Saturday Ride

Bring your saddle.

That was the text from Laird George this morning. Well, the good news is I’ll be in a hunting saddle rather than an exercise saddle. Trying to hunt next week which means I need to ride this week. That’s the only way these days. I used to hop on and go without thinking twice. Not anymore. Like winding a top or stoking a fire, it takes a bit of work. Hopefully Lemonade Thursday is kind and hopefully Laird doesn’t ask me to run up over four with Harrison Beswick who is in town to school a few. I think the last racehorse I schooled was Westbound Road at Whitewood years – decades – ago.

Richard Valentine asked if I wanted to come out for a ride, watch a Riverdee horse train. I jumped at it. Matt McCarron was on a green hurdle prospect and I was on a Cadillac. Richard asked if I wanted to pop a log. I did. He asked if I would hop over a roll, giving Matt’s horse a lead. I didn’t mind. Then he asked if I would canter up over four, in front, slow, no pressure. I didn’t. But I did. Then he asked if I would go head and head over four. I definitely did not. But I did. Old jump jockey pride. We jumped the first on a perfect stride, the second short but sweet, the third a little long and the fourth was a beautiful, magical long spot unfolding in front of me like a full dinner plate on a white table cloth. As the Cadillac picked up I thought, ‘Wow, I still got it’ and did my best John Francome. With that, I thudded the butt end of the whip into the bottom of my chin. Bit my tongue and drew blood. That was the last time I schooled a racehorse and the last time I thought I still had it.

No whip this morning.

If you’re looking for a Saturday schedule, Tom and I put together a Saturday Special for a jam-packed day of action. It starts in Saudia Arabia and finishes in Santa Anita.