May 27, 2018

Celebrating Miso, the Arabian Horse, at 33!



Celebrating Miso, the Arabian Horse, at 33!

Miso and Sharon O’Halloran competing in a hunt club event in California.

Since finding the perfect Topanga home for herself and her horses in 1978, Sharon O’Halloran (Hettig), 71, is celebrating a milestone, but not her own.

More important is her beloved snow-white Arabian gelding, Miso, who turned 33 on February 26; he is the last of her three horses.

Miso is a nickname for his registered name, Meissen, like the pure white porcelain, and has been her faithful companion for 30 years.


Celebrating Miso, the Arabian Horse, at 33!

Miso and Sharon at home in his large corral area. She feeds him carrots in the morning and evening; nutritional supplements and sometimes a nice hot bran mash.

O’Halloran is known in the Canyon for her win in the first Topanga 10-K race in 1978 and had often been seen riding her horse and ponying one or two others, sometimes getting in trouble with the rangers for not having them on a lead rope. They were good times.

She is facing the most difficult decision every pet owner eventually has to make.

“Miso is living on borrowed time now. Every day with him is a gift,” O’Halloran said. “If Miso goes down and can’t get up, I am not going to force him to live.”

O’Halloran’s first horse, Lovey, passed in 1997 at 29, and Zippy, Lovey’s son, only lived to be eight years old. Mariah, Lovey’s mother, was called Queen B and lived in Topanga with Miso until she died in 2010 at the age of 27.

“Riding Mariah was like riding in a Cadillac; at only 14.1 hands, Miso is like riding in a Porsche with a short stride and high trot,” she said.

Throughout his competitive career, O’Halloran said Miso competed in at least ten 25- and 50-mile endurance rides, earned ribbons and awards in 10- and 50-mile races, competed in the 100-mile Tevis cup in Squaw Valley, CA, and won the California Race Meet Award in 1992 with all the California Hunt Clubs.


Celebrating Miso, the Arabian Horse, at 33!

Sisters Jovi Bourgeois, 8 and Kiona Bourgeois 10 with Miso after attending school at Topanga Elementary. They come over everyday to feed him treats and brush his coat.

Sharon and Miso also competed in 40-mile Ride and Tie events all over California, placing second in Truckee, CA, in addition to competing in the Ride and Tie Triple Crown in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Sharon said that horses have been her life since moving to Topanga.

“I worked for 35 years as manager of an escrow company, married in 1979, and got my first horse, Lovey, in 1975 with my life savings of $3,500,” she said. “I have Fox Hunted in Ireland but Miso has only been as far as Oregon.”

O’Halloran recounts many adventures with Miso and his mother, Mariah.

“He is a remarkable, strong guy who has survived life’s ups and downs,” she said. “He was evacuated [with Mariah] in 1993 during the fire; I did not let them take my horses and others away, we sheltered in place at the State Park parking lot for an hour.”


Celebrating Miso, the Arabian Horse, at 33!

The sisters helped Miso celebrate his birthday on Feb. 26 with balloons and carrot treats.They also painted his hoofs and even braided his tail!

O’Halloran credits Miso’s long life to good genetics and tender, loving care.

“I do everything myself, he eats very well, carrots in the morning and evening, bran, rice bran and senior advantage food. He still has all of his teeth, so he can chew.”

Miso also gets vitamin supplements and an anti-inflammatory.

“He gets a lot of love and attention,” she said. “He wears a blanket every night. He has a lot of fat on him, he doesn’t look 33; he looks about 15.”

Saying she won’t get another horse after Miso, O’Halloran lives each day as it comes with her beloved horse.

“He could live another three years, three months, or three hours,” she said. “The oldest Arabian is something like 36 or 38; he is pretty amazing for his age; he has the personality of a big dog and doesn’t have a mean streak in his body.

“Miso never did a thing wrong, he just likes to go and be a horse. I am blessed to have him.”