Farewell, Hansi

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 17th, 2018 in General

From an Al Khamsa news bulletin:

“The Arabian Horse community worldwide lost a fierce advocate this morning. Hanna Luise Heck-Melnyk, known to all as Hansi, passed away at 11:43am EST, Sunday January 14, 2018, at her farm in Hawthorne, Florida, at the age of 86. Founder of Serenity Arabians, Hansi has been a long time supporter of Al Khamsa, Inc. The summer 2018 issue of the Khamsat will feature Hansi, her breeding program, and her accomplishments.”

Hansi introduced me to western Arabian horse breeding and breeders, and instilled in me the passion of defending asil bloodlines. We met in 1994 and remained friends since. This page is a tribute to Hansi, her horses, her legacy, and her achievements.

6 Responses to “Farewell, Hansi”

  1. As Hansi would say, Edouard: “Hugs!”

  2. From her last message to me, after hurricane Irma in September 2017:

    “Thank you dear edouard, nice to hear from you. i think often of you. I am okay so are my animals. place looks like a war zone with dozens of huge trees down blocking my doors, except one and erything else. these trees have a 3-4 feet diameter, are over 100 years old and it will take heavy equipment to remove them. much of my fences are also gone. had no power and water for 36 hours, but have it partialy now. i am happy that no animal got hurt.

    take care and hugs and my love to your father
    Hansi”

  3. I will miss Hansi for many, many reasons for which there is not enough room here to write. Even a modest tribute to her could fill a book, but I wanted to share just a few memories about the personal side of Hansi.

    She was a great trainer and horsewoman and also loved Arabians and how each of them behaved and thought about the world around them. My first visit with Hansi was at a show in Michigan while she was still in Canada and I told her about seeing her stallion Serenity Osiris who was on lease to Richard V. Since I was so enthusiastic about dressage I told her that he looked like the best dressage type I had ever seen in an Arabian. She just gave that big “cheshire cat” smile and in her deep, warm, Edith Piaff-like voice said “That is what my breeding is all about. Only blood will tell.” Over the years we communicated and discussed respectfully about all sorts of matters of ancestry and pedigrees and horse breeding and she was a continuous fountain of knowledge.

    In 1983 Sharon and I were on Spring break and took a trip down to Florida to see Hansi and by this time Khofo was now 16 years old. He was out in his long run and we went into the stall and Hansi said go into his stall and call him. Khofo turned around and moved in a noble and confronting predator-like long stride and came right up to me and put his face right in mine. He stopped and stared at me and then Hansi said, “the king has acknowledged you as an accepted visitor!” In his eyes I saw the true archetype of Morafic. Of all the sons of Morafic that I had seen, to me Khofo captured the most of his essence with even higher quality. Later we were in the lounge area of the house sitting at the bar having ice tea and while her husband Bill was chatting with us, Hansi slipped outside and brought Khofo into the lounge and up to the bar to be a part of the discussion. It was just wonderful. Khofo was a part of the “tribe” and all of us had a great “majlis”.

    Hansi also had a great sense of humor and was a good sport about my tricks. At an Al Khamsa convention in the mid 1990s, I had brought with me a special package to present to Hansi. About 15 of us were sitting at a big round table visiting with Hansi when I stood up and said that I had a special present to honor Hansi for all her years of hard work and research in publishing her magnificent Straight Egyptian Index in 6 volumes. She opened it and it was a hard bound book exactly matching the cover design of the previous 6 volumes. It was the “7th volume.” On the burgundy cover in gold lettering it said: The Straight Egyptian Index, Volume 7, Progeny of Geldings. She opened it up and every single page was blank! She got a big laugh about that. I can still hear her laughter when we talked about all kinds of things. She always called me “Joey”. Everyone who ever got to know Hansi will have permanent memories to share and we all have certainly benefited from her long life.

  4. I think Hansi was in a league all of her own.  She  was very outgoing and was known in many parts of the horse world.  She was simply unforgettable.  At WAHO conferences, few could forget this short, older blonde speaking  her mind in German, and in German-accented-English. The translators had quite a job.   She made friends easily. (And enemies, too????). She remembered names of people and horses.  Her brain held an encyclopedia.  She was the head master for so many students, including Al Khamsa supporters, about our horses and their heritage.  

  5. Gudrun’s magazine has this tribute for Hansi:
    http://in-the-focus.com/en/2018/01/in-memoriam-hansi-heck-melnyk/

  6. A tribute to Hansi’s breeding program from 2008.
    https://issuu.com/canadianarabiannews/docs/cahn_aug08-2/47

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