Arabian Horse Times - Paris Edition - 2016

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OurVisions for the Future! WIEZA ARIHA






A JERICHO (A Jakarta x Destiny VF) Nominated AHA Breeders Sweepstakes Silver Sire Breeders AHBA World Cup Scottsdale Signature Stallion SCID, CA, LFS Clear


Owned by THE ABEL FAMILY Lacombe, Alberta, Canada

Contact David Boggs or Nate White

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DA Valentino x Sol Natique

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Valik ORA

Veyron ORA

Vitorios Amore

Princess Raherra ORA

For breeding information

Owned by Oak Ridge Arabians Freeport, Illinois

MC Vulcan

Contact David Boggs or Nate White

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Contents ArAbiAn Horse Times - Paris Edition 8

Comments From The Publisher


Arabian Horse Global Network: A Vision For The Future by Theresa Cardamone

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A Tribute To The Legacy Of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani And The Arabian Horses Of Qatar by Judith Forbis

photo by Johnny Johnston


Paris – Greatest Moments


2016 U.S. National Halter Championships


Join Taylor Ranch and TR Vitesse On His Journey


Curious Question


Memorable Moments by Raphael Curti

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Leaders Of The Times: Kahil Al Shaqab: The Contemporary Icon by Theresa Cardamone


European Championships—The Beauties And The Beasts by Susanne Bösche


*Bask++ … One Moment In Time by J.L. Hardesty


Magic In Manhattan: The 2nd Arabian U.S. Open by Theresa Cardamone

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Index Of Advertisers A Tribute To Sheila Varian by Mary Kirkman


The World Of The Tahawy Bedouin And Their Pure-Bred Arabian Horses by Kirsten and Bernd Radtke

On The Cover:

Mai Aljassimya

(FA El Rasheem x RP Miss Surprise), owned by Aljassimya Farm.

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Photography by: Renato Sorvilo Design by: mickĂŠandoliver

A New Day in Paris And a new result for our dynamic team: Jaal Aljassimya and Glenn Schoukens.

by WH Justice ex Annaiss by Ansata Nile Echo | Ar abian Horse Times | 7 | PAR IS

Comments From The Publisher Owner / Publisher Lara Ames AHT Abroad Representative Mieke Opsteyn Mike Ashmore AHT Abroad Designers Elisa Grassi Gregor Aymar Contributing Designers Jennifer Trickey Jaime Johnson Henrike Hörmann Glenn Jacobs Production Manager Jody Thompson AHTimes Designers Wayne Anderson Tony Ferguson Melissa Pasicznyk Editorial Coordinator/Proofreader Charlene Deyle AHT Advertising Account Executive Tony Bergren Multimedia Director and Photojournalist Riyan Rivero Contributing Writers Susanne Bösche Theresa Cardamone Judith Forbis Sales Assistant Rachel Ginter Accounts Receivable Deb Trebesch

© Copyright AHT, Inc. dba Arabian Horse Times. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Articles or opinions published by the AHT, Inc. dba Arabian Horse Times are not necessarily the expressed views of the AHT, Inc. dba Arabian Horse Times. AHT, Inc. dba Arabian Horse Times is not responsible for the accuracy of advertising content or manipulation of images that are provided by the advertiser. ARABIAN HORSE TIMES - PARIS ISSUE, November 2016, is published by AHT, Inc. dba Arabian Horse Times, 20276 Delaware Avenue, Jordan, Minnesota 55352.

Paris—The Perfect End To The Arabian Horse Show Year One by one, we have gone to our shows through 2016 and enjoyed the excitement and the chance to check out the horses, and if we were lucky, we fell in love with new stars. After this outstanding show season in North America, I thought I knew all of them on this side of the “pond,” but boy, was I wrong—there were some new faces at the U.S. Nationals that left me dazzled. But now we’re almost to the end of the competition year, and one of my favorite shows is yet to come. The Arabian show season is not over until the World Championships at the Salon du Cheval in Paris have been awarded, and that puts a smile on my face. I love Paris, for itself and for all the beautiful Arabian horses that are there in November. I wish every Arabian horse enthusiast could be there to experience it too. If you haven’t put the World Championships on your to-do list, and it fits in your schedule, I urge you to seriously consider it. We are all so aware of our own champions, but there are many more beyond our shores. In fact, every year we learn of other accomplished or very promising horses when they travel to compete with our champions—or often, through the pages of the magazines (just check out this issue!). Paris represents an opportunity to see so many of them on one stage, and just as importantly, speak to their owners and associates. On a personal note, to our audience around the world, I cannot say how much I appreciate learning about your horses. Not only do I like becoming acquainted with them for themselves and what they are doing in your breeding programs, but also I appreciate that they are new, fresh resources for our pedigrees here in North America. With transported semen, access to each other’s Arabians is easy, but still, there are new faces, new attributes that we all need to know about. I’m sure that’s why so many people from countries around the world travel to Paris every fall; they know that what they see there could be a profound asset for what they are doing at home. So, as we plan for the Arabian World Championships this year, I am so looking forward to it. For every country, seeing the horses at their own finales is one view, but Arabians have long been a global breed. For every stallion or mare who travels to where we live, there are many more who don’t, and seeing them in person cannot be overestimated. That makes Paris an important—and enjoyable—experience for everyone.

Lara Ames Lara Ames Publisher Ar abian Horse Times | 8 | PAR IS

Photography by: Gigi Grasso Design by: mickĂŠandoliver

Making an Entrance Paris Yearling Fillies with Giacomo Capacci.

By Kahil Al Shaqab ex LC Primavera by Padrons Psyche | Ar abian Horse Times | 9 | PAR IS

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The Arabian Horse Global Network L i ve b r o a d c a s t i n g a n d c o m p l et e e ve n t c ove r a g e a r o u n d t h e g l o b e . A VISION FOR THE FUTURE by Theresa Cardamone When Lara Ames became the publisher of Arabian Horse Times (AHT), she harbored a dream to enlarge the scope of the magazine to be more than the award winning print journal that she had grown up with. As a lifelong lover and breeder of the Arabian horse, she was interested in broadening the reach of AHT beyond the United States. Meanwhile, Michaël Steurs and his family were developing Arabian Horse Results, a homegrown business in Belgium featuring an innovative platform for scoring horse shows that has become an industry standard. Over the last few years, Michaël had expanded Arabian Horse Results to include livestream coverage of events, photos, and even horse show governance throughout Europe, the Middle East and into America, and he was ready to explore the idea of adding printed materials to the mix. Mutual friends believed that Lara and Michaël might be able to work together to achieve their goals, and arranged a meeting.

Middle Eastern perspective. The magazine has been a smashing success in its first year, and has created the perfect complement to the American edition. AHT Abroad is a legacy that Jeff leaves behind as he moves on to his next adventure. Everyone wishes him nothing but the best in the future. While Jeff was a significant presence that will be missed, the rest of the Abroad team remains in place to provide the excellent services that they have become known for. Mieke Opsteyn will continue to manage the operations and be the point of contact and will be joined by well-known show announcer Mike Ashmore in facilitating sales. Susanne Bösche has added the Facebook posts to her duties as a contributing writer. Theresa Cardamone has been Jeff Wallace’s writing partner all along, and will continue to produce the high quality content for brochures and features that the clients expect to receive.

Arabian Horse Global Network now has a contract with The two immediately recognized ECAHO, AHO, and AHA the entrepreneurial spirit in that will allow for supporting Michaël Steurs and Lara Ames each other. Further discussions Arabian horse events all over led them to begin to see a mutually the world with comprehensive beneficial future, although not without a few quirks along the coverage. It will provide everything needed before, during and way. Like when Michaël’s plan to slowly take over his competitor, after a show … scoring, broadcasting, photos, advertisements, Arabian Horse Global, was thwarted when Lara revealed that she show programs, blog posts, articles … it is a powerful package. The was buying that company! But, that was also the moment when beautiful print editions of the magazines can be found on the coffee their partnership was ignited. Lara invited Michaël to join her in tables and nightstands of Arabian enthusiasts everywhere. Now the operating the technical elements of Global, and they have never live images of the finest Arabian horses competing all over the globe looked back. Arabian Horse Times and Arabian Horse Results are can be found on the TV screens in their living rooms as well. And now both under the umbrella of the new parent company, Arabian there is no chance that the momentum gathered to this point will Horse Global Network, which Lara and Michael co-own. All of slacken. On the contrary, the harmony of thinking between Lara the other brands related to AHT or Results rest under that same Ames and Michaël Steurs has resulted in an accelerated growth umbrella … Arabian Horse Photos, Arabian Horse Blog, Arabian spurt. “Lara and I share a vision of what we are doing with Arabian Horse Entry, Arabian Horse Live, Arabian Horse Management, Horse Global Network and of the positive impact it will have on AHT Boutique, and AHT Abroad. the industry. We are continually building toward that vision.” With the combined passion, talent, and dedication of Lara, Michaël, and AHT Abroad is the brainchild of Jeff Wallace, who encouraged Lara the entire Arabian Horse Global Network team, there is no limit to branch out with a new journal that embraced the European/ to the heights that will be reached in service to the Arabian horse. Ar abian Horse Times | 12 | PAR IS

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Contact Us Today for Features and Advertising Opportunities LARA AMES MIEKE OPSTEYN MIKE ASHMORE TONY BERGREN RIYAN RIVERO

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Gemini wishes you all the best of luck! CH A P T ER 5

“As Breeders ourselves, we experience no greater satisfaction than witnessing our homebred offspring competing at the highest level. It is in that spirit that we wish the breeders of the world the best of luck at this year’s Salon du Cheval.”

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Who seeks the pearl must dive deep, and who seeks success without toil seeks the impossible. —Tales of a Thousand and One Nights

TO THE LEGACY OF HH THE GRANDFATHER EMIR SHEIKH KHALIFA BIN HAMAD AL THANI Ruled: 1972-1995 and The Arabian Horses Of Qatar © by Judith Forbis

Gigi Grasso photo.

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From Left to Right: A Bedouin tent typical of desert dwellers in Arabia and its environs during the 19th century. Carl Raswan photo. Hunting with falcons and salukis was typical of the Al Thani in the past as well as the present. Rik van Lent Jr. photo. A desert scene reminiscent of the nomadic tribes in the past. Gigi Grasso photo.

Map of the Beni Tamim tribe’s location from whom the Al Thani descend. It was drawn by the Polish Count Waclaw Seweryn Rzewuski and included in his manuscript Sur les Chevaux Orientaux et provenants des Races Orientales. The Count lived in Arabia during the early l800’s. Courtesy of National Library of Poland Warsaw.

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THE HISTORY OF THE AL THANI AND THEIR ARABIAN HORSES When the celebrated Arabian horses of Qatar took the western world by storm some twenty five years ago, it wasn’t the whirling south wind that suddenly dropped them by: they landed in swift jet aircraft. Since then, the names Al Shaqab, Al Rayyan, Umm Qarn, Al Shahania and Al Jassimya have become household words among the international Arabian horse community. However, most Arabian enthusiasts today are totally unaware of the centuries-old Arabian horse-breeding tradition behind the Al Thani emirs and sheikhs who are currently breeding these world champion Arabian horses. While the Blunts, Burckhardt, Palgrave, Sadlier and other nineteenth century adventurers extolled the Arabian horses of the Al Saud, Al Rashid, Al Khalifa families and famous tribes such as the Anezah, Shammar, Muteyr, etc., these celebrated European travelers of Arabia Deserta, with the exception of Palgrave, trod a path that bypassed the Al Thani family of Qatar. Yet the Al Thani-bred horses were of the same caliber and from the same tribes. The exploits of their leaders were often more notable than some luminaries who received notoriety in the widely acclaimed publications by those travelers. In fact, the history of the Al Thani family easily competes with those enthralling tales of horses and heroes once told around desert campfires and in the resplendent courts of sultans and kings. Here, at last, is their story.

TRIBAL VALUES Passion, purpose and progress! Such words describe the essence of the Al Thani who descend from the Beni Tamim of Central Nejd, one of the largest most powerful pre-Islamic and early Islamic aristocratic or sharif Bedouin tribes. Famous as camel and horse breeders, they interacted with most of the other celebrated horse-breeding tribes of those eras. A “tamim” person was known to the Bedouins of Arabia as one who embraced many qualities they admire to this day, especially strength, courage and firmness of character. The spirited and proud horses of the Beni Tamim also reflected comparable traits to those of their masters who relied on them for hunting and in warfare. Illustrious poets of the tribe, such as “Jarir” (650-728 CE), paid tribute to their valiant steeds that slept ‘round the tribe’s encampment and claimed descent from the ancient horses A’waj and Dhil Al ‘Uqqal. About the end of the seventeenth century CE, the ancestors of the Al Thani left Nejd in search of pasturage for their livestock and a new home. They finally settled in the peninsula of Qatar (Katara) known then as part of the Bahrain region comprising Al Hasa, Kuwait and Bahrain. Over a period of time, conflicts with rival tribes, the Al Khalifa, the British and the Ottomans, culminated in a series of challenging events that led to the creation of the Al Thani dynasty and the eventual independence of the State of Qatar.

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THANI BIN MOHAMMED BIN THAMIR c. 1800 Founder of the Al Thani Family



THE EMERGENCE OF THE AL THANI The Al Thani family name stems from Thani bin Mohammed bin Thamir, a pearl merchant, who was born in Al Zubara at the beginning of the 1800's. The most important town in Qatar at that time, Arab horses from Nejd were exported from its strategic port and it was also a center for the pearling fleets that plied the Arabian Gulf. Thani was admired by the Bedouin tribes for his leadership. It is assumed that he, like his predecessors, owned horses for attack and defense since he assisted in defending Al Zubara from an incursion by the ruler of Bushire in Persia. Arabia was also undergoing a period of turbulence about this time due to the incursion into Nejd by the Viceroy of Egypt, Mohammed Ali the Great, and his son, Ibrahim Pasha, who were sent by the Ottoman Sultan to suppress the Wahhabis (c.1810-28). The pashas captured countless numbers of Arabia's finest horses as spoils of war and sent them to Egypt. These majestic desert-bred steeds caught the eye of Abbas Pasha I, grandson of the Viceroy, and inspired him to become the greatest collector and breeder of his time – and one of the most renowned in the annals of Arabian horses. History repeats itself, and bloodlines from the Pasha's collection, particularly the Dahman Shahwan, are present in Qatari breeding programs today. However, they arrived via a new trade route from the U.S. and Europe. The connection between the Arabian horses of Qatar in the past and Abbas Pasha I resulted from a historical battle in Qatar. During the 1840’s, at the time of Thani bin Mohammed and his son, Mohammed bin Thani, Qatar and Bahrain became intertwined in civil disruption. In 1843, Mohammed bin Khalifa claimed sole rulership of the islands. Four years later, his reign was challenged by Isse bin Tareef who lived in Al Bidda (Doha), a strategic town in Qatar. Bin Tareef was killed as he rode his celebrated Dahma Shahwan mare into battle. This event is one of the first histories mentioned in the famed The Abbas Pasha Manuscript where the origin of the

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Dahman Shahwan strain - much favored by the Al Thani and the Al Khalifa - and many other honored desert-bred Arabian horse strains and families are recorded: And Abdullah ibn Naqadan, one of the horsemen of Ibn Tareef, rode al Dahma and went in search of help. When Isse ibn Tareef died, he, Ibn Naqadan, was left with her, and she went to his place. And Ibn Abdullah ibn Naqadan was asked about the mare, al Dahma, which he took from Ibn Tareef. He replied, ‘’I took my mare, al Dahma, from Isse ibn Tareef during the battle between he and Mohammed ibn Khalifa in which Isse ibn Tareef died. Indeed, I coveted the mare and I took her. And I covered her by Kuhaylan al Tareefi, the son of Duhayman al Najib, who is from the horses of Al Khalifa. She foaled a safra [chestnut, ed.] filly, which I gave to the Imam, Faisal ibn Turki. From the Imam she went to your Stud [The High Stud of Abbas Pasha].



ruled 1949-60

ruled 1960-72




ruled 1972-95

ruled 1995-2013

Heir Apparent (died 1948)

Fate willed that the Imam Faisal bin Turki and the Al Thani of Qatar would eventually interact in a never-to-be-forgotten battle, as well as future horse breeding activities.


Left & Above: A chart showing the Al Thani rulers from past to present. Right: During the 1840’s, a famous Dahma Shahwan mare belonging to Isse bin Tareef was sent to Imam Faisal bin Turki Al Saud who eventually sent her to Abbas Pasha I, Viceroy of Egypt. The unique story of Abbas Pasha and the strains of horses he acquired are told in The Abbas Pasha Manuscript. Richard T. Bryant photo.

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THE SIGN OF THINGS TO COME When Sheikh Thani bin Mohammed passed away, the mantle of leadership fell to his son. Despite these turbulent times, Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani (r. 1850-78) united the tribes of Qatar, signed a treaty with the British in 1868 and became the first actual reigning sheikh of the peninsula. Horses played a prominent role for use in war, and Sheikh Mohammed maintained sufficient numbers of them to mount the tribes who supported him. Despite disputes over horses between he and Sheikh Isa bin Ali, the chief of Bahrain, the trading of the choicest Arabian strains of bloodstock with the Al Khalifa continued. Sheikh Mohammed was by now the most important figure in the region. Palgrave, who traveled Arabia in 1862, met and described him as, “a shrewd wary old man, slightly corpulent, and renowned for prudence and good-humoured easiness of demeanour, but close-fisted and a hard customer at a bargain.” Further, that he was tolerably “proficient in literary and poetical knowledge, and took great pleasure in discussing topics of this nature …” However, Palgrave noted that the sheikh’s eldest son and heir, Jassim, “was a more dashing character than his father.” Desirous of meeting him he wrote, “Kasim [Jassim] was at the time absent from Bedaa on a hawking-party … Kasim had with him about twenty horsemen, falconers, and a half a dozen lovely hawks, besides two braces of greyhounds …” Jassim was a “dashing character” indeed. He was the hero movies are made of today. A favorite story repeated throughout the region claimed that when the Imam Faisal bin Turki Al Saud determined to conquer the Gulf region in 1850, he moved to attack Qatar. However, before the main battle was to begin, it was customary for two warriors of opposing sides to fight each other. The Imam chose his renowned combatant, Musa’id Al Attebe, to represent him. Sheikh Jassim, representing Qatar, chose to challenge Al Attebe himself rather than have one of his men to fight in his stead. Although the horses of the Imam Faisal were celebrated as the finest in Nejd, Sheikh Jassim knew his horses and his own mount were equally esteemed. Astride their galloping coursers, the two knights raced across the desert towards each other; they clashed, and Jassim’s spear went straight through Attebe. The Imam Faisal’s champion and his horse fell dead. Sheikh Jassim was heard praising his mare, Al Wadna, as he rode away the victor.

