‘This day we were going to let the horses go. They’d been working for a while and it was their turn to have a spell. Old Alf Turner came down there watching the blokes tying their horses’ legs up. And he seen me get my horse and bring him up – just drop the reins on the ground and the horse waiting down there while I went and got the hammer and the chisel and the rasp to just pull the shoe off.
Then he seen me pick the horse’s leg up – pick it up and just hold it while the horse was standing there. And he was thinking, ‘Hey, what’s this bloke! Hey! He should tie his legs up.’ And he called out to me, ‘Hey! He might turn and kick you!’
‘No,’ I said. ‘He be right.’
And I just took the horse’s shoe off and he just standing there with his head down and I was there holding his leg up. Old Alf Turner got the biggest shock and he gave me the job of breaking horses after that, because the other blokes’ horses still wild. They can’t touch a horse or the horse would kick them or something. But mine, mine were just quiet with me straightaway. That’s why he gave me the job breaking in horses. Horses – I got to like horses.
They liked me, the horses, straightaway.’
His former jockey, and later boss, Ian Rankin, once called Marty Dodd ‘the kindest man who ever lived’. This is Marty Dodd’s remarkable story, told in his own words.
‘As an Anangu child who was forcibly removed and as a parent who single-handedly parented seven children, Mr Dodd fought the odds to become the winner of horse races and an even bigger winner in life.’ – Dr Irene Watson, Tanganekald woman, lawyer, activist and academic
‘From exploitation to independence – a story of resilience that needed to be told. Marty Dodd’s experiences and philosophy make a worthwhile addition to the growing literature of Aboriginal autobiography.’ – Christobel Mattingley, AM, DUnivSA, editor/researcher of Survival in Our Own Land