Win, Win, Win
It all started eight or nine years ago when a little round lady and a little round Arabian gelding started showing at Susar Farm. Now, Susar Farm had already been having Open Horse Shows since 1977, so new people arriving at the show was not an unusual thing. This particular team was.
Jan Cooper and her wonderful gelding Satron (1.56% *Fadl, 1.56% *Kasztelanka, & 6.25% *Sulejman) (Addie to his many friends) are unusual in that although very unassuming in appearance, the team just frankly can hardly put a foot wrong. It doesn’t much matter whether Jan and Addie are going Western in a pattern ride, going over one of Susan’s fiendish trail courses clean, or wowing the judge with a wonderful strong English trot, no matter what the judge calls for, Jan and Addie do it and do it with glee. Susar Farm has very expensive show horses who use the Susar Shows as schooling for their big class A shows. These horses arrive in huge vans, with their halters and bridles dripping in silver. Jan and Addie beat them. Susar Farm has young riders with exquisite talents and beautiful seats who use Susar Farm as schooling for their dressage and hunter jumper shows. Jan and Addie beat them. Susar Farm has trainers who use the Susar Shows as training grounds for their inexperienced future Champions. Jan and Addie beat them. You get the picture. Jan and Addie are hard to beat and it is not because Addie is spectacular, or Jan is the best rider ever (though she is of course a very good rider), it is because Jan and Addie love each other so much that each tries very hard to please the other and in doing so presents a picture of unity and pleasure that is hard to beat even by horses that are much more striking and riders that are much more imposing. I was instantly taken with the pair because of their wonderful sense of cooperation and love.
We have been putting on Susar Farm Open Horse Shows since 1977 and there have been many fine horses and riders compete with us. At one point we figured that we had equine professionals from Dressage, Arabian, Hunter Jumper, Paint, Quarter Horse, Morgan, Reining and Endurance who started their riding careers showing at Susar Farm. In other words, we routinely have very good horses and riders showing with us. Generally one person may dominate the winners circle for a year or two and then move on to bigger and better things, but with Jan, she has dominated the winners circle for almost a decade.
This left me in a quandary. Dear Addie is now I believe about 24 and while he still loves to show, he is more suited to helping beginners learn to show. I have been kidding Jan for years that she needed to give someone else a shot at winning some of the many awards that she routinely takes at Susar Farm each year. Jan has been our Year End overall high point winner for seven years. She has retired our perpetual trophies for western pleasure and trail, and she has won the Buzznai Versatility trophy every year since its inception. I figured that the only way to give someone else a chance was to do something to get Jan off of Addie so I came up with a scheme.
I have some friends in Arkansas who own Treff Haven Arabians in the beautiful Arkansas hills outside of Mena. Homer Penniman and Tina raise beautiful Desert Arabians in a gorgeous location. The horses Homer and Tina raise are unusual in that all of the lines of their pedigree can be traced to the desert tribes where they originated. Less than 10% of the Arabians in the world are Desert Arabians, and these horses have the temperment and the athletic ability of the original Arabian horses. Desert Arabians are the tent horses of lore.
I visited with Tina and Homer in July and looked at their lovely, athletic, friendly horses. Homer has had a back injury and is no longer able to train his own horses, so he has to rely on sending his youngsters off to a trainer to be started. As a result, he has several very high quality young horses who have just been started, but not finished. I proposed to Homer that he donate a lovely bright chestnut colt named Treff-Haven IbnNaheed to Susar Farm to present to Jan as a Winner of the Decade award. I figured that this would be a win-win-win situation with Homer having one of his wonderful horses go to a proven winner to be in turn proven by her. Jan will have a very high quality young horse to go forward with, which will allow Addie to teach the new generation of riders how to win. Susar exhibitors will win because at least for however long it takes Jan and Ibn Naheed to bond and become a team to contend with, other riders will have a shot at the many Susar Awards.
2007 will be the thirtieth anniversary of Susar Farm Open Horse Shows and I hope that Jan and Ibn Naheed, and Addie and his young charges will continue to set an example of sportsmanship and horsemanship for the riders who join us into our fourth decade.
Jan and Treff-Haven IbnNaheed have been Top Ten in the Institute’s Drinkers of the Wind performance award program, community shows division, in 2008 and 2009. They are well on their way to becoming the champion pair that Susan Mayo and Homer Penniman envisioned.