Arabian Horse Life Magazine; mini issue 4 2018

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Issue 4 • 2018






Utilizing the latest medical and surgical techniques } Equine Athlete Veterinary Services is dedicated to helping trainers and owners accomplish their goals with sound advice built on education } experience } and horsemanship.






















CONTENTS Issue #4. 2018

On the cover: A beautiful mare owned and photographed by Johanna Ulstrom, DORALINA, by Borsalino K out of Dora Van Ryad by Ryad El Jamaal.

38 GET INVOLVED Ride Together, Play Together, Work Together How barn families play outside the show ring.

By Coleen Scott Elegance Exemplified Dressage and Carriage Driving are both beautiful disciplines requiring precision and attention to detail, and there are dedicated programs from AHA in which you can participate.

IN EVERY ISSUE 7 Corporate Partners & Sponsors 10 President’s Letter 12 EVP’s Letter 14 Jibbah Jabber 18 AHYA 20 Praiseworthy 66 Stallion Directory 67 Horse for Sale 69 AHA Listings 71 Advertisers’ Index 72 FOCUS Life 4

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PARTNERSHIP Equine Athlete Veterinary Services A new corporate sponsor is introduced and will be answering members’ horse health-related questions in future issues.

IMPACT John M. Rogers & the *Serafix Legacy Here is part one of a two part series that looks at the early years of this influential Arabian horse breeder.

By Andrew Steen

WHOA Horse Cents It is wise to protect your investment on tack and equipment through proper insurance.

By Sarah Evers Conrad Freeze Frame Ana DiGironimo points out the main focus of the medium trot in dressage.

56 48 HERITAGE Smitten With Egyptians Straight Egyptians are a “breed within the breed.”

By Elizabeth Kaye McCall

THE NOW Meet Three Arabian Horse Superheroes The story of three horses making superhero-like differences in people’s lives.

By Hope Ellis-Ashburn Downward Horse Yoga on horseback — yes, yoga performed on the back of a horse — is gaining in popularity.

By Linda Carroll

Johanna Ulstrom Photo



AHA Corporate Partners and Sponsors support expanded opportunities for all who participate in Arabian horse activities. AHA would like to thank our 2018 Corporate Partners and Sponsors. By purchasing products and services provided by these companies you are supporting the horse you love—the Arabian!

The Original Designer of Fine Equestrian Jewelry


The Arabian Horse Association offers several different levels of sponsorship including fulfillment at National events, in our membership magazine, Arabian Horse Life, on our website, and so much more. For information on how your company can take part in The Arabian Horse Association’s rewarding sponsorship programs, please contact the Arabian Horse Association 303.696.4500 • info@


n from the president

Current Efforts and Future Plans

DEAR MEMBERS: I hope you are enjoying the summer with your horses. Things have been very busy with your Arabian Horse Association (AHA). We have recently entered into a partnership with The Right Horse Initiative to help promote equine adoption through the initiative and support the national movement of reframing the conversation about equine adoption. We believe this new partnership, along with our current relationship with the Certified Horsemanship Association, will help us move our breed forward at all levels and promote this amazing breed to more people interested in horses. We continue to explore other ways to reach out to the general horse public thanks to the ongoing work of the Market Development and Promotion (MDP) Committee. Speaking of the MDP, they had an extremely successful event in conjunction with the Hollywood Charity Horse Show that is hosted by the inimitable William Shatner. They participated in the Mr. Shatner (Captain Kirk) Annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show presented by Wells Fargo online auction on June 2, 2018, with a new “Goldie” through the Arabian Horses for Humanity project. Each year William Shatner, a horseman himself, brings his entertainment friends into the horse world with this charity event. His online auction items raise thousands of dollars for the charities he has selected and brings awareness to the community of the thrill of equestrian sport. The MDP garnered the sponsorship of FinListics Solutions, an Atlantabased sales enablement company, to engage the talents of Jaime Tovar, an artist out of Ft. Worth, Texas, to paint a statue 6

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with a Star Trek theme. The horse, named Galaxy, was autographed by Mr. Shatner and was the high seller of the auction garnering $14,000 for Mr. Shatner’s charities. The artist was in attendance at the event, and it was truly a great outreach event for the Arabian horse. Thanks to the MDP for putting the Arabian horse in front of new audiences, and thanks to Trevor Miller for escorting Galaxy to the event and acting as such a great ambassador for the Arabian horse. We continue to move forward to bring your Association into a new era with the Future State project, which remains within budget. This spring heralded the new membership module. Currently, the Business Technology Department is beginning work on the competitions module. We look forward to its completion, which will improve how we do business. It will make things better for our current and future members and customers. Two new Ad-Hoc Committees have begun work on potentially changing the way we do business within our Association. One is the Regional Structure Review Committee, which is looking at the Regional structure as it relates to the Regional horse shows and the Regions in general. In addition, we have an Ad-Hoc Committee examining the structure of our National show commissions to make sure we are working in the most efficient and effective way. Both committees are populated with highly dedicated volunteers who are looking at their respective areas with a strong and hard eye. I would like to thank them for all of their time and effort to these projects. Associations can improve, and the current environment is ever changing and evolving. It is the responsibility of the Association’s leadership to keep Arabian horses and horse ownership relevant in a society where horses are no longer necessary to the survival of their owners. I appreciate that change is always needed, and I personally would like to thank those who work together within our Association to affect change. In closing, your leadership continues to be committed to respect those horsemen who have come before, build a foundation for those who follow, and maintain a strong and healthy Association for those currently involved. Sincerely,

Nancy Harvey, AHA President

n from the EVP

Equine Transportation: CDL/ELD Controversy


Hauling horses is a given in the equine industry — whether for pure pleasure as in Trail Riding or in showing, Racing, breeding, etc. Transporting horses is a necessity. The federal and state regulations that govern this critical transportation of horses is an intricate web of rules and exemption, coupled with separate interpretations and intentions. Enforcement of existing regulations has been lax due to the confusing nature of these regulations and how they apply to the horse industry. In late 2017, new attention was drawn to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules that have been on the books for a long time, but have not been enforced on the horse industry. An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is a relatively new option that replaced the old paper log books, which could be doctored. Initially there was panic, but as time passed, more information has come forward that has made it not quite as bad as initially feared. Cliff Williamson, the American Horse Council’s Director of Health and Regulatory Affairs, has been in the lead with FMCSA and has met with quite a bit of success in educating them that when you are hauling live animals, it isn’t easy just to pull over and take a long break. He was successful in acquiring several extensions of the enforcement deadline, with the current one set to expire on September 30, 2018. After checking in with Cliff recently, this is the latest on the subject. Some five years ago, the ELD mandate was initiated in a new federal bill for all commercial truckers which was intended to bring about better safety on the road. The industry was given five years to prepare, but because the vast majority of those hauling horses were unaware when, or if, we would be caught up in it, our industry is still not prepared. Truck and trailer combinations, used in a 8

