The Third Annual ArAbiAn FoAl FestivAl
! n u S e h T n I n u F by THERESA CARDAMONE
Quintessential California sunshine graced the 3rd Annual Arabian Foal Festival at its beautiful new location in Los Olivos, a quaint town within the Arabian-rich Santa Ynez Valley. Having outgrown its old home due to the popularity of the event, this year world-renowned equine veterinarian Doug Herthel and his wife Sue hosted the Foal Festival at their lovely facility.
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With two years under its belt, the Foal Festival has built its foundation for the future. As co-organizer Bart Van Buggenhout said, “The baby is growing up well! Last year, I still had some doubts, but I feel very confident in the growth and future of the program after this year. Passersby stopped in and stayed for some time. Some went to the show office for more information. Greg Gallùn, who with his wife Nancy and show manager Michelle Kelly making up part of the organizing committee, agrees, “Seeing the parking lot overflowing and the attendance at ringside quite active was really gratifying. There was a true feeling of happiness in the air. It reminded me of the era when exhibitor parties were held at our shows, and win or lose, we really were interested in each other’s opinions and take on the show.” The outdoor venue, flowers and friendly atmosphere drew many passersby. Driving past on the rural highway, people noticed and pulled in to check out what was happening … one couple swore that they had been searching for a new home, and the atmosphere at the Foal Festival made them feel as if they had found it. Van Buggenhout explains the draw, “Newcomers are intimidated by big indoor shows. The Foal Festival is in a small arena, with no more than five horses per class and no pressure; it makes it interesting for the audience. They can pick the winner and here, the judges explain their placings. At big shows, with 20-30 horses in a class, it is not understandable to newcomers. New people can only be attracted when they aren’t overwhelmed. Here, there are no big expense issues … it is you and your horse … an entry level show.” Longtime breeder Sigi Siller, who moved her Om El Arab stud farm to the Santa Ynez Valley from Europe, is a huge proponent of the concept. “I definitely believe that grassroots shows like our Foal Festival will stimulate growth in our breed,” she said. “Normal shows have become too expensive and complicated for small breeders to attend,” she continued. “They do not feel like they have a level playing field with the big farms. Also, the small breeder has lost the marketability of the horses they breed. Hopefully, this kind of concept will give our industry a boost for the better.” The first day of the strictly amateur event included in-hand, or halter classes, offered in two divisions, Novice Handler and Amateur Handler. Once a handler accumulates a certain amount of points via wins, they are moved up to the Amateur category to ensure an even playing field for all entries. Horses were also required to be new to showing, with checks in place to make certain that none had a clear advantage. Three excellent judges, Shawn Crews, Lisa Markley and Bill Melendez, did a phenomenal job, going out of their way to be supportive, and attentive to all participants. They gave far more of themselves than a
judge typically does by explaining their rationale for their choices in a true learning environment. Lara Ames has been a horsewoman all her life, and is also the publisher of AHT. She was impressed with what she saw. “I would love to see shows all over the U.S. doing this,” she said. “I feel it really gives the small breeder a chance. This was a great event, where everyone felt equal. Yes, big farms participated, but with amateur handlers. The show awarded a large breeder and a small breeder award to honor both.” Siller gives us insight into how a big farm like Om El Arab participates. “We prepare our horses at home on the farm for the show. They do not have to be sent away to trainers because only real amateurs are showing them.” It is the perfect way to introduce the foals to the outside world. She continues, “They present themselves in a very 100 | A R A BI A N HOR SE T I MES
happy and relaxed manner. No hard stand up is asked from them. In our case, the girl who handles the horses every day and feeds and takes care of them was showing them. You could just see that they loved her and trotted in the most proud and trusting way.” The innovative classes struck a positive chord with Ames also. “I loved the trail in-hand class on Sunday. What a great way for all to feel like they can get a piece of the pie; and $6,500 to first! It was only for geldings, so a great way to showcase them.” That class had novice and amateur divisions for yearlings and two-year olds. In the future, there will be a class for three-year old horses ridden over simple obstacles, such as a bridge or gate to complete the three-year cycle. Once the horse reaches the end of the cycle, they leave the program, making way for the next year’s foal crop to enter. New this year was the Breeder’s Challenge, an opportunity for breeders to think outside their own programs to understand their neighbors’ motivations. Santa Ynez Valley breeders each donated a stallion service into a pot, and were able to draw one that was not their own in return. The ‘challenge’ is to work out how best to use it. One year is given to get a mare in foal and a report explaining the rationale of the breeding decision must be relayed at the following Foal Festival. The resulting foals are eligible for dedicated prize money. Buggenhout recalls, “The interesting thing was watching the reactions when people made their selection from the pot. Some were obviously very happy, some kept a poker face to our amusement. Next year will be a special year because the first Breeder’s Challenge foals will be shown.” Prize money is a big factor, too. The Gelding Futurity is a huge success and the cornerstone of the program. The gold champion earned $4,000, with $2000 to silver and $1,500 to bronze. There are plans for a yearling-gelding auction, where all proceeds would go for future prize money. Since new people and backyard breeders are the market for geldings, it gives opportunities for them to have fun and succeed. There are plans to add a live feed to the show for 2016, especially if the location can remain the same, as it provides a perfect visual experience that could promote sponsorship opportunities. Greg Gallùn can see the benefit to the breed as a whole, “If owners and potential breeders can take part in a show that is not only inclusive and fun, but also offers high quality horses,” he said, “I personally feel we will see renewed interest in the breed. Time will tell … we have, from its inception, tried to include owners and breeders that may be reluctant or unsure about competing in big shows. We really hope that all people who show in or attend this event feel welcomed and appreciated.” From the smiling faces seen all around the grounds, everyone felt welcome, indeed.
