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Hunk Of Junk

Brenda and Lad's Cruisin Susan Z
Brenda and Lad's Cruisin Susan Z.

continued by Brenda Zeigenbein
continuation of previous story entitled, My Turn To Cry

In the fall of 1994 I started a little black filly. She was gentle and pretty natural so I got along good with her. Clarence said he thought she would make me a show horse. At the same time, he was training a gray filly out of Lad and a Gentleman Gem mare. His mare was beautiful, had a natural foxtrot, good reach, and alot of headshake but was pretty pacey in her walk. Throughout the winter we worked our horses and as people visited the barn, they almost always picked Clarence's horse over mine. My feelings were hurt, I became very defensive, and fiercely competitive - with my own husband. It didn't help that Clarence never missed an opportunity to "rub it in my face". I didn't find out until quite some time later that Clarence was encouraging people to choose his horse instead of mine - just to aggravate me. Both our fillies were paid up in the Two Year Old Futurity. About two weeks before the Futurity my filly got pacey in her walk, she played, tossed her head, hopped on the corners - in general, anything to frustrate me. I sat down in a chair in the barn and cried. Clarence asked me what was wrong (he thought I was either sick or hurt) and I vividly remember telling him, "My horse isn't any good - she's a hunk of junk". He laughed at me and told me I needed to get her out of the barn. He said she was bored with going around in circles. The next evening when I got home from work, I saddled her and lead her out to the pasture gate. I swung up in the saddle and for the first few minutes wondered if I was going to stay on her. The filly had never been mean but she was pretty "full of it". Once she started to settle down, I rode her to the pond and back over and over again and each trip she got better. I was delighted! The tears were gone and the smile was back on my face. At the Futurity my filly worked like a dream and placed both nights. People started asking if she were for sale.

All summer long my little black filly improved. I showed her quite a bit that summer and we placed high everywhere we went. On the way to the Celebration, Clarence and I talked and decided we might sell my filly if we could get enough money for her. I showed the filly in the two year old open class early in the week and got fifth. On Wednesday the Atkinson family drove down to Barn 8 and talked to us about buying my horse. Clarence priced her but explained if she placed first or second on Friday or Saturday night, the price was going up. They drove off, made one circle around the barn, and came back to buy the filly. On Friday night I showed the filly for the Atkinson's in the two year old Ladies class with 24 of us in the class. I was absolutely thrilled when they called our number as the Reserve winner in that class. That was my first picture in front of the sign and believe me, I cherish that picture. The next evening, we placed fourth in the Two Year Old Open Stake Class.

After the Celebration we took the filly back to our barn because I was to show her at the St. Louis Regional Horse Show in Columbia, Missouri in October. She placed second in a class of two year olds and it was obvious the crowd loved her. In the Stake Class we placed second right behind Justin Dampier on Wayne Jones' good three year old mare. After the victory pass, it began to sink in that the filly was no longer mine and would not be going back home with us. I tried to choke back the tears as the Atkinson's loaded Lad's Cruisin Susan Z.onto their trailer and drove away.

I've been asked many times if I am sorry we sold Susan. Even though I missed her and worried that I might never have another horse I liked as much, I can't honestly say I have ever been sorry. Susan has always been well cared for in her new home and it has been a lot of fun for me to watch Mary Atkinson as she and Susan competed in the Youth classes and later in amateur classes. The two of them are a perfect match and seem to belong together.

Susan will always be very special to me. I broke her to ride and trained her myself and that made our wins even sweeter. Ironically, Susan is the daughter of Beauty (the black mare I told you about in the Match Made In Heaven story).

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