Page 1

Lorraine and Bud Soltau and Cory Soltau, DVM b

y

m

a

r

y

j

a

n

“I

Above: Lorraine, about eight years old in this photo, sits atop her trusted friend “Buster” whom she rode to school each day. Lorraine’s family left the city life for a farming life to raise hay on a 720-acre family ranch during the Great Depression. It was her first exposure to a horse-filled existence — one she would later build her life around.

e

p

a

r

k

i

n

s

o

n

t all started with a carousel,” says Lorraine Soltau. “When I was four years old, I came upon a carousel in a park and I’ll never forget the feelings of that day. The carousel horses — did they look like Arabians? Moving majestically and rhythmically, the loud, tinkling music, the mirrors reflecting the laughing, happy kids on their horses.” As Lorraine walked away, her eyes still sparkling and dancing, the carousel became a lasting memory and created a desire to somehow develop a reality reminder of that wonderful day. Other necessities of life came first. She spent her childhood years on the family ranch at Oroville in Northern California. There she enjoyed most of her waking hours riding the family workhorses. Later, after a move to Orinda, California, Lorraine rode “Buster” to school each day. During World War II and for some time after, horses were put on hold. Lorraine married Bud Soltau, an Air Force pilot, and they were occupied with home and family. Lorraine and Bud, after years of listening to their son Cory’s pleas for a horse, took his request seriously — because Cory took the horse interest so seriously. Cory rode his Shetland pony mare until he was roundly teased about his feet dragging on the ground with each step. When he was ten, Cory bred his pony mare to an Arabian stallion for the family’s first acquaintance with the Arabian breed, a Half-Arabian that Cory enjoyed showing.

Right: Lorraine and Bud’s sons Cory and Roy sit on Old Honey, Lorraine at her head. “A bag of bones,” was how Lorraine described Old Honey when the Soltaus rescued her. She soon became a favorite with the children. 190 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b SEPTEMBER 2009

Above: With only one shoe dang brought Collany (Hallany Mist family’s first purebred Arabian. farrier work, repair his feet. Co back to the family — from full in the showring to finishing the pictured here at age 34 with Bu

A neighbor gave Cory to get out of the “round an on the trail and “really rid horses were put together, l to understand form-to-fun rides, I learned to apprecia systems and that’s probabl to veterinary school and ge Then Cory pleaded w Arabian. Again, Bud and L found irresistible the appe (Hallany Mistanny x Saha the estate of Mr. and Mrs. California, and already a S time Collany, the victim o malnourished, so he may b “Rescuing Collany was tru endeared our family to a li The home to which C Soltaus’ four-acre ranch ab at the foot of Mount Diab inspired him to design the its name: Soltau Kings Cre family show horse. “Collan ever asked of him and was Arabian,” Cory remember Soltaus’ foundation stallio stock and his show appear Canadian National level; f


Lorraine and Bud Soltau and Cory Soltau, DVM b

y

m

a

r

y

j

a

n

“I

Above: Lorraine, about eight years old in this photo, sits atop her trusted friend “Buster” whom she rode to school each day. Lorraine’s family left the city life for a farming life to raise hay on a 720-acre family ranch during the Great Depression. It was her first exposure to a horse-filled existence — one she would later build her life around.

