Dream Come True
continued by Brenda Zeigenbein
continuation of previous story entitled, First Impression
In the winter before the 1999 show season, the latest issue of The Journal came in the mail. As always, I went through it page by page including every ad in the Classified section. I noticed an ad that was particularly interesting to me but I knew from past experience, I would need to approach this issue carefully. Generally, Clarence’s first reaction to an idea of mine is skepticism and pessimism. Always when I begin a sentence, “Honey, I’ve been thinking……..”, Clarence interrupts to ask if it costs money. If I say it does, I already have two strikes on me. I have learned it works better if I plant a seed and then rain on it and shine on it until a little sprout begins to grow. I don’t mean to give away our secrets, ladies, but you know what I mean – sometimes we have to wait for our guys to come around to our way of thinking and maybe even believe it was originally their idea. I casually mentioned to Clarence there was a mare advertised in The Journal that might be of interest to him. It took a day or two but it wasn’t long until he made the phone call and then made arrangements to go look at the mare and talk to the owner about her. I had to work that day and didn’t get to go with Clarence but I was excited and anxious to get home that evening to see if Clarence had bought the mare. Sure enough, he had! The mare’s name is Tom’s Missouri Special A. This mare was raised by Larry and Erma Anderson of Iberia, Missouri and Steve Dampier trained and showed her as a three year old. I honestly don’t know all her winnings as a three year old but I know Steve did well with her. I think Steve and Special won the Three Year Old Futurity and the World Champion Three Year Old Mare class but I’m not sure of that. Some time later, Special was sold to Bob and Wanda Graham, also of Iberia, Missouri. Bob showed Special a lot and got along great. In fact, I saw him win several Amateur and Senior Citizen classes with this wonderful mare. After many victory rides, Special was bred and turned out to raise babies for the Graham family. She raised two or three colts and was bred back for a 1999 foal but didn’t settle and since she was not in foal, Bob advertised Special for sale and we bought her.
Clarence immediately began putting a canter on Special and she picked it up quickly and easily. The plan was for me to show her in the Ladies classes and Clarence to show her in the canter classes. Show season came and I started showing Special. She is a mare that likes to go fast and since I also like to go fast, that made for a fun combination - not necessarily a winning one - but definitely fun. As I learned to ride her and to slow her down, we began to do better and better in the show ring. At the 1999 Three Year Old Futurity, Clarence and I loaned the mare to Susie Atkinson. She won one Youth Class and got Reserve in the English class. This was definitely an accomplishment since Susie had never rode the mare before.
Later that summer, Julie Christiansen was coming down to visit and she asked if she could bring a friend. She said her friend was interested in looking at our horses and eventually would be in the market for a show horse but wasn’t really ready to buy right away. This is how we got acquainted with Denise Smith. Denise looked at everything – she talked and asked questions and it was obvious she was interested in learning to ride and to show. I got Special out and rode her and I don’t think Denise took her eyes off her the rest of the afternoon. I rode other horses but she paid no attention to anything else I got out of the stall. Soon she began to talk price with Clarence. Clarence told her we had an out of state buyer coming in the next day and one of the horses we planned to show them was Special. Denise immediately got on her cell phone and insisted that her husband, Bob, drive all the way from Hillsboro to look at the mare. They bought Special and made arrangements for me to continue to ride her while Denise came down two or three times a week to learn to ride. My job was to keep the mare set up and to coach and teach Denise to ride. At the end of a month, Denise was starting to get the feel of the foxtrot and was getting anxious to take her mare to her first show. We loaded up and went to the Hillsboro Horse Show and Fair. As it turned out Denise and I were in the same class. I was riding a young horse, Lad’s Sugar Doll Z., that I had started again after we sold Special. Sugar was already broke to ride before we sold Special but she was not really trained and ready for the show ring. Since I no longer had Special to show, I was trying desperately to get Sugar in show shape. When the announcer called Denise and Special’s number as first place, Denise was so excited - she cried. They won a couple more classes that night and I think I even got a third in one class.
A week or two later we went to Steelville to a show. I looked around and couldn’t believe it – there were many of our friends and customers there – people we had sold horses to or rode horses for. In the Ladies Class, Denise and Special were called out for the blue ribbon, Mary Atkinson and Cruisin Susan second, me and Sugar third, JoAnn Becker and her good black mare fourth, and Laura Atkinson and Honey Hot Toddy fifth – all five horses were horses we had sold, trained, or that was sired by our stallion. We showed in several classes that evening and my mare kept getting better and better. In the Championship class, Sugar and I slipped in there and beat Denise and Special. It was a pretty exciting night for all of us. It was at this show that Clarence began to get in hot water. He was at the rail coaching Denise and some of our friends and customers began to ask when he was going to stop helping her. Denise was brand new to the show ring and was already beating people who had been showing for years. I think it was probably a particularly bitter pill for Julie to swallow since she is the one who introduced Denise to us. We then sold Denise a horse that was now beating Julie’s horse. Fortunately, though, we are all good friends and good sports and we weren’t about to let a little thing like horse showing interfere with friendship. However, that night even I was overheard to ask Clarence why he was coaching Denise and not me. He replied, “Because she needed it and you didn’t”. That was good enough for me.
The next show Clarence and I were not able to attend but we heard all about it. Again, Denise and Special had taken home some blue ribbons. They did really well for awhile and then eventually with Denise being a novice, they began to not do as well. They showed the rest of that year and then in the year 2000 they began to trail ride as well as to show. Denise and Special continued to win their share of blue ribbons in 2000 and 2001 although they did not show as much as they had that first year.
Denise has gone everywhere and done everything with that “special” mare and she tells us that with our help, her dream has been realized. I’m sure she will never forget the excitement of that first blue ribbon or the fun of the victory ride as she looked at the cheering crowd through blurry, tear filled eyes. Clarence and I were thrilled for her and we are happy to have played a part in the realization of her dream.
To be continued...
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