ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

I am the Ponyman's Daughter

Updated on July 13, 2010

The cowboys said I learned to walk when I fell off my pony. That may be true. I have photos of myself sitting in the saddle when I was barely old enough to sit up on my own. I've always felt more at home on horseback than on the ground. In fact, most of my serious injuries happened when I've tried navigating this world without their help.

My heritage with horses arrived via my paternal family. My grandfather, father and four uncles earned their living via horses. My dad's earliest memories included riding my grandpa's horses. The drifts were too deep and too numerous in Ogden, Utah, to shovel, so the kids mounted their horses and let them tramp paths through the snow down between house, barns and pastures.

Born in 1909, Dad went to school in the horse and buggy days. His dad's driving horse was well-trained, so he allowed his kids to drive the sorrel to school each day. The more daring of the siblings egged the other kids into betting on trotting races. Their eager horse never broke stride and rarely crossed the finish line second.

But his steadiness and consistency weren't always appreciated by Dad and his sibs. Once they arrived at school, that old horse would stop right in front of the schoolyard gate -- and wouldn't move even one step beyond it. Playing hooky just wasn't in the cards with that horse. He wouldn't turn off the road to the schoolhouse anymore than he'd let them drive him beyond that gate.Having o choice, they'd get out. That was his cure to turn around and go home on his own. Grandpa would send him back to fetch the kids when the school let out. The trip home was just as straight. He'd trot back home without fail. But when Grandpa was driving him, that horse would go anywhere.

One time, my uncle Reuben was driving a team to town when they ran away. Reuben couldn't stop them, so he just held on. They ran so blindly they couldn't make a sharp turn in the road. One jumped the fence. The other stopped just this side of it, leaving Reuben and the team stranded. First he checked his team for injuries. Fortunately, only the wagon was a casualty. He walked all the way home to get help and tools to cut the fence. The team was still standing calmly when their rescuers arrived to cut them out of their predicament and take them home.

Dad was fourteen when he got his first job in town: running the carousel. He loved it so much he started selling pony rides at fair and carnivals. At fifteen, he took two of his younger brothers and his ponies to the state fair, riding the whole distance. It took them three days. One night, he spotted an old barn. It was late. They couldn't see any lights nearby, so they snuck inside and took shelter. In the morning, a farmer shook them awake. "Your ponies been eating my hay. You might as well come in and eat my grub for breakfast." When they came into the kitchen, the farmer's wife had breakfast ready and had packed lunches for them too.

Not long after, the Kemsley family moved to Los Angeles. Grandpa took a job as night watchman at the Selig Zoo, famed for its movie star inhabitants. Leo, the MGM lion lived there. One night when Grandpa was reading in the office, Leo came in but Grandpa didn't hear him. First time he realized Leo was loose was when the big cat sat in his lap.

The Kemsley brothers set up their first pony track right across from the zoo. Later on, they branched out all over Los Angeles and eventually had eighteen in all. In my mid-teens, I worked horses at the Fat Jones Movie Stable in the San Fernando Valley. Fats was brother to Buck Jones, the cowboy hero of the silver screen. One day, Buck came up to me and asked if I was related to the Kemsleys who ran the pony tracks. I said yes. He shook his head and said, "I tried to open a pony track once. Couldn't make a go of it. The Kemsleys had the whole area locked up."

Growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1950s was magical. Our rural neighborhood was ringed by carnivals, circuses, movie stables and movie stars. I knew Trigger, Champion, Mr. Ed, National Velvet, Fury, Topper and so many more wonderful steeds. I met most of their owners and trainers too. I loved them all. I'll be sharing these memories as time permits. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

If you have a question about any of the movie horses, please leave me a question and I'll do my best to answer it.

© 2010 Loretta Kemsley

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)