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THE BIG NEWS: I'VE WRITTEN SIX BOOKS!
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TALES FROM EARTH'S END

ENCHANTING, ROMANTIC, TERRIFYING: A NEW BOOK SERIES FOR PEOPLE AT THE EDGE

COMING SOON:

BOXED SET: ALL THREE BOOKS IN ONE EBOOK. READ THE WHOLE STORY

 
A

 

THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY

 

A FUTURE WORLD ONLY HEARTBEATS FROM OUR OWN

TALES FROM EARTH'S END I

 

 

lady-grace

LADY GRACE: A THRILLING ADVENTURE WRAPPED IN THE ARMS OF EPIC LOVE

"A MODERN SCI-FI MASTERPIECE!"

TALES FROM EARTH'S END II

sam

SAM & EMILY: A LOVE STORY FROM THE UNDERGROUND

 

A LOVE STORY TO BE REMEMBERED FOR TWO THOUSAND YEARS.

 

TALES FROM EARTH'S END II

 

 

 

C

STEPPING OFF THE EDGE: LEARNING & LIVING SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

 

A MODERN SPIRITUAL COMPANION

B

NUMENON:
A TALE OF MYSTICISM & MONEY

 

"BILL GATES MEETS DON JUAN."

D

TECOLOTE: THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULD

THE TRUE STORY OF A PREMATURE BABY HORSE

Click the covers above to go Sandy Nathan's books on the Amazon Kindle store.
They are also available as print books at Amazon.

AUTHOR SANDY NATHAN IS THE WINNER OF TWENTY-TWO NATIONAL AWARDS
FROM SOME OF THE LARGEST & MOST PRESTIGIOUS CONTESTS FOR INDEPENDEND PUBLISHERS!


sandy
SANDY NATHAN

ALL THE REST OF THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT--
AND MORE

This article could be titled "old news is good news." Rancho Vilasa is still here and truckin'. Barry rides almost every day. We're down to five horses after we lost my beloved Tecolote (see book above). We're in retirement mode. But I'm keeping this page here, because much of what we say is as valid as the day we happened. We still feel the same about the lessons to be learned from horse shows, and horses. So, enjoy the news of yesterday.

SANDY NATHAN

Rancho Vilasa has a a distinct point of view. We love horses; let's do what's right for them. We love ourselves; let's stay balanced and sane in our life with horses. And especially-- We care about our fellow horse people. We are a community, we horse folk, regardless of what breed owns us. We need to pull together, get along, bury the hatchet, and handle all the problems before us-- or pretty soon, bicycles are all we'll find on the trails.

SPURS MAGAZINE. Click on Equines and Heartstrings for a five part article on our horse training in 1999, a report on the '98 & '99 Great American Peruvian Horse Race, and the latest on treatment for the dreaded Horse Addiction. Lots of photos! New articles constantly.

SANDY NATHAN: STILL RIDIN' is a new article about the joys of pleasure riding.

THE GREAT AMERICAN PERUVIAN
HORSE RACE, 1999!


Barry Nathan and our stallion Cappy won the Great Race Championship Race, repeating what they did last year. Read all about it in SPURS, our 'zine. Read the inside story that no one knows. Laugh until you fall over. [They did it again in 2003. As a result of winning the overall Championship three times, our stallion, Chopper BSN, was declared "Laureado". Which basically means, "You've won enough, now get out of here and let someone else win." Cappy can't compete in the Great Race any more... and he met a guy from Australia he really likes. Cappy's moved to Victoria, Australia, where he will star at the Narrawin Stud, owned by Sr. Jorge de Moya. Barry's checking out our other horses: do we have another as fast as Cappy?]

DIRECTORY:

HORSE SHOW RESULTS 1998 & 1999:

A long time ago, Barry and I realized that showing horses is really fun-- if you win. If you don't, it's expensive, hot, dirty and painful. Our goal at Rancho Vilasa is to be content whatever we do, win or lose. It's a goal we're still working on.

Consider our point of view: first, after showing horses for over ten years, we've realized that character is what you really win. Class placements and Championship titles have little to do with the value of mastering personal and horsy phobias, and everything else that goes on in the show world. Second, we like games where everyone playing has a good time. Does your horse have fun at a show? Has your horse ever banged on your bedroom door at five in the morning begging to be hauled eight hours so he can work his buns off in a strange place? What's in it for him?

Most important of all-- what does showing horses prove? If you won every class in every horse show in the universe, would it cure cancer? Would it feed starving children? Would your winning do anything that anyone would remember in one hundred years?

