My Life in a Scoop

In this article I am presenting a very concise summary of my life, leaving out some of the less technical data.

 

My Life in a Scoop

 

I was born on October 14, 1946, in the city of Prague, the capitol of then Czechoslovakia, today the Czech Republic. My dad's name was Josef, my mother's name was Martha, and my one year older brother's name was also Josef.
My dad was born in 1914, and as a young man graduated college in hotel management. Later on he worked in the interior ministry, or the ministry of internal affairs.
My mother was born 1918, and before the war she worked as a women fashion designer, as well as seamstress.

  She was also an artist and painted some illustrations for children's books. My brother was born in 1945, college graduate, majoring in arts, philosophy and economics, becoming the youngest professor of philosophy of that day in Prague. He was also an artist, mainly photography, presenting his works in his own photography art exhibitions in Prague during 1990 to 1994. He also played basketball in the national league. My mother died in 1982, my dad in 1992, and my brother in1994.

When I was born we lived in the suburbs of Prague, and two years later we moved into the apartment building of the Prague main railway station, then called the "Wilson Railway Station", after the US president Woodrow Wilson, where my father got his new job as a manager for all the passenger dining carts. During the late fifties and early sixties my mother also worked at the main railway station in the restaurant as a cashier.

Between the age 2 and 5 I have spent much time at my grandmother's in the country, about 50 km from Prague, where at that time there was no electricity, no phones, and people live the same or similar way for the last 400 years. I have also spent most of the summers at her village as well.

I've started the first grade at my grandmother's village, then I was moved to Prague, and then into a children home (orphanage), because my mother was ill, and so my brother and I both went, since our dad could not handle both, taking care of our mother and us. The second and third grades I was in Prague, and the fourth grade I've spent again in the children home, because my mother was ill again, but my brother stayed home, since he was older, because together we were more problems to our dad. The fifth and the remaining grades, including the optional ninth grade, I've spent in Prague.

In 1961 I have entered the two year school for professional riders and breeders of horses at the Kladruby Stud, in Kladruby Nad Labem, not far from Prague.
I have graduated the school in 1963, when I went to work at the horse farm called Pecinov, where they bred and raced primarily steeplechase horses. I have more details regarding the school and my first job in the stories published on my about page.

I've worked on the farm only a few months, and then I got a job at the "National Circuses", working for a trainer of Lipizzaners in the related high school riding, or as known here, the "airs above the ground". I've spent working for the "National Circuses" about two years, working for different trainers, as well as different circuses, while traveling to Romania, and to Poland where besides working with horses, I had to also work with elephants and zebras.

I was not yet 19 years old when I was drafted into the military, to the "Internal Guards" unit, going through two boot camps, the guard camp and then the dog training camp of the canine guard unit, I served as such till the 11th months. In the 12 month I was court-martialed for leaving the post when on duty, and for that I've received 15 months in the military prison called Sabinov, which was located in the low Tatras' mountains in Slovakia. I've served 9 months, and then I was released to the so-called PTP unit, which was in essence for the soldiers branded as "politically unreliable", hence no weapons and mostly some manual labor in military factories.
I was dishonorably discharged from the military after serving all together 27 months.
In the year 1967 I went back to work at the "National Circuses" for the trainer of Lipizzaners, who had 8 liberty stallions, and couple of high school horses, and went with him to Brussels. The season of 1968 I've spent in then East Germany with another trainer of high school horses, who also had 8 liberty camels, (4 camels, and 4 dromedaries), and so I had to work with those as well.

After the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia 1968, when returning from East Germany, I've arranged for a private contract with the West German circus Krone, and left Czechoslovakia on the 15th of January 1969, never to return again, and never to see my parents or brother again.

Because of the private contract dispute with the circus Krone I found a new job at the Rennbahn (racetrack) Riem in Munich, where I worked as exercise rider and groom for the champion trainer of 36 years Charlie Seifert. I worked there about 3 years, most of it as a "reisefuttermeister", which in essence is an assistant to the trainer when horses run on other tracks, when and where the trainer cannot be present, hence again a lot of responsibilities, as well as a lot of travels, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Baden-Baden and Cologne.

While working there I have arranged for a political asylum, and later for immigration to the USA, and arrived in the states in August 19, 1971. I got a job in south Jersey working on a thoroughbred farm with the head count about 100 to 150, where I have mostly rode and trained young horses, and also took part in breeding, foaling and care for injured horses coming off the track. I have also trained race horses then, but was not licensed at that time yet. I worked there till about October of 1973, the last year working as the farm manager, and then I left for Virginia where I worked as a farm manager at a Tennessee Walkers stable, but only for some six weeks. At the end of 1973 I found a job as farm manager on a thoroughbred farm near Youngstown Ohio, where I bred and foaled horses, trained and rode yearlings as well as race horses.

In 1974 I quit that job, got myself a trainer's license, and was self employed since then. I've trained and raced horses on most of the tracks on the north eastern coast, mainly Garden State, Monmouth, Delaware-Park, Philadelphia Park, before that known as Keystone racetrack, and Liberty Bell Park at the earlier days, Penn National track, Waterford Park, the Meadowlands and Atlantic City racetrack.
From the late 1979 till 1987 I worked as freelance farm manager on a thoroughbred farm in Northeast Pennsylvania, where I have bred, trained and rode horses, specializing in difficult young race horses, which were sent to me from trainers and the tracks from the east coast. I have also raced horses at that time, and leased two other horse farms. I have also owned and operated a feed store and a tack shop.

In 1988, after quitting all the previous, I've leased and operated boarding stable, where I have predominantly trained difficult horses, started young ones and also raced horses at the Pennsylvania race tracks. I have also started to shoe horses locally for other people, but only for a short period of time, as the racing of horses took most of my time.

I got married in 1979, raised five children, and then got unfortunately divorced in 1994. After the divorce I kept riding for other people, horses of all sorts of disciplines, dressage, jumpers, western pleasure and such, just to make ends meet, so-to-speak. During this time I was slowly establishing my client tell in horse shoeing, and finally in 1998 I took on the farriery as my full time occupation, and hung the saddle up for good. I've been doing the full time farriery ever since. Since 1995 I live in Moscow, Pennsylvania.

I will have more details, about some of the days of my life, published, in a more or less entertaining way, on my about page.

 

 

 

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Personal website of Ludvik K. Stanek. A horseman by God's grace.