“Shablaze,” by Helen Prince

By Guest Contributor November 7, 2016 16:57
Helen and Shablaze

Helen and Shablaze, 1976

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By Helen Prince

Shablaze was an incredible endurance horse. Doing many 100 mile rides as well as 50’s. He was also a three-day event horse. Blood lines, ¾ Polish Arabian and Racing (1/4 bred).

In 1976 he was entered in the Great American Horse Race (GAHR). The race began in Saratoga Springs, New York and ended in Sacramento, Calif. To be completed in 100 days — 3,200 miles. 250 riders, 500 horses. They started in the east, on to the heartland, plains, mountains and then the homestretch — Sacramento, California.

Diane Ripley owned Shablaze. These are her following words — “It was on Memorial Day, 1976. Flags of many countries flying in the warm spring breeze, bands playing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’. It was a race across the entire continental United States, with a prize of $100,000 for the fastest time. California or Bust — land of gold, land of home. The international field included contestants from France, Germany, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and Austria. Almost every state in the U.S.A. was represented.”

When riders arrived in Auburn, I was there waiting, being part of their team — the “Last Team” to help them ride into Sacramento. Shablaze and I reunited and we were both so glad to see each other. Over past times, he knew me and I knew him. The smell of pulling up his mane and putting my face on his warm neck, is a horsewoman’s perfume. Shablze was a gift to those who knew and rode him. He will live in many peoples’ hearts and memories…

—“Never thank yourself, always thank the horse for the happiness and joy we experience through them.” — The Kingdom of the Horse, Isenbart, pg. 297

P.S. Our team didn’t win, but the experiences were priceless.

By Guest Contributor November 7, 2016 16:57
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