Monday, August 7, 2017

Hackamore

Sometimes trying to simplify our lives can get complicated.  Cutting back and letting go of things need not be so difficult.  In fact, the two or three times I've made a concentrated effort to downsize were absolutely exhilarating.  Filling up a dumpster with material things that have stayed too long at the fair is a very visual measurement of how attached we get to the non-essential.
I've begun to think about finding new homes for anything I still cling to that might be of some value.  In full disclosure, nothing I currently possess is of significant value that it couldn't be replaced if necessary.  Although, my little collection of historical books and primary source objects, while not really worth much, would be difficult to reproduce.
Though my wife worries that some of my most interesting items would be difficult to "place" I constantly assure her that a museum or two would take some and a used record store right down the street would be the place to take my record collection.  Anything they don't want could go to Goodwill or even be placed outside on the sidewalk.  It all disappears and rather quickly.
I had something a few years ago that I really wanted to find a good home for...something that I kept to remind me of the time I owned a horse.  It was a hackamore bridle.  This bridle differs from a standard one in that it has no bit that goes into the horse's mouth.  Granted, you have less control, but the big mare we rode with the hackamore was gentle enough that the hackamore was a good choice for all.

I put the hackamore out at a yard sale I had with some friends many years ago, and actually ended up selling it to someone I knew.
Luis Niebla bought the bridle for a measly $10.  I really wanted him to have it because I knew it would get used.  Luis was a jockey I knew who worked for two trainers that had been movie stuntmen in the Hollywood of the 30s and 40s.  They did stunts for John Wayne among other famous screen cowboys.  Luis was the stable rider, in that he rode horses of theirs in minor races.  If ever they had one good enough to compete in stakes races, another more accomplished jock would be engaged.   Luis didn't mind, he had a home, a few mounts a year, and a source of income.  Wayne Burson and Chuck Roberson  (the trainers) would barnstorm some years at the small California and Nevada Fair circuit.   Sometimes their horses were more experienced than people knew because some of the fairs, especially the Nevada ones were so small that statistics weren't recorded.
I once asked Luis how and when he came to California from Mexico.  The answer was astonishing.  Luis was the little Mexican kid in the movie "Stagecoach" that went for a wild ride with John Wane on an out of control coach.  After the filming, he came to California to work at the Bakersfield ranch of his stuntmen friends.
BY the time I met Luis, he was the most unassuming person.  He never won many races.  I even looked up his stats.  He's listed as having 89 wins and 89 second place finishes.  I know there were many more...somewhere.
So that day when Luis appeared at my yard sale, I knew he'd go home with the hackamore.  Hopefully a horse with as kind a disposition as this jockey is enjoying the feel of the fit.

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