The Red Filly-Chapter 1

            This must be what love at first sight feels like, Bethany Resmon thought to herself as she watched the flashy red filly galloping with tail held high. The young horse looked like a mythical creature as she floated across the green pasture, flipping her head as she ran. Bethany felt as if her heart would burst from her chest. She memorized every inch of the filly as her mom drove their 1978 Ford F150 up the long, winding gravel road that led to the house and the main barn.  All the horses were beautiful at Kuhaylah Arabians, but this filly stood out from the rest, red gold in color accentuated with flaxen mane and tail. Her delicate, dished face adorned with a white star and strip, sat atop a long sloping neck and her exquisite, curved ears danced above her head as she ran.

            “Mom, stop the truck!” Bethany shouted.

            Another pickup moved toward them as it exited the ranch, so Helene pulled into the grass on the side of the gravel driveway before pulling their old truck to a stop.

            “Mom!  Look!” Bethany was still shouting.

            Helene stuck her hand in Bethany’s face, flat and palm side down.  The signal that Bethany was being too loud.  Bethany’s eyebrows scrunched down for a second, she really hated when her mother did that.  But instead of getting in an argument, Bethany placed her left hand on her mother’s chin and turned her head toward the filly. 

            Helene immediately dropped her hand and watched the young horse too, mouth agape. Bethany knew that when her mom was young, she had read the Black Stallion series and had dreamed of one day owning her own Arabian. In fact, Bethany had followed in her mom’s footsteps when she started reading the worn paperback copies of the books her mom had kept all her life. They were the only things Helene had kept from her childhood.   

            “You see her, Mom?” asked Bethany.

            “Yes…she’s beautiful…,” Helene’s voice quivered.

            Bethany saw tears in her mother’s eyes.  Her mother never cried.

            “Are you okay, Mom?” Bethany asked.

            “I’m fine.” Helene laughed. “I’ve just never seen anything like her before in my life.”

            A sleek, black, Ram pickup pulled up alongside them.  The young man driving it lowered the passenger side window as his tires ground to a stop in the gravel, and dust floated out behind his truck. Their windows were already down because…no A/C and late spring in Texas.

            “Hi!” said the young man.

            “Hi,” responded Bethany and Helene in unison.

            “I’m Tyler.  I’m the trainer here. Are you my new student?” he asked while looking at Bethany.

            “Yes,” said Bethany.

            “Are you excited?” he smiled through perfect teeth.

            “Yes,” Bethany said again.

            “She’s just nervous,” said Helene, “I’m Helene and this is my daughter, Bethany.”

            “Well, it’s nice to meet you both. I’m looking forward to riding with you, Bethany.”

            Helene poked her daughter and she responded, “Me too.” And smiled.

            “It was nice to meet you both,” said Tyler again.

            “It was nice to meet you too,” Bethany and Helene said in unison again.

            Tyler raised the passenger window and pulled away.  Helene pulled their old truck back onto the gravel drive, the air was full of the sound of the tires from two trucks grinding over gravel as dust misted about them both.

            “Mom, you don’t need to make excuses for me. I didn’t say anything wrong,” said Bethany.

            “It’s just that you don’t seem friendly when you just give one-word answers,” said Helene.

            “Mom, you worry too much about me.  My answers were just fine,”

            “But Bethany…”

            “Mom, please just drop it. Please.  You always do this.  This is a good day. You just saw a beautiful red filly. Just enjoy it. Please.”

            “Okay, you’re right.  I just can’t help but worry.  You’re my only child and I love you.”

            “Mom, I love you too. Just relax,” Bethany said with a smile.

            When they pulled up to the house, a tall, attractive woman with long, rich brown hair flowing down her back was standing in the driveway talking to a young man. The woman, who appeared to be around the same age as Helene turned toward them and waved as Helene pulled their truck to a stop.  Bethany waved back.

            “Mom, that must be Antonia Silva!”

            Helene and Bethany both stepped out of the truck.  Bethany ran straight to the woman and gave her a hug, while Helene was left standing by their old pickup, tugging at her baggy, full length skirt and equally baggy top. Her stuck-in-the-seventies look was complete with big gaudy earrings and necklace and un-pedicured toes in sandals.

            “Hello, Bethany’s Mom. I’m Antonia Silva,” said the exotically gorgeous woman, complete with lovely accent.

            “Helene, and…and, hello, nice to meet you,” Helene stuttered, as she reached out her hand. “I’m sorry my daughter ran up and hugged you like that, she’s not normally that affectionate with strangers.”

            “Mom! Stop apologizing for me!”

