Tobi Taylor's Journal

News > Saturday, December-10-2016

Positive Review of Orzel: Scottsdale's Legendary Arabian Stallion

The September 2016 issue of ASU Magazine reviewed Orzel in its Shelf Awareness section, concluding that:

"In this biography and genealogy of Orzel, the champion chestnut stallion of Polish bloodlines, Taylor explores regional preferences (originally in Europe) for selective breeding that continue to influence Arabian horse characteristics. She discusses the challenges of maintaining breeding programs and protecting horse in Europe during World War II, and she investigates the small but growing international community of breeders and Arabian horse lovers at that time. The book traces Ed Tweed's entry into this community and the subsequent influence of the Tweed family in the establishment of Arabian horses in Arizona, the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and the breeding, training, racing and showing of these horses in Arizona and the United States. Most importantly, this book communicates the unique bond between horses and people that continues across times and places and that is valued especially by owners, riders and trainers of Arabian horses. The work will be appreciated by readers who value the complexities and interactions of world and local history, a bond with an equine partner, or the aesthetics of the Arabian horse breed."

News > Friday, December-09-2016

Publication of the new book, Orzel: Scottsdale's Legendary Arabian Stallion

After the completion of The Polish and Russian Arabians of Ed Tweed’s Brusally Ranch in 2013, I was encouraged by fellow writer Kimberly Gatto to consider pitching a book idea to The History Press in Charleston, South Carolina. Given the success of Kimberly’s book on the Olympic jumper Sandsablaze, I thought the publisher might be interested in the story of Ed Tweed’s champion stallion Orzel, the Polish Arabian racing superstar who was called the “Arabian Secretariat” and went on to become a legendary sire. I’d never forgotten my introduction to the magnificent Orzel in 1979, and I felt sure that readers would find his story compelling.

Within weeks of submitting a proposal, I signed a book contract in late 2014, and completed the manuscript in August of the following year. The book -- titled Orzel: Scottsdale's Legendary Arabian Stallion -- appeared in late January 2016, just in time to be available at the annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, where Orzel had been named champion stallion in 1970. Fortuitously, the author of the book’s foreword, Stephanie Ruff Corum, had already planned to attend the show to promote Arabian horse racing, so she was able to spend an enjoyable afternoon at the Markel booth with Orzel’s rider, Shelley Groom Trevor, and me, as we visited with passersby, signed books, and of course talked horses. 

Especially surreal to me was the night I spoke at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona. As I climbed the stairs to the podium, I flashed back to the many readings I’d been to, as an ‘80s-era Arizona State college student, at the original location of Changing Hands on Mill Avenue. I recalled sitting raptly as Edward Abbey read from what would be his last novel, The Fool’s Progress, being awed by the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz, and reveling in the presence of John Irving, whose charismatic masculinity was more memorable, to me at least, than whatever book he read from. It never occurred to me at the time that I could, or would, read my work anywhere, much less at Changing Hands. Back then, and for decades thereafter, I avoided speaking in public. What I learned this year, from giving presentations about Orzel, and Arabian horses more generally, is that when you’ve lived with your subject as long as I have, and you feel as passionately about it as I do, sharing what you know with a group can be enjoyable. In fact, as I neared the end of the presentation, I realized that, thirty-odd years later, it was now my turn to be the writer connecting with readers, and a new generation of writers, as I shared what has become my life’s work with them at Changing Hands.

Orzel: Scottsdale's Arabian Stallion is available online via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


News > Tuesday, October-01-2013

BRUSALLY PANATELA, 1985–2013

 Brusally Panatela, who competed to fourth level at Arizona Dressage Association and Arabian shows in the 1990s and early 2000s, died on September 6 at the age of 28, at Coronado Ranch Sporthorses in Tucson, Arizona. Over the years, she touched the lives of many Arizona dressage enthusiasts, from her breeder, Shelley Trevor, to one of her last riders, General Jonathan R. Burton, two-time Olympian and judge.

Half Arabian and half Trakehner, Panatela was a warmblood cross long before they became fashionable. In the mid-1970s, Panatela’s breeder, Shelley Groom Trevor, began taking lessons from dressage master Charles de Kunffy on Panatela’s sire, Brusally Orzetyn, an Arabian. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, Shelley and Orzetyn competed successfully up to Prix St. Georges at a time when there were very few FEI horses of any breed in the state of Arizona. Panatela’s dam, *Korona, was one of the first Trakehners in Arizona. She was imported from France in the early 1980s by Misdee Chauncey, stepdaughter of Arabian breeder Tom Chauncey, and later acquired by Shelley Trevor.

          Shelley started Panatela under saddle, then showed her at Training and First Level. It was during this time that I first rode Panatela, whom Shelley used as a lesson horse from the age of four, owing to her calm disposition. In 1992, Shelley decided to sell Panatela, and offered her to me. However, as a recently married young woman, I wasn’t in a position to buy her. Later that year, Panatela was purchased by an amateur rider, Carla Ferrara. While in Carla’s ownership, Panatela was trained by Julie Sodowsky, Beverly Rogers, Jeannette Schaefer (now Redmond), and Ceinwen Muma. For many years, Carla greatly enjoyed riding and showing Panatela, and I made a point of keeping tabs on their appearances at various shows, and even visiting a training session Panatela had with Bev Rogers in the mid-1990s.

          In spring 2001, I heard that Panatela was for sale, and in April of that year, I purchased her from Carla and hauled her from Kendall Brookhart’s barn to my (then) home in Cave Creek. After so long apart, it felt like a homecoming. A few weeks later, Panatela and I attended her sire Orzetyn’s thirtieth birthday party, where he and his offspring got to sample the carrot cake. Over the next three years, while in training with Valerie Crail, Panatela was an excellent FEI schoolmaster for me. (Panatela was not shown above Fourth Level because we never found a curb/snaffle combination that she approved of.)  A few moments from those years stand out, like the time that Valerie and I were on a post-lesson trail ride in a grassy park near her barn, when the sprinklers came on without warning—and Panatela reacted by giving me an amazing, impulsion-fueled passage as we wended our way out of the park! Another memorable moment was watching Valerie ride Panatela in a lovely Third Level test judged by Bev Rogers, one of Panatela’s former trainers, who rewarded them with a very good score that won the class.

                In 2004, when she was 19, I “semi-retired” Panatela and took her to my new home in Tucson, where she joined my two other daughters of Brusally Orzetyn. For a few more years, she was ridden weekly by a friend, dressage rider Linda Mayro, who enjoyed doing lateral work, flying changes, and other “fun stuff” on her. But it was not until 2009, when she was twenty-four, that Panatela carried her most famous rider, General Jonathan Burton (go here), when the two of them had a combined age of 114.

                After that, Panatela gave occasional rides to visitors, and spent the rest of her time in the company of her niece, Contessa Orzel, known as Tess, another chestnut warmblood cross, and the only other horse with whom she’d deign to be turned out. Shelley Trevor painted a portrait of aunt and niece, called “Love,” that appeared last year in Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine. Like Panatela, Tess is a quiet but opinionated red-headed mare.  She, too, was easy to start under saddle, and there are times when I ride her that she feels and acts just like her aunt, which is a source of comfort and, sometimes, amusement, in the wake of Panatela’s death. Twenty-four years ago, when I first met Panatela, I had no idea she’d take me on such a journey, teach me so much, and introduce me to so many inspiring people. Thank you, Panatela, and godspeed.




