I’ve been dithering about what to write next on this blog. Lack of posting hasn’t been because of lack of topics, but rather trying to decide which one to work on but I finally decided that it was way past time to write the story of a very special Arabian mare affectionately known as Queen Dee. But how could I possible condense he story into a short blog?
As Mike and I were driving home last night, I said, “how do I write a short blog about Dee?” There was a not so helpful chortle from Mikey. That’s the very best thing about Dee and the first thing I’ll say about her. No horse created more joy or laughter than Dee. And I wish I could take credit for her “amazing-ness”.
But honestly, horses like Dee (registered name Deianira KA) are born not made. I like to think we were worthy stewards of such a mare and while I'm hopeful, I doubt that we'll ever have another quite like her!
The beginning is really quite mundane. Nothing exceptional about it. In 1996, a simple ad in the “Horses for Sale” section of the local paper, said “bay Arabian mare for sale”.
We looked, we liked, we brought her home. This was way before the luxury of doing research on arab data source, but I recognized enough of her pedigree (I already had stacks and stacks of Arabian Horse World magazines) to know that she wasn’t a local girl. And the nice man I brought her from said that he had brought her back from MO when he brought a load of walking horses back. He traveled back and forth between Colorado and MO taking lumber one way and bringing horses back. Dee was on his trailer because he had room for a small horse among the larger walking horses. That still didn’t completely explain how a Pure polish mare bred by Klee Arabians made her way to CO, but the bits of the story I did uncover involved a divorce at some point.
Deianira KA and her dam, Daphne KA. From Arabian Horse World August 1986
Luckily for Dee she’d had an education and was shown a couple of times in Region 12 when she was owned by Jack and Cynthia Barker. They purchased Dee from Klee Arabians when she was a yearling in July of 1987. Now that we all have Facebook, it occurred to me to put their name into a search and that’s how I found the name Rivermont Farms and a wealth of historical information which I’ll indulge in another day. Suffice it to say, all of us that have known Dee owe the Barkers for giving Dee the training that insured she was always “employable”! Don’t we wish that all breeders did that!
Above from left, Dee with Allison Walters, Jamie Becker and Sharon Lujan
However, I didn’t know any of this when we brought her home. But we couldn’t resist that “Dee Charm” and—as it turns out— neither could anyone else. And while Dee was fun to ride and a very useful show horse, lesson horse and eventually produced terrific foals for us, it was her innate personality that made her truly unique.
Above, Dee with Jamie Tyler, Jamie Becker and her colt by Monogramm, Captainn Jack
Almost all of the horses I’ve owned or trained are special in one way or another, but Dee was Unique. That’s why she earned the name “Queen Dee”. Dee’s favorite thing to do was to hold court! Her “appearances” (other than shows) included the Cinemark Theater, the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, and the Arabian Quadrille from the Night of Dancing Horses at the National Western Stock Show.
The gig at the Cinemark was the Black Stallion movie premier. The Marketing Committee at AHA was encouraging local clubs to have a presence at their local theater. Of course, I thought that sounded like a fine idea! Right up until I had to get up really, really early on a chilly Christmas morning to go and set up a meet and greet.
But we did it and we loved every minute! And so did Dee. She had a full hay bag all day, but if there was anyone at all that wanted to see her, she would ignore that hay and hang out with her fans. And mind you, there were NO “treats”. Anyone that knows me, knows that I DO NOT hand feed my horses. If someone wants to give them an apple or carrot I have a small bucket for that. That day there was no bucket of carrots or apples or horse cookies! When we “treat” our horses, it’s the same way they show affection or camaraderie to each other….scratching. Preferably wither scratching. But Dee’s favorite was having her jaw scratched.
Actually, I’m not 100 % sure that the jaw was her favorite scratching spot, but her signature move was to stretch out her neck to a new admirer and turn her head completely sideways (yes, like a flounder) in order to encourage the more timid to give it a go. I honestly think that she realized that some humans might find even her 14.2 hand self a little too large and she wouldn’t crowd them. She’s just work that head twist like crazy until they succumbed to her silly antics and, truly, there was no one that could resist her!!
In her later years, Dee held court at Gayle Pniak's, Moonrise Ridge Ranch where she continued to charm everyone. While I wasn't able to be there, Sharon organized a Tea with the Queen party for Dee and her fans. I heard there was much flirting and scratching, and T Shirts to commemorate the day! Of course, no horse lives forever—except in our hearts—and Dee finally did cross the rainbow bridge.
But I still smile just thinking of her!
Dee with Jamie and Morgan Tyler and Sharon Lujan, April 2014