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My Turn To Cry

Clarence and The Smoking Black - Winners of Champion of Champions
Clarence and The Smoking Black
Winners of Champion of Champions


continued by Brenda Zeigenbein
continuation of previous story entitled, It's A Family Affair


In the winter of 1993/94, Clarence was trying desperately to find a cure for my disease. Discovering that show fever is incurable, he decided the only way to deal with my addiction was to buy a show horse for me. It was at this time we bought a mare named Rider’s Cute Lady from Stanley and Trish Rogers. Clarence broke and trained Blackie for the Rogers’ family when she was a two year old – winning fourteen straight blue ribbons. The next two years their son, David, showed Blackie and won just about everything with her. As David grew older and became more interested in girls and trucks and the family’s interests were also changing, Blackie stood in the pasture and was no longer rode. We had tried to buy her the year before but the family was not ready to part with her yet at that time. Clarence called Stanley and said, “Since you are not doing anything with that mare, why don’t you just sell her to me?” Stanley said he would talk to the rest of the family and let him know. The next evening about 6:00 Stanley called back and he and Clarence struck a deal. Before Clarence got off the phone, he asked me when I wanted to pick her up. I told him, “right now” because I was afraid they would change their minds. Clarence assured me they would not change their minds and he made arrangements to get Blackie in a couple days. At 10:00 that night the phone rang. When I answered it, my heart fell as I heard Stanley’s voice on the other end. I called Clarence to the phone and Stanley told him the deal was off because Trish had cried non stop every since they talked at 6:00. Then it was my turn to cry and to blame Clarence – after all, I told him we should go get her before they backed out. The next morning the phone rang again and this time it was Trish. She called to apologize, said she didn’t know Stanley had called us and backed out until she got up that morning. Trish said she had never backed out on a deal in her life and wasn’t going to start now. She told Clarence she really wanted him to have the mare – she just couldn’t help but cry because it was kinda like losing one of her own kids. Poor Stanley – he told us later he didn’t know what to do because she wouldn’t stop crying.

We brought Blackie home, changed her name to The Smoking Black, and Clarence started teaching her to canter. Clarence and I both showed her in 1994 and 1995, me in the Ladies classes and Clarence in the canter classes. We won a lot with her, including Champion of Champions and Illinois State Champion. More importantly, we had a lot of fun with her. Blackie was always really gentle and I never had to worry about how she would react when we pulled her out of the trailer at a show. I could always count on her to put on a show and she was a real crowd pleaser.

In 1995 we bred Blackie to our stallion, Perfection’s Charming Lad B. After the end of the 1995 show season, we turned her out to pasture with the other brood mares. She gave birth to five babies in five years but then in 2001 she didn’t foal. That year I had my heart set on showing one of Blackie’s daughters, Lad’s Red Rebecca Z. We took Rebecca to Ozark Empire Fairgrounds the night before the Two Year Old Futurity and in practice, Rebecca splint her leg. The vet said she would be allright but I wouldn’t be able to show her for awhile. That left me afoot. Clarence didn’t know what to do. He finally said, “Well, I guess we could bring Blackie in from pasture and see if she will set back up”. I didn’t have a lot of faith that she could be ready for the Three Year Old Futurity show in just two and a half weeks - but it was worth a try. The first couple nights Blackie didn’t do very good. We had her shod and with riding and conditioning, she began to improve. We took Blackie to the Three Year Old Futurity and I drew a big, tough class. Generally the Ladies classes are large and the competition is always keen. In the warm up arena I began to wonder if I had lost my mind. What was I doing out there with a fourteen year old mare that had raised five babies and had not been rode for six years? The announcer called for us to come through the gate. It was too late to back out at that point (Clarence would have killed me) so we headed up the ramp and into the main arena. Blackie gave me a good ride – I couldn’t have been more pleased with her performance. When the placings were called, Blackie and I had fifth place. Later I checked the scorecards and found one judge had placed us first – bless his heart! I showed Blackie a couple more times in 2001 and then since Rebecca’s leg was healed, Blackie was turned back out again to be a brood mare.

Blackie has already proven herself as a brood mare. The first of her offspring is Lad’s Sugar Doll Z. who is currently owned by the Atkinson family, the second is Lad’s Red Rebecca Z., 2001 Four Year Old World Champion Mare, the third is Black Smoke Z., 2001 Three Year Old World Grand Champion Amateur Junior Model, the fourth is Lad’s Funny Face Z., 2000 winner of the Amateur Yearling Model class at the Two Year Old Futurity, the Three Year Old Futurity and the Breeder’s Cup, and the fifth is Lad’s Peppermint Patty Z., my two year old prospect for the year 2002.

Blackie holds a very special place in our hearts. Without a doubt, she will have a home with us for the rest of her life.

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