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commercial endeavor with a combined weight rating of over 26,001 pounds, are required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). After September 30, 2018, they may also require an ELD. There are several bills introduced in Congress that will create permanent exemptions from the ELD mandate for the horse industry. Additionally, the appropriations language that created the current enforcement delay has been suggested for inclusion in next year’s appropriations bill. States also have great latitude with which to impact this issue. Some states have passed legislation defunding the enforcement of ELD regulations on the agricultural industry within their respective states. The FMCSA is working to educate local law enforcement on the limits of their enforcement and which targets are of the highest priority. This does not include horse trailers, of which 85 percent are used recreationally and as such are outside the scope of ELD regulations. FMCSA does note that local law enforcement is expected to honor the license of the state of origin, rather than require compliance to state licensing regulations by non-residents. Alternative, or “non-CDL” licenses, may be available in your state. It is important for you to become well-versed in the transportation laws and regulations in your state. “The American Horse Council is continuing to collaborate with the small business and agricultural community to limit the unintended impact felt by the horse industry from the new ELD requirements,” said Cliff Williamson. “We continue to request the clarifications and interpretations needed by law enforcement officials nationwide to adequately regulate the horse hauling public.” Please visit the American Horse Council’s website,, for up to date information on this issue, or contact AHC directly.


Glenn T. Petty Executive Vice President

n jibbah jabber

The Arabian Prince By Yiskah Wedekind Lopez I CALL HIM “THE ARABIAN PRINCE” FORMALLY AND “Al-Ashab” casually, yet my snowy white, Arabian gelding has the registered name of PH El Sosure. No matter his name, though, he deserves to be known as one of the best blessings upon this earth. He saved my life, and that alone is more deserving than any name that I can think of for him. Al-Ashab was the first horse I ever bought. When most teenagers around me were looking to buy a first car, I was looking to buy a horse with my own money. I initially saw The Black Stallion movie when I was 12-years-old. It was from that movie that I determined I was going to get an Arabian horse of my own.

Yiskah with her Prince, Al-Ashab

My parents said I could, but I would have to buy it on my own. I don’t think they actually expected me to continue pursing the horse dream. When I was 16, I met my Arabian, Al-Ashab, who was 21 at that time. It was love at first sight. I had to have him. I wanted to run my hands over his dished profile again and again and stare into his most captivating, large, dark eyes for all time. I quickly learned that there was not a mean bone in his body, and the joy of his own existence was contagious. It was this joy that got me through one of my most difficult times — a surgery that nearly took my life. 10

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The same year I bought Al-Ashab, I faced something that most teenagers never think twice about — the possibility of losing everything I ever dreamed of or aspired to be. I had one of the worst cases of scoliosis, in which my spine had become a complete “S” shape, and I had to have major surgery for it. If I didn’t, I could suffer from my spine eventually putting lethal pressure on my internal organs. I remember writing a list for my surgeon of things I wanted to know if I would still be able to do after having the operation. They were things as simple as being able to run, dance, sing, play my harp, ride my horse and eventually be able to have a child. The doctor could only tell me that every case was different and that being paralyzed was a real risk; a real thing that I could possibly experience. I wept. I prayed. I kept weeping, and I kept praying. I finally came to a point when I knew I had to “let go” and trust the One who I knew had always been watching over me. My last ride on Al-Ashab before my spinal surgery was so emotional. Of everything I loved doing, somehow the desire to ride Al-Ashab again was the strongest drive within me to not be discouraged from making a full recovery. I had a picture of myself riding Al-Ashab bareback and took it with me to the hospital. The nine-hour surgery proved to be successful, having straightened my back with two metal rods screwed into my spine with hooks and wires. I remember being in the recovery room, looking up at the picture of Al-Ashab that had been placed beside my bed and dreaming about seeing him and riding him again. I thought of how amazing it would be to even simply kiss that soft, pink nose and smell his fur. Oh

how I wanted to see my boy again! It was, though, the third night in the hospital that I had complications, and my heart rate would not stop accelerating. Not only had I faced the possibility of losing mobility, but that night I came face-to-face with losing my life. The whole experience with my heart was a blur. Doctors were all around me; my mother was praying so hard; yet I came under a complete peace, not even feeling my heart rate as being any different. Indeed, this was true, for my heart rate slowly went back to normal. In the days to follow, I struggled to sit up, but I did. It was then difficult to stand, but I did. Then the challenge was to walk, but I did. I left the hospital after eight days. Being at home proved to be more difficult for me because Al-Ashab and all my other animals in the barn were so close, but I did not have the strength. to go out and be close to them. I got depressed having to stay in bed so much. I wanted to be back to my normal self again. Although I did have days when I was discouraged, I no longer wondered if I could be better and established faith that I would improve with time. Four months later, to my joy and my dear mother’s worry, I rode Al-Ashab bareback. He seemed to sense my new body and, although normally a spirited Arabian, he was ever so gentle in his strides and took care of me. If it were not for the drive to be with Al-Ashab and to ride again, perhaps I would have recovered from my surgery, but maybe not as quickly or completely. I know Al-Ashab was a blessing from Above. Today I still ride Al-Ashab, at his grand age of soon to be 32. Although he is slowing down, he still has that sparkle in his eyes and energy to burn. I have no back pain, and I ride Al-Ashab as fast as he wants to go. I can’t really imagine having any other kind of horse besides an Arabian. It’s not that I don’t like other kinds of horses, yet it is the sensitivity, character, and beauty of my Arabian horse that motivates me so much every day. At one point, it was this inspiration from Al-Ashab to simply be normal again and, even now, it’s this inspiration that makes me want to a better horsewoman and a better person all the way around. I want to share the Arabian horse with others. It just might be the tool needed to save or change another life for the better.

One of Our Own

Pat Gallahan (1961 - 2018)

FARRIER PAT GALLAHAN PASSED AWAY Wednesday, May 23, 2018, just one day after turning 57-years-old. This came following complications from a heart attack he had suffered a few weeks earlier. Gallahan was well-known for attending the Arabian National shows, an American Farrier’s Association (AFA) certification examiner and former chairman of the certification committee. The AFA released a statement on Facebook offering its condolences. “As a current examiner of the certification committee and past chairman, you have given so much to the association,” according to the statement. “You will be greatly missed by so many.” Kelly Halvorsen, Gallahan’s sister, posted a statement on their family’s CaringBridge page as well. “He did a lot in his 57 years, but we all wanted more time with him,” according to the entry. “Do you suppose horses in Heaven need shoes? If so, they’ve got the best farrier to care for them now.” Significant medical expenses were incurred, and to help the Gallahan family, two places have been set up for donations. They are: the Arabian Horsemen’s Distress Fund at and GoFundMe at www.