e

p

a

r

k

i

n

s

o

n

t all started with a carousel,” says Lorraine Soltau. “When I was four years old, I came upon a carousel in a park and I’ll never forget the feelings of that day. The carousel horses — did they look like Arabians? Moving majestically and rhythmically, the loud, tinkling music, the mirrors reflecting the laughing, happy kids on their horses.” As Lorraine walked away, her eyes still sparkling and dancing, the carousel became a lasting memory and created a desire to somehow develop a reality reminder of that wonderful day. Other necessities of life came first. She spent her childhood years on the family ranch at Oroville in Northern California. There she enjoyed most of her waking hours riding the family workhorses. Later, after a move to Orinda, California, Lorraine rode “Buster” to school each day. During World War II and for some time after, horses were put on hold. Lorraine married Bud Soltau, an Air Force pilot, and they were occupied with home and family. Lorraine and Bud, after years of listening to their son Cory’s pleas for a horse, took his request seriously — because Cory took the horse interest so seriously. Cory rode his Shetland pony mare until he was roundly teased about his feet dragging on the ground with each step. When he was ten, Cory bred his pony mare to an Arabian stallion for the family’s first acquaintance with the Arabian breed, a Half-Arabian that Cory enjoyed showing.

Right: Lorraine and Bud’s sons Cory and Roy sit on Old Honey, Lorraine at her head. “A bag of bones,” was how Lorraine described Old Honey when the Soltaus rescued her. She soon became a favorite with the children. 190 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b SEPTEMBER 2009


Left: Collany with Lorraine up, joyfully lope to collect the blue ribbon in a trail horse class at local show. This is her favorite photo showing the enthusiasm they both had for performing for a crowd.

Above: With only one shoe dangling from a hoof, Bud and Lorraine brought Collany (Hallany Mistanny x Sahanina) home to become the family’s first purebred Arabian. Graciously, Collany let Bud, a novice to farrier work, repair his feet. Collany had a long life of continually giving back to the family — from full costume regala in parades to several wins in the showring to finishing the 100-mile Tevis Cup endurance ride. He’s pictured here at age 34 with Bud and Lorraine.

A neighbor gave Cory riding lessons and encouraged him to get out of the “round and round” of the showring and out on the trail and “really ride.” “She made me look at the way horses were put together, learn how they could be used, and to understand form-to-function,” Cory says. “On endurance rides, I learned to appreciate horses’ functional support systems and that’s probably what later encouraged me to go to veterinary school and get my degree.” Then Cory pleaded with his parents to buy a purebred Arabian. Again, Bud and Lorraine listened, and the family found irresistible the appeal of the dark bay stallion Collany (Hallany Mistanny x Sahanina by Coconino), bred by the estate of Mr. and Mrs. M. W. Peddicord in Windsor, California, and already a Scottsdale Top Ten Stallion. By that time Collany, the victim of divorce upheaval, was severely malnourished, so he may be considered a rescue horse. “Rescuing Collany was truly the defining moment that endeared our family to a life with Arabian horses,” says Cory. The home to which Collany was welcomed was the Soltaus’ four-acre ranch about 30 miles east of San Francisco, at the foot of Mount Diablo. Bud’s appreciation of history inspired him to design the farm’s logo and to give the ranch its name: Soltau Kings Crest Arabians. Collany became the family show horse. “Collany willingly did everything we ever asked of him and was truly the epitome of the versatile Arabian,” Cory remembers. Collany also functioned as the Soltaus’ foundation stallion. In that role he sired excellent stock and his show appearances carried him to the U.S. and Canadian National level; further, he, at age 13, was honored

Frisbey photo

as a finisher in the hard-fought Tevis Cup 100-miles-in-oneday endurance ride. All this was interspersed with numerous parades and exhibitions throughout Northern California; he led the Columbus Day parade in San Francisco, providing one of the family’s best memories of him. “We have never forgotten Collany’s influence in our lives,” says Lorraine. “Collany is the horse who first inspired us, the master raconteur who seduced us into the Arabian breed.” A family vacation led to more enthusiasm for the breed — and more Arabians on the ranch. The Soltaus took a side trip to Dr. and Mrs. Howard Kale’s Arabian farm at Bellevue, Washington. Cory recalls, “Their encouragement and enthusiasm led to our purchase of Azramim (Alyf x Sheherzade by Joon), the dam of Benraz, the stallion who became the driving force of the Kings Crest breeding program. Another product of the Kale program, the mare Torinna (Tornado x Drifada by *Silver Drift), became King Crest’s premier grand matron. “We now enjoy Torinna’s fifth generation, all born in the main foaling stall at the ranch,” Cory says. With those purchases, the Soltau breeding program was under way. The focus of the family operation sharpened in 1971 when Azramin foaled a copper chestnut colt in the Soltau pasture. He was already up and nursing when Lorraine found him. He was the star destined to give the Soltau program international renown. He cleverly snuggled his way into Lorraine’s heart, a spot where he was totally welcomed. Lorraine immediately saw great promise in the colt, named him Benraz (Ben for his sire Ben Rabba, and Raz for his