Left: A hunting party typical of the time W. G. Palgrave visited Qatar in 1862 and described Mohammed bin Thani and his son, Sheikh Jassim. Gigi Grasso photo. Above: The barren Qatari landscape remains much the same as described by Palgrave during his visit to Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani in 1862. Gigi Grasso photo. Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani’s ceremonial gold sword. Courtesy of Weaponry Museum, Qatar. Richard T. Bryant photo. Ar abian Horse Times | 23 | PAR IS

ARABIAN HORSE POWER When his father Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani died, Sheikh Jassim (r. 1878-1913) already held the reins of power. By now one of the wealthiest pearl merchants in the Gulf, he was respected by his people for his deeds of valor and his leadership. Known as a fine poet, superb horseman, skilled hunter, courageous fighter in war and possessed of political acumen, he was especially devoted to the principles of Islam. Sheikh Jassim had a keen eye for a horse. It is told that he liked a particular Dahman stallion owned by Bin Anzan Al Nuwaymi of the Al Naim tribe in Qatar. Not wanting to give up his horse, as was the custom if a sheikh admired it, bin Anzan ran off to Bahrain taking his mount with him. On arrival, he went to Sheikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa (r. 1869-1933) to seek asylum, but Sheikh Isa, upon seeing the stallion, decided he wanted this Dahman for himself. Bin Anzan then crafted a lovely poem to Sheikh Isa describing his deep despondency at losing his favorite mount. Sheikh Isa was touched by the poem and returned the Dahman, plus the stallion’s full sister as a gift. Bin Anzan then took the Dahman horses back to Qatar. Whether Sheikh Jassim eventually got the stallion is not part of the story! Sheikh Jassim was reputed to keep choice strains of bloodstock. He rode “only asil [purebred] Arabian horses, and kadish [non-purebreds] were despised for use in races or battles,” his elderly grandson, Sheikh Jassim bin Thani, related, stating that, “Horses in battle served the same purpose as the tanks of today.” Notable is the fact that there was a frequent exchange of asil horses between Sheikh Jassim and the important horse-breeding tribes. Strains of Dahman, Obeyyan, Wadnan and Hamdani, among others, were valued as Sheikh Jassim relied on well-bred mounts as critical assets to his rule. The British political agents in the region carefully monitored the buying, selling, and gifting of horses between Sheikh Jassim and the tribes, particularly the Al Khalifa and Al Rashid. Because horses were factors in waging war, British interests and the balance of power in Arabia and the Gulf were consequently affected by the quantities of horses available to the warring tribes. When Sheikh Jassim was planning an attack on Abu Dhabi and Oman in 1888, it was recorded that he had an even larger number of horses than the chief of Abu Dhabi. British records relate that between 1888 and 1889, many of these impeccably-bred Arabian horses changed hands between Sheikh Jassim, Mohammed bin Rashid, Saud bin Faisal bin Turki Al Saud, and others. However, Mohammed bin Rashid, a most powerful ruler at the time, was most frequently mentioned as Sheikh Jassim’s primary supplier, further solidifying the fact that the Al Thani maintained the finest mounts and bloodlines. Sir Austen Henry Layard noted in 1848 that, “Ibn Rashid’s mares and horses, collected from the tribes of central Arabia, were declared to excel all those of the Desert in beauty and in blood.” Twenty years later, Lady Anne Blunt declared that, “Ibn Rashid’s stud is now the most celebrated in Arabia and has taken the place in public estimation of that stud of Feysul [Faisal] ibn Saoud’s which Mr. Palgrave saw sixteen years ago at Riad.” Palgrave had waxed lyrical about Feysul’s stud being “indisputably the first; and who sees that has seen the most consummate specimens of equine perfection in Arabia, perhaps the world.” He further noted, the herd “reckoned at six hundred head, or rather more.”

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Mohammed Ibn Rashid’s mares at Hail. Many Arabian horses changed hands between Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani and this famous ruler, thus proving both sheikhs had the same valuable bloodlines. Water color by Lady Anne Blunt. Judith Forbis photo by Permission of Lady Anne Lytton.

Qatari warriors on the march. Painting by Ismail Azzam. “The Caravan”, 2010. Courtesy of the artist for the book, Heritage of Al Shaqab. André Shiwa photo.

Ibn Rashid’s stable at Hail. Lady Anne Blunt declared that, “Ibn Rashid’s stud is now the most celebrated in Arabia…” Water color by Lady Anne Blunt. Judith Forbis photo by permission of Lady Anne Lytton.

HORSES, HEROES AND THE BLOODY BATTLES OF AL SHAQAB, AL WAJBAH AND AL ASKER In February 1893, the courageous qualities of Sheikh Jassim’s well-bred horses and his own leadership and bravery were put to the ultimate test. The British had been working to reduce Ottoman influence in the Gulf at the time when the Ottomans, who were Sheikh Jassim’s allies, had reinforced Qatar with naval and military artillery. At the same time, however, the Ottomans unjustly levied high taxes on him. While Sheikh Jassim hoped to resolve the matter peacefully, two Ottoman battleships dropped anchor at Al Bidda (Doha) port. Negotiations failed, and the Ottoman wali, Hafiz Pasha, set out with a large contingency of troops and weaponry to take Sheikh Jassim by surprise. Fortunately, Sheikh Jassim was

not to be duped. In his Diwan, he later described the overwhelming forces that he and his Arab tribesmen faced: Far in the west we saw a Turkish Army coming near, stirring black dust and darkening the whole land… We had to face the tyrant whose injustice had overpowered us…. On us he had imposed a tribute, and to us it meant fierce warring, with brave young men mounting great mares of noble pedigree…. They were ready to sacrifice their lives to achieve their sublime goals and rights. Riding his noble mare, Faara, Sheikh Jassim with his loyal infantry, camel riders and Bedouin cavalry, routed the Ottomans at the bloody battles of Al Shaqab, Al Wajbah and Al Asker, thus paving the way for Qatar’s eventual independence. Credit for this celebrated victory is justly due to the fierce warriors and their well-bred Arabian steeds, and to Sheikh Jassim – the founder of the modern State of Qatar.

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An illustration reminiscent of an Arabian stallion and Qatari warrior celebrating a victory in Sheikh Jassim’s time. Rik van Lent Jr. photo.

THE MOST MEMORABLE HORSE RACE The twentieth century swept in with monumental changes throughout Arabia; gun cars replaced cavalry, and the discovery of oil revolutionized the region. World Wars I and II were on the horizon, and the Al Thani wanted complete freedom from the remaining Ottoman and British influence. However, breeding of the choicest strains of Arabian bloodstock never abated among the Qatari’s themselves, particularly the Al Thani family, as well as Bedouin tribes who migrated in and out of Qatar, such as the Beni Hajir, Al Murrah, Al Ajman, Beni Khalid, Al Manasir, and Al Naim. Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim, a seasoned and courageous warrior who now ruled the country (r. 1913-1949), was also an accomplished horseman. He favored and bred the Dahman strain in particular, and jealously guarded his fine herd of asil Arabians. He and his younger brother, Sheikh Ali bin Jassim, who also loved horses, frequently raced their favorite mounts against each other. The story is told that Sheikh Abdullah played a trick on his brother by challenging him to race his mare, Al Naamah, against his mare Saada, knowing full well his brother’s pride would not let him back down even though Al Naamah was still giving milk to her foal at side. Al Naamah had always won in the past, but Sheikh Abdullah knew that in her weakened condition, she probably could not beat Saada – and she did not. Heartbroken at Al Naamah’s defeat, Sheikh Ali wrote a touching poem to her, explaining that, despite her defeat, she was still the best in his eyes and heart.

“From, high-carried tail to expressive face how magnificent you become When a valiant warrior mounts you to go to war. Second to none in a race, a chase or a fray, Your prize is glory, not spoils.”

While living up to his valiant heritage, the courageous Sheikh Ali was killed in 1888, along with his comrades, while defending his beloved Qatar. The historic race between Saada and Al Naamah is traditionally re-enacted at Qatar national celebrations, and the tale of Al Naamah is remembered to this day. In fact HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, a distant relative of Sheikh Ali bin Jassim (also known as Sheikh Joaan), paid a world record price of U.S. $8,443,575 at Tattersalls in 2013 for an unnamed yearling filly which he added to the formidable new Al Shaqab Racing stables. He named her Al Naamah – and she honored her namesake by easily winning her first race!

THE TRADITION OF HORSE BREEDING CONTINUES Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim had instilled in his children and grandchildren respect for the horse as a cultural tradition and part of the Al Thani legacy. When his son, Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al Thani (r. 1949-60) succeeded him, oil was sliding the country into the modern world. Although Sheikh Ali was not as passionate about horses as his father, he maintained stables at Mishairib and Al Rayyan. He supplied the police with mounts, but kept the majority of his horses for use in traditional celebrations. He, too, instilled in his family the importance of maintaining Arabians as a cultural tradition, and made certain that a descendant of his father’s old race mare, Saada, was looked after at Al Rayyan until she passed away at thirty-one years of age. HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani (r. 1960-72) succeeded his father as Emir, and on September 3, 1971, Qatar declared its independence as a sovereign state and joyously celebrated its newfound freedom. HH Sheikh Ahmed was passionate about horses and inherited many of his father and grandfather’s bloodstock. He acquired horses from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, as well as from Egypt, and his various palaces were home to about 160 Arabian stallions and mares. Two of his favorite mounts were Gazala, an Abeyya mare sired by an Abeyyan stallion, and Kehila, sired by a stallion of the Wadnan strain. Among the strains he bred were the Abeyya, Tuwaisa (x Kuhayla) and Wadna, and he frequently used an Abeyyan stallion as a sire. Sheikh Ahmed loved to ride his horses bareback, guiding them only with a rashma, and he enjoyed grooming them himself and giving them treats. Keen on seeing the Arabian horse culture in his country preserved for future generations, he initiated the first substantial herd book for Qatar’s horses and in 1969 built the attractive stables and facility that held the first Qatar national and international Arabian horse shows.

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HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani’s palace. Gigi Grasso photo. Ar abian Horse Times | 27 | PAR IS


HH THE GRANDFATHER EMIR SHEIKH KHALIFA BIN HAMAD AL THANI Emir of the new State of Qatar (Ruled: 1972 -1995)

THE ARABIAN HORSE AT A CROSSROADS HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, at the age of forty, took the reins of power as Emir of the State of Qatar in 1972. The country once again inherited a ruler who loved horses and made sure the Al Thani tradition of breeding choice Arabian bloodstock would be continued in modern times. With Qatar having been thrust into world prominence due to its oil production capabilities, HH Sheikh Khalifa had to adapt to the many changes forced upon the newly independent state. Motor vehicles had replaced the horse for daily transport and in war. Arabian horse breeding had declined in the Arab world and was at a crossroads as to which way it would proceed – stop, remain static, or move ahead. To HH Sheikh Khalifa, the choice was clear. He was determined the tradition of his ancestors go forward in his country. Even though cars and trucks now plied paved roads in Qatar, HH Sheikh Khalifa often rode one of his horses to the palace rather than be chauffeured to work. Aside from the fact he loved to ride, he was letting his people know the Arabian horse was still alive and well in the land. From the time he was a child, HH Sheikh Khalifa was captivated by Arabian horses. He recalled happily that he received his first very own horse as a gift when he was about seven or eight years old. His father, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, who was the Heir Apparent at the time, took pleasure in teaching him to ride. Beloved by the people of Qatar, HH Sheikh Hamad was one of the most important Arabian horse breeders in the Gulf, and like his ancestors before him, a fine horseman. Although he died when HH Sheikh Khalifa was in his mid-teens, HH Sheikh Hamad was a critical influence in his son’s life, imbuing him with tales of his ancestors’ exploits on horseback, teaching him about the historical strains of Arabian horses among the Al Thani, honing his eye to the qualities of fine bloodstock, and encouraging him in horse-related activities. Having inherited his father’s love of horses, HH Sheikh Khalifa was an enthusiastic and willing student. Most children like to visit their grandparents, and HH Sheikh Khalifa was no exception, especially since his grandfather, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, kept a stable of well-bred Arabian horses. Six special chestnut horses he saw there made a long-lasting impression on him, among them two mares in particular: Kuhayla Al Jazi [Kuhayla Jazia] and Al Wadna. It is interesting to note that despite rivalries in the past between the Al Khalifa and the Al Thani in breeding superior horses, exchanges still took place. HH Sheikh Khalifa recalled that his grandfather, HH Sheikh Abdullah, did not like to give horses as gifts, because he believed if he gave one horse away, it would set a precedent and he would be forced to give more. Nevertheless, HH Sheikh Khalifa distinctly remembered that his grandfather gave to Bahrain the priceless gifts of a Dahman and a Wadnan to enhance these traditional strains the Al Khalifa’s also bred. HH Sheikh Abdullah also made another exception to his rule. When he saw his young grandson’s keen enthusiasm for horses, he gave him a very special stallion. No doubt, he sensed in HH Sheikh Khalifa the potential to carry on the horse breeding tradition of his ancestors, just as he, HH Sheikh Abdullah, had done.

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MAAYER “My favorite horse was one my grandfather, Sheikh Abdullah gave me,” HH Sheikh Khalifa recalled. “Maayer was his name. He was a chestnut and his sire was from the Wadnan strain.” HH Sheikh Khalifa loved to ride Maayer bareback across the desert from noon until sunset, often returning with Maayer in a sweat from the long day’s journey. They became best companions. Maayer was named after one of the most celebrated desertbred horses in years past because, as HH Sheikh Khalifa enthused, “he could beat all the other horses and put them to shame …” Young Sheikh Khalifa was fascinated with horses that could jump, and within two years of receiving his first mount, he learned how to ride a jumping horse. He was very proud of having mastered this challenge in horsemanship at an early age. There were other members of the Al Thani family who also liked to ride, especially his cousin, Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali bin Abdullah. The two boys enjoyed competing with each other on a friendly basis. “We were both good riders,” HH Sheikh Khalifa recalled, “and I took great pleasure in beating him.” He also was amused that “my friends and Sheikh Ahmed tried to ‘steal’ Maayer away from me.” But, of course, they did not succeed!

An oil painting by the late Renée Gaspar of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani. He ordered it be exhibited in the new palace of Doha.

HH Sheikh Khalifa also commented, “In the past there were not foreigners wanting to buy horses like they do today.” He was amused that HRH King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia wanted to buy Maayer for breeding purposes. However, HH Sheikh Khalifa replied to the king, “I will give you my hand, but not my horse.” He refused to sell Maayer or give him away - to anyone - but he did send the king sixteen oryx as a gift. “Maayer was so beautiful,” he recalled. “I would have given a million riyals to anyone who could accurately describe him.” He smiled as he remembered, “when artist Reneé Gaspar came to the palace to paint my portrait, she literally screamed when she saw a picture of Maayer, she thought he was so beautiful. In fact, the security guard came running to see if something had happened to her!” After Maayer passed away, it was difficult for HH Sheikh Khalifa to enjoy riding as much as in the past. “No other horse ever gave me a thrill like Maayer did,” he said. Letter dated 5/5/87 from the Minister of Information of Qatar to painter Reneé Gaspar regarding how pleased HH Sheikh Khalifa was with his portrait.

HH Sheikh Khalifa loved to ride his stallion, Maayer, bareback across the Qatari desert from noon until sunset. Gigi Grasso photo.

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Top: HH Sheikh Khalifa’s Amiri Stables beside the Arabian Gulf. Rik van Lent Jr. photo, 1994.

Bottom: A groom leads one of HH Sheikh Khalifa’s horses back to the stables at twilight. Rik van Lent Jr. photo, 1994.

The modern flag of Qatar. Richard T. Bryant photo.

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FINALLY FREE As an adult, HH Sheikh Khalifa assumed important roles in the government, including Minister of Education, Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and eventually Heir Apparent. He became Emir of Qatar on 22 February 1972, succeeding his cousin, HH The Emir Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali, who, coincidentally, had been his childhood rival in horsemanship. In 1971 HH The Emir Sheikh Khalifa was the authority in Doha who personally declared independence to the citizens – Qatar was finally to “be free.” Under his reign, the State of Qatar took its place in the modern world. Like most rulers, his daily schedule was grueling, but he always took time to enjoy his horses and kept a small stable with about thirty horses at Al Mu’da, in Al Rayyan near where he was born. However, his favorite place to relax and ride was beside the Arabian Gulf. Located beside the West Bay area of Doha, the gleaming white Arabesque arches of his Emiri Stables framed a scene dear to his heart; a group of white mares galloping across the pasture framed by the turquoise blue sea. He was at peace there, and often rode one of his horses along the sandy shore, always remembering the joys of riding Maayer, his favorite horse of all. HH Sheikh Khalifa continued the Al Thani tradition of raising and riding fine bloodstock. He was not pleased when other Qatari sheikhs sometimes rode horses that were not Arabians. “It was a shame for them to bring in outside horses, because it was a tradition to ride Arabs,” he remarked. He was a “hands-on” horseman, and was often seen grooming and saddling his own horses. HH Sheikh Khalifa delighted in telling stories about his ancestors, and knew in detail the exploits of its heroic horsemen. He loved to recount the tale of his great great grandfather, Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, who fought the bloody battles against the Ottomans. When the fight was about to occur, his grandmother, Sheikha Roba, threw off her veil and admonished the Qatari warriors to get out and fight or be branded as women for their cowardice. Listening to his story, one could imagine the shrill cries of the Bedouin women cheering their men on to the fray. HH Sheikh Khalifa was very familiar with the prized strains Qataris bred in the past: Hadfa (Hadfah), Saklawia, Hamdania, and Tuwaisa, the best of which he believed to be the Wadnan, Harkan, Saklawia, and Kuhayla Jazia. [The histories of these particular desert-bred strains are recorded in The Abbas Pasha Manuscript.] He continued to maintain Qatari bloodlines, but he eventually acquired other bloodstock. From Lebanon came horses from Sherif Nasser, the uncle of the late King Hussein of Jordan, and the mares Nefertiti and Zalouta from Henri Pharaoun; later, more Arabians arrived from England. Most of his acquisitions are registered in the Qatari Stud Book. There were specific qualities HH Sheikh Khalifa looked for in a horse. He liked pretty horses, particularly bay. “The size of the horse matters,” he said. “Horses should be of good size; tall, their back high; neck high, too, a long neck is not good; well-shaped head, a star and crescent on the forehead is pleasing.” A narrow blaze was a marking he particularly liked, and he wanted wide nostrils, big eyes, and small ears. He noted that, “when horses point their ears forward, like they are listening, it usually means they are seeing something strange” He insisted that an Arab horse must have a high-carried tail – otherwise he would not buy it. Also, it should have “a short back. Not fat. Small stomach. Dry muscle – not bulky. Feet relatively small - definitely not too big.” And, he insisted, “everything should be in the right place.” Again, he said Maayer was an ideal example. In days gone by, he remarked that Arabs did not mate white horses with other colors, and that grey was not liked as much. Chestnut and bay were the preferred colors. “Of these three colors, the dark colored horses were traditionally the ones that would be chosen,” he said.

