Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Although it’s never once mentioned between the pages of Bryony why nineteenth century pianist and composer John Simons owns Arabian horses, Diane Roberds of Indiana offers some insight, based on her experiences with the breed.
For years, Roberds fancied quarter horses until she purchased an Arabian horse from the annual horse auction of the 115 year old Salem Ranch in Flannagan, Illinois (http://www.salemranch.com/). The ranch is residential counseling center that offers a structured Christian program in a farm setting for at-risk boys. In the past, the ranch specialized in Arabian horses, but now accepts donations of other breeds.
“I had been going through the list of horses that were going to the auction and I jokingly said I might be interested if the prices were reasonable,” Roberds said.
So in March 2009, Roberds purchased a 17 yr. old Egyptian Arabian mare named Desert Shalome. According to her registration papers she was foaled in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, and had changed hands several times before winding up at Salem Ranch.
Roberds fondly calls her 'lil Desert. Arabians, Roberds said, are known for their beauty (“They have finely chiseled heads, tipped out ears, a dished-out faces,” Roberds said), temperament, elegance and stamina. They trot gracefully and proudly as they carry their tails high.
“I can see why a musician would like Arabian horses, “Roberds said. “They are classy and elegant, like classical music. My Arabian is small; she looks like a small horse or large pony. She's independent and a little stand-offish but a very nice, quiet and dependable mare. We--my husband and I--like her enough to say she has a forever home."
Arabian horses have one less vertebra than most horses, so the coupling on their back is shorter, necessitating a special saddle for optimal fit. At seventy, Roberds enjoys riding 'lil Desert, but she feeding and grooming her is fun, too.
“She really is a sweet little horse,” Roberds said. “I’ve been horse-crazy from the time I was three years old,” Roberds said. “My kids grew up with horses. If I was younger I might want to show them—I’ve done a few fun shows, but I’m not really a competitor.”