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Warmblood By Scot Tolman A


lec leans hard against the Black’s straining neck, the boy joined to


the savage stallion that saved him from sinking with the ship carrying them from Arabia to New York. Black Beauty, life-wrecked, starving, and standing among the horses about to go to slaughter, nickers to the now-grown man, Joe, whose voice he recognizes after all these years. Seabiscuit comes from behind, swallowing the distance between him and the pack to win, win, and win. As with love, we model our ideal horses after fairy tales: The Black, Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague…Syd and Nancy, Romeo and Juliet, Mr. Darcy and Lizzy, the ill-fated panda pair, Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing. We need a story. We need the underdog. We need Wayne Newton, dressed in rhinestones, singing in his ridiculously feminine voice aboard a million dollar (now $5,000) Arabian. Human beings want the magic of the ideal, of true love, of Julia Roberts transcending a world of prostitution and drugs for polo matches and Richard Gere climbing the fire escape with a bouquet of day-old flowers, purchased from a homeless woman with an alarmingly British accent for a Los Angeles street person. Julia wants the fairy tale, and so do we. I’m convinced this is the reason the Warmblood has not


yet reached the popularity of the Arabian, the Morgan, or the Thoroughbred in North America. There’s no fairy tale involved. Instead, we have the multi-millionaire buying an already trained horse for the U.S. team. We have the incorrectly preconceived notion of really rich people flying first class to Europe, eating caviar and sitting in leather recliners in heated indoors, watching perfectly turned-out “draft crosses” being paraded in front of them for their rich-person purchasing pleasure. We have all the romance involved in frozen semen and nitrogen tanks. Yeah, that’s the stuff true love is made of: six to 800 million sperm cells per dose, a water bath, and an arm up the rectum of an ovulating mare. Somehow, I don’t think Simon and Schuster is looking for the illustrated children’s book entitled, “How Your Baby Warmblood Was Made.” Of course, if we really want to appeal to the masses,


we forget about love and fairy tales and go directly to video games. Imagine the video game based on a Grand Prix jumping course. Each player picks his or her horse, the fiery Arabian, the steadfast Quarter Horse,


90 January/February 2011


the speedy Thoroughbred, or…the muscular and athletic Warmblood. The horses/players, in turn, approach the six-foot oxer. The fiery Arabian runs out at the last minute, hitting the brush wing, which is actually a trigger for an explosion that obliterates our


rhinestone-ridden friend. The steadfast Quarter Horse comes to a sliding stop, his feet going under the first rail, which triggers


that same rail to swing out, guillotine-sharp, and behead our hapless rider. The speedy Thoroughbred determinedly approaches the formidable fence, going


faster and faster and faster—he hits the air like a speeding bullet and almost clears the second rail, but the top rail rocks in the cup and triggers the ground beneath the landing to open into a bottomless pit that swallows our hot, catty boy. Now, it’s the Warmblood’s turn. He approaches the fence with head up, ears forward and instinctively begins to transfer weight to his haunches. He launches into the air, arcing in a perfect bascule, hind legs opening behind him, loin flexing, and clears the fence to be the only player that lives to complete the course. With the right digital effects and lots of blood, this


could revolutionize the Warmblood industry and create a whole new market for us. I tried imagining a video game based on a Grand Prix dressage test, but all I could come up with was nailing the rhythm in the second piaffe- passage transition, which triggers the ejector seat under the judge at C to activate and send Linda Zang into orbit, George Jetson style. Not quite the same mass appeal. Oh, well, back to love, fairy tales and expanding the


popularity of the Warmblood in North America: three things which I’m unabashedly in favor of. Since I have neither the technical savvy nor the inclination to go the video game route, maybe it’s time I write the first Warmblood fairy tale for the masses…so, once upon a time, a chubby, horse-crazy, little boy in New Hampshire had a dream of a European princess who was somehow stranded on an island off the coast of Maine with her family’s foundation mare…


WT


Scot Tolman has been breeding Dutch Warmbloods for the past 20 years at Shooting Star Farm in Southwestern New Hampshire. Read more of Scot’s writing at shootingstarfarm.com.


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