More about Leslie Hammel
My ‘born with’ love of horses drove the reality that someday horses would become part of my life. It wasn’t a huge stretch that they became my life. The form that my horse journey took was shaped in no small part by my father, a physicist. He taught me his love of nature through the lens of physics and shaped the way I look at problem solving in general and most importantly, horses.
The strongest memories of my childhood were times spent outdoors in the mountains and canyons of northern New Mexico, and my undeniable attraction to everything ‘horse’. I couldn’t miss their power, more subtle is their generosity that enables their willingness to let us borrow their power. I couldn’t imagine anything more alluring than horses interacting in their social groups, both the quiet and peaceful and the boisterous and showing off. Just doing and being what they are. I found that much of what I saw horses doing under saddle wasn’t the same as when on their own. This was not reconciled for me until I met Ray Hunt and watched him with horses. He put words to my thoughts very succinctly, “if I saw my horse doing that in the pasture I would call the veterinarian.” Ah, here was another person who looked to nature for answers. Ray would also say “the horse didn’t write that book”.
It was another Ray Hunt comment, “you can’t believe how different a horse is that has never lost his trust in people” that led to the creation of Turk Arabians. I realized I would never experience and know that difference without breeding my own horses. I also knew that these would be the horses that I would need to fulfill my dream of partnering with horses at the highest levels of riding. I craved for a relationship where I was in a ‘conversation’ that could convey what I wanted from them, but allowed them ‘the space’ to do it ‘their’ way. “You know, that beautiful floaty trot you do out there all by yourself, that’s what I want under saddle.” What would it look like if rather than holding my horse in the ‘shape’, I taught my horse that we were partners in this dance. Without the physical holding (being in the way) my horse could use his neck the way that mother nature intended as a lever arm to help lift the back. I have to trust him, which has to come before he is able to trust me, which is his natural inclination if not destroyed by the rider. After all, every horse is born knowing how to do everything I could ever desire from him, I am not training him, he is teaching me all that is possible.
My desire was to breed Arabian horses that were capable of the mental and physical demands of High School level riding. I wanted the whole package of athletisism, tractability, desire to be on the team and beauty. I wanted a powerful body combined with a natural ability for self-carriage. I found the self-carriage in my Kann sire line stallion Arsenal CAHR (Gunner). The consistently powerful build for a high level riding horse came from the Bairactar sire line. I utilized *Menes and Nadejni daughters to cross with Gunner which has proven to be the gold that I hoped for. Knowing that the mother of the mother is where the true gems are to be found, I settled only for some of the best; Ptashka, Mommona, Emese and Mlecha.
I now have the long sought after offspring that I need to move forward with my journey. The next step requires that time constraints be eased, hence I will be doing far less breeding and will downsize the numbers of breeding horses. This means that marvelous and rare mares and stallions are being offered so they can invigorate other breeding programs and/or become favored riding companions.