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A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. ~Mahatma Gandhi

I know we all possess an inbuilt determination but some people are far more determined than others. Being passionately determined could never be a bad thing. By being determined, we learn. And if we’re determined enough we continue to learn, which then leads us to become even more determined to achieve our goals.

But where does determination sit, for instance, concerning the state of writing books ?

There are somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the US alone, depending on which stats you believe. Many of those – perhaps as many as half or even more – are self-published. It could be more since the above statistics were published.

While I ponder the state of writing books I can’t help but think about how my books are connected to my life, firstly as an avid reader and then my forty years of breeding Arabian horses. It was breeding these incredible horses that led me to writing and even now I wonder about the plight of the Arabian horse.

The word plight means, condition, state, or situation, which is often bad.

I’m not a person who focuses on the bad in life to be honest I do not watch the news on the television any longer. But during my years as a breeder my husband and I traveled around Australia and to several counties overseas where I witnessed not only the profound love of Arabian horses but also the desperate methods employed by those who profess this love. Even though I embrace the good it appears the bad  has a perverse way of making itself known.

As I draft and edit the  latest book I’m writing I realised that we actually make our own good news. Even if there’s never any uplifting news around us maybe we should look for insights from nature and observe what she’s telling us. There’s much to be said for developing the power to  analyse needs and desires around us.

I accept that change happens but the changes I’ve witnessed in both breeding horses and writing novels has not  always been desirable. Sometimes I wish I could forget the actions of many associated with both. But much of what I’ve seen and experienced remains embedded in my mind as I search for answers for the behavior.

Sadly, in the early years  I walked away when I should have  voiced my disapproval. I know now that we shouldn’t overlook something that echoes a time or idea that made a powerful, positive contribution to the Arabian breed. In saying this I do believe that alleged wise decisions and even a lack of action several decades ago has had a cause and effect situation on the breeding of Arabian horses  today. And in the last decade the face of publishing has changed dramatically. With both there are changes that reflect a change within the boundaries of what is considered acceptable.

Do you approve of the changes associated with breeding Arabian horses?

Have breeders shot themselves in the foot by accepting and implementing unacceptable behaviour?

I’m drafting my latest book, which has taken over a year to write. In the second or third chapter naturally there’s a conflict regarding an Arabian horse. No surprise there, a voice in my head tells me and I wonder if I’m becoming far too predictable.

Anyway, as I sort through one of the piles of Arabian horse material along with a diary written by my late mother I began to have that passionately determined feeling to keep at it, keep reminding people of why they became involved with the Arabian breed in the first place.

But where are all the people?

Most who know us now realise that my husband and I have retired. After forty years of breeding Arabian horses and some relatively recent health issues made us  feel it was time for us. We’re part of the baby-boomer generation. There’s so much change surrounding the Arabian breed. I say this because there’s a VERY large number of breeders from the baby boomer generation retiring from breeding. (Baby boomers are people born during the demographic post–World War II baby boom approximately between the years 1946 and 1964. This includes people who are between 52 and 70 years old in 2016. Wikipedia – it includes ourselves)

The baby boomers were  primarily a generation who bred horses to service a very large number of prospective breeders. These buyers were often purchasing their foundation stock. Some may remember how a similar thing happened when Ostriches and Alpacas were first introduced. But when any breed of animal is bred in large numbers an ongoing bonafide use must be set in place to assist the marketing of future progeny. These early breeders were true horse-people they did everything for their horses themselves.

There was no Facebook or social media in fact no internet so it was magazine advertising and show ring horses that caused a stir of excitement. The classes were packed with horses and everyone who owned Arabian horses couldn’t wait to show off the latest offspring from their foundation horses to prospective purchasers. I can remember being incredibly excited to see the new youngsters every year.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. ~Albert Einstein

The Arabian breed that was powered forward under the guardianship of the baby boomers has finally plateaued out. We now see the younger generations coming into the breed at a lower rate. It appears we’ve entered a new phase. With many of the baby boomers (like ourselves) looking to new horizons, it means the Arabian breed is facing the same sort of challenges that many other equestrian sports appear to be facing. There have always been cycles in breeding. One breeds until there is an oversupply, sell at bargain prices or the horses end up being culled and off it goes again into another cycle. The determined survive.

I have to ask a nagging question.  Why then is camp-drafting still growing? Not just growing but exploding!

Somehow enthusiasm has to be built from all directions to keep a level of excitement growing. In those early years I can remember it was like riding a tidal wave of enthusiasm between all the breeders. Maybe people don’t want to breed up these days, maybe they want instant horses, instant success? There’s always been a saying, the excitement is in the journey not in the destination. Maybe that’s now obsolete.

I can remember writing that if every Arabian breeder showed a HIGH level of enthusiasm and introduced just one new person to the Arabian breed per year, member numbers would grow dramatically and there would be higher levels of participation across the board. Success cannot be left to a handful of people to carry the responsibility. It’s the breeder’s responsibility to do the right thing by the horses they breed and the people they sell horses to.

When we were breeding we always planned at least five years ahead. We read the signs well in advance regarding the oversupply of straight Egyptian horses in Australia and acted accordingly.

I know people react differently. When it comes to the Arabian horse today it sadly appears the demands of show ring success and competition carries an enormous amount of weight when it comes to the assessment of the Arabian horse’s value.

So now another long discussed question.

Does the art of showmanship and pervasive conditioning  and training take the place of natural beauty?

Does showing actually make a difference to sales or is it only about ego?

The connection between people and horses is a touching one and every breeder I’ve ever spoken to loves the Arabian legends, the elements of mind and soul that were a spiritual gift to the first Arabian mare.  But times are different and often the reality of day to day life can change motivation, which in turn causes responsibilities to the Arabian horse to be forgotten.

We all love the beauty of the Arabian horse but as I watch, with curiosity, at this obsession with extremes continue to gain momentum I’m reminded how extremes are dangerous.  Look at the extremes Mother Nature dishes out to the world from time to time. Just like a runaway train, the father of most man made horse breeds continues to be labelled as an unmanageable, flighty creature owned mostly by people who cannot ride and are only interested in running their horses around a show ring. While many of us who own Arabians know this is not true, it’s this perceived idea that continues to do or has done the most damage.

As a determined person I refuse to think this idea cannot be turned around. The saddest thing is that this and many other topics have been bandied around with no conclusion for as long as I can remember. There have always been fads. We began breeding purebred Arabian horses in 1975 and I’m bored because most of the topics discussed now were discussed then, and they continued to be debated during all the time in between.

As for a solution, taking responsibility and some common sense could be a start but you only have to watch the news each night to understand the state of the human psyche. I wish one didn’t have to keep battering an already bruised head against a brick wall, so I shrug my shoulders turn off the television and plot my next book! Book world problems are much, much easier to solve. They are actually solvable!

Mind you, the one fact any Arabian horse owner knows is how uniquely responsive and sensitive the Arabian horse is towards his owner. In the end, life is to be lived but living life includes change and it also requires our best efforts. I only wish for a bright future concerning the Arabian breed and I firmly believe there are many passionately determined breeders and admirers that will always do their best for the breed. I also know I’ll never run out of ideas to write about, how could I when my books are plotted around the magnificent Arabian breed.  I realise it’s far easier to preach than to take action but once you’ve experienced life with horses would never settle for anything less than an Arabian.


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