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A FATEFUL DAY IN 1967 by Ca t hy Rohm , of G re e n wo o d , Ca l if o rn ia

I S AW M Y F I R S T was on an edition of Arabian unregistered Horse World in purebred mare, Fifi November of 1967 at D’or (Cougars Gold the Sylmar High x Jeunfille Cailana). School library. There Arabian horses were two issues, and stole my heart when the one that caught a babysitter brought my attention featured over a pamphlet “The Fabulous Fadjur” depicting “the horse on the cover. So of the desert.” I was drawn to that enthralled! The magazine was I that horses, mostly grey, upon the library were unlike any closing for the day, the equine I’d seen up to librarian had to tell me that time. As luck it was time to go, and would have it, one of if I wanted, I could take the first people I met both copies of World in my transfer to because no one else Sylmar High School Cathy and AVVALIN ZAARANG AKA “Azhee” (Fairwinds had looked at them! owned a purebred Pennant x WA Blue Bayou), her 28-year-old Arabian What a loss for the and a Half-Arabian. gelding. “I can see him from my kitchen window, a bonus student body of I was 16 at the time, beyond measure.” she says. Sylmar High. Happily, I and the purebred, scooted out the door Dhirass was 17. I was with two issues of World from 1967, and I haven’t afraid to ride him because he seemed too old. Ha! missed an issue since. I have dreamed of being on Imagine my surprise when I first rode that horse! We the cover of World. When the newest issue arrived, rode bareback, because on an A&W Rootbeer I’d say it was “that time of the month,” and read from carhop’s “salary,” I was unable to afford a saddle. We cover to cover. Although not making the cover, I have covered miles and miles on the trails surrounding been written up a couple of times in the Tevis issues, Sylmar, which was quite rural back in the day. Upon as I won the Haggin Cup in 2001 and the Tevis Cup in meeting this double *Gulastra-bred horse, the 2005. My Haggin Cup win was on a Shagya-Arab hook was set. mare, Fayette de Cameo (*Oman x Cameo Corrine, a I fell for Arabians because they are simply the Radamason granddaughter), and the Tevis Cup win most beautiful horse on the planet! Combine that

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Cathy rode SMR FIFI D’OR (Cougars Gold x Jeunfille Cailana) to win the 2005 Tevis Cup.

with their people-loving personalities, their longevity, their willingness to please, and the fact that when you ride an Arabian, you feel like you own the world — how can you not succumb to them? As Jimmy Buffett says, “Once the bug bites you, you live with the sting.” That’s how it’s been for me since that fateful day in September of 1967 when I met my first purebred Arabian. Presently, I am proud to share my life with one Arabian gelding. Please meet the 28-year-old Avvalin Zaarang, aka “Azhee,” (Fairwinds Pennant [Spinnaker by Fire Wind] x WA Blue Bayou [Fire Bolt out of a *Serafix granddaughter]). He and I are retired from competive endurance and now ride the miles of trails in the Gold Country of California. Az and I are within a couple of miles of the dedicated trail system known as The Western States Trails. I can literally ride off my property to Lake Tahoe or to Sacramento. In addition to riding, he and I simply share our life here on a three-acre “ranchette.” I can see him from my kitchen window, a bonus beyond measure. Az opens doors, turns on lights and water faucets (neither of which he sees fit to turn off), and if I don’t double-lock his pasture gate, he’ll be out in a heartbeat and open the door on the tack room/grain room. He’s a smart, persistent horse, and he’s never met a carrotbearing person he didn’t like!


(*Oman x Cameo Corrine) and Cathy Rohm finished third and won the Haggin Cup for best condition at the 2001 Tevis.

Having read every page of over 50 years of Arabian Horse World, it’s difficult to pinpoint any particular favorite article. However, anything by Gladys Brown Edwards tops my list, and to this day I miss Paul Woolridge and his Great Chestnut Hope! Just typing his name makes me smile. Of particular interest every month are the articles on bloodlines and pedigrees, and I adore the newly-added “Twisted Tales” by Darice Whyte. I totally relate to her stories. World is an absolute necessity for those of us who make a study of Arabian pedigrees. I’ve had three geldings registered in my name, and frequently am asked why. I insist on papers on my horses, even though they’re not breeding stock because I want to know who they are, and inasmuch as Arabians are an ancient breed, we owe it to them to know who they are. My first Arabian was a bay gelding named Hal (Troy x Hallyna). I paid the enormous sum of $1,200 for him in 1974, having bought him from Yale Freed’s Briarwood Arabians. Hal was the love of my life, and we did everything. I showed him, marginally successfully, in English and western pleasure, and hunter over fences. Before there were amateurowner halter classes, I hitched a ride with the Bay Abi son, Atmandu, to the Red Bluff Class A AllArabian Show in 1973. There were 43 geldings in the class. When the final judging was being computed,

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Cathy and Azhee.

Azhee at home.

I found myself standing between Murrell Lacey and Glenn Wilson. Murrell lit a cigarette, and turned to me and said, “Young lady, since you’re showing against all of us professionals, you’re gonna have to do something like take your clothes off to be noticed.” He was right, of course. I remained clothed, and we got the gate. As it turned out, I live about five miles away from Lacey Arabians and had


many opportunities to visit with Murrell before his passing. When I moved to Sacramento in 1974, I ended up boarding Hal at a Tennessee Walker stable in Carmichael, where we could ride to and around Ancil Hoffman Park. Every new fellow I dated had to meet and be approved of by my horse. Financial reasons forced me to sell him in 1978, and he is in my heart to this day. How do Arabians enrich my life? Let me count the ways. First and foremost, living with Azhee really is a dream come true. If I never rode him again, his mere presence makes life more enjoyable and full than it would be without him. And, as a retired endurance rider, I remain involved by being a vet secretary at several American Endurance Ride Conference-sanctioned rides. In this manner, I get to see

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all of the horses pre-ride, during the ride at the vet checks, and post-ride. Arabians and Arab crosses comprise 80 percent of horses competing in AERC rides. Tevis boasts 95 percent Arabs, and if you go through the Tevis records, you’ll see that nearly every top ten Tevis finisher is a purebred Arab, with some Arab crosses. Seeing these amazing athletes trotting out for the vets, hanging out at their camps with their people, and watching them compete, is something every Arabian enthusiast should experience. So different from the showring, where the “winner” is a judge’s decision. In endurance, the first horse to finish sound wins. No creepy grooming. No whips and chains. No politics. It’s just the horse, the trail, and the rider.