Diego turned up at an auction a few years ago. He had no papers, and the auctioneer told a friend of mine who was there that he was a Quarter Horse. “Yeah, right!” she snorted. “He IS!” the auctioneer swore. The friend bought him anyway, since she actually was looking for an Arab (the auctioneer apparently thought everyone in the world wanted a Quarter Horse). A year or so later, circumstances changed, and she had too many horses. So she gave him to me. By then he’d had a month or two of basic saddle training, but nothing beyond that.
I named him Diego, after Don Diego de la Vega (whose alter ego in the books is Zorro). With the long, flowing mane and tail, he’s always looked sort of Spanish (like an Andalusian) and rather dashing.
I gave him to a friend who did some endurance with him, but he developed behavioural issues (bucking, spooking, etc. – he was anxious and herdbound) and she got seriously injured in a very bad fall. So he returned to me. He spent the first winter re-learning everything from the beginning. Lungeing, long-reining, trailer loading, and a whole variety of ground exercises. Then he went back into competition, but we just did a lot of slow, easy rides to start with. Only very gradually increasing speed or distance. His confidence grew steadily. By the end of the season, he was not only able to be on trail without a babysitter, he had even become a good babysitter horse himself.
He got his 500 mile plaque, and a top ten ribbon in Set Speed at the end of the year. He also carried me to my 1000 mile mark. I am very proud of him.
I have two other Arabs, both with registration papers. But Diego is by far the most “Araby” of my herd, in both looks and temperament, despite having been labelled an unregistered “Quarter Horse”. Or, as another friend labelled him, “Four quarters ARAB maybe!”.