14 October, 2011

Burlap & Satin

We rounded the corner, and as we walked back towards the main barn, we came to a smaller sized pen, with an older, black mare inside. "Who is that?" I asked. "That's Black Satin" Gail replied.


She was Gail's beloved foundation mare, one of the most critically important mares at Princeton Arabians. With 13 foals produced, ten of which were daughters,  she was an excellent broodmare. I remembered Black Satin. The last time that I had seen her, Gail had been trying to get her in foal and her body was comprised of rounded and smooth-flowing lines. When she moved at liberty, she took your breath away, with her bright, ground covering trot. She was an old-time horse, Rubinesque in build and her deep black coat, enhanced her look and made it much more dramatic, lending an air of exciting mystery, full of promise and romance. She was the kind of horse you can never forget.

"Can I go in and say hello? I haven't seen her in a long time."

I walked up to her slowly and talked to her. I told her how pretty she was. She looked toward me, a bit unsure, her eyes worried-looking and I could tell that she was trying to catch my scent. She knew that I was there, she just didn't know what, I was. I turned my head to look at Gail and she said, "she's blind now and, she has no teeth. She is 30 years old."
"Trust and respect are two-way streets. We want the horse to accept us as leaders of the herd, to guide them safely and to provide protection and comfort. In return, they will give us their respect, and willing submission to our ideas about what to do next, and when and where. But this respect can only be based on well deserved trust."-Walter Zettl
How did that happen? How did that much time pass by? I continued walking towards her, talking softly and when I got to her side, I placed my palm carefully on her shoulder, to let her know that I was there. She stood like a statue, as I wrapped my arms around her neck, burying my face deep inside her wonderful, black, silky coat, her long and silky mane hairs carressing my face. "Gosh, I really miss being around horses." I thought. I breathed in deeply. She smelled wonderful. "I missed you." I said to her. "I think you are even prettier than I remember." And it was true. Something had happened to Black Satin, since I last saw her. The definition of bone had become more pronounced. Her face appeared sculpted, chiseled, imparting a dry elegance, unique to the Arabian horse. "When did your jowls start growing...they are so huge!" I exclaimed in wonder. I was amazed and...enchanted. We stood like this for a long while, basking in the soft black glow of a special horse, while asking Gail tons of questions, which she patiently answered. Sometime during our conversation, I realized that Black Satin was resting her head on my shoulder and her nostrils were blowing warm air onto my face. I was thrilled to the very core of my being.

Black Satin was a daughter of a black stallion named Black Sambo. He was a Mahroun son out of Biroufa. Bred to Diroufa, Biroufa's half-sister, the black beauty named Black Satin was born in 1960. She was a straight Babson Egyptian Arabian horse. In both of her tail female lines, she traced to the Babson import of 1932, *Maaroufa, a Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik-bred mare. Her sire, Black Sambo also traced to *Maaroufa in both of his tail female lines. With eight lines to *Fadl, *Maaroufa's full brother, the pedigree is deeply influenced by the blood of Ibn Rabdan and Mahroussa. No wonder that Black Satin's physique was made up of curves and circles. Together with the four lines to *Bint Serra I and one line to *Bint Saada, Black Satin had a heavy concentration of the Saqlawi strain.

Black Satin was bred to Ansata Ibn Sudan, to produce Pri Sufa Kuhaylah, the dam of Pri Serr Sudan. When Pri Sufa Kuhaylah was bred to her half-brother, the *Soufian son, Pri Rabdan Moniet, she produced Pri Rabda Kuhaylah. This mare, in turn, was bred to The Minstril son, Say Amen and produced the popular mare, Say Si Bon. Black Satin was also bred to the *Mirage grandson, Jaspre, to produce a breath-taking flea-bitten grey mare named Princeton Jaroufa, who was owned by Albert Gilbault of Abitibi Farm in Canada. I knew Princeton Jaroufa and she was gorgeous, really gorgeous. Statuesque and scopey, with a long neck;, Princeton Jaroufa's silhouette was outstanding. Black Satin was bred to the  Fa-Serr son, Faaris, to produce one of the most beautiful black Babson stallions, Princeton Faaris. Black Satin was also bred to the *Raffles grandson, Sarolle, to produce Princeton Nargela in 1966, Princeton Shiga in 1967 and Princeton Sumi in 1968. Black Satin was also bred to the Hallany Mistanny son (and maternal grandson) HMR Hallany, to produce another daughter named Princeton Santeen in 1971. However, it was in 1985 and 1986, when Black Satin was finally bred to Serr Maariner to produce what would be her last foals, a beautiful black-bay mare named Princeton Maaroufa and a chestnut stallion named Princeton Maariner. I loved both horses dearly and never ceased to be amazed by the fact that this mare delivered these foals when she was 25 and 26 years old!

When I left Princeton Arabians, I did not realize that I had just seen Black Satin for the last time. I went back to my busy non-horse filled life and soon, the sight, the feel, the scent of the beautiful horses disappeared, like smoke in the wind and all that I had experienced, was pushed far back in my mind, to be pulled out and revisited, every now and then.

"There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day."-Alexander Woollcot


sheffin said...

really nice post..........

kcooper said...

Hi Ralph, I have read this post many times.. I have always liked Black Satin.. You are a true artist of words. Painting a beautiful picture of timeless horses with your poetic and sensitive prose. This is a talent. A picture is nice but with your words a picture and a living horse comes alive. I can feel her touch and sense her breath with your words. I can see her powerful movement and shift in the air as she pushes off. All this with your talent. Thanks you for all you do. Your efforts preserve more than you can imagine.