The Right Horse Initiative & AHA Form New Partnership THE ARABIAN HORSE ASSOCIATION (AHA) IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE a partnership with The Right Horse Initiative to help promote equine adoption through the initiative and support the national movement reframing the conversation about equine adoption. “The Right Horse Initiative is helping to shed new light in the area of horse adoption, and AHA is excited to be a part of that movement,” states Glenn Petty, Executive Vice President of AHA. “It is truly inspiring to see this initiative lead the way for the organization and promotion of horse adoption in a unifying way,” states Nancy Harvey, President of AHA. "This is a monumental step for the equine industry." Each year, hundreds of thousands of horses are transitioned from career or ownership. A growing number of these horses end up at risk of inhumane treatment. Led by the WaterShed Animal Fund, The Right Horse Initiative has been developed to unify horse industry professionals, equine welfare advocates and the broader horse loving public to improve the lives of horses in transition. Christy Counts, President of The Right Horse Initiative, said “We are thrilled to welcome the Arabian Horse Association as a partner. AHA brings great experience, history and enthusiasm to the table, and we look forward to working together to develop sustainable, transformative solutions for horses in transition.” The Right Horse Initiative promotes horse adoption as one of the preferred methods of finding a horse. This unique partnership commits the time, talent and resources to promote horse adoption through education, training and public awareness on a national level. The Initiative's goal is to massively increase the number of horse adoptions nationwide.

About The Right Horse Initiative: The Right Horse Initiative is a collective of industry professionals and equine welfare advocates working together to improve the lives of horses in transition through a dialogue of kindness and respect. Through collaboration with over 40 industry and adoption partners, The Right Horse is able to innovate new and better adoption standards and practices. Together, the goal is to shatter the stigma and reframe the conversation around equine adoption in order to massively increase horse adoption in the United States. To learn more, visit Issue 4. 2018

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AHA’s Magazine - Arabian Horse Life Earns Awards at 2018 AHP Equine Media Awards Banquet THE AMERICAN HORSE PUBLICATION’S (AHP) three-day conference was held June 14-16, 2018, in Hunt Valley, Md. On the last night of the conference, a banquet was held to recognize award winners for the AHP Equine Media Awards. This year’s competition, for materials published in 2017, had over 800 entries. After the judging was complete, the Arabian Horse Association’s (AHA) Arabian Horse Life magazine came home with two awards. In the category of Publication Staff Single Advertisement, Arabian Horse Life proudly finished first for the second straight year. “I am so very happy and grateful to be selected as the winner for this category for the second year in a row! It is my privilege to design ads for these beautiful horses and the people that love them. Many thanks to Lori Conway of Conway Arabians, her stallion, Coltrane and last but not least, American Horse Publications for this honor,” says DeEtta Houts-Schey, designer of the winning ad and Ad Sales Manager and Graphic Designer at AHA. In addition, the magazine placed second in the Editorial Design circulation 10,000 to 20,000 category. “It’s always an honor to be nominated for the work we do. It’s an even bigger thrill to win an award. Most of the job is melding all the words from our writers and images from the photographers to tell stories to people we don’t really get to see. A lot of time is spent creating with a mouse, computer and screen, so feedback — especially positive — lets me know

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AHL Managing Editor, Stephanie J. Ruff, was on hand to receive the awards from AHP.

we’re doing the job right. I’m particularly happy for DeEtta winning a first place award two years in a row. She is one of the industry’s top designers, and it’s good to see her creativity be recognized,” states Liz Bilotta, Senior Graphic Designer. “We are thrilled once again to have our magazine recognized at the AHP awards,” says Mikayla Boge, Director of Marketing at AHA. “The magazine team puts a lot of time and effort into making the magazine the best it can be, and it’s always great to see when the hard work pays off.” Arabian Horse Life magazine is a bi-monthly magazine that goes to all of AHA’s members. Magazine content includes industry news, horse health articles, training tips, National show highlights, historical articles and much more. To learn more about the magazine or to subscribe, visit magazine. Make sure to follow AHL’s Facebook and Instagram pages as well and check out the magazine blog at


TO REMEMBER July 19 – AHYA Board Meeting July 20 – AHYA Convention July 21-28 – Y outh Nationals, Oklahoma City, OK Aug. 12-18 – Canadian Nationals, Brandon, MB Sept. 1 – Youth of the Year Applications Due Sept. 18-22 – Sport Horse Nationals, Nampa, ID Sept. 22 – Arabian Horse Judging & Hippology Contest Entries Due Oct. 19-27 – U.S. Nationals, Tulsa, OK Oct. 25-26 – Arabian Horse Hippology Contest, Tulsa, OK


October 26 – Arabian Horse Judging Contest, Tulsa, OK

Win This!

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES Equine Athlete Youth Rider Scholarship

Equine Athlete Veterinary Services has generously dedicated $1,000 to fund the Equine Athlete Youth Rider Scholarship. Scholarships will be awarded based on financial need, and any youth rider participating in the Arabian Horse Youth Nationals Championship Horse Show is eligible to apply. • To apply, please complete the Arabian Horse Foundation Scholarship Application form and reference Equine Athlete Youth Rider Scholarship • Applications due by October 1!

AHYA Trails West Trailer Raffle Benefitting AHYA — Back this year is the raffle of an Adventure MX II 2-horse bumper pull trailer! Stop by the AHYA booth at our National Shows or email to purchase raffle tickets. DePaolo Equine Concepts has donated an Equine Hair Analysis Package as a secondary prize. The cost is $50/ticket, and only 450 tickets will be sold! 14

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The Arabian Horse Foundation is giving away multiple scholarships at Youth Nationals, and has already given away over $30,000 this year. Easily donate to the Foundation every time you purchase on Amazon. Use Amazon Smile and designate the Arabian Horse Foundation as your charity. Amazon will then give a portion of your purchase to the Arabian Horse Foundation.



Full Team Contest at U.S. Nationals, Tulsa, OK October 24-27


YOUTH OF THE YEAR Nominations Due Soon! • Recognition • Resume Builder • Boost College Applications • Leadership Opportunities • $1,000 Scholarship • • Apply by September 1!

ntest 10.26.18 rse Judging Co 2018 Arabian Ho ntest own In The Co Each Horse Sh ee Stall Fr a ive ce Re Will k at Brenna Whitloc 05 Please contact g or 303.696.45 .or es rs ho ian k@arab brenna.whitloc

EXHIBITORS Good Luck at Youth Nationals! Issue 4. 2018

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DiGironimo The Medium Trot, an Exercise in Elegance...

