Friday, May 7, 2010

Basking beauty

It is spring and I am starting to see little foals in the fields around the area. Is there anything cuter? Their long gangly legs, their out of proportion knee caps foreheads and ears and their compact little bodies are just so heavenly made.

We used to have mares and a stallion on our farm and I miss having the little ones to visit with in the field. My mare Alza Kharin (Arabian) used to have the most beautiful foals. She was a dark bay, almost black and Silver Request (Arab stallion) was a strawberry roan. Their combo produced everything from blue roans to chestnuts - like this little foal I painted last night. Royale Rain was her name... I came home from school and my dad told me I better go out and check Kharin (which as his code for something was waiting for me). It was a spring day with sun and a hint of a light shower on the horizon. When I approached Kharin, I remember her stepping back to show me her little prize. Just then, it started to sprinkle - one of those lovely prairie showers and the filly responded to the drops by shaking her head and hiding it under Kharin's belly. I named her Royale Rain.

Kharin was the first foal I fell in love with. We used to live in Brooks and on the way to the store, we used to pass by a little farm with a dark mare. I would ask to join my mom every time I knew she was going past it, and when we got near - I would pin my face to the window to watch her. One spring, I was so surprised to see a little dark filly beside the mare. I fell in love instantly. Of course, my efforts to get my mom to drive past increased exponentially after that.

My parents were good at teaching us kids the value of a dollar and that if we wanted something, we had to work for it. So, as a family, we used to head out to pick bottles on the side of the roads on weekends. The money was for whatever we wanted it for - mine was targeted for a horse - and one in particular. I am not sure how long it was going to take me to get that much money, but I was determined.

One day, my mom and dad told me that they had bought me a horse. I was super excited at the prospect and so we jumped into a vehicle to go and see it. We went a route that I was not familiar with, down back roads, up side roads etc. Then we came out to a little farm and walked across the farm yard to the paddock. Then all of a sudden, I realized where I was - there in the field was the little filly - Alza Kharin. Mom and dad had bought her for me and drove to the farm in a way that I didn't recognize so they could surprise me. It was the start of a magical relationship.

I like to live life with no regrets but there is one regret that I will have for the rest of my life and that is selling Kharin. After I started University, mom and dad sold the farm and kept her and Royale for me for awhile. When I knew I was moving out to the island for work, I didn't see how I could keep her - so I decided to sell her. Back in those days, before the web, auctions and private sales were the norm. So, she sold to a lovely lady to a lovely lady Vicki from Lacombe and Royale when to a guest ranch near Sundre. I think of her often and have tried to find her more than once, but recognize that she is now very likely in horse heaven. She, more than any other horse - filled me with the wonder for the horse and I am forever grateful to my parents for surprising me with her when I was just a girl.

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