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  My name is Helena Karlsson I was born in Svärdsjö, a small village 25 km northeast of Falun in Sweden. I think I was born loving horses, my father had heavy draught horses until I was 25 years old and I learned to ride and drive with those horses. I began taking riding lessons when I was 5 and got my first horse, Salome, when I was 11.  
     
   
  I and my father's horse Prins A more recent picture...  
     
 

My aunt had to find someone to take care of her horse, Salome. A girl had leased her but didn't want to renew the lease and my aunt had a little baby and no time for a horse as well. Since the mare was old the other option was to put her down. Suddenly I had a horse! She was a cross between Arabian and Northswedish Working horse. The funny thing was that everyone thought she was pure something but couldn't pinpoint what so she certainly was a well-made horse.

One of the persons that made my parents agree to this was my friend Marie. She rented our neighbour's stable and I had been around there and helped out ever since she moved in with her horses Natasja x and Chiqui x perhaps 2-3 years before I got Salome. That way I learned how you take care of a horse on a daily basis. Also, her horses would make good company for Salome. It was through Marie that Nellie came in to my life. She is another Halfarabian but out of a Swedish warmblood mare.

 
   
   
  Savannah Salome  
   
  Marie bought Nellie when she was a little filly and owned her until she was put down a few years ago. Nellie began to teach me about the training of young horses and as always Marie was an excellent tutor of both the horse and me. Marie's horses and Salome were my first close contacts with Arabian-related horses but there were also some ponies at the riding school that were Halfarabians. I was a bit like many horse people in Sweden considering Arabians a little crazy (even though I loved the Partbreds I had met! Really weird...). Finally, in 1984, I got arabitis. The major horse magazine in Sweden, Ridsport, had a large winter issue with many stallion ads. One ad was for the stud farm Beit el Kheil (today called Salex) and the stallion was Etnograf, by Engano out of Etna. I was amazed that a horse could be so beautiful. There was a 3 generation pedigree next to the picture and that got me started on pedigrees. I still love the Etna descendants and it is my dream to own a horse of that line someday. The pedigree research has just continued since then. I try to help if anyone has questions about bloodlines but it can take some time. The day only has 24 hours...  
     
   
  Nellie and I Salome and I  
     
 

When I had had Salome for about a year her bad leg got worse. The vet said that she could manage just being at pasture but riding was out of the question. I cried a lot, decided that she would be allowed to live as long as she didn't suffer and started looking for another horse. We found Savannah (no name at the time) and it wasn't my most enlightened decision to buy her but it was done with my heart. She was a tiny filly, born outdoors and never handled at all. When we first saw her she came up to me, put her small muzzle to my cheek for ten seconds and then ran of. I lost my heart in those ten seconds... and she will always have a piece of it. I named her for the yellow plains of Africa, the savanna. What wasn't so fortunate and cute is that she was weaned too early (not my doing) so she didn't get all the nutrition she needed. To make it worse she managed to jump over her box-stall door when she was 6 months old. This generated the injury which would eventually force me to put her down.

When Salome had been retired for a year her pain got worse and she was put down. It was sad but she had had a good full life and spent her last year treating Savannah as the foal she never had. She really adopted her and it was wonderful to see them together. The neighbours around our pasture actually thought Savannah was her foal! When I had studied in Uppsala for 6 months my beloved Savannah was put down. She had had a diffuse lameness coming and going and we had been to many veterinarians that didn't find anything. Finally, it was found that her hind legs had been damaged by her jump as a foal and had progressively gotten worse until it showed on x-ray. I would have done anything to have found this out earlier. When she died a part of me died as well. She was 8 years old at the time. I didn't buy another horse since I was studying and didn't have the time nor the money.

 
     
   
  Danne and I Fazushka and I in 2003. Photo 2003 Iota  
     
 

In Sweden we do a mandatory work experience when we are 14 and 15 years old. My first week at 14 yrs was at a stud farm outside Falun, Wilkesbacka. Some of you may have heard of it... *lol* They bred among other fine horses the mare *Edjora, dam of Kajora and granddam of Gazal al Shaqab. When I was 15 I spent two weeks at Slängsboda and the Wale family. It was just before we brought Savannah home and there I got to work with young horses and it was great as a preparation for my own little filly. I'm still very grateful to Lolo Wale and her family for making this experience possible for me. This is also when I began to take photography more seriously and began visiting stud farms and shows. I still love Mystika, the mare I rode at Slängsboda. She is by *Algomej out of Minerva.

When Savannah was 1 1/2 year I studied for one year at an Agricultural school. When I wasn't accepted for a course I wanted to take I studied Science instead to meet the requirements for University studies (I majored in Geology at Uppsala University). When I studied science I met Iota whose Arabian mare Fazushka I showed at halter. I had never shown an Arabian but I had shown Savannah twice so I wasn't completely inexperienced. We placed third out of ten entries so I can't have hindered her too much! I showed her again in 2003 at the Swedish Nationals. We didn't place but she got 84,25 pts so Iota and I were pleased anyway.

 
     
   
  I and Karnawal in the summer of 2002. Photo 2002 Sofia Hansson  
     
  In the future I hope to get an Arabian mare (at least one!) and continue filming. I will of course also continue working on my website with more articles.