Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Battle Of The Breeds

Today I thought I'd offer something for a little bit of fun, just a little post because it was something I have been thinking about since I wrote the original article over a year ago. As everyone who reads this blog no doubt is aware, I am fairly partial to Arabian horses, which does not necessarily mean that I cannot appreciate horses of a variety of breeds.

In addition to Purebred and Partbred Arabians, I have owned Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, a Mustang and even Welsh Ponies. Over the years I have also had Andalusians, Appaloosas, Morgans, Paints, Saddlebreds, Standardbreds, a multitude of various Warmblood breeds and even a couple of gaited horses of the TWH/SSH variety, among others, in training. They each have their good points that's for sure.

But what attracts us to our favorite breeds? For me, my attraction to the Arabian horse is their breathtaking beauty, their incredible personalities, their amazing intelligence and how well they retain what they have been taught. All that and the loyalty these horses show their human guardians.

Some of the most unforgettable horses in my life...

My Quarter Horse mare, "Spook", was a daughter of Joe Reed II and quite possibly the best moving, smoothest Western Pleasure horse even born. In our years showing, I don't recall that she ever lost a class. She was also the horse who taught me how to master both Showmanship and Horsemanship...and win.

My Thoroughbred mare, "Brandy", was an OTTB bought off a Southern California horse trader who helped me learn an immense amount of patience. She was my first show horse many, many years ago and cemented my love of equestrian competition. This gallant girl was first and foremost an educator.

My Section B Welsh Pony mare, "Sugar", was an exquisite silver dapple who became my best friend on planet Earth. Our adventures and mis-adventures include some of the most memorable times I can recall. We explored trails and hit the show ring under both English and Western tack, bringing home the blue ribbons. Then she was just always there to 'talk' to in my early adolescence.

My Mustang mare, "Babe", was possibly the most patient equine soul ever foaled. She was the cornerstone of our lesson program for many years and was adored by by children and adults alike. I trusted this grand lady with my most precious 'student', my daughter Lisa, as a wee tyke. But she would come alive the moment I settled into the saddle.

Then there were my two equine partners-in-'crime', Kassaul++ and Samir Hadji. Grey Arabian geldings of two different generations (foaled in 1972 and 1980 respectively); they were both exceedingly versatile and brought home many Halter Championships in addition to excelling in a plethora of performance divisions, with Championships in Western Pleasure, Hunter Pleasure, English Pleasure, Hunters Over Fences, Sidesaddle among others.

I have purposefully not included any of my present horses here, though I could fill two million blog posts about them alone. :)

My point this time around is to get you all thinking about what each of the special horses in your lives have truly meant to you.

I hope you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have!



  1. When I was growing up, horseracing was the only way I could immerse myself in horses because my parents would not get me a horse and I did not live near people who were particularly happy about a horse crazy kid hanging around their barns.

    Thoroughbreds have always been my top favorite, but my first horse, Uncle Nestor, was AQHA and an absolute treasure--perfect (dead broke) for a new owner and green rider. We showed and I got his ROM and points beyond, and he taught me more than I knew at the time.

    I boarded Nestor at a racing Arabian/public boarding barn with foals everywhere and many breeds and crosses owned by the boarders there. From there I moved to a private facility that had a studio apartment for me and a ginormous barn built for the gaited horses the facility owners showed for awhile. The gaited horses were all retired, but one of them, Jericho, was great fun to ride and he could rack like nobody's business.

    Now with Huey, my OTTB, I've applied what Nestor taught me and Huey is "dead broke" with the TB "spark." I think I would still do TB again because they are absolutely beautiful and their hearts are full of "try."

    I'm very interested in TB rescue, as well.

    Bottom line, every horse has some merit regardless of his breed, pedigree (or lack thereof). Some individuals are more likable than others because there is an almost instant "connection" between them and the person, but I think--as one of the magazines I got recently said--when the human possesses the "horse gene," all horses are magical and wonderful.

    God did good work when He made horses for us.

  2. "When the human possesses the 'horse gene', all horses are magical and wonderful"

    I love it! What a beautiful sentiment!! :)

  3. I love good horses, I do not care what breed they are. Not all Arabs and TBs are idiots, not all draft horses are dead heads, QHs are NOT the end all and be all of creation, so help me. That is the prevailing attitude around here and I am just so sick of it. A good horse is a good horse, period. (and if I hear plow-rein ONE MORE TIME....). I had Percherons, Welsh ponies, a big ole red Tennesee Walker that lived the rest of his life with us(four years) before we had to say good-bye, my darling Eleca, now my fat Fjordie beasties. I could go on and on, but everyone would roll their eyes and keel over in boredom!!!

  4. Gosh, Phaedra96, I don't think anyone HERE would keel over in boredom--you're "preaching to the choir" and we all LOVE horses!! You are right about good horses being good horses regardless of the breed. I was asked to ride an Appaloosa for a gal I was training from. She went to England to visit her sister and the Appie was awaiting a new owner and she needed someone to ride him and keep him "tuned up." I'm not the greatest rider in the world, but "tuning up" I can do.

    He wanted more than anything in the world to have his very own person, and the first day I showed up to ride him, I gave him a carrot and left the stall door opened a crack while I went into the tack room to find his saddle and pad. As I went to the tack room entry, I looked back and there he was, standing with his eye peeking through the crack in the door.

    The tack room had been "reorganized" since the last time I had been in it, so it took me about 10 minutes to find everything. When I came out, he was standing in the same position. He hadn't moved because I might be his "person," and he wasn't going to miss a thing.

    He was more fun to ride--his sitting trot was like sitting in a lounge chair, and he was so happy to have a job (and a person to do it for ;o)

    Not many Appaloosas are like that (not many that I've met, anyway), but he was certainly a wonderful fellow.

    And I have a good friend in Yucaipa who has Fjords and won't have any other breed. They are the right size for her and they are so smart!

    I could go on and on, too ;o)

  5. I haven't had much experience with Fjords, though I did have an extremely abused Fjord mare in training once. When I picked her up you could almost not get near her, let alone touch her. It took months of work, but now the lovely lady has a job taking folks on trail rides at West Wind Ranch in Acton. Loved Fjona's personality!


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