(PHOTO - BUGS JETLARK in 1999 with 'Holly', Junos Lady Bug, a winner and now a good producing mare for Bourgeois - photo courtesy Chantelle Bourgeois)
It's sleeting, raining and windy on a late February evening and Chantelle Bourgeois is trying to round up her mares from the paddock to go in for the night.
One of them, however, won't have any of it.
Bugs Jetlark is 25-years-old and running the roost at the Bourgeois farm, baring her teeth and pinning her ears when it's time to come in at night. But hey, if it was not for this very tough gal, Bourgeois would never have discovered the great game of Quarter Horse racing.
"Bugsy was the first horse who took me on a racing trip," said Bourgeois, a successful owner, breeder and trainer as well as board member at Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario, Inc. "I was her groom when we went to Ohio for a big race."
Bugs Jetlark, a foal of 1991, was owned and trained by Joe Tavares. She won eight races, one while she was in foal, before she was retired in 1997. Bourgeois said goodbye to the mare, and her horse career at that time.
"I entered the real job world, worked in IT in downtown Toronto and had a condo down there,' said Bourgeois, who also galloped horses and trained under the great Thoroughbred trainer Mac Benson.
"One day Joe called and asked me if I wanted her for a riding horse. She had lost her foal and he wanted her to have a good home."
Bourgeouis took the mare and re-trained her for three-day eventing until Tavares called again to check in on the mare.
"He wanted me to know they had bred her again and just to check to see if she was in foal. Well, she was."
When a cute and fuzzy filly foal was born in 1999, Bourgeois became hooked on Quarter Horse racing and breeding. Junos Lady Bug was ket by Bourgeois and she was a winner and now has produced winners herself.
'Bugsy' had six foals to race including stakes winner Junos Copper Bug and allowance winner Attaboy Fly. There are three generations of the family living at the Enniskillen farm that Bourgeois owns with husband Dean Link.
While 'Bugsy' may be causing the family the occasional grief with her bossy antics, you know she has earned the right to have things her own way.
"She rounds up her mares and gets them into the shed when she sees me coming to bring everyone into the barn. Then I can't get near them," laughed Bourgeois. "The other night when it was raining and sleeting, I was soaked through five layers just struggling to get the horses in."
Bugsy got her way that night; she got to stay out in another paddock with a retired horse.
"If it wasn't for her, I would never have gone in this direction in my life and never been in Quarter Horse racing. So she was the horse that changed my life."
(PHOTO - BUGSY was carrying a foal when she won on June 1, 1997 with Chantelle Bourgeois proudly holding her in the winner's circle)
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