Prince Ali – Chapter 13

By: Victoria Hardesty and Nancy Perez
Writers of Action and Adventure with Arabian Horses


Chris hit the show circuit with Ali. Prince Ali was named Champion Stallion at the Canadian National Championships again. Ali also won their national titles in English Pleasure and Native Costume classes. Chris showed Ali to championships in Texas, Washington State, and California again before the US National Championship show. Prince Ali, as a 3-year-old, won the Halter, English Pleasure, and Native Costume classes for the US National titles again. Ali added his final Futurity win, too, paying Walter Howard back for some show and training fees that year. Chris brought Prince Ali back home to Clearwater Creek Ranch for two months of R&R before show season started back up in late January. Becky insisted on being in Colorado the last weekend in January for Ali’s fourth Birthday Party. Becky’s twelfth birthday was just a few days later, so they had a combined party for the two.

A year before, Becky started hinting loudly about riding Prince Ali. Her Mom, Dad, and Chris felt Ali needed to focus on his riding skills with Chris first. Chris wanted the horse to win his classes without distractions. He spoke with Walter and Caroline about putting Becky off for a year before riding Prince Ali. Becky accepted it grudgingly. Prince Ali was her horse. The entire year passed by. Prince Ali was four. In Becky’s mind, she’d been patient long enough, so it was time for her to ride.

Becky flew to Colorado for Spring Break at Clearwater Creek Ranch. She was determined to ride Prince Ali for the first time that week. Chris agreed, so long as Becky rode Ali while he was there to instruct her. Chris had problems in the past with a couple of his show horses when the owners let their kids ride them. The kids allowed the horses to get by with sloppy habits. Chris spent hours fixing them so he could show the horses again. He had Prince Ali tuned up so well, he didn’t want to go backward with all that training.

Chris was pleasantly surprised when Becky rode Ali for the first time. She was a good rider. She and Prince Ali fit well together. “You know, Becky, you can show Prince Ali in the youth classes without much more work. We should talk to your parents about that. Maybe we can get you two ready for Youth Nationals next year.

Becky was ecstatic about that. She thought about it and had the idea she could ride one of her parents’ other horses with a coach to keep in practice. That way, Ali could continue showing with Chris while she polished up her skills for next year. When she stayed in Colorado, Chris could coach her. She had someone in mind to work with her at home. Caroline Howard had a great friend that used to show horses with her when they were girls. Ginny Hartley now owned a ranch where she trained horses and kids. Maybe Aunt Ginny could be her coach. The only problem with Aunt Ginny was she lived a hundred miles from them. Becky thought about that. Could she work that out with her parents? She hoped so. She mentioned it to Todd. He thought it was a great idea. He had his eye on a horse too. He wanted to show at Youth Nationals, but not in the same classes as Becky. Maybe they could work that out.

Just before the US Nationals show, Chris got a phone call. It was Sameer from Paris. “How are you doing, Chris? More importantly, how is Prince Ali doing? I’ve been following him since I saw him in Paris. He’s been a busy horse. He keeps on winning for you. Do you think the owners have any interest in selling him?”

“Sameer, it’s great to hear from you. Has it been a year already? Yes, Ali has been busy and is still doing well. I think he gets better and better all the time. But, I’m sorry to say the owners are not interested in selling him. Becky wants to ride him in the US Youth Championships next summer.”

“Well, if that’s the case, have you mentioned the syndication idea to them?” Sameer asked.

“Yes, I did. Walter Howard is looking into that but hasn’t made a decision yet,” Chris told him.

“Well, that’s not what I called you for,” Sameer explained. “I’m on the nomination committee for the World Championship for next year. Prince Ali will be a four-year-old then if I’m not mistaken. I have already placed his name on the list. I wanted you to know so you can make plans early this time. I would love to meet the owners in Paris. I can talk to Mr. Howard in person about syndicating their horse. I can direct him to an excellent lawyer friend I know who can help them. I have several friends who also want to buy shares.”

“Oh, my goodness. That is good news. Do you have the dates yet? I need to clear our schedules and get in touch with the Howards. They will want to be there this time. Becky will never forgive them if they don’t take her along. I will mention Syndication to Walter again and let him know you want to meet him and talk about it too,” Chris grabbed a pencil and sheet of notepaper. He scribbled the dates down before thanking Sameer again for calling him.

Chris told Sharon about the phone call from the Arabian prince. He gave her the dates for the World Championship Show in Paris. Sharon pulled out her notes on the previous trip. She had the vet information for vaccinations, airline number for Ali’s flights to and from Paris, and the phone number of the hotel Chris stayed in last time. She told Chris she would call Caroline Howard about the show in Paris and see if there was time to plan a more extended trip to include some vacation time.

Caroline was pleased to hear Ali had been nominated again for the World Championships, and they did have time to plan an extra week in Paris. “I wouldn’t be able to send Ali to Paris without Becky again. She’s a little older and a lot more persistent,” she laughed. “Why don’t you come along and bring Todd? I think the kids would have a better time with someone their age on the trip. I’ll talk to Walter when he gets home so we can block out that time on our schedule.”

Ali’s fourth year flew by. Chris began showing him in Western Pleasure with as much success as he achieved with the English Pleasure, Native Costume, and Halter classes. Ali proved to be a horse who could perform slow and steady or show fast and hot. By the end of Ali’s fourth year, Caroline Howard and Sharon O’Neal received calls from people interested in breeding their mares to Prince Ali. It seemed many people wanted a son or daughter of Prince Ali in their barn.

Walter and Caroline discussed it and decided to put that off until Becky had her chance at winning a National Championship on “her” horse. Becky had been very patient in waiting to ride him. Walter and Caroline didn’t want the added distraction of breeding mares to interfere with Becky showing her horse. Walter did, however, contact the lawyer the Arabian prince recommended to discuss Syndication.

The Howards and O’Neals took advantage of the horse show-related travel to take Todd and Becky to places they’d never seen. In Paris, they walked along the Seinne, drove through the Arc de Triomphe, looked out over Paris from the Eiffel Tower, and studied paintings and sculptures in the Louvre Museum. In upstate New York, they visited Niagra Falls. In New York City, they rode the subway, in Chicago, they took a ride on the L-train. They saw the Grand Canyon on the way home from Albuquerque and made a side trip to Carlsbad Caverns. They took a 3-day Riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River from Nashville. They visited the Outer Banks in the Carolinas and the warm water beaches in Florida. They never got to stay long, and the arrangements were complicated with home, work, and school schedules, but well worth the effort.

By the end of that year, Prince Ali won the Senior Stallion Championship in Paris, won the Canadian National Championships in all four of his classes, and finished the year winning the US National Championships in those classes again. Becky was looking forward to Prince Ali’s fifth year. That would be her year with him. After the US National Championship show, Becky begged her parents to bring Prince Ali home to give him a rest and let her work with him and her new coach, Ginny Hartley.

Victoria Hardesty has owned, bred and shown Arabian Horses for more than 30 years. She and her husband operated their own training facility serving many young people that loved and showed their own horses. She is the author of numerous articles in horse magazines, was the editor of two Arabian Horse Club newsletters, one of which was given the Communications Award of the Year by the Arabian Horse Association at their national convention. An avid reader from childhood, she read every horse story she could get her hands on.