18 Wheels and a Dozen Stories about Ponies

When I was a five year old little girl I wanted to be a truck driver when I grew up. I have no recollection of ever uttering the words

“Mommy I want to be a truck driver” but my mom has a drawing I made from kindergarten of cartoon five year old me driving an 18 wheeler. This was 22 years before my dad went into long haul trucking so I have no idea what put that premoltion in my tomboy head.

Grown up a few years down the road, If you asked 12 year old me what I wanted to do when I grew up I had one answer for you

“I want to train thoroughbreds” Yes, since I was in middle school all I wanted to do was work with race horses. I’m 36 years old now and I work in the horse racing industry as long as it keeps alive and kicking on the west coast. These days as the industry is not thriving in California my window of employment is getting smaller every day as purse sizes shrink, stables move their tack east and there is a sad and nostalgic feel in the air for the good old days when our Art Deco stands were packed with fans.

As I wander the deserted green grandstands in my red fascinator and bow tie, one of the very few female handicappers in this business on the west coast it’s a constant reminder that women don’t have it easy in a lot of industries.

I don’t know what happened to 5 year old Amber’s kindergarten dreams of being a truck driver but I admire her feminist ideas that a woman can drive a 36 gear Peterbuilt truck just as well as a man.

I never went into long haul trucking like my dad and I feel so blessed that my career path I choose led me to the ponies and not the open road of this great country (and sometimes Canada, eh) I love that I get to pet and love on horses every day at work when I teach little kids about our outrider ponies ( And also teach them fractions! Never bet to win on a 9-5 favorite kids!) and show them how we help out our retired race horses by giving them new jobs after the racetrack. I’m thankful every day while I may be “Just like dad” a trucker I am not.
This morning I drove our 34 foot RV for the first time and it gave me a new appreciation for everything my stinky farty trucker father does.

As I fought the steering of the massive vehicle to stay between the lines on highway 395 heading north towards the pines of the sierras I was thanking the lord my path lead me towards the ponies and away from 18 wheelers.

This was fucking hard and stressful as the 25 mile an hour winds blowing off the snowy peaks of Mt Whitney in the distance pushed the rig all over the crowded holiday weekend traffic packed highway testing my patience.

I tried to enjoy the meadows of wild flowers as we drove north pushed by frantic winds towards our destination of Mammoth Lakes. But it was hard when 25 mile per hour wind gusts made me feel like pooping myself as I fought the giant rig to stay in the slow lane.

My boyfriend says I did great, my first time driving the rig for almost two hours from Ridgecrest to Big Pine but I felt pathetic;

I never got the rig over 55 miles an hour and I never got brave enough to even change lanes! I’m so glad my choices in life lead me towards the ponies and away from 18 wheelers. Driving the RV was a challenge and I don’t know how dad wrestles with those 18 wheelers every day.

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