06 June, 2009

I said no...

Even while writing this story, I still feel like any minute, I am going to jump outside of myself, bolt and run all the way to Fredericksburg, to find my elusive "yes" and bring it on home. The above pictured colt is Maihab (True Colours x Abraxas Moonbeam) as caught on film by Wojciech Kwiatkowski, from Poland. I learned about Maihab from a very dear friend of mine, Judi Parks. She thinks that we are made to be together, this colt and me. Since learning about Maihab, I have spent a lot of time arguing with myself about this colt. I have driven my friends crazy, asking for advice. I have a litany of reasons why a colt is the last thing I need in my life right now. Without glancing at his picture and daydreaming about all the possibilities, I am strong and can remain loyal to my decision, my "no". And then, one look at his picture and I lose my resolve and maybe, just maybe....


I have always dreamed of an intense relationship with a horse. A horse who could communicate with me , on the deepest and most intimate level. A colt that follows me everywhere, always ready for the next adventure. Even before there was a Pat Parelli and RFD-TV, I wanted a horse who could do some of the amazing feats that Parelli students learn how to do, like jump over picnic tables.
"So he gets himself a horse, and a rope, and a song
And he finds himself a hat, fancy boots, shiny spurs
And there's nothing more he needs, or can have, or can get
If he wants to keep ridin', ridin' along"-from the song, A Cowboy Needs a Horse, by Paul M. Howard and Billy Mills
When I saw the movie, Dances with Wolves, I was impressed by the relationship that Dunbar enjoyed with his horse Cisco. WOW! I have wanted a friendship like that, for a very long time. Sometimes, I would get a feeling, in the middle of something else that I was doing, that someone was missing. WHO? So, when Judi started calling me about this really nice colt, I started to wonder, "is Maihab the one...is Maihab "the someone" who has been missing from my life?"

I recognized the intelligence in the colt's face, as he is wide through his forehead and his ears are placed far and wide from each other at the base. He has huge nostrils, which tells me that he is very curious and interested in his surroundings. And his eyes are full, and black and soft, indicating that he is a kind, sane and loving horse. Gosh, do I really know what I am doing? Why am I saying no?

I understand the amount of time that a colt needs, not to mention the consistency in training and development. And I also recognize that my life is intensely crazy at the moment, as work dominates every waking moment of my life. And when I am not working, one of my 3 kids will need to go somewhere or do something or have a need that only me, my car and my wallet can fill. How can I give another being any consistency, when I am hard pressed to find any consistency in my own life? In fairness to this wonderful colt, he needs someone who is a bit more stable, a little more steady...dare I say even, dependable or reliable? I have never worked an unbroken horse before...geezus, I need someone to train me. I feel like I am out of control.

Over the last year, money seems to sift through my fingers, like sand at the beach. My oldest child just graduated from college and will be attending Graduate School in the fall. I know that she will need my help for school and for an apartment. My son, is a year or so away from attending college and a car and insurance. And my youngest, in high school , also has high-priced needs. Where does a colt fit in all of this? Am I crazy? I am afraid that for whatever valid reason, I will not be there for my kids, when they really need me. I love being a father to my kids.

And then, Judi tells me he is going to be big. And that is like a hot piece of iron, stabbed into the very core of my being...SHE SAID BIG, LIKE SPORTS-HORSE-TALL-BIG...as in my own personal BIG dressage dream. How great would it be to ride an Egyptian Arabian Horse to a USDF medal, like my friend and mentor, Gail Hoff-Carmona did with her stallion, Serr Maariner? I thought my mare, Ms Rose, could take me far in dressage, but I looked silly, sitting on top of such a small horse. I won't even tell you about the woman who came up to us, after a championship show and smiled at me and said, "Cute pony." In a SUPER-SIZE-ME society, where petite ladies ride 17.2 behemoths, you can imagine how silly I felt, in that moment. Could a tall Maihab take me to the BIG places I still dream of going?

Thee Desperado has been a heavily criticized horse in the SE community. I am not sure if the criticism originates because the horse has been heavily-used at stud and has a record number of progeny, which threatens some or because when a stallion becomes this popular, a successful stallion is assigned an unrealistic expectation of correcting every flaw. Anyway, I love underdogs
"speed of lightning, roar of thunder
fighting all who rob or plunder
Underdog. Underdog!"-written by W. Watts Biggers, as the theme song for the American cartoon, Underdog

and it would be very personally fulfilling to ride a horse of these bloodlines to a performance pinnacle like a USDF medal and throw the proverbial ice water on the inflammatory comments of Desperado's harshest critics.