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DISASTER STRIKES Throughout the centuries, horse-breeding in the Arab world has been challenged with losses through wars, drought and disease. When the African horse sickness fell like a meteor upon the Arabian Gulf and nearby countries in the late 1960’s, it decimated the population of horses in the region. HH Sheikh Khalifa, among others, worked diligently to rebuild an Arabian breeding herd of Qatari bloodstock and to reinforce the importance of continuing the country’s tradition as an integral part of its culture. Knowing that Qataris loved a good horse race, HH Sheikh Khalifa took charge of developing the first racecourse in Qatar on the site of the present-day Racing and Equestrian Club at Al Rayyan. This further spurred interest by Qataris in acquiring and breeding fine bloodstock, and today racing is more popular than ever. He also took pleasure in mentoring some of the young sheikhs who wanted to know more about bloodlines and the horses bred and ridden by their ancestors. As a result, he was influential in inspiring them to create their own stud farms that would eventually make Qatar known globally, not just in the Arab world. At age eight-four, HH Sheikh Khalifa’s riding days were over, even though he aspired to ride again. Still, the many fond memories of heroes and horses, especially Maayer, kept him company in his golden years until his recent passing on 23rd October 2016. Wherever Arabian horses are bred, shown, raced, or just ridden for enjoyment, the legacy of HH The Grandfather Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, as he is now officially titled, lives on. The love for Arabian horses he instilled in his sons and others in the Al Thani family has borne fruit. It was under his administration during the late 80’s that new stud farms began to flourish among many of the Al Thani and other citizens of Qatar. HH Sheikh Khalifa had helped pave the way for a renaissance of Arabian horse breeding in the Arab world to happen; now it just needed a major shove to return it to the glorious days when the horse was king.

Arabian mares running free at HH Sheikh Khalifa’s Amiri Stables. Rik van Lent Jr. photo, 1994.

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Greatest Moments Ar abian Horse Times | 37 | PAR IS

Jennifer Dhombre


y Sandstorm JC and out of Basara Saiyana by Mel Nebli, he had just been crowned French National and European Champion Stallion. He was the one and only stallion I have ever bought and that year was my first experience on high level shows as a young owner, manager and new breeder.

BS Specific, 2007

BS Specific was competing against Dakharo, Escape Ibn Navaronne and seven other big contenders for a title. He was incredible and at the end finished 3rd in the finals which means nowadays “bronze winner,” as he was the only other stallion to be nominated as reserve champion. Many people came to me, some were crying and others just gave me a hug. I remember the owners of Escape, Dubai Stud, saying to me that Specific was a really beautiful horse. That was an amazing success for me, a gift made by BS Specific. This memory is something really special, because that year I decided to dedicate my future to the Arabian horse; I became a professional breeder some months later by creating Kalliste Arabians. I was just 19 and it was the start into a new life—a kind of rebirth.

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Greatest Moments Stefanie Bovens


he beautiful colt RP Burj Al Arab by WH Justice and out of Pamira Bint Psytadel, was then just two years old. He was bred by Di Grazia Stud, Germany, owned by Agmal Arabians’ Liezl El of South Africa, and shown by the most wonderful woman I ever met, Johanna Ullström. He got 4th place in a very big, strong class, but he moved and was dancing in the ring like he was having fun and enjoying every step he took. RP Burj Al Arab is always happy and likes to show everyone that he is a real show stopper. On Sunday he also was crowned a World Top Ten Junior Colt. He even got two votes for Bronze. In my eyes, he deserved Gold. I am a lucky girl who got to meet and work with him. Every day I love RP Burj Al Arab more and more. That he got a chance to compete at the World Championships was a dream for me that came true, and all the people—breeders and participants—were able see him happy and dance around; he most gentle colt in the world.

RP Burj Al Arab, 2014

Reinhard and Monika Sax


he first Triple Crown Filly ever, Essteema, by Essteem out of Menascha, bred and owned by Sax Arabians. Champion at All Nations Cup, European Championships and World Championships. Proudly presented by Johanna Ullström, she remained unbeaten as a yearling in 1999. In Paris, she had to be shown first of all horses at the show, which is a difficult position, but she still got the highest score of the show, and a perfect number of 20’s in type and head and neck. She was applauded as Unanimous Champion—absolutely thrilling.

Essteema, 1999

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Chris Lowe


his for me wouldn’t be a personal one. I was in no way connected to either stallion but watching both Imperial Baarez and Marwan Al Shaqab in 2008 was just amazing. The energy from the crowd and the connections on both sides was incredible to watch and feel. But to see two great stallions of our breed in the show arena together, really was a joy to watch and a moment I will never forget.

Barbara Schwarz Marwan Al Shaqab, 2008


hen I saw the way they played together, the huge understanding between trainer and stallion filled my eyes with tears. The whole audience felt the same. Jan Calis and Lobeke got a standing ovation!

Jan Calis with Lobeke, 2005

Miloslava Khamis


t was my greatest day ever, to be present and compete at such an important event, after not being sure to be there right in time. The fact that I was ready on time was something really amazing, unusual, a special feeling of realism. And I was there for the very right moment. I felt like Alice in Wonderland watching a floating army of white angels in front of me. These white angels were the Top Ten Senior Stallions and among them my beloved Ali Zafir. The highlight of the event was the Senior Mare Championship, especially the incomparable dark bay Victoria II. The second she appeared, I forgot everything around me. She blew me away.

Ali Zafir, 1999 Ar abian Horse Times | 40 | PAR IS

Greatest Moments

Kathrin Hampe-Klingebiel


he greatest moment for me is just around the corner. Eos Arabians will compete in Paris for the first time. This year I will show the first foal I ever bred, three year old EA Arjen el Marwteyn out of Ancholy Ali, who will compete in Junior Stallions. After being crowned 2016 Gold Junior Champion Stallion at the Chantilly Breeders Cup, this is a nice step forward. We are very excited to be in such an elusive group of horses. And we are grateful that we were able to breed such a great horse after being in the Arabian horse business for only five years.

Inge Friedmann


ithout a doubt, 2006 was the most exciting year for my husband Hansjürgen and I. My nerves were strained, from head to toe. When our stallion Al Lahab was unanimously elected as World Senior Champion Stallion by the judges, our dream came true. It also became clear to us that Al Lahab is one of us, a family member. He will stay with us his entire life. Our decision was just right, because working and living with Al Lahab and his wonderful foals gives us so much joy.

Al Lahab, 2006

James Swaenepoel


he greatest moment in the last 30 years that I have been to Paris … when the homebred SA Misha Apal and CE Magnum became World Champion and Reserve in 2002.

SA Misha Apal, 2002 Ar abian Horse Times | 41 | PAR IS

Bart Van Buggenhout


here are to many to mention just one. As a young man, I showed in Paris several times before going to work at Al Rayyan in Qatar. For Al Shaqab Stud, I showed the colt G Tamin to World Champion once. It is a unique feeling. I understand why other handlers get such a kick on this; no other show is like Paris. There were also the three Reserve World Champions: Ansata Sinan, Victoria II HPS and Bint Saida Al Nasser; all three I have loved very much and who all have a story. Now, as the manager for Aljassimya, we have had several successes in Paris in a very short period. CR Jasmeenah was the first win and truly a fantastic one. Minwah was second, and our own bred Ghazwan Aljassimya was our 3rd, a baby I had bred for Sheikh Jassim out of a mare I suggested he buy. Last G Tamin year we also showed Om El Aisha Aljassimya to Bronze Champion. Bred in partnership with Om El Arab, I think it gave Sigi immense pleasure, and thinking about it, I am also happy for being a part in accomplishing that moment for her. These wins are most special because of the pleasure it gives to your whole team and everyone involved, from the owners to the breeders of the horse, as well as trainers and grooms with all their families alongside. It’s a festivity shared and enjoyed by many … it’s never an individual accomplishment. The level and quality in Paris is so great, that it’s truly a team effort. I like that feeling. Furthermore, with it being the last show of the year, you can reflect on the year and look forward to the next one with renewed hopes. Paris is an end, but also a beginning.

Jassmin Kennedy


had only been training her for a few months, but I felt a very strong bond between her and I. I was so nervous for her class, and after she won, I just felt a huge weight lifting off my shoulders. Najdah was laying down and taking a nap when I needed to get her ready on championship day and I took five minutes just sitting with her, making sure I didn’t stress her out because I was totally freaking out when she was in the ring with Tom Schoukens standing against all the other mares. I was with Cathy, Mieke and a few others cheering, but I was pale and shaking. I get nerves for all my horses, but this feeling I had never felt before. Najdah stood out to most people that day, she was the only bay in the championship and super shiny! They called out number 71 as Gold and I started crying, hugged Tom and everyone from the team that was there! It was a moment I will never forget, from the nerves and pressure, to the feeling of great pride!

Najdah Al Zobair, 2014 Ar abian Horse Times | 42 | PAR IS

Greatest Moments

Jan Lemmens


irst, Excalibur EA went World Junior Champion and completed his Triple Crown. And not even an hour later, Eden C became World Reserve Champion Stallion. That was one very emotional day!

Eden C, 2014

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi, Al Bidayer Stud


he first was in 2007 when my stallion Marajj was named World Junior Champion Colt. The second, and just as exciting for me, was in 2015 when two Marajj daughters were named World Champions! Salwa Alzobair, bred by my brother Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, was Marajj’s first foal. She won the title of World Champion Senior Mare the first time she competed. Also, the beautiful D Shahla, bred by our fellow UAE colleagues at Dubai Stud, was named World Junior Champion Filly. I am so proud of Marajj and what he has accomplished over the years, not only as a show horse, but as a sire as well.

Marajj, 2007

Deirdre Hyde


aris in the Festive Season is unique! Outside, winter is early darkness and often bitter cold with a dusting of snow, but in the halls of the Salon du Cheval, there is warmth, glamour, greeting of friends and great excitement in celebration of Arabians of outstanding beauty. Each year you wonder who will take your heart, but this year my mind goes back to 1992 and World Champion Mare Musknitsa, born in 1983 by Muscat and out of Prokaznitsa. Little did I know, I would come to know her rather well. Musknitsa joined us in 1998, but she left for greener pastures at the age of 32 at the end of last year. She still retained the special dignity and presence of a queen that I had seen in Paris all those years ago—truly a Champion mare.

Musknitsa, 1992 Ar abian Horse Times | 43 | PAR IS

Martine Van Hee


he World Championships in Paris have brought many great moments to myself and Dion Arabians over the last 30 years.

In total, Dion Arabians have earned: one Platinum Champion, five Gold World Champions, four Silver World Champions, one Liberty World Champion and many Top Five contenders, and each title is engraved in my memory as a pearl on a wonderful precious crown. My favorite moment was in 1999 when I achieved my first Gold Junior World Champion title with the self-bred Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D, by Ansata Sinan and out of Navarrone “P”. At the same moment, my other colt, AS Sinans Pasha, co-owned with Mrs. Chantal Vantorre, became Silver Champion next to Eternity.

Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D, 1999

We were not finished yet, however. Eternity’s dam, the legendary Navarrone “P” obtained the Silver Mare World Champion title.

I submit this as one of the most exiting days in my Arabian horse show career. The lucky story continued several times in the following years, a second Gold World Champion title and Platinum for Eternity was one of them.

Christine Jamar


kstern garnered World Senior Champion Stallion in 2000. With this title, he completed his Triple Crown and it was the highlight of a quite unexpected show career.

My original intention in leasing Ekstern was to improve my Eukaliptus daughters, hoping the foals would have more show attitude. It was unexpected for everybody that Ekstern turned out to be such an amazing show horse and I am sure, the stallion did so wonderfully for Eric Dorssers, who was not only his handler at that time, but his best friend. Their performance in Paris was extraordinary! By then, everybody knew Ekstern. You could feel how the atmosphere changed just before he came into the arena. Handled by Eric, Ekstern came in like he already was World Champion. The grandstand was shouting, clapping and stomping. The more they clapped, the more Ekstern danced. I will never forget this moment!

Ekstern, 2000

Eline Raes


he feeling of joy that came when Kahil Al Shaqab’s son Morion won the Gold Champion Junior Colt title with Tom Oben at the lead, will never beat. He was bred and owned by Michalow Stud, but at that time was leased to Al Thumama Stud. As a training center back then, winning a gold title is the most beautiful thing .

Morion, 2015 Ar abian Horse Times | 44 | PAR IS

Greatest Moments

Esther Detailleur


aris is always one of the most special moments of the year. A place where the most beautiful, breathtaking horses come together to compete in the wonderful city of lights. The world championships always give me a boost to want to fulfill my dreams of breeding a horse that has the capacity to become World Champion. One of those boosts was EKS Alihandro, when he came into the arena with Giacomo Capacci at the lead in 2013. It was amazing to see this team shining in the ring and witness the special bound between handler and stallion, that one gets goosebumps and a big smile fills your face. EKS Alihandro … his charisma and attitude gives me a special feeling. In 2013 he not only became Unanimous World Champion, but also Gold Champion in Aachen, Menton and Dubai, which was a big victory for his owner. When EKS EKS Alihandro, 2013 Alihandro comes into the arena, he is like an untamed beast and an unbeatable king. I wish HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Ahmad bin Abdulaziz and his manager, Ward Bemong, the best of luck in the future with this amazing stallion and his offspring. After winning the All Nations Cup Senior Championship this year and being named Horse Of The Year, he is ready to aim for the Gold in Paris 2016.

Janina Merz


have been going to the World Championships in Paris for nearly my entire life, so it is interesting that the one that came to mind immediately was one where I wasn’t in attendance. It was my mom, Sigi Siller’s last World Championships. Over the years she has bred more World Champions than any other private breeder and the statistics of Om El Arab related World Champions is truly staggering. For example, in 2015, 11 of the 18 possible World Champions had Om El Arab horses in their pedigrees. It was wonderful for my mom to stand in center ring one last time with Om El Aisha Aljassimya’s Bronze World Champion Junior Mare win last year, one of the horses she so proudly bred. I will treasure the thought of her happiness forever.

Om El Aisha Aljassimya, 2015

Steve Patrick


he very first time my family and I attended in 1997, we brought over the stallion Om el Abadan, by Carmargue and out of Bint Estopa, from Australia where he went on to take the title of Reserve World Champion Stallion. It was a phenomenal experience and one we wished to repeat. We were extremely fortunate to return the following year in 1998 with our homebred colt Espano Estopa, a son of Om el Abadan and out of Malikah Estopa, the only pure Spanish daughter of Estopa by An Malik. Espano was crowned World Champion Junior Colt. For sure, we had a big party that night!

Espano Estopa, 1998 Ar abian Horse Times | 45 | PAR IS

Katrien Vandycke


showed Antaris OS, bred by Osterhof Stud and owned by Ajman Stud in the yearling colt classes. First we won the qualifying class, which made me already very happy. On Sunday it got even better when he was named World Champion Yearling Colt! My first gold championship in Paris with a horse that I trained and showed myself. One of my big dreams came true. It was an amazing feeling; hard to express in words and a great award for all the hard work during the whole year.

Antaris OS, 2013

Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Al Thani


y favorite moment ‌ Al Adeed Al Shaqab winning World Champion Stallion; a stallion who always was and still is, close to my heart.

Al Adeed Al Shaqab, 2004

Renata Schibler

Estasha and Estawa, 1976


t was in 1976 when I visited the World Arabian Horse Championships for the first time. It has captured me since the beginning. I saw many beautiful Arabian horses, but I literally melted, when I saw Estasha, who won the title of Junior Champion Mare and Estawa, who was chosen Reserve. This was the moment when I decided to become a breeder of Golden Cross Arabians.

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Greatest Moments

Katharina Burkhardt


y precious memory I have of Paris does not belong to a World Champion, but this stallion was a World Champion to me, because of his unique character and attitude. G Tamin was a gorgeous, strong and powerful son of Pilot. He came into our stable and we realized immediately that it was not us who decided who took care of him, it was him! He loved the people he knew, and the ones he didn’t, he ignored so that they could not even put a halter on him. I remember the countless times when Mary opened the door and he would happily stick his head in the halter immediately, waiting for cuddles or scratching of his tongue, and I as well, the countless times I had to do this together with her until he allowed me to be his friend too. From that moment on, we had a special bond. We took him to Paris in 2003, competing against the later World Champion, Al Adeed Al Shaqab, and others. During the stress of the show, I would tell a groom to put a halter on G Tamin, get the rugs off G Tamin and clean him, and I would come to get him ready for his class. Five minutes later, that girl came back saying, “Sorry, I cannot reach his head.” Stupid me. I went to the box and funny Tamin stood there very quiet, but with his head up in the air in the corner of the box. When I called his name, he very happily turned around, stacked his head in the halter and we got ready for show time. During the whole show, this stallion never failed to make me smile. I found him at least five times in the box with his blanket pulled to the front. Every time I saw that, of course I went in there, adjusted the blanket, had some cuddles and a quiet minute with him and left again. But I still didn’t get what he did – until I observed him from outside. As soon as I would leave the box and he thought nobody was watching, he would pull the blanket with his teeth to the front, and stand there pretending he is stuck and can barely move, waiting for somebody to save him—and give him some cuddles. He was so smart, you almost thought you could see him smile while doing that!

