One of the best things, at least for me, about getting a new horse is the added benefit of gaining a new friend. I'm not just referring to the friendship with the horse, but with their former owner and/or breeder. Many of my closest, dearest friends are people I met because I purchased a horse from them or they purchased a horse from me.
This is the great story of Ellie - and how she and her breeder / former owner Janice Smith came into my life.
Sire: RHR SCIMITAR (Comar Bay Beau+++ x Brumarba Rahmona by Al-Marah Radames)
Dam: BAK TOCCATA (Bak x Sagitta Nabu by Varabi)
My Aunt Dawn lived in California and raised Welsh ponies. She had an affinity for miniature horses as well and went to look at one who was for sale. The miniature horse was owned by Janice Smith, who also had an incredibly beautiful Arabian mare in her pasture. My aunt didn't end up purchasing the miniature horse but was quite taken with Janice's Arabian mare. My aunt and Janice became fast friends that day and "talked horses" many times after their initial meeting. My aunt would frequently mention Janice to me, and she would also talk to Janice about her niece who lived in Montana and had Arabian horses (me!). After hearing about one another through my aunt for some time, Janice and I finally decided to talk directly via phone. I didn't know it at the time, but my aunt had just introduced me to someone who not only became one of my dearest friends, but someone who literally changed my life.
Retired from breeding and showing, Janice had been searching for just the right home for her beloved Ellie (who was a highly decorated Western Pleasure horse), and once we got to know one another, Janice decided that Ellie belonged in Montana, with me at Dahabi Arabians (formerly Son Meadows Ranch). I will never forget the day Ellie stepped off the horse trailer - it was incredibly hot and she was exhausted, but she walked off the trailer as though entering a stage - a queen whose beauty and presence demanded everyone's attention. She was absolutely breathtaking!
Ellie's daughter SMR SimplyIresistible by Raffons Topper
Ellie had suffered an injury during her showing years thus could no longer be ridden. However she was sound for breeding and I could hardly wait to see what she would produce with our stallion RAFFONS TOPPER (Raffon++ x Toppers Belle). Ellie had two foals by Raffons Topper - a grey filly (SMR SimplyIresistible aka Kisses) and a bay colt (SMR Crescendo) - both exceptional individuals. Ellie passed on her beauty and classic style to her foals. She was a sensitive mare, hated to be in a stall, and was a loving, doting mother to her foals. I absolutely adored her!
Ellie's son SMR Crescendo by Raffons Topper
From the time Janice and I first spoke in 1999 we instantly bonded and became fast friends. At first our friendship was via telephone and written letters, then evolved to many in-person visits with both her coming to Montana and me going to see her in California many times. We talked almost daily for fourteen years. Janice was more than a friend, she was a dear, treasured member of my family.
During each of my visits with Janice in California we would visit some of her longtime friends - all pillars in the Arabian horse community. I will forever be grateful for the friendships that developed from those initial meetings! She and I went to some of the greatest Arabian horse farms together. We visited Annette Weber and the golden horses of Phara Farm, Jackie and Terry Polk and the Spanish beauties of Los Acres, Gari Dill-Marlow and her timeless treasures of Caeliott's Magic, and Cindy Morgan and the exquisite horses at Mt. Pleasant Stallion Station. But more so than meeting some of the most beautiful horses in the world together, was getting to experience those memorable moments with Jan for months and years afterward as we reminisced about each visit in detail for hours on end. Many of the horses that graced my pastures over the years were bred by the farms and incredible people that Janice and I visited together.
While at Phara Farm I fell in love with the "golden horses of the sun." Thus, Ellie was bred to Phara Farm's The Sun Prince (Eclipse ofthe Sun x Rose of Fadl) for what would have been her last foal, but she didn't take. After several attempts it was getting late in the season and we planned to try again the following spring. However, fate had different plans. Sadly we lost Ellie that winter at only 22 years of age from complications resulting from the injury she sustained during her showing years.
Janice passed away in 2013 and I have missed her every day since! She was such a light in my life and a true friend in every way - not just in our shared love for the horses but in all aspects of life. We shared countless conversations and special moments over our 14 years of friendship. Though we lived in different states and decades separated us in age, we were truly kindred souls - especially in our love for the Arabian horse.