1. H orse and rider are going forward with regular, elastic and cadenced strides with established hock action. 2. M edium trot requires more uphill balance due to increased pushing power. Here the hind legs display they are sustaining more weight to lighten the forehand. 3. T he rider demonstrates a supple, natural feel with correct body position. Her shoulder, hip and heel are all aligned, centered and balanced. 4. T he rider’s arms and hands are gently with the horse. This enables the horse to properly reach and push into the contract from hind end to front while maintaining steadiness as they build pushing power. 5. T he horse’s frame is relaxed along the entire topline. This demonstrates the horse carrying increased impulsion without tension or interruption through the body. 6. H orse and rider have an overall harmonious and delightful picture. The rider is looking ahead at her destination with a cheerful demeanor. The horse’s ears are forward and attentive awaiting her next cue. 7. The horse’s jaw is gently closed accepting contact and connection. 8. T he rider’s seat is engaging the horse. You notice her spur and heel are at rest letting the horse “carry” her on to their destination. Ana DiGironimo is a United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal Grand Prix rider and trainer based in Pilesgrove, N.J. at her DQ Performance Horses. DiGironimo competes in Open Dressage and Arabian Dressage at the National and International Level. The photo is of Ana and her own Anna Miriah C++/, a Purebred Arabian pony mare when they competed at the 2017 U.S. Dressage Finals held in Lexington, Ky. The pair competed in the Third Level Musical Freestyle and landed ninth in the Nation. The pair also made notice at the 2017 National Dressage Pony Cup.


DiGironimo is very involved with youth and is proud to be involved with Pony Club. Her barn has a variety of horses including Warmbloods, German riding ponies, Arabians and mixed breeds. Ana enjoys working with all levels of riders and horses. DQ Performance was established in 2012. DiGironimo has been riding since the age of three and started Dressage shortly thereafter. One of her goals as a rider is to educate and expose the Arabian breed into the Open dressage world. “Though we are small, we are mighty!” Issue 4. 2018

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n from the veterinarian

AHA is Proud to Announce New Partnership with

Equine Athlete Veterinary Services THE ARABIAN HORSE ASSOCIATION (AHA) is proud to announce a partnership with Equine Athlete Veterinary Services (Equine Athlete) as AHA’s newest Corporate Partner. “We are excited to partner with Equine Athlete and have them join our AHA family as a Corporate Partner. They are a highly skilled team of veterinarians, and we look forward to a long-lasting relationship,” states Mikayla Boge, AHA’s Director of Marketing. Equine Athlete’s Practice Manager, Kristen Wallis explains, “We believe this partnership with the Arabian Horse Association is a great fit in continuing our commitment to the equine athlete and support of the Arabian Horse community.” Owned by Brad Hill, DVM and Ty Wallis, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS, Equine Athlete is an exclusively-equine practice catering to the needs of the equine athlete at all stages of life. Dr. Hill and Dr. Wallis founded Equine Athlete after years of consulting together on a variety of cases together and realizing they shared a passion for providing superior care for the equine athlete. Equine Athlete’s mission is to provide customers outstanding value in veterinary care in three areas: 1. Producing predictable and reliable results; 2. Offering quality diagnostics and therapeutics at an affordable price; 3. Utilizing clear and concise communication at every step along the way.

“Our veterinarians travel nationwide throughout the year, offering our services for pre-purchase exams, consultations on complex lameness and medical issues of

Brought to you by

BRAD HILL (left)

University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine, 2003 Dr. Hill’s experience includes a sports medicine internship and subsequent associate position with Merritt and Associates Equine Hospital from 2003 to 2007. Since 2007, he has been based in the Greater Lansing area of Michigan practicing veterinary medicine and specializing in lameness, sports medicine, pre-purchase exams and second opinion consultations of the performance horse. Dr. Hill travels to equine training facilities across the country to diagnose, treat, and consult on the medical issues facing today’s equine athlete. He is also a partner in Michigan Equine Surgical Associates.

TY WALLIS (right)

Texas A&M University, College of Veterinary Medicine, 2004 Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 2008 Dr. Wallis’s experience includes a one-year internship at Oakridge Equine Hospital in Edmond, Okla., followed by a three-year residency and combined master’s program in equine surgery and lameness at Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Ft. Collins, Colo. He became board certified in large animal surgery in 2009 and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. He practiced in Tennessee and South Carolina before moving back to Texas in 2014. He is currently based in Pilot Point where he focuses on lameness, sports medicine, pre-purchase exams and orthopedic surgery of equine athletes in training centers throughout the country. He has also been the surgeon for Michigan Equine Surgical Associates since January 2012. He is a member of AVMA, AAEP, ACVS, ISELP, AHA, APAHA and is an Arabian Show Horse delegate to the AAEP Performance Horse Task Force.

the equine athlete, preparing performance horses for competition, and managing their health care at horse shows. Making ourselves available in this capacity gives our clients the competitive advantage of continuity of care for each individual horse.” Equine Athlete insists on remaining at the cutting edge of equine sports medicine through continued education opportunities and utilizing the latest in digital diagnostic technology. As shareholders in Animal Imaging in Irving, Texas, and eCORE North Texas in Whitesboro, they also have access to these cutting edge advanced diagnostics and rehabilitation. They have extensive experience with regenerative therapies — including stem cells, platelet rich plasma (PRP), and IRAP II — as well as the ability to combine these techniques with elective surgical services provided by their own board-certified surgeon, Dr. Ty Wallis. Starting in Issue 5 of Arabian Horse Life, as well as monthly on the Arabian Horse Life blog, Dr. Wallis and Dr. Hill will address member’s horse health-related questions that have been submitted via email. This will be an ongoing feature so AHA will continue to look for questions. If you have a horse healthrelated question, please email it to editor@ along with the subject line “Equine Athlete Vet Question” for your question to be considered. To learn more about Equine Athlete, or their different services provided, call (940) 686-0112 or visit Issue 4. 2018

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n heritage

Smitten with Egyptians Part 4 of a yearlong series focusing on different Arabian countries of origin By Elizabeth Kaye McCall


hen a small group of breeders founded The Pyramid Society in 1969 to preserve a rare Arabian bloodline, they set the criteria for the Straight Egyptian Arabian horse — a literal breed within the breed. “Of the approximately 2,500 registered Egyptian Arabian horses in the world, 1,800 live in the United States...” reported UPI (United Press International) business writer Bruce B. Bakke in a 1983 article. Like a Hollywood classic filled with history and romance, life can change suddenly with a glimpse of an Egyptian Arabian. “The first time my uncle saw Ruminaja Ali (Shaikh Al Badi x Bint Magidaa) was through the lens of an 8-millimeter camera,” says Matthew Bergren about the lasting impression a big, grey Straight Egyptian yearling colt, who became a champion that day at the local West Michigan Breeders’ Futurity, made upon his Uncle Tom. Already sold, the Bergren brothers (Tom and Jim) got their chance a year later and hopped a plane to Wisconsin with a $100 deposit toward “Ali’s” purchase. In 1979, Ali won National Champion Futurity Colt, with Huckleberry


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Straight Egyptians —a “Breed Within the Breed”

Ruminaja Ali (Shaikh Al Badi x Bint Magidaa) behind the Hockey Hall of Fame as a 4-year-old at the Canadian Nationals in 1980, where he went Top 10 Stallion with Ted Gibson.

