In 2003, Marjorie Van Gilder received the Eastern Crabbet Arabian Horse Society's Lifetime Acheivement Award. They asked Carol Mulder, Marjorie's dear friend, to write a historical article, which she did, and we are now sharing it with everyone. It is a pdf file, which includes photo's and notes from friends. It is a large file so please be patient as it loads. Please enjoy.
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| Van Gilder Arabians, LLC|
There is an old saying that we are blessed with one great horse in our lifetime. Marjorie Van Gilder has been truly blessed with many excellent Arabians. The Champions: Muhuli - 1967 and 1973 Oregon Park Horse Champion ; Bey Jez- 1987 Region IV IAHA Champion Trail Horse; Nehalems Muhuli - Washington State Arabian Horse Racing Assoc. (WSAHRA) 1985 Derby Winner; Faylicia - 1997 WSAHRA Champion Mare of The Year; Vals Starburst - 1991 Darley Horse of the Year and 1997 WSAHRA Reserve Aged Horse of the year. These are only a few off the very long list of Champions from Van Gilder Arabians of Wasco, Oregon.
Marjorie Van Gilder's basement trophy room is brimming with trophies, plaques, ribbons and awards dating from the 1940's through 1997. Many are perpetual trophies that she and her horses have won and retired to their shelves. Each trophy has it's own story to tell about a particular horse or day in Marjorie's life. "My favorite is this one." Marjorie says proudly as she picks up the beautiful sculptured Arabian of the 1987 Region IV IAHA Champion Trail Horse trophy. "Bey Jez and I worked really hard for this one."
Since 1949 Marjorie has bred nearly 200 foals. Most of which are included in many of the photo albums featuring show, racing win pictures and numerous foal photos. A journey through her photo albums and trophy rooms gives life to the names of distinguished horses that many of us have only seen in pedigrees, Ferras, Buddi, Jezra and Muhuli. The number of horses bred increases when one counts the horses bred in partrnerships with her mom, Sadie Rich, and also David Ward of Fairview Farms. Marjorie Van Gilder has contributed immensely to the Arabian breed during her 49 years as a breeder. Yet she is very modest as she tells how she began breeding Arabians many years ago.
Marjorie bought her first horse in 1940 after working on a ranch in Idaho, earning a mere dollar a day. "She was an Appaloosa mare with some Arabian and her name was Cotton. She was all white but when she was wet you could see black spots on her skin." Marjorie had a lot of fun showing Cotton and riding her in games such as Musical Ropes. "We did a lot of different things with our horses then."
Marjorie and Arthur Van Gilder were married during the war in 1942. "We had known each other as children but my family moved away so I didn't meet him again until he came out of the Marines as a Reserve in 1939. He was called back to serve in Alaska for 20 months. When he came back we were married. He served his country during the war one year in Tillamook and the rest in the Pacific. He was in Iwo Jima after he got home in October 1945."
They lived on Claude Thompson's ranch near Wasco for awhile and worked for Claude, an Appaloosa breeder who outcrossed with Arabians of Crabbet descent. Thompson also helped found the Appaloosa Horse Club. Claude owned the Kellogg bred chestnut stallion Ferras 922 (*Ferdin x *Rasima), as well as several fine Arabian mares.
The Van Gilders settled in Wasco in 1947 on the same farm that they own today, where they cultivate over 3000 acres of rolling hills of wheat. Some of the land they bought and some had been in the family. The family ranch has several homesites and barns now. One site is where their son Brent lives and helps Arthur with the farming. Marjorie and Arthur live in the same house that they rebuilt in 1947. The other ranch house was where Marjorie was born and later married, and their daughter Dee lives there now.
Marjorie bred her mare, Cotton, to Ferras, and Mr. Nifty [photo] was the result, foaled in 1945. She first showed Mr. Nifty in 1946, "He really wasn't in show condition for that first show, but he won anyway. He won everything we entered him in against horses of all breeds for over ten years. He was so much fun to ride. I was bitten by the Arabian bug." Marjorie showed Mr. Nifty for twenty consecutive years and he was always in the ribbons!
