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CCFB News» May 2024

Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure

For the past two years, Midwest Horse Fair has marked the beginning of our rodeo season. Just over three years ago, this wild ball of energy decorated with a thick mane and kinky tail entered our lives one Thursday evening. Our veterinarian called him “old fashion.” I prefer to call him “thick.”


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 paint brush splash of white on his left side and three uneven 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.


Over 19 months ago his older, grumpier brother was sentenced to stall rest for a suspensory ligament tear. After therapy, a secondary tear, extensive rehab, and an unrelated neck injury, the red dragon was released and returned to both the pasture and the arena for our final drill performance of 2023. Despite his fire breathing personality, he again safely carried my blue-eyed girl just as he had carried me for so many years before.


Jesses Lark League “Mahalo” is an appendix and descendent of Rugged Lark, a legend in the equine industry and an inductee into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. This copper red dragon would have no emotion without his cranky ears and his whipping tail bag. But don’t think for a minute that he doesn’t enjoy his job. Even though he’s one of the oldest and one of the originals of the team he remains a go-to when you need an experienced mount. Just don’t ask him to go through water.


This duo along with six of their closest friends will grace the Blain’s Farm and Fleet Coliseum and Macksteel Arena at the largest horse fair in America. Together they’ll play leapfrog. Dart through a horse sized gap into a large circle. Race down the rail. Pinwheel before spinning off into intertwining circles. One-armed pinwheel. Mini-sweep next to each other. And diagonal across the arena. All before racing out the arena gate.


Unlike last year, my blue-eyed girl won’t be watching from the gate. She won’t be ground crew. And she won’t just be there to help out. Instead, she’ll wear her red hat. Her chaps. And red glitter. She’ll line up. Race through the alley. And run a pen. All before racing out the arena just to turn back and give it one last look.


As we prepare for America’s largest horse fair, it’s the right moment to be proud of how far we’ve come.

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