Bey++ in Reserve. “I was just a little guy at the time, but I remember my grandmother calling and saying they won. My dad said, ‘No, you didn’t. The best anybody does around here is Top 10.’ And my grandmother said, ‘I have a National Champion plaque and the roses around my neck!’ That kind of put us on the map,” explains Bergren, of Bergren Family Arabians in Muskegon, Mich. “He was a handful, full of life. High octane. Goosebumps every time you saw him. He was almost 16 hands,” describes Bergren. “Sometimes, when he was really fired up, and I’d just want to calm him down, I’d grab him by the muzzle and talk to him, and he’d lick my face.” He remarks, “The Ali horses; they’re go, go, go. They want to be in a routine, and they want to make you happy. But, you get them out of a routine, and you hurt their feelings. I would be gone for a day at a horse show, and I’d come back and Ali would ignore me for a day!” Broke to ride and drive, Ali got conditioned pulling a cart when Ted Gibson was showing him, says Bergren. “When David Gardner had him, his daughter would ride Ali bareback.” Bergren remarks, “Ali was one of the highest syndicated stallions; he

Victor Ricigliano, Marketing Mafia Productions,

Left — For nearly a decade, Warner Waite of Riverside, Calif., has climbed into the saddle to carry the American flag in Native Costume for opening ceremonies at The Egyptian Event. He is pictured at left aboard the 1994 Straight Egyptian stallion Thee Outlaw (Thee Desperado+ x Imasar). Scheduled for new dates this year, Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, The Pyramid Society (established in 1969) will celebrate the legacy of its remaining Founder, Judith Forbis at The Event, along with the 60th anniversary of Ansata Arabian Stud. Founded in 1958, by Donald and Judith Forbis after they met and married in Turkey, Ansata imported its first foundation stock from Egypt in 1959, including the Nazeer son, *Ansata Ibn Halima. The Event will feature its everpopular Stallion Showcase, along with educational seminars, competitions, and abundant social events. Below — Matthew Bergren shares a moment with Ali Lujah B (Ruminaja Ali x Showboat CAHR) on the anniversary of Ruminaja Ali’s death.

Courtesy Bergren Family Arabians

was in the millions at one time.” One noteworthy Straight Egyptian son, The Minstril (x *Bahila), sired Thee Desperado+ (x AK Amiri Asmarr), the most prolific sire in Egyptian breeding. “What’s amazing is my uncles always had domestic-breds, but never any Straight Egyptians,” says Bergren. “We’ve bred Egyptian-related and had great success.” His uncles bred the Egyptian-Sired stallion Ali Jamaal (Ruminaja Ali x Heritage Memory), a 1990 National Champion stallion whose son Jullyen El Jamaal (x Jullye El Ludjin) became a chief sire for Varian Arabians. “Now that I have control, I’m focusing on Straight Egyptians and preserving that,” explains Bergren, whose uncles are deceased. “Ali Lujah B was the first Straight Egyptian Ruminaja Ali daughter ever born at the farm, and it took 14 years after Ali’s death to make that happen.” Bred using the ICSI procedure (Intracycoplasmic Sperm Injection) with frozen semen collected before Ali’s 1997 death, Ali Lujah B (x Showboat CAHR) is a name his uncles were saving. “Out of any stallion or mare, Ali Lujah reminds me of Ali most,” says Bergren. While such advanced reproductive technology didn’t exist when The Pyramid Society was founded, their dedication to safeguard the classic bloodlines of the Straight Egyptian Arabian grew into a vibrant international breeders’ organization. “We’ve grown percentage-wise in the general Issue 4. 2018

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U.S. Arabian population to approximately 10 percent,” notes Cynthia Culbertson, incoming Executive Director for The Pyramid Society, based in Lexington, Ky. “In some countries it’s much higher,” adds Culbertson, a prominent historian and Straight Egyptian expert known worldwide. “I think it’s less an emphasis on percentage than on influence. I think that’s the key point of the Straight Egyptian,” she notes. “They are influential far beyond their percentage in the Arabian population.” Influential is something Dr. Jody Cruz knows firsthand, thanks to a single mare and a determined father. A second generation physician and Egyptian Arabian breeder, his late father Felino Cruz, M.D. established Rancho Bulakenyo in Los Osos, Calif. “I was that little kid that fell in love with horses, and of course, started riding. Breeding became part of what we did,” explains Cruz. “I don’t know why he fell in love with Egyptians. That was my dad’s decision. Fortunately, it was a good one. He just really was on a mission to have a Straight Egyptian breeding program.” When the El Hilal (*Ansata Ibn Halima++ x *Bint Nefissa) daughter the elder Cruz wanted to buy wasn’t for sale, he came home with RDM Maar Hala (El Hilal x Maar Jumana), who became the farm’s foundation mare and the leading dam of Egyptian champions. “My dad would like people to believe he was brilliant and astute in purchasing this mare, but it really came down to luck,” laughs Cruz, a Trustee for The Pyramid Society. “We always talk about the mare lines, but her influence was probably not through her daughters, but through her sons. 22

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Don Forbis in Egypt, early 1960s with *Morafic (Nazeer x Mabrouka). Judith Forbis

n heritage Cynthia Culbertson is pictured with Ansata Manasseh (Ansata Halim Shah x Ansata Aliha), a 1989 Ansata Ibn Halima grandson, who stood at her El Miladi Arabian Stud in Carrizozo, N.M.