In 1948 a tragic car wreck nearly killed Marjorie. While she was recovering in the hospital, her mother, Sadie Rich, came to visit and excitedly shared her good news. "Mom had just bought her first Arabian. She couldn't wait to tell me!" This was the chestnut stallion, Buddi 2711 (Caravan x Aurora). "We weren't exactly sure what we were going to do with him. There weren't that many Arabians around then. Mom wanted to cross the Arabian with her Pinto mares." A bit of research shows that her mom bred some very nice Arabians herself in those days.
Following Marjorie's recovery, she began looking for a purebred mare. "I'd wanted a mare for awhile but we just couldn't afford it. We'd had an excellent crop harvest that year so Arthur said I could buy a mare." She found Ouarda 4886, a striking chestnut filly bred by Dr. Harold Palmer of Sauvies Island area near Portland, Oregon. "I paid $1800 for her which was quite a bit of money in those days.", said Marjorie. Ouarda was by Musafir 2180 and out of Faraba 1342, she produced fourteen foals. One of those foals was the gelding, Bey Jez, by Jezra, who Marjorie showed for several years, winning various awards and honors.
"When I bought that first mare", said Marjorie, "I'm sure that Arthur never thought that it would lead to all of this."
Later she bought the stallion, Ferras, and the mare, Tahara 1768 (Rifnas x Ghazayat) and her mother bought Rifarda 1685 (Rifnas x Ardith) from Claude Thompson. "We didn't really know much about bloodlines back then. I just bought horses I liked.", says Marjorie. There is no doubt that she has excellent taste and a good eye because her horses won and produced well then, and continue to do so today. Ferras produced both Sarref 8558 [photo] and Ferrar 8975 for her, and they won in shows everywhere. Ferras also produced two mares that she later used for breeding, Fernita 10024, who she later sold to Lois Klessig, and Ferlita 10025 [photo]. Ferlita produced the Champion Cimmeron 22224 [photo].
"Cimmeron was a very showy horse.", stated Marjorie. "Johny Johnston loved to photograph him because he would always ham it up for the camera." The flashy chestnut stallion won many prizes and trophies that grace Marjorie's trophy room. He was gelded as a 12-year-old following an illness.
In 1959 Marjorie bought the versatile stallion Muhuli 11717 (Abu Farwa x Follyanna) [photo]. "I'd taken a mare down and had her bred to Abu Farwa but she lost it. I was going to re-breed until I discovered that Catherine Richardson had the Abu Farwa son, Muhuli, for sale." She had to do some wheeling and dealing to get him. "Mom had two Pinto mares and owed us some money. We took the two Pinto mares as payment and traded them for Muhuli."
Muhuli was later trained by Joe Biles, then leased to Garren Warren, winning many Championship titles in English Pleasure, Driving [photo], Costume [photo] and Park Horse classes. "Muhuli was such a nice horse.", says Marjorie fondly. "You could do anything with him. He had to be retired from the show ring due to a severe hock injury at Garren's." Muhuli went on to sire 82 purebred registered foals, including top horses such as Cimmeron, Mulieka, Muletta, Muhulis Melanie (deceased), Abu Malacar, and Nehalems Muhuli. Marjorie has a few of Muhuli's offspring still producing exceptional foals for her and the demand for his bloodlines continue to increase in popularity.
In 1970 she bought the grey stallion Jezra 6928 (Jezayat x Rasewa). The California State Polytechnic University, the old Kellogg Ranch, bred Jezra. During his 33 years he sired 62 progeny including the Champion Bey Jez. Some of the Jezra granddaughters remain a part of her breeding program, MV Fashionette, Zbruats Glorianna and Melody Flame.
In 1982 Marjorie brought in another source of Abu Farwa blood when she purchased the Farlane son, Sarat Thani 35040, out of the Mounlis daughter, Mounalanne. Sarat Thani sired the top endurance gelding, Glorys Khalil, and her broodmares MV Briar Rose, Falah Dream, Farah Melody and MV Talawa (now deceased).
Marjorie got interested in horse racing thanks to Fred Ball. "He just drove in one day and said I had some nice looking horses. He asked if I had anything that could run." That led to Fred taking Muhulis Melanie (Muhuli x Bint Ghamil) to the track in 1983 to race. She was Marjories first race winner and it sparked an everlasting interest. Muhulis Melanie also produced race and show winners, as has her daughter, Faylia.