Elvis Giughera


here is not one single moment from Paris that I prefer over the other, because every year, Paris is magical! There are a lot of moments I remember with enthusiasm. For example, in 2005, when Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D was proclaimed Gold Champion Stallion, he entered the arena as a “Pegasus”—it seemed as if he were flying with his graceful movements. In 2009, the suspense that was created between Marwan Al Shaqab and Imperial Baarez, both two super stallions … yes, was for sure an amazing moment, because till the last breath, you could not imagine what would happen. And then Marwan Al Shaqab won the championship … an unforgettable Paris show! And last, but not least, Paris 2014 … the first year that Arabian Essence WebTV broadcast exclusively, the world championships in livestream, something I’m very proud of and also very important for me was that same year, my first Paris with my daughter Inès. Ar abian Horse Times | 47 | PAR IS


U.S. National Halter Championships

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Arabian Senior Stallion Champion


(Marwan Al Shaqab x RGA Kouress) B: Joel Desmarteau, O: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi

Reserve: EQUATOR PASB (QR Marc x Ekliptyka), B/O: Michalow State Stud Farm 3rd: SOLTIRE TO (DA Valentino x Sol Natique), B/O: Thirteen Oaks Arabians 4th: SPITFYRE VF (TF Psymreekhe x Red Flame BRSB), B: Ventura Farms, O: M G Steenhart 5th: TEMPEZST (Audacious PS x Contezsa), B/O: Nichole Mesik

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Arabian Stallion AAOTH Champion TEMPEZST (Audacious PS x Contezsa) B/O: Nichole Mesik

Reserve: ASGARD OF ROHAN (Eden C x Apsara of Rohan), B: Jennifer Lowry Kamentz, O: Sharon Day 3rd: ROYAL EMANUEL (Eden C x Emandoria), B/O: Cindy McGown and Mark Davis 4th: MIRACLE OF MARWAN (Marwan Al Shaqab x Majalina), B: Ray and Nora Tatum & Michael Byatt, O: Robert Janecki 5th: WH COBALT (L A Karat x Miss Marwan FCF), B: Wendell Hansen, O: Julie Rogers

Arabian Junior Stallion Champion CONQUEST BR (Versace x Lee Anna Psy)

B: Al Jood Stud, O: Conquest BR Partners, Inc. Inc

Reserve: REHAN AL SHAHANIA (Marwan Al Shaqab x Majalis), B: Michael Byatt & Ray and Nora Tatum, O: Al Shahania stud 3rd: VANGELIS MI (DA Valentino x Always An Angel), B/O: Mulawa Arabian Stud Pty. Ltd. 4th: CTJ KUDURO (Vitorio TO x Faustiana), B: Oak Ridge Arabians, O: Colton Jacobs 5th: BELOVED MARCANGELO (QR Marc x Magnums Angel JD), B/O: Patricia M. Dempsey Trustee

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Arabian Futurity Colt Champion TURISMO RA (Trussardi x Marlene Dietrich)

B: Rojo Arabians, O: Silver Stag Arabians LLC

Reserve: SHAHEEN C (Stival x Silken Sable), B: Rhonda Coleal, O: Gallun Farms, Inc. 3rd: SOUL OF MARWAN AS (Marwan Al Shaqab x RD Challs Angel), B/O: Arabian Soul Partners Ltd. 4th: PA PHOENIX KID (Sundance Kid V x Pamila), B/O: James Frank and Sara Chisholm 5th: BANYAN AC (Beijing BHF x TF Psynergy), B/O: Andrew and Christine Steffens

Arabian Yearling Breeders Sweepstakes Colt Champion NA’MOUS AL SHAHANIA (FA El Shawan x Virtuosa MLR)

B: Marlene Rieder, O: Al Shahania Stud Reserve: DELACROIXX (RD Dynamo x HED Caramba), B: Laura Koch and Bert Sanders, O: Barbara Sink-Krusenstjerna 3rd: RAJJ ALBIDAYER (Marajj x Loredonna Z), B: Duke and Renae Mendel, O: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi 4th: SEEF AL SHAHANIA (Marwan Al Shaqab x A Special Versace), B/O: Al Shahania Stud 5th: RD STIVALATION (Stival x RD Felicitation), B/O: Murray and Shirley Popplewell Ar abian Horse Times | 51 | PAR IS

Ar abian Horse Times | 52 | PAR IS


Arabian Senior Mare Champion

MD HIBAT ALLAH (DA Valentino x Anastasiaa)

B: Manuel Durini, O: NJ Arabian Horse Ventures LLC

Reserve: IMPRESSA MI (Aria Impresario x Mulawa Alexa), B: Ambition Investments Party Ltd., O: Joanne Gunabalan 3rd: GC LE MARAIS (Marwan Al Shaqab x GC Echlectica), B: Gerald Canda, O: Al Shahania Stud 4th: RD MARCIENA (QR Marc x NW Siena Psyche), B: Murray and Shirley Popplewell, O: Cindy McGown and Mark Davis 5th: MYSTIC LOVE WRR (Beijing BHF x Mystic Rose BHF), B: Whiterock Ranch LLC, O: Jessie Szymanski-Hoag

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Arabian Mare AAOTH Champion PERFIRKA

(Gazal Al Shaqab x Perforacja)

B: Bialke State Stud Farm, O: Cedar Ridge Farm

Reserve: SHEZA MARCEDES (RHR Marcedes x Verset), B: Marlene Staley, O: Natalie Schenck 3rd: MAHADEVI O ( Jaipur El Perseus x Marilyn V), B: Oone LLC, O: Robert Janecki 4th: JOGEES APHRODITE (Da Vinci FM x Solvannah), B: Grace Glozier, O: Patrick and Amy McGinnis 5th: FELISHA VALENTINE BHF (DA Valentino x Felisha BHF), B: Battle Hill Farm, O: Jessie Szymanski-Hoag

Arabian Junior Mare Champion MOZN AL BIDAYER (SMA Magic One x Mattaharii)

B/O: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi

Reserve: ELZUNYA MEIA LUA (El Jahez WH x Elle Dorada), B: Maria Helena Perroy-Ribeiro, O: Al Shahania Stud 3rd: MIUCHA EL SHAWAN JQ (FA El Shawan x Guama El Power JQ), B: JQ Arabians, O: NJ Arabian Horse Ventures LLC 4th: NATALEE TO (Valentinus TO x Natassia), B: Thirteen Oaks Arabians, O: William Davis 5th: NARADAA (Hariry Al Shaqab x RD Alotta Ambition), B: Pamela Halbrook, O: Duke and Renae Rohl

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Arabian Futurity Filly Champion PITONISA AS

(Ever After NA x Psyches Amber Dream) B: Lisa Markley and Leanne Reel, O: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi Reserve: RD MARCIEA BEY (Bey Ambition x RD Marciena), B/O: Murray and Shirley Popplewell 3rd: VALAQATARA SRA (Abha Qatar x DM Valencea), B/O: Dan and Maureen Grossman 4th: MISS PRYME THYME CFA (Boomerang NA x A Moment In Thyme), B/O: Blinn Salisbury III 5th: ALEXANDRIA RA (PCF Vision x Dreammaker RA), B/O: Douglas Verheul and Lisa Kalo

Arabian Yearling Breeders Sweepstakes Filly Champion PINK ROSE SRA (Baahir El Marwan x DM Valencea) B/O: Dan and Maureen Grossman

Reserve: EXQUISITE GA ( JJ Bellagio x Cinderella By Davinci), B: Sally Bedeker, O: Gemini Equine LLC 3rd: ARIA APHRODITE (Aria Impresario x Honey’s Delight RB), B/O: Masterpiece Arabian Partners LLC 4th: BELOVED GRACIOUS LADY (Bey Ambition x AP Sheez Sassy), B/O: Patricia M. Dempsey Trustee 5th: MYSTIC MAGNOLIA PF (Ever After NA x Mystic Rose BHF), B: Jessie Szymanski-Hoag, O: North Nierenberg LLC

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Ar abian Horse Times | 56 | PAR IS


Arabian Senior Gelding Champion

LLC FABRIZIO (Baahir El Marwan x RD Fabreanna)

B: Nelson De Oliveira Prata Moreira Pinto, O: Stuart Vesty

Reserve: BLACK OPZZ (Aria Impresario x Miss Enzo JB), B: Rhiannon Sellman and Jamie Heathcott, O: Shuster Arabians LLC 3rd: MI DON WAN (OFW Magic Wan x Love Ever After JD), B: Shellbird, Inc., O: Lenhart Family Trust 4th: SIR KEMPTON AC (Sir Fames HBV x TF Psynergy), B: Andrew and Christine Steffens, O: Maddy and Jay Winer 5th: NW SIENSATIONAL (Afire Bey V x NW Siena Psyche), B: Ruth and Michael Doe, O: Cindy McGown and Mark Davis

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Arabian Gelding AAOTH Champion TAKE MI WORD (DA Valentino x Ladie Magnum)

B: Shellbird, Inc., O: Robert and Janene Boggs

Reserve: RIGHTEOUS BHF BHF (Falcon BHF x BHF Anna Tevkah), B: Battle Hill Farm, O: Dan and Lori Whitt 3rd: GS NEAPALOTAN RCF (Apalo x Martini Thyme RTA), B: Jack and Elizabeth Milam & Perry Payson, O: Cedar Ridge Farm 4th: NW SIENSATIONAL (Afire Bey V x NW Siena Psyche), B: Ruth and Michael Doe, O: Cindy McGown and Mark Davis 5th: MI DON WAN (OFW Magic Wan x Love Ever After JD), B: Shellbird, Inc., O: Lenhart Family Trust

Arabian Junior Gelding Champion EXPECTATIONS SS (Stival x Evangalina SS)

B: Autumn Smith, O: Kristine Nolan

Reserve: MARCUS TRF (ZT Marwteyn x HB Dominique El Dakar), B: Tangle Ridge Farm, O: Laura Koch and Bert Sanders 3rd: STATHAM Z (Stival x Naes Appolonnia Z), B: Gemini Ranch LLC, O: Duke and Renae Mendel 4th: VERSAILLES PCF (Pstrategy x Veronica GA), B: Sam Peacemaker, O: Highland Pride Arabians, Inc. 5th: VALIK ORA (Vitorio TO x Star of Justice ORA), B: Oak Ridge Arabians, O: Melissa Subjeck

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Arabian Futurity Gelding Champion VLADIMIR BFA (SF Veraz x AR Most Irresistible)

B: Frances Butler and Brandi Carson, O: John, Annette and Salvatore Graffeo Reserve: GS NEAPALOTAN RCF (Apalo x Martini Thyme RTA), B: Jack and Elizabeth Milam & Perry Payson O: Cedar Ridge Farm 3rd: INFERNO PF (PCF Vision x RH Inat), B: Jessie Szymanski-Hoag, O: Debra Tierney-Morton 4th: VERSAILLES PCF (Pstrategy x Veronica GA), B: Sam Peacemaker, O: Highland Pride Arabians, Inc. 5th: TRUVISO (Trussardi x RS Vallerina), B: Ken and Joanne White, O: Alisha and Adele Kinney

Arabian Yearling Breeders Sweepstakes Gelding Champion RD BARCELLO (Bey Ambition x Enchanteress)

B/O: Murray and Shirley Popplewell

Reserve: CRIMSON CROSSFIRE LRA (Truse x Serenata El Jamaal), B/O: Ron and Laura Armstrong 3rd: RD NEBELLO (Nevada TBA x RD Annabelle Lee), B/O: Murray and Shirley Popplewell 4th: TRU AMBASSADOR (Trussardi x MS Amber Afire), B: Janet Zouzounis, O: Cheryl McCally 5th: ELJOMAR KABASK (LC Psulybration x Finbask), B: Margaret Forseth and Brittany Walberg, O: Brittany Walberg

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Join TR ViTesse on His JouRney


aylor Ranch has been known for breeding beautiful, athletic horses for nearly three decades. We were very fortunate to have been the home to three of the breed’s most iconic stallions: *Muscat, *Aladdinn, and *Nariadni. When my father, Rick, first acquired *Nariadni and *Muscat, he also purchased a number of excellent straight Russian mares. He delved briefly into racing with a straight Russian *Muscat son, Mussiah, and a *Nariadni daughter, Natasha RA (also the first *Nariadni daughter purchased by Taylor Ranch). For the most part, our breeding program has focused on the show world, breeding many champions in both halter and performance. Recently, however, I was able to learn about some amazing experiences in racing from our dear friends Cory Soltau and Sue Meyer. We had a colt born two years ago—somewhat by accident. We had a straight Russian *Nariadni daughter that we were having a difficult time getting in foal, as well as a straight Russian *Mag son who was having a hard time keeping weight on in the barn. So we turned them out together, not thinking much of it, until she was checked in foal later that fall. This colt has an amazing pedigree with some of the greatest Russian Arabian racehorses in history. After talking with Evie Tubbs Sweeney about the new Heritage Arabian Racing Club (HARC) program that offers bonus incentives to purebred Arabians of certain bloodlines which our Russian-bred horses qualify for, we have decided that we are ready to follow this colt on the exciting adventure of Arabian racing. When I posted a photo of TR Vitesse on Facebook and announced we were excited to try Arabian racing, I received a great response, including some asking me to blog about our journey into racing. Evie (via the Arabian Jockey Club) and Lara Ames have been kind enough to publish our experiences as we venture into a fun new world for us. If you have been curious about Arabian racing, you’ll find this blog to be candid, insightful and educational, as you walk alongside our journey as newcomers ourselves. It will be an adventure! And one that we are very much looking forward to! Hope you enjoy as well. —Isaac Taylor Taylor Ranch n

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Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi Dawn Martin, Manager | +971-50-626-7309 Sharjah, UAE

Marwan Al Shaqab x RGA Kouress

SENIOR STALLION 2016 Arabian Breeders World Cup Champion Stallion 9 Years and Over 2016 Arabian Breeders World Cup Silver Supreme Champion Senior Stallion Presented by Michael Byatt

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For breeding information contact Michael Byatt Tel: 979.357.2614

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi

Dawn Martin, Manager +971-50-626-7309

Sharjah, UAE Ar abian Horse Times | 63 | PAR IS

FUTURITY FILLY Presented by Sandro Pinha

Ever After NA × Psyches Amber Dream

Ar abian Horse Times | 64 | PAR IS

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi Dawn Martin, Manager +971-50-626-7309

Sharjah, UAE Ar abian Horse Times | 65 | PAR IS

S.M.A Magic One x Mattahari


Presented by Michael Byatt

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2016 Arabian Breeders World Cup Gold Supreme Champion Junior Filly 2016 Arabian Breeders World Cup Champion Filly of 2014 Highest Score for Head & Neck 2016 Region 14 Unanimous Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Presented by Michael Byatt

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi Dawn Martin, Manager +971-50-626-7309 Ar abian Horse Times | 67 | PAR IS

Sharjah, UAE

U.S. NATIONAL TOP TEN YEARLING COLT 2nd Highest Scoring Yearling Colt Presented by Sandro Pinha

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi Dawn Martin, Manager +971-50-626-7309

Sharjah, UAE Ar abian Horse Times | 68 | PAR IS


HARIRY AL SHAQAB x MINX F O by EDEN C 2014 Colt Available to the Discriminating Breeder

Chattooga Ridge Arabians, Inc Chris & Paula Anckersen 864.647.7588

Ar abian Horse Times | 69 | PAR IS

Five Oaks Farm Bred by Joy Gildersleeve 803.831.2190






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2016 UNITED STATES NATIONAL CHAMPIONS AND RESERVES AND 6 TOP TEN AWARDS *MD HIBAT ALLAH — National Champion Senior Mare CONQUEST BR — National Champion Junior Stallion PINK ROSE SRA — National Champion Yearling Filly *PERFIRKA — National Champion Mare AAOTH

REMEMBER THE NYTE RMA — National Champion Half-Arabian Futurity Gelding National Reserve Champion Half-Arabian Gelding Saddle/Pleasure Open and AAOTH TSHAMPAGNE TSHOCSTAR — National Champion Half-Arabian Yearling Colt RD BARCELLO — National Champion Yearling Gelding GS NEAPALOTAN RCF — National Reserve Champion Futurity Gelding National Top Ten Gelding AAOTH VALAQATARA SRA — National Top Ten Futurity Filly BYRONICA RH— National Top Ten Junior Mare POSTARIO — National Top Ten Futurity Gelding VALIK ORA — National Top Ten Junior Gelding ENDLESS SUMMER NYTE — National Top Ten Yearling Filly ARIA APHRODITE — National Top Ten Yearling Filly BENI TG — National Top Ten Half-Arabian Mare Stock/Hunter Open and AAOTH Ar abian Horse Times | 71 | PAR IS

Gazal Al Shaqab x Perforacja • 02/23/03

The Ames Family Jordan, Minnesota Ar abian Horse Times | 72 | PAR IS


Perfirka *Perfirka




DA Valentino x *Anastasiaa • 05/09/09

NJ Arabian Horse Ventures, LLC Birmingham, Michigan

Part of the


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Managed by: Jeff Sloan



*MD Hibat Allah


Versace x Lee Anna Psy • 07/02/13

Conquest BR Partners, LLC Birmingham, Michigan

Part of the


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Managed by: Jeff Sloan


Conquest Conquest BR



Versace x DA Love

Stone Ridge Arabians Dan & Maureen Grossman Bloomington, Indiana Ar abian Horse Times | 78 | PAR IS


Pink Pink Rose


Baahir El Marwan x DM Valencea, by DA Valentino • 04/23/15 2016 REGION 14 CHAMPION YEARLING FILLY



Neopalotan GS




Apalo x Martini Thyme RTA • 03/29/13

The Ames Family Jordan, Minnesota Ar abian Horse Times | 80 | PAR IS




Remember The Nyte RMA


Melissa Subjeck Elma, New York Ar abian Horse Times | 81 | PAR IS

Rae-Dawn Arabians is committed to breeding a “global� Arabian horse - an Arabian horse not only beautiful, but athletic as well. Our horses successfully compliment halter & performance programs the world over. Visit us on your next trip to Scottsdale, we have an outstanding collection of horses to share with you...