She was a stallion-maker, and her sons’ blood is everywhere, the whole world. She’s been able to influence many generations down the line.” Of her 11 foals, seven were stallions. Interestingly, Maar Hala was only shown once before her purchase at two. “My dad always said, ‘What for? People can see how good she is. They need to come see her. She doesn’t need to go see them,’” Cruz fondly says. “She had a regal personality. She allowed you to be in her presence. She was such a queen. She would let you brush her. She always passed her presence down; big tail, big trot. You see that in all her get.” Joe Ferriss, the respected Arabian historian and speaker, adds insights. “RDM Maar Hala was just a stunningly beautiful mare. If you look at Maar Hala’s pedigree, she’s the classic example of the old Babson with the new breeding. There’s *Ansata Ibn Halima in her pedigree and Babson breeding.” Evenings, after a day with patients, finds Cruz in the barn with the stallion Imperial Al Kamar (El Hilal x Imperialsonbesjul). “The troubles of the workday just disappear,” says Cruz, getting back on topic. “One of the things we’re particularly happy about is how Maar Hala and our other horses have influenced different programs in the world. That’s one of our biggest accomplishments; more than a show ribbon or trophy,” notes Cruz. Case in point — the birth of Richter MH (El Halimaar x Fasarra), whose sire is out of RDM Maar Hala. He was born on January 17, 1994, the day a 6.7 earthquake hit Northridge, Calif. “We say, ‘The earth shook when Richter was born.’ And that’s how I decided on his name,” Cruz explains. The first horse Jody bred after taking over Rancho Bulakenyo’s breeding program, Richter also was the first to carry the MH suffix. “When I started naming the horses, I really thought about it. Some people use their farm name, but she [Maar Hala] really made the farm, so why not name after her? Everything we breed that has her in their bloodlines has the suffix MH.”

Below — Maknificent KA (Makhsous x Star Bint Hafiza) gets a final wipe down from Becky Rogers during a photo shoot.

Jeff Little

Right — RDM Maar Hala (El Hilal X Maar Jumana) with the late Felino L. Cruz, M.D. (left) and son Jody Cruz, M.D. (right).

1973 Straight Egyptian mare RDM Maar Hala (El Hilal X Maar Jumana).

Purchased by the late Count Federico Zichy-Thyssen, Richter moved from California to Argentina. “After a few years, Count Frederico sold him to Sheikh Khaled (Ahmed Bagedo) in Saudi Arabia,” says Cruz. “He still has the same owner.” An international equine citizen, Richter currently stands in Belgium. Becky Rogers, current President of The Pyramid Society, can thank her mother’s love of horses for instilling the passion that is now Kehilan Arabians, a family farm in Fort Worth, Texas. From its beginnings in 1980, it blossomed in an era many once-famous farms didn’t survive. Their shared vision propelled Kehilan into a Straight Egyptian program known worldwide for blending and linebreeding rare Sameh (El Moez x Sameera) bloodlines. “We actually saw Ibn Morafic+++ (*Morafic x *Kahramana) and *Sakr+++ (Sultan x Enayat) receive their Legion of Merit awards in 1982 at the Houston Livestock Show,” say Rogers, Kehilan’s overall farm and breeding manager. “They were being retired, and it was a very moving ceremony. We went back to talk to the McNairs,” she adds. (A gifted training team recruited by Gleannloch Farms, Tom and Rhita McNair showed many Morafic offspring to high honors

for Douglas and Margaret Marshall’s Texas farm.) “I think what sparked my mother’s interest was the history behind the Egyptian horses and that a group of people had safeguarded their pedigrees coming forward. It was unique and appealed to my mother’s romantic side as well as to my sister and I. We already loved the Arabian horse. This was taking it a step further,” explains Rogers, who’s trained, shown and coached others to Regional/Scottsdale and National Open wins. Houston honed Kehilan’s focus from a beginning with Egyptian-related and Egyptian-Sired Arabians 38 years ago. “At that time, you almost didn’t find Straight Egyptian horses for less than a couple hundred thousand dollars. There were a lot of people doing it for tax benefits,” says Rogers. The quest for a Straight Egyptian brought a pivotal association with Janice Bush, then General Manager at Somerset Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif. “I got into Arabians in the late 1960s,” says Bush, who grew up on a farm in Egg Harbor, N.J. After leaving her job as a math teacher and moving to California (her Arabian in tow), she promptly got a real estate license and hit the jackpot, “first time out of the gate” as Bush describes, selling Lou Romney the property that became Somerset Farms. Strolling the barn on a follow-up visit, a Straight Egyptian mare Romney had leased with a filly by her side, captivated her. “That was the beginning of my interest in Issue 4. 2018

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Egyptian horses,” adds Bush, who became Somerset’s General Manager. Romney actually began with Polish horses. The involvement with Straight Egyptians marked a major change in breeding decisions. After Romney’s 1987 death to cancer, Bush handled the farm’s sale. “There are several things I learned in life from the person I worked for. If there’s something you’re passionate about, just go for it,” says Bush, whose personal passion for coffee had her traveling with her own espresso machine for years — pre-Starbucks, she clarifies. It’s akin to a passion for Egyptian Arabians. “If those little hairs on the back of your neck don’t stand up when you look out in your pastures at what you’ve got, then you’re doing something wrong.” Kismet apparently timed a trip Bush made to Texas in the midst of closing Somerset after Romney’s death. “I happened to be down at Bentwood Farms and heard the voice of Becky Rogers. I thought this is the person who should have *Sultann (Sameh x Lubna). She’d [once] sent a mare all the way from

Judith Forbis

Websites & Links Bergren Family Arabians: Bergren-Family-Arabians311760865513366/

*Sultann (Sameh x Lubna) Link to complete 1983 article by Bruce B. Bakke, UPI Archives: Archives/1983/05/30/ Egyptian-Arabian-horses NEWLNThe-most-beautiful-of-all/5394423115200/

Texas to California to get bred to *Sultann, even though I told her the horse was subfertile.” Luck was apparently present. The mare got promptly in foal. Joe Ferriss remembers meeting the Sameh son years earlier. “I’ll never forget the day I saw *Sultann. He was imported and brought here to Brighton, Mich. It was a bright sunny morning, and we got to Lancer Arabians. Stanley White said, ‘Stay down at the other end of the aisle, and I’ll go get him.’ This horse was chestnut with a flaxen mane, and the barn was medium dark, wood. The 24

