As mentioned, this journey, this ride, it all started with a birthday Groupon sent from Belgium by Uncle Sam for her 8th birthday and has now drastically taken over our lives. ‘Not going to lie, half of the time we’ll be caught wide eyed wondering wt%#+ we have gotten ourselves into. The other half we are in awe watching our daughter grow into this strong, determined, hard working -best version of herself, through having found her true passion in this life. A gift and a blessing in and of itself.
(Pandemic) Christmas 2020 we gifted Samuelle with the leasing of “Rooster” at Canterbury stables. A true wild card on our part! Earlier that summer when trying to assign a horse to Sam, I remember Sandy saying “I think Sam is ready to try Rooster.” It raised some reactions around us, yet we had never heard of (or even seen) Rooster at the time and quickly found out it was because he wasn’t the most popular horse at the barn… Hearing from other parents and riders (expressing surprise that she would get on him,) that he was known to buck his riders off or roll with his riders on (wait WHAT?!? That’s a thing?!) But Sam was all excited because “HE WAS A REAL RACE HORSE MOM & DAD!! HE IS THE GRANDSON OF SECRETARIAT!!!” (Sam was 10!) Our gut scrambled even more when we learned his official race name was “BE SORTA BAD” BUT hey! As we navigate through this world of unknowns we have to anchor our trust somewhere. So we anchored our trust in Sandy thinking Sam was ready for him and in Sam, whom thought she was up for the task!
What we didn’t realize at the time yet was that Rooster, himself: had not given a stamp of approval on his new rider yet. And he— well, he wasn’t too sure about Sam! He would resist and fight her on everything, including letting her tack him. It was frightening for us to watch, honestly… The time he bucked her off resulting in a pretty badly bruised shoulder got Sam to shy away from him for a little, increasingly asking for different horses, before she circled back to him. (It was sad to see him left in his stall again… getting his couch potato belly back on.)
I love it when people now come to compliment Sam & Roo, we often hear “they make it look so easy” and it makes me smile because the getting there, was not. It took effort and lots of work.
The first day of official lease: Happy New Year! Sam brought her saddle, a family Christmas gift from the year before and fought with Rooster for over an hour (no exaggeration) to get him half tacked up. She was in tears and he ended up bolting into pasture with the saddle, to roll with it. We thought for sure he broke the saddle tree. “Success!“ I thought- not! Lol. Hey! At least he didn’t roll with her on it. Needless to say, I felt really confident about my gift.
We all took a deep breath and realized we needed help. I reached out to Ashley Vaught (an amazing rider at the barn) and asked if she would be up to assisting them during their flats (tacking, watching, riding with them etc) THANK GOD, she said yes! 8 months later… With an average of 5 days a week of riding, as a result of hard work, sweat and tears, I can say with confidence: Rooster has not only accepted his Rider, but he also respects her with his honesty and best efforts. Alan and I are BLOWN AWAY to have witnessed such a transformation and the relationship they have built.
So yeah, we are f*#%•!
That fact aside, we couldn’t be more thankful for the community we have quite literally fallen into. The horse parents and families that never fail to help out and share their wisdom when they see we have no clue as to what we are doing. Trainer Sandy Brady! For providing such an incredible experience to all at the stables, the countless hours spent teaching these kids and for knowing that Rooster and Sam would make for a great match! Rider Ashley Vaught for being an inspiration to the girls and for having worked so hard with them! It surely takes a Village!
Here we are, in August 2022, still watching you blow our minds with your amazingly fierce and competitive spirit! No one believes us when we say you are a 23 year old pony!
We LOVE you RooRoo.
'A strong relationship requires choosing to love each other even in those moments when you struggle to like each other.'
The Lease of Rooster.
"BEST GIFT EVER!!!" She exclaimed!