- Written by Lynda Vital
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Well, you’ll be happy to know that the horses DID get more sugar-cubes, quite a few more, in fact. A fine fellow from California, who had visited them for the winter holidays, sent them a whole box!
“We sure were lucky to get all those treats from our friend, Alex,” said Poco to Rover.
Rover agreed wholeheartedly, but he had his mind on something else.
“Speaking of luck,” he said, “I hear the barn is having a big raffle to raise money. The prize is a great big TV set. I wonder who the lucky one will be that wins that!”
Scatman said, “I’d like to win that TV, and I could watch all my favorite old shows again. I used to watch Mr. Ed every Friday night when it was on.”
All the horses agreed, and they all started naming their favorite shows…. “The Lone Ranger,” “Hopalong Cassidy,” “Roy Rogers & Trigger,” and of course all the old westerns that were just filled with wonderful horses.
That night, Red Rover was so excited about the TV, it was hard to get to sleep, but when he finally did, he dreamed about Gumby & Pokey. Pokey was much admired by all horses, as he was orange and got to change shapes. rover's dream.jpg Rover had another dream, too - he dreamed that he was watching the Kentucky Derby on the big TV. He saw all the people cheering, all the ladies in their big, fancy hats, and they were cheering for him! He was leading the derby…the first pony in history to enter. Just as the race was about to end, one of the roosters from the other end of the barn decided to start crowing, and he woke up abruptly.
“Oh, no,” he exclaimed. “Now I’ll never know if I won or not!”
All day he thought about the dream, and suddenly an idea came into his little pony brain. He decided there was no good reason why he couldn’t make his dream come true. He decided he WOULD become the first pony not only to enter, but to WIN the Kentucky Derby. And he knew just the horse that could help him - Elsie, the mare, a former race-horse herself, and a descendant of the famous Man O’ War, the #1 racehorse of all time!
He went to Elsie that very day, and asked her if she would help him train. Although she was appalled at the very idea of a small, fuzzy, round, pony even thinking he could be a race-horse, her heart went out to him and she agreed to be his coach.
“You might have to trim down a bit, Rover. Race-horses are sleek animals, as you can see looking at me. You might have to cut down on those sugar-cubes you like so much.”
While he wasn’t crazy about that idea, Rover agreed that he would start watching his calories. He said he would stick to carrots and apples.
Elsie also had Ice spell out the plan to Kristi with the alphabet cards. They would need the humans’ help if this scheme was to be successful. It took Ice quite a long time to explain the situation, pulling down all those cards and laying them out on the arena floor to do it, but Kristi got it and Nick agreed that a Kentucky Derby winner would be good publicity for the program.
So every day, Elsie and Rover spent time on the training program - doing exercises, running sprints, jumping and trotting and all kinds of things. Tia thought her best friend was very nice to spend so much time with a little pony with a big dream. Poco, whose stall was next to Rover’s, talked to him every night at bed-time and told him what a good job he was doing. Calvin was inspired by Rover’s improvement, and he told himself that he would work harder in his own training sessions. Big Red was amused at the whole thing, hoping his tiny look-alike might fulfill his dream.
Tigger sat on his perch in the bleachers and wondered why a pony would be so silly as to even think that anyone would allow him to enter the Kentucky Derby, much less beat the fastest race-horses in the country. But then he remembered the horse party and the Conga Line, and he realized that anything is possible in the mind of a determined dreamer.
Stay tuned for next month’s installment. We will update you Rover’s progress and also let you know the lucky winner of the TV. It’s not too late to buy raffle tickets! Gumby & Pokey would look pretty good on that big screen!