February, 1998 - April, 2010
I can't say enough about this mare. Without a doubt, she was the most responsive, easy-to-train horse I've ever owned. Many (ok, MOST) Quarter Horse people hate Arabians. I am NOT one of those horse bigots, as I have had this Arabian mare who could be galloped through an open area with no halter/leadrope/bridle and who would turn and change leads and change gaits on leg pressure, voice, and balance alone. I could tell you many long stories about the verbal ridicule I was subjected to when I rode this mare amongst stock horse people in parades and on trail rides, but can also tell you that not a single one of those people doing the ridiculing had a horse that would do the things Sheik would.
OK, so I'll tell one story. ;-) Sheik deserves to be remembered with love and respect, and not in the manner that some people feel about all Arabians. I have rarely shared this due to the language in it (I quit cussing when I quit shoeing horses), but it deserves to be told because Sheik didn't deserve to be thought of this way and publicly put down the way this idiot lambasted her (and me).
Sheik was my partner and my mount for years after I bought her as a wild, unhandled 3 year old filly. She rode and guided by voice, leg, and balance alone, and it was almost as if she read my mind and responded accordingly. Together, "we" taught me everything I knew about riding and everything she knew. We started from scratch and learned together.
Anyone could ride her. She adjusted as necessary to each rider's skill. It used to frustrate me when she'd dance around and jig with me on her periodically, but drop her head and plod off whenever a child was on her without exception. She knew what her rider could handle...ok, and so I liked it when she had some fire, too.
One spring, Sheik got a respiratory infection and had to be on antibiotics. The antibiotics evidently reduce resistance to salmonella, and she developed salmonellosis. After days of hospitalization, the veterinarian told us he didn't think she would make it through the night. For some reason, she did, and she recovered. But, her lungs were irreparably damaged, and she had heaves (kind of like COPD in humans) and needed special care at times.
In her later years, I gave Sheik to a family nearby that had kids who needed a good horse to ride and to teach THEM how to ride, and who were willing to dampen her food to reduce dust and give her the medications she needed when her lungs had a flare up. My kids weren't yet old enough to ride, and I hated to see her valuable skills going to waste. We didn't know if she would be riding when my kids were old enough, and this was the best choice.
I've missed her every day since she left a few years ago, but know she was never without love. They gave her great care, and I hope they will always be as thankful for having her as a teacher in their lives, just as I was thankful for having had her.
This page last updated