Acres Celebrates “Happy Horse Day”
“Sunday, May 29, 2005, on Memorial Day weekend, was a beautiful day to
celebrate ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!’” says
Jackie Tone Polk of Los Acres in Stockton, California. “Thanks to all
the brave soldiers of our past, and the new young men and women serving our
country today, we continue to enjoy our inherited freedom. God bless America!
“Our Happy Horse Day has become a tradition here at Los Acres. We are a
farm family, now in our seventh generation, raising hay, row crops, and horses
here in San Joaquin County, since 1850. Everyone joins in to prepare for this
day, and it amazes me to see the young ones working so hard, and enjoying it
“As always, we open the Happy Horse Day in front of the arena barn, near
*Sidi-Brahim’s stall and the flagpole. The family riders, all on horseback,
arrived to stand at attention as our friend Jennifer Smith so beautifully sang
the National anthem. Then it was *Sidi-Brahim’s turn to greet the crowd!
He loves it, as our daughter, Terry, leads him in a grand parade to look, be
touched and admired. His coat is now a gleaming white, with the dark brand from
Spain imprinted on his left hip by breeder and friend Don Diego Mendez Moreno.
(Just a note to those of you with old and wise stallions — this year,
at age 31, our *Sidi-Brahim has decided not to use the A.V. He continues to
breed naturally, is settling the mares, and is content to be the good-natured
boss of us who love him. Thank goodness we have already stored frozen semen.)
“To the delight of the many visitors in the crowd, Terry’s love,
João Serra Coelho of Portugal leading the gorgeous dapple grey stallion
Thee Jesidi James (Thee Desperado x Jfarah Brahim by *Sidi-Brahim), put on
a show with a thundering, blowing, and animated trot! Wow, what looks those
two have been blessed with! Then Terry brought out the beautiful bay Sidia
(*Sidi-Brahim x Fatima Ala Bahr) and her tall, elegant grey filly Jesidia,
the first foal sired by Thee Jesidi James. Wow again as more descendants of
*Sidi-Brahim showed off their Arabian heritage.
“Happy smiling faces looked over the arena walls, as three young family
members, first-grader Josef, freshman Spencer Ryan, and sophomore Jenna exhibited
their vaulting on Spanish Flare (*Sidi-Brahim x Dulce Sorpressa) under the watchful
eyes of their teacher, João. It is the tradition in his country that
all the young children learn vaulting before moving on to classical riding.
“Then came Julio! Our indoor arena was the setting for a ‘bullfight,’ and
the crowd loved it! Julio Brahim (*Sidi-Brahim x Fatima Ala Bahr) has been worked
with real bulls, but Happy Horse Day uses our pretend bull, pushed rather realistically
by our great-grandson, 14-year-old Spencer Ryan. João Serra Coelho, a
Cavalheiro, riding Julio in the Portuguese bullfighting saddle, is a sight to
see! The traditional music, the banderilhas, the braveness of the high-tailed
Arab horse — and then, at the end — seeing the roses thrown into
the arena by the cheering onlookers! What a sight, so beautifully captured by
our friend Zita Strother and her magical camera. Zita owns Julio’s full
sister, the gorgeous grey Lenita Brahim, and the dam of one of the stars of
the day, the bay Once N Alifetime.
“Suddenly, the John Deere tractor, driven by grandson John, came around
the corner, and the crowd was instructed to follow it to the outdoor arena, which
was decorated with the flags of the many nations of W.A.H.O. Then the fun began,
with our Liberty Challenge — almost anything goes — two minutes each
in competition! Past winners can only do ‘special’ exhibitions,
giving the three judges a break, and adding to the fun as they show off to
their past winning music!
“Each family member puts $20 in the pot and chooses a horse from our barns.
Then they dress up their horses and/or themselves, keeping their special song
a secret until their number is announced. A man, lady, and youngster are chosen
from the audience to sit under the judges tent and score each horse and their
music, rating the performance from one to 10.
“I was stunned when a tall, thin man, dressed in white Arab clothing, walked
into the arena with our snow-white beauty of a mare Bonita Fad Brahim (*Sidi-Brahim
x Fadjurs Meca). This young man had pale blue eyes, and looked like Lawrence
of Arabia! Who could it be? On and on they came, and the horses loved their music!
