Varian Arabians

Varian Golden Jubilee Weekend / August 6th, 7th & 8th / 2004


by Judy French

At approximately 10:37 a.m. on Friday, August 6th., in Arroyo Grande, California, I turned to my sister Margaret and said, "I am perfectly happy." How could I feel otherwise?

I was sitting in the stands at Varian Arabians during the Golden Jubilee Weekend, one of the audience listening to Sheila Varian talk about her 50 years breeding the world's most beautiful Arabian horses. The sun was shining, my sister was on one side and my good friend Leonor on the other.We were watching the finest Arabs I had ever seen cavort and run around the presentation ring. Life, at that moment, could not have been more perfect.

That was just the beginning.Over the next couple of days, there were more gorgeous, good-minded horses to behold, clinics given by Bob Hart, Mike Perez, and Sheila, and riding by the incredibly talented Jaime Hernandez, Mr. Hart, and Kelly Elm. All these clinics used Varian horses, and every one of those horses was beautiful and exhibited that useable disposition Sheila talks about.

If that wasn't enough to put me over the top, there was the opportunity to actually get up close and personal with horses I had only seen in magazines, the rock stars of the horse world. Desperado V, *Jullyen El Jamaal , Maclintock V , Bravado Bey V , Hucks Premier V and Hucks Connection V. They possess both the fabulous good looks that you would expect of Varian-bred stallions, but they also have the rare type of charisma, the kind of life force that brings tears to the eyes. They have personality and yet it so so obvious that they have good minds. Oh, and in case I hadn't said it enough, they are Pretty, with a capital "P".

But there's so much more! There were the lovely horses presented for sale. I have jokingly said since that weekend that I should not be allowed back on Varian property until I discover a drug that will render me immune to wanting to buy EVERY SINGLE ONE of the horses that were shown. These were all quality horses capable of going to the show ring or anywhere else a horseman could think of. They were pretty enough to make the audience gasp, and yet kind enough to know that humans were to be trusted. They played with Sheila, and yet showed that they were the powerful, athletic beings we expect them to be. What a combination of gifts.

For the icing on the cake, each day there was a delicious breakfast, marvelous lunches, wine and cheese, and beverages for us lucky attendees. There was even a champagne brunch on Sunday. It was extravagant, but as Sheila said, she's only going to have one 50th anniversary celebration, there ain't going to be another one. I'm rather glad she decided to go all out . Although it did push me over the edge, and sapped my will to resist the allure of these horses, and, and...

Of course, I fell in love with one horse in particular, and try as I might, I could not walk away. During Bob Hart's educational presentation on handsome Maclintock V, I leaned over to my sister and begged her to consider buying his stunning two-year old son, East Wind V (Maclintock x Euforia, by *Eukaliplus), a well-built gelding with a huge stride and a sweet nature. She agreed. Now we have a "V" in our barn, too.

Needless to say, throughout the weekend, Sheila's staff was most professional and wonderful to deal with. Top to bottom, the ranch is run with great care, and it shows. They juggled all the people who came to celebrate Sheila's 50 years in the horse business, and they did it with smiles on their faces. They showed horses, meticulously groomed and prepared, to any who wanted to see them. I will never forget the composure that Angela showed during the presentations, and everywhere on those three days. She is an awesome lady. Jaime, Mike, Stephanie, Cheryl, and Luis helped us with the horses we were interested in, and everyone was warm and friendly.

I have wanted to attend this event for 8 years, and this event more than lived up to my expectations and all the hype. In fact, the Golden Jubilee Weekend was even better than I had imagined, which almost never happens in real life. It was, as a friend of mine use to say, a peak experience, and I hope to repeat it next year. I may never be able to resist the Varian horses, but maybe that is not such a bad thing! I know I will be back for more.

Story courtesy of Judy French

Images thru the cameras of Strother Photography


Sunday night, the perfect ending to a perfect told by Dianne Thomas...

The final treat of the weekend was a Cowboy Music and Poetry concert given in Sheila's honor. Guest were served wine and hors d'oeuvres, and sat on bails of hay in Sheila's private backyard while listening to Dave Stamey, one of the most popular Cowboy singers and songwriters of the day. Cowboy music speaks of the land and of horses, and heroes of the Old West. Some of Dave's songs are very funny and some very touching. The crowd loved then and was snapping up his CD's..


Dick Gibford, working Cowboy and poet, recited his poetry, some of which serves as lyrics for Dave's songs. Between Dave and Dick the audience was laughing and crying and clamoring for more. Dave and Dick are both personal friends of Sheila, so the concert was very special to her.

Sheila said how happy she was to share her Cowboy roots with us. We were all happy to share them and her Golden Jubilee with her. Here's to the next 50 years Varian Arabians. You go, girl!


Cowgirl Hall of Fame <> V: The Legacy of Sheila Varian

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