Continuing from last week’s Senior Celebration post, more owners and caretakers of Senior Arabian horses share their stories and the huge impact these older herd members have had on their breeding programs, equestrian careers, and lives.
BC Huck Finn+ is a 1996 Purebred Arabian Gelding bred by Ellen Burgeson of Brefny Croft Arabians. As a nine-month-old colt, he was purchased by Stacey Dunn as a Country English Pleasure prospect and is affectionately known by his humans as “Dennis.” “Dennis is sired by BC Canadian Fire (Al-Marah Canadius) out of Belle Tatiana (Tamerlan). He is of Crabbet and Russian breeding,” Stacey says. “He has always been an old soul. He was started under saddle by Sid and Juli Larson of Fox Hollow Farm as a Hunter Pleasure horse and eventually decided he preferred to be an easy-going Western horse.” Over the years, Dennis has been very successful as a show horse, earning 18 National Titles in six divisions with Stacey and two youth riders. “He is also a reliable lesson horse and tends to mold to the level of his rider – from the tiniest of tiny tots, to special needs individuals, or adults just wanting to work on equitation and timing. Dennis provides the care – and challenges – unique to his rider,” Stacey explains. “He has also appeared in horse fairs, events and parades promoting the Arabian horse. Because of his personality and tractable nature, he has earned a group of friends and supporters across the country. He is still competing at the National Level in Trail, Ranch Riding, Horsemanship and Showmanship – and gives lessons three to four times per week, in addition to his conditioning.” BC Huck Finn+ epitomizes what is special and beautiful about the Arabian horse – he is as athletic, versatile, beautiful, and kind-hearted in his senior years as ever.
Pocket O’ Pride Arabians in Bruner, Miss. is home to a number of treasured senior horses loved by mother and daughter duo, Monica and Linda McFaul, one of which is 1995 Stallion, Aggie Shai. “Aggie Shai came to Pocket O’ Pride Arabians in the fall of 2009. We felt the untimely loss of our senior stallion, Ali Pasha Serrim. We were looking for a replacement stallion to complement our mares. Buying him sight unseen, we knew when Aggie Shai stepped off the trailer he had fulfilled every aspiration. He was elegant, with correct, classic type. We were captivated by the picture he presented. Not only did we find what we were seeking, this magnificent stallion had the pedigree to back him up,” Linda shares. Sired by *Simeon Shai - the first Arabian to win the Triple Crown as well as the title of World Champion Stallion, Aggie Shai has a heritage full of winners. “In 2017 we decided to take a chance and show Aggie Shai in halter knowing he would be showing with horses less than half his age. He is just such a treasure, we just felt he needed to be seen. He placed third in the Scottsdale International Breeders Classic at the age of 22,” Linda recalls. “When Aggie Shai walks into your world, you know you are seeing an Arabian who has emerged from royalty.”
Also residing at Pocket O’ Pride Arabians is Delilah El Nefous, a 1984 mare by Serrim out of Halanny Zareefie, affectionately nicknamed ‘Grandma’. “This beautiful and gentle matriarch has given us many years of joy. When she was deemed by our veterinarian to be retired from breeding, she took it upon herself to care for the foals here. She considered it her duty to discipline, defend and love the foals from birth though weaning - the ultimate ‘babysitter.” Linda shares. Though Delilah faces some age-related challenges, she is loved and enjoyed by her family. “Delilah is blind in one eye now and sees little in the other,” Linda explains. “Her hearing has become somewhat impaired. She depends more on her humans to tuck her into the barn in the evening and take her out in the morning. She lives happily in her pasture with another mare and whoever is weaned. She will remain there until she tells us it is time to say goodbye. Her undeniable spirit is still there. At 36-years-of-age she still greets us with that special nicker whenever we are close, which still gives us immense joy.”
Finally, Beverly and Ralph Riley of Four Shamrock Arabian Farms in Bells, Texas, enjoy their 29-year-old senior Arabian horse. Khemadorrable, lovingly known as ‘Khema,’ is a 1990 bay mare by Arabian horse legend Khemosabi and out of Azdorrable. Since she came to own her in 2002, Khema has been treasured by Beverly. “Khema is a great horse as she has been my riding, trail horse and our granddaughters’ riding horse when they visited in the summer,” Beverly explains. “She is my special friend as she has been with me through many years of heart failure, and now I am five years post heart transplant and still my sweet riding horse.” Like many Arabian horses, Khema has taken fantastic care of her owner and provided her constant love and companionship, in both happy and tough times. “Khema has also had several nice offspring,” Beverly shares, “including her granddaughter Kings Da Vinci Doll by Da Vinci FM, who has earned Top Fives at Region Nine in both Halter and Dressage.” Treasured as she is, Khema will enjoy the rest of her days with her family at Four Shamrock Arabians.
These older horses prove age is just a number. From competing at the highest levels, to nurturing the next generation of horses and humans alike, and bringing their owners joy every day, these seniors demonstrate they have much left to give the world.
Do you have a senior Arabian horse? We would love to see a picture and hear more about your journey together in the comments!