Furthermore, which is the better horse? A National Champion that is so hot that only his trainer can ride him? Who's so valuable you can't take him on the trails? Or a good old boy with a veterinary problem who can only pack handicapped kids around-- and give them a reason to live?

Until we figure the show thing out, we've set up a few rules. "Don't haul your horse any longer than you'd haul yourself." "Don't show horses that don't want to be there." "Don't go if you're broke and exhausted or have more important things to do."

You will NEVER, NEVER hear us advertising ourselves as the best show barn or the biggest winners, but we do show our horses. We love horse shows. We love the beauty of the animals, the energy of competition. The music. The people. And we love to win-- as long as it's fair and square.


1999 SHOW SEASON: A.A.O.B.P.P.H. NATIONALS

Well, the 1999 show season was overshadowed by my bout with cancer. They say I'm cured, and I'm grateful. We didn't make too many shows, but we did manage to drag ourselves over the hill to Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara for the AAOBPPH National Championships in early October.


BARRY & LILY NATHAN TACK UP CORCOVADO AT THE NATIONALS

The Nationals was a learning experience. Like most people who show horses, we Nathans believe that you should take your wins and losses with equanimity-- even-mindedness. No rage or grief when you lose, no tremendous elation when you win. Self control and detachment at all times. This is, of course, easy to achieve. Just look around any showgrounds after any class and hear the riders applauding their loses and wins equally. You'll see this when the gunfire stops.

Well, we got it both ways this show. We brought Vilasa BSN, the best horse we've ever produced. She's a hot-as-a-pistol three year old by *JOR Norte y Sur. Here she is in her stall. Doesn't she look like a painting?


VILASA BSN

We thought she'd win her Bosal Fillies class no sweat. She looked that good at home. She came in last. Yes. Dead Last.

Yay! Hurray! LOSING is so wonderful! Go Vilasa! Lose some more!

Somehow that doesn't work.

Well, we weren't pleased. But we couldn't help notice that the poor filly was so wired she tried to buck Tony off every time the retrancas touched her. Spent most of her time trying to run away. Couldn't display her fantastic gait because she was so jammed up. Do you think the judge noticed? Oh, yeah. We think so.

Also, our friends, the Mazzi's, had advised us to give her another year to mature. They were right. She looked like a gawky thirteen year old girl, all legs and elbows. But every horse has to have a first show. Vilasa had hers at the Nationals.

Totally unexpected and absolutely delightful: our four year old gelding, Corcovado BSN, won SECOND(!) in Geldings Gait and Luxury Gelding. Both were huge classes of very good horses. It was Corco's second show, so we told Vilasa not to worry. She would improve next time. Of course, Corco's a gorgeous guy, as you can see below. And incredibly well gaited. A son of *JOR Escandalo (*AEV Sol de Paijan and Cynthia I, a daughter of *Mantequilla) and our big old gal, Vira: he's a show stopper.

Winning is much more fun than losing.


CORCOVADO BSN WINNING 2ND IN GELDING'S GAIT

 

 

LA BAHIA SHOW, WATSONVILLE, CA,
JUNE, 1998:

La Bahia has always been a show we love-- but this year? THIS WAS A SHOW CHOCK FULL OF SURPRISES AND LEARNING EXPERIENCES!

BARRY NATHAN rode to victory time after time. We took our newly finished gelding, REY DE CORAZONES BSN, (known around the barn as "Eddie"-- after my cousin, Ed Shomber) to the show as a schooling exercise. Eddie had been in bit maybe a month when he won his two classes, Novice Horse and Performance Gelding, 4--6! He looked great in the Championship class, too. What a surprise! Our stallion, CAPOEIRA BSN, WON CHAMPION OF CHAMPION PERFORMANCE STALLION FOR THE SECOND YEAR. If he wins next year, he'll be LAUREADO and retired from this competition. One of the most stirring sights of the show was watching Cappy slither through the close-set poles to win. He looked like a snake with a mane and tail.

I, SANDY NATHAN, gave an incredible demonstration of how horse shows build character. I went to the show thinking that I might have a crack at a Championship with my gelding, Vistoso, thus breaking the Reserve Champion barrier which has stymied me for so long. I managed to come in last in the one class I'd entered. My horse and I were not working wonderfully, but last!!??? Last!!?? Depending upon how the judge is working, in Peruvian shows the first person excused from the class usually the last place horse and rider. That was me, and that's what I assumed when the announcer called my number before anyone else's.

I rode out of the arena burning. Where did my yogic, "Be content no matter what happens" stuff go? I was not content. I've had a bug about winning my whole life and coming in last was not part of it. This class prompted hours of intense introspection moving toward anguish. Which intensified when I asked my friend, farrier, and trainer, Patti Sexton to get on Vistoso and see why he was being such a jerk for me.

