Monday, February 18, 2013

The Karacabey Horse

My story needs a new horse. Doesn't matter what color, but I think black would be nice. I always loved Black Beauty.

Ottomans loved their horses too. Since the empire stretched into Arabia, Anatolian horses were cross bred with Arabians at will. New breeds were made. The one that eventually became known as Karacabey was the most important - sort of the goldendoodles of their day. Everybody wanted one. Turkey even gifted the the Queen of England with a Karacabey once.

But then...  Then.

People moved on. People wanted thoroughbreds and European jumpers, and so the Turkish government sold the last of the documented Karacabey breeding stock. Years later, they realized their mistake, too late. The horses had been cross-bred until the Karacabey line was lost. Extinct.

If I could time travel back to 1980, I'd buy all 3,000 of the horses auctioned off that day.
Couldn't have cost much. The USD-TL exchange rate was crazy low.
Who cared about a stable closing way deep in the Bursa province anyway?

I'd like to imagine a herd of Karacabey somewhere out in the fields near the Marmara sea. Roan, chestnut, bay, gray, and black. Maybe some farmer has a barn full hidden in plain sight, and some day they'll be discovered, like a priceless Van Gogh.

The government has since reestablished the Karacabey stables as a thoroughbred stud farm. It's impressive with:

1,235 acres
790 stalls,
1 hospital, plus other veterinary facilities
250-person staff including
118 grooms,
10 veterinarians &
11 veterinary assistants

The most famous horse bred at the barn since the reopening is bay stallion, Sabırlı - translation: Patient One (April 9, 2001). Sired by Kentucky Derby winner, Strike the Gold, Sabırlı has a pretty nice record of his own. With 51 starts, 26 wins, 10 places, and 8 third place titles, all totaling about $3 million in winnings, he's a top stud at Karacabey.

Watch Sabırlı win at Dubai in the clip below:

Karacabey Stables Photo gallery


KatOwens: Insect Collector said...

Wow-- amazing. It's stunning that we (as a society) have made these kind of mistakes over and over. I recently read Black Beauty with the boys-- what a great book. I read it as a kid but had no idea until this time around that it completely revolutionized the way horses were treated.

Old Kitty said...

I totally love love love the pic of the horse's eye! Magnificent! take care

Southpaw said...

I'm partial to brown horses for some reason, but I like all the colors.

LTM said...

So the breed is just lost? They don't know how to get it back? That's a shame. :o| What made them so special? were the particularly good at racing? (should I know this?)

Lovely post as always. At least we're not eating them... :P <3

Martina Boone said...

LOVE this. Love the idea of them being rediscovered.

My husband was once asked what kind of a horse I was riding when we had just moved to a new barn and I was trying to keep by overbred, overpriced skitso from freaking out in the new arena. He looked around at the group and his brow furrowed. "Brown and nuts," he said, as if that was self-evident. I heard that story from about eight different people later.

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