Yes, Virginia


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By Charles Craver
originally printed in Craver Farm’s ‘Our Quest’ newsletter and used here on with permission for a one-time print in this Fall/Winter 2012 issue, all rights and publication rights belong to Charles Craver.

So you’ve been to the show all on your own. Ventured out without a guide. Seen the beautiful horses. Watched the crowd. Cheered the glory of champions.

The people you met told you “the real truth” about Arabians: How they are bigger and better than they used to be. How they trot faster and higher. How their necks and legs are longer and their heads prettier. And, yes, Virginia, how they will make you money if you buy them.

And then they told you that nobody believes in pedigrees any more, that you just breed best to best, that the names of old-time horses are only names, that this is a new and better breed which is right for our own time and place. “It’s the breed of the future,” they say.

You ask if all this is true.

Yes, Virginia. It is true. That is the way things are in the shows and magazines. That is what Arabian horse registries and associations are all about. That is what many people want. That is what they call an Arabian, in the real world.

Is that your world, Virginia?

Do you believe in horses that, when you look at them, you know are something special, something that wasn’t “made” by somebody but was created just the way it ought to be?

Do you not believe in some things? Do you not believe in horses that have to be clipped and shaved and shined and trimmed and cosmetized and shaped in mind and body to be worth looking at? Do you not believe in horses that look like they ought to look only when they are in the show ring and made to pose by a poseur? Do you not believe in horses that have to be whipped to be alert, that have to gesticulate with their legs to perform while their heads go in just whichever way they were twisted before they got in the ring?

Why don’t you ask the people with these horses what they did with the other kind of Arabian horse? What happened to the Arab that anyone can ride: Mom, Pop, Kid or Grand-dad? And is still good enough for the best rider you ever knew to enjoy? What happened to the horse that thinks; that is a little bit of human, a little bit of elf, maybe a little bit of donkey?

And how about that horse we find in Job: Lively as a locust and beyond submission? What about the horse of the desert, from whom we have all these things, though no one seems ever to have seen a perfect example. What about that horse God gave to his sons of the desert as a companion, a helper, a defender, a heritage for his people? Was that horse a gift to you, too?

There really are such horses, Virginia. There is more to Arabians than you saw at the show. No studbook can hold these horses completely. No trainer can compel their beauty. No person can totally own one. Artists try to catch their being, but it is beyond paint and description.

It is beyond us all, but it is the real thing.

Those others they call “Arabians” may be lovely horse, but not for us, Virginia.

Not for us.

Learn more about the author, his wife Jeanne, his horses, and the invaluable contribution his breeding efforts have made to the Davenport Arabian online at and at the Davenport Arabian Horse Conservancy at

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