04 November, 2011

SHINY HORSES

The pastures surrounding Sharga lake, in Mongolia, are famous for producing horses who mature into tough horses. Similar to Ireland and to the state of Kentucky, USA, there is something in the soil, possibly limestone, which helps to build strong bodies, strong bones and strong horses in this still wild nation. A mountain range borders the south side of Sharga lake. Mongolians believe the first horses came down from heaven and entered a small lake, located at the top of these mountains. This lake has an underground spring, which feeds cool, clear, cold mountain water into Sharga Lake. The horses swam down to the lake bottom, through this spring, to emerge below, in Sharga Lake. Looking around the lake, the horses observed the good grazing grounds and decided to make Sharga Lake their home. From these heavenly horses, the herd of horses grew and grew, spreading the fame of these wonderfully strong, fast and shiny horses all over Mongolia and as Mongolians believe, all over the world.

Have you read THE HORSE BOY by Rupert Isaacson? It's a great book.  I learned that "Sharga" means "shining", as in, "when a horse's coat is really shining." I thought of horses whom I have known with naturally shiny coats. Many of the Davenport Arabian horses, like the Tripoli daughter, Fancy Flight, pictured at left, have a metallic sheen to their coats, particularly the chestnut-colored horses. Maybe it is more noticeable in a chestnut, as opposed to the other body colors. It's a deep luster, that makes them sparkle and twinkle in the bright day's sun. I was surprised, when I saw pictures of the Arabian Horses in Bahrain, as I saw this quality in the coats of the horses pictured. My friend, writer and Crabbet historian, enthusiast and breeder, Gari Dill-Marlow, in her travels to England, was able to see the hide of the influential Crabbet Arabian Horse, Skowronek, and his hide was still so shiny, it glowed. So, when I read the explanation for the name of "Sharga", this great story really got my attention. Is a naturally shiny, metallic, glowing coat one of the signs we can look for, to determine the authenticity and antiquity of purebred horses?

EnJOY,
Ralph

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