Open Letter To All Arabian Horse Owners
by Dave Murphy
Last fall, I rode my wife’s mare, Palameta on a group ride of about seven horses – one Arabian (Palameta), one Paso Fino, and five or so western breeds, quarters and paints. Palameta was one of the smaller horses, but she carried the most weight. She along with the Paso Fino were the best behaved. In fact she was perfect and there were lots of things on this ride that could have made it less than perfect – barking dogs behind bushes, lots of traffic, other horses misbehaving, etc. This was one of those rides that I’ll always remember. The other riders were just as impressed with Palameta as I was. They admired her sensibility and weight carrying ability. I think they were surprised because they many have believed the stereotype of the crazy Arabian and then had the realization that it’s not true.
This ride caused me to think about breed promotion in ways that I had not previously thought. I’ve read all the mailings by Gene La Croix about how we need more incentives for breeders, better judging, and more enjoyable shows. I agree with these points. I also remember a significant point made by Judi Forbes about showcasing the purebred Arabian rather than its derivatives. I think more than anything else, our breed needs more riders – people enjoying their Arabians in whatever capacity they choose like I did on my memorable ride with Palameta.
I was originally attracted to our breed by its beauty and type. But I didn’t just want a beautiful horse; I wanted a beautiful riding horse. When I found out about endurance, toughness, versatility, and smooth gaits, I was hooked. Intelligence and sensitivity were icing on the cake. All of these traits can be found only in our breed. Before I owned my first Arabian, I saw endurance and toughness in Grey Silk, versatility in Arbitr, beauty in Ceasar, and smooth floating gaits in Rahmoun. These were the Arabians I was exposed to early on in my life as a rider. After I became an owner, I experienced all these in my first two Arabians, Ibn and Star and the ones that were to follow.
Let’s face it, most of the horses we breed are not going to be show horses. If we’re going to grow the breed, we should be breeding riding horses – beautiful, good minded, sound, and smooth gaited. We’re not going to increase our numbers, both equine and human by selling to ourselves. We need to attract new people, the majority of which should be riders rather than breeders. Most people who buy horses want to ride rather than breed. I think for many years, we’ve been an organization of breeders rather than riders. What we need it breeders who ride. When we have that, they’ll breed horses for the riders.
Breed promotion is the responsibility of each one of us; each one of us, in his or her own way. So, go out, ride, have fun, and show the world how great the Arabian horse is. There is nothing better ride than a good minded Arabian!