Our daughter-in-law, veterinarian Dr. Lindi, married to our son Michael, jumped
four horses in two minutes of music — the last one bareback. I choked up
over my niece Beth’s entry, the silver dapple-grey three-year-old Aire
Magic (Jair Tamaal x Magic Of Sid) and his patriotic song ‘Courtesy of
the Red, White and Blue.’ His ribbons of red, white, and blue, along
with her outfit reminded me of the cousin we lost in World War II, and our
20-year-old cousin serving with the Marines in Iraq. But it was glorious to
listen and remember and to be thankful.
“When it was all over, and the judges added up the scores, we had a tie!
The classical dark-eyed beauty Queen Mairia (Jair Tamaal x Queen Of Brahim),
my daughter Terry and João’s entry, and Bonita Fad Brahim, the entry
of the tall, white-robed man in Arab clothing. ‘Bo,’ the high-trotting
16-year-old mare wowed the judges again. When they announced the entrant, it
was my very own first great-grandson Spencer Ryan, the blue-eyed 14-year-old,
and I didn’t know him. We are a ‘short’ family except for our
college granddaughter Kassidy and high school freshman Spencer — who
also has big feet! The grin on his face was something to see, as he accepted
the pot full of money.
“For a day of pure happiness, friendship, music, horses, or just resting
by the creek, waterfall, and secret garden — plan to come next year on
Memorial Day weekend, Sunday May 28, 2006.”
O’Connor and Gurney
to Appear at 2005 Sport
Equestrian greats David O’Connor and Hilda Gurney will be in attendance
at the 2005 Sport Horse Nationals in Lexington, Virginia, as part of the special
activities of the Celebration of Arabian Sport Horse on Saturday, September
O’Connor and Gurney will be presenting public clinics in their respective
disciplines of hunter/jumper and dressage in the afternoon, and participating
in the “Horse Illustrated Sport Horse Spectacular & Jumper
Mini-Prix” entertainment in the evening, which will feature creative
renditions of extraordinary Arabian, Half-Arabian, and Anglo-Arabian sport
horses as well as the exciting bonus, the Jumper Mini-Prix.
O’Connor is currently president
of the United States Equestrian Federation and has competed internationally
for the United States Equestrian Team since the late 1980s, earning three Olympic
medals, one of every color, two Pan American Games Medals, and two World Championships.
He’s won Rolex twice as a three-star and once as a four-star and Fair
Hill International CCI*** five times. In 1997, he became only the second American
in history to win the coveted Badminton CCI****.
Considered the pioneer of American dressage, Gurney follows in the same fashion
with an impressive résumé as an Olympian, trainer, and judge — even
when the American sport of dressage was not so popular in the 1970s. She was
the first American to win honors in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal 29 years
ago, and garnered additional United States medals at the 1998 World Equestrian
Games in Barcelona.
Martha Ann Cassel
One of the breed’s most effective behind-the-scenes workers, Martha Ann
Cassel, passed away in June. She and husband Joe established Casa Cassel Arabians
at Tyler, Texas, and built a breeding program based on Polish bloodlines. The
program was headed up by Brusally Zbruenu, whom they bought as a two-year-old
colt from Brusally Arabians at Scottsdale. Joe worked diligently to promote
Arabian horses, particularly Arabian racing, and Martha Ann was his helpmate
all the way. “We had 41 years together,” says Joe, “we had
such a good time and never a cross word between us. In fact, Martha Ann had
such good taste that I could never find anything to disagree with her about.”
Robert Raine, a longtime Arabian owner, operated the Purple Sage Horse Ranch
in Fallon, Nevada.
Bob was one of the initial inductees into the ARAC Hall of Fame. He was a pioneer
in Arabian racing and he raced Arabians for the past 42 years — one of
the longest streaks in Arabian racing.
Bob was a lifelong friend of race breeder Hazel Lucas. He recalled that Hazel
would call him and tell him that she had convinced some racing secretary somewhere
that the Arabians could have a race if they had enough to fill the gate. Bob
and Hazel would load up their horses and make sure there were enough to fill
His current stable included stakes winners PS Billies Sage (K-Cuch Jedan x
PS Foxy Sage) and full sibling PS Scottys Sage as well as PS Sallys Sage (K-Cuch
Jedan x BA Coquette), who earned over $45,000. PS Kitties Sage (Kezoram x PS
Foxy Sage) earned over $28,000 for the Purple Sage Horse Ranch.
In his youth, Raine was a member of the famous American Volunteer Group, known
as the Flying Tigers, serving in World War II. The AVG distinguished itself
by extraordinary heroism, fighting against opposing armed forces in South China
and Southeast Asia in the 1940s. He was dubbed “Catfish” Raine
during his time as a pilot with the Flying Tigers.