We are Arabian addicts. There is no 12-step program for this. Like other addictions, it all started with one, just one, only one. Tyler had wanted a horse all his life, so we swapped our half of the boat we owned jointly with my parents to my sister and her husband for WH Whirlwind, a 63/64 Arabian weanling gelding. Tyler now had his horse. He was thrilled! Hmmmm - now I needed a horse so I could ride with him. So we went in search of a suitable mare, and finally settled on Rodamary, a purebred bay three-year-old. Next problem - mine was old enough to ride, but Tyler's wasn't. Okay - let's get him an interim horse until his baby grows up. So we brought home another purebred mare, this time a three-year-old chestnut named Classical Lasss. The kids, who were watching all this in amusement, informed us that they would like to ride also, so we set off in search of a couple more nice purebred mares (good excuse, huh?). Several months later, we settled on Crystal Jabask ER, a 5-year-old bay GG Jabask daughter out of a Khemosabi daughter, and Amurath Althea, a 10 year-old gray ex-halter showgirl. Now it occured to us that we needed something to haul all these horses in so we could trail ride. (Am I the only one who thinks it's weird to haul horses somewhere to ride them? Why not ride them to the place? Isn't that the whole point?) So we hit the internet and the local horse trailer dealers and finally ordered a four-horse bumper pull with tack room from Silverado in Oregon. Since neither of us had ever been to Oregon, we decided to take a road trip to pick up the trailer ourselves, and on the way home, collect another mare, a 9-year-old gray named BT Yasaki, in Oklahoma. (Yes, Oklahoma IS on the way home to Iowa from Oregon, you just have to be creative in your routing. The things addicts do to support their habits...)
So there we were, from 0 to 6 in less than two years. That's a nice number, right? Well... Wouldn't it be nice to have a foal? So Amurath Althea went to Opus One, and the following spring, after a week or two of check-the-mare-every-two-hours, WH AladdinnRohara was born. What a gorgeous baby! We were hooked. The little boy was a pleasure to work with, picked up things very fast, did well at his shows (the first one at 1 month!) and just loved attention. So cool! Let's have a few more! So BT Yasaki went to Bey Shahn, Classical Lasss went to Opus One, and Rodamary went to RK Aprils Amir, all for early spring babies so we could have the mares back for summer trail rides. The problem with early babies is that it's COLD that time of year, which involves getting up and checking the mare every two hours so you're there quickly to get the baby dried off so nothing important gets frostbitten. This on top of moving into a new place with room enough for our growing herd - a 50-acre horse farm a little south of Des Moines. NEVER move and foal the same YEAR, let alone the same MONTH! You will be so far behind that you will NEVER get caught up! BT Yasaki was due on February 22nd - but being the smart mare that she is, thought it was entirely too soon and too cold to foal, so she made us wait over two more weeks, even though I was faithfully getting up every two hours or so all night long and checking her. Classical Lasss, always a very prompt mare, made her delivery date of March 8th by half an hour - of course it was in the middle of the worst thunderstorm to date, but we waded down to the barn in time to help dry the baby off and set up some heat lamps to take off the chill. Not to be outdone, BT Yasaki had hers two hours later - right after Tyler had headed back to bed, of course, so he missed that birth too. FINALLY, we could go back to getting some sleep until Rodamary's foal was due April 11th. Rodamary is a very considerate mare - she had hers two days early, AND at the civilized time of 7:15 pm so Tyler actually witnessed this birth. He was so tickled! (Unfortunately, being a new mother, Rodamary had no idea that babies can't eat when mama doesn't stand still, so there I was, getting up every two hours to halter her and hold her so the little filly could nurse. Rodamary did finally figure it out the next morning.) A month later, we had three of the most friendly, incredibly spoiled babies. Addicted? You bet!
(Oh yes, did I mention that the horse farm we bought came with four purebred Arabian mares (EB JA Itar, EBJA Kaleidoscope, Al Pat Watani, and Fhame N Phortion) and two 3/4 Arabian weanlings (GT and Almost Famest)? And that my father finally got the pinto (Ebonees Warrior) he'd wanted all his life? So now we're at SEVENTEEN Arabians with two more foals expected in July... Definitely an addiction...) AAH Sparkler was born the 4th of July (with that birthday, what other name could he have gotten???) - a gorgeous bay tobiano pinto colt with a beautifully-balanced spot pattern. 25 days later, Tyler went out to check EBJA Kaleidoscope to see how close to foaling she was, and reported that Sparkler had managed to sneak into her pen (we'd already had an instance of this little Houdini getting in with the older horses and getting himself thumped on without mama there to protect him!) Heart in my throat, I raced down to help Ty get Sparkler out of Kali's pen. When we got there, we abruptly realized that Sparkler was still exactly where he was supposed to be - in with his mama Al Pat Watani. Kali had given us a little filly, AAH Charizma, who was almost a twin to Sparkler! The pair has been inseparable ever since, practicing synchronized pinto trotting and timed turns every chance they get. So now we're at nineteen.... Addicted? Absolutely!
Okay, a couple years passed, and we ended up with a gorgeous tall black mare, RAS Haziba, who was just head and shoulders above most of what we had seen in black. In doing research into her pedigree to see what made her so special, we discovered the Malabar horses, bred by Dr. Ruth Schmidt from the early 50's to the late 80's. Dr. Schmidt combined the wonderful trot and versatility of the Crabbet-Maynesboro-Kellogg horses with the athleticism and outstanding dispositions of the Babson Egyptians, then used her background in genetics to add black as the frosting on the cake to these typey, conformationally-correct horses. The result was a wonderfully laid-back, beautifully-moving companion horse who will do anything for their human! The more Malabar horses we met, the more we knew this was the horse we'd been looking for! So we became a Malabar preservation farm. In January 2005, we brought home AS Nadra, a straight Malabar filly from Art Sears' farm, followed within a couple weeks by Malabar Anastasia bred by Robert and Emmalee Kent. In March 2005, we made a trip to California to bring home Jamboree Tuxedo from Anita Ogrim's Malabar breeding program, Blk Mgcs Nashyt and Blk Mgc Obsession from Arden Morleys' Black Magic Arabians Malabar breeding program. For nearly a year, we had been trying to send Obsession up to Malabar Duke's youngest black straight Malabar son, Malabar Denmark, but could never get the logistics to work out, when his lifetime owners offered him to us due to a career relocation. We were thrilled, and in October, he came to Iowa. In December 2005, we purchased the grand old dames Highland Hastra and Malabar Sheen from Darlene Wilson, and also AS Black Duchess from Bob and Edna Lehew. In February of 2006, MerryannsAprlFool joined the straight Malabar herd. We're always on the lookout for Malabar mares to bring in more of these wonderful bloodlines Dr. Schmidt used. Addicted? Positively!