            “It’s okay, Bethany, your mother is just looking out for you, as mothers do,” said Antonia. She then turned toward Helene, took her hand in both of hers, “Helene, what a lovely name.” Antonia then turned back toward Bethany and said, “Bethany this is Strider, he’s my right-hand man.  He’ll show you around the place.  He graduated last year from Dale City High, so maybe he could give you a few pointers for when you start there in a couple of years. He’s taking classes at community college right now,” Antonia smiled.  “I’m going to take the lovely Helene inside to sign some paperwork. Bethany, Strider, you two enjoy yourselves.”

            Bethany watched as the two women walked toward the house, then turned back toward Strider and asked, “Your name is Strider, like in The Lord of the Rings?”

            “Yes, my dad loves those books,” said Strider.

            “So, he went with Strider instead of Aragorn?”

            “He thought Aragorn would be too weird.”

            Bethany laughed. “Well because Strider is so normal, right?”

            “Yeah, he didn’t think it through.” Strider laughed too.

Bethany opened her mouth to respond, but Strider interrupted. “Hey, I know you. I thought you looked familiar.  You go to Samuel James Middle School, right?”

            “Yes, how do you know that?”

            Strider laughed, “I’ve seen you when I pick up my twelve-year-old sister from school, plus you’re in the same grade as her right?”

            “Oh, your sister must be Loreth Castillo. Wow, your dad really likes Lord of the Rings!”

            “Yes, he does.” Strider laughed again.

            Strider put his arm on Bethany’s shoulder. “Come on, let’s take the jeep to the stallion barn. I’ll show you Antonia’s prized black, Arabian stallion.”

            “Like the black stallion in the books and movies?!”  

            “Of course,” said Strider. When they got to the jeep, Strider removed his arm from Bethany’s shoulder and gestured toward the passenger door. “Get in.”

            Bethany obeyed and could hardly sit still in the passenger side, she was so excited.  She hoped Strider didn’t notice that she flapped her hands a couple of times outside the vehicle before getting in. She managed to force herself to stay calm once seated inside.  She was very aware that most people did not do such things, but she was so excited that she couldn’t help herself.

            Strider backed the jeep out of the garage and headed out the same gravel road Helene and Bethany had driven toward the house, but instead of turning right to exit the ranch, he veered off to the left where the road split.  They rode in silence and arrived at the stallion barn in five minutes, but it had seemed like much longer to Bethany.

            Strider pulled up near the barn and stopped the jeep.  They both stepped out and Bethany froze in place when she spotted the magnificent, black stallion peering at them over the white, pipe fence just past the barn. His nostrils flared as he whinnied shrilly at them.

            Bethany was awestruck by the beauty of the stallion.  He’s perfection. Solid black, just like the one from the book series, save a small white star planted in the center of his wide forehead.  She was mesmerized by his glistening black coat and four perfect black legs which ended in four black hooves. His thick black mane and tail rounded out his perfection. Atop it all, was a chiseled Arabian head complete with delicate, curved ears and ending in front with the sculpted, flared nostrils. He looked just like the picture of the stallion on the cover of her mother’s copy of The Black Stallion. So many beautiful horses at Kuhaylah Arabians, but the red filly is the most beautiful of all!

            “He is beautiful, isn’t he?” said Strider.

            “Yes! Will I get to ride him?” asked Bethany.

            Strider laughed, “Maybe one day,” he said. “You want to pet him?”

            “Yes!”

            Bethany snapped out of her reverie and followed Strider to the fence. A small gasp of glee escaped her mouth and she reached up to rub the black stallion’s soft nose. 

            “His name is AV Olympic Spirit, but we just call him Spirit. His sire is Affirmativ, another beautiful black stallion,” said Strider.

            “Spirit,” Bethany repeated as she continued to rub the stallion’s nose.

            “So, if I can’t ride Spirit, can I ride the red filly out front?” asked Bethany as she continued to pet the stallion.

            “What filly out front?” asked Strider.

            “The one with the blonde mane and tail,” said Bethany.

            Spirit grew impatient and stomped his foot.  The stallion still let Bethany rub his nose though. Animals were always drawn to her.

            “He knows it’s feeding time,” laughed Strider. “And I think you’re talking about Fyrestorm,” said Strider, laughing again.

            “Why are you laughing?” asked Bethany.

            “Nobody has ridden her yet.  She arrived here with her dam, Fyrelite, from a ranch in Wyoming,” said Strider.

            “Why hasn’t she been ridden? Is Firestorm, one word or two?” asked Bethany.

            “She was never touched in Wyoming apparently, so she’s completely wild, and Fyrestorm is one word and it’s spelled with a y,” said Strider.

            “But she can be trained right?”  When she had seen the red filly, it had immediately become Bethany’s dream to ride her. She felt determined to do so.

            “Well, theoretically, yes. But Antonia has just let her run free in the mare’s pasture so far. I’m not sure she’s planning on training her. Fyrestorm has excellent bloodlines, so she might just be planning to use her as a broodmare,” said Strider.