Marjorie then acquired the stallion, Nehalems Muhuli 254200 from his breeder, Fred Ball. A handsome chestnut colt from Muhuli's last foal crop in 1982, out of the mare Rafaana. Nehalems Muhuli had a strong racing career for Marjorie before he was retired to stud where he has sired several race winners. His top get include Vals Starburst, Muhulis Revenge, Freds Bad Boy and Precious Morsel plus his name appears consistently on the Leading Sire list in "Finish Line" magazine. Nehalems Muhuli is a solid, smooth bodied horse whose legs are clean and sound following his years of racing.
"I really enjoy the racing.", says Marjorie. "The showing was becoming so fake. The horses are made to travel so slow these days or like an American Saddlebred, and they hold their head in an unnatural position. It just doesn't seem right."
Fred Ball has raced other horses for Marjorie including the phenomenal Vals Starburst (Nehalems Muhuli x Valentine Dream). Vals Starburst began racing as a three-year-old, and has since won 24 races and close to $100,000. In 1997 as a 12-year-old he set a track record for one mile in 1:51.40 at Playfair in Spokane, Washington. Vals Starburst is still sound and his legs are clean, which says a lot after nine years of racing on the track. When asked what was the greatest horse she ever bred, there is no hesitation when she replies "Vals Starburst."
The cross of Nehalems Muhuli and the mare Valentine Dream 106980 (*Exelsjor x Muletta), has proven very successful for Van Gilder Arabians. The 1989 grey racing gelding, Vals Firehawk was sold and exported to Arabia. The nick also produced the race winner Vals BL Striker, as well as two hopefuls destined for racing, Vals Star Trek and Vals Stardancer.
Mackies Image 363727 is another excellent representative of the Van Gilder breeding. Mackie is also bright chestnut with four socks and a blaze, sired by Abu Malacar (Muhuli x Bint Ghamil) and out of Bayetta (Bayzi x Muletta), all home-bred horses. Mackie raced successfully and his foals are just now beginning to race. Mackie currently stands at Canyonside Arabians in Redmond, Oregon. for Robbi Pruitt.
In 1997 Jim Bumgardner raced Mackies Emerald, a 3-year-old daughter of Mackies Image out of Mescca Sultana, she placed eighth in the Daughters of the Desert Futurity. Faylicia (Abu Malacar x Faylia) was 1997 Champion Race Mare in Washington. and she is now at Turf Paradise in Arizona being trained by Jerry Partin. Partin has trained racehorses for Marjorie for several years.
While racing her Arabians, Marjorie's horses have earned honors with the WSAHRA and the Arabian Racing Assoc. of Oregon (ARAO), and she has been Leading Owner several times. Though the focus has turned to producing horses that can race, she has retained the Abu Farwa and CMK lines that have proven to be so athletic and versatile. That versatility allows her to produce horses that can succeed anywhere.
FV Stoic 314726, also stands at Van Gilder Arabians. Stoic is a sturdy Farlane son out of the Muhuli daughter, Muferra. Muferra is the dam of endurance champion and AERC Hall of Fame gelding, RT Muffin. Marjorie owns FV Stoic jointly with his breeder, David Ward, a partnership that began in 1979 when he bought a mare from her. The 14 year old chestnut stallion lives on the Wasco farm. "He's very sweet and gentle. People love his babies." FV Stoic sustained a bad fall at six, putting an end to a competitive future. "He was shown in open shows and placed well as a three and four year-old." Unfortunately he suffered a serious injury from a freak accident during this past winter, he is doing well now and the Van Gilders hope for a full recovery for this admirable stallion.
