Photographic proof of the origins of my love of horses and riding.
Or blackmail evidence. Hard to tell.
I figured we could use a little of the blogging equivalent of Muzak while we wait for the Carnival turnstiles to open.
Here, have a Sno-Cone.
I remember this swan. And my mother yelling, “JANE! Slow Down!!”
I wanted to ride.
I tried to smack the swan’s forehead down to the dirt, then make it sit on its rump. The spring made it snap back very quickly. My first experience of being thrown may, quite possibly, have been from a swan. I don’t remember. I do believe body memory of that extreme rocking motion is what attracted me to my first Arabian. Riding K.O. was like scrambling on the deck of The Nina, The Pinta, or The Santa Maria: round hulled, short-backed, and plunging. I discovered a new world. Okay. A world that already had other people in it, but it was new to me, dang it, so it was NEW. I discovered it!
I love the look on the swan’s face. To me it looks like coy collusion: don’t worry, let her ride, I’ll take goooood care of your little girl. She’s going to lose her baby teeth anyway, what do you care?
An attitude that is strangely familiar.
I was so excited to get closer to the real thing: a horse. Nearly life size! Preeeeeety. Bejeweled bridles and saddles! Lights, mirrors, real horsehair tails (when you’re ten, somehow this is not yet gross) Pipe organ music. A brass ring, a seatbelt, and handy pole to hang onto. Gentle up and down motion, slow start, slow stop. Timed. Yup. Just like riding a real horsey.
Little did I know riding the Swan would more closely resembled the actual experiences I was going to have. (Watch out for the teeth! Ground alert! Rearing! Ground alert!)
- The Swan was in a park called Happy Hollow, in San Jose, CA back when it was still a sleepy little orchard town, and telephones had rope cords that barely reached your ear. Silicon Valley? What’s that?
- The Carousel is the beautiful old wooden (at least it used to be wood) hand carved Merry-Go-Round in Santa Cruz, CA at The Boardwalk. Still there. I’m going to date myself. At the time, you could see the Pacific ocean from the Carousel, and the huge band stand set up on the beach, with its clamshell back.
Yes. I did ride it the last time I was in that area, about 11 years ago. It was every bit as much fun as when I was ten. I also managed to snag the brass ring and throw it inside the clowns mouth, gaining a free ride!
(If you knew my throwing ability, you’d know that moment was a direct gift from God. Christmas looks at me in confusion when I throw the ball forward and it lands…behind me.)