Friday, June 19, 2009

News from Freedom Run

It's been a busy last couple of weeks. First cutting hay is done and in the barn. We put over 1,100 square bales in the barn for the horses in one afternoon, it feels so good to be set for the winter. Now we continue with hay for the cattle. On June 10th - Our yearling stud colt Samaddin (Magnatli x Sakinate) went to his new home near Edmonton Alberta. New owner Sally Odell plans to use him as a breeding stallion in the future. She called when she arrived home after 3 days of driving and said he traveled very well and he had loads of visitors that came to see an Akhal-Teke for the first time. Samaddin will be a great ambassador for the breed and I am sure he will make many more fans. Sally is also a Friesan breeder with a very nice purebred stallion she stands and several top quality purebred mares. On Sunday June 14th Salam left for Cathy Leddy's Cascade Gold Akhal-Teke where he will be standing stud. Daga is at the stallion station hopefully bred to Salam. Aishet is at the trainers still. Inserted is a picture of Samaddin I took the morning he left for Canada.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Klickitat Trek, May 29, 2009
Wendy Connell, Monica Bretherton and I went to the Klickitat Ride in Glenwood, WA this weekend. This ride winds through high pine woods with fabulous trails, river crossings and some minor (to us anyway) technical spots. The weather was pretty warm – somewhere around 90 degrees, but there was a nice breeze.

Monica and I rode the 30 and Wendy rode the 50 on her Nez Perce mare, Allie. Wendy started out at 5:45 am and we left at 7 am. Our first loop was 13 miles to an out vet check. Monica and I started with very fresh horses (even though we’d gone out the night before for a little ride) and we had some very collected canter and some lovely half-passes at the beginning. Ari (Monica’s mount) even threw in a few Teke bucks for good measure. They were feeling GOOD! We trotted and cantered the gorgeous, sandy trails through huge pines, did a little pine-tree bending (some of the trails were very zig-zaggy around trees), up some hills, down some hills and as we hit a long, straight stretch, we looked at each other and said “This is PERFECT”. Of course, we spoke a bit too soon…

About 10 minutes later, maybe, Ari started to peck a little and I looked and he’d lost a front shoe. So, we retraced our steps a bit to see if we could find it, but didn’t. Happily, we had extra easy boots on each saddle, so we both hopped off and I put an easyboot on him in about 20 seconds, with horse trotting up behind and horses trotting off in front. Then, we continued on and Ari figured out the slightly different feel to that one front leg. We trotted past the photographer and had our ride photos taken and then came to the first vet check. Pandemonium! There must have been 50 or 60 horses in one not very large clearing, with two or three water tanks, 2 vets and my oh my! We had several close calls with horses threatening to kick, while in the vet line, Ari and Galen didn’t want to be parted at ALL (definitely something to work on for the next few weeks!) and then Ari didn’t trot out perfectly sound. Not his front either, but he had stiffened up a bit behind while waiting and was just a little tight in the hind end. We realized later that the heat, hills and speed were just a bit more than he’d done before. So, Ari was done and I was to continue on. Galen thought that wasn’t a very good idea at first and between threading through the mobs of horses standing and hearing Ari’s whinnying, it took a bit to get a mile out of camp. But, we soon met his ‘new’ best friend and continued on. 7 miles back to camp completed the first loop and we then had a 30 minute hold that was mainly spent in the vet check line again. I did find that riding alone gives you a lot of opportunity to chat (I kept missing ribbons I was chatting so much and had to backtrack a few times) and I got to talk to several people about Tekes. As Galen was being very impressive at this point (no screaming or trying to find his brother!), that was good. We came into camp, were pulsed down immediately and vetted through fine. Our last loop was 10 miles and we found several new ‘best’ friends and he got to impress people with his smooth gaits and forward movement. We rode mainly with a lovely lady on a Paso Fino. When we walked, she led but when we trotted, we led. We exchanged stories about riding ‘rare’ horses (there aren’t all that many Pasos doing endurance either, compared to say, Tennessee Walkers). We came in right around the middle of the pack, were pulsed down on entry and passed the vet check with flying colors.

Monica and Ari were back by then, and Monica got to meet lots of people and hear lots of stories – the big one around camp were the girls that tried to lead their horses through a fairly deep and fast river crossing and ended up in a wreck. One horse fell on the girl leading it in the river, the horse then ran downstream, maybe fell in the water, hit a tree with its head and ended up with a fractured skull. Happily, both horse and girl were not too bad – very shook up and definitely out of the ride, but both alive and pretty much in one piece. Several riders stopped and helped them get out of the water, gave them a lecture about being prepared and being calm and got them headed to the vet check. This happened just before we got to the river crossing, which was fast and up to the horse’s knees, but not (to us anyway) really that bad.

So, we got the horses taken care of and waited for Wendy to come in from her ride. We found a nice patch of shade and sat for about an hour and then when Wendy and Allie came in, I trotted Allie out, as Wendy’s knee was giving her trouble and then we all went back to camp. We had a lovely evening, feeling a sense of accomplishment, chatting with people and making notes on things to work on for our next ride, which is July 4th weekend.

