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And Ride Away Singing

And Ride Away Singing

The Breeding Philosophy of Bazy Tankersley and the History of Al-Marah Arabians, by Mary Jane Parkinson; The Arabian Horse Owners Foundation (1998). Hardcover, 384pp. RRP $US75.

September 5, 2002

reviewed by Raewyn Robertson

To the Bibliophile (that's a book-a-holic) the acquisition of a new book is like receiving mana from Heaven.

In ... And Ride Away Singing, the story of Al-Marah Arabians helps to define and enhance the history of the breed in the United States. The story begins with Bazy's enchantment with the Arabian horse in her growing up years, through her determination to one day own a "whole field of Arabians" and her early efforts to establish a breeding programme, to her position of leadership in the Arabian horse community and owner of one of the largest studs in the world.

Geographically, the story moves from Illinois to Washington, D.C. back to Illinois, to Colorado, to Tucson again back to Illinois back to Washington D.C. to Maryland and finally back to Tucson. There Bazy, her horses and her staff live and work in serenity, but always with an overlay of excitement and anticipation of the next "Bazy idea" that will lead to new appreciations for the Arabian horse and more enjoyment for the humans involved.

The narrative is well laced with anecdotes that only a person of nearly 60 years experience as a breeder could relate - the fun of showing in the 1940s when a native costume for horse and rider often consisted of a bath mat thrown over the saddle, a tablecloth for the rider's cloak, and an abundance of homemade yarn tassels decorating both horse and rider; the popularisation of Arabians as cutting horses; the daring of a small group of Bazy's cohorts in staging the first American Arabian horserace; the closeness with her horse Bazy experienced in training and winning in competitive trail riding; the pride of National wins; and the many Al-Marah spin-offs, such as a horse camp for adults, think tanks, and forums.

No vanity press item, ...And Ride Away Singing tells all; Bazy's triumphs, her mistakes, the changes in her thinking over the years, and her absolutes in conformation, disposition, and usefulness.

For anyone who has ever loved, dreamed of, or owned an Arabian horse this book offers a read for enjoyment, an acquaintance with Bazy's creative and adventuresome mind, and a visual treat in the portrayal of the Al-Marah Arabians over the years.



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