ARABIAN HORSES and some life lessons
words by Carmel Rowley
For such a long moment
the people all stared.
A still lengthy silence
emotion laid bare.
A spirit, a promise
years of devotion.
Mix past with the present
teased with emotion.
The wind whipped up leaves
and whispered surrender.
A catch in the air –
Be fair –
Persistence will remember.
Poem ‘Life Lessons’ Carmel Rowley
Over the last couple of years, we’ve all been attempting to navigate our way through the anxiety driven days of Covid. It’s an understatement to say our life lessons have tossed more than a few curve balls at us all.
The dramas of today have me looking back over many decades of breeding Arabian horses to draw on the experiences for my writing. I know now that breeding Arabian horses led me towards a common debate as to why people make specific life choices and naturally how my own choices led me to my writing.
Right from the beginning personal decisions were made to suit our life style. As time went on, the behaviours that didn’t suit our ideal were over time recognised and a conscious decision was made to not be a part of anything damaging to our horses. The horse’s welfare always came first. You could say link after link of observation and learning added a new insight into the chain of life.
Writing added yet another link, it became a way of stating personal concerns concerning the direction of the Arabian breed and the horse industry in general. What people didn’t wish to admit face to face easily became a part of story lines to educate the naïve. Along with breeding horses, writing about human behaviour eventually became intertwined with personal life experiences. Looking back at the decades of horse photographs, it’s easy to remember each image as a snapshot, a specific moment in time.
Life is now very different without horses. Being retired from breeding and living in the Northern Rivers, life is full of surreal memories and the marvellous adventure of combining new and old friendships.
Writing my sixth adult novel evolved over this time of change. It took a little longer than normal to take shape, but what is actually normal about life these days? Finally, The End was typed and I’m more than excited to say my latest adult fiction novel, titled Deception is at the editor. It tells the story of Crete who rides and trains her champion Arabian Dressage and Sport horses and how her life, without warning, changes dramatically. She’s forced to re-evaluate all she believes about herself and her family.
As Crete visited what remains of Crabbet Park, I revisited Crabbet Stud in my many books and reread the fabulous The Quambi Stud book. When you think about the horse industry it tends to draw likeminded people together. If it wasn’t for Arabian horses and the people associated with them, would there be eight novels sitting on my shelf sporting my name on the cover?
With the introduction of the Internet, (it wasn’t around when we began breeding horses) it doesn’t matter where you live or what country you’re from, horse people are passionate, similar and actively involved in their respective breeds and disciplines.
When we purchased our first Arabian horse knowledge was not shared. You know the movie with the line, give me the money is my earliest recollection of Arabian horse people of the time. Not a great recommendation but that’s life and another lesson learned. Could this attitude be why horse people have such a debatable reputation in the wider community?
With this in mind, new owners who visited us were always encouraged, while sharing the many ways these potential friends and clients could experience the privilege of owning an Arabian horse. I know this became a type of motto for the people who visited our stud. I vowed to share my knowledge once I acquired something worth sharing.
Personal goals and the specific appearance of the classic Arabian as seen in old lithographs and artwork became the motivation. We were never put off by people’s opinion of our choices because WE KNEW what qualities we wished to retain. With ongoing years of homework, writing and researching pedigrees back to desert bred, our own road became paved with a sense of responsibility to an ancient breed. We managed our breeding program, our way, even if it was different to others and challenged our integrity.
Certainly, with the steady stream of visitors’ ideas and ideals were channelled into some fabulous discussions. It became second nature to spend hours night after night on the telephone. When people came to stay, they could witness far more than a stylised version of owning horses. They saw the reality.
These days, life is about nature and writing. There’s quite a load of memories and experiences from forty plus years of breeding, to trigger ideas for my novels. The chain of life became one of tradition as link after link connects the challenge of breeding horses with an entirely new thrill of sharing knowledge. All remain combined with the classic spirit of the Arabian and the years of creating very real-life lessons.