There were several Teke crosses there too – Susie Morrill brought 5 Arab-Teke crosses and they all did great and Ramona Thacker was riding a Teke-Arab cross. Shannon Mayhew (or Mayfield?) sorry!, was there, riding her mustang, but she has 4 up and coming Teke crosses. Shannon also top-tenned in the (going out on a limb here, sorry if I’m wrong) 30. The gaited people have a huge group that goes to rides, with blow up alligators (‘gators’), flags, etc, and we thought maybe we need to do that. Maybe a Turkmenistan flag and who knows…yurts seem like a bit too much work. Maybe someone will have some better ideas!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fun with Colors!

Hello all - this is an Akhal-Teke cross filly, by Magnatli out of a pure-bred Arab mare. She was foaled 1/25/09. Magnatli is a golden, golden buckskin. The Arab mare is a bright chestnut. The first picture is at about 1 week old. The second picture at about 2.5 months old. The last two pictures, rear, and front betweeen her dam and another mare, were taken last Friday, 5/22. Would anyone care to suggest what color she is? Her legs are pitch black, her mane and tail appear to be coming in black, and she has a black dorsal stripe. Her name is Merry Marvad and she belongs to my friend Cecelia Clark.
She is certainly "colorfun" I would say!
My own Magnatli filly, Gagatli, is the spittin' image of her dad - golden buckskin with his exact same markings. Someday I'll post some pictures :>)
P.S. Well, the pictures don't post in any kind of order, but it's obvious which is which. Adding pictures to your post isn't easy - try it :>)

Monday, May 11, 2009


Last week I took Aishet over to my trainers barn for some loose schooling over jumps. Aishet was lunged over jumps in Russia as a 3 year old before I bought and imported her so she has had a little experience jumping. As soon as I arrived at the barn we unloaded her and took her into the indoor arena, we decided to lunge her over the jumps the first time. She calmly stood while I put on the lunging halter. First comment from Robin was “wow, she’s a really good mover” as she trotted happily on the end of the line. We put up a small jumping grid and she trotted right over like an old pro so we raised the jumps a little at a time until she had a ground pole, little vertical, ground pole and larger vertical with a little stone wall underneath. She kept jumping and jumping, when she started to tire Robin said “whoa” but she only slowed down and went to the jump again. So Robin pulled the line to get her off the jumping line and she dragged him so she could jump again. At this point Robin and I were both laughing at her need to keep jumping. I said let her jump one more time and then let’s stop her. So around she goes one more time and after that she wanted to jump again so I said “WHOA” and she stopped right in front of the first jump, she looked at me and then jumped from a stand still. Now she is between the two jumps, she walks over the ground pole and sniffs the large vertical jump, again looks at me and then uses her front legs to knock the jump over and walk over the poles. Then she picks up the trot and takes the jumps again this time picking her way over the scattered poles on the ground. Robin and I had a good laugh at Aishet and her love of jumping, she was very happy with herself after showing off her jumping abilities. Robin and I decided Aishet is a good example of why the Teke’s would have made such a good war horse, they are smart enough to figure out a situation and get out of it safely and they are unstoppable.

Freedom Run Farm

Friday, May 1, 2009

Another Teke polo pony in the making

I recently sold Alykhat, my 3-yr-old filly by Gindarkh 13 out of a Mustang mare, to Texas, where she will learn how to be a polo pony. She will be joining Darkh Amber, also by Gindarkh 13, who I sold a year ago to the same woman, and in that year has gone from green-broke to now playing 4-goal polo. Brooks (their owner)is so impressed with how well Amber is doing, how quickly she learned and adapted to the game - not to mention how gorgeous she looks flashing around on the polo field - that she couldn't resist trying another one. I believe that Alykhat will be just as good, if not better. Both of them, Darkh Amber and Alykhat, both inherited their Akhal-Teke sire's agility and determination.

Hope everyone is having a beautiful spring - Shirley

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Milwaukee Railroad Ride, April 25th 2009

Monica Bretherton and I loaded up ‘the boys’, Galen and Arzuw, on Friday morning, for our trip over the pass to Kittitas, WA for the Milwaukee Railroad Ride. This ride is run on the John Wayne Trail, an old railroad grade for the Milwaukee Railroad (for more info, see Monica’s blog at for a detailed history). This isn’t necessarily a very interesting ride, as it’s pretty much out and back on the same trail, although ride manager Gail Williams did add a nice lower part to the 3rd loop (our second loop), along a stream and through some fields. There was even a patch of mud to make us Seattleites feel at home. It is a fairly easy trail and makes a nice introduction to endurance. This past weekend though, what made it really an ‘endurance’ ride was the wind. We had gusts up to 100 mph in places and were riding into 60-80 mph gusts with a pretty steady wind when those were quiet. We made jokes about being blown off the trail, and as I felt Galen being blown sideways during some canter strides, I made very sure we weren’t too close to the edge. I don’t think anyone was blown off, but we did notice a few bandannas and other implements that probably flew out of people’s hands.

