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Man About Town: City life driving you crazy? Just say neigh.

November 10, 2012|Chris Erskine
  • Horseback rides through Griffith Park are a great way to change a hectic L.A. pace.
Horseback rides through Griffith Park are a great way to change a hectic… (Michael Robinson Chavez…)

I wrestle with my demons just like everybody else, addicted as I am to Mariel Hemingway movies and those little "fun-sized" Snickers bars, of which several trillion are floating around in these weeks after Halloween.

Airlift them to Cuba. Put them in warheads and fire them at Charlie Sheen's skull. Whatever it takes, because I am one fun-sized Snickers bar away from setting my garage afire just because.

See? Demons. Oh, I'm not done.

If I go to one more dinner party where someone raves about the mileage they're getting with their Prius or Leaf, my head might explode. Take me back to the days when dinner party chatter trended to red wine and smutty movies. And if one more person tells me how much they loved "The Book of Mormon," I'm doing the unthinkable. I'm moving to Provo.

The other day I'm coming out of the drive-through, and yet another lousy driver forgets his turn signal, which makes me so mad that I forget my own turn signal, and I begin to wonder if my failure to signal is causing someone else behind me not to use their signal.

It's akin to the "butterfly effect," whereby something as inconsequential as the flapping of a butterfly's wings over the Bay of Bengal can, over time, alter the climate in Nova Scotia.

This kind of insight into the modern condition doesn't come cheap. It'll cost you one Snickers bar.

To take the edge off, I decide to go for a trail ride.

Stop me if you knew this, but you can take a rental horse all the way to the Hollywood sign. It's a three-hour trip, but what a great way to entertain kidnappers or out-of-town guests (same thing?).

As you know, I'm always thinking of you, the only people who still love newspapers the way I do, the only people who appreciate the simpler things — family, fireworks, NASCAR, beer.

So I can't stress enough how a horseback ride through Griffith Park will soothe your world-weary mind.

"Horses are somehow connected to the gods," explains Pat Ommert, a horse lover for eight decades.

"The basest horn of a hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes," the Bard of Avon once said.

Plus, this 90-minute ride will run you less than $30. And you'll get the best gas mileage of anybody at your dinner party.

I've been looking at the Ford Focus, but I might lease a horse instead. The way I see it, Armageddon's only a week away, just look at the evidence. The Angels may let Torii Hunter go? What's with that? And the other day they seriously trimmed all the maples on the boulevard just as they were about to turn.

Through this madness, I hear the overture to Armageddon. And the horn of the hoof.

Cowboy up, baby.

Yup, I'd lease a horse, except that I have flashbacks to a Kentucky Derby where my buddy Rhymer and I couldn't find a good steak in the entire principality of Louisville. They all tasted like nag to me. I was pretty sure I was living a Stephen King story, where I was being served for dinner the very steed I'd just lost the mortgage on.

But back to this city slicker stuff.

There are few things worse than a warm horse on a hot day, so I've waited till November to try these stables. We leave Glendale at dusk and head into the most splendid urban trails in the nation. A hawk works the ridge. Deer rustle in the eucalyptus.

Nearby, the 5 is belchy with late Friday traffic. The guide, Dalon Williams, a wrangler by way of central casting, says Diamond Bar, one of four stables that rent horses to Griffith Park visitors, closes only for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Which means these horses are more available than your shrink, and probably better people.

"There's miles and miles of trails," Williams says. "The one you take depends on the length of the ride."

He likes these upcoming winter months best, when the rains scrub the crud from the skies and the park begins to green.

Meanwhile, they say there's a cougar camping in these canyons, waiting for rabbits to come out in the milk of a rising moon.

Oh, horse, what an evening. Thy saddle, seat of prayers.

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