Bey Ambition x RD Marciena, by *QR Marc 2016 Canadian Reserve National Champion Futurity Filly 2016 United States Reserve National Champion Futurity Filly

2016 Leading Breeder of Purebred Halter horses at both the Canadian & U.S. National Championships!

RD SAFiRA (Bey Ambition x RD Challs Angel) Proudly owned by Al Zobair Stud - UAE

RD AZEEM (Bey Ambition x TF Falconsimprint) 2016 U.S. National Finalist - Arabian Hunter Pleasure Jr. Horse

RD BARCELLo (Bey Ambition x Enchanteress) 2016 U.S. National Champion Yearling Gelding

RD CAPRioTTi (Shanghai EA x Mi Morena) 2016 Las Vegas World Cup Champion Yearling Colt - B

Murray & Shirley Popplewell Bruno Guiraldelli, Trainer Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A. voice 306.241.1199

ps! Ar abian Horse Times | 83 | PAR IS

2015 U.S. National Champion Senior Stallion 2010 U.S. National Champion Futurity Colt

Marwan Al Shaqab x Magna Prelude

Standing at SHOUKENS TRAINING CENTER Glenn: +32 (0) 494 - 14 13 34 | Tom: +32 (0) 495 - 61 12 79 | Cathy Tamsin: +32 476 800 396 Proudly owned by HARAS SAHARA| Salim & Rafaela Mattar | Brazil ZERLOTTI GENETICS Tel: 830-569-8913 | Ar abian Horse Times | 85 | PAR IS

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Champion, after champion, after champion


BHT Falcon BHF x Felisha BHF

Keith & Maureen Krichke | 11695 Sprinkle Road | Vicksburg, MI 49097 269.217.5530 | Ar abian Horse Times | 93 | PAR IS

2016 U.S. National Top Ten Senior Mare Halter with Keith Krichke





Owned by Frank Szymanski • Jessie Szymanski-Hoag Riga, MI • 419-704-3043 •

Ar abian Horse Times | 94 | PAR IS

Beijing BHF x Mystic Rose BHF

2016 U.S. National Top Ten Stallion Halter with Keith Krichke



DA Valentino x Sol Natique

Owned by Thirteen Oaks Arabians • Maureen Horton Blountville, TN • 423.677.3302 •



Ar abian Horse Times | 95 | PAR IS

2016 U.S. National Reserve Champion Stallion Halter AAOTH with Sarah Medina

Eden C x Apsara Of Rohan

2 0 1 6 A RA B I A N



Owned by Eagle Ridge Arabians T R A I N I N G


Sharon Day & Sarah Medina • Fort Wayne, IN Ar abian Horse Times | 96 | PAR IS




2016 - An Exciting Summer With Regional Chamionship Wins in Halter and Performance GA MI GRANDLADY

(Minotaur x WN Mahogany Lady, by Padrons Mahogany)


(Ever After NA X GA Mi Grandlady) 5/31/16 Bay Colt


(Beijing BHF X GA GWisz Mahogany) 5/2/13 Bay Filly


(Grand Commandd X Grand Anastasia) 6/25/15 Bay Colt


(Ever After NA x GA Mi Grandlady) 5/5/15 Bay Filly

“First and foremost I am a breeder. Every one of the foals we have are carefully planned, and for me, the anticipation of those foals and the foaling process itself is the most exciting part of the business. I am unbending as to the criteria I’ve established for my breeding stock. Pretty first, is absolutely necessary. Performance ability is also a must, as are good legs. And I love big eyes, ears that are well placed, small muzzles, and long necks that have shape and come out of a laid back shoulder. We have several exceptional individuals available. Please come for a visit.” — Linda Mehney OPPORTUNITIES Now offering exceptional, stylish horses by: DA Valentino, Grand Commandd, Beiijing BHF, Ever After NA


(MPA Giovanni X GA GWisz Mahogany) 5/13/08 Bay Gelding


Linda Mehney • 3049 Mary S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49506 • Cell: 616.490.3926 • Ar abian Horse Times | 97 | PAR IS

BENI HASHIM ARABIANS ... The Seal of Nobility

Amelia B and her daughter by Marwan Al Shaqab

Beni Hashim Arabians is the culmination of a lifelong passion and love for the finest Arabian horses and the desire to preserve and promote our noble Arabian heritage.

We are an emerging breeding program in Scottsdale, Arizona that relentlessly pursues excellence and perfection. We strive to collect and breed world-class horses with exquisite type, sound conformation, and stunning beauty.

P.O. Box 28451 | Scottsdale, Arizona 85255, USA Tel: 480.442.2207 | Email: |

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Introducing our leading mare . . . AMELIA B

Magnum Psyche x Amety B

U.S. National Champion | Canadian National Reserve Champion Dam of 4 National Champions

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Ar abian Horse Times | 100 | PAR IS


THE ING Reigns Supreme







Owned and Bred by: Al Shaqab – Member of Qatar Foundation

SH. HAMAD BIN ALI AL THANI Al Shaqab Manager for Breeding and Show Department •

CONTACT US TODAY FOR INCREDIBLE BREEDING INCENTIVES! For breeding information, contact: David Boggs • 612.328.8312 Nate White • 563.663.7383


Leaders Of The Times:

Kahil Al Shaqab: The Contemporary Icon by Theresa Cardamone

Ar abian Horse Times | 106 | PAR IS


hether Kahil Al Shaqab steps out into the barn aisle, or erupts into the show ring, he demands the undivided attention of every onlooker. Tall and extremely elegant, he is a melodious balance of strength and classic Arabian type, an icon of the contemporary Arabian. Foaled in 2008, the dynamic bay has it all … near-perfect phenotype and the ability to both reproduce and even out produce himself in creating the next generation for Al Shaqab – a member of the Qatar Foundation. Named both 2011 Gold World Champion Junior Colt and 2014 Gold World Champion Stallion, Kahil Al Shaqab has also already achieved the remarkable feat of siring at least one World Champion each of the last three years, against the finest competitors on the planet. They include his gorgeous son Morion, the 2015 Gold World Champion Junior Stallion and his breathtaking daughter Pustynia Kahila, the 2014 Gold World Champion Yearling Filly. Those triumphs endorsed the

prior selection of Kahil’s daughter Minwah as 2013 Gold World Champion Yearling Filly. Kahil Al Shaqab breeds true to his heritage, which extends back through the studbooks of many nations including Brazil and the U.S., Egypt and Poland, Russia and England, all the way to the original desert horses first developed centuries ago by the Bedouins of Arabia and the Middle East. With a powerful family dynasty reminiscent of those found at the State Stud Farms in Poland, the maternal side of Kahil Al Shaqab’s pedigree has the genetic power to balance the nearly overwhelming quality of the influential Gazal Al Shaqab male line. Kahil Al Shaqab has seven crosses to Bask, including the jet-black Bask daughter Balaquina through her black daughter OFW Balarina on his maternal dam line. Kahil Al Shaqab has been standing with David Boggs at Midwest Training Centre in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the last two breeding seasons. His incredible show record and his emergence as a significant sire of champions have stimulated tremendous interest in him from American breeders, as well as from entities existing all over the globe. Kahil Al Shaqab’s rare ability to completely captivate an audience is due in large part to his spirited presence. His classic silhouette and fiery nature are tempered by his abundant intelligence and joy of life. His energy infects every audience, who in turn support him with exuberant enthusiasm. Such was the case when David Boggs led Kahil Al Shaqab to the 2016 Scottsdale Grand Champion Stallion title in his long-awaited American show ring debut last February. With one of the longest and most significant histories of any Arabian horse show in the world, earning that title is a goal achieved only by the very best. And that is exactly what Kahil Al Shaqab is … the best, a stallion for posterity, a burgeoning legend in his own time, an icon for the contemporary Arabian. n

KAHIL AL SHAQAB (*Marwan Al Shaqab x OFW Mishaahl).

Ar abian Horse Times | 107 | PAR IS

European EuropeanChampionships Championships The Beauties And The Beasts

by Susanne BÖsche


t was a high-class and somewhat “spooktacular” weekend in Lier, Belgium at the European Championships this year. During the day, four-legged ethereal, young Arabic beauties danced and pranced and competed for class victories, but on Saturday evening it was time to start picking out a spooky costume. While the wind outside nested in the trees, the darkness took on a special creepy feel. Witches, ghosts, scarecrows, mummies and black cats took over the party. The event was hosted by Mike Ashmore, while DJ Kristof turned up the heat for a thrilling party to celebrate a holiday that has been around for hundreds of years, but only within the last century, has come to be known as the event we love today. Beauty, however, vanquished the monsters, skeletons and beasts the following morning and noble Arabian horses were at the center of the action again—senior classes first—before the best of the best competed for championship honors in the afternoon. Celebrating this year’s European champions, these fine Arabian horses did not need the tears of a girl, such as the fairytale of “The Beauty And The Beast,” to break a curse to develop their beauty to full bloom. Among them, Gallardo J, an outstanding bay who took his second step on the way to his 2016 Triple Crown, was carefully handled by Frank Spönle. Bred by Jadem Arabians, Belgium, and proudly owned by Ajman Stud, UAE, this three year old colt has already made history, winning the European Gold Champion ribbon for the third year in a row.

No wonder Robin Hopkinson, this year’s EC speaker, says, “The European Championships is considered to be one of the greatest shows in the world where one is sure to see the future World Champions compete. It is also where the finest breeders of Europe have the opportunity to showcase the results of their well thought out breeding programs and share for the world to see. The Arabian horses that competed this year, as well as in years past, were of the highest quality. Witnessing the overall horsemanship skills and the conditioning and presentation of this year’s competitors was amazing to see! Congratulations to all of the outstanding European breeders—we all can learn from you.”

Ar abian Horse Times | 108 | PAR IS


Senior Males Gold Champion

IM BAYARD CATHARE (Padrons Immage x Shamilah Bagheera) B: Roques Richard, O: Royal Cavalry of Oman

Silver Champion: IS EXXPU (QR Marc x IS Exelsia) B/O: Ismer Stud Bronze Champion: SAFEER (Ajman Moniscione x MO Sajfa) B: Mr. Fiorini Loris, O: Mrs. Tina Martucci

Ar abian Horse Times | 109 | PAR IS

Ar abian Horse Times | 110 | PAR IS


JuniorMales Gold Champion


(Emerald J x Gomera J) B: Jadem Arabians, O: Ajman Stud

Silver Champion: LUIGI (Kanz Albidayer x Lolita) B: Mrs. Dani Saelens, O: Al Shahania Stud Bronze Champion: FALAH AL SHAQAB (Fadi Al Shaqab x Joseph Just Emotion) B/O: Al Shaqab Stud

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Ar abian Horse Times | 112 | PAR IS


YearlingMales Gold Champion MM JABARI

(EKS Alihandro x M.M. Julietta) B/O: Mario Matt Arabians

Silver Champion: CYCLONE OS (RFI Farid x Inspired Najla) B/O: Gestut Osterhof Bronze Champion: MANSOUR AM (EKS Alihandro x Abha Palma) B/O: Al Mohamadia Stud

Colt Foals Gold Champion VDV CONQUESTADOR (Fayyad Al Fayyad x Gypsy Love NA) B/O: VDV Management

Silver Champion: AL PACINO (AJ Mardan x Aljuba) B/O: Mr. Sabato Florio Bronze Champion: DW Il DIVO (Baahir El Marwan x Cara’mel-D) B/O: Mrs. Isabelle De Wasch

Ar abian Horse Times | 113 | PAR IS

Ar abian Horse Times | 114 | PAR IS


Senior Females Gold Champion

ETNOLOGIA (Gazal Al Shaqab x Etalanta) B: Janow Podlaski, O: Halsdon Arabians

Silver Champion: MAJEEDAH CF (WH Justice x Maharani CF) B: Cafra Arabians, O: Al Khashab Stud Bronze Champion: AJA EUROPA (Aja Justified x HB Marais) B: Aja Arabians, O: ROYAL Cavalry of Oman

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Candid photos by Jan Kan and Henrike Hormann.

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Junior Females Gold Champion

M.M. NIYAMA (WH Justice x Nautis El Perseus) B/O: Mario Matt Arabians

Silver Champion: CARMINE AL KHALED (Glorius Apal x Cosmopolitan J) B/O: Al Khaled Farm Bronze Champion: GALERIDA (Shanghai EA x Galilea) B/O: Michalow State Stud

Ar abian Horse Times | 117 | PAR IS

YearlingFemales Gold Champion HDM MARIA APAL

(RFI Farid x WW Amania Apal) B: Mrs. Eleonore Mertens, O: Ajman Stud Silver Champion: AJA CAPRICE (EKS Alihandro x Aja Carina) B/O: Aja Arabians Bronze Champion: DA ALIHANDRA (EKS Alihandro x DA Miss Justice) B/O: Mrs Cornelia Kolnberger

Filly Foals Gold Champion AJ NORAH

(AJ Mardan x Inspired Najla) B/O: Ajman Stud

Silver Champion: CHARLIES ANGEL (QR Marc x Atheena) B/O: Mrs. Wenche Roefs Bronze Champion: SHARANYA JJ (Nader Al Shaqab x Shantell JJ) B/O: Mrs. Johanna Ullstrom

Ar abian Horse Times | 118 | PAR IS


Geldings Gold Champion

NABEEL AL NASSER (EKS Alihandro x Noof Al Nasser) B/O: Al Nasser Stud

Silver Champion: PISTORIUS (EKS Alihandro x ZT Ludjteyna) B/O: Athbah Stud Bronze Champion: PANTHOS (QR Marc x Palanga) B: Mr. Paul Gheysens, O: Florentina Arabians

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by J.L. Hardesty

Excerpts from original, printed from First Edition, 2004 This is a story about the great American dream—and its realization. Like the tale of Seabiscuit and the people who surrounded that great horse, this is a rags-to-riches, more-amazing-than-fiction account. It is also a metaphor that demonstrates the magic that can happen when the Creator beckons and the hearer agrees to follow; and it is an illustration of what can be accomplished through devotion and tenacity. Finally, this is the brief narrative of a family whose love for the horse—in particular one unparalleled Arabian stallion—gave birth to a small business, an enterprise that in turn spawned a full-scale industry. At the outset, it must be stated that the Arabian horse is the foundation for most modern light horse breeds. And, that the potent blood of the Arabian has been used by astute horse breeders down through the ages to improve the quality of every kind and variety of horse. The Arabian is the most ancient known breed, having its origins in the Fertile Crescent that borders the Holy Land and in the brutal Arabian Desert. This horse’s beauty, its proclivity for partnership with humankind, its courage and its stamina are the substance of fact and legend. For centuries, artists and storytellers have memorialized this glorious creature that has been universally regarded as a blessing beyond measure. The Arabian is the only breed of horse into which no infusion of other blood has been permitted (since written records have been kept). The Arabian, in fact, is considered a distinct sub-species rather than just another breed. (Travelers Rest Catalog of the Arabian Horse, by General J.M. Dickinson)

An ode written by Margaret Dickinsen Fleming (Peg), daughter of General J.M. Dickinson, one of the founders of Arabian horse breeding in Twentieth-Century America, says it beautifully . . .

To the Arabian horse

“From his veins came the blood of the thorobred, from his style the beauty of the saddler, his endurance gave bottom to the trotter. Big little fellow with the heart of a lion, second to some of his children but third to none––may he live on through the ages as the symbol of all that we love in the horse.” (Ibid) Three Arabian stallions, the Darley and Godolphin Arabians and the Byerly Turk were the foundation for the breed we now call the Thoroughbred. Each and every American Quarter Horse, Saddlebred and Morgan can trace its lineage to the Arabian, as can the Paint, the Appaloosa, the Tennessee Walker, the Missouri Foxtrotter, the Standardbred, and an endless array of less familiar breeds. Only with all of this said, can one begin to comprehend the weight and significance of the following statement . . .

In the recorded history of the Arabian breed, perhaps any breed, *BASK++ is without equal as a progenitor. *BASK++ was one moment in all of time—neither to be revisited, nor forgotten. Simply stated, he was greatness personified. Every so often, God bestows upon us a rare jewel, a gift beyond measure. *BASK++ was such a gift, given to just the right people, at just the right time.

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*BASK++ is the immense heart in every pedigree graced by his blood. He is therein also the athleticism and the will to please that make a good horse great. His hereditary gift is the intangible element that makes the English horse trot over the moon, the reining horse spin and slide with power and purpose, the pleasure horse truly pleasant. He is the tail-over-the-back-light-as-air-blow-and-snort-and dance of our most charismatic halter horses. And he is the want-to in our greatest performers. *BASK++ was all but autonomous. A genetic giant in the true sense of the term, he was that exceedingly rare breeding stallion that needed no help from other bloodlines. All that was really required in a mating with *BASK++ was that most other elements stay out of his way. There were, of course, great nicks, crosses that produced astonishingly consistent and predictable results. In every case, the blood of *BASK++ mingled with the best in his mates, and made it better. This remains true even as his name moves further back in modern pedigrees. There are simply some things that time and distance cannot dilute. *BASK’s blood, one of those mysterious constants, is as puissant, as influential today as if he were still with us. His sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, are indelibly stamped with the fine qualities that are his bequest to the breed … and with awesome regularity his descendants continue to pass that bequest on, and on, and on. BASK++, the show horse and *BASK++ the sire, was a setter of standards by which all Arabian horses are measured even today, 37 years after his passing. He gave us the look of eagles that we seek in the eyes of every great Arabian. He introduced us to the length and flexibility behind the poll for which we still insatiably hunger. Through his sons and daughters and their own offspring, he taught us just how willing, how kind, how honest a fine horse can be. Current thought may only recognize the *BASK++ influence in the English performance discipline—a field he still does absolutely dominate. But that narrow view would be incorrect. Though his blood has faded into the distance in most of our modern halter winners, we can still thank him for the style so highly regarded in today’s halter competitors. *BASK++ was like a painting by Adolf Schreyer. The exceptional length and arc of his neck were like nothing we had seen in America before him. His pride of carriage, his dignity and his elevation remain hallmarks of style and elegance. His dynamism and vitality gave birth to the qualities known as presence and charisma that are essential to the modern-day halter champion. The simple fact is that *BASK++ set just about every one of the standards Arabian horse breeders and showmen continue to strive toward to this day. Although the *BASK-bred horses’ upright conformation often makes them more suited to the saddle seat style of English riding, the disposition and heart that come from the great horse give his descendants an edge in every performance category. Particularly noteworthy is the *BASK++ line’s dominance in the fields of amateur riding and showmanship. These facts are evident through the National Championship statistics and the influential breeding horses of this day that carry the blood of *BASK++. The fact is that *BASK’s prepotency continues to shine through the foremost athletes of this space in time.

The Horse And His People

A product of one of the oldest and finest horse breeding traditions in the world, *BASK++ was born behind the Iron Curtain in 1956. At that time, the Poles who were his breeders labored under a debilitating Communist regime. In its unfortunate geographic position, Poland has often fallen victim to the greed and brutality of its warring neighbors. By the time of *BASK’s birth, Polish horsemen had, for centuries, cherished and carefully developed in their Arabians an unparalleled line of war and Ar abian Horse Times | 121 | PAR IS

racehorses. At this point in history, they lived in constant fear that their oppressors might again steal or kill their beloved animals. During one 50-year period in the Twentieth Century alone (1918 to 1968), Poland suffered three wars and a five-year enemy occupation. Prior to and during the Second World War, the Nazis slaughtered over 6-million Poles, only half-of whom were of Jewish descent. Still, the resolute horseman who tended the long-beloved Arabians pressed on. At some point in ancient times, members of the Polish nobility began breeding Arabian horses to carry their soldiers into battle. By the mid-1900s, the horse had long since been replaced on the battlefield and the Poles had turned their interests to proving the merit of their Arabians on the racetrack. Enter, *BASK++, a beautiful young stallion with a neck set high on a deep and sloping shoulder, and a bothersome habit of elevating his knees above that place horsemen would one day call “level” (where the horse’s forearm is parallel to the ground). Add to that so much desire, that racing made this particular animal a little more nervous than the average runner, and you have a horse that took a while to prove himself on the track, delaying his career in the breeding barn. So, in spite of the fact that both his dam and sire lines were among their most highly prized, the Poles hadn’t gotten around to breeding this glistening bay with the giant eye and the even greater heart when a father and son from America came to Poland looking for a few good horses. From a distant perspective, it appears that after enjoying a marginally successful career as a flat racer, *BASK++ was set briefly aside—perhaps to await the arrival of the people chosen by Divine Providence to be his earthly stewards.

