It's a warm summer morning in 2008 on the TC Ranch in Gonzales, Texas. Lindsey and Clayton Trammell step outside their parents? house and whistle up their American Quarter Horses from the pasture below.
?Blue? and ?Bluefoot? come galloping.
Lindsey, 13, grabs Blue, while Clayton, 11, halters Bluefoot. They are getting ready for their next youth rodeo with the two gray half brothers, Lindsey doing barrels, poles and breakaway roping on Blue and Clayton roping calves, ribbon roping and breakaway roping off Bluefoot. Both out of the Handle Bar Doc mare HBD Evening Wolf, Blue is a 19-year-old gelding by Doc Hollywood registered as Star T Wolf, and Bluefoot is the 8- year- old Quick Remington gelding HBD Remington Wolf.
?They have completely different personalities, but they are so smart,? says the kids? mom, Janelle. ?Blue and Bluefoot will do anything you ask them to do. Those horses are worth their weight in gold.?
Blue has been in the Trammell family for a long time. ?I got him when he was still nursing his mom,? says Kurt Trammell, father of Lindsey and Clayton. ?He has been a great horse. He has probably had two or three thousand head of cattle roped off of him. You can just sit up there and rope. He?s a real smart horse.?
Blue was something new for Janelle when she first rode him.
?I never had a horse like that growing up, and when I started riding him, he was just ? well, it was just an amazing feeling,? Janelle says. ?I took Blue down to the arena, and I showed him the barrel pattern and the pole pattern, trotted through a couple of times, and, I mean, he just did it. You didn't have to teach him anything. And then Lindsey started riding him when she was 8.?
Lindsey and Blue?s first rodeo was a Texas youth rodeo right there at home.
?I won the all-around buckle my first time,? Lindsey says. ?Then I thought, well, this is easy. So then when I didn't win, I kinda felt bad, just a little bit. But I got over it. I knew there would be more times.?
There were. In 2004, Lindsey won two saddles and two buckles, for the Texas Youth Rodeo Association barrel title and the all-around. She was 9 years old.
?That was her second year,? Janelle says. ?The first year, we kind of started in the middle of the season, and I don't think she was quite ready. Getting into the rodeos, it seemed at the time like a lot of money and travel, and we just hadn?t ever done that. We did the very first rodeo because it was here, and she won the all-around buckle. I was like, ?OK, Lindsey can do this.? We've been going ever since.
They have gone a lot. The junior high division of the Texas High School Rodeo Association has rodeos one weekend a month, and Texas Youth Rodeo Association is every weekend March through June, with its finals starting in late July. The Trammells feel fortunate that their hometown is a regional center for the Texas and national associations. The Wrangler Texas junior-high state finals are also at Gonzales, where Blue was this season?s horse of the year, and bring in kids from all 10 regions in the Lone Star State to try to qualify for the national finals. Lindsey made it to the state finals in breakaway roping in 2008 but missed her second calf.
?Lindsey also got second place in our region in the barrels on Blue,? Janelle says. ?But then he had to get stitched up right before the rodeo, and she was eighth in the round. They came back around and were fourth, and then they won the short go. Putting all those points together, she got the fourth hole (in the year-end standings) and they take the top four to the nationals, so they made it. Then out of, like, 160 barrel racers, she ran the third-fastest time, but hit the third barrel (for a five- second penalty). But he got her out there. That was pretty awesome.?
And that was despite an injury. The horse is an accident waiting to happen, as evidenced by the injury just before Lindsey?s run at the 2007 Wrangler state finals.
?Mom came home to get him because I was running that night,? Lindsey says. ?We only live five minutes from the arena. Mom just came home, and Blue had a big cut on his eye, his eyelid was hanging, and the vet had to come. The vet had to totally sedate him and sew him up, and I had to run four hours after that.?
Lindsey and Blue ran a :16.7 while a :16.0 was winning ? and the horse was still half asleep. The Trammells have no idea how he got the cut. Not that they were surprised by the incident.
?No, he has been like that his whole life,? says Janelle, who counts herself blessed to now be a stay-at-home mom. ?Every day when I was working ? every day ? I would check on Blue before I left for work, and then I?d come home for lunch and check on him again. I can't even tell you how many times I had to go and cut him out of the fence. He?s always the first one to come up, and if he's not coming, then he's hung in the fence. So I keep a pair of wire cutters in the truck so I can go get him.?
Win, lose or draw, healthy or hurt, Blue after all this time has become part of the Trammell family. For dad and mom, for big sister and little brother, the stalwart Quarter Horse has always come through best when needed most.
?We're very lucky with the horses that we have. Blue is just fantastic ? I can't imagine any of (our up-and-coming horses) being as good as he is. In the end, he has been so good for us and our kids,? Janelle says.
From the AQHA's America's Horse Daily