by Denise Hearst
Inside the hushed rooms of Lenita’s discreet and lovely stucco house, filled with artifacts of a rich and interesting life, there was an air of mystery. Family mementos, portraits of ancestors framed in silver, an easel in the corner with a painting of Ali Jamaal in progress … here lived an artist — intriguing, warm, and quietly funny.
The enchanting property on which Lenita built Haras Meia Lua was only slightly tamed. A canopy of vines brushed the top of the car as we drove into the portico. It was my first visit to Brazil more than 25 years ago. I will never forget it.
A restless sleep. The heat. The mosquitoes. The painting on the ceiling of a woman and an Arabian stallion in a night sky … I could hardly contain my excitement at being there, and the anticipation of the horses we would see tomorrow.
The next morning, we walked down the red clay pathway to the barn. Ah! Him! Ali Jamaal now had an untamed look about him… as though he, too, had become part of this evocative landscape. He was a perfect fit. And so were the mares that Lenita sought for him with such focus and clarity. I never met anyone quite like her.
Those mares grazed vast and hilly pastures in Sorocaba. We sat there on a hillside one afternoon … Jullye El Ludjin and her daughters grazing nearby. Beauty all around — the vegetation, the birds, the sky, the horses.
I tried to keep the tears at bay, so overcome with emotion was I. There was simply too much beauty to absorb, and I was unable to fathom what this singular woman had accomplished through the power of her instincts and the force of her calling.
Lenita smiled that enigmatic smile of hers, and asked, “Do you like them?” For once, I could not speak.
I will leave it for others, in a future issue, to describe the impact that Lenita’s Haras Meia Lua has had on the world of Arabian horse breeding.
For now, maybe it’s enough to recall her words …
“It is as when I look at the wonders of nature, like when the summer arrives, with the rainstorms and thunder, when the grass becomes so green and the sun so hot — the marvels and the forces of nature — Jamaal has become like this to me. Now I see that nature does not copy its masterpieces. Still, I did not expect so much — it has exceeded my wildest dreams.”
And you, dear Lenita, exceeded ours.