For the love of the Arab, or: how Cirius came into my life

Swift and I walked many kilometers together

After I have explained about the various types of Arabs in my previous blog, this time I will really tell you about Cirius. As I already indicated in the previous blog, Cirius was bred by Klarenbeek Arabians. Before Cirius I had another Arab, that I also bought from them. That Arab was Swift. Swift was a wonderful horse! He was cheerful and clever and curious and quite fearless. I have bought him as a stallion when he was 2.5 years old and had him castrated first, before he came to me. In the beginning we mainly played and walked. I have walked many kilometers beside that horse! He liked everything we did together, so that was a lot of fun. When he was 3.5 years old I have put a saddle on his back (he already knew lunging and voice commands) and he did not mind at all. When I hang over him he could not care less, so it was not long before I sat on his back. I have started more horses in the past, but none of them as easily as Swift. And because he already had seen so much during our walks, we soon went for rides out together.

Third time on his back, what a wonderful horse!

Unfortunately, we did not have much time together. He indeed was not afraid of anything and in his interaction with other horses he was the annoying young little brad that did not know when to stop and was pushing everyone to play with him. The other horses were not always pleased with him, but he was very hard to discourage. Consequently, he was always covered in bruises and scratches from his head to his tail, the result of many bites and kicks. Once he had a large cut on his lower leg, which was difficult to stitch. Within the hour he had removed the bandage with his teeth. Keeping him indoors thus was no option, he would make things much worse. All in all it has taken 3 months to heal and it was the next large scar on his body. Oh well, just another one of his disasters. I could have anticipated it, because when I bought him he already had two large scars on this hind legs, the result of an encounter with the fence when he was a foal. He really was a horse that was born for disaster.

Always covered in ‘war wounds’, he was such an annoying brad!

And that unfortunately eventually was his fatal destiny. It is not clear what happened exactly, but one day he was standing in the field with his head held low and all other horses around him. It appeared that he had a large wound on his leg. A closer inspection at the vet clinic revealed that he had a cut through the fetlock joint. In theory there was a chance of successful recovery, but that would have meant a very long, and for Swift not an easy, journey. And the chance of succes was low (less then 30%). The risk that he would never live a pain-free life was too large, so the only thing I could do for him was to let him go. What a drama! I was devastated. One day you have a young, cheerful and healthy horse, with whom you expect to spend many happy years together, and the next day you get a phone call that things are not looking good at all. At that moment deep down I already knew it would be the end for him.


For me it was clear that wanted to have a horse with such uncomplicated character again. And it should be an Arab again, the ideal breed for me. Arabs are very intelligent (I call that ‘a horse with a pony character’), sensitive (so they only need small pointers), not too large, active attitude, cheerful, friendly, curious (I love that in a horse), and obviously very pretty, especially the head and the eyes. So there was no doubt in my mind, it should be another Arab! I know there are Arabs that react hysterical, but those horses occur in all breeds. Arabs are very extrovert, which makes them easy to read. The react quickly, also to things they do not like. In that sense they are not very easy to work with and it is best not to do things absent mindedly. Also they ar not very forgiving. So you have to be able to control yourself when you are dealing with them. They do not accept it when they are told off or ‘put in their place’ in a severe way. Then they immediately are very upset to the degree that it is better to change your plans for that day, because they will not calm down easily. Fair enough, it not acceptable to take it out on your horse. I can appreciate a horse that does not accept that kind of behavior.

Another little thing to take into account when dealing with an Arab is that they mirror you very much.  Are you in a bad mood? Then so is he. Are you scared? Then he will be nervous too. Are you cheerful? So is he. Do you think you are in a hurry and ‘will do that highly efficiently’, whatever ‘that’ may be, then forget it. The Arab will become agitated and more difficult to deal with. When you are calm, so is he. For me, that ‘mirroring’ is not a disadvantage, I appreciate that in an Arab. But it means that I have to control myself very much (not always easy), and that I have to carefully select the ‘staff’ of my Arab…. Not all vets, farriers, osteopaths, dentists, saddle makers, or other types of specialists that visit from time to time, are suitable. They can be the top specialist in the their field, but if they ‘will come and deal with it’, then they’d better stay at home. Arabs demand to be introduced very politely, and then to be dealt with very calmly. Ask for cooperation instead of demand it. When you ask for it, you almost always get it, but when you demand it it will become a disaster. That is another point that in a way I can appreciate in an Arab. They are real partners, instead of ‘subjects’. But it does mean it is a puzzle sometimes to find the right ‘staff’. And that is something to start with at an early age, because negative experiences are hard to forget.

Cirius on arrival
Cirius on arrival with me, what a puppy and still with a blaze!

Oh dear, that was another side path…. To make a long story short: I have asked Swift’s breeders whether they had another offspring of Pesal for sale. The answer was no, but they did have a grandson. That horse had caught my eye before, but at the time he was a year younger than Swift. When I bought Swift, the 1.5 year old Cirius was too young for me. In the meantime he turned 2.5, so I could consider buying him. It would mean that again I could not ride for a year, but I had experienced with the previous two Arabs that walking, playing, a bit of lungeing, and starting to get used to the bridle in the long lines, etc could also be very satisfying. And when meeting him again, I just fell in love, so I decided to buy him. Cirius is the grandson of Pesal (through his mum), and son of Eternal (who is son of Ekstern, for the Arab breeders among us). Again I had a young stallion, that I had castrated first before he came to me. He was a lot more stallion than Swift!

Next time I really will tell more about Cirius.

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