The Americans

The chronicle of the LaCroixes and their beloved *BASK+ is one of those success stories that happens once every hundred years or so. This horse, these people, didn’t just make a few waves. They created a minor ocean. They didn’t just change a bit of history. They fashioned their own. They didn’t just conquer an industry. They invented one. And for the lives and livelihood they gave to so many, the LaCroixes deserve far more than a footnote in any discourse relative to the Arabian horse in America. So, with this too brief treatise, we will endeavor to shed a little light on the life and times of the people so largely responsible for the world that surrounds the Arabian horse as we know it today. At this point, you may be wondering about that rags-to-riches tale we promised. Were there underdogs, as in other classics of this genre? Indeed. Let’s start with the beleaguered Poles, who bred Dr. Eugene LaCroix and his beloved *BASK++, circa 1978. *BASK++. Then there was the horse himself, his potential overlooked by his breeders because of his high carriage. And, as you’ll see in a moment, the American family who adopted this unwanted child was hardly to-the-manor-born. Eugene E. and Mary Jean LaCroix, the doctor and the nurse, husband and wife, father and mother, were perfect icons of that Greatest Generation of which they were a part. From hard-scrabble poverty to material comfort and honor within their chosen circle, they made their way; and with the other achievers of their generation, they are to be revered and remembered.

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A child of the Great Depression, growing up in the Kansas farm country, the young Gene LaCroix (Sr.) was always fascinated by the high-stepping carriage horses that belonged to his uncle and a few others. A dream formed early in the boy’s heart and with the determination unique to that hardy American generation, he set about following and capturing that dream. At the age of 18, just out of high school, LaCroix left the home of his youth forever. Having decided to become a doctor, he headed west with $13.00 in his pocket and a change of clothes in his knapsack. From that point on, the young adventurer was carried beyond anything that could have been expected by little more than the mystical element known as courage, and a heart for the journey. His is a grand, long story that surely warrants the telling. Unfortunately, it won’t quite fit in its entirety within this necessarily abbreviated account. Fast forward 28 years. The Kansas farm boy had indeed become a doctor, who married a beautiful nurse and fathered three remarkable children. The oldest, named for his father, was 14 in this year of our Lord numbered 1962. The family had purchased a little piece of land (a quarter section) on a stretch of open desert north of Phoenix, Arizona. The doctor was plying his trade; his wife was raising their children. The family was enjoying a love of the Arabian horse and carefully breeding some of the best quality horses of their day. With a far shorter tenure in the Americas than in Poland, the Arabian horse hadn’t really come into vogue as the Twentieth Century crested and began its descent toward the Twenty-first. The earliest Arabian horses imported to America came before the Revolution, but these were chiefly stallions used in developing American Thoroughbred and trotting strains. Our first President, George Washington, rode a chestnut stallion called Magnolio, which was referred to as “a full blooded Arabian and the best animal Washington ever owned.” (Ibid) The first ten volumes of the American Stud Book—established by the Arabian Horse Club of America at that organization’s inception in 1906—report the importation into the American Colonies and the United States of 45 Arabian stallions and 21 Arabian mares of pure blood between 1760 and 1906. In these journals are recorded additional importations of 76 stallions and 131 mares of all ages, as well as in utero, through the year 1941. At the end of 1940, there were less than 2,000 Arabian horses registered in America. When the twentieth-century reached its halfway point in 1950, the number of purebred Arabians registered in this country had nearly tripled to just under 6,000. By the 1960s there were still only a handful of Americans actively engaged in the breeding of Arabian horses. Among these were Dr. Eugene LaCroix, and his wife, Mary Jean, whose love affair with the Arabian horse had begun in earnest in 1941 when they established Lasma Arabians with partners, Peter Smith (Dr. LaCroix’s stepfather) and friend and trainer, Woody Madsen. Although most of his contemporaries considered Arabian horses and their breeding as a hobby, for Dr. LaCroix, there was really no such thing. Hence, the young doctor took, as was his way, a more serious approach. From the outset, his goal was to develop the best, most successful Arabian horse breeding program in the short history of such endeavor in the United States. The LaCroix’s oldest son, Gene, and their daughter, Kathy, were the brightest stars in the horseshow arena of the 1960s. Raymond, the youngest LaCroix, hadn’t yet taken an interest in the horses. The doctor had seen a few horses brought to the U.S.A. from Poland, and he thought he might just find a horse or two from that source that would enhance the animals he and his friends Ar abian Horse Times | 123 | PAR IS

were breeding. So he made a characteristically bold move. With his 14-year-old, equally serious son, Gene, he ventured behind the Iron Curtain. Together in Poland the father and son encountered their destiny—a destiny that would forever alter the future of an entire breed of horse and the society that surrounded it. Some years ago, Dr. LaCroix shared with this writer his memories of that encounter. I share them now with you. “ … I’d always admired the horses in Adolf Schreyer’s paintings, but I’d never seen any horse that Schreyer might have used as a model—until *BASK++. There was so much about this stallion that was different from everything to which we were accustomed. His physical appearance set him apart. But the thing that caught my attention most was this remarkable spirit that emanated from him and seemed to reach out and touch everyone around him. My son and I stood side by side that day, taking in everything we could about this great horse. After what seemed an eternity, we looked at each other, and I’m sure our smiles were like a mirror. Both of us knew we had happened onto something really special. But, of course, we had no idea just how important *BASK++ would become to everyone whose lives he touched.” And so it began. *BASK++, another stallion or two, and several mares made the perilous journey across the Atlantic, hoisted by crane aboard a freighter, then confined in close quarters for the 47 days it took that ship to reach New York. High seas and stormy weather marked the trip from the Polish seaport at Gdynia to the New York harbor where a cargo of thin, stressed, unimaginably valuable Arabian horses first set foot on American soil.

And Then There Was *BASK++

The breed was still fairly small in 1963 when *BASK+ finally arrived in the USA. (His registration number was AHRA #25460). In just over 50 years, only 25,459 horses had been registered before him. In the years since his importation, this number has appreciably increased. As of January 31, 2004 (the time of this writing), 605,941 horses had been registered in America. Still, when he made his debut as a breeding stallion, *BASK++ was definitely not the only game in town. There were numerous other stallions vying for position as leading American sire of the period. So, like any other horse then or now, the audacious bay had to prove himself—a feat he accomplished in no uncertain terms.

“They were a remarkable pair, those two. And how proud we were of them.“ Dr. LaCroix, talking about his son Gene and *BASK++, pictured in Scottsdale about 1964.

A brief aside: Among the stallions popular during *BASK’s early years were: Aarief and Ga’Zi; *Aramus and his sire, *Naborr; Bay Abi; *Count Dorsaz; Ferzon his son Gazon and his son, Raffon; *Serafix; and the Aarief son, The Real McCoy. To fully recognize the magnitude of *BASK’s accomplishments, we must recall that his was a very different era than that which we know today. For one thing, horse breeders weren’t in such a hurry in those days.

For the record, *BASK’s first nine foals were born in 1964. His final crop of 86 foals came to us in 1980, the year after his passing. During that 17-year period, he sired a total of 1,050 offspring. *BASK++ was 8 years old before his first foal was born; the most foals he sired in any given year was 110 in 1976. As of 2004, he was one of the top three sires (in number of foals born) in the Arabian breed. Ahead of *BASK++ in numbers was his nephew, the 1975 stallion *Aladdinn, with 1,210 registered foals. Ar abian Horse Times | 124 | PAR IS

(Another handsome, pure-Polish bay, *Aladdinn was also a LaCroix/Lasma import led to Scottsdale, U.S. and Canadian National Stallion Championships by Gene LaCroix, Jr). *Aladdinn’s foals came to us over a period of 22 years, beginning when their sire was a 3-year-old. Ahead of both was the 1975 stallion Khemosabi, with 1,250 sons and daughters. Khemosabi was trained and ridden by Gene LaCroix Jr., to become both U.S. and Canadian National Western Pleasure Champion. Khemosabi’s offspring came to us over a period of 28 years with the first of them born, as were *Aladdinn’s, when Khemo was a 3-year-old.

The Arabian Horse Market —Courtesy Of **BASK++

As we’ve mentioned, before *BASK++, Arabian horses were primarily a hobby for a few interested Americans. At the height of his influence, galloping at least as far ahead of the pack as did Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes, *BASK++ led his breed to a height of popularity and prominence that it had never before enjoyed. Of his remarkable horse, Dr. Eugene LaCroix once said,

“*BASK++ was never a trend. He became a standard.” … how appropriate a statement for this commentary. Not only did *BASK++ precede the aggressive marketing of Arabian horses, the fact is that he gave birth to that practice. He and his sons and daughters were so good, that his family, the LaCroixes, couldn’t help but share the news and soon others began to follow suit, advertising, touting, and trying to compete.

At the 1977 Lasma Sale III, Kathy LaCroix leads *BASK++ across the stage while Mike Nichols provides the commentary. The high seller that year was the *BASK++ son, Cometego (x *Prowizja) that became, with Gene, the 1978 U.S. National Champion Park Horse.

In the 1960’s, before it all began, high sale prices for the best Arabian horses hovered in the midfour-figures. In 1971, at the first Lasma Sale, the high seller, Silhoulette, a daughter of *BASK++, brought the then record sale price for a mare of $56,000. In 1983, the *BASK++ daughter, Gardenia was sold through The Lasma Sale Five for $1,500,000. In 1984, Silhoulette (the 1971 high seller) was sold through the Lasma Classic Sale for $1,200,000. In 1985, the *BASK++ daughter, Fyre-Love sold through the *BASK++ Classic Sale for $1,500,000. In 1984, the high seller, NH Love Potion, a *BASK++ granddaughter, brought the astonishing sum of $2,550,000 through that year’s Lasma Classic Sale, an event that grossed $15,523,000 in sales. The Breeders Sweepstakes—the Arabian breed’s primary prize money program which once infused added excitement into the market and the show ring—was inspired by *BASK++. I can say this Ar abian Horse Times | 125 | PAR IS

with authority, because I was directly involved with the founding of the Sweepstakes from the concept’s inception. Here’s how it happened. Gene LaCroix Jr., had invented the National Show Horse Registry as a showcase for the upright English-style horses that the sons and daughters of *BASK++ consistently produced in combination with the American Saddlebred. As a part of that program, Gene came up with an excellent prize money incentive. Once the NSHR was up and running, Gene created a spin-off for purebreds and other Half-Arabians known as Star World to bring more prize money and more excitement to the Arabian horse show arena. Not to be outdone, John Wheeler, then the president of IAHA, a friend and competitor of Gene’s, decided IAHA should have its own prize-money incentive program. After enlisting the ideas of a core group of advisors (of which I was a part), including the mathematical mastermind, Jake Hoover, who came up with the initial formula for income and payoff, John decided it was time to launch the program we named The Breeders Sweepstakes. I had the pleasure of writing all of the original descriptions of the plan, as well as preparing all printed materials and marketing the program for the first several years of its existence. True to form, the LaCroixes nominated the first stallions to the Sweepstakes and did their part to make the program an even greater success than we had hoped it would be. To the LaCroixes, you see, it wasn’t about competition. It was about promoting and furthering the Arabian breed they loved so well.

The Show Horse

In 1964, the 16-year-old Gene LaCroix led *BASK++ to the United States National Championship in Stallion Halter. In the earlier mentioned interview, Dr. LaCroix recalled that red-letter day. “My son was just 16 at the time, and he was nervous. It was a big class … very important to all of us, but maybe most important to Gene. Part way through the class he came by me on the rail and said, ‘Dad, he’s building. I’ll never get him to stand still for the judges.’

There was nothing artificial or contrived in *BASK++. Trotting free, under saddle, in harness, his way of going, his carriage never changed. His were gifts from God. Perhaps that is why he so consistently passed them on . . . and on . . . and on.

“But I wasn’t worried. Even though *BASK++ was obviously ready to jump out of his skin, he would stand just fine. *BASK++ had incredible natural spirit and vitality. But he was also very sensitive, aware of the slightest nuance from his handler. And Gene, even when he was tense, as he was that day, had an unusual degree of calm and confidence, especially for one so young. “They were a remarkable pair, those two. And how proud we were of them. *BASK++ stood magnificently for the judges and trotted away from them in the elevated trot that everyone found Ar abian Horse Times | 126 | PAR IS

so amazing. It was the beginning of a time in our lives that we’ll all treasure forever. Up to then, we had been successful with our horses, breeding and showing some of the best of their time. We had some wonderful mares—and stallions like Ga’zi and Aarief—that made fine contributions to the breed. And then there was *BASK++ … and our world changed, never to be the same again.” The following year, *BASK++ trotted back into the National show arena, this time carrying the LaCroixes’ trainer, Jerry Smola, on his back. A record was set at that event at that time—when *BASK++ became the only horse ever to earn the titles of United States National Champion Stallion and United States National Champion Park Horse. In 1967, *BASK++ and the 19-year-old Gene LaCroix Jr., headed back into the National show arena and together the dazzling pair earned United States National Reserve Championships in Formal Driving and Formal Combination. Then, *BASK++ began in earnest his career as the greatest sire the breed has ever known. Mary Jean LaCroix, remembers the effect *Bask++ had on a loving family. “My husband, Gene, loved horses from the day he was born! He was fascinated and challenged with the desire to breed an Arabian horse that resembled the Adolf Schreyer paintings. Every time he felt the need to justify a new horse purchase to me, his motto was, ‘It’s for the good of the Arabian breed.’ “The first time he saw a live Arabian horse was during his internship at the Wilshire Hospital in Los Angeles. He was privileged to see a small group of Arabian stallions at Kellogg Horse Ranch near Pomona. That was all it took and he was hooked! For the next 20 years he bred Arabian horses, yet during that time, was never quite satisfied with the results. His passion took him to Poland. “I remember vividly his argument for taking Gene Jr., with him to Poland. At the time, Gene Jr. was just entering a very tough college prep high school, and missing the school time would make it difficult for him to catch up. It would be an experience that he could never get in any school, to go to Europe and even behind the Iron Curtain, and finally, to see the Polish Arabian horses. I couldn’t offer much of a counter argument. So, they were off, my husband and my eldest son, to pursue their dreams. “I was so excited for Gene when he returned home, so full of optimism that at last, he had found that mythical stallion. I must admit when he showed us the 8mm film of *BASK++ in Poland, I was as excited as he was. None of us had any inkling, then, as to the significance of such a stallion, nor the impact he would have on our family.

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*BASK++ is the immense heart in every pedigree graced by his blood. He is therein also the athleticism and the will to please that make a good horse great. His hereditary gift is the intangible element that makes the English horse trot over the moon, the reining horse spin and slide with power and purpose, the pleasure horse truly pleasant. He is the tailover-the-back-light-as-airblow-and-snort-and-dance of our most charismatic halter horses. And he is the want-to in our greatest performers.

“In the years to come as *BASK++ produced those Schreyer-like horses, one after another, and a family recreation and Dr.’s dream turned into a real business with tremendous impact on the American Arabian horse, my excitement turned into immense pride. “As a spouse, partner, and mother, what could be better than looking out my kitchen window, seeing and admiring my entire family so involved with something they truly loved? Dr. would be teasing the mares and heading up the breeding department, while Kathy would be exercising *BASK++, and Gene and Ray would be training the *BASK++ show horses which were indeed ‘setting new standards for the Arabian breed.’ Every member of our family had individual responsibilities and important roles enthusiastically inspired by one Arabian stallion, *BASK++. “Much has been made to do with the empire that was created by this family. It may have been one of the biggest equine businesses ever. It does not matter. What matters to me is that my family, inspired by *BASK++, did something together that they all loved, they all shared a part in, and regardless what the future will bring, we remain a very close and loving family today. What mother could have it better?”

Pictured left to right, back row: Ray LaCroix, Tom Chauncey, Jr. and his wife, Kathy LaCroix Chauncey, Gene LaCroix Jr., and his wife, Erin. Seated, Mrs. LaCroix and her husband, the doctor . . . the horseman.

Gene LaCroix ... About **BASK++

“My experience with *BASK++ was the miracle that every horse-crazy lad only dreams about. Even after his death, I’m still inspired by him and the wonderful experiences he provided me. Can you imagine . . . A 14-year-old kid being among the first Americans to go behind the “Iron Curtain” in search of a stallion to head a relatively small breeding program. And then that stallion turns out to be so successful that he transforms the entire Arabian horse breed and greatly influences its dramatic rise in popularity? A 16-year-old showing a stallion in halter and winning the U.S. National Championship? A young aspiring trainer beginning his professional career by training and showing the direct get of the legendary *BASK++ and having first-right selection privileges as well? Being an auction sale manager with the horses in the sale so “hot” in demand that after screening credit applications to seat 2,000 people, over-flow tents for an additional 2,000 people needed to be put up to accommodate everyone? And, every year, from 1971 through 1985, sale averages increasing approximately 30% per year? Ar abian Horse Times | 128 | PAR IS

Being a breeder, getting your horse consigned to the Lasma Sales and taking home a check that would buy you a new home? Or being the auction sales manager who gets to hand a lot of other people that kind of check? Being a horse person traveling the world with the respect and recognition of a famous celebrity or appearing on National News and popular TV series like Real People? Or flying into Russia during the Communist Regime with Dr. Armand Hammer on his private jet … or being there on Broadway with Mike Nichols for the opening of ANNIE … of which you owned a small part? I could go on and on about the thrills I’ve enjoyed because of *BASK++, not to mention the learning experiences he provided me as well. The most important thing that I take away from his era is that he was real and his success was real. I cherish every moment and will be forever grateful. On behalf of the LaCroix family, I wish to extend our appreciation and gratitude to Dick Ames and family for helping to keep alive the memory of *BASK++.”