Patti rode my horse in the warm-up arena. My jaw dropped. I turned green. I've never seen Vistoso look so good. He could have won anything in the show. The problem was me, not the horse. Boy, did I feel rotten. My learning experience was about to get worse.

Charlotte Dicke wanted to try out a sidesaddle of Patti had for sale. Vistoso being the only horse handy, Charlotte plopped the saddle on my boy, who had never been ridden sidesaddle in his life. She rode him all over the fairgrounds, neckreining and dodging traffic and baby carriages and people opening umbrellas and other horsy terrors. Vistoso never flinched.

"He's really cute," Charlotte cooed as she dismounted and patted his neck.

This was hard to take. Fortunately, I'd had a personal breakthrough earlier when I saw Patti slide my gelding to a stop and back him 500 feet by wiggling a finger.

I realized that I realized that I am old--and he is not. He does not worry about knee replacements and arthritis. And herniated discs. Nor does he use a cane. I do. I realized that I need a more sedate horse. Or a sedated horse. Maybe a dead horse.

My growth extravaganza was not over. I thrashed around half the night in an orgy of self recrimination. Finally falling asleep, I had nightmares over the humiliation of coming in last. Exhausted and almost insane when I returned to the show the next morning, I watched the two remaining classes, Ladies to Ride and Amateur Owner to Ride, which I could have entered to redeem myself. I felt only one thing-- relief that I wasn't in there. On the back of a horse was the last place I wanted to be.

I had finally accepted my placing the day before. At last, I was content.

Then it happened: The show committee asked Barry and I to stand by the gate after lunch, during the award presentations . We did, with no clue as to why. A few minutes later, they called us into the arena and gave us the Benni Barto Memorial Trophy. This trophy goes to the ranch which best epitomizes the spirit of the show. This includes quality of their horses, presentation and effort put into showing, improvement from year to year, and sportsmanship and conduct.

The award is given in memory of a dear friend, Benni Barto. I remember Benni so vividly. Doing horse business with her. All the barbecues at her place. How hard she worked. The summer days in the Horse Camp she ran for children. Sitting by the water slide chatting with her as the kids ground themselves into wet pulp.

I burst into tears as we accepted the trophy. The minute I truly accepted losing, our ranch won the award which meant most to us. This is what horse shows are about. And of course, Barry brought home all the ribbons and trophies, which was nice, too.

PS. I talked to the judge and found out I didn't come in last after all. He only gives the announcer places First to Fifth. How the rest are announced is random! I didn't place last after all-- all that suffering for nothing!!!



photo: Terry Butler
BARRY AND SANDY NATHAN ACCEPTING THE BENNI BARTO MEMORIAL TROPHY

THANK YOU SO MUCH, THE LA BAHIA PERUVIAN PASO HORSE SHOW COMMITTEE, FOR GIVING US THIS AWARD. BENNI MEANT A GREAT DEAL TO US, AND WE TREASURE THIS MEMORIAL TO HER.


LOS AMIGOS SHOW, EARL WARREN ARENA,
SANTA BARBARA, CA, JULY, 1998

Another show, another set of lessons. I drove into the Earl Warren Showgrounds in my "I HATE HORSESHOWS!" mode. I mentally reviewed every reason that a normal, sane person should never go to a horse show: They cost too much. They're stupid, for all the reasons outlined above. You get your feet stepped on. You have to shovel. You sweat. I hated horse shows. I've been going to horse shows since I was 15 years old, about 450 years ago. Enough is enough.

This thinking lasted until I pulled around the warm-up arena in my tasteful vintage Mercedes. The warm-up arena was buzzing. My eyes were riveted by a tall black horse with huge front action. Someone I didn't know was working him. The horse had on a Mexican saddle with an exposed wood tree and a big horn. Red striped fabric figured in somewhere. The horse grabbed me. In less than a second, I went from a snotty, "I hate horse shows", to rabid panting and clawing at my car window. Oh! Oh, God! I love horse shows! The excitement! Swinging manes, beautiful, shiny horses. Deep voices speaking Spanish! That high stepping stallion! Oh, God, I love horse shows!

I zoomed through the stalls in my car, scattering the unwary. I finally found Patti Sexton and Barry. Barry was ready to ride our stallion, Cappy, in some class. Oh, God! The excitement. This was the most fun in the world! It was about 900 out. Barry rode into the massive arena with his jacket unbuttoned. They said it was like a sweat lodge in there-- no wind in the enclosed bowl. I was sure glad I wasn't riding! Barry looked like he didn't want to be, either. He finished sloppily in the middle of the pack. Cappy looked heat beat. So much for his sharp performance the previous show.

