Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Next 30 Years

A New Skill or Better yet, what has she Gotten Herself into Now?

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. ~Clay P. Bedford

I have always appreciated a good all-around horse. Almost thirty years ago I started out with Arabians, Polish ones to be exact. They fit into my all –around usability. My first one was SkyHigh Mr. Borr an own son of Naborr. He was medium boned and 15.2+ and we did everything we could. There was nothing that I didn’t try with this horse. If my imagination came up with it, we did it. How he put up with me I will never know, but he did. Every little girl should have a Borr. One that gives her wings to fly with and dreams to pursue. My last Arabian was RR Sahara Sands (Avalon), a son of Desert Sands and grandson of Naborr. What I didn’t do with Borr, I did with Avalon. Every adult should have an Avalon, one that makes you comfortable and builds you up and lets you continue with your dreams. Avalon came to me as a 3rd level Dressage horse. He taught me the importance of learning the art of Dressage. I started my reining pursuits on him when he was in his late teens. I even worked a cow or two on him around that same age, and he didn’t let me look like a total idiot. He always showed well and was always in the ribbons and he always was ready for the ride. I lost a part of my heart the day he passed away five years ago.

I have always had a Quarter horse or two while playing with my Arabians over the years, but I never really went fully fledged into them until Malarky came into my life over 10 years ago. Now I only have Quarter Horses and one Kiger Mustang.

I have found over the years that the disciplines are becoming very specialized in the Quarter Horse world. People no longer prize the all-around horse in the show ring as they once had. This has always bothered me. You wouldn’t take a Shining Spark reining horse into a Hunter under Saddle Class, nor would you take a Kid Clu halter horse into a reining class. Most of the Quarter Horse Breeders have effectively bred the versatility straight out of what made this breed so popular.

I have always walked to a different beat and when it has come to breeding, I have always said I would never breed more than I could afford to keep, which meant I had to like what I was breeding because there was always the possibility that it would live out its days with me. I have never bred for the fads going on in the show ring. My goal was always a good, solid using horse that was pretty to look at as well as nice to ride. Versatility has always been my goal. Malarky is a grandson of Rugged Lark. His pedigree is virtually a who’s who in the show world of not only reining, but Western Pleasure and several cow events. Rugged Lark was the epitome of Versatility. He started in Reining; he competed easily in Western and English events. He won the title of AQHA Super Horse not once, but twice and is still the only Super Horse who has managed to produce two more Super Horse’s. Rugged Lark was potent in how he passed his genes. He stamped every foal with his desired traits, and his sons have managed to do the same. I look at Malarky’s progeny and I still can see a huge resemblance to Rugged Lark, not only in looks, but in usability and demeanor.

Just to brag a little more on Malarky, (this is heading somewhere I promise) Malarky came to me as a breeding stallion with virtually no riding skills. Oh he would pack a saddle, a bit and a rider, but he had no skill. I swear he couldn’t walk a straight line for 5 feet without me guiding him the whole time. In 3 months we entered our first show. Just to get him out and about. He treated it as old hat and did well in halter. That afternoon we entered our first Western Pleasure class. Other than wondering why all the horses were passing him on the rail and not stopping to chat with him, we did respectably well. We still had work to do, don’t get me wrong, but we had a great start. While I was learning and competing in reining on Avalon, I worked on Malarky learning more, so that he and I could compete in reining. We managed to get to a few shows and scored well for our skill level. I tried my hand at riding him English. I have always thought he was a cutie in an English saddle. He has even jumped a few cross rails and verticals. He has been hooked to cart and pulled my butt around the back roads. He has gone hunting with Jeff and packed out deer. Malarky even tried his best to turn a barrel and a pole here and there over the years. A few years ago I had the opportunity to try team penning. Malarky, now my “Steady Eddy” was my horse to take. We turned back a few cows, we sorted well and I had a blast. He has been an IHSA favorite to take to the shows. Girls from the other colleges always ask when they see me, “Did your bring Malarky?” He always has given each rider a consistent ride. He is Mr. Dependable. When I made the decision to retire him last year due to his arthritis, the IHSA teams were disappointed. They still all ask about him along with their coaches. He has left that much of an impression. His versatility and his personality has always been what I have wanted.

