Author's note: Although this will not come as a surpise to anyone, Jennifer LOOOOVES photographs. When she found a pile of pictures during a recent visit to my house, she couldn't help but wander through the generous 4" stack. There were photos from a wedding my husband and I were in, photos of my horse, me on other horses, various cats and other mementos from years gone by. But what really really got her all excited were the photos from the summer when I visited Khemosabi++++. So, if you aren't inclined to write blogs or scan photos for Jennifer, never ever let her see a pile of photographs in your possession!
by Teresa Buzzell
The summer of my 16th birthday was an exciting time, with the highlight being the late summer purchase of my horse, Flick! However, before that absolute bombshell, I went to California and I met Khemosabi++++.
We didn't go to California to visit relatives or Disneyland or anything like that. It was a prize I received for not (deliberately) breaking my braces. I'm not sure why my mom felt bribery was necessary - just having the damn things adjusted was painful enough, actually breaking the metal was unthinkable - but, bribe she did. I had been told that if I got through braces without breakage, I could pick out a big prize.
Through the classified section of JAH, I had made some pen pal friends, and a couple lived in the same general area (San Diego). I decided that I wanted to meet them and to see some of the local attractions (we also went to Sea World and Del Mar Racetrack).
Along with me for most of the trip were two pen pals – Anne and Debbie. Anne lived in San Diego and Debbie lived in Huntington Beach. Like me, they were typical horse crazy kids. Anne had suggested the trip to Del Mar – she was really into horse racing. I can't recall what Debbie added to the itinerary.
Driving onto the Hidden Oaks Ranch property, you could tell that this was a serious horse farm. The pastures were large and lush, the buildings were large and everything was well kept. We met with our guide who took us to Khemo's stall in the main barn. After a quick brush off (which he really didn't need), he was taken out and we were allowed to take photos with him. It was astounding to think that we were standing here with one of the most famous and talented Arab stallions on the planet – double National Champ in Halter AND in Western Pleasure. He was truly gorgeous and quite the gentleman with his "public".
Much to our surprise, we had a guided tour of the entire property. They even took out the other stallion, Amurath Bandoloro+, for us to look at. He was quite a ham – he liked sticking his tongue out for us to scratch. An Egyptian bred Arab, he too had won a National Champion Stallion title in 1978. When comparing the two, the easy assumption was that Khemo was actually younger than Bandoloro. In fact, Khemo had won his first National Champion halter title the year before Bandoloro was born.
While I do not have the promotional materials any more (they were gifted to another hobbyist who had also seen Khemo in person), I did pick up the Arabian Horse World issue memorializing him after he died. It was stirring to read the comments and condolences from around the world about how much Khemo had influenced their horse lives & businesses.
During my time in the hobby, I have met a few real horses who were later immortalized in plastic or resin but none of them compare at all to that summer of meeting Khemosabi++++.
Thanks to Teresa for sharing her memories of Khemosabi! If you are interested in writing a guest blogger post about the time you met a real live Breyer horse (preferably not at Breyerfest), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.