Elder statesman and Arabian breed historian, Harry Cooper, shares his memories. “The preview ring outside the Lasma Sale Center was brand new in February of 1979. The bleachers were packed and hundreds crowded the rail to watch. The footing wasn’t good and several horses had slipped, so I was asked to request the audience remain quiet when *BASK++ came out, fearing he could be injured at the start of the breeding season. Kathy LaCroix led him out to a hushed crowd and I could see in his eyes that he was confused at the silence. He remained calm as he walked the rail, then, all too soon, Kathy and *BASK++ walked back into the barn aisle and the big door slid shut behind them. At that point, the audience exploded into cheers and applause; and backstage, *BASK++ proceeded to walk almost the entire way back to his Barn One stall on his hind legs, celebrating his belated accolades. Kathy had her hands full. That was to be *BASK’s last public appearance. The calendar says that was a long time ago; my memory says otherwise. “When I first became aware of Arabian horses, they were mostly cute little greys and chubby chestnuts with very few bays. By the early to mid-1960’s, when we started showing Arabians, there was rumor of a big moving bay in Arizona—fractious, but pretty fancy. He soon built a reputation and started breeding a lot of mares. By the end of the 1960’s, his kids were winning National Championships, eventually winning hundreds of them and rewriting whatever record books there were. Clearly, he made some dramatic changes to the breed. While the *BASK++ kids won in virtually every category from cutting to park, he was likely to give your foal a long neck, free shoulder, lofty trot, trainability and, frequently, a shiny bay coat. “The *BASK++ get kept winning into the 1990’s, joined by the grandget, then the great-grandget. Into a new century, *BASK++ is sometimes five or more generations back in pedigrees. Time moves on. Most of today’s breeders and exhibitors never saw the great horse and only know him as a name on the pedigree. People ask about the sire and dam of their horse and skip over horses from long ago. We all did that in our day. But we didn’t skip over *BASK++. I admit to prejudice, but there may not be a horse with more importance to a breed than *BASK++. The importance grows with each generation. Instead of cute little greys and chubby chestnuts, we’re now accustomed to seeing refined, supple horses with elegance of carriage and motion. “Years ago, I had lunch with the managers of the Polish State Stud farms. The gentleman who mated Balalajka to Witraz to produce *BASK++ asked me which of his sons would replace him. The Poles select one progenitor, like Arax for Amurath Sahib. I responded that (in *BASK’s case) it wouldn’t be Ar abian Horse Times | 129 | PAR IS

one, it would be hundreds of sons, each adding something of their own, and that they would magnify what *BASK++ was. I think he understood, I wonder if he agreed. You see, *BASK++ never bred a mare in Poland. No sooner had he gotten off the track, then he moved to America. When they learned how important he was to us, they searched for a Witraz son. The only one was in the circus and his purchase price included a barrel of vodka. That was Celebes, except he wasn’t out of a wonderful Amurath Sahib mare like Balalajka, and he was nothing like *BASK++. I like to think that *BASK++ was his mother’s son. “The next time you’re at Nationals, take a moment to think about *BASK++. Without him, or leaving out the horses related to him, the ring would be almost empty. He was, and he is, that important. I’m glad I knew him.”

Still Setting The Standard Among those standards he is still setting, is this one:

*BASK++ is the ONLY Arabian horse to be memorialized at the Kentucky Horse Park, America’s most important and popular equine showcase.

*BASK++ shares his position of honor at the Park with only a few other horses of any breed, the likes of Secretariat, the greatest Thoroughbred race horse of all time. In this hallowed company, *BASK++ is, in memory—as he was in life—the most important and the most successful ambassador the Arabian breed has ever known. There are so many ways to illustrate the “*BASK++ Effect,” that it’s difficult to choose which illustrations to use. Prior to this study, let’s take a brief look at a few numbers, statistics that shine a rather brilliant light on how sought after the blood of *BASK++ still is. As the summer of 2004 comes to an end, there are only seven Arabian stallions in breed history that have sired over 900 purebred offspring. More significant than the number of sons and daughters these stallions have given the breed, is their second generation presence in the pedigrees of today’s horses — numbers that clearly state how well the horses have bred on. Surely it is inarguable that these numbers further exemplify the success of these horses’ get and grandget, the primary factor that encourages people to keep using a given line. In order of numbers, we list here the 6 stallions that accompany *BASK++ in this rarified company. We also include these stallions’ second generation presence as it exists in August, 2004. • The 1975 stallion Khemosabi is the sire of 1,250 sons and daughters, and the grandsire of 6,829 purebreds. • The 1975 stallion *Aladdinn is the sire of 1,211 sons and daughters, and the grandsire of 10,171 purebreds. • The 1975 stallion *Muscat is the sire of sire of 1,035 (whose first American foals were born in 1979 as were *Aladdinn’s) and the grandsire of only 4,699 purebred offspring. • The 1976 stallion Bey Shah (whose dam was a daughter of *BASK++ out of a daughter of Ga’Zi), is the sire of 975 sons and daughters and the grandsire of 6,803 purebreds. • The 1973 son of *BASK++, GG Jabask, is the sire of 935 sons and daughters and the grandsire of 1,917 purebreds. • The 1988 stallion Padrons Psyche is the sire of 920 sons and daughters, and the grandsire of 1,873 purebreds at this writing. (The only sire on this list that is still breeding mares, Psyche is a popular, very active breeding stallion today and his numbers will doubtless continue to increase).

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In comparison, the 1956 stallion, *BASK++, sire of 1,050 offspring—the first of which were born when he was 8 years old—is the grandsire of an incredible 33,063 purebreds, to date. Any assertion that numbers alone might dictate the unique show ring success of the *BASK++ horses would be without merit. First of all, had he and his sons and daughters not been as extraordinary as they were, their descendants would not have become so numerous … nor would they continue to dominate the show ring as they do. Yes, some other stallions do appear repeatedly, especially *Aladdinn, Bay El Bey and Khemosabi. But no stallion can be found with anything close to *BASK’s astonishing regularity in so many different pedigree combinations, nor in such varied disciplines. He is, quite simply, in a class by himself. NOTE: The statistics cited here reflect research done via the Arabian Horse Association Datasource in August, 2004. Needless to say, the get of the younger stallions mentioned will continue to produce and those stallions will show up in the second generations of more pedigrees as time passes. However, it seems fairly unlikely that any of these will attain a status equal to that earned by *BASK++. At this juncture, the youngest sons and daughters of *BASK++ are 24 years old, so his second generation presence doesn’t stand to increase appreciably from here on out. He is, however, more and more prevalent in the third and fourth generations through the most important breeding horses of this modern era. And it goes on. There are so many great nicks for the *BASK++ horses that it is impossible herein to give them all adequate coverage. The sons and daughters of *BASK++, and now his grandsons and granddaughters, are multiplying his dynasty, continuing to make dreams come true for the lovers of the Arabian horse who, hopefully, will always remember the greatest of them all. *BASK++ remains at the heart of the matter, as the progenitor of the greatest-ever dynasty within this breed. *BASK++ has been gone for 37 years, but he still appears regularly within the first three generations of most National winners’ pedigrees. And, more often than not, his illustrious name is found on more than one line of those pedigrees, particularly in the case of the Saddle Seat English style champion. Although the *BASK++ influence appeared to be more prevalent in the English division, which is dominated by his descendants, it has become more definitive with every passing year that, *BASK++ continues to place his indelible mark on virtually every facet of Arabian horse show competition. Modern day enthusiasts owe a debt of gratitude to astute and dedicated breeders who have done their part to keep the *BASK++ legacy alive. Foremost among these is surely Sheila Varian, who chose some of the great *BASK++ daughters for her stallions and thereby gave us such important contributions as Afire Bey V and Hucklebey Berry. In the good company of their cousin Barbary, the dazzling brothers led the pack, as sires of today’s most successful English performance horses—primarily through their offspring out of mares that carry one or more crosses to *BASK++. A thousand superlatives offer meager tribute to a stallion that holds far greater than “once-in-alifetime” status. *BASK++ was once—only—never before, and never again. This account needs no embellishment. The record stands. The facts speak for themselves. n

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He inspired me to dream, but on reflection, maybe he was the dream. Oh well, I can’t stop now! Thank you *Bask++,

Magic In Manhattan: THE 2ND ARABIAN U.S. OPEN by Theresa Cardamone


ew York City is full of iconic imagery … from the Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building to the emerald oasis that is Central Park. Miraculously preserved for posterity by forward-thinking city planners, the 843 acres that make up Manhattan’s “back yard” is also the home of the Arabian U.S. Open. One of the landmark sites within Central Park is the Wollman Ice Rink. Usually the home to a wellworn collection of carnival rides when it is not skating season, over the course of a few days every autumn, the rink is transformed into a world-class horse show arena. Bleachers are installed, a VIP seating area is constructed, and a Jumbo-Tron screen erected. A f leet of small, efficient vehicles brings load after load of the finest arena footing available from where it has been stored since last year’s show in a cave-like cranny beneath the Park’s hilly terrain. Additional footing turns a nearby ballfield into a stable area and warm-up ring. It is a showcase setting for a showcase breed. AHA President Cynthia Richardson, VP/Paddock Manager Glenn Petty, Project Consultant Michelle Kelly, and the rest of the incredibly capable show committee work hand-in-hand with the greater Rolex U.S. Open organizers to make the opening night event go smoothly. Collaboration with the various agencies responsible for protecting Central Park and complying with city ordinances is extensive and effective.

Top trainer Michael Byatt, who handled the Gold Champion Junior and Senior Mares, Aria Quintessa and Aria Qatars Angel, and the Gold Champion Stallion, Aria Impresario, applauded the effort. “From the moment I walked into the stabling area, to the show venue itself, the energy and excitement was palpable,” he said. “We all owe a debt of gratitude to the many people that worked so hard to bring the NYC show to fruition. Congratulations!” Accolades well earned. With only 50 horses per day allowed in the barn area, they are housed at Gladstone, the historic facility of the U.S. Equestrian Team in New Jersey. The horses are loaded into a string of vans that bring them into the center of the city during the wee hours of the morning when there is no traffic to contend with. One by one, the vans roll to a stop, their ramps are lowered, and the horses emerge, stepping the short distance to the stable area. The next day, they make their way along the pedestrian walkways to the southeast corner of the Park a half mile away. There, they get their first glimpse of the elegant arena that they will perform in later that night. The exhibitors experience the thrill of being in the heart of the greatest city in the world. Cathy Vecsey has now shown her indefatigable partner HL Sanction to back-to-back Gold Champion Native Costume honors in Central Park. “You can use every

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adjective you can think of to describe this experience to other riders, but there are not enough words to describe how amazing this experience is!” she reports. “Those horses and riders who showed this year did it with style and class! This was the best of the best of the Arabian breed for the world to see and we should all be proud of our horses and the presentation they gave to the world.” Cathy was especially grateful to share the spotlight with Sanction once again. At 27 years old and with armfuls of national championships to his credit, Sanction’s public appearances have become rare. “I was really nervous this year to show again! The first year was fun because I really had no expectations, but the second time I so badly wanted Sanction to do well since it may be the last time we ever show together. It is the only time all year that I show him anymore and I feel like I have been preparing all summer for a 10-minute ride! But if I

Sincere thanks to Show Patron Aljassimya Farm

only get to show him for 10 minutes, let it be under the lights in Central Park!” Arabian Horse Times Publisher Lara Ames, was both a sponsor and an exhibitor this year after supporting last year’s inaugural, shining in her half of the Pro/ Am Country English Pleasure Championship on her homebred Ames Inspiration as they brought home the Silver Championship. “It was amazing,” Lara comments. “You did not really care about the color of the ribbon, but more the moment. The open sky, the lights … the exposure was just amazing!” Greg Gallún and his wife Nancy manage Sahara Scottsdale for Jeff Sloan, who along with his partners brought home the three Gold Championships earned by the horses that Byattt handled. “We all feel that the U.S. Open show brings a level of exposure and grandeur that are unique and special for sure,” Greg said. “While the

Arabian Mounted Native Costume Gold Champion HL SANCTION (The Chief Justice x Overlook Seratifa), ridden by owner Cathy Vecsey, Hawk Haven Farms.

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Schatzberg photos

Arabian Senior Stallion Halter Gold Champion ARIA IMPRESARIO (Marwan Al Shaqab x GC Echlectica), shown by Michael Byatt for owner Aria Impresario Holdings LLC.

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2016 Arabian U.S. Open at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show ARABIAN SENIOR STALLION HALTER Gold Champion: ARIA IMPRESARIO (Marwan Al Shaqab x GC Echlectica), O: Aria Impresario Holdings LLC, B: Gerald Canda Silver Champion: KAVALLE MI (Gazal Al Shaqab x Karess), O: Joanne Gunabalan, B: Mulawa Arabian Stud ARABIAN JUNIOR STALLION HALTER Gold Champion: VANGELIS MI (DA Valentino x Always An Angel), O/B: Mulawa Arabian Stud Silver Champion: WORTEX KALLISTE (Shanghai EA x Mirwanah Kalliste), O/B: S.A.R.L. Kalliste Arabians Bronze Champion: CTJ KUDURO (Vitorio TO x Faustiana), O: Colton Jacobs, B: Oak Ridge Arabians ARABIAN SENIOR MARE HALTER Gold Champion: ARIA QATARS ANGEL (Abha Qatar x BHF Dark Angel), O: Quintessa Partners LLC, B: Desert Horse Partners, LLC Silver Champion: ANNA MARIE BHF (Marwan Al Shaqab x BHF Anna Tevkah), O: Anthony Marino Sr. and Anthony Marino Jr. and Oak Ridge Arabians, B: Battle Hill Farm Bronze Champion: CASTTASPELL (OFW Magic Wan x Crysstal Echo), O: Angela Sellman, B: Gail Ann Czuczko ARABIAN JUNIOR MARE HALTER Gold Champion: ARIA QUINTESSA (Trussardi x MC Sophiie), O: Quintessa Partners LLC, B: Robert or Delma Koessler Silver Champion: FASCINATION J (FA El Rasheem x Inspiration J), O/B: Daria Stransky and Lawrence Jerome ARABIAN COUNTRY ENGLISH PLEASURE PRO/AM Gold Champion: AFIRES STYLE (Afire Bey V x LBC Nobelinda), O: I Ask LLC, B: Tim and Marty Shea Silver Champion: AMES INSPIRATION (A Noble Cause x Justa New Look), O/B: Cedar Ridge Arabians Bronze Champion: AFIREANDBRIMSTONE SCA (Afire Bey V x Flames Lullaby), O: Kenneth and Susan Knipe, B: Todd and Carrie Brown ARABIAN WESTERN PLEASURE PRO/AM Gold Champion: PA KID KHAN (Sundance Kid V x Kharrea PGA), O/B: Frank and Sara Chisholm Silver Champion: POSSESION PGA (Khadraj NA x RA Po Okela), O: Nan Harley, B: Petroglyph Arabians Bronze Champion: HOLDIN ACES (Arezzo NL x Hollygolitely DDF), O/B: Joelle and Robert Wright ARABIAN HUNTER PLEASURE PRO/AM Gold Champion: C HONDO (Enzo x Enchantes Bey), O: Wolf Springs Ranches, Inc., B: Bill Cunningham Silver Champion: ROYAL T PHORTE (Eden C x Pianissima), O: Theresa Lungwitz, B: Janow Podlaski State Stud Bronze Champion: ARIYA ENCORE (Aria Impresario x Airiya), O: The Ryssell Family Trust, B: Robert or Jerry Meade ARABIAN MOUNTED NATIVE COSTUME Gold Champion: HL SANCTION (The Chief Justice x Overlook Seratifa), O: Hawk Haven Farms, B: Jayne Solberg Silver Champion: CAPTAIN COURAGEOUS PA (Bucharest V x Autumn Teapestry), O: Madison Fernandes and Krystal Duarte, B: Wikel Arabians Bronze Champion: SQUEEZEBOX (IXL Noble Express x MF Afires Joy), O: Mary Elizabeth Kelly, B: Kimberley Munro

Emma Maxwell photo

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Kelle King photos

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Arabian Western Pleasure Pro/Am Gold Champion PA KID KHAN (Sundance Kid V x Kharrea PGA), ridden by Janie Wasilewski for owners Frank and Sara Chisholm. Ar abian Horse Times | 138 | PAR IS


Arabian Country English Pleasure Pro/Am Gold Champion AFIRES STYLE (Afire Bey V x LBC Nobelinda), ridden by Alexa Cohn for owner I Ask LLC.

numbers were small, the quality was world class. The venue, just like the city itself, is magical, almost looks like a movie set in the night sky. So many people watched in person and on live feed, the calls and messages have all been so positive about the evening. The format is great; I like the pro-am idea in the performance division. Halter was great to watch and the horses superbly shown by all the handlers. A great showcase for our great breed.” This being the second year of the show’s existence, veterans noticed differences from 2015. “There was much clearer communication to those of us in the stall area about when we had to leave for the ring (which is great since it is a 10-minute walk!),” commended Vecsey. “The basic info we received from Kelly ahead of the event was timely and pertinent, and any

questions or issues were immediately handled. It was great seeing larger performance classes, and with such nice horses! I loved the pro-am concept! It was also wonderful to hear Peter Fenton’s voice and to see Van Jacobsen and Howie in the ring!” Larry Jerome has been breeding Arabian horses for over 50 years and enjoyed seeing the offspring of his legendary stallion Khadraj NA dominate the Western Pleasure Championship, he being the maternal grandsire of Gold Champion PA Kid Khan and the sire of Silver Champion Possesion PGA. “The 2016 Arabian Central Park show was again an extremely impressive event,” he said. “The setting is truly unbelievable, the reception by people touring the park is exciting as their curiosity gets the best of them when they see these magnificent animals parading

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Arabian Hunter Pleasure Pro/Am Gold Champion C HONDO (Enzo x Enchantes Bey), ridden by Anna Redmond for owner Wolf Springs Ranches, Inc.

through this iconic park. I think things f lowed together well with fewer hitches.” Larry honed in on a particular facet of the Central Park show that sets it far apart from any others. “Participants, trainers, and assistants all banded together to help one another,” he stated. “I think that it is important to remember, that this show is not an end all competition, but rather a chance to showcase the Arabian horse to a part of the world where it is not an everyday occurrence.” Greg Gallún agrees, “The level of sportsmanship and support between exhibitors was great through the travel process to and from Central Park and throughout the show day. The logistics are a challenge, however all went really seamlessly thanks to Michelle Kelly and Kelly Charpentier. A big thanks to all of the team who made this a reality.” “I think the potential is incredible,” Jerome expounded. “And I think we are also truly fortunate

Arabian Junior Stallion Halter Gold Champion VANGELIS MI (DA Valentino x Always An Angel), shown by Andrew Sellman for owner Mulawa Arabian Stud. Schatzberg photo

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to have sponsors that are so willing to support it. I am thrilled and honored to have been a part of it again in 2016, and once again my hat’s off to all the supporters!” Greg Gallún may well have been speaking for all of the participants when he said, “All

of us from Sahara Scottsdale would like to thank Aljassimya Stud for sponsoring and producing this show. We hope to always bring horses and participate in future years.” ■

Arabian Senior Mare Halter Gold Champion ARIA QATARS ANGEL (Abha Qatar x BHF Dark Angel), shown by Michael Byatt for owner Quintessa Partners LLC.

