There I was, minding my own business on a Saturday night chatting online with friends and clients when I notice a post regarding a Half-Arabian mare that was at one of our notorious Southern California low end auctions. She was a horse I'd looked at for sale several years ago, but she was out of my price range (in the five figures). My hands were tied, she was set to go through the auction ring any moment and I was more than an hour's drive away.
I waited with bated breath to hear any news, when it came I was entirely unprepared: She sold for a mere $205. Having been involved in horse rescue for so many years, I knew the possibility of a good outcome for any horse of Arabian blood, particularly a hot, Half-Saddlebred Country English Pleasure horse, at this particular auction is not promising. So, I have embarked on a search to find out where she went and to hopefully bring her home.
Her name is Baronnessa, and this is she-
Many years ago, I embarked on a similar journey regarding another bay horse in the late 1980's/early 1990's. His name was Kilometer and he was a son of National Top Ten Halter and Park stallion *Perkal, out of a daughter of the *Talal son Taleeze named Monicaleeze.
At the time Kilometer came into my life, I was training out of a facility in Temecula, California called Daamascus Arabians (named after one of their stallions, who was sired by the Comet son *Carycyn). He was a stunning solid bay Purebred Arabian gelding who had National Championship potential in both Halter and English Pleasure. Every day, I had the pleasure of working him and he simply took my breath away. I did try to purchase him, however they had priced him at $5000 which was more than I could afford as a young trainer barely out of my teens. My offer was $2000, which was declined. My departure from Daamascus meant losing touch with many great horses, however I always kept Kilometer in my mind and in my heart.
One day after I'd gotten married and moved on to bigger and better things in my training career, not to mention was pregnant with my daughter, I happened to be at the famous Broken Horn tack store in Baldwin Park. Upon perusing their bulletin board, I noticed a flyer for a dispersal sale of horses in Temecula. Recognizing the bloodlines and many of the names, I knew it was the Daamascus herd. That evening upon getting home, I called the woman who was showing the horses to prospective buyers and learned some startling news ~ they had all been auctioned off at the ranch only days before in a spectacle of television camera crews and horse rescuers. My heart sank.
That wonderful woman put me in touch with the son of Daamascus Arabians' deceased owner and I was able to find out who bought Kilometer. Three women who were fast friends paid a whopping $500 for him and intended to find him a permanent home. I got lucky and he gave me the name of one of the three who was the main contact, as well as a city she lived in. I was able to not only locate her address, but called the Postmaster in her city to get directions so I could pay her a visit to talk about that beautiful bay horse.
Prior to my heading for Orange County, I sat down and wrote these ladies a letter, figuring if no one answered the door, I would leave it on her doorstep. My story sounded pretty bizarre, that someone would go to so much trouble to track down a horse...especially a gelding. My luck would hold out, she answered the door. I prefaced my tale with, "You may think this sounds crazy, but," and I poured out my heart to her. By the time I went home that day, I had the name and telephone number of the partner who actually had Kilometer at her facility.
My husband and I made an appointment to go visit him and plan his acquisition. He was still the same remarkably beautiful boy I remembered and of course, I immediately knew I had to have him. We agreed on a price and by the time we were on the road for home, Kilometer's saviors had tasked me with writing up a sales contract. They were offering me extremely generous terms, keeping in mind I'd have to board him and was a young newlywed with a baby on the way.
Yet another roadblock surfaced when we discovered that he had never been transferred out of his breeder's name. From when I'd had him in training, I had a copy of his registration papers, so I knew who the breeder was. But upon contacting the Arabian Horse Registry, I discovered she was deceased. Back in those days, long before the widely available internet and prior to AHRA's releasing their stud book on CD (precursor to today's online DataSource), the good folks at the AHRA were reluctant to give out information to third parties with regard to recorded owners. By some strange twist of fate, the lady I spoke with at AHRA's offices that day let it slip not only that this breeder had two authorized signers on her account, but their names and even where one of them lived. Score!!
Both the breeder's son and daughter were allowed to do business on their mother's account with AHRA. I had a lead on where the son lived. Calling him was nerve wracking, however his kindness immediately put me at ease and before too long, I had his sister's phone number. She was so happy to hear about how Kilometer was doing and that I loved him enough to go to so much work tracking him as well as his history down. By the end of that conversation, I had been assured the registration papers would be signed over to me.
As it turns out, he had been put in training with Vittex Arabians in Santa Ynez, the precursor to Daamascus. His owner had fallen ill and fallen behind on paying for his board and training, then passed away. The woman's daughter was then put in charge of her estate and all the horses, but it was too late. Instead of going through the proper legal channels to gain ownership, they simply took him for what was owed when they moved to Temecula. She had been trying to find out whatever became of him ever since he disappeared out of the Santa Ynez Valley. I was so glad to be able to fill in so many details for her.
Then disaster struck. One evening I received a message on my answering machine that I needed to give Kilometer's caretaker a call, she had news I may not want to hear. I immediately called her and my heart sank once more...he was diagnosed as a navicular horse. They had noticed him slightly off when being longed, and decided to have the vet out, who confirmed his status through x-rays. As soon as I got off the phone with her, I called my own veterinarian to discuss my beloved horse's future. While I knew the prognosis was not good, there was simply nothing positive about that conversation.
These women were willing to GIVE him to me, for free. Considering my situation, that I'd have needed to board him (since we lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment) as well as being more than seven months pregnant at the time, I knew I had to turn him down. That broke my heart. When last I heard, Kilometer had found a pasture puff home in Northern Arizona where he could live out his days without ever being asked to work again. Hopefully he led a long, healthy and content life.
Now back to my present situation ~ I just want to bring Baronnessa home. Wish us luck.