Horse breeders from 12 states attended the summer event at Cielo Celeste Farm, here in the Valley. Cici Huston, who has an in-depth knowledge of equine genetics, is fascinated with rare breeds and has succeeded in interesting other horse enthusiasts from coast to coast. It was an event to delight the eye and tease the imagination.

One of her most spectacular breeds is the Gypsy Horse. Gypsies evolved from the draft horses that pulled the wagons of a European group of people known as Gypsies. The large covered wagons were the homes of these nomadic people and required big strong horses to move them from place to place. Unlike American covered wagons with canvas tops, used by our American pioneers, Gypsies wanted something permanent. So they fashioned rounded metal tops with a stove pipe emerging from the top for inside heat or cooking. The wagons were often gaily painted to present an engaging picture as the owners hoped to be welcomed wherever they went.

Huston’s deep appreciation of horses includes the rare and beautiful Schwalderfuchs (Black Forest fox) from Germany. These are a medium sized draft breed of horse with gentle temperaments. Their dark chestnut bodies are enhanced by abundant flaxen manes and tails. These beauties were originally used for hauling logs in the Black Forest or drawing carriages.

Now they have evolved into riding horses. The Marbach Stud in southwest Germany is the main source of this intriguing breed. Huston apparently has the only Schwalderfuchs in the U.S. and has received permission from their registry to cross them with another breed. This gala event included Palominos and other beautiful horses and had a long-lines presentation by Elizabeth Netemyer and her proud, jet black Friesian stallion.

The event was attended by many non-local horse enthusiasts as well as our own Valley residents and Bo Derek was one of them. She has long been devoted to both Andalusian and Lusitano horses The Lusitano was the original mount of the Portuguese cavalry and also was highly trained for bull fighting. It is related to its neighbor, the Spanish Andalusian.

Andalusians were known as the Spanish horse and were also trained for the bullring. Bo was introduced to these horses when making a film in Spain. Later, she and her husband, John Derek, looked into establishing a new breed called Paintalusians, which would bring forth the original spotted genes from some of the early Andalusians.

Rona Barrett, who was also a party guest, had become interested in the Dereks' plan. Now her interests are centered on her valiant effort to establish The Golden Inn & Village for Valley seniors. This project has begun construction at the corner of Highway 246 and Refugio Road. She was accompanied by her writer-husband Daniel McNeat.  

The vast lawn area was filled with party guests like Marilyn Torrey and Jan Forster, and also Diane and Jim Carter from San Juan Capistrano, who own Quarter Horses and Paints. For a special treat they had fun riding in a little carriage drawn by their miniature horses.

Another miniature horse fan was Brooke Carter from Modjeska Canyon, Calif. She graduated from Cal Poly and enjoys team roping. The saying “Once a horse lover always one” was proven by 70-year-old Petra Vetter. She long enjoyed showing hunter-jumpers, but now just rides the trails on her Oldenburger warmblood accompanied by her Jack Russell Terrier, who prefers walking.

Many guests also attended the presentation of western horsemanship by Bill Cameron. All proceeds from the silent auction and raffle went to benefit the Gypsy Rescue & Rehome Foundation. Music was provided by the Mitch Robles Band and refreshments were served by California Tacos. 

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