Meets Stars at The Young Black Stallion Film Debut
Priority One (Pharoah Marekh x Ruala Fay Haliya) is a country horse
that lives outdoors at Stone Image Arabians in Canajoharie, New
York. But on December 7, 2003, he turned into a city horse, walking
calmly beside his owner Joan Stone down the crowded streets of Broadway
to a premiere showing of The Young Black Stallion at Lowes Theatre
in New York City. Under the marquee outside the theatre, he hobnobbed
with film producer Fred Roos, Roos' long-time friend and collaborator
Francis Ford Coppola, director Simon Wincer and star Biana Tamini.
prequel to the 1979 original classic, The Black Stallion, the film
features dozens of Arabian horses, including the star, Thee Cyclone
(Thee Desperado x The Minuet). The film opened in select IMAX theatres
nationwide last December 25 after Walt Disney Pictures, in co-promotion
with the Arabian Horse Association, represented the movie at the
AHA Community booth at the U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian
National Championship Show on October 16-25, 2003.
the film's Christmas debut, Arabian horses have appeared at debut
performances across the country, but Priority One was the first
black Arabian stallion to make a personal appearance on behalf of
the film. Stone was thawing out a Thanksgiving turkey when Disney
representative Jonathan Rollo called to offer her a trip to New
York City to attend the film's premiere with her black Arabian stallion.
"I was in shock," says Stone.
the short notice and a major snowstorm the night before, Stone and
her husband Cliff were on the road by 6 a.m.
it was bitterly cold on the ride down, the Stones blanketed Priority.
"We prefer to have him at home so he doesn't go to shows. He
lives in his pasture instead of a stall, so it was the first time
he wore a blanket," says Stone. More than five hours later
they unloaded the stallion at the Claremont Riding Academy on 89th
Street, two blocks from Central Park, where he rested until his
academy is several stories high with a riding arena on the second
floor and the stables on top so Priority had to walk up ramps,"
says Stone. "At first he hesitated but then he walked right
few hours later the Stones loaded him back in the trailer, parked
on Broadway, and unloaded him half a block from the theatre. "People
were right on his tail, but he took in all in stride," says
8-year-old straight Egyptian stallion stood under the marquee on
a cordoned off area where cast members took turns getting their
pictures taken with him. "He's the understudy," Stone
joked when people asked if he was the "real Black Stallion."
would have been just as happy to enter the theatre where the cast
party was being held. "He has an 'in-your-tent personality,'
says Stone. "I know that if I opened the door to my
house he would walk right in." However New York City health
regulations forbade allowing him inside. So Priority hung outside
with the stars for almost two hours.
was a great opportunity to show the public how wonderful the Arabian
horse is," says Stone. "I remember that Simon Wincer,
the director, was very impressed with his temperament and commented
on how quiet and well behaved he acted."
sweet temperament was one of the main reasons Stone and her husband
purchased him as a foal. "Little kids can go right in his pasture
where he lives with two mares and their babies and feed him treats.
In fact on our website (www.stoneimagearabians.com), we have a pictures
of two girls lying next to him watching him eat grass," says
gentle nature was put to the test when Stone took him to the Eastern
States Equine Affaire in West Springfield, Massachusetts in 2000.
This was the first time he had been exposed to crowds of people.
The all-breed expo needed a representative from the Arabian breed
and Stone wanted Priority to be in Fantasia, the demonstration part
that takes place in the coliseum. So when Stone was asked if her
horse drove, she said yes.
bought a cart and harness and 30 days later we drove him in the
Fantasia," says Stone. "He did great with just Cliff and
me training him. Arabians are quick learners."
other test came when Stone was showing him off to a group of people
at the demo booth in the breed building. "I felt him tug on
the lead, and when I looked over I was horrified to see a little
girl had wrapped her arms and legs around his front legs. But then
I realized that all he wanted to do was let her kiss him, so I cued
him to duck down. She immediately wrapped her arms around his face
and he didn't lift his head until she unwrapped her arms."
gentle nature fit right in with the Stone's breeding philosophy.
For more than 20 years they have been "promoting the Arabian
as a loving family horse who also happens to be breathtakingly beautiful,
and can perform most anything asked," says Stone.
ability to handle the hustle and bustle of Broadway and photograph
sessions with Hollywood stars isn't all that unusual--it something
that has been bred into him for centuries. "The Arabian is
so intelligent and people loving that once they know what you want,
they will do anything for you," says Stone.
is a 40,000 member equine association that registers and maintains
a database of more then one million Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian
horses. It administers more than $4 million in annual prize money,
produces national events, maintains official event records, recognizes
more than 400 Arabian horse shows and distance rides and provides
activities and programs that promote breeding and ownership. For
information about Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses,
call 303-696-4500, e-mail info@ArabianHorses.org or visit www.ArabianHorses.org.