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Sibling Rivalry



continued by Brenda Zeigenbein
continuation of previous story entitled, Get That Kid Off Her - She's Mine


In 1995 some friends, Roger and Elaine Sauer, from Arkansas brought us two coming two year olds to break and ride for them. One was a black gelding and the other a palomino filly. Almost immediately, I told Clarence I wanted the yellow filly. We rode the two horses a month or so and the filly walked and foxtrotted pretty natural and was very gentle. That fueled the fire and when our friends came to see them rode and to take them home, Clarence did some trading with them and I ended up with the filly. Clarence was honest with Roger and Elaine and told them the yellow filly might make a show horse but the black gelding was more a trail horse since he liked to running walk. Our friends were not interested in showing but loved to trail ride so they actually liked the black gelding the best. Since they had accumulated a few mares and didnít have a stallion, they traded the filly in on a well bred two year old stallion. When we transferred the yellow filly to our names, we changed her name to 14 Karat Gold.

I was riding Cruisin Susan that year and didnít need another two year old so we turned Goldie out and let her grow. The next fall we got her in and I started riding her again. To my amazement, the gentle, natural, square going, filly had become a real fireball and running walked a hole in the ground. I worked all winter to get her to relax and to foxtrot. She was paid up in the Three Year Old Futurity and I was determined to show her. Goldie was tough and took a lot of riding to get her to break over and trot. She and I were equally determined and stubborn and it was a toss up as to which of us would win the ďbattle of the willsĒ. Clarence told me that Goldie and I were just alike (hard headed) and he thought we were a good match. Some nights I waited for Clarence to leave the barn and I purposely running walked her to wear her down. I found the secret was to wear her down, keep her head down, and pull her nose in Ė then she would trot. If she ever got that head up and nose out, she got really slick and had more action in her knees than I wanted.

It came time for the Three Year Old Futurity. In practice, I tried riding Goldie in the arena but she didnít have enough trot and constantly tried to duck out the gate. Finally, I took her to the bottom of a grassy hill side, climbed to the top, went around the showgrounds, down the hill, and back to the grassy hillside. I continued to do this and eventually Goldie began to wear down and she started to trot. After awhile when we came to the bottom of the grassy hill, Goldie would rear and whirl to go back to the barn. I would turn her around and start back up the hill. I remember Pat Aubuchon saying every time he looked up that day, Goldie and I were going past his barn. That might be a slight exaggeration but probably not much of one.

Show time came and Goldie was all cleaned up and looked like a million dollars. Goldie is a very pretty mare and has an excellent back end and tail carriage. The announcer called us to come into the arena. I wasnít confident Goldie was going to work to suit me so I stayed pretty close to the rail. It soon became apparent, though, she was working like a champ and people in the crowd began to call to me, encouraging and supporting me. Each time we circled the ring, I glanced in Clarenceís direction to see if I should be doing something different. Clarence told me we were doing good and he encouraged me to ride closer to the inside and to be sure I stayed where the judges could see my horse. That turned out to be a disaster! There had been a lot of rain and the arena was really soupy. The horses had worn the grass away and the track appeared to be wider than it really was. Goldie and I got a little too close to the storm drain and she slipped and started to fall. I got scared and as Goldie made a valiant attempt to right herself, I must have pulled hard on her mouth. The combination of her forcefully pushing herself up and me pulling on her mouth resulted in her rearing up in the air with me. Frightened and upset, I pulled into the center of the arena and asked to be excused. It was not until later I realized I should have finished the class. Since I had not touched the ground, I was not disqualified and only one of the five judges had seen our fiasco.

I continued to ride and show Goldie all summer. As I showed her more and more, she became calmer, more relaxed, and gentler to ride and show. We went to the Dixon show in July and I loaned Goldie to Susie Atkinson for the Youth Class. It was a very competitive youth class and Susie had never rode Goldie before. She came out of the class with a third place ribbon right behind her sister on Ladís Cruisin Susan Z. and the Nichols boy on his good mare. At that same show I competed in the Ladies Class riding Goldie. Laura Atkinson was in the same class riding Susan. I had serious doubts that Goldie could beat Susan but when they called out the numbers, Goldie placed higher than Susan. In fact, I think we won that class.

In August, we received a phone call from Laura Atkinson wanting to know what we had to sell. She said she hadnít realized it but Susieís feelings were hurt because sister Mary was doing quite well with Cruisin Susan but she didnít have a good horse to show. Laura said they wanted to buy a horse that could compete with Cruisin Susan. I told her we had Goldie and Daisy and since they were two and three years old, they sometimes had to show in the same classes so I didnít need them both. They arranged to bring Susie down to look at and ride them. Susie liked both mares but really fell in love with the pretty little yellow mare. I feel sure Susie was remembering that the little yellow mare had beat her sisterís horse at Dixon in the Ladies Class and that may have influenced her decision. Susie negotiated a deal with Clarence and Goldie became hers. The Atkinsons asked if we would keep and ride Goldie until the Celebration and we agreed. The next weekend, they came to our place and we all loaded up to go to the St. Clair horse show. I thought Mary seemed to be a little apprehensive about Susie and her new horse and Clarence, of course, teased Mary unmercifully about her sister beating her. Sure enough, they went into the Youth Class and Susie came out with a blue ribbon. Susie was totally elated and Mary, the good sport that she is, took it well. I think Mary probably worked a little harder after that, though.

Soon it was Celebration time and Susie and I both were to ride and show Goldie. I was entered in the Ladies class and there were so many entries (38), the class had to be split. In the preliminary class, Goldie did not work as good as I knew she could but it was a good enough performance to make the cut. As we sat in the warm up arena, Clarence came down and adjusted the curb chain and talked to me about what I needed to do different. We went back into the class and this time Goldie put on a show. I was shocked and amazed when they called our number for second place. Susie came out and got her picture taken in front of the sign with us Ė she was grinning from ear to ear. It was not until some time later, we found out there had been a mistake. We were called to the office to straighten out the error and it turned out, Goldie and I really got fourth. It was a disappointment for both me and Susie but when we stopped to think about it, we realized fourth out of thirty eight is really not too bad.

The two girls are perfectly matched to their horses and I have enjoyed watching them ride and show. Mary has dark hair and sits up and really rides her little black mare. She is a serious competitor. Susie has blond hair that almost matches the mane and tail of her little yellow mare. She sits up on Goldie, pony tail bouncing, with a really infectious smile and charms the crowd as she circles the arena.

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