News > Saturday, June-15-2013

Article on Brusally Sporthorses in Arabian Sport Horse Magazine

Recently, I was asked by Peggy Ingles, editor of Arabian Sport Horse Magazine, to contribute an article about the influence of Ed Tweed's breeding program on modern Arabian sport horses. I was delighted to do so, because the Brusally breeding program produced horses for sport decades before an Arabian Nationals show devoted to sport horses came into existence. For example, Brusally Orzetyn (*Orzel x *Gontyna) was named 1980 U.S. National Champion Third Level in dressage. This was at time when dressage classes were not offered at the national level in Arabian competition. (His title was awarded based on his test scores at local shows.) Many Brusally horses have excelled at the National level in dressage and jumping, and there are even a few Brusally-bred eventers out there. The article, featuring color photos of a number of these athletic equines, is in the magazine's June/July 2013 issue, and you can access it here: arabiansporthorse.com


News > Saturday, June-15-2013

Brusally Book Now on Amazon.com

I'm happy to announce that The Polish and Russian Arabians of Ed Tweed's Brusally Ranch is now available on Amazon.com. One satisfied Amazon customer, Arabian horse breeding consultant Arlene Magid, gave it five stars and wrote,

I got my copy of The Polish and Russian Arabians of Ed Tweed's Brusally Ranch on Saturday and have spent all of my free time in the past couple of days studying it. The Tweed imports have had a profound impact on Arabian breeding in America, with many of their descendants excelling on the racetrack, the endurance trail, and in the show ring (particularly in sport horse disciplines). Author Tobi Taylor has done a masterful job of presenting these horses. After an introduction explaining the history of the Tweed horses, each import has his or her own chapter, which includes pedigree research on that horse as well as detailed information on offspring and more distant descendants with notable achievements. The historic photos are a true delight, many have never been published previously, and I learned a great deal from the book, which will now be a key part of my reference library. The book also contains appendices which include a list of all Brusally influenced National winners from 1964 to 1983 (one of my few issues with the book is that this should have been closer in date to current times),and progeny lists for all the imports with information on the significant achievements of their progeny. The book is also very well written and does not read like a dry tome of "he begat so and so, who sired this and that", so it makes good reading as well as good reference material.




News > Friday, March-15-2013

New Book on Brusally Ranch Commemorates Fifty Years of Brusally Polish and Russian Horses

Fifty years ago, in the spring of 1963, Ed Tweed imported fourteen Arabians from Poland, at that time the largest group flown to be flown to the U.S. by a single owner. A few weeks later, he followed that up by importing three Russian Arabians long before their bloodlines became fashionable in America. He eventually aquired a total of twenty-seven imported Arabians for his Brusally Ranch breeding program.

On March 15, 2013, Mare's Nest Books, a division of Screenfold Press, published The Polish and Russian Arabians of Ed Tweed's Brusally Ranch, by Tobi Lopez Taylor.  This 8.5 x 11 perfect-bound book features more than 280 black and white vintage photographs, as well as pedigrees, race and show records, and sire/produce records for each of Tweed's imported horses:

*Abhazja                    *Lawenda
*Algorina                    *Manna
*Almeriaa                   *Miroluba
*Basta                       *Napaika
*Bulawa                     *Nawojka
*Centaur                    *Orzel++
*Cerera                      *Palmira
*Chlosta                     *Park
*Czester++                 *Rifata
*Daszenka                  *Salinaa
*Faraon++                  *Warna
*Genua                      *Wislica
*Gontyna                   *Zbrucz
*Gwiazdor

In a foreword for the book, Sally Tweed Groom wrote, "My father Ed Tweed loved his horses, and he would have loved this book, both for its careful research and for the beautiful writing."

The cost of the book is $45.00, which includes shipping. To order, contact Screenfold Press at sales@screenfoldpress.com.

News > Monday, July-23-2012

Tadcaster Spots?!

My horse Immaginn, who was born in 2007, came into this world sporting a curious marking on his light-bay coat: a large, dark spot just behind his withers. Known as a Bend Or spot, it is named after perhaps the most famous bearer of this type of marking. Immaginn is a son of the Thoroughbred stallion Innkeeper, by Secretariat, and a descendant of the venerable Bend Or sire line  -- or is he?

Although Bend Or was ostensibly the winner of the 1880 Epsom Derby, his owners were accused by the owner of a rival horse of actually running his lookalike paternal half-brother, Tadcaster, in his place.

Today, Bend Or appears in the pedigrees of the vast majority of Thoroughbreds, often multiple times.  Recently, some British researchers examined DNA in what has been assumed to be Bend Or's skeleton.  As Byron Rogers writes in "True Nicks":

"[A] team led by Dr. Mim Bower at Cambridge University extracted mitochondrial DNA from the skeleton of Bend Or to discover whether he came from the No. 1 family to which Rouge Rose belonged, or the No. 2 family of Clemence. The team published their findings April 11 in an early view of the peer-reviewed journal Archaeometry.

If mtDNA from the skeleton claimed to be that of Bend Or matched the mitochondrial lineage of his dam Rouge Rose (family #1, of which the study had 21 representatives), then it is indeed that of Bend Or. Conversely, if the DNA matched the mitochondrial lineage of Clemence (family #2,18 representatives), the dam of Tadcaster, then the skeleton instead belongs to the lineage presently attributed to Tadcaster. Additionally, they obtained mtDNA from 10 additional historic Thoroughbreds in order to test, with statistical robustness, whether historic Thoroughbreds could be accurately placed within their maternal pedigrees using mtDNA, and compared these data with sequences obtained from 296 living Thoroughbred horses.

"Well, it turns out that it might be time to change some pedigrees. It now appears that the skeleton of Bend Or belongs to the No. 2 family and, therefore, "Bend Or" is most likely to be the colt by Doncaster out of Clemence."

That is, Tadcaster. Time to start calling them Tadcaster spots?

News > Tuesday, August-02-2011

"Ford and Chevy" is in The Blue Guitar

My short story, "Ford and Chevy," is in the Summer 2011 issue of The Blue Guitar.

News > Tuesday, March-22-2011

"Norwegian Wood" to be published in Menopause Press

I just got word yesterday that one of my short stories will appear in the March issue of Menopause Press. And  no, "Norwegian Wood" is not some kind of Fab Four fan fiction; in this case, it's referring to furniture! UPDATE: Here's the link to the story: www.menopausepress.net/?page_id=676

News > Tuesday, November-30-2010

General Burton Rides Again!

The day after Thanksgiving, last year, I was riding my little mare Rosie in the arena at the front of the property when our local Olympian, General Jonathan R. Burton, came pedaling over his bicycle, along with his daughter Judy and son-in-law Don (read more about the General here). Rosie marched over to the fence so that her friend the General could rub her face, and we all compared notes on our respective Thanksgiving dinners. Then Judy looked down at Rosie and up at me, and said, "Dad hasn't ridden for years, but he wants to ride a horse."

 

I had visions of lightning-quick Rosie becoming famous for doing a double-axle and breaking the General's 90-year-old hip -- or worse. There would be headlines about it in the Chronicle of the Horse, the USCTA News, and Dressage Today. Rosie and I would have to change our names and move to an undisclosed location to avoid angry mobs. I shook my head. "I don't think this is the horse for you," I told him. "But my chestnut mare is a retired FEI horse, and I think she'll suit you just fine."

 

"Great," said Judy. "How's tomorrow morning sound, about 10 a.m.?"

 

"I'll have her all saddled up," I answered.

 

I spent the rest of the day cleaning tack and tidying up the General's mount, Brusally Panatela. Retired from showing since 2005, she was a 24-year-old Arabian/Trakehner mare, bred, raised, and started under saddle by my friend and mentor Shelley Groom Trevor. Panatela's sire, Brusally Orzetyn, had been one of a handful of horses in the 1980s in Arizona competing at Prix St. Georges. Her dam, Korona, a Polish Trakehner, was one of the first imported warmbloods in the state. Panatela herself competed successfully to Fourth Level, and could many of the FEI movements -- but in order to compete at that level, she needed to wear a double bridle, and she'd never met a curb/snaffle combination that suited her. That was irrelevant for the General's ride; she would go well enough for him in a snaffle, though she was a little creaky these days. I gave her a dose of Bute to make the upcoming ride easier on her.

