(Page 2)


By Mary Jane Parkinson


Deedie Chauncey remembers the days prior to the auction and the day itself: "Tom had been a *Naborr fan since 1963 and asked me what I thought about buying him. I, of course, thought it would be wonderful, and we speculated about the price. Tom guessed about $40,000, and I thought that's an awful lot of money. He decided to bid up to that amount. So we were sitting in the bleachers in the sale tent and the bidding went past $40,000 very quickly. When it went to $140,000, Tom turned to me and said, 'What do you think? Should I keep bidding?' and I almost fell out of the bleachers. I had no idea he was still bidding. Several syndicates were bidding, and the members were having little meetings, but they dropped out, one by one, and Tom got him. My first thoughts when that gavel dropped were 'Oh, my God, where are we going to put him?' At that time we didn't even have a decent barn! Our whole operation was at Mayer, Arizona. A beautiful ranch, but nothing to house a valuable stallion. So Tom went to Gene LaCroix and asked if he would keep him until we got organized. So *Naborr went straight to Lasma where he got steamed bran as he did in Poland and was cared for by a Lasma employee who had known him in Poland. And the LaCroixes were thrilled to have him."

Before the McCormick auction, Tom Chauncey had visited with his friend Wayne Newton about buying *Naborr. The Chaunceys had known Newton since he was about 11 years old--the days when he and his brother Jerry were singing and playing banjos at supermarket openings. Later, the two appeared on Chauncey's television stations, and the friendship developed. Pre-auction, Wayne had agreed to go partners on *Naborr at the $40,000 price; however, at $150,000 Tom Chauncey figured he'd lost a potential partner. But post-auction, *Naborr and the partnership still looked good to Newton, and he became half-owner. The Chaunceys had sold a portion of the Mayer ranch to Wayne where he built a beautiful barn, and *Naborr was moved there from Lasma.

At this time, the Chaunceys had three mares and several Half-Arabians, a part of the working cattle ranch at Mayer. Deedie had her daydreams about becoming an Arabian breeder and wasted no time using *Naborr as a sire. She chose Bint Kholameh (Adibiyez x Kholameh), bred by her father Philip K. Wrigley at the family's El Rancho Escondido on Catalina Island, to go to *Naborr for his first Chauncey-bred foal. (A grey colt was foaled in October 1970; more about him later.)

Now the Chaunceys followed the traditional pattern: buy that special Arabian, acquire more Arabians, and become Arabian breeders. The "more" was easy. Deedie and her daughter Misdee went horse shopping on Catalina Island where they selected six mares. Others were added, and Tom Chauncey Arabians was founded.

By 1971, the Chaunceys had built horse facilities on raw land on North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, and *Naborr was moved there. The following year, Wayne Newton decided to relocate his Arabian breeding operation close to Las Vegas where he spent most of his time as an entertainer, and the Chaunceys were able to buy back Wayne's interest in *Naborr. Wayne's zooming career in show business boosted the *Naborr image during the time he was part owner. Wayne was called "the ambassador of the Arabian breed" and he talked about Arabian horses at every opportunity--in his shows, on television, and in special appearances. Wayne took *Naborr to the 1970 Nationals at Oklahoma City, where he was presented as one of the ten Living Legend Stallions, and where he was seen and admired by thousands.

*NABORR BECAME the celebrity-in-residence at Tom Chauncey Arabians, and his fans arrived in droves. He had been relatively unaccessible at the McCormick Ranch and off the path at Mayer, and persons who had never seen him in person wanted that long satisfying look. Before, during, and after the Scottsdale show was the time of heaviest traffic, and Deedie finally restricted the times. "I had it announced at the show that *Naborr would be shown only twice a day, because that poor horse was being pulled out of his stall from eight in the morning until 11 at night. There were people who didn't want to breed, couldn't afford to breed, maybe didn't even have a horse, but it was very important to them to see *Naborr in the flesh." *Naborr put up with the hordes, probably even liked them. He stood quietly letting people touch him and pat him, and was very responsive to a camera. Deedie recalls one lady who very plaintively asked if she might have a hair from *Naborr's tail for her daughter who could not be there. "I said, 'Of course, you may, and pulled the hair for her and put it in an envelope so she could mail it."

*Naborr settled into a comfortable routine with the Chaunceys. After breakfast, he was turned out into his paddock from about 7:30 to 11:00 and then he'd go back into his stall. In the afternoon, he took a nap. He didn't lie down, but stood with his head in the corner of the stall and slept for two hours each day. "And nobody better disturb him," Deedie says."I mean, he was grumpy. That was his time. At first, when visitors came, we'd wake him up and bring him out, but I finally realized it was not good for *Naborr or anyone else. It's like waking your husband up from a nap when there's company. A definite no-no. So I just started telling people *Naborr would be up from his nap later and they were welcome to come back in late afternoon. That's the way he was. He ran me. He ran the whole ranch."

