I had an old horseman that once told me..."little lady" the day you think you know it all, no matter how many years you are around this wonderful creature called a horse, is the day you need to get out of breeding or off your horse and hang it up". He was almost 90 then and said, you never stop learning and if you have you need to look a little deeper. He also told me about some of the things he had learned from me.. FROM ME
a young whipper snapper of maybe 19 years old that had spent the last 3 years working on any farm that would let me ride their horses in return. That's how it started for me and I learned that if I was open to learn from younger horseman and older horseman alike it would never stop. Can you imagine the feeling of having a 90 year old cowboy tell you something he had learned from you? It was the most incredible gift and one I try and pass on. He always said you always have to remember that you were at that point in your life once.. you once knew nothing about what you were doing and started on this journey. What a journey having horses in your life is, I'm sure you will all agree there is no end to this journey. He also taught me that no one person can experiance all there is and why we all need each other.
I was never a breeder I would call had a program, all I can say is a bred a few horses of the blood that was the most precious to me. I didn't have the money and resources to go there, but I did get the best mare I could find for the amount of money I had and I did buy the best stallion I could afford. Although I wouldn't trade my years with "Moses" for anything (now 27 and we have been together 26 of those years). If I had been smarter (and it was possible to go back in time), I would have bought one good mare of his same breeding. It was so hard in the 80's to stand a stallion and even harder today, I would think. I can say our success was that anyone that came and looked at Moses bred to him; I just wish I could have done him justice. But, that was then and now is now and anyone reading this may change their course and may go down a better path than I did. Maybe better isn't a good word.. let's just say a different path.
Another thing I learned is listen to your horses. The first time I took my first horse a half-Arab gelding that I used as a lesson horse at the farm I worked on, swimming in the large farm pond.. let them make the big decisions on where to go.
I wanted to go this way and he didn't.. he finally did as I asked and we ended up in a mud bog, if anyone has been in one it's like quick sand. My horse went under not coming up for what seemed like an eternity, I kept swimming and not touching my feet down, as I knew I would go under as well. I had no idea where he was at this point, so I swam like crazy to get out of the area. All of a sudden he popped up and swam for shore. I finally made it; this horse waited until I got there and shook with mud flying everywhere, there was still so much on him and just coated me. You can only imagine how we looked getting back to the barn.
He had a look that said, maybe next time you will listen to me. I have ever since. I also had a mare that had a cutting champion sire (my first mare) of Raffles/Czubuthan breeding. I bred her to a Babson stallion, the resulting baby wasn't exactly what I had wanted, but a nice well conformed horse. I sold this horse and he was the most amazing trail horse (stallion) there ever was. He probably got more breedings than most halter stallions.
I watched as he ran up and down strip mined land never taking a miss step and looked ever so beautiful doing so. His owner was in heaven on this horse. I never sold a horse without their papers, as I always wanted them to have the best possible chance not to get to the feed lots. Maybe they were gelded before they left, but always papered. This horse taught me another man's junk is another manís treasure; it is all in what you want or what you want to do. I have learned they are all treasures they just need the right home. (We use this phrase all the time, as we auction hunt for treasures in another man's junk). Meaning no disrespect, but only a moral to this story. I didn't breed his dam; to my stallion Moses as she wasn't good enough for him....it would have to wait until I could get a mare worthy of him. 3 years later, no other mare and many more hours of studying bloodlines, so I thought maybe breed her to my Morafic bred stallion (I did) and out came the most beautiful thing I have ever seen with 30 legs if there ever was such a thing. So, I learned it wasn't my mare; it was that I had not made the best choice for her in the beginning. I had a young lady who owned a Polish bred mare that wasn't anything I really wanted to breed, but she loved Moses and wanted the Gulastra and Morafic for her endurance horses. She had an ugly head and a croup only as long as my hand. But, she was a proven endurance horse. I agreed to breed her.. (like I was having my door broken down by mare owners..
This mare proved my stallions ability to improve on a mare, the foal had a beautiful head and the croup was greatly improved, overall smoothness, great movement and legs. The resulting filly went on to become a very pretty, very good endurance horse.. she was so good, her owner pulled her off and started breeding her the next year. I saw several of my stallionís grandkids that were absolutely stunning, every bit a horse I would have given my right arm for and hopefully they went on to do great things. And this gal did a great job on picking stallions for his daughter. Also, proving breeding away from problems works. Back to my cutting horse sired mare: a grown up colt that was turned out with a bunch of geldings that started attacking him... I saw this mare jump the fence, dive in to a bunch of TB geldings, cut this colt from the group of geldings and held him in the corner until I could get there to get him out. What incredible minds our Arabians have, and boy did I mess up not sending her to a cutting trainer as a young horse. She was a natural. After reading this ... I messed up a lot.
and getting depressed.
Also, never be afraid to tell an Elder horseman or veterinarian your thoughts, no matter how little experience you may think you have in comparison. I saved my mares life, something was terribly wrong with her delivery.. she wasn't due for another 3 weeks, but she was huge. I was doing dishes and something just told me to go to the barn.. I did and found blood everywhere. I got the phone, got her up and I checked her to see what was happening. The vet arrived a half hour later and determined it was a breech.. I asked would you check again, those are her front feet I think the baby is upside down? The vet gave me a glare, but did check again and announced I was correct, that the baby was upside down, the head turned back and was probably killed the first contraction my mare had broke the foals neck. Then my vets focus changed in getting this foal turned and out (I won't go into detail, but I thought I'd never bred again). In my saying something, I saved my mares life or at least saved her more pain in trying to do the wrong things.
I got out of breeding and showing Arabians and went on to train Standardbred race horses (my husbandís family choice of horses), my heart is still with our wonderful Arabian horses. I have always owned an Arabian, since I bought my first half Arab at 19. I have 3 left today, last year I lost one aged mare, letting a Ramses Es Shams daughter go to her grave without one foal, Moses my 27 year old Ibn Morafic son and his 15 year old daughter and a Pure Polish mare that is my trail horse and a new pasture buddy to my 15 year old.
I have tears in my eyes thinking about what our Arabian breed could have been, what it still could be.. with all the hopes a mother has for their child and all the same passion. There are so many of us out there too, I am finding. I don't believe all the hog wash about there is no market....The market is there; someone needs to tap it by getting what we need. Fair and fun shows; focus on geldings and kids and horses that can do something for a living.
I'm hoping they throw in an egg and spoon class soon!! Now, that's entertainment.
Much appreciation in reading all your heart felt thoughts in this thread.