 

The next morning, I fed horses, mucked stalls, and counted the minutes until I could tack up Panatela. As I worked, I remembered the first time I sat on her, in 1989, when she was four years old. I recalled when she was sold to her longtime owner Carla Ferrara, and how delighted I was to buy Panatela from Carla in 2000. Panatela had been ridden by four FEI riders, and now she was going to be ridden by an Olympian. I hoped she'd go well for the General, that he'd enjoy himself and be safe.

 

A little before the appointed time, the General and his daughter arrived. Camera in hand, my husband Alan came out to join in the fun. The General was attired in vintage riding gear, including a hard hat that I felt sure wouldn't pass the ASTM safety standards, and distressed brown leather boots that fastened on the sides, like half-chaps, and resembled some expensive footwear that Ralph Lauren had offered a few seasons before. And he was smiling more than I'd ever seen him -- this despite not even having mounted Panatela.

 

I led Panatela up to the mounting block, telling her under my breath how important it was to "be a good girl today, and don't get anybody hurt."  Alan stood on Panatela's off side, pressing down on the stirrup, and Judy helped her father get aboard. It took him a minute to get organized, and then we all stepped back to watch.

 

Panatela has some arthritis in her hocks, and at the walk, her left hind leg takes a shorter step than her right. I was curious to see how many strides it would take the General to get her striding close to evenly behind. Answer: two strides -- and then, not only were her strides evenly matched, they became longer. As the minutes went by, the 90-year-old rider and his 24-year-old mount were showing us the training scale in action: rhythm, suppleness, connection, impulsion, straightness, and collection.

 

Alan and I looked at each other, across the span of the arena; over the years, we've gone to some pretty high-level dressage shows, including the World Cup. He's not an aficionado or a zealot, like his wife, but I could tell that he knew he was seeing something out of the ordinary. The General's position and technique were straight out of a textbook, and his suppleness surprised me. Like the horsemen at the Spanish Riding School, he looked like he was doing nothing -- and yet, paradoxically, his body was doing innumerable subtle, minute corrections with each stride that Panatela took. Soon he asked her for some slow sitting trot. When that was going well, he used his dressage whip just slightly to transition to a more stately, cadenced trot, known as a passage.  Because passage is relatively difficult, especially for an older horse with hock issues, he halted her after a few minutes, and patted her neck. Then he said to his daughter, "Okay, I'm done. And I didn't fall off!" We helped him dismount, he fed Panatela a piece of carrot, and then I led her back to the barn.

 

General Burton had simply asked to ride a horse again, but in so doing, he gave those of us who were present -- including, if not especially, Panatela -- an enormous gift: an expression of artistry, kindness, and joy. Often, when I am in my barn cleaning stalls, I'll see him, now age 91, riding his bike down the street. When he gets to our driveway, he slows down to see if there are horses in the arena (there usually are.) Then he rides over to the fence, and they soon come up to greet him, this man who loves all horses.


News > Thursday, June-24-2010

Alan Ferg Receives 2010 Governor's Archaeology Award

At the recent Arizona Historic Preservation Partnership Conference, in Flagstaff, Alan Ferg was honored with the 2010 Professional Archaeologist Award by the Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission.

In Ferg's award nomination, his colleague Al Dart wrote that

"Alan Ferg is well known to many southwestern professional and avocational archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, and historians for his outstanding knowledge and research on prehistoric and historical cultures of the American Southwest, and for his willingness to share his unparalleled knowledge and experiences... I first met Alan when he and I were hired for the Arizona State Museum’s Salt-Gila Aqueduct archaeological data recovery project of the early 1980s. I quickly learned that he was an invaluable font of information about southwestern prehistoric artifacts and rock art, and about historical Apachean, Pai, and Mormon material culture, and that he is intense in his efforts to research and publish on these topics. Just one outstanding example of Alan’s research intensity and thoroughness is his early 1980s studies of 'Hohokam T-shaped stones,' which led archaeologist Dr. David Phillips to name these curious artifacts 'fergoliths' in Alan’s honor.

"Perusal of Alan Ferg’s curriculum vitae shows that his archaeological and curatorial experience dates back at least to the early 1970s, and that as of early 2010 he has published 116 scholarly and popular articles and books on topics including Apachean/Pai archaeology and history, the history of playing cards, Mormon archaeology and history, prehistoric archaeology, and miscellaneous topics. However, well over half of Alan’s 116 CV-listed writings are products of his own personal research and his willingness to share his knowledge. Among these are the books Western Apache Material Culture: the Goodwin and Guenther Collections (editor, 1987, University of Arizona Press) and Playing Cards of the Apaches: A Study in Cultural Adaptation (2006, with Virginia Wayland and Harold Wayland, Screenfold Press)."


News > Thursday, June-24-2010

Casa Grande issue of Archaeology Southwest

Archaeology Southwest, Vol. 23, No. 4, looks at the history of Arizona's Casa Grande Ruins, its designation as the country's first archaeological preserve, and the proposed expansion of the Casa Grande National Monument, which would encompass many more archaeological sites in need of protection. I contributed two articles to this issue: "The Nation's First Federally Protected Site," which reveals that Benjamin Harrison, known as "the White House iceberg," was a preservationist perhaps in spite of himself, and "The Perils of Pageantry at Casa Grande Ruins," where I tell how Superintendent Pinkley's bright idea for bringing visitors to the ruins went awry.

Not long after the issue's publication, Dr. Bill Doelle, President and CEO of the Center for Desert Archaeology and the guest editor for this issue, went to Washington to testify in Congress in support of the expansion of the Casa Grande National Monument. He said, in part,

The monument plays a unique federal role in the National Park System: it is the only unit that preserves and interprets Hohokam culture for public education and enjoyment. This purpose has brought 70,000 visitors to the Coolidge-Florence area each year. The Monument is the leading driver for tourism-related economic development in the Coolidge-Florence area. Efforts to protect the few remaining significant examples of Hohokam material culture off of tribal lands are essential if we are to preserve a portion of cultural legacy of this remarkable civilization as well as bolster economic development through heritage tourism.

HR 5110, introduced by Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), is currently in committee.

 


News > Monday, February-01-2010

Brusally Article Is Published

The Winter 2009 issue of Journal of Arizona History features my article "'A Landmark in Scottsdale -- A Hallmark in the Arabian World': Ed Tweed, Brusally Ranch, and the Development of Arabian Horse Breeding in Arizona. Readers will learn about Tweed's role in the founding of the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona and the Scottsdale All-Arabian Horse Show, as well as his ever-evolving breeding program and its influence on today's Arabian horses. It also includes photographs of the stallions Skorage, Czester, Faraon, Orzel, Zbrucz, and Brusally Gwiazdor.

This article is adapted from the first chapter in my book-in-progress on Tweed. If you would like a copy, please contact the Arizona Historical Society at www.arizonahistoricalsociety.org or 520.628.5774.






News > Thursday, January-07-2010

Trinidad Lopez and the Naco Cemetery

The tiny border town of Naco, Arizona, made the news a few years ago because a historic cemetery there was going to be destroyed in advance of construction of an RV park. I was doing research on Naco for an issue of Archaeology Southwest when I happened upon a list of the people interred at the cemetery that had been compiled by historian Robert Silas Griffin (www.mycochise.com/cemnaco.php). To my surprise, one of the names matched that of my maternal great-great-grandmother, Trinidad Lopez, about whom little is known.

