Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses - Jesse Saldana Clinic Part 4

Clinic Part 1

We left the clinic early on Saturday because of the Daffodil Arabian Horse Assc's annual dinner meeting that evening. Jesse Saldana was the speaker and I was looking forward to hearing what he had to say. In addition to that I had promised that I would help set up the silent auction that was part of the evening's activities.

Because the social hour was to start at 6, we needed to be setting up the silent auction at 5. There was no way we could stay and watch the last horse be worked, return my three horses to the boarding barn, get home, shower etc and be at the Muckleshoot Casino by 5 without cutting the clinic short. Given a choice I'd have skipped the social hour and watched all the clinic but I had promised. Me and my big mouth.........

After all of that, the woman with the auction paperwork didn't show up until almost 6, so we did all that crazy running around trying to me timely for nothing. I spent the whole social hour working on silent auction set up and got done just in time to eat.

Normally, I'm not crazy about buffets but the buffet at the Muckleshoot Casino is amazing. Unlike other banquets they just keep bringing more and more food until you'd had enough. The food is excellent and the desserts are downright amazing. Needless to say I made up for the fact I hadn't eaten much during the day.

The rest of the evenings activities were pretty boring except for Jesse's speech. It was short and too the point but not what I had been told he was going to talk about. He started off saying he was raised with horses, quarter horses. Then he came to California and meet the Arabian horse. I think his exact quote or close to it was "How could you look into the eyes of an Arabian horse and not fall in love."

Evidently that is just what he's done. The man has been training Arabian horses ever since. He said he has been lucky. His clients are beginning to breed better quality horses and he's able to be competitive at the national level and everyday he gets to work with the most beautiful Arabian horse.

It was clear by his voice that he was nervous. But it was equally clear how much he loves the Arabian horse. Of course, you know that sits well with me. His speech was short and sweet.

I had been told that he was going to talk about politics in the Arabian industry. I was disappointed when he didn't but it was clear that he wasn't really comfortable with speaking in front of a large group. However, I had hoped that he would tell us about the prejudice that he has had to deal with in our industry because I know that he has.

That is one of the reason's that I remember Jesse Saldana as well as I do. I saw him many times in the ring showing nice horses that were doing their jobs very well. Yet time after time he was still getting the gate. It was clear to me that prejudice was a part of what was happening to him. At times I could almost feel the attitude in the air. It may be that people even uttered it out loud. "Who does that Mexican think he is?"

At that time, it wasn't just Mexicans that were discriminated against, it was women as well. That is one of the reasons that my good friend, Jean Frieday, quit showing horses. She could train a horse to perfection, take it in the ring and get the gate, but if a man handled the horse she trained, it would win and lots of times unanimously.

We have come a long way since then. Jesse Saldana is now a respected trainer in the industry. There are several women at the top of the heap as well. Even in halter, the most political of all Jesse has been successful and a couple of women as well. And something that really jumped out at me, in my age division, 55 and over, purebred western pleasure in the Top Ten were seven men (I've never even seen seven men show in my division in all the years I've shown) BUT a woman was champion and a woman was reserve champion.

To be continued............

Part 5

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1 comment:

  1. Great post! Love the quote about Jesse falling in love with Arabians. Unfortunately prejudice is all around us in the horse world. Even the smaller shows that I go to with friends are FILLED with it. It doesn't matter how well trained or perfect your horse is...if you aren't "popular" or a member of the sponsoring saddle club then you don't have a snowballs chance at the equator of winning. It's very sad but it won't keep me from showing when we're ready to do so. I'm out to have fun and enjoy spending time with Diago and my few "show friends". :D