If we are speaking in horse terms, one could say I was bred to be involved with horses. Both my mom and my dad, along with their family, are avid horse lovers. The disciplines they are involved with range from high caliber cutting to leisurely trail rides. However, no matter what spectrum of the horse industry they are participating in, there is one universal truth: They love horses.
At a young age I was introduced to horses and instantly fell in love. There was something about their gigantic size mixed with their willing behavior that drew me in. I wanted to learn as much as I could about horses, as well as spend as much time as I could with them. When I was five years old, my parents made a decision that would change the course of my life forever, we bought our first horse.
Mr Whisper Wizard, affectionately known as Whisper, was a solid white pinto gelding that would only show his spots when you got him (I thought that was the coolest thing ever!). Whisper was a dream come true for my family. He was kind, willing, and very talented. We became quiet the team in showmanship (which was a miracle since I disliked running) and did well in the riding events too. We would go to our local Open show once a month and see if our hard work had paid off. We had so many great memories from those shows. The people were friendly and always very helpful. In the summer, the shows would be moved to the evening because it got so hot. I will never forget showing under those lights after the sun went down. There was something about the lights that made you feel like you were participating in a special event.
My favorite memory from those shows was when Whisper decided to grab a huge weed while we were showing in the pleasure. I knew that was bad behavior, so I instantly trotted into the center where the judge was standing and asked him to take it out! The judge was very kind and removed the weed, and we went right back to jogging on the rail. It was priceless.
After several years of Open shows, we decided we wanted to branch off into the Quarter Horse Shows. Unfortunately since Whisper was a Pinto that meant we would need to find a new horse. We found a sweet sorrel mare named Jennie. Away we went and the rest is history.
Fast forward about 15 years and you will find us on a search for another Quarter Horse. This time, the search started because I had been participating in NRHA events and was ready to come back to the All Around arena. While competing in NRHA, I found a love for bringing young horses along and teaching them to become a great show partner. I wanted to continue on this route and decided to look for a young All Around prospect. We wanted something that was a great mover which would make transitioning on to other events easier. Our search led us to a show in Ohio where I had the opportunity to ride Rooster the Red Roany Pony for the very first time. He was a dream! Wow, the lift and float that all of his gaits had were unlike anything I had ever experienced. You could feel the power under you as he loped along. I thought to myself, wow, this one is going to be GREAT in the trail pen. Rooster had never been over any trail poles at the time, and it had been about six years since I had myself, but on a whim I decided to take him over some and see what would happen. When he went over those poles for the first time, I knew no matter what, this was the horse I wanted to grow with.
Rooster was placed with the best trail trainer in the country as soon as his three year old year concluded. We wanted him to have the best chance at success in that event since he showed so much promise. Within one month of being in training for trail, Rooster was showing at his first show and was already qualified for the AQHA World Show. We were so ecstatic! Our feelings about his potential success were already coming to fruition. Rooster spent the year gaining knowledge in the event ad getting better as each month went by. At the 2017 NSBA World Show, he won the NCF Open 4-6 year old Trail as a 4 year old in his first season of trail! Was this really happening?? We were so excited to see him shine at the World Championship that year, but fate had other plans. Rooster had a run in with the shoer and his angles got tweaked. He had to have some time off before the World Show which left him feeling less than confident for his big showing. His doubts took over and with a lack luster performance Rooster didn't make the finals and we went back to the drawing board.
The new year approached and not only did Rooster get to continue his winning ways in the Open Trail, but I added Amateur All Around events to his resume. The new events were slightly overwhelming for Rooster at first. He was use to going to the shows and only having to show twice in the trail and then get to relax for the rest. Now he was showing in halter, showmanship, horsemanship and the amateur trail with a novice trail rider! He slowly gained confidence in each of his new events and by the time the 2018 NSBA World Show came around, Rooster was ready. Rooster was crowned the NSBA Junior World Champion as well as the Reserve Champion in the BCF Non Pro 4-6 year old Trail and made the finals in the Amateur Horsemanship. We didn't want a repeat of the year before, so we brought Rooster home before the AQHA World Championship Show and gave him lots of turn out time and made sure he had the absolute best shoer. When Rooster arrived to the 2018 AQHA World Show he was ready for success. He felt good which gave him more confidence than ever.
However Rooster had a flashback to the prior year and barely eked into the finals. He was the lowest score to make it back to the shootout, and then he was was the lowest score from the shootout to make it back to the finals.
We weren't worried about that though, we knew once Rooster was in the finals arena he would shine like we all knew he could.
As the final draw in the field of 20 outstanding finalists, Rooster went in. Unbeknownst to us, there was a tie for first place before he went in. They told the two horses who were tied that they needed to start warming up again for a run off, unless of course Rooster went in and beat them.
The pattern called for an extended trot up to a side pass followed by a push through gate, and wow Rooster captivated the judges and crowd immediately. He navigated the trot serpentine and a lengthy right lead lope all with incredible ease. His back up included two spins, which are a strength for Rooster. He executed both with impeccable form and finesse. All that remained were a set of left lead lope overs, a straight trot serpentine, and a dreaded walk the spoke wheel.
Rooster had only one hit before he entered the final obstacle. This obstacle had proven difficult to maneuver, let alone master, and no one had gone through it clean. Rooster had the option of taking two strides or three strides over the poles, with two being the perceived easier option. As Rooster started in, we saw him choose the three stride option. The crowd all held their breath together as we prayed Rooster would make it through clean. Step by step Rooster navigated the obstacle, inching closer to the finish line, and closer to victory. As Rooster cleared the final pole, with absolutely no hits in the last obstacle, the crowd went wild. We knew Rooster had done his best and his best was more than enough. They called off the run off, and Rooster was crowned the World Champion in Junior Trail by a whopping 8 points.
Rooster the Red Roany Pony
Rooster's journey inspired me in many ways. His level of perseverance was a wonder to behold. He was able to overcome setbacks and his own doubts to become the best in the World. His was willing to place h
is trust in his rider's hands and allowed him to be guided to a championship. It was these moments that led me to want to share his story with others. These moments created the children's book that you have come to love, Rooster the Red Roany Pony, and the million other moments Rooster has shared with me since will be used as inspiration for future stories.
Thank you for being a part of this journey!