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Southern California CMK Heritage News

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Guest Editorial ~ Spring & Summer 2007
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Study The Past
by Michael Bowling 2002
(Reprinted with permission from Michael's post to the
ArabianPreservation Mailing List,  August 25, 2002)

"What is past is prologue."

"And those who don't understand the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them."

All those are certainly familiar, and valid, slogans--but it is important to understand the past in its own terms, and not impose the values of a later time where they did not exist. That doesn't mean history can't be interpreted, but it does mean history happened then, not now; people then-- by definition--could not know what we know now.

The point of understanding the mistakes of the past _is_ that we not repeat them; it's not necessarily to condemn anyone, though of course there are places where criticism is appropriate.

It is easy to look back on Arabian breed history and perceive a kind of "betrayal" but that is not what was happening at the time: in general, and with a very few exceptions, the breeding elements and the kinds of horses we are preserving now, were the popular "show horse" breeding of their day. Ferseyn and Abu Farwa and *Serafix were leading sires of halter champions. Arabian breeders produced "beautiful generalist" riding and companion horses, and they showed some of them.

Breeders in the 70s by and large went on to "the next popular sire"--they did not turn their backs on the breeding philosophy with which they had started. What changed was the nature of the shows and the direction of judging, as trainer-judges came to dominate the breed. Arabian horses were promoted as tax shelters and new people came in who did not understand or simply were not exposed to the breed's history and tradition. What became different was the extreme specialization and the exaggerated presentation; the goal became the show horse, and everything else was a reject. It was, and is, no longer possible to go to a show training barn and count on finding a riding horse and companion Arabian.

When that system crashed it took many of the horses with it, and as a secondary development, many formerly high-end show horses and their offspring suddenly became available and were incorporated into most of the breeding programs that did persist.

Preservation breeding in Arabian terms is a special case of genetic conservation, and that is a modern concept; if you like, it's possible to make a case that modern preservation breeding is a survival of the traditional approach to Arabian breeding.

Michael Bowling
THE CMK HERITAGE

(Editor's note: Fall, 2003): We thank Michael Bowling for his generous sharing of time and knowledge with us. If you have the opportunity to be in the Sacramento, California area, please be sure to visit him and see for yourself these beautiful CMK riding horses he writes about and is breeding at his New Albion Stud. ~spm)

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This website space is provided by Arieana Arabians as a courtesy to advocates for advancing the CMK Heritage here in Southern California. For information on posting your SoCal CMK Heritage news, announcements, and Classified Ads please contact:

Suzi Morris
ARIEANA ARABIANS
30685 Calle Chueca
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675-1601
Phone: 949-248-1260
e-mail: arieana@fea.net

Good Luck Horseshoe
HAPPY TRAILS!

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