I journeyed to Abaco Island a few years back and spent a day filming the remaining Abaco Horses. At the time, I had big dreams to do a short documentary about the horses. It seemed a fascinating subject; horses descended from those that came with Columbus, a preserved blood line, a mass slaughter, and now the most endangered breed on the planet. At the time there were 8, they are now down to five. My favorite, Bellatrix, the lovely paint mare has since passed on. I remember reaching out and scratching her sunburned face as she munched away on leaves. I was hoping my film would help her, but I failed her. The footage lies dormant in my computer. I almost forgot it was there. I watch the trailer I did years ago and feel hopeless for their situation. I didn't feel that way when I was there walking among them. I was full of hope, but that slipped away and was replaced with frustration after a disagreement with their caretaker.
We had two lines of thinking that varied enough to cause a riff between Mimi and I. I believed they needed outside help; a program to explore diet, health, genetics to find out why they were dying and not reproducing. I wanted to incorporate the opinions of horse people into the film. Mimi wanted to keep things natural...just clinging to hope that one of the mares would have a foal. She is an amazing woman, so dedicated and passionate about her horses, but she is stubborn and set on what she believes is right. She wants no intervention or help. She is a soldier for those horses, works hard and loves them as family. But her years of working alone, has created one line of thought, with little interest in outside opinions.
The horses have an odd diet, surrounded by poisonous plants. I am not sure what can be done about that. I fear they are eating things that are making them sterile. For me, there is no right or wrong...there are just horses on the brink of extinction. In a blink, I fear they will be gone and we will be left to wonder if there was anything we could have done to stop it.
After our disagreement, the project was shelved. I haven't thought about the Abaco horses in awhile. I am cleaning out my computer and stumbled across the trailer. I get teary when I see Bellatrix look into my camera. She is gone, but I think I owe it to her to finish her film.
kareem tayyar, 'on turning 37'
11 hours ago