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by Carmel Rowley

Blog Sorsha-Quote July 16 C MG_7257

Sorsha at the fence yesterday July 7th 2016 very fluffy, very cute and very adamant!

I love to blog about Arabian horses, not just because of their beauty but because of the way they relate to their owners. Wednesday was a freezing day and in times gone by our horses would have remained in their stables. But these days they’re made of sterner stuff or so I thought!
The two remaining mares at PVA were turned out as per usual into the paddocks close to the barn mainly for convenience sake. Shaina went off picking at the new green shoots of grass from the recent rain and for a while Sorsha followed her example. But after about an hour I could hear her calling out. At first I thought something may have been wrong with Shaina but when I emerged from the house there was Sorsha standing at the fence staring at the house yelling, yes I know a horse cannot yell but if a horse could yell, she was quite literally yelling to be put in her stable.
I sighed, what was I to do? I decided to ignore her and go back inside. And eventually she did wander away to graze. But several hours later and on the about third bout of yelling, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I succumbed. At least she lasted until 2.30pm. So I caught both mares and put them into their stables. As I closed Sorsha’s stable door she peered at me from under her long lashes and almost smiled – job done, her expression suggested. They were out again yesterday much to Sorsha’s disgust, to a similar outcome as the day before! Today it’s still very cold but so far they are busy grazing but the day’s only just begun! I dare not look out the window.


Sorsha several years ago, still very adamant.

In the meantime the weather may be cold outside but it gives me a good reason to remain indoors and write. Somehow I’ve found my muse after a gap of seven months and I’m half way through writing a story that I began in 2013. It’s changed since that time possibly because my life has changed but I feel the alterations may work well with the storyline and give it a new twist. Naturally, Arabian horses are involved and although some old issues are debated and rehashed it’s the relationship between horses’ and human beings that’s being highlighted.
From personal experience horses have frustrated me but they’ve also comforted me when there seemed to be no one else. I decided to familiarise myself with some of the words written up to one hundred years ago as I write about the unexpected connection between one of my characters Stella and her newly purchased Arabian mare. No more high-rise apartments in the Gold Coast for Stella it’s off to the Hinterland above Byron Bay!
It was when I pulled out the book THE ARAB HORSE SOCIETY 1935 – 1938 that I became side-tracked searching for some clarification on needed subjects. I found and became absorbed reading some touching words written by the fabulous author Lady Kitty Ritson. I think I shared her words many years ago but for any readers over the weekend I couldn’t resist sharing again.


Sorsha as a foal quite adamant about being number one even then!

By Lady Kitty Ritson
The entire article can be read in and was printed in, “The Journal of THE ARAB HORSE SOCIETY 1935 – 1938”

An Arab horse is not a luxury; he is a necessity to all horse lovers. If you judge the worth of a horse by height, or his ability to protect himself over ridiculous show jumps then you are not worthy of an Arab, but if you want exquisite beauty of form, the manners of a prince and the affection of a dog, then you must acquire an Arab – or perhaps it would be truer to say, allow and Arab to acquire you.
Until I went to India many years ago, as a child bride, I had never seen an Arab, my only conception being something based on the sentimental song:-
“My beautiful, my Beautiful, thou standest meekly by
With thy proudly arched and glossy neck and dark and fiery eye.”
But the first time I did see a real Arab the words came back to me, because I think that almost the most lovely thing about the outward appearance of an Arab is that dark eye. Personally, I wouldn’t call it fiery, for on the contrary you Arab gives you a long, soft look, but if he is a true son of his race he does “stand meekly by,” either because you wish him to wait for you, or else because you have been so foolish and maladroit as to take a toss.
I was pitch-forked into a stable of Arabs and I lived amongst them for years and grew to love them with a love which has never left me. I am not knowledgeable about the strains, I only know them as friends, and as such I lived with them in India.
There was MR JOSEPH, the grey entire who carried a side saddle and together we tore across miles of black cotton soil, the which is a nightmare and a despair. He never put a foot wrong and he always allowed me to scramble up and down by myself.
Looking back, I suppose that MR JOSEPH was about 14.2 but there was never any question of me and the side-saddle being too heavy for him, and in those days side-saddles were side-saddles, and in addition I was a hefty young woman. He was a particularly loveable little man and I used to spend many hours grazing him. Like all in his tribe he walked in and out of the bungalow with the greatest unconcern.
Arabs are supposed to be incapable of jumping, but I know that MR JOSEPH carried me over innumerable ditches and crawled up and down nullahs as cleverly as a cat. I grew so used to Arabs in India that the ordinary English horse was a revelation and an unpleasant one at that. I was astonished at the English horses’ foolish ways. I tried to ride astride about two years ago, and I was always being deposited with more or less violence on the ground, because a thoroughbred shied at nothing at all or a singing bird, or something equally harmless. I wanted to go into the boxes and play about in the way I was accustomed to, but I found the average English horse thought that I was “taking liberties.”


Sorsha and Rachel – adamant that Rachel had something for her to eat!

I am sure that for the person who wants to know the real joy of keeping a horse as a pet and a friend there is nothing to equal an Arab. He will love you as a dog does, he will let you groom him in an unorthodox way, he will wait for you while you post a letter or pull down a branch of honeysuckle, and he will always be a “thing of beauty.”
He is never clumsy, never stupid. He may give a kick or two from sheer exuberance of spirits, but he never follows up with an evil buck. If he doesn’t understand something he looks at it long and wisely and those great eyes grow larger and darker, but he listens to your voice and he doesn’t shy across the road because a leaf shakes. If he is ill he longs for your comfort and your presence. He will come to you when you whistle and he will caress your cheeks with open lips as softly as a child.
He is romance, he is beauty, he is love.

Photographs Gregory Egan/Carmel Rowley/Michael Vink/Stavs Sorsha

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