Monday, February 14, 2011

Gypsy Mellodee and Her Foals

Gypsy Mellodee's Photo Album


I was fifteen years old when Gypsy Mellodee ("Gypsy") AHR #106548 (view pedigree) was foaled (2:35 a.m.) and it was on a school night! My best friend, Lauren, and I had stayed up all night to assist with the foaling then were "forced" to go to school anyway - how unfair! Gypsy was our third of three fillies foaled that year. The other two pestered us all through the night while we waited for Gypsy's arrival. Her dam, Bonita Velvet (Syzygy x Asil Vanity), was bred by Alice Payne. Her sire, Sahara Prince, (The Real McCoy x Sahara Queen), was a multi-champion stallion bred by Frank McCoy.

Right before her first birthday Gypsy scratched the cornea of her right eye. The cornea ulcerated and we were very worried that she might lose her eye. The veterinarian prescribed a treatment (keep her out of the sun & medicate the eye around the clock) and it worked! Her vision was poor and her lens remained cloudy, but her eye never required further treatment. One thing did happen though. Gypsy started snorting. At everything! A dark spot on the ground, a piece of paper, a halter on a fence, but the one thing that caused a continual chorus of snorts was soap suds. She was bathed very frequently (to keep her white) and she ALWAYS snorted at the soap suds.

She was highly sensitive and aware of EVERYTHING. She was alert to things well before any of the other horses. Even with her "sensitive" nature she did well in halter training and later ground work, i.e. longeing and ground driving. She was just over three years of age the first time I rode her. I'd been ground driving her when I decided to give it a go. I snapped the side reins together and got on her while she was wearing only the surcingle. She walked off with perfect balance and a confident stride!

Susan Pereira leased Gypsy to breed to her stallion, Justin++, in 1978. My grandmother and I were very excited about the upcoming foals from this cross. Justin++ was very tall (15.3hh) with a gorgeous long neck, a well laid back shoulder, and extremely long legs. Gypsy was extraordinarily typey and elegant, but lacked those qualities we so admired in Justin++. The first foal, a colt, was aborted at 10 months. Instead of breeding her back to Justin++ the Pereiras decided on Rho-Keem++ (Khemosabi++++ x Rhodanna). The result was the filly, Sweet Gypsy Rhose. For our foal, Gypsy was bred back to Justin++. My grandmother died before our foal was born and my grandfather requested that I sell the horses for him. Gypsy was sold to the woman who had once owned Sahara Prince. Patti Drennan sent Gypsy to Texas, where Lacy-J AHR# 243719 was foaled on May 12, 1981. She was chestnut, tall, and leggy like Justin++, but received the "pretty" we hoped for from Gypsy. Lacy-J was shown to many championships, including: 1991 U.S. National Champion Western Pleasure 13 and under, and U.S. Top Ten Arabian Western Pleasure Junior Owner 13 & Under in 1990. (View show record.) Lacy-J produced two registered purebred foals: Bannacek AHR# 350881 foaled in 1986 by *El Kasaka and Leather and Lace AHR# 400665 foaled in 1988 by GG Bask Starr.

Bannacek was 1994 U.S. Top Ten Arabian Western Pleasure Adult Amateur Owner 40 & Over, 1991 U.S. Top Ten Arabian Western Pleasure Amateur Owner, and 1989 U.S. Top Ten Arabian Western Pleasure Jr. Horse.

Gypsy had a grey colt in 1981 by *Posatiw, but he was never registered. He was known as Carnaby Street. I was told that he was gelded, and working cattle on a ranch in Texas. I wrote the young woman who had him, but don't remember ever receiving a reply.

My sister, Margaret, and I bought Gypsy from Patti in 1982. I had not seen her in over two years, and she hadn't been ridden since I last rode her in 1978. She arrived on a rainy day in September with large scratches on her legs and looking quite gaunt. In the space of a month she was looking beautiful and was ready to ride.

I had my fill of ring riding when I was younger, and dreamed of trail riding. Gypsy and my first "major" ride was a 5-day trek to the Cuyamaca Mountains. She may have been a 14.1hh snort-all-the-time, never-get-tired, prissy-looking-girly-girl, but we still enjoyed ourselves on the trail. She neither looked nor acted like the other "trail" horses. She was ALWAYS groomed like a show horse and she was ALWAYS raring to go. She paced in her corral, "jigged" on the trail, pawed the ground when we stopped, and snorted at all things unfamiliar. But what a blast we had, once we made it to the higher elevations where she calmed down and learned to pace herself.

I very much wanted a foal out of Gypsy and after making arrangements with some dear friends I took Gypsy to Santa Ynez to be bred to their very handsome stallion, Abraxas Shah Maar in 1989. "Hugh" was by Ansata Shah Zaman and out of Little Bay. He was tall (15.3hh), athletic, and extremely handsome. After 3 months Gypsy was checked in foal and after her 45 day exam I brought her home. Unfortunately, when she was checked again at 80 days the foal had been absorbed. We were all terribly disappointed by the news, but I couldn't bear to send her away to be re-bred.

In April 1990 I purchased a suckling Khemosabi++++ colt. In preparation for his (Khodachrome) arrival another large paddock was built. I decided to put Gypsy there (because she was so active), and to stable Khody next to Margaret's gelding, MHR Port Typhoon. The day we brought Khody home Gypsy was frantic in her new paddock. I moved her back to her old corral and put Khody in the new one. Gypsy eventually calmed down and everything seemed fine. On July 4th we had a barbecue at our place and as I watched one of my friends riding Gypsy I noticed her limping. She'd never had a lame day in her life. I had the vet out the next day and his diagnosis was that she "may" have an abscess. After several days of treatments with no improvement, he did an x-ray, which showed that her coffin bone had rotated downward...she had foundered! I was totally devastated. We took action with medications, special shoes, constant soaking, bandaging, and a lower protein diet but she continued to get worse. In September her right hoof showed signs of founder. The evening of September 24 I sat in Gypsy's corral with her head in my lap. The next morning, when the vet was already scheduled to visit, Gypsy would not get up. That was it. No more could be done other than attempting radical and very painful surgery. She'd already been through so much. I just couldn't do that to her.

The biggest part of my horse-loving soul died that day with Gypsy. I still had Khody but no other horse could be to me what Gypsy had been. She was buried in the pasture where she had enjoyed her freedom for nearly 4 years. The next year Margaret's beautiful gelding, Port, died and was laid to rest near Gypsy. They had always attracted attention when they were turned out together. What a show they put on and what a striking contrast they were to each other. To lose them both when they were only 16 years of age still tears me up. When I close my eyes I can still visualize them loose together; tails flagged, necks arched, and nostrils flared. They were SO beautiful together and in my memories will always remain so.

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