Thursday, 13. January 2011 16:43
December 13, 2011
For Thankful Thursday I am exploring my future and how excited I am at coming to the realizations below. This post may take me a couple of days to put together as it may become fairly detailed. It’s about dreams or maybe a dream. It’s about passion. In my minds eye I see dreams as passions. Some are fulfilled and many if not most are never experienced. For one reason or another we skip this dream or passion for some other usually more practical approach to life. You know what I mean, that thing you long for but is out there in the distance seemingly unattainable. The thing that you would have to change your life for, make sacrifices for, maybe even change a piece of yourself for. That thing.
This post is about “that thing“.
I’m making a list of the passions in life that I find intriguing beginning with my life long lived passion breeding horses and ending in my lesser passion, travel, as in seeing the world through the worlds eyes. In between, there may be developing my artistic nature, losing myself in the creation process. Or, building a straw bale home just to my personal specifications. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of creating an aquatic farm. If you have read this blog for any length of time you’ll know that I love heritage seeds and species, sustainability and locavore… oh where I could go with that!
I found a blog recently while following my passion for horse breeding that brought me to a complete stand still. My mouth a gap, barely breathing, this blog’s author was writing about her passion, her dream the passion/dream which she was living to its fullest possibilities. I’m saying to myself as I peruse the pages, why isn’t that me? That’s when I woke up to the fact that what she was doing with her life was very similar to what I want to do with mine. The blog: Journal of Ravenseyrie celebrates a lifestyle that I am drawn strongly to. Set on an Island in Canada…
(who wouldn’t want to live on an island) raising a rare “type” of horse while living a predominantly sustainable life?
(Grooming on the beach of Ravenseyrie)
Let’s step back into that last sentence. The folks living on this island on this particular ranch raise a “type” of horse, not a “breed”.
(Horses of Ravenseyrie)
That is where it came to me, the realization that I to am more inclined toward a type of horse than a breed per say, and then my hearts passion ran away with me. That and I tend to spend hours almost daily studying the Iberian horse of Old and have for most of the past 20 years. I think that qualifies as a bonafide passion.
Okay I’ve got that down now. Its a hard pill to swallow after years of being indoctrinated by family, friends, colleagues, mentors that one must be loyal to a breed. Purity is utmost important and anything less than pure was not of any value. Well I tend to go through a metamorphosis every now and again and seem to have gone through another one of late. Things are going to get sticky here so you purists hang on to your horses.
As breeds go and this is just my opinion based on years of observation and first hand working with many different breeds. Most breeds are bred for a “type” within that type are harbored certain “traits” that lend themselves to the “function” of that specific “type”. Two perfect breeds to represent what I mean are the Arab and the Quarter Horse. First the Arab – a breed that lends itself to molding for different functions without losing the breeds type. The breeder enjoys the freedom to work towards a specific discipline such as english park seat (extreme trot and energy),
(The Park Horse)
english pleasure, (relaxed hack style trot), sport (based on dressage and jumping), western pleasure (low head profile, round and based on trail riding), cutting (deep rollback and quick exchanges of movement to head off calves),
(The Cutting Arab)
(The Racing Arab)
or the breeder may breed for extreme conformation traits just to name a few.
(The Halter Horse or Conformation Arab)
All without losing the “type” of the breed. This is because the breed type breeds true. I believe this is because the breed as we call it is really just a type that has been manipulated and if allowed to breed on its own without the aid of mans hand would revert back to its original form which is not too far from its current form. The Quarter Horse (QH) is another breed who’s type traits may be molded toward certain disciplines. English pleasure, western pleasure, racing, sport, dressage, cutting, roping, (bulldog vs racing traits), etc. The QH however will revert back to very different animal if allowed to breed on its own, and this is because it is made up of different types that may or may not derive from an original type of horse. The original type or types will be dominant over time if left to their own devices.
Either way if you take these two breeds or now we are referring to two different type of horses you may change specific anatomical alignments to achieve the discipline capable horse of your choice. This may be done in one to two generations. As a breeder it makes sense to choose from one of these two easily molded breeds. From a geneticist point of view though working with a more primitive type of horse may be more challenging and more or less rewarding.
This brings me back to my passion and the dream I have held so tightly to for so much of my life. To recapture the original type traits that made horses of most any origin sound, durable, resilient and capable. Also though I have always since childhood been drawn to the reachier more elegant traits naturally within the various original types. This also falls over into dogs (I prefer sight hounds), also cattle (Long Horns), or you name it. Elegance has always driven my breeding plans.