            Bethany dropped her hand from Spirit’s nose and her eyes filled with tears. The stallion snorted and stretched his muzzle toward her demanding her attention. Bethany smiled through her tears as she reached out and rubbed his nose again.

            “Don’t cry, Bethany.  See, Spirit doesn’t even want you to cry. Maybe the filly can be trained eventually. You will have to gain her trust first, though.  She doesn’t come near anyone,” said Strider.

            “I can do it! I can gain her trust!” And to herself, I’m going to ride Fyrestorm, I just know it!

Quick Stallion Spotlight-TA Arapaho

*TA Arapaho (Ekstern x *Algira by Balon)

Just a quick post about my favorite pure Polish Arabian stallion, so everyone will now I’m alive and well! I love this horse and will post something more elaborate about him at a later date.

One of his offspring, the beautiful filly, TA Melania, resides at The Franch along with my horsey loves!

TA Melania (*TA Arapaho x *TA Mariette by *Kordelas)

TA Arapaho currently resides in Dunkirk, New York at Mystic Side Arabians. For more info on this gorgeous stallion, click on the following links:

mysticsidearabians.com

Facebook-TA Arapaho

Facebook-Mystic Side Arabians

Baby Spirit-“The Black Stallion”

AV Olympic Spirit aka Spirit with his mom (dam), Raylee Asasi

This post is just for fun because I received these awesome pictures today from Renee Boeshans, the owner of Spirit’s sire, Affirmativ. Here’s a pic of Affirmativ:

Affirmativ (Andreanov x Cedaridge Folaura)

Affirmativ’s sire, Andreanov:

Andreanov (Negatraz x Andorra)

Affirmativ’s dam, Cedaridge Folaura:

Cedaridge Folaura (Folltan x Sharene)

As followers of this blog may remember, Spirit is the sire of my two Arabian loves: Flame aka NH Fyrecracker and Honey aka Spirits Fyrestorm.

Flame aka NH Fyrecracker (AV Olympic Spirit x Fyrelite Bynite)
Honey aka Spirits Fyrestorm (AV Olympic Spirit x Fyrelite Bynite)

Here’s their mom, Fyrelite:

Fyrelite Bynite (Nite Mover x Pure Silk)

More Spirit baby pictures:

Spirit’s dam, Raylee Asasi, was owned by Janice Johnson. Affirmativ spent several summers with the lovely mares owned by Mrs. Johnson, who was an ardent admirer of his. Renee spent three weeks with them on the first visit, riding horses and showing them how to hand breed the stallion.

One of the black fillies sired by Affirmativ at the Johnson farm, who was sold to Germany:

Affirma Fantasia (Affirmativ x AA Khaibar)

AV Midnight Lyric, a full sister to Fantasia, is still owned by Mrs. Johnson and is currently leased out to Belesemo Arabians:

AV Midnight Lyric (Affirmativ x AA Khaibar)

I’m going to wrap this post up with some pictures of Spirit all grown up:

Okay, I lied; here are two more pictures of Affirmativ (Who ever gets tired of looking at pictures of horses, really?):

Affirmativ
Affirmativ at Scottsdale

Sheila Varian-Dreamer and Doer

Sheila and Farlotta

Not too long ago a fellow horse loving friend loaned me the DVD, “The Legacy of Sheila Varian”. He said, “You’ll love this because it’s all about Arabians,” or something along those lines. I didn’t watch it right away because I figured it was a boring documentary about some rich lady and her horse farm. I finally popped it in a week or two later and found myself drawn in by this woman, who was the quintessential dreamer of dreams!

Sheila Varian did not come from a rich family. She fell in love with Arabians the same way I did, through reading the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. Her parents weren’t horse people but supported her dreams and at the age of eight she started riding her first horse, a Morgan/Percheron mix and because money was tight, learned to ride bareback. She didn’t acquire her first saddle until the age of twelve.

Horses were in Sheila’s blood, heart and soul from the start and while working as a high school physical education teacher, she worked toward her dream. Farlotta was her first Arabian and most beloved of all. When Farlotta passed on to the rainbow bridge at the young age of seven due to health problems, Sheila was holding her cherished mare’s head in her arms.

Sheila later acquired the mare Ronteza, who would set Sheila on her way toward creating her legacy. In 1961 Sheila and Ronteza won the Open Reined Cow Horse Championship at The Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. She was the first amateur, the first woman and had the first Arabian to take the title.

Through acquiring mares from Poland and careful breeding over the years, Sheila Varian created the dynasty that is now known as Varian Arabians. Her is a link for the video that tells the story of this great lady and her legacy:

The Legacy of Sheila Varian

At one point in the documentary Sheila talked about following your dreams. I can’t remember the exact quote, but what she said really made an impression on me. This woman was not rich, or beautiful (in the traditional sense), but she was driven. I’m sure she encountered pain and roadblocks along the way, but she didn’t let that stop her. She lived the life she wanted and that is inspiring!

