Posted in Horses, tagged Arabian horse on September 18, 2010 |
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Jack Frost’s wintry breathe is beginning to blow our way. The temperature has dropped dramatically from the hot, hot days we were experiencing only a few weeks ago. Poor Mousie has trouble with the shoulder seasons, the transitions between summer and winter. While all her barnmates seem to scarcely notice the changing temperature, Mousie inevitably goes through a few weeks when the cold weather gets ahead of her winter hair growth. When I went out to the barn one morning earlier this week, I found my little girl shivering with cold. So now I have added a light blanket to our evening routine. Just enough to keep her from getting chilled.
It must be her hot, desert-bred arabian blood. In fact, their desert-bred genes help arabian horses cope with the heat more readily than other breeds. Arabians can out-perform all other breeds on a long march because of their superior ability to dissipate body heat. Fifty and 100 mile competitive endurance rides are dominated by arabians. But a cold Ontario winter is a far cry from the desert sun. The Iceman cometh!
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Czarina and Daylilies
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Wiregrass Czarina is a purebred Arabian mare. She joined us 4 years ago this summer and will be 19 years old this spring. She is very handsome and very well-bred. You can see her pedigree here. Most of the time, she is very sweet. She nickers hello to me in the morning. She likes to go riding (as long as you’re not near the road; cars frighten her). She loves carrots and treats and is absolutely devoted to her buddies Louis and Mousie. But when it comes to visits from vets, blacksmiths, or other unwanted administrations, she is defiant and very difficult to work with. Aging has yet to mellow her!
Ponygirl rescued Czarina from a Kitchener stockyard auction, where she stopped in while waiting for her laundry to finish at the laundromat. (Yeah, I thought that was odd too.) It became clear that somewhere along the way, Czarina’s life had gone off the rails. We don’t know what her story is. Perhaps she was abused, or perhaps her strong will just clashed with that of a previous owner and led to her defiant behaviour. In any case, landing at the Kitchener stockyards isn’t usually a good thing for a horse. Ontario is the horsemeat capital of North America.
There are simply too many unwanted horses. In the U.S., a ban on horse slaughter has led to new problems with maintaining unwanted horses. Horse rescue organizations such as Heaven Can Wait are often working at capacity with minimal funds. Horsekeeping requires a longterm commitment, as horses often live to be 25 to 30 years old. If you are only interested in showing or riding a young up-and-coming competitor, what is to become of your partner as he ages? Responsible horse ownership doesn’t end when the horse loses his competitive edge.
There are many sources of unwanted horses. The standardbred racing industry produces many cast-offs and has spawned the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. The premarin industy produces many foals every year, although the popularity of premarin is now waning. An aging babyboomer population may also be a contributing factor as older owners can no longer afford to maintain or are forced by ill health to part with their horse. Czarina, at least, is enjoying her senior years.
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We purchased Mousie from a young woman in the Arthur area about 10 years ago. She was 5 years old at the time. As is the case with many white horses, she was a darker colour when she was young, a pretty dappled grey. Her father was pure white, and over the years Mousie gradually turned white too. Actually, her colour is called flea-bitten, meaning she has freckles of brown dispersed through her coat. Mousie was supposed to be Ponygirl’s horse, but somehow their personalities just didn’t click. I however, fell in love with this sweet little mare. She’s my favorite horse ever.
Mousie is a purebred arabian. Her registered name is SN Mazourka. It’s funny that her farm initials are SN. They stand for Sara Noel, the name of her previous owner, but my initials are SN too. It’s like we were meant for each other. You can see her pedigree here
Her most illustrious ancestor is her great-grandsire, Morafic. Morafic was imported from Egypt to Gleannloch Farm in Texas and went on to become one of the top Egyptian-bred sires ever. There is a statue commemorating Morafic where he once lived. Sadly, Gleannloch Farm is now…you guessed it…a housing development.
Mousie’s not very big, probably just over 14 hands (a hand is 4 inches and horses are measured at their withers, the highest point of the back). What she lacks in size, she makes up for in intelligence and spirit. Although easy-going most of the time, there is nothing she loves more than a game of tag. You’re IT and she is happy to gallop around and around you, snorting, nose in the air, tail held high.
Arriving at Willow House, Nov 2008
She feels the cold, and the sub-30 degree days we had this winter really chilled her. She wore two winter blankets for quite a few weeks. However, with March approaching, the end of winter is just around the corner and we’re both looking forward to spring. We have new territory to explore and hopefully we’ll be out riding again soon. Here we are with Ponygirl and her horse, Diva, last year.
Mousie and Diva
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