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Tom & Rhita McNair

sunlight was coming from windows up high. Way back from the other end comes this horse not walking, but trotting. The horse was literally floating down the aisle toward us, and the sunlight is flashing across him like a strobe light from those windows. His white-blonde mane is flashing in the air and dark chestnut coat shining.” “*Sultann comes all the way up, stands and turns his head slightly, not even being guided by Stanley White. The horse was presenting himself like a king. He had this noble look on his face and turned slowly to look at us. His eyes were so expressive, with extremely fine skin and wrinkles above the eyelash. It was a stunning sight.” Ferriss comments, “The thing about the Sameh horses, they had tremendous movement and reach in the stride. The body language was dramatic. They would walk like a panther!” Had a screenwriter tried to conceptualize a good film starring a horse with such a presence, it would be a challenge to best his real life. *Sultann’s has had all the elements — drama, cliffhangers and success. From one owner dying of cancer, to the Texas farm that gave him a chance to beat his subpotent odds and to seeing his most beautiful son become the cornerstone of success for a multigenerational female-run farm that embraced him in his aging years. Rogers reflects on Kehilan’s evolution over 38 years. “It’s interesting the way we end up with some of these horses. When we got into this, we bought into a share of Nabiel+/ (*Sakr+++ x *Magidaa) and were breeding to him. When Lee Romney died and Somerset was closing, we had the opportunity to obtain *Sultann, who was Nabiel’s grandfather. He was about 25 when we brought him to our farm. I laughingly, made the statement, ‘Well, he’s here for a few years’, but *Sultann lived to be 36 years old! In the meantime, Gleannloch started to close its doors, and we formed a partnership with Janice Bush and some other people for the express purpose of buying Makhsous (*Sultann x *Nabda).” Bush soon followed Makhsous’ arrival and became Kehilan’s manager. Considered the most beautiful *Sultann offspring, Makhsous was bred by the legendary Stanley White. “Each time out of endings, we have a beginning,” says Rogers. “Makhsous became a real cornerstone. He sired two stallions who have become big names for us: Marquis I (x Antigua Dance), now 25, and Makhnificent KA (x Star Bint Hafiza).” An influential stallion in the United States and abroad, luck has accompanied Makhnifi-

Thinking Outside the Box with Egyptians

Mary Ellen Chavez, 41, (above) owner of Sonrisa Farms in Peralta, N.M., puts her Straight Egyptian Arabians in the public eye on a daily basis at her Burritos Alinstante restaurants, now in six New Mexico locations. Her two stallions, Latif KA (Marquis I x Aidahh KA) and Mikeen El Masr (Madheen Al Masr x Sha Shayna) are featured on the restaurant menus and cups, respectively. “I spent money for these beautiful photos and was thinking ‘How can I promote the Straight Egyptian horse in the restaurant?’” Chavez’s brainstorm has become a prime showcase for introducing newcomers to horses — Egyptians, of course.

cent KA from the start. After giving Rogers her first delivery experience with an upside down foal, while her mother shouted the veterinarian’s instructions from the phone, “Bubba” (a nickname her mother bestowed because he was a good old Texas boy), became a successful yearling, going Top 10 at U.S. Nationals. The next year, he colicked in an isolated area on the way to The Egyptian Event. The only veterinarian available treated primarily cattle and sheep. In the process of tubing the colt, the vet misplaced the tube. Oil went into his lungs. “Of course, that should have been an immediate death sentence. It was the entire amount,” says Rogers. Upon reaching Kentucky, the situation was dire. A collaboration of top veterinary minds worked out a treatment, one usually used on injured industrial scuba divers. “To this day, one-third of his lungs is walled off with scar tissue. He didn’t have full use of his lungs after that. But never count him down. These horses have a lot of stamina and charisma,” says Rogers, who put him back in training briefly at age three. Bubba brought another Top 10 home from the U.S. Nationals again, and then was retired to focus on breeding. His sons and daughters are now in Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. As President, Rogers explains the influence of The Pyramid Society this way. “The Pyramid Society is a global organization. We are the Mothership, so to speak, for the Straight Egyptian. We participate in strategic alliances with other countries and international organizations involving Straight Egyptian Arabians.” She clarifies, “We are not a registry and do not take the place of actual registry associations. For a horse to be certified Straight Egyptian, it first needs to be eligible for registration and registered in its respective countries. Here it would be AHA.” In the decades since Rogers and Bush met when Kehilan was searching for its first Straight Egyptian mare, they’ve both helped carry a torch. “I think what’s most important were the founders of The Pyramid Society. Without these people, this would not have gone on,” notes Bush. “This is the breed within the breed that has not changed and is not going to change. You can’t add to the gene pool.” Still a coffee aficionado, with her days dictated by horse agendas, Bush reflects, “When they formed The Pyramid Society, they set the criteria which had to do with pedigree and foundation stock. From that point forward, they termed the horse Straight Egyptian. It has to do with meeting criteria. Without people like Judi Forbis, the last living member of the original group that formed The Pyramid Society, the horse probably would not be what it is.” An author, journalist and media consultant based in Southern California, Elizabeth Kaye McCall worked as the horse industry liaison for Cavalia on its inaugural North American tour. A contributor to diverse equine and mainstream outlets, she authored “The Tao of Horses: Exploring How Horses Guide Us on Our Spiritual Path” and the young adult tale “RAJALIKA SPEAK.” Issue 4. 2018

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CROSS THE COUNTRY, ARABIAN HORSES are known for their many attributes. Owners often tout their beauty, versatility and intelligence, but did you know that Arabian horses can also change lives? While they may not wear capes, across America, Arabian horses like the ones in the following stories are leading the way in equine-assisted therapy programs and making superhero-like differences in the lives they touch every day.

Katie Jacobsen Photography

skills such as boundaries, self-discipline, and how to become contributing members of their communities. According to Cathy Dolson, Specialty Programs Coordinator at STAR, Norman is a “star” attraction with program participants. Dolson first describes herd observation, which is one aspect of the Changing Strides program. She says, “during this activity, horses are in an arena at liberty and exhibit many different aspects of their personalities from galloping around; to standing still and observing; to actually walking up to participants seemingly choosing their own partners. Students are tasked with selecting a horse to partner with that reminds them of someone. Norman, with his flagged tail, pricked ears, and engaging expression, is often among the first horses chosen. Dolson states, “Norman is one of our very best horses in terms of teaching students about boundaries. Whether it’s during activities in the round pen, helping students learn about horsemanship, mounted or un-mounted work, or personal development, Norman forms a bond with our students.” Often times, students are enrolled in the program for a

Hero, the superhero Arabian at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, enjoying a attention from a program participant.



First there’s Hauns Cyclone (Summer Celebrity x Hauns Babystorm), a.k.a. “Norman”. He’s a 23-year-old purebred Arabian gelding that has been a part of the Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) programs at Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR) in Lenoir City, Tenn., for the past four years. With his strong work ethic, he currently serves in two therapeutic programs there: Changing Strides and Heroes & Horses. Changing Strides is a program for at-risk youth ages 10 to 17 who are a part of the juvenile court system. Those who take part in the program at STAR can gain valuable community service hours that have been mandated by the court system. The Changing Strides program makes use of a life skills curriculum that teaches youth such important

Norman is a 23-year-old Purebred Arabian gelding with such a strong work ethic that he serves in two different therapeutic programs.

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partner with.” She adds, “Norman has made a significant difference with veterans in such areas as personal development, self-awareness, and trust.”


