Cali was a brown Paso Fino stallion who came to Australia in about 2000. He was registered with the Paso Fino Horse Association (USA) as Don Cristobal Mako. He was the stallion chosen by my friend Jorge de Moya to be part of the foundation of the first Paso Fino stud in Australia.
I spent much time with Cali when I ran Jorge's stud. Cali was a wilful, opinionated brown horse, and he wasn't always the easiest horse to handle. There was something about his personality though which I liked. Although I was fond of calling him a "little brown shit" and "the CRAB" (and a few other less polite things), I actually had a pretty good relationship with him. So I started riding him.
He was a handful under saddle as well, especially in the beginning, and we had a few adventures. But I really enjoyed the rides and he grew on me even more.
I was in the lucky position to have some good mares so I used the opportunity to breed them to Cali. And now, years later, we have sold a lot of horses and yet somehow have kept some of the Cali kids. They proved to be pretty easy to start. Both his purebreds back at Jorge's stud while I was still there, as well as the crossbred ones I bred.
Photo by Greg Lehey
It was only a few days ago, when we enjoyed three of the Cali kids out on a ride. Left to right: Carola (visitor from Austria) on Bluey, myself on Carlos and Yvonne on Carlotta. I mentioned yet again how it was funny that we were finally taking out a bunch of Cali kids and how great they were. We often joke how much they remind us of Cali, with a certain head toss, a look or a set of three wrinkles around the nostril to show disdain. Also of course, their beautiful gait.
Yes, it was pretty sad to hear that Cali is no longer around.
I am so fortunate. I have a purebred Paso Fino son and daugher of his as well as some really good crossbreds. The colt and the mares are now integral part of my Paso breeding program. And in that way, the opinionated little brown horse lives on.