Few breeders can claim a high rate of success in both the show ring and the race track, but Marjorie has added yet another feather in her cap as her horses have also achieved success in endurance riding. Bujimra (Muhuli x Chacota) won rides for both owners Linda Tribby and Geri Brooks, winning the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) Pioneer division in 1990 for Brooks, and later earning his AERC 3000 Mile Award while owned by Al and Karen Paulo. Saber Jet (Aur Shibui x Bayetta) won some rides before a serious injury put a stop to his career. In 1997, the bay gelding, Glorys Khalil (Sarat Thani x Zbruats Glorianna) qualified for the prestigious Federation Equestrienne Internationale (FEI) approved Pan American 100 Mile Endurance Championship held near Bend, Oregon through the volcanic formations of Newberry Crater. This event featured horses from the United States and Canada, with riders from seven countries. Glorys Khalil and his owner/rider Len Fox of British Columbia finished an impressive third place in 9 hours and 58 minutes, earning an individual Bronze Medal. Their team, Canada West, earned the Gold Medal! Marjorie has sold several prospects for endurance this past year so we should be seeing more of them on the trail.
Amazingly, while breeding horses and raising a family, Marjorie was also a 4-H Club leader for 25 years in Wasco, Oregon. She was also presented a special award from the Arabian Horse Breeders of Oregon (AHBAO) for being the only person to attend their show for 41 consecutive years! During that time, Van Gilder horses were out of the ribbons only once!
Some changes were made at Van Gilder Arabians in 1994 when their daughter, Dee Van Gilder, joined the ranch. Dee foals out the broodmares and does a lot of the training, taking some of the load off of Marjorie. Dee was lucky enough to get away from the farm to ride Mujahli (Argonaut x MV Fashionette), a five-year-old gelding who is also a race winner, at the 1997 Bandit Springs Endurance Ride. The endurance circuit will see more of Mujahli as he was sold to a rider in California.
Marjorie still does a little showing, getting her horses out where people can appreciate them. Sadie M (Nehalems Muhuli x Faleh Dream) won a Gold Medal at the Crabbet Arabian Horse Assoc. of Oregon (CAHAO) show in August 1997.
Marjorie credits some of their success to the fact that the horses mature outside. "They have room to run and develop on the hills. They learn how to handle themselves and watch where they are going. When people come to look at horses they appreciate the fact that the horses are out. They know it makes a better horse."
It is obvious that these horses are not only athletic and versatile, but they are gentle too. "They are great family horses. Kids can ride just about any of them."
The horses are well fed and taken care of. The babies are brought in the barn at night. "We have cougars in the hills so we don't want to leave the foals out at night.", says Dee. "We handle the babies a lot and they are all gentle and easy to work with."
When one looks at Marjorie's horses you can't help but notice some common denominators, besides the fact that most are chestnut with lots of chrome, these horses all have nice long hips, good shoulders, deep heartgirths and great legs. They are consistently well proportioned, balanced horses and it is no wonder that they can compete in diverse activities and remain sound.
A peek into the spring of 1998 reveals twenty mares expecting foals for the largest foal crop ever at Van Gilder Arabians. "That's really too many," says Marjorie, "but I have all these great CMK mares that I want foals from." Those mares that she refers to carry some rare and sought after breeding that will undoubtedly produce more outstanding horses. Also in 1998 Marjorie will introduce a new acquisition, a race winning *Wiking stallion, Going Steady AH 459738, out of *Gonina by Aladdin, that she purchased at a sale in November of 1997. "We don't even have him home yet and we're already getting phone calls from people who want to breed to him.", says Dee. *Wiking is a renowned Polish racehorse whose sons and daughters have raced extremely well. "I'll still breed my CMK stock," says Marjorie, "but I have a couple mares that I want to breed to this horse."
Marjorie adds "I want everyone to know that without the dear man I married none of my dreams would have come true. When we married I said, "Love me, love my horses!" At the time I only had 3! He rode with me, helped me in everyway, building fences, barns, and helping when I needed it. Last but most important is our faith in God and Jesus Christ that has sustained us all through the years, letting us use the things on this earth, and giving us the beautiful horses we now have."
"Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish work abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine." Ephesians 3:20-21.
The work for continued success in 1998 has already begun. The bay mare, MV Briar Rose has officially started the foaling season with the birth of a chestnut colt by Mackies Image on March 6, 1998. "He's a big, strong colt," Dee said, "He didn't waste any time getting up to run around." And the chestnut mare, Faylicia, won her first race of the year at Turf Paradise.
The Van Gilder family welcome visitors, requesting that you make an appointment so they have the time to show you around. There is so much to see. And one can learn a lot from a visit with Marjorie Van Gilder.