China’s official name was Buck Mountain China. She was born on a ranch named Buck Mountain in Alberta, Canada. In 1997 she was one of four horses that the Olczaks purchased at the first American Bashkir Curly auction ever held in the world. She was eleven months pregnant and due to foal any day. They literally “prayed” her home. Within days of arrival at Mystic Mountain China gave birth to a big beautiful straight haired colt. As a weanling, this colt went on to win a blue ribbon in an open class at the 4-H State Horse Show.
China and Mariah were hauled to New Jersey to be bred to a gorgeous pinto Curly stallion in hopes of getting a pinto filly from one or both of the mares. Instead they ended up with a matching pair of bay colts and two mares that became best friends for life.
China was always kind of shy, but she loved attention from kids. Every summer she would patiently stand and let any number of children learn how to halter, or groom, or lead her.
In the spring of 2009 China came down with a serious breathing problem called heaves. It is like asthma in people. On a scale of 1-10, China was a 12. It was serious. Our vet recommended steroids. They sort of worked, but she was still struggling to breathe and eat. We tried every medicine and natural product that promised any sign of hope. When winter came we fenced off a separate area for China and Mariah so that they could be together and still have access to the barn. Mariah never left her side. Winter was a good time and her breathing improved and she gained back all of her lost weight. But the heaves returned with vengeance when summer came. Nothing we tried worked for her. Finally it was just too hard for her heart to work on limited oxygen, and she peacefully passed away one summer day between weeks of camp. She is buried under her favorite tree in the pasture.