Board member Bart Van Buggenhout with judges: Lisa Markley, Bill Melendez and Shawn Crews.
Jenina Merz and her son Luca. 102 | A R A BI A N HOR SE T I MES
Austin Gallun with the judges, receiving a Foal Fest handler award.
Robin Hopkinson, Debra Schleim and Michelle Kelly.
Sigi Siller and family
Yvonne Van Stiphout Volume 46, No. 5 | 103
2015 A rAbiAn F oAl F estivAl
Junior Colts/GeldinGs noviCe ChAmpionship—
Gold: OM EL BELLAMI (WH Justice x Om El Bellona), B/O: Om El Arab International Silver: MOJA VI SRM (ZT Magnanimus x Viva Marwan), B: Sheila Stewart, O: Santiago Ramirez Bronze: NUGGHATS AMIR (Nugghat VF x Alada Flamin Fortune), B/O: Cindy Bevier Hodges
Junior Colts/GeldinGs AmAteur ChAmpionship—
Gold: PROMETEUSZ (FA El Shawan x Pianissima), B: Janow Podlaski/Gallún Farms, O: Janow Podlaski Silver: SHAHEEN C (Stival x Silken Sable), B/O: Gallún Farms Bronze: THE SEEKER V (Audacious PS x Satine IA), B/O: Varian Arabians
Junior Fillies noviCe ChAmpionship—
Gold: OM EL JUSTADORABLE (WH Justice x Om El Shahmaandura), B/O: Om El Arab International Silver: NOOR EL NIL SMF (Magestic Noble SMF x Ansata Nile Starlight), B/O: Silver Maple Farms, Inc. Bronze: A LOVES PREMIRA (IA Ambassador x Alasting Love VF), B/O: Dianne Peitak
Junior Fillies AmAteur ChAmpionship—
Gold: JENAN ALJASSIMYA (WH Justice x Redwood Lodge Saffiqa), B/O: Aljassimya Farm Silver: ARWA ALJASSIMYA (Besson Carol x Athina El Jamaal), B/O: Aljassimya Farm Bronze: MONYAT ALJASSIMYA (Monther Al Nasser x RP Miss Surprise), B/O: Aljassimya Farm
Colts FoAl/WeAnlinG ChAmpionship—
Gold: MISRAH ALJASSIMYA (Om El Bellisimo x RP Miss Surprise), B/O: Aljassimya Farm Silver: OM EL BERTIGO (Baha AA x Om El Benecia), B/O: Om El Arab International Bronze: MONTASIR ALJASSIMYA (Monther Al Nasser x Aurora Aljassimya), B/O: Aljassimya Farm
Fillies FoAl/WeAnlinG ChAmpionship—
Gold: JAZANAH ALJASSIMYA (WH Justice x Billy Jean Baps), B/O: Aljassimya Farm Silver: SIHR ALJASSIMYA (S.M.A. Magic One x Show Blessed), B/O: Aljassimya Farm Bronze: CHARIS RBV (Hariry Al Shaqab x Jakhara Jamal JCA), B: RBV, O: Karen Cunningham
sAntA Ynez hAlter ChAmpionship—
Gold: NABIL AJF (El Nabila B x Om El Soraya), B: Aljassimya Farm, O: Ronald York Silver: MAHZEER AJF (Monther Al Nasser x Dubravka), B/O: Aljassimya Farm Bronze: SHAH AJF (Monther Al Nasser x Om El Shadream), B: Aljassimya Farm, O: Ann & Tony Pejsa
trAil in-hAnd noviCe hAndler A ChAmpionship—
Gold: NUGGHATS AMIR (Nugghat VF x Alada Flamin Fortune), B/O: Cindy Bevier Hodges Silver: JASIR ALJASSIMYA (ZT Marwteyn x CR Jasmeenah), B: Aljassimya Farm, O: Ashley Dillard Bronze: MISSBAH AJF (Monther Al Nasser x RP Miss Surprise), B: Aljassimya Farm, O: Travis Burnett
trAil in-hAnd AmAteur hAndler A ChAmpionship— Gold: PRISTYNA (Stival x EVG Pilahr), B/O: Gallún Farms
Junior trAil in-hAnd noviCe hAndler b ChAmpionship—
Gold: MATTAR AJF (Monthar Al Nasser x Bint Shaia), B/O: Aljassimya Farm Silver: OM EL SADIKI (Om El Al Azeem x Om El Shaheera), B: Om El Arab International, O: Sophie Mertz
