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CCFB News» May 2023

Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure

Nearly three years ago, a ball of mane and tail bounced his way into our lives. Our veterinarian referred to him as “old fashioned”. He is on the shorter side. Stocky. Thick. And fluffy.

 

Pizzazz Me Only “Makoa” is technically a registered American Paint Horse. He’s the grandson of By Invitation Only, the American Quarter Horse Association’s all-time leading sire of point earners. And a great grandson of Zippo Pine Bar, one of the most prolific pleasure horse sires in history. Most paint horses are flashy. Eye catching. And colorful. Makoa is solid. A light chestnut complete with a couple of spots in his socks.

 

This ball of mane and tail is the younger brother no one asked for. He lives in a cloud of mischief. He opens gates. Almost cleanly soars over fences. Runs from falling leaves. And tears through the pasture until coming to a sliding stop just in time to avoid touching the electric fence. A space cadet.

 

Just shy of a year ago, Makoa’s big brother was sentenced to stall rest. With two performances and one rodeo short of a full season to go. Suddenly the carefully laid multi-year plan to introduce our fabled space cadet to the rodeo circuit was sidelined.

 

Within days of the diagnosis, I carried the U.S. Navy flag on a teammate’s horse during the opening ceremonies of the McHenry County rodeo. Our space-cadet carried my blue-eyed girl in a performance that same evening in a different arena. Neither of our hearts were in it. We were still digesting the stall rest diagnosis and what it meant for our big red fire breathing dragon. 

 

A month later during a weekend filled with chopping corn silage and horse events, our space cadet graced an arena once again. Despite a rain sodden arena, his sure-footed nature ensured that he stayed upright as he raced through intertwining figure eights. Sweeps. A company front. And a Texas box. He sat his rollbacks. But failed on his lead changes.

 

In the final performance of the season, our space cadet ran his older brother’s spot. With another paint horse, he led the cloverleaf. Into mini-intertwining pinwheels. Pass throughs. Sweeps. Intertwining figure eights. Like many of his teammates he stood calmly before entering the arena. And slept in the trailer on the way home. If you had asked me when we first brought him home if I thought I’d let him run rein-free down the rail with the crowd on one side and the music belting out the chorus of “Light ‘Em Up” by Fall Out Boy, I would’ve laughed.

 

As I sit here and write this column, we’re just days away from our largest performance of the year. My fabled space cadet with seven of his friends will enter the Blain’s Farm and Fleet Coliseum and HW Brand Arena during the largest horse fair in America. He’ll run the rail during the Texas box. Sit a barrel turn. Slide between others during mini-sweeps. All before racing out the arena gate.

 

For our space cadet, each performance will be a great time to take a moment to be proud of just how far he’s come.

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