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It's A Family Affair

continued by Brenda Zeigenbein
continuation of previous story entitled, The Introduction

In 1991 we advertised a pretty two year old filly in the Journal. Her name is Honey Hot Toddy Z. Honey’s sire is Iron Duke’s Impressive Reflection and her dam a Toddy’s Perfection mare. Soon after the Journal was mailed out, our phone rang. It was Glen Atkinson asking about the filly we advertised. Clarence told Glen all about her and arrangements were made for him to come look at Honey. I had broke the filly and was riding her nearly every evening after work. She was gentle and walked and foxtrotted natural. When Glen arrived, his son, Earl, and his daughter in law, Laura, were with him. I got the filly out of the stall, groomed her, rode her, and then Laura rode her. It soon became obvious to me that Earl and Laura really liked and wanted Honey but since Glen was paying , they hesitated to say very much. Glen had come to our barn with the idea that if they all liked the filly, he would do some negotiating with Clarence. Much to Glen’s dismay, Clarence wouldn’t budge on the price. Unknown to Glen, Clarence and I had talked before he got there and decided we would sell Honey if he wanted her for the price we had quoted. Otherwise, we would keep her and I would ride and show her myself. Finally after much haggling, Glen dug a little deeper in his pocket and agreed to pay what we asked for Honey. I remember Glen saying to Clarence, “That’s the most I’ve ever give for a horse”. Not to be outdone, Clarence immediately replied, “But that’s the best horse you ever bought”.

We didn’t see or hear anything from the Atkinson’s or Honey until the following summer. We arrived at the showgrounds at Ava and there was the pretty little gray mare. Laura and both daughters, Mary and Susie, were riding and showing Honey Hot Toddy Z. Clarence offered to buy Honey back from Glen. He said he would give him his money back for her but Glen declined. Laura had rode horses all her life but at the time they bought Honey, she had minimal experience with foxtrotters. I am delighted to say the little gray mare probably had quite alot to do with teaching Laura, Mary, and Susie to ride and show this wonderful breed of horse. More recently, Glen’s great grandaughter, Kayleigh, has had the pleasure of showing Honey and I think plans are being made to pass Honey on to Glen’s great grandson , John Taylor, this next show season.

For the Atkinsons, horse showing is definitely a family affair. Honey has been rode and shown by the entire family. She has also been trail rode. Mary and Susie showed Honey in the youth classes, Laura has shown her in Amateur and English classes, and Kayleigh has rode her in the youth classes as well as the Open Costume class.

The first year Kayleigh showed Honey, she asked if I would watch her class and help her. I agreed to do so but I remember thinking, “I don’t know what I can do to help”. Kayleigh and Honey were doing just fine foxtrotting and then the announcer called for a walk. Honey’s gait slowed but she was not flatfoot walking, she was trot walking. Just as Kayleigh came by, I walked to the rail and said, “WALK”. Honey immediately dropped back to a flatfoot. I guess there was something I could to help afterall.

As the years go by, Glen’s health has declined and it has become difficult for him to get around. This, however, has not stopped him. His body may be weak but his spirit is strong and Laura still swings by Glen’s house after school to take him back to their barn to ride. She asks, “Well, Paw Paw, what do you want to ride today”? Glen replies, “My gray filly”. Laura helps with the saddling and Glen rides. I ‘ve been told he uses the little mare to keep up with the rest of the family. As they move from place to place around the farm, Glen follows along on Honey. He sits on her and talks to them as they go about their daily activities.

Horse people are the best people in the world. There have been many wonderful friendships formed as a result of horses (especially Missouri fox trotters). Those friendships are especially meaningful and most definitely are to be valued.

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