A Tribute to Carol Lyons
Occasionally a person touches your life in ways more profound than you realize
until their passing. So it was with Carol Lyons. Without even having met her in
person, she affected me as she did countless others with her unending patience,
willingness to share her vast knowledge, and the legacy she has left. Her name
will never be forgotten nor will her great and gentle spirit. I am posting the
tribute that was presented to her at the Al Khamsa meeting on August 7 of this
year in Denver, Colorado. Thank you Carol. We will miss you.
Carol Lyons is
Al Khamsa's Best Friend
Way back at the beginning of time for
the world of Arabian horses (which was 1975) a group of Arabian Horse breeders
felt the need of an organization to support preservation breeding of Arabian
horses. After a few preliminary moves, the organization Al Khamsa came into
being. One of its key founding and continuing sponsors is Carol Lyons. No one
has worked more faithfully or with more wisdom and good will for this
organization. Without the contributions of Carol Lyons, Al Khamsa would not
exist today in a form that those of us here could recognize or perhaps honor.
Carol was present and essential at the start of Al Khamsa. In those days, ideas
needed to be worked out, meetings needed to be held, projects such as the first
Al Khamsa Directory needed to be worked on, beginners needed to be educated.
Later there were legal matters to consider, publicity to be organized. Carol was
a strong participant in all such projects. She was one of our long-term
presidents. During her time in office, Al Khamsa was in a transitional phase.
The issues that came up were not always pleasant, but she handled them by
finding paths between opposing camps. That was not easy. There was shouting and
threats. Maybe everyone did not get what he or she wanted, but no one was hurt,
and Al Khamsa remained true to its goals. During Carol's term in office, Al
Khamsa's first major book, Al Khamsa Arabians, was published. She shepherded
that thing through the process of preparation with the result that Al Khamsa was
established as a first-class research organization.
Carol has had the gift of educating newcomers about Al Khamsa affairs. She has
moved her residence several times and it seems that each new home has ended up
with a circle of Al Khamsa friends who become their own Al Khamsa community. Her
leadership is easy and especially effective around a kitchen table where her
wisdom, quietness, technical knowledge of Arabian horses and dedication to
long-term goals in Arabian breeding set the tone of discussion.
Carol's dedication to Al Khamsa as an organization grows out of her personal
commitment to Al Khamsa Arabian horses. She is best known for her activity with
Davenport lines, but she has also been successful with Egyptian lines, with Blue
Star lines, with the Sharp breeding program (which she invented) and in breeding
and promoting a number of mixed source lines. Her 100% Davenport breeding has
used a spectrum of Davenport sources. She has had a major influence in
emphasizing the Asara influence among these horses, and she is presently making
a major contribution to core-Haifi Davenport breeding, but not as a matter of
sacrificing what she has accomplished with other lines.
One of Carol's major accomplishments as a breeder of Arabian horses has been the
starting of new breeders. They begin with excellent horses in combination with
enough education about Arabians to enable them to use their new horses
Carol is a believer in having horses that perform. Her horses have been
successful in a variety of equine disciplines, including dressage, reining,
pleasure riding. Until health problems interfered, she was a frequent and active
Carol's accomplishments in Al Khamsa and Arabian breeding are great and would be
a credit to any Arabian horseman, no matter how publicly prominent. Among the
Davenport breeders, she is one of the great ones. For old timers in Al Khamsa,
to have known her for many years is one of the privileges of the organization.
For newcomers, well, you are fortunate for whatever contacts you have had with
her. They contain an example, and how long Al Khamsa will continue depends
partly on how many of you can follow her footsteps in your own ways. Without Al
Khamsa, Carol would still have been a great person and a noted breeder of
Arabian horses, but because she participated in Al Khamsa, she was furnished a
framework for horse activity that multiplied her influence in the Arabian horse
universe. This function of empowering people to give their best to Arabian
horses is the greatest gift of Al Khamsa.
Thank you, Carol, for showing us how it is used.
Written by Charles Craver and read
by Jeanne Craver
Al Khamsa 2004 Annual Banquet
Stockman's Club, Denver
August 7, 2004
(In Memory Index)