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Like everyone else with a 1950's storybook childhood, Elias and his brother Ricardo had spent most of their summers on their uncle's ranch way down in Palenque, driving cattle, slowly forgetting English, and touring the Mayan ruins the area was famous for. Though, unlike the kids in the stories, the twins weren't sent down there for any behavioural issues or "The country air will do you good.", but simply to keep them out of the trouble they could get into on the Rez and to provide material for their "What I Did This Summer" essays.
Both their parents worked full-time, leaving no time or money for babysitting during June and July, so a plan was devised. Their mothers brother would pay for their plane fare down to southern Mexico as long as the boys would work for him all summer, breaking in horses and herding cows till their heart's content.
In retrospect, sending two 8 year olds down to spend the summer wrangling half ton animals with a bunch of grown men and their cousins probably wasn't the smartest idea, but after their grandmother died and could probably no longer watch them after school their parents were left with no other options so off they went.
The first summer they left with visions of a TV-like fantasy camp with bunks and sparkling ponds, practicing their Spanish the whole flight down- their mother insisted they learned Spanish as a first language if they were going to be learning Navajo and English in school- and generally being too excited to sleep.
Greeted by rolling green hills and clouds and clouds of dust, their hopes were expertly dashed when they got into the rattling truck and headed off towards the ranch. Though their rooms alone were each bigger than the hogan the family shared at home they were still massively disappointed by the work to play ratio going on in their new lives. They returned home months later with callouses and cow sense, going on to willingly spend the next 10 summers of their lives out on Carlo's ranch.
When they turned 14 he decided he'd pay them the same he paid his ranch hands and slowly but surely they saved up enough money to buy their own horses and suddenly they were set. Since the Navajo Reservation has a 50% unemployment rate many tribe members turned to the rodeo as a way to make money, and the boys were no different. A friend allowed them to keep their animals and equipment there and through a little hard work they were rewarded with a steady income.
Due to their background working with cows, Team Roping seemed the most logical thing to get into, though Elias later branched into both Bareback Broncs and Bullriding, but quit a little more than a year later after he shattered his elbow and the doctor advised that if he continued he could lose the use of the arm. The two toured the American circuit in the spring and fall but training several of Carlo's horses to compete in Charredas during the summer. For these events Elias trained his favorite mare the arts of reining to compete in Cala de Caballo as well as El Paso de la Muerta, making him the obvious choice for the next trainer at Vechnyy.
Though he hadn't ridden horses for more than 6 years after he went to college and got his teaching job, it was still agreed upon, mainly by Jasper and Brandi, that he was the best choice for the other western trainer and possibly even to be the one to try to tame Sonja. Seeing what her colt could do, the staff was convinced that the mare was hiding some massive gem of talent in that wild shell and they would uncover it even if it killed them.
Due to his experience with feral horses and the fact that he was a special needs teacher supplied with endless patience and both the natural and vaquero methods preferred by the stables, the mess of a horse and new western mounts were passed off to to Elias. Of course he was found through Jasper by way of who knows what, but because of the results of the people that the man had found for them were so outstanding, at this point he could tell them that the devil would be a good addition and they'd agree wholeheartedly.
Having recently decided to get into the western disciplines more, a shipment of high quality, young, stock horses had arrived at Vechnyy the previous week and, having finally settled in, were ready for training. With Brandi off in England on a rider exchange program and Dante working on the already trained horses, Elias was the only one to be breaking in the youngsters.
Being mostly QH/Paints and Appaloosas it was nothing out of the ordinary for him and training went smoothly for each of the young steeds. Well, each but one that is. The young Appy colt had taken to the saddle and rider like a duck to water, except for mounting. The horse, Lucky as he was so ironically nicknamed, refused to let anyone sit on his back. You could put your weight in the stirrups just fine, throw yourself over his back like a sack of potatoes and he wouldn't mind a bit, but the second the riders butt touched the saddle he was off like a shot.
Now given his bronc riding skills Elias was far used to this behaviour, but with this colts fantastic cutting lines it was necessary that they get him behaving under saddle. With the memories of Moole's issues fresh in mind the chiropractor was called out again but declared him fit as a fiddle, leaving Elias to find another solution. They'd already checked the saddle but it fit the Appaloosa perfectly, leaving only behavioural issues to work out, them being by far the hardest to fix. Knowing the tendencies of working horse breeds to become restless without a job, the man saddled the horse and led him out far behind the stables, into the pasture containing the immediate show horses. It was a fairly populated pasture, though very large, so if necessary he could bail off onto the back of another horse, given that they were all already trained without issue.
It was common knowledge that from October 1st to January 1st the Obertaueres were released into the mountain range surrounding the stables to be re-captured at the start of the new year. Several of them were wild-caught to begin with and through this yearly routine they were by far used to being roped, and Elias could use some practice with the lasso again, so, tossing his rope over the saddle horn, he tentatively stuck his foot in the stirrup and watched Lucky swing his large face around to inspect him.