Sheila and Ronteza

Stallion Spotlight-Affirmativ

Affirmativ (Andreanov x Cedaridge Folaura) 1984-2009

Affirmativ is the sire of AV Olympic Spirit, resident black stallion at The Franch and he is grandsire to my two loves, Flame and Fyrestorm. He was owned by Jim and Renee Boeshans of Springfield, Oregon and Renee calls him their “miracle horse”.

Renee had taken her friend to Twin Fir Farms in Sisters, Oregon to look for a colt, when a sweet, little, black, one-month old colt decided to start following Renee around. She says, that while they were choosing a different colt for her friend, Affirmativ chose her.

He is their miracle horse because at the age of 18 months he broke his leg and they were devastated. Affirmativ was sent to Oregon State Veterinary Hospital for surgery and had a pin put in the leg, but was rejecting the pin and was sent home for the Boeshans to treat it. Miracle of miracles happened and it healed. They had not been expecting to be able to show or ride him, but the plucky young stallion made a full recovery. Affirmativ would go on to become a winner in country English pleasure and halter. He was Scottsdale’s Most Classic Arabian and Champion Native Costume horse in 1994. And later at the age of nineteen, he was shown in hunt seat, western and native costume by their granddaughter, Cortney Boeshans.

Affirmativ has over 100 foals in the U.S., Canada and Germany. The ones that have been shown have done very well, winning national, regional and Class A championships. One of which being, AV Olympic Spirit aka Spirit, who was 2004 Top 10 US National Champion Arabian Working Cow Jr Horse.

AV Olympic Spirit (Affirmativ x Raylee Asasi)

Affirmativ has the true, classic Arabian look with chiseled head, large eyes and long “hooky” neck that breeders strive for and it is passed on through his bloodlines as can be seen in his grandson, NH Fyrecracker aka Flame:

NH Fyrecracker (AV Olympic Spirit x Fyrelite Bynite)

The Arabian horse world is both large and small at the same time. Renee and I became friends on Facebook through the connection between our beloved horses and we both have a mutual love of the breed. I couldn’t be happier that Affirmativ chose Renee and became her “miracle horse”.

Affirmativ

NH Fyrecracker-Franch Bred Arabian

NH Fyrecracker aka Flame

It was love at first sight for me and this sweet boy! He was introduced to me as Fyrecracker, but I couldn’t resist calling him Flame because of his fiery, red color which brought to mind Walter Farley’s Island Stallion of the same name. The name also seemed fitting because his sire is the black stallion, known as Spirit around The Franch.

AV Olympic Spirit

Spirit’s sire is the beautiful, Affirmativ:

Affirmativ

Flame is a Polish Arabian and he has the great, Bask in his pedigree three times on both his dam and sire’s side.  He also has several Varian Arabians in his bloodline. He has Bay El Bey on his sire, Spirit’s side who was well known in Arabian horse circles as “The Kingmaker”.  Bay El Bey’s descendants are stamped with his distinctive look, intelligence and excellent disposition, which is definitely true with Flame because he possesses the long arched neck, kindness and intelligence that has been passed down to him through the generations. To learn more about Bay El Bey, check out The History of Bay El Bey.

On his dam, Fyrelite Bynite’s side, Flame has in his bloodlines the following Varian Arabians, Khemosabi (Khemo as he was known, was actually raised by Ruth and Bert Husband, but his breeding career was launched by Sheila Varian.) and the mare, Bayanka.

Flame is the stuff of a little girl’s dreams!

“I love you!”-Flame

Stallion Spotlight-Bay-Abi

Bay-Abi

Bay-Abi is the Arabian stallion who is the founder of the Varian Arabian dynasty.  Flame and Honey have him twice in their bloodline through both their dam, Fyrelite and sire, Spirit.

Sheila Varian was 19 years old, when Bay-Abi crossed her path in 1959.  She had little money, but big dreams.  With her mother, Wenonah’s help, Sheila bought Bay-Abi as a 2-year-old at auction at the first Arabian horse sale to be held at San Francisco’s Cow Palace. Sheila was to have a life long love affair with the beautiful bay stallion.

Sheila Varian and Bay-Abi:

SheilaVarianandBay-Abi

Bay-Abi crossed well with a variety of blood lines, but Sheila Varian noticed that several respected breeders were having good success crossing American-bred Arabians to Polish imports so she purchased three mares sight unseen directly from Poland in 1961 with the assistance of Englishwoman, Patricia Lindsay. This was all done through old-fashioned correspondence, so it was a risky proposition, to be sure.  It was worth the risk though, because Bay-Abi made breeding history with the three mares, Bachantka, Ostroga, and Naganka.

For more information on Bay-Abi, visit the Varian Arabians website.