Three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo header Cody Snow bought Ima Fresnos Dee, who’s 10 now and goes by Annie, as a 4-year-old. She only had about 60 rides on her at the time.
“I bought her for $2,500 bucks,” said Snow, a native of Los Olivos, California, who currently lives in Stephenville, Texas. “When she was younger, she was really goofy on the ground, and humped up sometimes. She’s still pretty quirky. She’ll snort at you. I branded on her for a year, heeled the donkey on her a bunch, and doctored yearlings on her in the pasture. I just did ranch work on her the first year. I started heading on her when she was about 5.”
Cody trained Annie start to finish, and to this day is the only one who’s headed on her. Cody’s ridden Annie at all three of his NFRs. She came back from an injury just in time for this last one, after he had to live without her most of the summer of 2018. Cody rode her at the BFI in June (he rode his bay horse, Burt, at the Reno Rodeo).
“We were on our way from Reno to Greeley, and stopped to spend the night at the fairgrounds in Evanston, Wyoming,” said Cody, who’s 22 now. “The next morning when I got up and started to load the horses, I noticed her left knee was swelled up and she was really sore. There was just a little, tiny nick, so I didn’t think much of it. I thought maybe she’d just gotten kicked (she was in a pen with her regular roomie, Cody’s 15-year-old bay, Burt), so I cleaned it up, we wrapped her leg, and we headed to Greeley.”
When Cody and Wesley headed to Pecos, Texas, they left Annie in Greeley. A friend took her to a vet there, and X-rays showed a bone chip in her knee that required surgical removal. They got the infection and swelling under control in Greeley, then another friend hauled her back to Brazos Valley Equine Hospital, so Cody’s vet, Dr. Charlie Buchanan, could operate on Annie.
There was a month or more of post-op stall rest, then a bigger pen before Annie got to stretch her legs out in the pasture.
“She was happy to get out of that stall, and started looking a lot better after I turned her out,” Cody said. “Every day she’d run to me when I went out to feed.”
Dr. Buchanan originally told Cody not to expect Annie back at 100 percent until about March—around RodeoHouston 2019. Her recovery in time for the NFR in December exceeded all expectations. When Cody noticed the barefooted buckskin running around the pasture pain-free around the first of November, he took Annie back to Dr. Buchanan for a check-up.
“He was amazed at how fast she came back after how big that chip was,” Snow said. “He thought I should start legging her up, so I took her straight from Charlie’s clinic to his Brazos Valley Rehab Center, where they put her on the Aquatred for two weeks. I picked her up from the Rehab Center on Thanksgiving morning.”
Cody long-trotted Annie for a few days, then started roping slow steers without turning them. He ran his first practice steer on Annie a week and a half before opening night at the Finals.
“She felt really good that first steer back,” he said. “She scored really good and ran really hard, like she’d never had a break. Annie came back in three months when it was supposed to take six. It’s a miracle she came back so fast, and at 100 percent.”
Cody’s ridden Burt since that horse and he were both youngsters, and Old Faithful did a great job taking up the slack in Annie’s absence.
“Burt took a lot of runs in 2018, for sure,” Cody said. “He took the heat all summer. Those are the two horses I rely on, so when one of them can’t go, that’s 50 percent of my herd. The best part about both of them is that I feel like I can ride them in any setup, which is a pretty big deal these days. Having them both back is huge, and I’m pretty happy about it.”