BIG NEWS: I'VE WRITTEN SIX BOOKS!
above to visit my web site, sandy nathan.com or read more below.
TALES FROM EARTH'S END
ENCHANTING, ROMANTIC, TERRIFYING: A NEW BOOK SERIES FOR PEOPLE AT THE EDGE
BOXED SET: ALL THREE BOOKS IN ONE EBOOK. READ THE WHOLE STORY
THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY
A FUTURE WORLD ONLY HEARTBEATS FROM OUR OWN
TALES FROM EARTH'S END I
LADY GRACE: A THRILLING ADVENTURE WRAPPED IN THE ARMS OF EPIC LOVE
"A MODERN SCI-FI MASTERPIECE!"
TALES FROM EARTH'S END II
SAM & EMILY: A LOVE STORY FROM THE UNDERGROUND
A LOVE STORY TO BE REMEMBERED FOR TWO THOUSAND YEARS.
TALES FROM EARTH'S END II
STEPPING OFF THE EDGE: LEARNING & LIVING SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
A MODERN SPIRITUAL COMPANION
A TALE OF MYSTICISM & MONEY
"BILL GATES MEETS DON JUAN."
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!
THE REST OF THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT--
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.
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.
NATHAN: STILL RIDIN' is a new article about
the joys of pleasure riding.
GREAT AMERICAN PERUVIAN
HORSE RACE, 1999!
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
Stud, owned by Sr. Jorge de Moya. Barry's
checking out our other horses: do we have another
as fast as Cappy?]
SHOW RESULTS 1998 & 1999:
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
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
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
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.
SHOW SEASON: A.A.O.B.P.P.H. NATIONALS
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
& LILY NATHAN TACK UP CORCOVADO AT THE NATIONALS
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.
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?
thought she'd win her Bosal Fillies class no sweat.
She looked that good at home. She came in last. Yes.
Yay! Hurray! LOSING is so wonderful! Go Vilasa! Lose
that doesn't work.
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.
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.
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
is much more fun than losing.
BSN WINNING 2ND IN GELDING'S GAIT
BAHIA SHOW, WATSONVILLE, CA,
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
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.
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.
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.
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
photo: Terry Butler
AND SANDY NATHAN ACCEPTING THE BENNI BARTO MEMORIAL
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
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.
AMIGOS SHOW, EARL WARREN ARENA,
SANTA BARBARA, CA, JULY, 1998
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
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
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
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
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
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
Look at how close those cones