I have never answered the question for myself, in terms of what I want to accomplish in the world of horses. Am I a breeder or am I a rider? It seems like for a long time, I have had one foot in each. Is it possible to be both? On a budget? As the owner of two older mares, one would question, the label rider with an incredulous look on their face. He is a rider??? How can you be a rider with 2 older broodmares? Well, that is true. Neither horse can no longer keep up with the demands of regular, consistent training, maybe light trail rides but not a consistent program filled with 20 meter circles, extensions, half-halts and transitions. And yet, I don't think I fit in as a breeder either.

This colt will be two years old in September and he still has a lot of growing up to do, a lot of maturing and he really needs time to grow into all of his parts. Is gelding a cute colt like this, in order to make him more manageable, the smartest thing to do? What if this cute colt metamorphoses into a physical vision of the ideal Arabian stallion? I met another person recently and I had the opportunity to visit her farm. I don't believe that she has a program, yet. She has some really great horses. Some blow-your-mind beautiful horses. Individually, some of these horses are fantastic, however, she has not gotten past buying good horses and blending these horses together, to create a program. To me, it seemed like she was distracted. She had horses that complemented each other and she had horses that as individuals, were good but did not work together. It was obvious that she needed to cull and make her program smaller and concentrate on specific horses. So, here is this colt. Is he my personal distraction? How would he fit with the two mares that I already have? Have I wanted to use True Colours (Thee Desperado x Daheda) and Abraxas Moonbeam (Abraxas Moonstruk x Abraxas Maar Hala), because I believed that these horses have the genetic elements I personally identified as consistent, for producing the type of horse I wanted to produce? Would this cute colt help me to create a breeding program where one did not exist previously? Or as I saw at this other farm, is this colt representative of a distraction that I cannot afford...would I end up wasting the little time I have collecting nice horses, but not getting any farther in defining my own personal vision? Where do I fit? Where do I really fit?

“Work will win when wishy washy wishing won't.”-Thomas S. Monson
So, here I sit, a bit miserable as try as I may, I just can't get him off my mind. That's the place where I keep getting stuck, even though I said no. Has this ever happened to you? As much as I try to push this cute colt out of my mind, he just keeps trotting back in, asking, "hey, you want to play?"

I love horses...did I ever say that to you before?

EnJoy your life, EnJoy your horses,


Alien Thoughts said...

Stop you blathering, man, and just go get him. You will never, ever regret having a lovely colt in your life. He is so lovely and he has you all over him. Of course you could take him to dressage levels. You would have to put in the work, but so would he. Go on, do it.

Anonymous said...

Change your mind and say "yes"! Hurry!

Michelle Detmer

ceildh said...

My greatest gift to give is my happiness.Your children will not benefit by you being miserable.When you are happy it extends to uplift all those around you and a way will be found for your dream to work out.Just go meet him and then you will know the right decision to make.I've done that several times and it has always worked out. You will grow and learn the best from each other.

All the best

Demelza said...

Hell yes, I have been in your situation!

I would write down the pros and cons, after thinking about my goals as a breeder and what my mares needed in the way of improvement. If he ticks most of the boxes but doesn't fit in with your life right now, perhaps there is another way to utilise this horse? Something outside the square.

OK, that was my rational and logical side speaking. I really want to say "just buy him!!!".

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain! I am still working on a good comeback for when someone calls my horse "cute". I just remind myself that my horse is sane, sound, smart and tough as nails. I have noticed a small increase in acceptance of Arabian's at the open dressage shows in Texas. Better scores and higher numbers of Arabians participating. Hopefully this will carry on!


Anonymous said...

I think if your good friend thinks you two belong together, well ---

Marilee said...

You are in battle between the ideal of what you want to do and the reality of what you need to do right now (your job and being there for your children). Most people jump right in and do not consider all sides to this. You thought a long time about your mares too. You are not one to get a horse and not keep it forever or get rid of it when you lose interest. If this horse is a good one (would love to see video to see his movement), then gelding him should NOT be the issue. His behavior should not be tied to the fact that he is a stallion or a gelding, but rather the training he has had or will have, and the relationship he will have with his owner/rider. When we (now I) got our (now my)first Arabian stallion at 3, he was green broke, but very mannerly and gentle. We (I) were very good riders, and put him right away into ring work, desert riding on trails and in the mountains, and dressage techniques we had used on our other non-Arabian horses. You are such a thinker Ralph, but you also feel so deeply aabout things. If there is room in your heart for this colt, things will work themselves out. Perhaps a lease, with $ going to purchase. He cannot be ridden yet, but working with him on the ground will determine if he IS THE ONE FOR YOU. I lost my stallion at the age of 27, and he was an awesome horse. A stallion yes, but more than that. I could take that horse anywhere, and he would do his best for me. He was so gentle with children and with newcomers. He could go into non-Arabian venues and get real looks of approval from sceptical people. So give yourself some more time, and if this is meant to be, then it will. Regards, Marilee