Our family lore has it that, as a young woman in Tucson, Trinidad bore three children by John Rhodes, a cattleman from Texas who fell in with the brothers Ed and John Tewksbury, two of the major players in Arizona’s Pleasant Valley War. This feud, also known as the Graham–Tewksbury War, lasted about a decade and was responsible for the deaths of between 30 and 50 men.

In 1888, a year after members of the Graham faction killed John Tewksbury, Rhodes married Tewksbury’s widow and within a short time relocated his and Trinidad’s children from Tucson to Pleasant Valley. In 1892, Rhodes and Ed Tewksbury ambushed Tom Graham (the last of the Graham men) in Tempe, near the still-standing Niels Peterson House, at the intersection of Southern Avenue and Priest Drive. Rhodes was quickly arrested and put on trial. While in the courtroom, Rhodes was nearly killed when his victim’s widow attempted to shoot him. Rhodes was acquitted, and after that he seems to have become a more-or-less model citizen: he signed up at age fifty-six as an Arizona Ranger, and in 1907, he became the Pinal County Livestock inspector.

There is little direct evidence for the course of Trinidad’s life after Rhodes took their children to Pleasant Valley. But when I discovered her name among those at the Naco Cemetery, and then was able to obtain a copy of her death certificate (http://genealogy.az.gov/), various pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. From the 1864 census (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cenfiles/az/1864/jd1/dist1-pt04.txt), I had already placed her year of birth sometime around 1854–1856, and she appears to have grown up with a younger brother or cousin named Rafael Lopez. Interestingly, years later, when Rhodes was on trial, a Rafael Lopez corroborated Rhodes’s claim that he was nowhere near Graham’s property at the time the latter was killed.

The Trinidad Lopez buried at the Naco cemetery died in 1920 at age 65, indicating that she was born in 1855. On her death certificate, she is listed as a "widow," but her parents’ last name is the same as hers. Although it is conceivable that she had married a man with the same surname (and Lopez is an admittedly common name), it is also possible that the use of the term "widow" was a way of getting around the fact that she had three children out of wedlock. Family tradition suggests that Trinidad was not born in Tucson, but instead somewhere in Sonora. Both the census data and her death certificate bear this out.

Even though it is unclear what Trinidad was doing in Naco around the time of her death, we do know that she had various relatives in southern Arizona, including a cousin or uncle, Jose Lopez, who homesteaded a ranch in the San Pedro valley, her brother or cousin Rafael Lopez, a sister or cousin Josefa Lopez, as well as Trinidad’s children — Clara, who married Frank Acton and lived on the Acton Ranch near Mammoth, Juan Francisco (Frank), who was killed during construction of the copper mill at Hayden in 1911, and William (Billy) Rhodes, who worked on the Carlink Ranch, near Redington.

It is ironic that it took the potential destruction of the Naco Cemetery to bring so much attention to the individuals who have been interred there for so many years. Thanks to the residents of Cochise County and other interested parties, Trinidad Lopez and the other people at the cemetery can continue to rest in peace —que en paz descanse.

[A different version of this essay appeared in Archaeology Southwest in 2006.]


News > Wednesday, October-21-2009

Get Back, Jojo -- Or, The Beatles in Tucson

Birders have life lists. Travelers have “must-see” destinations. For years, I wanted to meet a Beatle. This was no idle whim. According to the Popstrology website, I was born in "The Second Year of the Beatles,” and "I Feel Fine” was the number one song the day I was born, January 7, 1965 (which happened to be the twenty-first birthday of Paul McCartney’s brother Mike). I grew up surrounded by Beatles music (the original canon, my parents’ easy-listening versions, and songs by other Apple artists, like Mary Hopkin and Badfinger). As a teenager, I frequented the swap meet at Phoenix’s Greyhound Park with my pal Lisa. While she snapped up movie memorabilia, I found Beatles singles and EPs. Two of the EPs had sleeves printed for the Spanish-speaking market and bore literal, if inelegant, translations like "No Me Molestes" (aka "Don’t Bother Me"),  "Una Dura Noche" ("A Hard Day’s Night"), "Abrazame Fuerte" ("Hold Me Tight"), and "Las Cosas Que Dijimos" ("Things We Said Today"). Later, a cousin gave me a butcher-cover Yesterday and Today, and a comic-book pal dubbed a bunch of bootleg recordings onto cassettes.

In 1979, one of my eighth-grade teachers traveled from Phoenix to Tucson, to the newly opened Canyon Ranch resort, where she saw, and spoke to (albeit briefly), John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The same year, a friend took me to visit the painter Hildred Goodwine, known for her portraits of horses. When we entered Goodwine’s small house/studio, she had a painting of an Appaloosa on her easel. Noticing that I was admiring it, she handed me a letter she’d received from the people who had commissioned the work — Paul and Linda McCartney. Goodwine was understandably pleased that the piece, which depicted Linda’s own Appaloosa, was going to be shipped to the United Kingdom.

And then in December 1980, John Lennon was shot. I’d grown up hearing stories about where people were when they’d heard President Kennedy had been killed, and for my generation, this had the same time-freezing effect. After that, it was neither fun nor funny to contemplate meeting a Beatle (especially after George’s passing in late 2001). That didn’t mean, of course, that I wasn’t still keeping tabs on their solo careers, or buying new CDs of remastered Beatles albums. In 1998, I even managed to get a story published in an anthology about the Beatles called (in my case, ironically) In My Life: Encounters with the Beatles, which featured work by Tom Wolfe, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Donald Hall, and various other lesser lights (myself included).

In early 2002, I relocated from Phoenix to Tucson. As I drove through my new hometown with my last load of moving boxes, I had to laugh when "Drive My Car" came on the radio. What a welcome! I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had moved to the most Beatles-centric city this side of Los Angeles. Need some proof? Here are a few examples:

Tucson appears in the lyrics to "Get Back": "Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona, for some California grass..."

Linda McCartney briefly attended the University of Arizona, and while in Tucson married her first husband (Mel See — possibly the "Jojo" in "Get Back" — who killed himself there in 2000) and gave birth to daughter Heather in 1962. In 1979, the McCartneys purchased a ranch in Tucson. It was here that Linda died in 1998.

George’s ex-wife Patti Boyd Harrison married Eric Clapton in Tucson in March 1979.

Ringo Starr and wife Barbara Bach checked themselves into Sierra Tucson, the well-known substance abuse treatment clinic, in 1988. Reportedly, they’ve both been clean and sober ever since, with (evidently) no need to return to the city.

And George's song "Miss O'Dell" (B side of "Give Me Love") was written for longtime Tucson resident Chris O'Dell, best friend of Patti Boyd Harrison Clapton; the godfather of O'Dell's son William is Ringo Starr.

It seems that the longer I live in Tucson—which has a population of more than one million—the more people I meet who have some connection to Paul McCartney. A couple of years ago, a guy who made a delivery to my house casually mentioned that he’d done some wrought-iron work on the McCartney property on the east side of town. Another person told me about the archaeological sites on some land east of Tucson that is owned by McCartney. Someone else said he'd seen Sir Paul at a local Mexican restaurant, Casa Molina. My hairstylist told me that some cycling friends riding on the east side of town had seen Sir Paul getting the mail one morning. And just last week, a friend stopped by and said she'd met two elderly horses owned by McCartney, which are boarded at a stable where she’d just given some lessons.

After all these years, I still couldn’t help myself. "These sound like two horses that I need to meet —and maybe it's time to start eating at Casa Molina…"


News > Monday, December-08-2008

My Neighbor, the Olympian

About two months ago, a woman and a man came walking up my driveway on a Saturday morning. I had two horses turned out in the arena. Often, people drop by to watch the horses romp or to ask whether I board horses (I don’t), or inquire if I know where they can buy a pony for their child (ditto) or a quarter horse for their husband (also ditto). I have sport horses – equines bred to event, do dressage, or show jump – and that kind of thing is rare on my side of Tucson, where the majority of riders I know either rope or trail ride.