191 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b SEPTEMBER 2009


dam Azramim), and began plotting his way to his rightful place in American Arabian circles. His qualities of looks and personality — bug eyes, intense curiosity, the flair of his sire, and the regal look of his dam — made him a promising candidate for Lorraine’s promotional skills. Lorraine took the artistic approach to this effort. In her personal life she’s had recognition as a violist, dancer, and painter. “As a youngster, I was exposed to artistic things and it was instilled in me that art was a lovely way to interpret life. So when Arabians came into my life, I simply melted right into their being. To me, the Arabian horse is an artistic subject.” Cory took a more earthy approach to Benraz. By age three, Cory had Benraz in the showring, including a venture to the California State Fair where they entered five classes and came home with five blue ribbons. That same year, Benraz’s first foals were competing and doing a fine job of reinforcing Lorraine’s belief in him. The Soltau promotion budget was limited, but Lorraine’s genuine feelings about Benraz were contagious. People who came to the ranch to see him came away “Benrazzled” because Lorraine had so much confidence in him and was so absolutely sold on him herself. In 1976, when Benraz was five years old, Lorraine sent him off to trainer Murrel Lacey. At shows, Benraz demonstrated the Arabian versatility and earned the reputation for showing in a number of disciplines “very, very well.” Murrel appreciated Benraz for his willingness to please. “Benraz would do anything I asked him to: western pleasure, English pleasure, pleasure driving, sidesaddle, native

Cory Soltau, DVM and Master Charge, a Half-Arabian by Collany, going over Cougar Rock on the Tevis Cup 100-mile endurance ride.

Pictured here with Ali Llany, a Half-Arabian son of Collany, Lorraine took great pride in not only breeding Arabians, but showing them as well.

costume — whatever we wanted. I was never disappointed in him.” With Murrel, Benraz achieved one of the goals Lorraine wanted for him: household-word status. Lorraine did not limit her promotion of Benraz to the usual promotional efforts. She hired the best photographers available, took Benraz’s portraits to banks and public buildings where he touched an entirely different group of people. Benraz was photographed (by Bill Apton) at various spots of beauty in California, but the memorable shots for most were at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco’s Marina district; the November 1977 cover of Arabian Horse World pictured Benraz and Murrel Lacey there, dwarfed by the colonnades of the palace. Another photo shows Benraz and Murrel trotting on the beach with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. With the possibility of six feet on the ground, only two are — one of Benraz’s and one of Murrel’s. With that focused publicity, Benraz became known as the “San Francisco horse.” Benraz also became known as a to-show horse. He went Scottsdale Top Ten in Trail in his first show in that discipline and later moved on to Regional and National wins, all this in five disciplines: halter, western pleasure, English pleasure, ladies sidesaddle, and native costume. Murrel rode Benraz to 1981 U.S. National Champion Native Costume, and Randi Lacey starred with him as 1978 Canadian National Champion Sidesaddle. At the same time his show career was blossoming, Benraz stood at stud at Murrel’s stables, and during one of his years there bred 30-plus mares, all before AI and transported semen.

