"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bloodline: The Story of a Horse Named "Cake"

My great-great grandfather was nicknamed "Abuelito de Pelo Blanco" or "White-Haired Grandpa." He was my grandfather's grandfather and he owned multiple sugarcane "colonies" in the Puerto Rican towns of Bayamon, CataƱo and Carolina. This was right at the cusp of an era that marked the beginning of the end of the sugarcane industry on the island: Puerto Rico used to be one of the greatest producers of sugar in the world. Abuelito de Pelo Blanco was already set up for the transition though: he had orange trees and he also bred cattle and horses. When the sugarcane industry fell apart, he transitioned 100% into cattle.

My great-great grandfather had a white stallion, a Paso Fino (of course) that he rode everywhere. The horse's real name has been forgotten in the family history: everyone remembers him as "Bizcocho."

"Bizcocho" means "Cake."

Not Bizcocho, obviously (photo from here) but just so you get an idea of the regalness of this horse.
Every Saturday morning, Abuelito de Pelo Blanco would tack up Bizcocho and ride down to the nearby bakery for breakfast. Breakfast involved coffee and a slice of cake that he would bring outside with him to share with his stallion.

Abuelito de Pelo Blanco, in his heyday :)
Bizcocho came to enjoy these outings so much that he would try to head for the bakery of his own accord whenever he was craving cake! And so he earned his nickname.

Despite the silly name, he was a highly trained, sensitive animal that only the more skilled horsemen of the family could ride with ease.

I told you guys about Brisa in my previous Bloodline post. Brisa was my mother's horse, and he was still in training under saddle when my grandfather took my mom to visit Abuelito de Pelo Blanco. My grandfather bragged about my mother's outstanding riding skills with her colt at home. And so Abuelito de Pelo Blanco had Bizcocho tacked up.

My mom, who was still in her late teens, looked at her father and great-grandfather in disbelief but still climbed aboard the great white stallion that was presented for her to ride and demonstrate.

They had a lovely ride during which my mother put Bizcocho through his many gaits, with just the lightest touch of the leg or the reins. Abuelito de Pelo Blanco was quite impressed. My mom was the first woman in the family to have a gift with horses, and here she proved it.

Until it came time to stop. My mother brought Bizcocho to a halt with the gentlest pressure...but she held it for a fraction of a second too soon. The white stallion immediately started backing up, which took my mom by surprise, which in turn caused her to reflexively squeeze her hands...and so Bizcocho continued on...backwards. My grandfather finally had to step in and grab him by the reins in order to stop him. My mom's face was beet red from embarrassment as she leaped off of her great-grandfather's horse and took off running to hide in the barns for a while. She never did hear what my grandfather and his grandfather said afterwards, and she did not ask.

Bizcocho was quite the horse, but other people could ride him.

Brisa was also quite the horse, but he could only be ridden by my mother, a fact that my grandfather always happened to mention in his stories.

And he always said it with the utmost pride.


That's my mom on the bottom left. :) And her siblings: my two aunts and my uncle standing behind them.




6 comments:

  1. That horse in the photo is STUNNING. I drooled a little when I got to him. I can just see your mom on the backwards-running stallion.

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    1. I wanted to ask if he could fino backwards, like the horses that piaffe and canter backwards in French classical dressage...but even after all of these years, this is still a sore subject with my mom! She was around 17 years old when this took place. It didn't tarnish my grandfather's opinion of her riding skills though! :)

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    2. Aw, now I want to know if he was doing it at a Fino, because that makes the visual in my head even better!

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  2. He sounds like quite the character. Your mother sounds like a marvellous horsewoman

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    1. She was and is amazing. I always wanted to have her ride Lucero, my horse. I have never had the opportunity of seeing her on a horse myself and I would love to one day! Lucero passed away before I could return to the island to show her his "buttons"...but I have Gracie now. :) We'll see in the future.

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  3. YOU AND YOUR MOTHER ARE TWINS.

    That is all.

    Also, yes. Please put her on Gracie. =)

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