Sunday, February 20, 2011

2011 Grading in Washington State

Yes, you read that right! Dr. Tatyana Ryabova, the head inspector from Russia, is coming to Washington in a few weeks. Tatyana hasn't been here since 2002 (can you believe it?), so I have several horses that need grading and after my place, she is heading up to the lovely San Juan Islands to grade all 19 (19!!) of Amrita's horses at Sweet Water Farm in Friday Harbor.

I consider these gradings as a tool - one of the foremost experts on Akhal-Tekes looks at horses and does measurements and gives her subjective opinion on type. There are a whole bunch of calculations that she does after the grading, using her measurements, pedigrees and I think a few more things that give the final grades. While these grades might not make everyone happy, they are a tool that a person can use to judge a horse.

I was with Tatyana on the 1999 grading tour, on the road for 21 (I think) days, seeing around 155 horses at that time. It was an eye-opening experience and I am in awe of Tatyana's knowledge and tact. That was 12 years ago, so I would think that she is even more knowledgeable now. One of my favorite things she did was to look at a horse, one she had no idea who it was, and ask if it was this line or that line. She was almost always right and could often say "He looks like his grandsire, so and so". There is an article about that grading on this website, under articles, entitled "Walmart across America". Also, all the grades for horses in the 99 and 02 gradings are in the articles section too. Check out

Of course, a grading is not perfect and we all have slightly different ideas of what makes up the 'perfect' horse, but the informed opinion from someone with over 30 years (maybe 40 now) of worldwide experience? Priceless.

The grading will be March 4th, here at Cascade Gold and if anyone wants to come and watch, they are welcome. It will be my horses and some other horses from the Pacific Northwest - mainly stallions, it looks like. It should be a wonderful learning experience and a lot of fun!

Here's the latest: Tatyana will be arriving late this Thursday evening, March 3rd, with Tito Pontecorvo. She'll be here at Cascade Gold on the 4th and will do a Master Class sometime during the day. We will have a few outside horses coming in, although the short notice has made it difficult for everyone to participate. Just not enough time for travel, etc. Maybe the next time she comes, we can get more people involved. Then, on Saturday, March 4th, Tatyana and Tito will travel to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island and spend 2 days up there grading Sweet Water Farms horses. They leave for Texas again on Wednesday, March 9th, so this really is a flying trip. If you want to come and watch, there is no specific time on Friday and we'll be working around the people bringing their horses in, but we will have a buffet potluck dinner, so come and visit! I'll post more information when it is available.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sunshine and Ice!

It is an absolutely gorgeous day out, so I hooked up the trailer and Galen and I went for a trail ride. We went to Lord Hill, a regional park that has lovely trails and lots of hills. I figured, as we haven't been on a trail ride since last JULY, we'd do very little, just get our feet wet, so to say.

Good plan, as the trails were almost all either icy or muddy/slippery. Galen had hoof boots on in front and bare behind, but he still slipped a few times. Galen was very happy, as he's been agitating for a trail ride since, well, last July. We will need to get a lot more conditioning in before our first endurance ride, whenever that happens to be.

I did see some really strange fungus/mushrooms on a bunch of dead sticks. It almost looked like snow, until I got a little closer and could see that it was a bunch of tendrils, or skinny stalks. I've never seen anything like that before, so perhaps I'll go look up mushrooms later on.

But, we had the park to ourselves (a few trailers showed up just as we were leaving for home), the sun was shining, the weather was reasonably mild (about 40 degrees, I'd say). Ahhhh....

I did think about bringing my camera, but didn't actually do it and my cell phone doesn't take very good photos, so you'll just have to take my word that it was lovely.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fotata Awards

The results of the 2010 Fotata Awards (Friends of the Akhal-Teke), have recently been posted on the Fotata site, which is run by Shannon Mayfield. The address is www.// The idea of this award is as follows: An Annual Worldwide Award that encompasses a number of riding disciplines for people that love the breed. It was started by Shannon and Lyn Busacca.

1st- Jenny Rice
2nd- Kerri-Jo Stewart
3rd- Amrita Ibold
4th- Cathy Leddy
5th-Jas Shearer-McMahon
6th- Monica Bretherton
7th- Wendy Connell
8th- Shelby Ness and Jeannine Duenas
9th- Anne-Marie Rasch and Cindy Sither

I think it's great that people are getting recognized for getting their Tekes out there, as none of the organizations have any awards programs. It probably won't encourage someone to go to one more clinic, or ride or show, but it does recognize the effort involved.

I hope Shannon does this award again, as getting that goody box in the mail is a lot of fun! Thanks!