The story and history of
Some of my earliest childhood memories revolve around my love for horses, I was born horse crazy. My love for horses isn’t something I can remember acquiring and it certainly isn’t anything that will ever go away. The passion I have for these majestic and noble creatures runs deep – it is in my blood, they are a part of my very heart and soul. Without horses I wouldn’t even know who I am (I have been there and believe me it was a VERY dark place!).
I have been fortunate to have had horses in my life from a very early age. My first experiences were with ponies, Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. My first taste of the Arabian horse was seeing Walter Farley’s “The Black Stallion” when I was six years old. From then on I wasn’t just a horse person – I was obsessed with anything and everything Arabian horses! I started collecting Arabian horse magazines, sales flyers, figurines – anything I could get my hands on – and went to visit the real thing every chance I could. Every school paper, research project and speech I did throughout school was focused on some aspect of the Arabian horse.
In the early 1990’s I purchased my very first Arabian horse, a pure Polish mare named WMA Hearts Desire (Presidio x Aristo Kopikat by Ariston). She wasn’t fancy but through my eyes she was perfect! And best of all….. she was MINE! (Or rather, I was hers as she owned my whole heart!) We learned a lot from each other, and basically grew up together.
It wasn’t long before I purchased my second Arabian – a beautiful show filly named Majik Tsymphony (Bey Tshah Majik x Catalina Princess by Sahara Prince) whom I fell in love with at three weeks of age and pleaded with her breeder for nearly a year to sell her to me. She was extremely flashy – chestnut with chrome adornments. She became a very successful halter and Western Pleasure horse. Tsymphony was the love of my life and is still the horse I hold as my "gold standard" for quality, class, beauty and structure.
Son Meadows Ranch
Fast forward a few years…. I am in my 20's and in addition to Heart and Tsymphony there is a two-legged member in our herd - I am engaged! While still newlyweds, I convinced my husband that we just had to purchase a stallion I found that really “needed” us. ☺ We were young, in love, and took our first leap as a couple to buy the stallion, Raffons Topper (Multi-National Champion Raffon++ x Multi-National Champion Toppers Belle by Mister Topper). "Handsome" was a regal, pearl white stallion who stood tall, with substantial bone and an incredible Crabbet / CMK pedigree. He had been severely neglected and abused for a good part of his life, yet even through all he had endured, Handsome was an absolute sweetheart. Aside from his kind disposition, he had such incredible structure - I just knew he would be the perfect compliment to my mares.
As we were now a “real” horse farm we needed a name. My new husband proposed the name “Son Meadows Ranch” (“son” being the last part of his last name of Anderson). He hadn't been around horses prior to us being together and I was excited that he wanted to be involved, and even though I was not a particular fan of the name, I obliged. Being a small breeding farm with just two mares and a stallion, we of course needed more mares (makes perfect sense, right??).
By sheer fate I became friends with Janice Smith in California and was able to acquire her retired show mare, Simply Elegant (RHR Scimitar x Bak Toccata by Bak) who was foaled at BruMarBa Stud. Around the same time Ellie joined our farm I also acquired an older but extremely precious gem – Egyptian Empress (TheEgyptianPrince x Aristocrat mare Drifronna by Snow Drift).
Raffons Topper was a tall (15.3 hands barefoot), substantial (8 1/2 inch cannon circumference), and huge moving stallion that introduced us to the world of sport horses. Prior to owning him I hadn't been aware of Sport Horse In Hand / Sport Horse Under Saddle and wasn't personally familiar with the extremely popular sport of endurance riding. Because of his attributes, Raffons Topper attracted mare owners wanting to breed for sport horse foals - which quickly became the focus of our program.
The Transition to Dahabi Arabians
Over the years the breeding program evolved and some horses were sold, others were purchased, new lines were introduced. I decided to change the farm name – this time to something I felt reflected the actual goals of my program. I decided on “Dahabi Arabians” – Dahabi meaning “golden” in Arabic, as I believed my horses represented their glorious heritage through their "golden" dispositions, solid structure, correctness of conformation, and athletic abilities.
The focus on sport horses continued, and was elevated with the acquisition of the chocolate chestnut stallion Golden Ecstasy "Gideon" (17-time Champion Gold N Ali x DRA Burgundy Rose by Burgundy Sun) - who brought audiences to tears with his warmblood-like movement. He even impressed world-renowned sport horse trainer / handler Michael Bragdell of Hilltop Farm, who said Gideon was "the best moving Arabian horse he had ever seen."
In addition to Gideon, our stallion roster at that time included the chestnut / flaxen 5th generation line-bred Phara colt Pharao (Burgundy Sun x The Sun Heiress by Eclipse of the Sun), and our grey homebred stallion Dahabi Rafiq (Raffons Topper x Egyptian Empress by TheEgyptianPrince) who was sent to California to be trained in the art of Classical Dressage.