But back to the couple. The woman said they lived nearby and stopped because they’d seen dressage letters in my arena. She inquired about whether I rode dressage (yes), and did I have a trainer (yes), and then she said, "My father, here, is a horse trainer. His name is Jack Burton."

I couldn’t believe it. "You’re not Major-General Jonathan Burton, are you?"

The man nodded, and his eyes lit up.

"It’s an honor to meet you, sir."

General Burton is a legend in the horse world: competitor on the 1948 and 1956 Olympic teams, past president of various equestrian federations, international judge, and author. Not long after I’d begun to take dressage lessons, in the 1980s, a friend had given me Burton’s book How to Ride a Winning Dressage Test. And Burton is still judging: I recalled that he’d given a Trakehner colt bred by my friend Heather a wonderful score in an in-hand class at a show in California a couple of years back.

Burton, who is closer to ninety than he is to eighty, rides his bike several days a week, and since our first meeting he’s dropped by a number of times to pet whichever horse of mine is turned out near the road, usually Rosie, my Arabian mare. He doesn’t say much but seems quite glad to simply be around horses on a somewhat regular basis.

The General unintentionally made my day on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. My husband and I were in the arena with my two-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding Immaginn, whose nickname, like the General’s, is Jack. This gelding is a product of our very small breeding program (does three foals in twenty years constitute a program?), and he is by far the best one. I find very little to fault in him, but I'm well aware of that scourge of horse breeding, "barn blindness." The General was taking his daily bike ride and when we got to our driveway, he pulled in and stopped. "Who is THAT?" he exclaimed, as Jack trotted around. "He’s magnificent!"

My husband looked at me and rolled his eyes, knowing he'd never hear the end of that remark.

"Can I quote you on that?" I asked.

"Sure!" The General watched Jack walk, trot, canter, and play for about fifteen minutes. I asked him if he thought he saw a particular discipline -- dressage, jumping? -- in his future. "The sky’s the limit with that one," he replied, and then he pedaled on home. I have been smiling ever since, and calling Jack (the gelding, not the General) "Mr. Magnificent."

Interestingly, what the General didn’t know was that he himself had seen the sire of this gelding. Jack’s dad is a stallion named Innkeeper, a son of the famous Secretariat. Innkeeper’s owner, Ursula Ferrier, and I are friends, and she writes, "Hilltop Farm asked if we could bring him to a breed judges’ seminar with the head of the Swedish National Stud at their farm. He was a big hit...and Major General Jonathon Burton thought he was the only ‘real’ stallion there." Imagine -- or rather, Immaginn -- that!

 

 


News > Friday, October-31-2008

Tennessee's Arabian Horse Racing Heritage

You've no doubt seen the books produced by Arcadia Publishing...they're relatively inexpensive and easily portable (think stocking stuffers), and they cover an astounding array of obscure topics relating to the history of America, telling their stories many through photographs.

When I was in Santa Fe a while back, I found a title in the series that fits well with my (admitted obscure) research on Brusally Ranch in particular and Arabian horse breeding in general: Tennessee's Arabian Horse Racing Heritage, by Andra Kowalczyk. The author focuses on the Arabians owned, bred, and/or raced by J. M. Dickinson and Dr. Sam Harrison, but also provides information on other (mainly Polish) Arabians, including Ed Tweed's Orzel, whose photo on page 61 caught my eye while I was thumbing through the book. This is a worthwhile addition to the libraries of those interested in Arabian racing.

After reading the book, I discovered that the author and I had a mutual friend, who put us in contact. By exchanging a few emails with Andra, I learned that we had more than simply writing and Arabian horses in common; we both work in historic preservation, and we are both interested in preservation breeding of Arabians -- her focus is on the celebrated Polish stallion Lotnik, whereas mine is on Brusally breeding. It's good to know that there are people like Andra out there.

 

 


News > Wednesday, October-22-2008

The Worldwide Saddle Cinch Community, or I'd Like to Teach the World to Weave...

In July of this year I was contacted by Darin Alexander, of FiberCords, LLC, a cinch maker who had heard about my research/interest in Navajo saddle cinches. He wrote:

"In a couple of weeks we will be sharing the art of cinch-making in a presentation at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.  We are asking our students, customers, and others who would be willing, to share photos and descriptions with us so we can highlight the growth and craftsmanship of cinch making in the world today, as well as share cultural and technical variations on the same theme. 

"We look forward to any suggestions and thoughts you might have on how to network the cinch making community.  At present we are in dialog with and/or assisting cinch makers in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Canada, and several of the lower 48 states as they seek to refine their skills, develop distinctive and personalized styles, and fill the desire to improve on the quality as it relates to a more comfortable and durable item for everyday use."

A worldwide cinch-making community? Who knew? Then, in late September, I heard from Mr. Alexander again, updating me on the presentation at the museum -- and more developments in the world of cinch-making:

"The response from the cinch presentation turned out to be more of shock and awe that cinches can be so ornate.  As some of the power point frames advanced you could hear the audience gasp with delight.

"This morning I visited with Pete Gorrell who is working with Partners in Development, a non-profit organization http://www.pidfoundation.org/, to develop a school of saddle and cinch making near the Parker Ranch on the northern coast of the Big Island in Hawaii. I thought you might find this of interest since the concept sounds similar to the Navajo program... in this case the students themselves are learning extensively about the business end along with development of distinctly Hawaiian renditions of the saddle and cinch."

A school of cinch-making in Hawaii? I think I may have to go over and check it out!


 


News > Wednesday, October-22-2008

Another Great Review of Playing Cards, and an Article about the Arizona State Museum

The most recent issue of American Indian Art Magazine contains a two-page review, by Dr. Ron McCoy, of Playing Cards of the Apaches. McCoy notes that

"Putting together a book of this caliber requires not only the raw material of scholarship -- in other words, the product of thorough research -- but also the precise convergence of various elements that, should the melding not come out just right, produce a decidedly unpromising result. In this case, all of the required elements came together with stylish precision...[It] is a worthy capstone to the missionarylike zeal that Virginia and Harold Wayland brought to their research and writing, as well as eloquent testimony to Alan Ferg's voluminous knowledge of Apache culture."

Also in this issue is an article about the world-class Southwestern pottery collection at the Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, written by my friends and colleagues Diane Dittemore, Mike Jacobs, and Patrick Lyons, and beautifully illustrated with photographs by Jannelle Weakly.

