Returning to first love to raise sensitive Arabians

August 01, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

Bedouin legend says Arabian horses were bred to be partners with their masters, sleeping within their owners' tents on the Middle Eastern desert.

To Cathy Lochary, president of the Blue Ridge Arabian Horse Association, the stories are more truth than fiction.

"I know that one of my horses would lie down with me because he's done it," said the Westminster horse breeder, referring to a stallion that affectionately put his head in her lap one day when she was blue.

"And my mare, she may not lie down with me, but I know she'd stand guard over me while I slept," said Ms. Lochary, who owns nine horses at Second Wind Farm.

"Arabians bond to their owners and situations. They're very people-oriented horses."

But not everyone interested in horses has such a benevolent view of Arabians. That's why the club, open to anyone interested in the Arabian breed, exists, she said.

"Our main interest is promoting the Arabian and how good they can be," said Ms. Lochary of the club started in 1964 by Bazy Tankersley, a well-known breeder of Arabians.

The club also sponsors shows and exhibitions to let the public get to know well-behaved and attractive Arabian horses, she said.

"Arabians can be so sensitive, trying to respond to what the rider wants even before they ask for it," Ms. Lochary said. "Some people can't deal with that."

Arabians also have a "highly developed sense of humor," creating things to spook at if they can't find any real terrors, she said.

"They come out of that by the time they are 4 or 5" years old, she said. "My personality is one that gets along best with an Arab. I like sensitivity and responsiveness in horses."

For Ms. Lochary, who has been breeding Arabians since 1976, her love of the breed hit just as quickly as her adoration of horses.

"I was 5 and my uncle took me to see someone with some horses," she said. "The lady asked me if I wanted to ride and I was hooked for the rest of my life."

Her first constant contact with horses began when she was 13, after meeting Elaine Smith, a Catonsville neighbor who introduced Ms. Lochary to her horse.

"I actually saw the horse first" and Ms. Smith later, Ms. Lochary said with a laugh. "I used to watch it around the neighborhood.

Ms. Lochary got her own horse two years later, she said.

"My mother bought me [a horse] to keep me occupied through my teen years. She thought it would wear off, but it never did."

Many years later, it was Ms. Smith who introduced Ms. Lochary to the Arabian breed.

"I got my first [Arabian] colt from her," said Ms. Lochary, who had mostly been fox hunting, an event in which Arabians are rarely used. "I used some of her horses to show, bred a few there and then developed our own blood lines."

Her farm breeds the horses for her husband, Lance, to exhibit in show and halter competitions and for Ms. Lochary to use in competitive trail riding, an event that tests the conditioning of the horse.

Riders must not finish the course before or after a specified time has elapsed, and horses are examined before and after the event to check their physical condition.

Ms. Lochary said she also breeds horses for people to ride along trails for pleasure.

"I like the freedom of the trail," said Ms. Lochary, noting that she didn't start competing until her children, Keith and Karen, were grown.

"We used to raise dairy goats, but they got more time-consuming," she said.

The family has also raised pigs and steers on the 23-acre farm. "Eventually, I just went back to my first love -- horses."

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