Junior trAil in-hAnd AmAteur hAndler b ChAmpionship—
Gold: LETISHA (FA El Shawan x BHF Shahs Lullaby), B/O: Gallún Farms Silver: MON AMIEE (Eden C x WCA Mon Cherie), B/O: Gallún Farms Bronze: MONTHAR AJF (Monthar Al Nasser x Bruma Bahamas), B: Aljassimya Farm, O: Nancy Hunsicker
produCe oF dAm ChAmpionship—
Gold: BILLY JEAN BAPS (A.S. Sinans x A.S. Imaani), B: C. Mevr. Vanhie, O: Aljassimya Farm
Get oF sire ChAmpionship—
Gold: WH JUSTICE (Magnum Psyche x Von Sher-Renea), B: Wendell Hansen, O: Equid Systems, Ltd. Silver: MONTHER AL NASSER (Ansata Hejazi x Aliah Al Nasser), B: Al Nasser Stud, O: Aljassimya Farm Bronze: SYMBOLIC SMF (Magistic Noble SMF x Shaboura), B/O: Silver Maple Farms, Inc. 104 | A R A BI A N HOR SE T I MES
F oAl F estivAl
Pts. Awarded: Champion = 9 pts., Reserve = 4 pts., 3rd Place = 1 pt. HANDLER Gold: Silver: Bronze:
Yvonne Van Stiphout Jennifer Brawley Austin Gallún
62 37 31
SIRE Gold: Silver: Bronze:
WH Justice Monther Al Nasser FA El Shawan
85 49 27
SMALL BREEDER Gold: Gallún Farms Silver: Silver Maple Farms, Inc. Bronze, tie: Cindy Bevier Hodges Bronze, tie: Diane Peitak
66 17 11 11
LARGE BREEDER Gold: Aljassimya Farm Silver: Om El Arab Intl. Bronze: Varian Arabians
145 70 11
Volume 46, No. 5 | 105
Gold Champion Junior Colt/Gelding Novice OM EL BELLAMI (WH Justice x Om El Bellona), bred and owned by Om El Arab International.
Gold Champion Junior Colt/Gelding Amateur PROMETEUSZ (FA El Shawan x Pianissima), bred by Janow Podlaski/GallÃºn Farms and owned by Janow Podlaski.
Gold Champion Junior Filly Novice OM EL JUSTADORABLE (WH Justice x Om El Shahmaandura), bred and owned by Om El Arab International.
Gold Champion Junior Filly Amateur JENAN ALJASSIMYA (WH Justice x Redwood Lodge Saffiqa), bred and owned by Aljassimya Farm.
Gold Champion Colt Foal/Weanling MISRAH ALJASSIMYA (Om El Bellisimo x RP Miss Surprise), bred and owned by Aljassimya Farm.
Gold Champion Filly Foal/Weanling JAZANAH ALJASSIMYA (WH Justice x Billy Jean Baps), bred and owned by Aljassimya Farm.
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Gold Champion Santa Ynez Halter NABIL AJF (El Nabila B x Om El Soraya), bred by Aljassimya Farm and owned by Ronald York.
Gold Champion Trail In-Hand Novice Handler A NUGGHATS AMIR (Nugghat VF x Alada Flamin Fortune), bred and owned by Cindy Bevier Hodges.
Gold Champion Junior Trail In-Hand Novice Handler B MATTAR AJF (Monthar Al Nasser x Bint Shaia), bred and owned by Aljassimya Farm.
Gold Champion Junior Trail In-Hand Amateur Handler B LETISHA, right (FA El Shawan x BHF Shahs Lullaby), bred and owned by GallÃºn Farms.
Gold Champion Produce of Dam BILLY JEAN BAPS (A.S. Sinans x A.S. Imaani), bred by C. Mevr. Vanhie and owned by Aljassimya Farm.
A representative of Gold Champion Get of Sire WH JUSTICE (Magnum Psyche x Von Sher-Renea), bred by Wendell Hansen and owned by Equid Systems, Ltd. n Volume 46, No. 5 | 107