Times Remembered Durinâ€”The Versatile by Linda White
Times Remembered Durinâ€”The Versatile by Linda White
Times Remembered Durin never went to a U.S. National Show. Over his long career, he was shown at numerous Class “A” and recognized all-breed, Indiana Saddle Horse Association and open shows, consistently winning or placing well up in the money. He was not campaigned or promoted heavily, nor was he advertised in the four-color Arabian trade magazines, so his name never became a household word. His two registered offspring, a purebred mare named Excedurin Tu and the Half-Arabian gelding MrDurinsCupid, did not become national champions either, although Excedurin Tu was successful in Class “A” western pleasure. Durin’s enduring value comes rather from his remarkable willingness, durability, good sense and versatility: user-friendly qualities familiar to every Arabian owner, trainer and breeder. The phrase “enduring value” is not used lightly. Durin is a foal of 1973. At age 36, he still lives with Sharon Capper, his owner since July 1975, and is doing quite well, thank you. Capper describes her all-time favorite equine companion as “an outstanding people horse.” At the Cloverdale, Ind., All-Arabian Show, she sat down to talk about Durin. “He’s so friendly, and such fun! At first I showed him in costume, both amateur and open, and I made my own Arabian costumes. Before he really became accustomed to the tassels hitting his belly, he would do flying lead changes around the ring, with me laughing! I did almost everything myself, and we both had fun. Since he has been retired, I miss all that. I recently lost my trail horse, so I am looking for a replacement who can also be a companion for Durin.
“Those were the days where one horse did everything. As my learning curve developed and Durin and I both improved, we began going into open and AOTR English and western pleasure classes,” she elaborated. “I showed him all over Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky, and he was always well up in the ribbons. (I did what I could afford.) I have always admired and tried to learn from people like Sheila Varian, Sue Cooper, and Raymond and Gene LaCroix. I went to their clinics, and applied their methods to training Durin.” She boarded Durin for a time with Jim Zollner, in Zionsville, Ind. Zollner and his wife, Betty, were Arabian breeders and exhibitors until 1995, when they dispersed their herd. He remembers Capper and her little white stallion very well. “My late wife did a lot of showing, so Sharon and Durin were at many of the same local shows, and he was always well-behaved,” he recalls. “He was a young stallion then, and he would say something, once in awhile, but he was so gentle, and never a problem. You almost would not have known he was a stallion. He was a little on the small side, but he had such good manners and conformation that he was very appealing, and did a lot of winning at the local shows. Durin was as well behaved on the trails as he was everywhere else. A child could probably have ridden him.” A child could ride him, and did. Capper explained. “Brenda Carr, a friend’s daughter, was 14 years old when she started showing him in English and Western pleasure JTR. Brenda preferred the western riding style, so the two of them got along well. He always looked out for her, good soldier that he is.”
Times Remembered Capper has had her own horses most of her life. She readily admitted that she grew up preoccupied with them, making it easy for her to empathize with horse-loving young Brenda Carr. “I was just plain horse crazy!” she conceded. “I drew horses, read all the horse books, watched ‘Fury,’ ‘My Friend Flicka,’ and all the TV shows starring horses, and even had a horse board game!” Fortunately, a small, spotted grade gelding named Trixie entered the picture while Sharon and her older sister, Karen, were still in grade school and junior high. Their mystified, but guardedly approving, parents later added a palomino Quarter Horse mare to their daughters’ equine repertory. “I remember riding down country roads with Karen, regardless of the weather,” Capper recalled. “In the winter, we always stopped by one particular house, where the elderly residents who lived there always invited us in for hot chocolate and cookies.” She and a high school friend started the White County Saddle Club in 1957. The club, still in existence, continues to hold horse shows and clinics, and does trail riding and camping. After high school, Capper joined Delta Air Lines at their Indianapolis office as a reservations agent. “I moved to Delta’s Tampa offices in 1973,” she said. “I lived in town, but soon found myself signing up for riding lessons at a local stable. Fatefully, there was an Arabian farm right next door. I was immediately drawn to the Arabians’ beauty, style and charisma. They just danced out in the fields, with their heads and tails reaching toward the sky. What more could anyone want? “Naturally, one day after a riding lesson, I went next door to look at the beautiful horses. I introduced myself to the farm’s owners, Charles Roberts and his wife, Shirley. They showed me their horses, which included two young prospects
