I met Ellen Thrall while still in the days of “I know everything there is to know about horses” phase. (Beware the person who thinks they know says the Tao-for they are the most dangerous-they know not what they do not know and they will refuse to learn.) I was working in a vet lab and calling back results to vet offices around the city. I called another office and asked for the vet tech (Ellen) before noticing that the animal was a horse-and I didn’t recognize the breed-Tarpan.
So I asked her-one thing led to another and I drove to her home to met the horse in question. It turned out that it was a recreated breed from Germany. She had gotten this horse’s sire and dam from the Atlanta Zoo some years before. As it turns out, that particular horse was dying. But she had his son and several mares for a small breeding program.
She introduced me to the North American Trail Riders Association-and took me to my ‘ride. Ellen was trying to get me to be interested in getting a purebred Tarpan of my own-but these horses obviously were having problems with the heat in the South. They are also smallish-12.2-13.2 as a rule. This is where she got me. I mentioned outcrossing to other breeds.
As it turned out, during the discussion we settled on the tried and true-Arabian. I didn’t think much of it-just two friends chewing the fat, both of us ‘horse poor’, and no Arabian mares in sight. So what was going to happen, right?
As it turned out-she didn’t tell me that she’d taken her stallion out to a friend’s Arabian farm-to breed her mare. The first cross turned out to be a filly-so she was dubbed Miss Stake. The second was a colt-then she called me. The mare was in trouble and getting skinny, so she pulled him early-and because of the size of the farm, he’d never been touched. When she called me to come over, I went to see a wild colt. I had no idea.
That was in 1987. I couldn’t turn him down. He was gorgeous, arrogant-and pissed off. He’d been grabbed away from his mama, stuffed into a trailer, stuck with needles, and he was going to have to kill somebody. That was my first clue-the boy had a temper. I took him home at four months old. We stayed together 26.5 years. I know of marriages that don’t last as long. Suleimon aka The Stinker aka Tink was special. I still miss him.