My husband really doesn't like to lose. I could feel him vibrating with energy as he got on Rey de Corazones BSN (Eddie) for his next class. Would the young gelding be as good this time as Watsonville? Would the heat get him, too? No way. Between Barry having a fire going inside and the horse's talents, they won their class. And looked good. We'd stay for the Championships.

I walked around. People greeted me with hugs. I remember Alice Nunes' sweet smile. The Redman's. Rich and Audry Haisfield. The whole Floricita gang in the stalls across from us. Raul and Joanne. My neighbors Judy and Beth Schnerk. Julio and Charlotte next to us. Andreas Salinas. I've known him for 11 years now. All the rest on the other side of the show grounds. Juan. Manny. Maria Barrena and her pretty tack-- my temptations. Hugh and Linda Richardson with more temptations. Other people I didn't know by name.

This show was magical for me. I wasn't riding. I was a pit crew and support person. Totally different roles than I ever thought of myself as having. I liked them. I didn't have to be the winner any more. I could help out. Be a team player. Something wonderful happened to me at that show. I got on "Eddie" to cool him out after Barry's class. I rode him around the warm-up arena. Baca (Eusubio Rodrigues) was warming up a horse. I chatted with him. We got Eddie's mom, Gabriela de Amanecer, from Baca and Kathy Rodriques. When I told the famous trainer about how Eddie had just done, and how good his mom had proven to be, I could see he was genuinely happy for us, genuinely pleased. He smiled and his eyes twinkled.

Something struck my heart, and kept striking it all weekend. I was moved. I rode around, savoring "The Kid", as I named my new horse. I called "dibs" on him right there. He's a nice horse. Keen, alert. A little nervous out there in the action, but not spooky. "I'll show him next year," I thought. I put him into gait. Easy. Very easy. Keen. Long ears like radar. Watching everything. How did he ride? How did he maneuver? Like silk. Easy. All very easy. I liked this horse.

Riding around the arena, I began to feel the joy that brought me to horses. The clear blue sky arched above us, the coastal range loomed behind the showgrounds. Palm trees stuck up improbably. Beautiful. A beautiful day. The warmth of the people came to me. Real smiles. Real beauty. Different people, moving in and out of the arena as classes came and went. Still, I "cooled down" Eddie and looked around. The best place to see life and watch horse shows is from the back of a horse. I looked around me. Barn decorations on the stall rows, some fancy, some nonexistent. People coming out of the arena in tears. Winning mattered so much. The tension. People shaking. Faces tense. Voices in Spanish.

I love this life, this life of ours. Us horse show people. The panoply of faces. Smiles. Dark eyes. White flashing teeth. Horses' manes flowing and swishing. Fine legs. Tendons like rods. Like dowels. The "paca paca" of that glorious four-beat gait. All of us there because we love horses. Love swept over me. Oh, God. I'd never felt it before. We are a community. We are a community. We love horses, all of us. No matter how crazy some of us may seem. No matter how nuts we may look from the outside. All of us are here because of love, bound by love. Even those who always come in last and I never could understand why they came back. They do it because of love.

That's what I found at the Santa Barbara show this year. Love. The reason we do what we do. Love for the horses and love for each other. I rode around, and I walked around, in love with everyone there. Strange, huh? Horse people don't usually talk about that. They talk about the gossip. Who's suing whom. What horse is lame and who rode him anyway. They talk about the scandals and all of the rest. You know all about them. If your friends haven't told you, you've read it somewhere on the Net. What about the love that binds us? To our horses. To our lives. To our families. To each other? Who talks about love?

What a glorious show! What a glorious show! Remember it? "A visual pageant," an artist friend of mind exclaimed when I took her to a show. A visual pageant. And one you hear and feel. One that comes in through your heart and out with every breath you take. Somehow, somehow, I got something at Santa Barbara that I hadn't appreciated before. Spanish culture. I love it! Absolutely love it! Peruvian! Mexican! Mexican American! What other nations were represented? How many cultures and races? All getting along. We do, you know. We get along. I realized that nowhere in my life have I seen such a diverse population get along so well.