 


News > Wednesday, October-22-2008

Canines in the Southwest

The Summer 2008 issue of Archaeology Southwest is edited by Alan Ferg and yours truly, and includes the following articles:

Dogs in the Southwest (Tobi Taylor, Alan Ferg, and Dody Fugate)

Early Dog Burials in the Southern Southwest (Jennifer A. Waters)

Pueblo Dogs (Dody Fugate)

Dog Mummies at White Dog Cave (Dody Fugate)

Pueblo Dog Tales (David H. Snow)

Basketmaker Dog-hair Sashes from Obelisk Cave (Rachel Freer and Mike Jacobs)

A Rare Breed (Alan Ferg)

Canid Sacrifices from Homol'ovi I (Vincent M. LaMotta)

Itzcuintle: Ancient Mexican Dog Food

When Is a Dog in Mimbres Art? (J. J. Brody)

Mimbres Dog Descendants (Tobi Taylor)

Hohokam Dogs and Iconography at Pueblo Grande (Steven R. James and Michael S. Foster)

Dogs in the Desert: Repatriation (Alan Ferg)

The Hodges Site Figurine (Alan Ferg)

Going to the Dogs: Studying Valley Fever in the Southwest (T. Michael Fink)

An Unsettling Image (William H. Doelle)

The Setting on of Dogs (Richard Flint)

Yoeme Dog Pascola Masks (Tom Kolaz)

Old Dogs and Some New Tricks (Alan Ferg)

Back Sight (William H. Doelle)

 


News > Friday, June-13-2008

Archaeology Southwest Is Honored By Arizona's Governor

Today, at the 2008 Arizona Historic Preservation Conference, in Rio Rico, the Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission's awards in Public Archaeology were presented. Among the winners was Archaeology Southwest, the quarterly publication I have edited for the Center for Desert Archaeology since late 2001. The award citation reads,

Archaeology Southwest was conceived in 1986 and originally published under the title Archaeology in Tucson. Each issue currently contains eight to ten profusely illustrated articles written in clear, understandable English, by leading Southwestern archaeologists and other authors. Through Archaeology Southwest, the Center helps the public connect with the rich and diverse landscapes of the Southwest. Archaeology Southwest also helps the general public and professional archaeologists to keep up with the latest in Southwestern scholarship. Generous distribution of the newsletter has enabled the Center to build preservation partnerships and to practice community-based archaeology at a wide geographic scale.

Anthropology professors use Archaeology Southwest to fill a niche left unaddressed by introductory textbooks. Archaeology Southwest also plays an important role in reaching underserved communities in rural areas and on Indian reservations. The newsletter has been described as “a text-book case for how public archaeology can and should be done.”


News > Tuesday, January-08-2008

A Secretariat Surprise, or Twinkie Rides Again

Recently, I was staying at the home of my friend Sherri. On her coffee table was her Christmas loot, which included a new book, by Lawrence Scanlon, called The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World's Greatest Racehorse. I'd read a review of it but hadn't seen a copy. As I flipped through it, something caught my eye: my name, right there in the text:
 
"Tobi Taylor was a horse-mad eight-year-old girl in 1973, and the one horse she loved most was Secretariat...."
 
The book goes on to summarize an article I wrote for Dressage Today, back in 2000, about the life and times of Statesman ("Twinkie"), who was then Secretariat's oldest son. It's always gratifying to know that people read what you write. I had another moment like that, about six months after I'd published an article about Statesman in the Blood-Horse. Statesman's shoer at the time, Jean-Pierre Luyssaert, went to the 2001 Rolex three-day event in Kentucky. While there, he visited an art show that featured artist Salina Ramsay and Secretariat's owner, Penny Tweedy. J.P. found a small print of Secretariat and decided to buy it for me. While he was waiting to have it signed by the artist and Tweedy, he told them that he was farrier for Secretariat's oldest living son. "You mean Statesman," said Mrs. Tweedy. "I read about him in the Blood-Horse." After the artist had signed the print, Mrs. Tweedy wrote, "To Toby [sic] and Statesman."
 
 
 
 
 

News > Friday, December-28-2007

Playing Cards of the Apaches Named a Top Book of 2007

Good news! Playing Cards of the Apaches: A Study in Cultural Adaptation, by Virginia and Harold Wayland and Alan Ferg, was named a Southwest Book of the Year for 2007 by a panel selected by the Pima County Public Library and the Arizona Historical Society. Congratulations to Elizabeth Barber and Ann Peters, daughters of the Waylands, and Alan Ferg on receiving this honor. I’m proud to list this title among the award-winning books I’ve edited.


News > Friday, November-16-2007

Art and the Power of Intention

Earlier this year, I decided that I wanted to have more art in my home. I go to the nearby YMCA to work out a few days a week, and one day, on the wall above one of the machines I work out on, I noticed a stunning photograph. It combined multiple negatives — one a shot of the interior of a Spanish mission (San Xavier, I presumed), and the other a view of the Sonoran Desert. I got in touch with the artist, Bill Lesch, also a member of the Y, and arranged to buy the piece. Not long after that, I was watching television one Sunday afternoon and saw an entire program devoted to his work. Check out his website: http://www.williamlesch.com.

 

 

A few months later, I was at Brusally Ranch, near Show Low, visiting artist Chaille Trevor in her studio. She uses a lot of snapshots of horses for inspiration, and several of my horses have ended up in her paintings. I like some of the resultant paintings, but not so much that I feel I have to have them. However, the painting that was on her easel at the time really caught my eye. It was of my mare Rosie and her foal Tess. I was very taken with the composition more than anything else. A few weeks later, I called her and left a message telling her I wanted the painting and that I’d pick it up the next time I was at the ranch. Somehow, though, she never got the message. When I was at the ranch again in October, she was horrified to learn that I’d wanted it and sheepishly said that it had already gone down to the gallery in Scottsdale that represents her work. Fortunately, when I called the gallery, the painting was still available. After two trips from Tucson to Show Low to see the painting, and then a trip to Scottsdale to fetch it, the painting is now hanging in my living room.

 

The next piece of art came from an unlikely source, Mark Tashiro, one of the writers in my writers’ group. Aside from being an incredible writer, it turns out that Mark’s a fine amateur painter, too. One day, after a meeting of the group, he brought me a wedding gift — a landscape he’d painted on board. I put it in my kitchen, but within a day it had disappeared into my new husband’s office. Mark seemed pleased to hear that.

 

The last piece of art — so far! — that has wended its way to me this year is coming from artist Amy Novelli (http://www.janehamiltonfineart.com). We met when I was selling my horse trailer and she offered to do a painting in trade for it. She sent me a couple of emails with probably thirty pieces, and I was very impressed. She got a trailer, and I got to commission a portrait.

 

It didn’t take me long to decide which of my horses I wanted Amy to paint. Who do I miss the most? Answer: Statesman, a.k.a. Twinkie, the “Second Son of Secretariat.” His body type also seemed the most suited to Amy’s style. Another thing that I found very impressive, and professional, about Amy has been her interest in seeing as many photos as I could find of him, hearing my innumerable Twinkie stories, and watching video of him. She started working on two canvases, and invited me to come over and observe/critique. I was astounded at how quickly, and how well, she captured him. At last report, he’s almost done — all four feet by five feet of him.


News > Friday, November-16-2007

Progress on the Brusally Book...

Two years ago I began writing a book about the Arabian horses imported from Poland and Russia in the 1960s for Ed Tweed’s Brusally Ranch. I plan to complete it in 2008. Amazingly, despite the profound influence of Tweed’s breeding program on Arabians in America, until now there has been no single source of information about these horses.

 

This wasn’t a book I planned to write. Over the years, I’ve simply been in the right place at the right time, collecting information only because it interested me, not because I intended to do anything formal with it. But a couple of years ago, it dawned on me: there was a reason I’d met many of the players in the Brusally story, received access to the archives, and had ridden so many Brusally-bred horses. If I didn't do it, who would?

 

Meanwhile, as I’m writing the rest of the book, here’s a summary of Ed Tweed’s adventures in breeding Polish and Russian Arabians. He imported thirty-one Arabians (six in utero) from Poland and three from Russia; he bought two others after they had been imported to the United States. Among these were the famous stallions *Orzel, *Zbrucz, *Czester, *Faraon, *Gwiazdor, and the valuable broodmares *Prowizja, *Basta, *Genua, *Chlosta, *Abhazja, *Gontyna, *Miroluba, Daszenka, *Paleta, and *Palmira.