192 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b SEPTEMBER 2009


The Arabian Horse World cover shot from November 1977: Benraz (Ben Rabba x Azramim) and trainer Murrel Lacey at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Photo by Bill Apton.

and gave outside mare owners even more options within the Soltau stallion battery. In 1995, Lorraine and Bud’s fiftieth wedding anniversary year, they received a special gift in the form of a Bey Shah filly out of a Benraz daughter. They named her Anniversary Bey (x Benraz Destinee). “It’s times like this that rate as high points in this exciting Arabian horse adventure we all share,” Lorraine noted. Other stallions who contributed to the Kings Crest program are *Sanadik El Shaklan, Padrons Psyche, DA Valentino, and *ZT Shakfantasy. Bud Soltau died in September 2005, after developing complications from a fall. Cory cited Bud’s contributions to the Kings Crest program: “My father chauffeured all of us (horses and people) to the shows; he attended shows and rides and was an enthusiastic supporter for all of us. He assisted with the breeding. He was the ranch all-around handyman, and occasionally helped me condition my endurance horses and served as crew on the rides. In the Arabian political world, he served as president of the Diablo Arabian Horse Association.” Friends and fellow breeders praised Bud as “an honest, kind, gentle man, always willing to work at a horse show and always with a sweet smile.” Benraz daughters became especially valued, and two of them (Benraz Love Afair and Benraz Jacqueline) went to Cory’s Blackhawk Valley program — a program that produced two U.S. National Champion Mares. Two more stallions were to become stars in the Soltau program: Aladdinns Comet (Aladdinn I x Torinna by Tornado) and Ravven (Ray Dor Echo x WA Celebration by Dedication), a rare black, homegrown stallion foaled in 1989 who took high honors in the show world when he was named Champion Stallion at the 1993 Annual All Arabian show, the 1994 Diablo Annual Show, the 1995 Ranchotel Fall Show, and the1997 Summer Classic All Arab Show, among others. Lorraine labeled Ravven “an Echo worth repeating.” Aladdinns Comet was bred by the Soltaus and foaled in 1983. He was exported to Australia where he was named a National Champion Stallion. Exports also went to four other countries, and Lorraine and Bud added the word international to the ranch name. The Soltaus, like many American breeders, sent mares to Bey Shah as he enjoyed his many years of popularity as a sire. One of those matings resulted in Bey Shah Bravo, a 1992 chestnut colt. He added further dimension to the program

Benraz, pictured here at age 27 with Lorraine and Bud Soltau, was the driving force of the Kings Crest breeding program as well as a top-show horse in halter, western pleasure, English pleasure, ladies sidesaddle, and native costume. Benraz became a household name with Lorraine’s promotional efforts when his photos were displayed in banks and public buildings.

193 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b SEPTEMBER 2009


Top left: Among the noted daughters of Benraz was Benraz Faantasy (Benraz x Hi-Fashion Camaar). She produced five National winners and seven regional winners by Huckleberry Bey, Fame VF, and *Sanadik El Shaklan, for Sheila Morgan of Templeton, California. Bottom left: Another top producer by Benraz, Benraz Fancy (Benraz x Hi-Fashion Camaar). She was the dam of several winning progeny including the 15-time National winner MFA Maverick by Desperado V, also bred by Sheila Morgan. Bottom right: The 1981 Benraz daughter Benraz Sophia (Benraz x Torinna), pictured at age 17, produced the four-time National and 10-time regional winner Valerian Fantasy by *ZT Shakfantasy.

After Bud died, Lorraine carried on, as her character would suggest. She foals out every mare; supervises every activity on the ranch, this from her golf cart accompanied by her trusty dog Gracie; and “puts the horses to bed” each night, the latter one of her favorite times of her days. Soltau Kings Crest bred more than 80 foals over the years, all welcomed, cared for, and cherished by Lorraine. Now Lorraine limits the program to one foal each year, each breeding carefully weighed and planned. Lorraine developed her personal ideas about the Arabian breed, and she shared them through Arabian Horse World profiles. Here are a few of her thoughts. In 1997: “I continue to ask myself the $64,000 question: Why do I keep playing the Arabian game? Is it my motherly concern for the mare as she strains with all her might to give me that one-in-a-million foal? Is it the childish glee I feel when that perky wet one knickers back to his mother in high soprano, although he’s not even on his feet yet? Is it the natural exercise I get when I play the stall-cleaner role on occasion? Is it the oh-to-be-