Per usual to this stage of training the colt was equipped with a bosal with both reins and a leadrope attached, allowing him to be tied if necessary but not giving them a lot of stopping power if he chose to bolt. Swinging himself up onto the horses back Elias quickly found the other stirrup before ever-so-slowly lowering himself until he was touching the saddle. As expected, feeling the weight on his back Lucky rocked back but hesitated when Elias squeezed his sides. He'd never been given a command to go, seeing as he did that just fine on his own, and in response to the repeated pressure jolted forward into an unsure trot for a few paces before lunging into his customary gallop.
Going through this large of an area gave Elias more to work with, carefully guiding the horse in large circles each direction, and even managing to slow him to an excited canter, Lucky throwing his head up with each step. When it became apparent that the young stud was going to hold that pace, Elias sat back and admired the surroundings. In mid-October the leaves were just turning, dotting the hillsides with beautiful shades of red and orange, dappling the horses backs as they fell. In an instant they were surrounded by the other inhabitants of the pasture, hoping to join their little game, swirling around them in a brilliant stream of hoofbeats and horseflesh.
~ So I'm using photo backgrounds again??? but my horses and realism are improving because of that so i'm not about to stop unless it's for a show or something.
El Paso de la Muerte (The pass of death) a charro (essentially a cowboy) riding bareback, with reins, attempts to leap from his own horse to the bare back of a loose, unbroken horse without reins and ride it until it stops bucking. The most dangerous part of this is if the charro performing the pass falls under three other mounted charros that are chasing the loose horse round the arena ring. This is done backwards at times for show.
~ Along with the three horses, a crate had arrived. In it was the essentials; their tack, blankets, papers, a few ribbons that Sonja had won, and, buried under a mess of polo wraps, a photo album. This small time capsule went unnoticed for 3 years until a disgruntled rider in search of boots unearthed it in a cardboard box in the back of a tack room cabinet and their search was instantly abandon in favor of the mysterious book containing a glimpse into another, foreign, stables. In the beginning it was nothing but snapshots of unrecognizable horses and people going through daily life. The staff, intrigued, gathered in the lounge, placing the album on the coffee table to give everyone a fair view. Mundane as it may be, the small leather-bound portal was enough to attract the attention of everyone present as they scrutinized the photos, peering back into someone else's memories. Soon enough photos of the sickly, scrawny, animal they recognized as Sonja before she was rescued began appearing.
It was well known that Sonja's trainer and previous owner had loved her dearly and these documentations proved it. The first few were assumed to be from her sales ad, based on the quality compared to others and a screenshot of the type on the ad on the opposing page. These pictures depicted a very ribby mare, always with her ears back, eyeing the camera warily but generally behaving. On the following page the pictures were fairly blurred- a rolling eye through a slat in a trailer, bruises on arms and hips, even a few stitches. Then there were the photos that told a story. Sonja standing under a tree with a halter slipping off her nose, another horse carefully tugging it off, the mare mid buck with a rider settling with the dust, even her an instant before landing a kick on the woman lunging her.
Soon enough the pictures became more tame, a woman sitting cautiously on a more relaxed Sonja's back, the pair hopping over a few jumps with the mare displaying the same choppy jumping style as her colt, then them on a trail ride, the woman twisted around to wave to the camera and a pair of chestnut ears at the bottom of the card. Eventually a few pictures of the stallion recognized as Legerdemain Demoole began popping up; him in a stall, grazing alongside Sonja, and lastly him packed up in shipping gear, a trailer waiting impatiently behind him.
The next few pages were devoted to ultrasounds and progress shots of Sonja's pregnancy, a few images of the Obertaurer mare that arrived with them standing next to a very pregnant paint mare, the two grooming each other under a protective umbrella of leaves as rain splashed down around them, then finally Sonja sniffing at the small, black, tangle of legs that was eventually Home of deMoole. After that the album seemed to be entirely dedicated to those two and Mooles training.
There were his awkward baby days where he worked to figure out what those long sticks attached to him were and what they did, lanky yearling growth spurts, bucking fits, him popping over what would later become towering brick walls, and him beginning to show some grey while the same overly proud woman sat on his back and stuck her tongue out at the camera, Sonja and Ski looking on from a pasture in the background. Then, lastly, a single newspaper clipping of the obituary for a woman named Dannika Hazel, the horses saviour.
It was there that the pictures abruptly ended halfway through the album and the group was hit with the jarring realization that their horses original owner was killed in a car accident, which forced the others to sell her beloved animals to Vechnyy. It had been years since the three horses arrived and Sonja still refused to be handled by anyone else. She inhabited the back pasture with the pregnant mares and alpacas, content to stay out there, feral, until the day she died.
Slowly flipping through the remaining blank pages, a loose card fell from the binding. The image was picked up and inspected by all, and quietly the picture was placed on the shelf by the door, an old memory of another era; a time worn photo of Sonja and a young Moole grazing contently, side-by-side in the dog days of summer.
this originally had a different title but i want to save it for later even though it works so much better
I've finally drawn Moole's dam and now i can start with her storyline. It's gonna be weird let me tell you that.
Favorite moviesLabyrinth, Favorite TV showsSupernatural, Sherlock, Doctor WhoFavorite bands / musical artistsDirty Heads, Steam Powered Giraffe, My Chemical Romance, Mod Sun, Bob MarleyTools of the TradeWacom Bamboo tablet, Paint Tool Sai, and Photoshop CS5