I’m honored to have Robin Gainey on my blog today – she comes from a line of Arabian enthusiasts and distinguished breeders that have influenced bloodlines across the world. Check back on Monday for more! – Nicole
Q: How did your family get into Arabian breeding?
Gainey Arabians began in 1939 when Daniel C. Gainey, the president of Josten’s, was given the gift of a yearling Arabian colt from his sales group at the company’s annual meeting. It began a lifelong love of the Arabian horse and, because Daniel C. was a committed perfectionist, a wish to create his own “type” of Arabian horse, following the criteria of the Bedouins who originally breed these magnificent horses: the best in form, function, correctness and disposition. And he accomplished this.
The Gainey Arabian is actually considered an actual sub-strain of Arabian, like the Polish and the Egyptian. The only sub-strain of Arab to carry a man’s name.
Q: What was your favorite memory growing up around horses?
Ironically, my great-grandfather, Robert B. Field, was one of the early breeders of Arabian horses in the U.S., even before Daniel C. I was raised around Arabians. I spent many summers on their ranch in Eastern Washington.
As a child, and I mean from the time I was 5, I used to walk out in the field among the brood-mares. The pasture was on a steep hillside, so if I stood on the uphill side of the grade, I could easily slide onto the back of a grazing mare. I’d just sit there and revel in my adoration of horses. It was in my blood. Robert B. and Daniel C. were on the Registry board together in the early days. They knew each other well, bred a similar line of horses (Skowronek) and were great friends. Ironically, years later, Daniel C. introduced me to his son, Daniel J. and we were married, combining bloodlines, so to speak. 🙂
Q: What sets Arabians apart from other horse breeds?
Their disposition and intelligence. So many people who don’t know Arabians view them as high strung or mean. They ARE spirited. That’s part of what makes them beautiful: that spark. But only man makes them mean. If they are mistreated, they don’t cower. They’re too smart for that. Ironically, it’s their intelligence that gets them the bad rap form many outsiders.
But Arabians were SO valued by the bedouins they were brought into the tents to sleep with the family. A mean horse would never enjoy the inside of a tent. Arabians have been long bred for a fine disposition. Trainers have demanded more spirit for the show ring. Breeders have followed what the trainers want. The fine disposition has been abandoned in many cases for this reason: Winning has become more important than perpetuating the true attributes that have made the Arabian one of the finest breeds on the world.
What we see often are Arabs too high-strung to be pleasure animals, too poorly constructed to be ridden with terrible legs and club feet that are masked for the show ring. Breeders are going by the wayside. Showers are what are driving the industry. And the Arab is losing it’s status as the best.
Check back on Monday to learn more about Robin’s personal experiences and her projects now – learn more about her on her website.