I was really excited to find out that the father of a girl who rode with Meika had taken some photos of Cairo and I at Inavale. Check out Lee Schaber’s pictures and videos at NWEventingAction — they are great.
Cairo looks like she’s pouncing in this one.
Becky named her Cairo, as I remember it, because when she was born she was reddish and hot. Becky has a thing for place names. In fact, I like to joke that the way I got Cairo was kind of like a girl who gets a crush on a guy … and then meets his brother and thinks the brother is WAY hotter. The same year Becky bred Cairo, she also bred Farallon (named for the Farallon Islands). Farallon’s mother is Cairo’s grandmother, and Farallon’s sire is Cairo’s grandsire’s half brother.
Right, it’s like a Southern picnic over at Becky’s place. Everybody is somebody’s cousin.
Cairo’s mother is ½ Irish draft (sire O’Leary’s Irish Diamond and HE is a Breyer model horse) and Cairo’s father is the racehorse Baquero. No one believes me that she’s got Irish draft in her. They look at me with this “Oh, sweetie, you got taken,” expression when I say she’s Irish sport horse. I think the name Cairo makes folks think she’s Arab, that and her little refined nose.
I rode Farallon last summer while I was having a really crappy day. Farallon looks much draftier than Cairo does, but is about the same height. Huey was on trial and I really wanted the possible buyers to love him and I was stressing about it. Work was having problems. Everything sucked.
Becky invited me over to ride and go swimming and I spent the weekend and I rode Farallon and was charmed. I knew she was probably out of my price range — Becky breeds really nice Irish horses and I was shopping with what I sold Huey for and a little savings — but I figured I would give it a shot. Becky was super nice about it but I wasn’t surprised to learn that Farallon was more than I had saved. But then she called the next day and suggested I try Cairo, who she said was more difficult and would be harder to sell, but she felt might be more athletic. Between injuring her leg, an abscess and Becky’s show schedule, Cairo hadn’t been doing much.
I liked Farallon. Cairo I loved. Her little green four-year-old canter was more balanced and athletic than the full grown trained horses I was trying. So yeah, I liked Farallon … then I met her sister. Beneath all that head tossing, tail swishing and scarred hind leg there was a cute little horse and I am in love with her.
At Inavale, realizing the fences there are a bit wild (zebras and flamingos anyone?), I decided I would take Cairo over near the stadium ring and graze her, so she could eye the fences from a distance. So go-cup of coffee in one hand and Cairo in the other I led her over. There were a couple other horses around, also grazing and, as it turns out, an evil scary golf cart.
Just as we walked up to the arena Cairo stopped, flung her head out and bulged her eyes at something behind me (the golf cart zipping by, on the other side of the ring, and half-hidden by a hill as I figured out later). She half reared and began to back up very, very fast.
I played out her lead rope, luckily avoiding a rope burn, and basically found myself being slowly, steadily, dragged across the field. I kept talking to her, trying to get her attention on me and not the evil, scary Thing behind me. As this went on I began to realize that while we were not running out of space, I was running out of lead rope. I weighed my options. Drop the rope? I didn’t see Cairo as a run back to the barn girl, I saw her as a race around the venue and party kind of girl, so that was out. Drop my coffee? Also not an option.
Luckily, Cairo is pretty smart and she finally simply stopped racing backward, looked at me and came forward to see if maybe I had a treat for her, like I usually do when I’m talking to her in my cajoling voice. I did. I even gently set my coffee down to get it out of my pocket.
Treat accepted, we walked back to the arena where several people, also grazing their horses, had watched the whole thing.
“Nice job not spilling your coffee!” one of them cheerfully called out.
I’m glad that no one got any photos of that.