24 August, 2009

Saying Good-bye

"...some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end."-Gilda Radner

This summer has been personally challenging for me, as suddenly, everything that I believed in or rather, everything that I knew, understood and accepted...well, for lack of a better way to say it,

"things just don't make so much sense anymore."

It is not so much that life is changing, because it is but I have always thought that one of my strongest qualities was my adaptability. No matter how things change, I was able to change with them. Suddenly, I feel awkward and out-of-step with this whole Arabian Horse thing.

On Friday, July 24th, Beverly Sziraky died. She had been waging a battle with pancreatic cancer. I didn't know. I had been speaking and emailing with Beverly over the last year or so, as she helped me with the articles on *Ibn Safinaz and *Orashan. She enjoyed this blog and asked me if I would mind having the blog listed as one of her links, on her home page. For me, that was the ultimate compliment. I admired Beverly and all that she had accomplished. Now, I feel incredibly guilty that I was asking for her help, while not stopping long enough to consider how I could have helped her.

Beverly was a "safe spot" for me, when things could suddenly become ridiculous or silly in the Arabian Horse World. Beverly was a dressage rider and had worked with her Hanoverian gelding, all the way up to the Intermediare tests. She understood where I was coming from, what I wanted to achieve and which horse would help me to do it. She didn't laugh at me when I told her that my dream was to win my USDF bronze, silver and gold medals on the back of an Arabian Horse. Not only did she believe that I could do it; she believed that I could do it on the back of an Egyptian Arabian. Now, there is no "safe Beverly" to say hello and exchange thoughts, feelings, perspectives seek her advice, to see her wonderful smile, to tell her how grateful I am for all that she said and offered to me personally. Imperial is gone and Beverly is gone. Things will just never be the same. I mourn the death of Beverly.

As if Beverly's death was not hard enough, Imperial Kamilll (Imperial Al Kamar x Imperial Mistilll) died on Sunday, August 9th. Imperial Kamilll touched so many people, on so many levels and for many people, was the first introduction to not only the Arabian Horse but the Egyptian Arabian Horse. Imperial Kamilll's presence and charm was so powerful that non-Egyptian Arabian breeders considered incorporating his blood into their programs or thought of dispersing all their horses, in order to establish straight Egyptian breeding programs that would enable them to produce a horse who looked like Kamilll. When the sale of Imperial Kamilll to Donald Duke of England was announced, I was not happy, as selfishly, I wanted to see this horse remain in America. I had started to notice the migration of Imperial horses away from America and was a bit concerned that one day, these wonderful horses would be out of reach for someone like me. I was wrong in my thinking as Imperial Kamilll was a straight Egyptian ambassador, helping to spread the influence and the magic of the Imperial Egyptian Stud breeding program, farther in the world and in the process, attract more people to straight Egyptian breeding and actually, create more beautiful horses to admire and covet.

In trying to wrap my arms around this tragedy and get to a better place; I think of Beverly and Kamilll, enjoying each other's company for all eternity and I hope that I will see both of them again.

Hello God,
are you out there?
Can you hear me,
are you listenin' anymore?
Hello God,
if we're still on speaking terms
Can you help me like before?
I have questioned your existence,
My resistance leaves me cold
Can you help me go the distance?
Hello God
Hello?
Hello?-Dolly Parton, from her song, Hello God

EnJoy your horses and enjoy your life,
Ralph

1 comment:

Karen King said...

Dear Ralph,

I was Googling Beverly Sziraky this evening after a day of collecting images of Imperial Baarez. I was hoping to find her email address as my computer had lost it some time ago in one of its many crashes. I came across your blog and was shocked and so so sad to discover that Beverly had died. Although I did not know her well, she was a great inspiration to me and my art through the years. I first met her when she came into The Kinghale Gallery on Main Street in Sarasota Florida probably about around 2002 or so. She was enamored with the horses of the Kinghale Gallery and we visited quite a while. She told me stories of the horses of Imperial Egyptian Stud, and her life as manager and trainer at the farm in Maryland. She spoke so highly of Barbara Griffith, and what Barbara had created. It was at this time that Beverly introduced me to Imperial Baarez and although I never met this magnificent “Once in a Life-time horse, I fell madly in love with him and felt as though I knew him through her. She said although he was a champion in every way, he had an endearing and lovable personality. She later sent me several videos of the horses which literally gave me goose bumps every time I watched them. These horses were so ethereal in their beauty they did not even look real. My favorite part was watching Imperial Baarez prancing in the wind with his amazing white swirling mane and tail flying free. The vision of Imperial Baarez has remained with me all these years and inspired me no end. The last time I heard from Beverly she was looking forward to having time with family and planning a visit Baarez at his new home in Egypt. It appears that Baarez has a wonderful home now with the Soliman brothers at El Farida Stud where I suspect he lives a life of luxury and is much cherished. My heart goes out to Barbara’s family and all the people whose lives she touched. She touched my life by sharing her spirit and passion for her family, and a life and love of horses. Karen King www.kinghalegallery.com