Our mares and stallions were each selected as the perfect compliment to each other. The straight Egyptian beauty Kyobi Rihma (Ravenwood Monee x Asasi Moonbeam by Rasmoniet RSI) produced several incredible foals for us before being sold to Belle Cheval where she founded her own dynasty and is still the reigning queen. The Phara-bred mare and dam of Pharao, The Sun Heiress (Eclipse of the Sun x Rose of Fadl by Fadl) - now also owned by Belle Cheval, and the exotic, double *El Shaklan filly Ashquar Al Jahara (NYN Mzimu Elmisri x Precocious Jamaal by Gold N Ali) rounded out our herd.
Trouble in Paradise
Sadly, the enthusiasm and support for the horses my (now ex) husband had offered during our courtship faded shortly after the honeymoon, and over the years had turned to resentment and jealousy. At the height of Gideon's popularity as a sire and just as Pharao and Rafi had been promoted as junior sires for our program, in an effort to save my marriage I agreed to sell off the stallions and brood mares and focus my time and energy solely on my family. I gelded Dahabi Rafiq in hopes of retaining him as my personal riding horse - but before long I had to part with him as well.
The Final Round
Some time went by and the future of my marriage remained hanging in the balance. Completely miserable without my horses, my husband finally relented to my acquiring a select few horses to resume my program. Thus the purchase of the golden cross stallion Amir Shaklan (Om El Shahmaan x Asdiqa Badeia by *Sanadik El Shaklan), the two spectacular mares Macarena Brahima (*Sidi-Brahim x MA Halima Rouge by El Majiid) and PF Beauty Queen (*Sandstorm JC x Fadjurs Beauty by Fadjur), and the young classical Spanish filly Salina Brahima (Sasakis Samurai x Fransidsca by *Sidi-Brahim). We bred Macarena to Amir and together they produced a true golden boy - Shadeed DA.
By the dawn of the new millennium, my life was divided between two extremes. My world with the horses was a complete high as things were going exceptionally well with my new program - I had what I considered to be my “dream team” of horses. The other extreme in my life was my marriage, which was in total shambles.
The marriage ultimately did fail and ended very badly. In the end I had to give up all my horses and focus on making a life for my daughter and myself. As difficult as it was to walk away from the ranch and life that had been built over the duration of the marriage, the most devastating part of the divorce by far was saying goodbye to my beloved Arabian horses.
The next chapter of my life was very dark, as living without horses is no life at all for me. I focused on spending more time with my daughter, as well as finding myself again, in hopes that I could find other ways to be happy. I succeeded in creating an even stronger bond with my daughter, but the hole that had been left in my heart was still there. I was so depressed in grieving my horses that I wasn’t able to partake in anything at all related to horses, including being around my horse friends. I felt that the only way I could get past this darkness was to get a fresh start, to go somewhere that had no memories of everything that had been lost. So my daughter and I made a courageous decision to leave Montana and move to my hometown of Sacramento, California.
It was a tough move for us. My daughter struggled making friends, I was missing the family and friends I had left behind, and overall, California no longer felt like “home.” There was a tremendous highlight to our move though, as while there I reconnected with a man I have known since elementary school and whom I went all through school with. Soon a romance blossomed - this was the start of something truly wonderful.
Fast forward another few years... my daughter, fiance (yes, the man I grew up with - Skye Edney) and myself moved back to Montana. As a wedding gift, my dear friends Merlin & Telesha Hochstetler of Majik Arabians (the farm I had purchased my first show mare Majik Tsymphony from all those years ago) gave us half ownership of a very special filly that I had helped plan the breeding for. This beloved filly, now a mare, is Exquisite Majik (Bey Tshah Majik x Majiks Rose by Bey Tshah Majik).
"Emma" holds such a dear place in my heart! Not only is she a paternal sister to my first quality Arabian Majik Tsymphony, but years ago I had trained and shown her dam's full sister to several championships. Tsymphony had been from her sire's second foal crop, and Emma is from her sire's second to last foal crop and is his last purebred daughter. Aside from sentimentality, Emma lives up to her name and is a gorgeous, structurally correct mare with sensational movement and the sweetest disposition. For me, she is one of life's greatest blessings!
In 2017 I was ready to add another special horse to the family. Knowing that I want to focus more on riding and enjoying my horses now instead of the primary focus being on breeding, I decided to purchase the handsome gelding Tru Donato HMF (Trussardi x Magnums Aimee by Magnum Psyche). Donato is a daily reminder of why the Arabian horse is my horse of choice - he is an incredibly personable fellow with loads of personality and even a sense of humor. He will choose to be with me over any other option - even food!
My life has changed significantly over the years - with many incredible highs, plenty of painful lows and lots of life lessons learned along the way. Somewhere in my pursuit of breeding the perfect Arabian, I became so wrapped up in having a breeding farm, promoting my stallions, mares and foals, that I was spending all my time on daily care and promotion and not nearly enough time enjoying, riding, and showing my horses as I had in the early years. So my primary focus now is to do just that - "stop and smell the roses" - and cherish every precious moment spent with my horses.