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 http://www.cgakhaltekes.com/index_Page2575.htm
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.