along the dusty packed ground with the warm breeze … poetically so like the big tumble weeds I had always read about in my favorite cowboy novels. The ‘Good, Bad, and the Ugly’ song ballad played in my head. That was enough to make this little outlaw long for the wide-open spaces just beyond the stable confines. A freedom tasted once already, and now addicted to the adventure under my own power, free of rules and regulations….

It was unavoidable. Just me, my buddy, and two gorgeously nervous horses. I hit up Katherine with my idea. She glanced around, swallowed hard and whispered “Again?” I cocked my eyebrow (as similar to Clint Eastwood's as I could remember), gave her my sly lop-sided grin, and a sure nod. The stable “posse” and regulators, who would know better, were all gone at another horse show for the day. With the taste of freedom on our lips and the need for speed, I got us some inspiration or liquid courage… another glass-bottle of caffeine and high fructose corn syrup, icy cold and wet from condensation from the cola dispenser. We knocked this bad-boy back, wiped our mouths with the backs of our sleeves, caught our horses and prepared for our next adventure. We already did the ‘under the highway overpass’ next to the aquafers ride, and without admitting how scared each of us really were from that time, we agreed to ride in a different direction....

We rode through a few neighborhoods to get to a big patch of well-kept green grass that had been beckoning us, where we could stretch our horses out for a fast breeze. ‘Green’ was a natural kid attractant, especially while riding a horse in the middle of an unusually dry Californian summer where everything that once grew was now a crispy brown unidentifyable underfoot, and if not crispy-dead vegetation then dusty, hard-packed dirt void of any possibility of life …. But there are those well kept and irrigated expanses of green that for one reason or another are well manicured, and I was certain must be put there for the sheer joy of girl and horse. Why shouldn’t a kid ride there? In my mind, grass and horses go together, the “duh” kind of no-brainer.

To get there we had to ride through several neighborhoods. Our mounts pranced delightfully and I was feeling that wild exhilarated feeling again, except for the bellyache from the soda expanding in my stomach from being shook up from the trotting. The horses were wound tight like rubber bands and their ears flicked about nervously, snorting at the new smells and shying or balking to things that appeared out of nowhere here and there. Eye-candy in my opinion. We were fully amused with the city folk who often stopped and stared, or pointed at us with mouths wide open, dogs announcing our ride-by and people & children peering out their windows. Kids playing in their yards either stopped dead still to watch our glossy horses, or those that have never seen a horse in real life went scurrying into garages yelling for mommy. An occasional dog would bark, causing our horses to give us a jarring stop every now and again… but that was more flash and show appeal in our cowgirlUp minds! We felt very important up on those big beautiful horses.

We were well passed our adoring audience, yet confined spaces... but what a feeling it was to step our horses from hard and noisy concrete, to the soft and green freshly mowed lawn, and looking out at the expanse of big grass laid out in front of us. The horses, from our previous experience of galloping through the perfectly manicured grounds of the golf course with flying dirt-clods behind us, were now seemingly conditioned to run at full speed. We had to hold them back like a barrel racer on her eager steed before blazing her pattern. When we finally got there, we felt like we were in cowgirl & horse heaven!

An expanse of perfectly manicured grass……perhaps a park of some sort was our thought.... acres of endless ridability! We rode along laughing and talking, while we held back our horses who were ready to GO and GO FAST…. and for Katherine’s big black homing pigeon….eager to be on a dead-run all the way back home. The music of the curb chains as they chomped their bits played they’re beautiful tune in my head. All of a sudden the feeling of being heroes in a Clint Eastwood movie came to a screeching halt. We came upon a bunch of wild and unruly noisy half-grown men tumbling or slamming eachother to the ground…. Oh, after a ball! We rode right up to a rough game of football with a bunch of guys of all shapes and sizes.

There was no protective gear on these big boys."HEY YOU GIRLS! GET them @$%$@ horses OFF THIS FIELD!" one husky feller bellowed, as others added their no sense to it. Never hearing swear words heading in my direction before, I looked over by shoulder certain he was insulting someone else. I gulped hard realizing there was no one else to defer those comments to. When I realized Katherine was looking over at me, I chose to cover my dismayed look and met hers with my CowgirlUp attitude. To my further horror, there was another guy walking quickly towards us shouting loud enough for his buddies to hear, and my cheeks turned a couple shades of red "Hey girls.... can we have a ride?" Now why we were still just standing there at this point is beyond me. I do believe a state of shock…. But that quickly dissipated when, being my sassy self, I yelled back, "If you can catch us you can ride!" I felt pretty smug with myself, until the whole wild pack of the tougher-than-snot guys all began running at us at the same time. Katherine and I had no time to look at one another again, but by sheer instinct spurred our horses out of there. Our horses took off so fast, I'm sure our "tires were spinning". The horses, accustomed to our full-on gallops and getting out of some sticky situation, were more than obliged to gallop full-throttle homebound! I knew our horses were fast, but I still looked back just to make sure that these big scary fellers weren't faster! DIRT CLODS were flying again! Sweet rebel justice.

Your local cowgirl bandit
Cowgirl On Coffee …buckin’ good brew!


  1. Loved this story! I so wish I had a horse when I was growing up! Actually in my other life I want a ranch in Wyoming at the base of the Tetons with my beautiful gaited horses! Dreamin...

  2. Thank you! And all I can say is... ANYTHING is possible... let your dreams be your guide! Sonya