Norman steadily carries one of his student riders at Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding.

very concentrated period of time which sometimes makes it difficult to assess progress. At the program’s completion, students are asked to write letters to their horses explaining what they would like him or her to know about them. Not only has Norman received an outpouring of love in his letters, but past program participants often request to come back and visit with him, demonstrating both a strong and unique bond to the horse they chose to partner with during their time there. STAR is a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Premiere Accredited center. The PATH organization promotes equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs. Along with STAR’s Changing Strides program, the facility also offers a Horses & Heroes program affiliated with the Veteran’s Administration and the Wounded Warrior Project. According to Dolson, Norman also plays a pivotal role in this other important program. Issues facing our veterans can include traumatic brain injury (TBI), amputation, sensory loss and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, Dolson states that “our participants who are veterans also sometimes struggle with communication issues. Their particular communication style may have served them well during their time in the military, but it can be difficult to transition back to a style more commonly seen with civilians, including interpreting visual cues.” She says horses, and Norman in particular, “are good at reflecting back and helping veterans see behaviors they are projecting.” This is a skill that otherwise might not be so easily achieved. Once those behaviors are recognized, program participants can begin to more readily adjust to a communication style suitable for home or in the workplace. Dolson says that Norman is “often one of the top picks for our clients in this program to 28

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Next there’s an actual Hero. He’s an unregistered Arabian-cross with a backstory that still brings tears to the eyes of his owners. Hero is a therapy horse in the Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch program in Bend, Ore. Crystal Peaks provides services to youth between the ages of six and 18. While any child who wishes to do so may participate, most of the program’s clients are a part of the foster care system. They are children who have an incarcerated parent or a parent battling drug addiction, are from a broken home, are abuse victims, or have experienced bullying while at school. According to Katie Jacobsen, Public Relations Director with Crystal Peaks, hunters alerted authorities about a horse in the wilderness suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. It was later learned that Hero had been a part of a children’s summer camp, and a wrangler who worked there was instructed to find the horse a new home. Rather than follow through, the wrangler took him out into the forest, shot him twice, and left him to die. Hero survived more than a week before being discovered by the hunters. The then six-year-old gelding had to regain his strength from the large volume of blood he lost and be treated for an abscess behind his eye before he was ready to undergo surgery to remove his eye and access bullet fragments at Bend Equine Medical Center. The Center contacted Crystal Peaks Ranch, with whom they had an ongoing relationship,

While Hero was recovering from surgery, he showed that he had all the makings of a phenomenal therapy horse.

Hero shows everyone that even a horse can overcome adversity.

to let them know about a horse they were treating and to arrange for a possible adoption. When preparations were made and Hero was released, he was more than 150 pounds underweight from his ordeal. It was discovered during his recovery period that Hero had all the makings

of a phenomenal therapy horse. In fact, Hero earned his name from Kelsie Patka, the ranch equine program manager at the time of his rescue, because he was such a symbol of hope. Emma Jansson, a staff member at the Ranch, describes Hero. “He’s been hurt so badly by people, but he still trusts them.” She went on to say, “Hero gives hope and is a living demonstration that pain can not only be endured and lived through, but that it can also lead to a place on the other side where stories of hope and inspiration can be shared with others.” Just some of Hero’s strong suits include forming a tight bond with his assigned youth and, when he is called upon to do so, serving as an ambassador for the ranch. His story rings true whether clients are directly or indirectly involved with him. Jacobsen says, “the heart of the Crystal Peaks program is to come alongside kids in a mentoring-based relationship. Kids in our program are invited to come just as they are, to speak honestly and to share their struggles and personal victories. Growth and healing happen in an environment when kids are paired with a mentor and feel seen, known, and unconditionally loved.” Like the STAR program, healing is rarely seen overnight but rather through a consistent investment over time.

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Is it a colorful unicorn? No, it’s Boston, an AngloArabian gelding who is the founding horse member of the Freedom Reigns Ranch program.



Finally, there’s Poseidon’s Promise, a.k.a. “Boston”. He’s a 19-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding who is the founding horse member of the Freedom Reigns Ranch program located in Thompsons Station, Tenn. In piecing together Boston’s past, Carissa Ramsdell, his current owner and the Ranch’s founder and executive director, believes that he was once registered but his papers were lost in the shuffle of his unsteady background. Ramsdell and Boston share a background in Eventing and Show Jumping. Although there was a time in Boston’s life when he would have been thought of as anything but a session horse, he plays a key role in the program. Ramsdell says, “in the past he was labeled as mean, uncontrollable, crazy and worthless, but in reality he was simply misunderstood.” One of Boston’s many talents is liberty work — where a horse is given complete freedom to choose to interact with a participant. “When he knows someone doesn’t have an agenda other than building a relationship, he is a willing, engaging partner and will follow


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right in stride with participants,” she explains. “It’s amazing to see the look on someone’s face when they are chosen by a horse. For those who have experienced rejection and abandonment, it is a powerful, tangible example that they are chosen and accepted. Boston is a favorite at the Ranch in that he is still opinionated,

Boston may have been previously misunderstood, but he has found his true calling at Freedom Reigns.

Resources If you are interested in learning more about the programs featured in this article or want to know about how you can contribute, their contact information is below:

PATH International

7475 Dalton Street, #600 Denver, CO 80221 (800) 369-7433

Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding 11800 US 11 East Lenoir City, TN 37772 (865) 988-4711

Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch

19344 Innes Market Road Bend, OR 97703 (541) 330-0123

Freedom Reigns Ranch

1725 Barker Road Thompson’s Station, TN 37179 (615) 513-6264

confident, expressive, and all Arabian in all the best ways!” Freedom Reigns opened its doors in 2012 and is mentored by Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. Like Crystal Peaks, programs are offered free of charge. Though any child or teen who wishes to take part in the program may do so, typically those served at the Ranch have been through trauma or other challenging circumstances. Norman, Hero, and Boston are just a few examples of the first-class Arabian horses used in therapy programs everywhere. Daily, they and others like them lead by example and make positive, life-altering and heroic contributions one person at a time. Hope Ellis-Ashburn is a teacher and author living in the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee. She has been a horse owner for over thirty years and enjoys competing and riding in the sport horse disciplines with her HalfArabian mare.

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There are different levels to choose from, great for any Region, Club or individual’s budget. Interested in sponsoring something specific? Please contact Uriah Quezada at 303.696.4559 or


Submitted by Christine Elder A beautiful bond, Christine with 34-year-old Abi-Sha-Rahm May 17,1984-April 16, 2018

Submitted by Michaela Hart A smile worth a thousand Arabian horses!

Submitted by Eileen Wickens Totally fabulous in turquoise!

Submitted by Jamie Hendry Um, if you’re done with your coffee now, I’d like my breakfast!

Submitted by Miley DeFalco Spots make the whole ensemble!

Submitted by Michelle Kostrzewa I’m just gonna close my eyes for a sec...