 

Although we tend to focus on the positive aspects of a breeding program like this — the pride of ownership, the goal of producing offspring that are better than their sires and dams — there is a shadow side to breeding as well: the stallion prospect who turns out to be sterile, or the prized mare who dies from foaling complications. For example, the filly *Almeriaa, from the 1963 Polish importation, broke her leg not long after arriving in America and was put down. Another horse from that importation, *Gwiazdor, colicked and died after siring only one crop of foals — of which all but one were colts. While regrettable, such incidents come with the territory. But Tweed’s worst, longest-lasting heartache came from the three Russian Arabians that Spalding acquired for him on his 1963 trip to England.

 

Thanks to Cold War paranoia and a misplaced sense of patriotism, these horses (two mares and a stallion) were not allowed to be registered by the Arabian Horse Registry of America because, Tweed was told, “We must not deal with the Russians.” Tweed tried vainly to get papers for the three horses, and eventually gave up. The (purebred) foals out of the two mares were registered as half-Arabians; the stallion, *Park — out of a full sister to *Pietuszok, sire of *Orzel — sired only a handful of foals and was mainly used as a tease horse on the ranch. Fifteen years after their importation, the Russian horses imported by Tweed were finally granted purebred Arabian status and allowed to have American registration papers. By this time, *Park was dead, and the two mares were near the end of their reproductive lives. In an article published in Arabian Horse World in 1984, Tweed was finally hailed as a visionary.

 

It was also in 1984 that the gelding Brusally Skoraik, out of the Russian import *Napaika, began what was to be the first of four consecutive finishes in the Western States Trail Ride (Tevis Cup), in which a horse and rider traverse one hundred miles in one day. Brusally Skoraik went on to log 6,880 miles in endurance, ranking fifty-six on the American Endurance Ride Conference’s list of equines with more than five thousand miles.

 

Skoraik’s story, as impressive as it is, is only one of the many I’ve learned through doing the research for the book. Not a week goes by that I don’t meet someone on the internet who has a Brusally-related story for me. I’ll start posting them here, for the enjoyment of others.


News > Wednesday, June-06-2007

Mayo Clinic sells Brusally Ranch House to Developer

Brusally Ranch was one of several large Arabian horse farms in the Scottsdale, Arizona, area from the 1950s to the 1980s. The ranch's owner, Ed Tweed, did a great deal to make Scottsdale the Arabian horse capital of the country. He was a founding member and first president of the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona, and in 1955, the association put on the first Scottsdale All-Arabian Horse Show, held every February at WestWorld. Today, the Scottsdale Show contributes more than $50 million each year to the local economy.

In the 1960s, local breeders began going abroad to buy Arabians to improve the quality of their breeding stock, and Arabians became big business. By the 1970s, various farms held yearly auctions timed to coincide with the Scottsdale Show. I grew up in Phoenix and began attending the show, and the sales, in the mid-1970s. Each year, I'd tour the well-known farms in the area, like Brusally Ranch, Lasma Arabians, Karho Farms, Gainey Ranch, and Tom Chauncey Arabians. Those were the days when on one drive you could see such famous stallions as Bask, El Paso, Aladdinn, Naborr, Ferzon, Gai Parada, Orzel, and Zbrucz. Lasma, Karho, and Gainey are long gone, replaced by housing developments and office complexes; Chauncey's farm is under a car dealership. Over the years, the Scottsdale Show itself was held at different venues, and two of those locations -- at Paradise Park and on Bell Road -- no longer exist.

Now the only vestige of the heyday of Arabian horse in Scottsdale, the Brusally Ranch house, is threatened. The 6,000-square-foot house, built in the 1950s by Tweed, and the five acres on which it sits are all that remain of the 160 acres that comprised the ranch. Tweed's daughter donated the house to the Mayo Clinic in the mid-1990s to be used as a temporary home for those awaiting  organ transplants. Known as the Arizona Transplant House, it has served thousands of patients over the years. However, the Mayo Clinic needs a larger facility, and so it has sold the property to a developer.

I breed Arabians and half-Arabians with Brusally bloodlines, and I'm currently at work on a book about the ranch's imported Arabians. Through my research, I've discovered that the horses born on Tweed's ranch have descendants throughout the world that excel in a number of disciplines. I was interviewed for a recent article in the East Valley Tribune about the plight of the ranch, and I tried to make the point that Brusally isn't simply a name from the past: "Tweed’s importation of about two dozen Arabians from Poland in the 1960s put Scottsdale on the equestrian world’s map. From the 1960s to the 1980s, Scottsdale was basically the place to be for Arabian horses. Three generations on, we’re talking about thousands of horses that have the Brusally bloodline. These horses are so good that they’re sending some back to Arabia to be race horses.” (East Valley Tribune, May 9, 2007)

An Arabian owner who relocated to the Phoenix area last year asked me if I could give her a tour of the old-time Arabian ranches. I still haven't been able to bring myself to give the tour  -- there is so little left to see -- but I think we'd better visit Brusally before it's too late.

 

 


News > Wednesday, June-06-2007

Turkeys 1, Humans 0

The latest issue of Archaeology Southwest (Vol. 21, No. 1) contains two of my articles -- one on Zuni ethnoornithologist Ed Ladd, and one on the reintroduction of turkeys at Mesa Verde National Park in the 1950s. "The Great Mesa Verde Turkey Experiment" had some hilarious unintended consequences: "Once the turkeys were established, they began to overrun the place: 'It was not long before they paid little or no attention to humans, cars, or racket.'" They were obnoxious, slow-moving, and territorial; a Park Service employee came home one evening to find a turkey in his living room. When the employees decided that enough was enough, and tried to drive the turkeys into the wilderness -- by shooting over them, lobbing cherry bombs at them, spraying them with water, and chasing them with cars -- the turkeys viewed it as a game of wits, which they won. The employees gave up. 

A few weeks after the issue of  Archaeology Southwest came out, I was talking to a current Mesa Verde employee about an unrelated matter. Just for fun, I asked her if she'd seen any turkeys in her area. "Well," she said, "I had to brake for a puffed-out tom turkey on my way to the office today. I didn't have any cherry bombs handy, so he was lucky!"

The turkeys are still winning.

 

 


News > Sunday, March-18-2007

The Lass of Aughrim

In January, I traveled to Ireland to visit a friend from Tucson who'd emigrated there a few years ago. She understands that, as an anthropologist, I’d prefer to live in the community I visit instead of making the rounds of various tourist attractions and crossing them off of someone else’s “must see” list. She knows, too, that I like to read, or re-read, a book about the area in which I’m staying, and that she’ll have to hear about it whether she likes it or not.

 

While packing, I’d thrown several books into my Land's End bag, and had finished two of them before I left LAX (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Sight Hound). But the book I was saving until just the right moment was Dubliners, more of which below.

 

Near the end of my stay, my friend and I decided to spend a day in Dublin, and round it off with a lovely lunch at Avoca Cafe, in Suffolk Street. We took the train from Newry, Northern Ireland, to Connally Station and went for a leisurely, if chilly, walk through Temple Bar, across the River Liffey (which confirmed for me the aptness of Brendan Behan's remark that "Somebody once said that 'Joyce has made this river the Ganges of the literary world,' but sometimes the smell of the Ganges of the literary world is not all that literary"), and towards the Writers Museum in Parnell Square.

 

It was in the Writers Museum's bookshop that I experienced the first part of my trip’s “perfect moment” (a tip of the cap to Spalding Gray here). A volume of Irish poet Paul Muldoon’s work somehow fell into my hands, and I quickly found a favorite poem of his, “The Lass of Aughrim”:

 

On a tributary of the Amazon
an Indian boy
steps out of the forest
and strikes up on a flute.

Imagine my delight
when we cut the outboard motor
and I recognize the strains
of The Lass of Aughrim.

”He hopes,” Jesus explains,
”to charm
fish from the water

on what was the tibia
of a priest
from a long-abandoned Mission."

