“Gentle in what you do, Firm in how you do it”
― Buck Brannaman
Etoile was my first horse that I owned. I sold my car in Turkey and I bought her. She now leads a quiet retirement at the age of 22.
Shah Banu is the granddaughter of Etoile, my first mare. I bred and trained her. She is now 11 years old and a very polyvalent mare with whom we do many different activities like dressage, jumping, trail riding, TREC, cross countyr etc.
Angela is our second mare. She lives in a herd day and night.I got her when she was 3 years old, she really gave me a hard time ! She was aggressive and dangerous. After having tried hard with professional help and questioned myself, I decided to give her to someone in exchange for good care because she was impossible to sell. She can jump huge jumps if she wants, but she is not careful and very difficult to ride. She was neither an amateur’s nor a professional’s horse. For 4 years she lived in the first free-living herd in Belgium at Carine Tiran’s farm. I recuperated her in June 2013. We started to work her with natural methods and she has already made a lot of progress. She became a lovely, attaching mare and am sure we will go far with this very special mare.
I got Ulrik at the same time as Angela at the age of 3 years. They had grown up together in the same pasture only the two of them. As her origins (Papillon Rouge) she was also quiet a difficult and strong horse. I trained and sold her. She is now in Brasil jumping in big classes.
Shah, king of horses
In this true saga, we follow the tracks of a wonderful horse, Hazelnut (renamed Shah later). He is born in 1972, in a breeding farm in Belfast countryside. An IRA racket deal brings him to London in 1976.
An Iranian pilot buys him, Saied Shahdanloo, and flies him to Tehran. At arrival, he gets loose in Mehrabad airport. They win several competitions in the imperial hara of the Shah of Iran. He is a very kind and courageous horse, capable to jump 1m80 fences.
In 1979 the revolution happens, and then the war starts against Iraq. Horses were sent on minefields, but he is saved at the Iraqi border.
After the revolution, the Iranian junior champion, Ramin Shaki Khan, escapes through the Kurdish mountains with Hazelnut. It takes 21 days, and is caught several times and goes to three jails in Iran and Turkey. A first time before the Turkish border, Shah gets wounded by the Shiite revolutionaries. He manages himself out and walks towards the Kurdish mountains at night. Then a Turkish border patrol catches them and brings them to a very tough prison near Diyarbakir in Eastern Turkey.
The horse is seized and sold in auction. His owner, Saied Shahdanloo, who lives in The USA in exile goes to the border jail in Dogubeyazit and buys him back.
Shah King of horse
In 1982 the foot and mouth disease had put an embargo on exporting horses from Turkey, and thus Shah had to be sold in Istanbul to a businessman. A very bad accident with his new owner causes his lameness.
A young girl, Alev Sarc, takes care of him for a one-year revalidation. A strong partnership between the horse and the young amazon is created. Then, they start competition, and in 1986 she becomes Turkish junior champion with Shah.
Another accident with the owner obliges him to retire, in a nice farm in Polonezköy.
Everybody forgets him.
In 1997, over 10 years later, by chance, a horse dealer recognizes Shah pulling a gypsy cart at the horse market in Kadikoy. He saves him in extremis from butchery after three months of negotiation with the gipsy.
He comes back to the Istanbul club, and is welcomed by everybody. He dies happily, three months later.
He comes “visiting” Alev in her dreams the very night of his death, 2800 km from home.
Shah, King of Horses, offers us his will: a new kind of partnership for human beings and horses.
After this dream, we became obsessed by this horse and wanted to find everybody who were involved with him in the past, before Istanbul. We found Ramin Shaki Khan after months of research. He lived in Los Angeles. We went there to meet him, and also met Saied Shahdanloo. Two months later we also went to Tehran to meet the Iranians, the trainer, the people from the (ex-) imperial stables. All the people that worked with Shah told us the same story: “He was our best friend, he was our brother, our master…”
The whole story has been written, and waits for a producer to be turned into a movie.
Equitao, Cheval Miroir, and other hippotherapy and horse ethology are some of the concrete answers given to this quest.