In Memorial..

Michele Hawkins

August 23, 1953-October 6, 2003

The equine world has lost a remarkable horsewoman and friend, particularly a staunch proponent of the beauty, intelligence, strength, size, versatility and dependability of the Crabbet Arabian.

Michele has a long list of lifetime accomplishments for a life so shortly lived. She was a surgical veterinary technician, a trainer of exotic animals (she loved the big cats!), a licensed horse judge, a triumphant competitor, a breeder of 38 years who continuously strove to improve and perfect the Crabbet Arabian, an educator,  a public speaker, a foster parent, a mediator, an active responsible citizen, a community leader, a wife, and a friend.

Michele was not only an accomplished trainer of horses, but one of humans as well, as demonstrated by the quality of people with whom she chose to surround herself. Michele would spend countless hours teaching a class of students from the Equine Studies Department at Oregon State University the value of quality, and the concept of engineering horses for today’s professional and horse fancier. She developed and taught the theory of “Inherited Genetic Response” and would demonstrate how to use that factor in the careful planned breeding of future generations so that the fine qualities we love in our horses would continue to course through the veins of their offspring.

Michele was an example to both the humans she ministered to and the equines she trained. She said, “You suit up, you show up, you do your best, you forgive yourself and others for their mistakes, you have fun, and when you lay your head down at night you pray for another day to do it all over again.”

All we have, or ever will, accomplish with our horses is dedicated to the life of Michele Hawkins.

Michele’s skill and insight as a breeder and trainer of animals allowed her to find – not only the perfect horses for our wants and needs but  – the exact horse companion to match each individual’s personality.

Michele was a strong advocate of the companionship between a horse and their human counterpart.  She encouraged each of us to live up to the love and faith our beloved horses have in us.

Thank you Coach!!!!!

Applegate, Brandywine and Crownridge Arabians

Little Bit Of Magic

Racing pigeons have a concurrent history with Arabian horses. Homing pigeons were used for communication by the peoples who had Arabians. A European man by the name of Ulens imported carrier pigeons from the region and began what has evolved into an extensive sport around the world. The most notable import was a bird called The Persian Carrier. These birds were famous for carrying messages 1500 miles and were used by middle-eastern merchants, monarchies, armies, etc back into ancient history.

My father grew up in Brooklyn, New York and competed in the sport. He continued when we transplanted to Arizona and decades later here in Oregon. My father called them the poor man’s racehorse. He would rather have raced Arabian horses, but that was beyond his means. I inherited his birds and our whole family got into the racing pigeon fancy in a big way. My then 6 year-old son won a large combine race with one of his birds. It was a big win for anyone and a great experience for one so young.

My wife, Claudia, noticed I was wearing sweat pants and a sweatshirt to bed and shivering under several covers one night. She asked me what was wrong and I told her it was no big deal, I had forgotten to wear my dust mask while cleaning the coops earlier. She asked me how long had my apparent allergy been going on. I admitted for about a year. She had just been going through losing her legs to diabetes and she proclaimed the pigeons were going. I said no, I’d just wear a dust mask. She used that nasty sensible logic on me, we can’t both be disabled and take care of the family.. if you are on a respirator, who is going to do the leg work’? She called our pigeon buddies and all the coops and birds and equipment were gone within a week. We helped a new person get completely outfitted.

I was understandably moping around after my loss. Claudia, also being a mental health professional, quizzed me as to what we could replace the pigeons with. We both knew I had a vacuum that needed filling. She helped me explore by asking what brings me joy. I answered, you do. That pleased her. She asked what else and I answered, our kids do. She said, that also is a good answer, but what else that is not in our life currently would bring you joy? I thought as I looked out our picture window into the oak tree pasture and answered, well, a nice Arabian mare out in that pasture would sure bring me joy. Claudia said, I’ll see what I can do.

Several weeks later, Claudia had me drive her around and wouldn’t tell me what it was about. We went to the ranch of a woman we knew and she proceeded to show us a Morgan/Arabian cross yearling. She offered to sell us the horse for a mere few thousand dollars. I was aghast as it looked like Claudia was actually considering buying a mongrel horse and pay purebred prices! I got her aside and said, what are you, nuts?!? She gave a smug smile and told the woman we would consider it. As we drove away I continued to sputter and challenge how she could possibly consider it.

She had me drive about 30 miles to Michele Hawkins Horse Academy. As we pulled up the driveway, Michele walked out of the barn with a gangly bay Crabbet Arabian filly and began showing her to Claudia and asked her what she thought. Claudia said, I don’t know, what do YOU think of her, dear?

I picked my chin up off the ground and was mostly speechless. Michele handed the lead rope to me and the deal was set in concrete! I was hopelessly smitten. I realized later that I had been played with the classic sales technique called High Ball/Low Ball. I had NO objections to whatever we had to pay to own that mare.

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