 

Gleefully, I handed it to my friend (who is not a poetry person), and told her that reading this poem always makes me think of her. "I don't get it," she said, even after I'd enumerated, as eloquently as I could, the various ways that the poem seemed to intersect with her life, and mine. Then she led me out of the museum and around the corner to the IRA bookshop. There, the selection was more to her liking and I spent my time looking at all of the Che Guevara Lynch memorabilia (he's Irish! who knew?)

 

On my last night in Ireland, I was upstairs reading just before dinner. I'd read a little bit of Dubliners each day, so I had only one story, my favorite, remaining. I was twenty when I first read "The Dead," during a particularly bad summer when I was recovering from a love affair. I wondered, turning the pages two decades later, whether I would find it as compelling as I had then.

 

My friend gave me the fifteen-minute warning for dinner just as Gretta was standing on the stairs, listening to Bartell D’Arcy singing despite his cold. A few paragraphs later, she spoke to him:

 

"Mr. D'Arcy," she said, "what is the name of that song you were singing?"

 

 "It's called The Lass of Aughrim," said Mr. D'Arcy, "but I couldn't remember it properly. Why? Do you know it?"

 

"The Lass of Aughrim," she repeated. "I couldn't think of the name."

 

Neither could I, until then. “The Lass of Aughrim.” I’d just had my perfect moment.

 


News > Thursday, January-11-2007

Some New Publications

Happy New Year...a few new publications have arrived in my mailbox:

 Apache Playing Cards: A Study in Cultural Adaptation, by Virginia and Harold Wayland, and Alan Ferg, was published in December 2006 and will soon be available through http://www.screenfoldpress.com. (I like to say that if it weren't for Apache playing cards, I wouldn't have my now-two-year-old filly Tess, because the amount of money I received for editing this manuscript turned out to be almost exactly what was needed to pay the sire's stud fee.)

The Fall 2006 issue of Concho River Review (Angelo State University) contains my story "The Object of Desire."

And the Fall 2006 issue of Archaeology Southwest features two of my articles, "The United States Military and the Border," and "Trinidad Lopez and the Naco Cemetery." I hadn't planned to write either article, but that's what's fun about being involved with Archaeology Southwest -- although there's an outline for each issue, it's pretty fluid until a few weeks before the issue goes to the printer. I never know what I might have to research and write about, and I like that. (There's a certain irony in the fact that I started as a journalism major at Arizona State in 1982 [the year Lou Grant was canceled], and switched to anthropology because I determined I didn't want to be a reporter!)


News > Tuesday, October-10-2006

Lucky Baldwin

Recently, while proofreading Playing Cards of the Apaches: A Study in Cultural Adaptation, by Virginia and Harold Wayland, and Alan Ferg, I was struck by this passage, a quotation from another playing-card scholar, Sylvia Mann: "I happen to collect playing-cards as my way into history." Intrigued, I consulted Mann’s book, All Cards on the Table, where she writes that “a true collector, whatever the object of his particular interest, be it children’s comics or gold snuff boxes, touches a live element of history...I have acquired, through application and countless reference works and the talents of other collectors, some knowledge about a lot of subjects hitherto outside my interests.” In the case of Playing Cards of the Apaches, my own "way into history" — horses — came in handy. In the book, the provenance of each pack of cards is traced in minute detail, whether the pack belonged to a captured Apache girl, or a U.S. Army soldier, or even Vincent Price.

 

But when I proofread the pages devoted to a pack owned by Elias J. Baldwin, he was mentioned simply as the donor of a pack of cards — and not, as I knew from my crazy patchwork way of assimilating history through horses, as "Lucky" Baldwin, the founder of Santa Anita Park (named for his daughter Anita), where Seabiscuit won the Santa Anita Handicap in 1940. Hearing this, the junior author (Ferg) agreed to add some biographical information about Baldwin. It’s no surprise, given Baldwin's interest in horses and gambling, that he owned a pack of Apache cards — aside from their use in gambling, Apache packs contain cards featuring caballos, ridden by jaunty caballeros.

 

I don’t consider myself a collector of horses (though some of my friends might disagree), but, like Mann, my interest in equines has led me to learn about (and what is perhaps more frightening, to retain knowledge of) subjects that seem, at first glance, to have no connection to horses, including: genealogy (horse and humans); textiles; W. K. Kellogg; hide-tanning; the King Ranch; Jostens' class rings; General Patton; Bromo-Seltzer; the Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts; John Davidson; the Battle of the Little Big Horn; Catalina Island; the Polish language; charreria; Calumet baking soda; the Doors; the paintings of Degas, Lord Munnings, and George Stubbs; and, of course, Ramtha (whom J. Z. Knight channeled in What the Bleep Do We Know?).

 

As Dorothy Parker noted, "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."


News > Friday, September-08-2006

Navajo saddle cinches...redux

Navajo cinchWhen I entered the Anthropology graduate studies program at Arizona State University in 1994, all I knew was that I wanted to do master's thesis research on a topic involving Navajos and horses. As I studied the literature and asked questions, I learned that no one had done a study of Navajo woven saddle cinches, which were made from about 1860 to 1960. By the time I graduated, I'd visited museums throughout the United States (including an internship at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.) and interviewed a number of Navajo weavers about cinches. After writing a thesis, and then an article in American Indian Art Magazine about cinches, I figured I was finished with the topic.

Then, in 2002, I learned that some teachers from Monument Valley High School in Utah had been looking for a project for their Navajo students that would be instructional and would help raise money for the school. They'd seen my article and had incorporated cinch weaving into their curriculum. Unlike earlier weavers, the students first use a computer to create a design for their weaving and discuss — often in Navajo — geometric patterns and mathematical concepts with the teachers and Navajo elders involved in the program. They have woven at least 100 cinches, twice as many as I'd found during my research on historic cinches.

And again, I thought I was done with cinches. But I was mistaken. First, I received an email from the Gloria F. Ross Center for Tapestry Studies at the Arizona State Museum here in Tucson concerning the launch of a new online exhibit on Navajo textiles curated by the chair of my Master's committee, Ann Lane Hedlund, who'd thoughtfully included a cinch and a quote from me: 19th Century Blankets — Saddle Blankets and Horsegear

Then, a couple of days later, I received an email from Kyle Partain, an associate editor at Western Horseman magazine, who is writing a profile of the cinch weaving program at Monument Valley High School and wanted some input from me, as the "expert" (if only by default!) on cinches. The article will appear in the December 2006 issue.

You can't predict what you'll become known for, can you?


News > Tuesday, May-16-2006

"The Way West" on KXCI Radio

During the spring of 2006, I took two sessions of the Writer's Studio with poet Eleanor Kedney. Aside from learning a great deal by doing the various exercises, I met many like-minded poets and fiction writers. Recently, a student in my class, Ron Cipriani — who also hosts the Poet's Moment on Tucson's own KXCI radio (91.3 FM) — invited me to read a poem on the air.

And so, on Monday, May 15, I headed down to the KXCI studios, located in downtown Tucson, in an enormous, historic, two-story house, to meet Ron and record "The Way West," the poem I'd chosen to read. Walking into KXCI, I couldn't help but recall Howard Hesseman in WKRP in Cincinatti.  It was also shocking to see so many actual record albums in one place. Anyway, I met Ron, and he led me to a small recording studio upstairs. As he set up the equipment, I ran through the poem again (I'd been practicing for days). Once he did a sound check and recorded his introduction, he gave me my cue and I commenced reading — and got it in one take. I was out of KXCI within a half an hour, with a bumper sticker and a list of times "The Way West" will be aired: Wednesday, May 17 at 1 p.m.; Friday, May 19, at 2 p.m.; and Sunday, May 21 at 2 p.m. If you are out of the Tucson area, you can listen online at KXCI Radio.