From SkyBar Farm Stuff

With our upcoming move to Indiana, I of course, being the proper horse person I am, first looked to see what horse clubs and show grounds were in the area. I found Crossroads USA. A brand new show facility that is utterly immense. One of the organizations that hold shows there is the American Ranch Horse Association. This is what my horses are bred for, to showcase their versatility. They offer halter, pleasure, trail class, reining and you must do one roping event at a minimum if you want to be competitive. Well, I can handle the first four, but roping? Bwwaaaaaaaa!!!!! Let me tell you, I am the most discombobulated person ever. A farrier of mine years ago, who was a professional Roper, attempted to teach me to rope. Suffice to say, he gave up on me after the fifth lesson. So what’s a klutz of a girl like me to do? Convince a friend who ropes that he and his friends can practice in my arena during the winter months for free as long as they teach me to rope. Yes, I am evil, and nope he had no idea what he was getting himself into. I did give him a small warning. He is probably still shaking his head thinking what he got himself into. The video below is self explanatory. Mind you I have improved immensely since this first lesson almost a month ago.

So which horse will I use for this, which one will be the sacrificial lamb so to speak, to pack me around while I attempt to rope a plastic cow on wheels? Who will no doubt have their ear, head, tail, leg and Lord knows what else, roped before I ever get near to roping the plastic cow? Well of course Mr. Dependable, Steady Eddy, my Go to Guy, Malarky. Yep, I’m pulling him out of retirement to help me learn how to rope. So he is officially only semi retired. God Bless his poor soul.

This past Sunday, Malarky and I managed to rope Sparky while my friend and his horse towed Sparky around. No pictures or video of that, but believe me we did amazing! Well amazing for me. Malarky tracked the plastic cow on wheels, dealt with my fumbling of the reins and rope, ducked his head as I threw my rope and WaLA we had one roped plastic cow. My only flub was my rope slipped down to his neck and didn’t stay right below the horns as it is supposed to. My next lesson is this Sunday, so I will try to get pictures and video for your amusement.

My goal in all this is to get me good enough to transfer what Mr. Dependable and I learn to his daughters. They will be the ones who I hopefully will compete on once we live in Indiana.

IRS, the 16.1 hunt seat horse, will now have to learn how to track a cow.

From SkyBar Farm Stuff

Romey as well will have to tolerate the occasional ear roping from me.

From SkyBar Farm Stuff

Flash will have to learn not to eat the cow. He has cow blood coursing through his veins. I look forward to finally finding a job well suited to his abilities.

From SkyBar Farm Stuff

I think Triples will also have to try her hand at roping a cow. She is young and newly under saddle, so she has time while I learn on Mr. Dependable. Even though its is blazing obvious that cow work is not her thing. Hunter Under Saddle will be her calling, but we will be versatile and rope a cow someday.

From SkyBar Farm Stuff

Dell though is the one I think will be the one who is most like his Dad, Malarky. He will be the one to put up with my whimsical fancies, my want to try new things and have the most dependable horse under me while I learn new skills.

From SkyBar Farm Stuff

He will be my next 30 years.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Malarky is one great horse and absolutely stunning. As are all your other horses. I agree with you that horses should be bred for versatility instead of specialties. There is nothing better than an all around horse who can do it all. It just makes them all the more fun to ride and compete.
You mentioned in your first Arabian's lineage was a horse named Naborr, we recently(July) rescued an Arabian mare(around 25 yrs.) and her name is Princess Naborr, I wonder if there is any connection. Or if the original owner just named her that. I know nothing about Arabians and have never had one. Now I have two her and her son. Do you know where I might possibly dig up some info on her. I don't intend to do anything with her, she has had enough done to her so she will just live out the rest of her life in peace and quiet with us. I'm just curious. I heard at one time she was a champion pleasure horse. She is so sweet and smart as they come.

SkyBar Farm said...

Thank you so much for you compliments. I have been extremely blessed with him. He is that once in a lifetime horse. We will be gelding him in the spring and the vet has finally finished arguing with me about it. She, and I agree to a point with her, does not think I shuld take his genetics out of the gene pool, because he is so versatile and so easy to get along with. I do have several daughters though who will carry his legacy and there is one of his sons with a friend who is still intact, so all is not lost. :)

You will have to send me a full body pic or post a blog of your arabian mare. I might be able to tell if she is Naborr bred. He was very distintive in that he did not put a overly dishy head on his foals, most foals were grey and the bone density was immense in comparison to Eqyptian breds. She would probably be a grandaughter or there is a slim possibility of being a direct daughter. Naborr passed away in 1977. You could go on the Arabian associations website and look her pedigree up. Not sure if they charge a fee for online records, or call them they won't charge you over the phone. You can also go to this website: and post on their forum and ask if anyone knows of her. She sounds wonderful. Arabs will always have a spot in my heart. They are truly special. Good Luck with her.


A Bay Horse said...

Quite a journey you've had so far. I hope the next 30 years are fun and maybe have a few happy surprises in store. I relate to what you said about versatility. I'm more familiar with Morgans, and some breeders have been breeding them more for saddle seat, at the expense of the versatility they were known for.