Over the past few years I have been studying the hip composition of the Old Iberian horse. This done in reference to what traits makes the Spanish type of horse Spanish. I began this journey because I was involved with a “breed” who suggests to have a Spanish origin and I believe that many misconceptions have been made to make that determination. The breed standard calls for a short croup (fewer vertebrae) which places the tail up on top of the rump (an Arab type trait), rather than hanging off the end of the rump down low (a trait well known to be of Old Iberian origin through the influence of the Barb horses brought to Spain by the Moores). The breed standard does call for a sloped croup and low set tail which is an oxymoron. Can’t have both. Concaved profiles on certain foundation stock , lack of elasticity in movement, croups with a broad defined iliac crest, straight stifles and many other non Iberian traits run a muck through the breed. However the breed does fall within its own type. It “was” a very versatile breed competing in many of the major disciplines mentioned above, yet it seems to be moving toward a sport horse or rather sport pony future as the breeders are choosing horses that move flat, long somewhat stiff and round. Flat, long, stiff are NOT Iberian or Spanish traits. In doing so they are changing the type of the breed. Even those trying to breed toward an Iberian goal are ending up with fancy pony types who may have a certain hip assembly or head profile, but the elegance and elasticity are gone. Again altering the type which the breed has developed into by breeding for one or two traits. What bothers me is the hype about being of Spanish origin then banking on it without the proper traits being present. Most of the horses in the breed show draft (an original type), Arab/Oriental (an original type), and I must add pony (an original type). The molding of these original types has created a very beautiful silhouette that many uninformed eyes refer to as Spanish. A few and I mean a very small percentage actually show the true Spanish type traits and those who do show the Sorraia traits to some degree. The Sorraia being of primitive “type” and genetically featuring into the Old Iberian horse to some degree or another. Once upon a time a few horses emerged in the breed that looked like smaller version of Andalusians/Lusitanos, but that is becoming few and far between.
Since my passion is to breed toward the old Iberian type which was created from crossing Barb horses onto indigenous Iberian stock. I’m thinking that the Sorraia who’s traits are also of an original type, that being a very
(The Sorraia Horse)
primitive type, may have the power once crossed in the right combination’s with other specific animals with varying Iberian traits to bring back the horse of old in some degree.
Some degree. Some degree…
A plan is formulating… 1/2 Sorraia 1/2 Colonial Spanish Mustang from the following groups, Spanish Mustang, Kiger, and Sulphur (with care taken to choose from certain traits and bloodlines). Then a possible influence from one or two other programs out there that are trying to achieve the same goal. One being a Romero McKinley (Spanish Mustang) with a small infusion of an Old traited Peruvian Paso. Another is made up of a Lusitano base also infused with Old traited Peruvian blood. The goal here is not to produce a breed of horse or recreate a breed, but to RECAPTURE A TYPE. This type like the Quarter Horse should become mold-able for varied disciplines without losing its type, yet if left to breed on its own should revert back to its original form and hopefully if the origins are strong enough that type will be ideally of a primitive form.
(Animado (left) Interessado ( right) – primitive Iberian “type” horses of Ravenseyrie)
Its a passion. One being reborn with a great deal more education and much less reliance on others perceptions. Age and life experiences bring wisdom. Not that the wisdom I have now obtained will fortify me to reach the goal I have set. But its a passion and dream and I intend to follow it.
Oh but how do I incorporate as many of my other passions as possible into this life I want to pursue? Well in order to reach my goal I have to finance it which means I have to work and that work I have decided must include travel. I am interviewing with a micro distillery of an exotic rum product. They are growing leaps and bounds and becoming established all over the world. You can read an article about “them” or rather, I am hoping soon to be “us” here: Edible San Juan Mountains 2010 thumb through the magazine or go straight to pages 16/17 for the article on Montanya Distillers. YEAH!!
(Montanya Distillers tasting venue)
I’m on it! So with that I see a future again… I see my passion breeding for the Old horse of Iberian traits… incorporating my artistic skills in creating pieces to celebrate the beauty and elegance of that horse, travel with my job and take time to view other similar programs, maybe even write about what this journey unfolds. Who knows how many of my passions could be explored from this meager beginning.
Now take a deep breath, charge past my fears and apprehensions, the advice of others, leaving the easy route behind me in a flash. Here I go! Wish me luck!
Side Note: All horses are valuable, all are beautiful, all are worthy. We choose our poison, I’m choosing mine. For the Peruvian worriers regarding DSLD/ESPA the stock that is being chosen by the breeders of the Old Iberian horse traits projects are being derived from animals that are between 20 and 28 years of age imported from Peru of the oldest bloodlines possible. Animals of convexed head profiles and as close to the proper Old Iberian hip assembly as possible are being chosen from stock who have been used hard, bred hard, and are still sound at ripe old ages. It appears from these breeders observations that the old Iberian traited horses are the predominant sound horses of all the aged Peruvians they have found. I believe this is a worthy task and I believe the breeders involved would send in samples to Dr. Cothran to prove their lines clean when the opportunity arises to do so. These are the kind of breeders I want to align myself with. Its called being responsible.
So on this journey I go, Thankful for the direction in my life or rather reunited with my direction of the past but better armed with a more reliable knowledge, an open mind, and great people “who get it” to share these passions with.
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