Peruvian horse shows: The passion, excitement, intensity. Fiercely focused trainers in white pants stained by horseflesh and mud, spurs jingling and ponchos thrown back over their shoulders, barking orders as they jump from one horse to another. Barn helpers running, washing horses, cleaning stalls, doing whatever needed doing. Assistants warming up horses, one eye on the arena gate. The sound Spanish everywhere. The music. The sights and sounds. Wonderful! And the show: A pageant. Did you see the Ranch Conjunto Class at Santa Barbara? And Get of Sire? Rancho Domingo rode in with what-- 9? 10? Entries? Sons and daughters of Domingo. Carbon copies. What a display! And what about Ramon Bacerra riding the Haisfield's big chestnut stallion with no bridle? Wasn't that something?!

Do you remember that little Andrea del Solar in the Mare's Performance Stake? That little peanut. She was so adorable. What is she? A sixth grader? Maybe 12 years old? Out there with all the grown ups. Riding like that. And that great mare she rode? Wouldn't you like to own her? Little Andrea, face grave, going in and out of those impossible cones like a pro. Doing everything. Stopping and backing. Circles. Serpentines. Finishing third in that huge class. People cheering like crazy when she rode out to pick up her award. My heart jumps right now, thinking of it.

The only thing more adorable than Andrea del Solar was her dad, Andres del Solar, standing by the gate, watching his daughter ride. Ready to run in there if he needed to. But he didn't. That girl was well-taught. Andres' head with its mop of curly dark hair poking up over the high gate, just clearing it. His bright eyes, the big white smile, the soul of a dad watching his little girl. His heart popping like a balloon when she rode out. The sweetness of horse shows. The sweetness and the light.

And what about Juan Guarayar and his two kids? Was that cute? Oh! I can remember when Theresa held them both in her arms while Juan rode. Now Juan, Jr.'s bigger than his dad. He's shot up so. And Juan's little daughter was out there too, riding with her dad and big brother. The three of them riding together in Get of Sire. Sweet! Talk about sweet! How good to know people for so many years. How good to see them win and grow, and not win and just be. How sweet to see families grow up. Juan and Theresa and the kids, and Andres and Gigi and Andrea del Solar-- and Andres & Christina Salinas' gang, too. Growing up. And now Dante Mazzi and his boy, Mack. The next generation. We are a community. A community that will last.

I don't remember much of the results. Well, I remember when Barry threaded our Rey de Corazones like an eel through cones that weren't even a horse length apart to win Reserve Champion Performance Gelding. We were happy about that one. I remember holding my breath as people rode up to those impossible cones. I recall Diana Whisenant being the show woman, clowning her way through. I remember that great young bay stallion of Shawna and Jorge's that won Breeding Stallion. I recall talking to the judge in my four word Spanish vocabulary. I liked him very much, and his judging.

The Santa Barbara show. A panoply of sights and smells and feelings and experiences. A visual spectacle.

A way of life bound by love.



Photo: Susan Macdonald
BARRY NATHAN AND REY DE CORAZONES BSN WINNING
RESERVE CHAMPION PERFORMANCE GELDING LOS AMIGOS SHOW, 1998

Look at how close those cones are!

Want more by Sandy Nathan? Check out her new books:

 
box

TALES FROM EARTH'S END

ENCHANTING, ROMANTIC, TERRIFYING: STORIES FROM PEOPLE AT THE EDGE

COMING SOON:

BOXED SET: ALL THREE BOOKS IN ONE EBOOK. READ THE WHOLE STORY

 
A

 

THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY

 

A FUTURE WORLD ONLY HEARTBEATS FROM OUR OWN

TALES FROM EARTH'S END I

 

 

lady-grace

LADY GRACE: A THRILLING ADVENTURE WRAPPED IN THE ARMS OF EPIC LOVE

"A MODERN SCI-FI MASTERPIECE!"

TALES FROM EARTH'S END II

sam

SAM & EMILY: A LOVE STORY FROM THE UNDERGROUND

 

A LOVE STORY TO BE REMEMBERED FOR TWO THOUSAND YEARS.

 

TALES FROM EARTH'S END II

 

 

 

C

STEPPING OFF THE EDGE: LEARNING & LIVING SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

 

A MODERN SPIRITUAL COMPANION

B

NUMENON:
A TALE OF MYSTICISM & MONEY

 

"BILL GATES MEETS DON JUAN."

D

TECOLOTE: THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULD

THE TRUE STORY OF A PREMATURE BABY HORSE

Click the covers above to go Sandy Nathan's books on the Amazon Kindle store.
They are also available as print books at Amazon.

AUTHOR SANDY NATHAN IS THE WINNER OF TWENTY-TWO NATIONAL AWARDS
FROM SOME OF THE LARGEST & MOST PRESTIGIOUS CONTESTS FOR INDEPENDEND PUBLISHERS!


sandy
SANDY NATHAN

N

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