Amen Corner Farm

Posted on May 28, 2016

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Last week my wife Louise and I packed up the RV, threw our two Standard Poodles, Dudley and Miller, into the back seat of the truck and off we went to ride and jump horses at the Amen Corner Farm, tucked into the corner of southeast Louisiana, just north of Lake Ponchartrain and the Big Easy—New Orleans.

Well, to be exact, Louise does the riding and jumping. I’m the RV hook up and disconnect guy, Poodle walker, and good companion/spouse, although I take my golf clubs and usually find a place nearby to do something I like other than watch horses behinds as they leap and jump over the fences.

This is not to demean the jumpers, both man and beast. For some reason, little girls are attracted to horses more than boys it seems and so there are lots more girls and women than boys and men in the barns and horse shows.

I tried to get my son when he was going through his teen years to take up horseback riding and jumping, since the girls are often very attractive in their riding outfits and there are few guys out there.

But son wasn’t any more attracted to horses than I am, and so he ended up doing what he liked, which was flying, and now he’s off flying Hawker 400 jets for a charter company.

So I was left with the girls, from about ages six or seven as near as I could judge to those well into their Boomer years, a few guys who usually ride the “Grand Prix” jumpers, and lots of barn hands. I can talk to most of them, Mexicans for the most part, since I grew up in Peru.

The Grand Prix jumpers are the guys who take their jumper horses over the high fences, and I don’t have much in common with them. It is exciting to watch them since the horses have to be superb athletes, but after about one or two doing their “course,” my mind wanders off.

Where can I find a real course, a golf course? The one I found was an old private course, the Covington Country Club, which at one time the guy selling me my ticket to play nine holes with a cart had 1400 members. It reminded me of a lot of old courses, with comfortable homes, pools, and nice gardens dotting the fairways, and an old club house.

“So, what happened?” I asked him. His “Pro Shop” was more of a bar than a real Pro Shop stocked with the stuff golfers like to browse—putters, drivers, shoes, clothes, the newest high compression golf balls, the bric-o-brac of the trade.

“The board that ran it spent too much, I guess,” he said. “They did this and that and pretty soon were into bankruptcy.” I suspect a lot of old private clubs have gone this route.

Being in and around Covington reminded me of long ago when I lived in New Orleans while in graduate school in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The “girls” of our barn from Tuscaloosa–Westminster Farm–wanted me to take them into New Orleans to “do” the city.

Alas, I no longer “do” the Crescent City like I did while there more than fifty years ago! Just as well.

My style today would be a ride on the St. Charles Ave. streetcar down to the French Quarter, maybe oysters at Felix’s if it is still there, and then beignets and coffee at the French Quarter Market.

I still like walking around the Quarter just visiting the shops and life in that part of town, but it is no longer the place we went slumming in back in the late 1960s, filled with the Big Easy’s stereotypical people, drunken sailors, easy girls, Bourbon Street carnival, and the old Jax Brewery on Decatur St. which brewed the foulest tasting beer in the land!

We never did make it into New Orleans. Thunderstorms and downpours ruined the weekend and as we passed the entrance to the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway, it was closed due to storms and high waters.

Next weekend it is supposed to be nice. I almost forgotten that when it really storms in southeastern Louisiana, you almost float through the flooding rather than drive. But the crawdads we chowed down on one night at the horse show grounds party were divine.

And I found some pork boudin at a gas station which the Poodles and I shared.

 

Published Sunday May 8, 2016 in The Tuscaloosa News as “Doing Horse Show Duty in Louisiana.”