Wednesday, February 9, 2011

And a few more

Couldn't resist a few more comparisons of Cass Ole with the kind of Arabian I see on web sites today. Whew. Though he does have a tapered muzzle, the head is more substantial, not so "dished", and the neck well set on the body, not abnormally curved.
Obviously, like vain actors, these horses have a "good side"!

A horse is a horse is a. . .?

I don't know how many times I've seen this movie, but it always knocks me out. Almost brings me to tears with its beauty.

It's simple: a boy and a horse on an isolated beach, all wildness and sand and blistering sun. And a story, without words, of incredible bonding. The kid, Kelly Reno, was wonderful in this movie and looked as if he did much of his own riding. The horse, however, was the real star: a "superhorse" by the name of Cass Ole.

This horse, more of a dark chestnut than a true black stallion, could really act! He wheeled, and snorted, and raged on command, and burst forward with spurts of headreeling speed. He followed the boy around with the curiosity of a dog, his shining flanks reflecting the sun like black silk. He stepped and turned as delicately as a dancer. This was a horse among horses, and I don't remember ever seeing one more magnificent, not just because of his classic Arabian conformation but the way he moved, which was somehow mysteriously spiritual.

OK THEN: I have a beef! Why is it that when I see pics of Arabians now, some 30 years later, they look so weird? Something has happened to their heads, for sure, and the necks. . . long, skinny, high-crested, they're nothing like Cass Ole's powerful, almost Morgan-like neck. These are toy horses that look like bizarre china figurines, or, worse, My Little Pony.

This is what happens when breeders get carried away. You end up with a ridiculous-looking thing (with no acting ability either). I don't know what happens to temperament with this much inbreeding, but it can't be good.

I think these creech-ers must be bred specifically for the show ring, so that they can be draped in long fringey things while the owner tries to look like one-a-dem Arab guys. It's ridiculous.

I didn't have one of them, of course, but when I was a girl we all thought the Arabian (we called then Arabs then) was some kind of ultimate dream horse. I read King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, a fictionalized story of the Godolphin Arabian, one of the main foundation sires of the racing Thoroughbred. Arabians were fiery yet gentle ("My beautiful! My beautiful! that standest meekly by," etc., etc.), not too tall so you could leap on to his back without stirrups, and all that girl-dreaming jazz. We didn't know that Arabs or Arabians or whatever they were farted and pooped and consumed prodigious amounts of food and had things go wrong with their feet and threw you off if they didn't like you. But they sure didn't look like this.

Myth has it that the Arabian should have a muzzle tiny enough to drink from a teacup. Nowadays it's more like a thimble. I feel a little sorry for these beasts, with their tubular noses and enormous round nostrils. They look weird.

I'm sorry, but they do. Come back, Cass Ole. We need you.