they had for sale. One, a dark grey, 2-year-old colt named Durin, had the biggest, kindest eyes! They seemed to say, ‘I’m yours.’ How could I resist? He became my first Arabian.” Capper’s attraction to Durin was understandable. He was handsome, charismatic, and loaded with Arabian type. Although Capper was unfamiliar with Arabian bloodlines at the time, she would later discover that her new colt’s pedigree was filled with distinguished ancestors. Durin’s sire was an Indraff grandson whose dam was a straight Egyptian daughter of the influential Babson import, *Bint Bint Durra. A producer of much sought-after foals, *Bint Bint Durra was of the celebrated Dahman Shahwan strain, prominently mentioned in the famous Abbas Pasha manuscripts. Durin’s own dam was closely linebred to the influential Galimar (Gaysar x Rageyma, by *Mirage) through her sire, a Galimar son, and her dam, a Galimar daughter. Another fascinating individual was Durin’s fourth dam, Marrakech, who traced to the legendary Guemura, a Segario daughter bred by Spencer Borden and foaled in 1912. Highly spoken of by Gen. Dickinson in his Traveler’s Rest Catalog, Guemura was one of the Arabian breed’s greatest-producing mares. She also had wonderful character. In 1932, at age 20, Guemura won a prize under saddle at Nashville’s Spring Horse Show, though she would not tolerate a bit and had to be ridden with a true desert bridle. Her descendant Durin’s opportunities at stud would be limited, but long-lived, athletic, good-thinking ancestors like Guemura and *Bint Bint Durra helped him fulfill his early promise. “When I bought him and brought him home at 2, he had been broken to halter and to lunge,” said Capper. “I broke him to ride, and when I left Florida and
Times Remembered returned to Indiana, I finished him. He was easy to break, so willing, and learned very quickly.” Capper’s other Arabians have included the chestnut gelding Fantessaul, an *Essaul son who won with her in western pleasure and halter, and Akid Krystal Myth, a Wind Fortune daughter she bought in Georgia, where she lived for nearly 23 years. “They are all in horse heaven now, except for Durin, who is still with me,” she said. “He always loved to jump into the trailer and go, but he has developed arthritis in one hip, so I have quit riding him. He walks normally, but when he turns or pivots, it affects his hip. “Sue (Mrs. Harry) Cooper had him in training for awhile at the time she had Rawar, her great park mare. I loved watching Sue work Rawar; it was so neat!” Capper says. “She and Harry used to call Durin ‘that Dur horse.’ Her work really helped him free up his shoulders for better forward extension.” She was quiet for a moment. “I always preferred to show rather than breed him, but from time to time, I did sell a breeding,” she said slowly. “Durin’s first colt was out of Aresza, by Miraffles, but unfortunately, it died very young, unregistered.” Jim Zollner elaborated on that sad little story. “We bought the first service to Durin, breeding Aresza, a Miraffles daughter, to him. Sadly, that first baby died after developing pneumonia. However, Excedurin Tu, a full sibling foaled in 1980, grew up to become a good producer, and a winning western pleasure mare.” We can see for ourselves what the sociologists are telling us: that disrespect for the elderly is a growing concern in the human community. Luckily for Durin and thousands of other equine senior citizens, the trend is not as prevalent among horse people. Old horses are generally treated kindly, with special attention going to purebred animals of every breed, because their provenance can more easily be traced. Elderly Arabian horses always have interesting life stories. Although some of their stories may be more colorful than others, the animals those stories represent deserve our lasting respect. High profile or low, they are the Arabian breed’s living history, and are entitled to every comfort. Recognition of every Arabian horse living is an unrealistic goal, but Arabian Horse Times continues its efforts to spotlight, a few at a time, the Arabian breed’s most notable citizens as they grow older. n