Smokey Brazelton, who worked at Lasma before he came to the Chauncey ranch, took *Naborr for a walk around the ranch each day. And when Tom Chauncey came home in the evening, the two had their time alone. Tom had considered *Naborr perfect the first time he saw him, just shortly after his arrival at the McCormick Ranch, and he never revised his opinion. To Tom, *Naborr only became "more perfect." *Naborr knew the sound of Tom's car and his footstep and always greeted him with a special low chortle reserved for their conversations. Tom brought him carrots each evening, and they had their private talks--high quality moments for both of them.


Deedie's office at the ranch adjoined *Naborr's stall, and as she finished up ranch paperwork late at night, she could hear his every move. He was the last horse to whom she said her good nights at the end of the day. Deedie says, "I like to think he liked me a lot. He was very charismatic, of course, but also a little aloof. He wasn't the kind of horse who nuzzled you, but he would turn his head and he loved to be scratched. *Naborr was authoritative. There was no bluff about him. He was always totally honest, and you never had to guess what he was thinking. I was always in awe of him, a kind of mixed feeling of reverence, fear, and wonder. I also know he had a sense of humor; he would turn and roll his eyes at me to see if I really got the joke."

Deedie Chauncey has shared several stories of *Naborr's days at Tom Chauncey Arabians: "One day, I was out tending my little vegetable and flower garden at the ranch when all of a sudden I heard this frantic "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" from Smokey and a clatter of hooves, and *Naborr flew around the corner of the barn and headed out toward the pastures, Smokey hot on his heels. I had visions of *Naborr making a right turn onto Scottsdale Road, and that would be all she wrote. Fortunately, every mare in the pasture threw up her tail and galloped over to the fence, and a couple of them were in heat. Well, you know *Naborr screeched to a stop, and we caught him.

"Another time Smokey took *Naborr out for his daily walk, came back, and was holding him while he grazed around the stables. I was in my office and when Smokey called, 'Quick! Help! Come quick,' I went running out and there was *Naborr with the biggest gila monster I have ever ever seen attached to his halter. They are poisonous, and when a gila monster is attached, it's attached; there's no letting go. Smokey was as pale as a ghost, and we were both just terrified. *Naborr was absolutely cool as a cucumber. I ran into the barn, got another halter, and put it around *Naborr's neck, farther back, and told Smokey to unbuckle *Naborr's halter and just let it fall to the ground. Which he did and we got the other halter on him. *Naborr never turned a hair.

"WHEN WE FIRST got to the ranch, we used to breed out in the dirt in front of God and everybody, and I thought *Naborr, of all sires, deserved a breeding barn. I finally got it built, and I'll never forget the first day we used it. First, some background: We had an old brown--not bay but just uninteresting brown--mare who had had some good foals by *Naborr. She was dull, totally nondescript, but she turned *Naborr on more than any other mare he ever had, and she was the only mare he was ever truly in love with. When we went on A.I. and needed a collection mare, I combed the country and finally found a mare that looked like her. She had absolutely no libido, but I always hobbled her, just in case. So the day we were to use the new barn for the first time, 'Brownie' was in place. I was squatted down, putting the hobbles on her, and Doug McVicker was leading *Naborr in. All of a sudden Doug yelled at me, 'Mrs. C., look out! Look out!' With Brownie in his own breeding barn, *Naborr just went wild. I looked up and all I could see was this giant white apparition *Naborr on his hind legs, lunging toward Brownie. And me. I rolled out of the way, and everything was okay, but I was so scared I shook for an hour. When I asked Dr. Hancock what in God's name had gotten into *Naborr, always the gentle breeder, the only thing he could think of was that it was his first time in the breeding barn and he became the stereotypical old man getting into a hotel room."

Deedie remembers *Naborr never had to prove himself to the other Chauncey stallions or mares. The other stallions challenged each other, but never *Naborr, and passed his stall with a sense of deference. When they walked past the mare pastures, they puffed themselves up, whinnied, and bellowed, an exercise which usually attracted only the mares in season. *Naborr, in contrast, was calm, regal, and powerful without any great macho display, and every mare raised her head from grazing.

*Naborr seldom left the Chauncey ranch, a condition he liked and saw no reason to change. In 1975, Tom Chauncey promised Hal and Arlyne Clay that he would bring *Naborr to their ranch to be exhibited at the Clays' sale. Everything was ready. A police escort was standing by, the van was set up for *Naborr. But *Naborr wasn't going. No hysteria, no display of temper or bad behavior, just not putting even one hoof into the van. The Chaunceys acknowledged they'd been foiled, and *Naborr was returned to his stall.



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This Page Added 12/2/98. Last Updated 1/5/99.