So, Monica and I did the 25, as this was Monica’s first ride and Ari’s also. Ari did do a trail ride a few years back with my daughter, but that hardly means he was a veteran. We have been conditioning, but my work schedule has made it a weekday thing, after I recover from my very busy weekend (I work swing shift over the weekend). Galen has several years of conditioning and rides under his girth, but we didn’t want to overface either Ari or Monica. We arrived in camp around 1ish on Friday and got camp set up, checked in, vetted the horses in and went for a ride. The wind wasn’t so bad on Friday, and we had a nice 5 or 6 mile warm-up. That night, the wind picked up and we both kept waking up every time the camper started rocking. Monica said it was like being at sea. It didn’t seem to bother the boys much, but they were on the protected side of the trailer. Saturday morning dawned, cold and windy. Our start time was 8 am (yeah, limited distance!) and we went out at the end of the pack. Galen walked out of camp on a loose rein, which I found extremely satisfying, as I’ve spent several years trying to achieve this. In the past, he thought we should roar out of camp, pass everyone and show them all his fine Teke behind. Saturday, he walked like a gentleman, allowed gigging horses a wide berth as we passed those less fortunate. We started trotting probably a half mile outside of camp and then passed bunches of people. I do admit we both were probably more than a bit smug on our well-behaved, smooth ATs, passing gigging, sweating, bouncy arabs and arab crosses. There were also a lot of gaited horses at the ride and some did quite well. We played tag with one mule for quite a while. We came to the tunnel at 4.5 miles and all eastbound traffic went up and over this year. There was another 4.3 miles after this that we trotted and cantered. We made pretty good time on the trip out, averaging 8.8 miles (it took us exactly an hour for the entire outward trip). We made our turnaround and found out why everyone coming towards us was hunched over and looking windblown. Galen thought we should just keep going WITH the wind, forget about heading back. But, we turned into the wind and started our trek back. It was amazing! Over in Western Washington, we’re just not used to wind like this – this would have been a huge storm, with trees coming down, schools closed and barns locked up tight. In Eastern Washington, it was just…spring. Give us Seattle people rain and mud and we’re pretty much ok, but wind! We trotted and did some cantering, but the suspension phase of the canter was a little hairy, as I could feel Galen being pushed over in the air. We also slowed down considerably, averaging about 4.5 miles an hour coming back. Then we came to the tunnel. The tunnel is maybe 300 feet long (I’m guessing) and has some light going Westward. There is about 20 feet that is almost pitch black, so the horses must trust the rider. (Or, maybe they can see way better than us and it’s not pitch black to them). Galen had done the tunnel twice before, so I got off and led. Ari was a bit nervous, but he and Monica came through ok. I know some people ride through it, but when I tried last year, I got so dizzy I almost fell off. Definitely better to walk! We mounted up and headed back to camp, where we were pulsed down when we arrived and vetted through fine. Back to the camper for a hold and lunch for all of us.

Our second loop was the opposite direction and Gail had changed the loop so it was more interesting, with part of it going along the river and through some fields. This made for a nice change and refreshed us all. We came back on the John Wayne trail and had one moment when Galen stepped in a length of wire that stuck around his leg for a stride or two. The actual wire wasn’t the problem, but the weird noise it made dragging along was a bit daunting. But, he listened to me and stopped nicely, and we threw the wire of the trail so some less lucky person didn’t get tangled in it. We did more walking this loop, as both boys weren’t quite as eager to move out anymore. We made it back to camp about 1 pm and were pulsed down coming in. We were amazed to find that we were in the top ten finishers for the 25 and both elected to stand for Best Condition. While I didn’t really think we’d win, it’s an excellent training tool and gives you another vet to look at your horse and comment. So, we did our initial vetting and went back to the trailer to clean them up for the final vetting. I was horrified to see that Galen had rubs on both front pasterns from his Easyboot gaiters, so spent some time getting those looking good. Definitely something to work on for our next rides – no rubs! We went back for our final vetting and the boys were pretty good. The vet did ask if I thought Galen was a bit skinny, so I had to tell him a bit about Akhal-Tekes. Next to an arab or a gaited horse, yes, he’s skinny. But for a fit Teke, not so bad. We finished our vetting and headed back to bed the boys down and have a well-deserved libation. We did think that doing more than the 25 would have been too much definitely for Ari and possibly for Galen at this point. Unfortunately, my working has really cut into our conditioning rides. But, they finished with some reserves and we’ll stick to LDs for at least a while. Probably the entire season for Ari, as he doesn’t have the years of conditioning that Galen does. As for Galen and I, well, we’ll see. A lot depends on if I can get more conditioning in. If not, well, LDs finish nice and early, so we can hang out, drink beer (or wine) and watch the longer distances come and go. More time then to visit and tell people about Tekes!

We came in 9th and 10th (although at the final vetting they said 8th and 9th) and were 7th and 8th (or 6th and 7th?) in the Best Condition. There were about 30 odd people in the 25 and I think there were several pulls. I have to say I was busy looking at my vet card and BC card at that point and didn’t really pay attention.

Now the boys get a few days off to eat. Ari is all for that, but Galen was running laps an hour after we got home.