young-again feeling when I anxiously watch a fine rider upon a fine horse at a show or on a trail ride when I take a few moments to enjoy my own sweet memories?” In 1999: “As I climb up the steps into the hayloft of our barn to give the weanlings their midday snack (yes, I can still get up there!), certain thoughts occur to me as an Arabian horse breeder. It is truly a privilege to care for these little ones. What’s even more is the responsibility I assumed in planning the breedings last year to produce (with Mother Nature’s help) this current generation. Their conformation and beauty belong to them, but the responsibility of protecting them from abuse, neglect, or unnecessary cosmetic surgery belongs to me.” In 1997: “Don’t forget that on the elusive quest for national glory, the journey to get there is just as much fun as arriving.” In 1997: “Speaking as a great-grandmother, I know my Arabian activities keep me thinking and moving — and that’s a whole lot better than sitting and rocking.” For Lorraine, the carousel music is still playing, the horses are moving gracefully, and children are laughing.

194 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b SEPTEMBER 2009


Lorraine’s thoughts on Arabian breeding ... “W

hat breeding Arabian horses means to me — the ultimate experience of over forty years of wonderment. “Making history with Arabian horses — the joy and responsibility — the infinite glory, the great pleasure, but most of all, our human minds blending with the equine minds to hopefully carry on the proud and delightful history of the Arabian breed. This outreaching pleasure is open to all of us, whether we pursue it or not. That’s up to us. To share with the mare on the straw-bedded floor of her stall, a moment in time never to be forgotten, the birth of her part of history. The ultimate realization of how we blend with the world of horses and the infinite privilege that it holds. “As the world opens up for this amazing little creature our dreams of fortune and glamour may very well run away with our minds. I say, enjoy the moment but remember that nature has given us this privilege to

Aladdinns Comet (Aladdinn I x Torinna), 1983 grey stallion, bred by Soltau Kings Crest, and later sold to Australia, was named 1989 Grand Champion Stallion Cow Palace, San Francisco; 1990 Champion Stallion DAHA All Arabian Show, Del Mar; 1990 Region 7 Champion Stallion; 1990 Scottsdale Top Ten Stallion of 1984 and Before; 1992 Region 3 Champion Stallion; 1993 Scottsdale Top Ten Stallion of 1987 and Older.

Ravven (Ray Dor Echo x WA Celebration), 1989 black stallion, labeled by Lorraine as “an Echo worth repeating,” won Champion Stallion at the 1993 Annual All Arabian show, 1994 Diablo Annual Show, the 1995 Ranchotel Fall Show, and the1997 Summer Classic All Arab Show, among others.

share in a new life. How do we blend our lives with these amazing creatures? The answer is, very carefully. Using the horses we see and the pedigrees we read today are like designing the future with the knowledge of what has already been. And I truly believe this is what intrigues us to continue breeding Arabian horses, our part of ‘making history.’ “Breeding Arabian horses is a privilege I hold dear to my heart.” — Lorraine Soltau

Quince Tree phoTo

Ravvens Skylark (Ravven x Bey Sjhon by Bey Shah), 1994 bay mare, with Lorraine after showing at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1996. 195 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b SEPTEMBER 2009

OTW Heritage Breeders — The Soltaus  

The breed lost one of its great ambassadors with the recent passing of California breeder Lorraine Soltau. We profiled the Soltaus — includi...

OTW Heritage Breeders — The Soltaus  

The breed lost one of its great ambassadors with the recent passing of California breeder Lorraine Soltau. We profiled the Soltaus — includi...