Arabian Junior Mare Halter Gold Champion ARIA QUINTESSA (Trussardi x MC Sophiie), shown by Michael Byatt for owner Quintessa Partners LLC.

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Index Of Advertisers A


Abel Family, The .............................................................................................2, 3

Krichke Training Center ............................................................................. 93-97

Al Shaqab ................................................................................................ 100-105

Al Shiraa Arabians .....................................................................................IFC, 1 Al Thumama Stud ....................................................................................... 10, 11

M Midwest .................................................................................2-5, 70-81, 100-105

Albidayer Stud ..............................................................................................61-68


Aria International Collection.......................................................................74-77

Northwest Arabian Horse Stud ........................................................................ 87

Aljassimya Farm................................................................................FC, 7, 9, BC

NJ Arabian Horse Ventures, LLC ............................................................. 74, 75

Athbah Stud ..................................................................................................33-36



Oak Ridge Arabians ........................................................................................4, 5

Beni Hashim Arabians ................................................................................98, 99



Paradise Farms ................................................................................................... 94

Cedar Ridge Arabians, Inc. ................................................72, 73, 80, 168, IBC


Chattooga Ridge Arabians, Inc. ....................................................................... 69

Conquest BR Partners, LLC ......................................................................76, 77

Rae-Dawn Arabians ....................................................................................82, 83 Rohara Arabians ......................................................................................162, 163



Deor Farms...............................................................................................162, 163

Schoukens Training Center .............................................................................. 85 Shada, Inc................................................................................................. 166, 167

E Eagle Ridge Arabians ........................................................................................ 96

F Five Oaks Arabians ........................................................................................... 69


Stone Ridge Arabians ..................................................................................78, 79

Subjeck, Melissa................................................................................................. 81

T Thirteen Oaks Arabians.................................................................................... 95

Gemini Acres Equine ..................................................................................14, 15


Grand Arabian Farm ......................................................................................... 97


Giacomo Capacci Arabians ..........................................................................33-36

GRK Farms ..............................................................................................164, 165

Varian Arabians ................................................................................................. 84 Zerlotti Genetics, Ltd. ...................................................................................... 85

H Haras Sahara Arabian Horses........................................................................... 85

Hobnail Farm ........................................................................................... 166, 167

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by MARY KIRKMAN Long before Sheila Varian became an icon in the modern Arabian community—as a breeder and, back in the day, as a trainer—she was a media darling who wowed the equestrian world at large. The “media darling” part (surrounding her Cinderella win at the Cow Palace in 1961) lasted only a few days; the wow factor, while it may have faded or intensified as the years passed, never really went away. That was rooted in her horsemanship, which, as formidable as it was from early in her life, did nothing but increase as time went on. By the time she died, on March 6, 2016, her 62-year-old breeding program had long since been recognized as a landmark in the Arabian industry, and as importantly, her single-minded regard for the animals in her care had attracted new generations of enthusiasts to horses. Glancing over the bare facts of Sheila Varian’s accomplishments, it would be easy to conclude that she was St. Sheila, the golden girl who opened doors with her extraordinary ability. But nothing could be further from the truth—or more boring, when stacked up against her real experience. There is no question that she did a lot of things right, but over the course of her life, she also knew tragedy, loss, loneliness and fear, and had to fight to overcome all of them. How Sheila Varian, the child who threw herself off of horses in a misguided attempt to be a “real cowgirl,” became Sheila Varian, the world-recognized Arabian horse breeder (and member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame) is not a simple tale. She was not a simple woman.

Who Was Sheila Varian—Really? continued ...

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Sheila & Don Severa, Scottsale 1993

Bay El Bey (Bay-Abi x Naganka)

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Behind the scenes, who was the person, not the icon? How much time have you got? Clearly, she was a horsewoman. But she also was other, less well reported things. She was a trombone player in her high school band, a tomboy who loved dressing up, a natural (and trained) teacher, and an inspired, but educated, breeder who doggedly resisted barn blindness. She was incredibly sensitive with animals and liked people, but she also could be very impatient, and sometimes bossy, with humans (several of her friends observed that after one particularly trying period of her of life, she emerged noticeably more compassionate about those around her). And later in life, realizing that she had “girl friends” for the first time in her memory—just casual, day-to-day reading and riding buddies—she marveled at the joy they gave her. She was the product of a small California town named Halycon, which was founded as a center for theosophy (kind of a combination of the best of philosophies, she once described it). For practical purposes, it was a tolerant, inclusive community with a great appreciation for nature, and it attracted artistic types: poets, musicians, painters and writers were at home there. She grew up in a family where conversation challenged the mind, and the discipline, responsibility, honesty and fairness she learned there would be mentioned throughout her life when associates described her. From her early adulthood, she functioned in a man’s world, running her own ranch and supporting it with her own efforts, and she knew what it was to be solely accountable for not only herself, but a business with several other living beings. “One time when I was showing Ronteza, I had a guy tell me I should go home and cook and clean and be a girl,” she remembered in a 1995 Arabian Horse Times profile. “That absolutely stunned me

… I was so astonished. I couldn’t breathe … I really felt awful—he had no idea how badly he made me feel. At the time, I was making my living just like he was making his living.” It is sometimes forgotten now how stressful some of those early times were. Her recollection of the period mentions that for five years, she borrowed $5,000 annually from an aunt to stay afloat, paying it off promptly each time. But that doesn’t cover the uncertainty and thrift that marked her business plan. Stories of the intern program she instituted at the ranch during those years rarely include that the interns were unpaid—their compensation was the experience of learning from her already-vast equine knowledge—and everyone, Sheila included, ate generic brands and day-old bread. During that time, the Varian horses were hauling home a lot of hardware from shows, which was critical promotion for the program’s growth. In 1977, when Sheila took Bay El Bey to the Canadian Nationals, she needed to win as many trophies as possible, and counting the various disciplines, she had seven contenders available. The trouble was, she had only a sixhorse trailer. So her 8-year-old stallion, Bay El Bey, rode the entire trip from the central coast of California to Calgary in the open storage area near the front of the trailer, secured only by cross ties. Horsewoman Christy Egan, who was caravanning with Varian on the trip, remembers the surprise of the Canadian customs agents who opened the forward door to peer in—and came face to face with the tall bay stallion who gazed obligingly back at them. It was worth the effort; Bay El Bey was named Canadian National Champion Stallion a few days later. And to the end of his life, he was trustworthy about standing. He routinely greeted ranch visitors by posing un-tethered in the open doorway of his stall, his front feet planted firmly on the sill, never offering to walk out into the aisle. A dozen feet away, Sheila enjoyed watching him do it. continued ...

I first met Sheila, much like I meet most people, over the phone. It was 2004 and I had been assigned a magazine photo shoot on Bridle Horses with this gal named Sheila Varian. So I called her up; struck up a conversation; and a couple of weeks later I was a guest at her home and my life was changed forever. To say I loved hearing Sheila’s stories of past horses and people would be an understatement; I could listen to her for hours and never tire! Some other important things about Sheila were honesty, dependability, and keeping the things that worked, but not necessarily having a lot of ‘stuff.’ I personally valued that Sheila kept the bits from her childhood and that her favorite belt buckle was the small one with the reining horse that was dull with wear since her youth. She was totally at home in the saddle, adored her life, loved what she had; used what she loved on a daily basis; and took immense pride in adding to her chosen breed. And while I never got to speak with Angela much, you knew that these two were peas in a pod—where one left off, the other one picked up, and I feel the ranch and breed are both in excellent hands.

Fibelkorn photo

Happy Trails, Miss Sheila. ~ Photographer & friend Sharon Fibelkorn

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With Audacious PS (Fame VF x HAL Flirtatious) 2015, photo by photographer and friend Brandon Bessey.

Varian was never a conventional beauty, but with her height (six feet in her prime), long legs and narrow hips, she was a clothing designer’s dream, and as time went on, she knew her own attributes as well as she knew those of her horses. Or in other words, she watched what she ate and didn’t take the level of exercise in her daily life for granted. For much of the first 20 years in her career as a breeder and trainer (roughly 1960-1980), she had little time to devote to her appearance, so jeans and tee shirts were the order of the day. When she teamed up with Don Severa, who would be her partner for more than two decades, he recruited Jerry Sparagowski to “rebrand” her image for their advertising campaign. The noted photographer shot a series of pictures of her wearing a silk shirt while interacting with her foundation stallion, Bay-Abi. Ironically, such was her relationship with Bay-Abi—and such was Sparagowski’s talent—that viewers may never have noticed the soft, feminine blouse. The overwhelming image was of a woman and a horse who loved each other. It was, perhaps, an unnecessary project anyway. Varian’s childhood had equipped her with an appreciation for beauty, and friends later noticed that when given the opportunity offered by more success, her taste in fashion

included beautiful fabrics and flattering cuts. In later years, although she usually chose stylish western outfits when she dressed up, her statement was always of taste and elegance. Early in her career, Sheila lost her beloved father, and later her mother and sister. Those were dark times; she remembered the pain and the gloom, especially after her mother, her closest confidant in her fascination with Arabian horses, died in 1973. She had no option, however, except to keep going. “It’s a tough thing to go alone,” she later said succinctly. “That’s the hardest of anything. Family is everything.” As the 1980s dawned, however, things changed. After two decades of working 24/seven, Varian Arabians was easing into more financial security and Sheila decided to reward herself with a more feminine bedroom. On the recommendation of a friend, she hired architect Don Severa to do the work, and with that, launched an important period of her life. It was a personal as well as business relationship, and with Severa’s input and encouragement, she honed business, management and promotional skills to augment her equine resume.

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“The two of them were whirlwinds,” Marty Shea reflects. “They syndicated [Huckleberry Bey], they traveled all over the country, they went to Tahiti for three weeks. Don opened up a whole new life, a new world, for her.” When the partnership ended painfully, Sheila was crushed and nearly broken—but she didn’t know how to give up and even if she had, it wouldn’t have been an option. Quitting was not in her vocabulary. “I’m a person who puts one foot in front of the other,” she would say. Nor did she, after she recovered, revise history. Although they emailed rather than spoke, she and Don would remain connected through business, and she acknowledged the role he had played in her life. “She was always fair,” Shea says. “He was a big part of that whole situation and she in no way would ever have excluded him from that. It would have been wrong; it would have been unfair in her eyes.” “Karma,” Sheila would chuckle when asked why she didn’t engage in other common but questionable practices. She was serious. When she was growing up, the Golden Rule was alive and well in the Varian household. That sort of broadminded commitment to a principle did not mean, however, that she was naïve or a Pollyanna. In a lifetime of earning her own way, she had to market the difficult sale candidates as well as the easy ones. Still, she always told the truth, one early associate noted, even in extreme circumstances. He recalled one instance in which he and a friend had looked at a horse who was not, to put it mildly, one of Varian’s stars. “This one is very tall and very stretchy,” she told them as horse

stood up for inspection. They looked him over but passed on buying him, and as they drove away, the friend remarked, “That was an ugly horse!” “Sheila never said he was beautiful,” the man telling the tale pointed out. “She never lied. She told us he was tall and stretchy, and he was.” That her clients were pleased with their horses was evident in the strength of her sales record. “She was very good with her customers,” Gene LaCroix says. “When she sold horses, she followed up. Obviously, she was doing it to promote success—there’s nothing wrong with that—but I always got the feeling she treated her customers well. She had a lot of repeat business.” Sheila loved animals with a practical ferocity, going so far as to refuse to sell if she thought a buyer wouldn’t treat the horse well, but once was surprised when someone referred to her horses as her friends. It was an easy mistake to make; her relationships with some of her favorites were unmistakably close and heartfelt. But as much as she cared for her animals—and went to great lengths in training her youngsters to interact well with humans and function in society—she refused to anthropomorphize them. She had too much respect for who they were as horses. Some of that was her rancher’s mentality, which was rooted in an understanding of life that didn’t look at the world through rose-colored glasses, and some of it was just her respect for nature. And that may have been the key to the success of Varian Arabians: breeding Arabian horses was not a game for her. It was a real, important and lifelong mission. continued ...

Aboard Jullyen El Jamaal (Ali Jamaal x Jullye El Ludjin)

MENTORS ~ Sheila didn’t have mentors in the conventional sense. She didn’t work under a well known breeder or trainer, or learn from a university professor who specialized in any one equine subject. Her knowledge of Arabians grew over years of experience, as well as, in common with many young horsemen of the era and even now, spending hours watching accomplished horsemen school and present horses at shows. She did, however, learn much about her approach and her priorities from four especially important people in her life. MENTOR ~ SID SPENCER The first was local rancher Mary Forsyth “Sid” Spencer, who owned a ranch about 10 miles from Halcyon, and when Sheila was 13 or 14, Spencer not only recognized the young teenager’s potential, but importantly, offered guidance and support. Sheila, whose skill with horses up to that point was self-taught and born of her love for animals, began her real education as a horsewoman and cowgirl with Sid.To the end of her life, she never spoke of her first mentor without admiration and respect evident in her voice. Sid, she said, did everything that male ranchers did—she could shoe, geld, and train horses, as well as repair fences, bring in hay, and more—and from her, Sheila learned how to do much of it as well. It was here also that she inherited a love of working cow horses and an affinity for the Vaquero method of training.

MENTOR ~ MARY ALICE MANKINS Nearly all who knew Varian well comment on her love not only of learning, but also of teaching. It was a Varian trait, something the founders of Halcyon had shared at the turn of the 20th century and characteristic of how she was raised. For Sheila, learning was not just a habit; when she chose a profession, it was as an instructor in physical education. She graduated from California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo in 1960, and accepted a position at her old high school on staff with the teacher who had most inspired her, Mary Alice Mankins. As Sid Spencer had shaped her horsemanship and her dedication to ranch life, Mankins influenced her affinity for teaching, offering Varian guidance and the freedom to explore her own ability to engage students’ interests and mental faculties. From Mankins, Sheila would comment, she learned that the best way to educate was to make learning fun. Years later, Sheila’s friend Marty Shea would smile when she recalled how reflexively that need to teach would kick in. “We would be riding and she would say, ‘Now, Marty, let’s try this …’ She was always the teacher and you were always the pupil.”

As of March 1, 2016, Sheila Varian was the breeder of nearly 1,300 registered Arabians and Half-Arabians, estimated to influence more than 70 percent of pedigrees today.

Sheila stories ... there is NO WAY only one!

s on rides that amazed me, There where so many times Sheila would do thing bled me. She rode with such a intimidated me, educated me, and above all, humition of it actually. quiet confidence, the original “Yahoo!” The defin but after many fun rides and Like everyone, I was in awe of her at the beginning,rable she was. An icon no doubt, shoots together, I realized just how soft and vulne ience great friendships! but Sheila was also just a girl who wanted to exper aways reached to earn it! She gave respect to those who earned it ... and I ed to me when I told her my Sheila let me make art with her stallions, she listen“current” mattered to her, I loved Being ons. opini my crazy ideas and she asked for was a buddy and a mother at the that about her! As I write this, I ache inside; sheof my life. e cours the d altere same time, she enriched and a different flavor without her. My world, and the Arabian world, will forever beI miss her every day. it. But both are rich and full from having her in Photographer and friend, ~ April Visel

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SHEILA VARIAN Winner of U.S. and Canadian National championships in English, hunter, park, stock, western and halter Member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame (A personal favorite, given her background.)

Arabian Horse Trust Breeder of the Year four times Arabian Professional & Amateur Horsemen’s Association Breeder of the Year four times Arabian Horse Breeders Association Lifetime Breeders Award Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Award for breeding excellence, presented by the U.S. Equestrian Federation, addressing all breeds and disciplines USEF/Performance Horse Registry Leading Breeder Award Chosen by her peers as AHT Readers’ Choice Breeder of the Year three times Leading breeder at the U.S. Nationals and Scottsdale on numerous occasions Member of the APAHA Hall of Fame Arabian Horse Breeders Association Lifetime Ambassador Award Monty Roberts Equitarian Award for trainers in the western discipline who choose to train in the absence of pain and violence

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Over the years, Sheila’s horses and experiences made for countless colorful stories. One of her all-time favorites tales, and one which says much about her and the horses who were special to her, was of how she and Ronteza took San Francisco’s Cow Palace by storm.

Ronteza: The Fairytale Story Of Winning The World

In her lifetime, Varian had many “personality” horses (Farlotta, Bay-Abi and Huckleberry Bey all were noteworthy characters), but in the beginning, Ronteza, her first headliner, was not one of them. “[S]he was just a very serious, kind and sweet horse that didn’t beg for treats and didn’t come when called,” Sheila recalled of those early days in one of her “A Lifetime With Horses” AHT columns. “She would have gotten the good citizenship award of a town because she was so conscientious. I suppose ‘conscientious’ was Ronteza’s middle name.” From the time Sheila began training Ronteza and first realized the filly’s talent, she dreamed big—really big. In her world, that meant winning the Reined Cow Horse Championship at the Grand National Rodeo, held every fall at the Cow Palace. She didn’t talk about it to others; in the beginning, it might have sounded delusional, or worse, arrogant. But she dreamed, and step by step, over a period of five years, she schooled Ronteza through the stages of her training, from the hackamore all the way to the spade bit. By October 1961, she and her mare were ready. It is true that she was not particularly well known in the reining world at that time, but she was not unknown. Riders on the west coast circuit where she showed were aware of Ronteza; one, celebrated horseman and judge Jimmy Williams, as accomplished in an English saddle as he was in a western, had complimented the mare. But probably the Cow Palace was not prepared for her. She was, after all, a girl and an amateur, and she was mounted on an Arabian mare, not a Quarter Horse. At best, she would have been a novelty—which is what attracted the newspapers and television crews, although they didn’t catch on until she won the Light Horse competition on Friday night. Sheila and her mother, who had driven up with her, were unaware of the hoopla. Their barebones, chilly and rather damp hotel room

had no television, and at the arena during the day, they were in their own world. Sheila exercised and groomed Ronteza and battled nerves, and Wenonah simply kept her daughter company. Other competitors, Sheila later said, enjoyed the camaraderie of their world and they were perfectly nice to her, but overall, it was her first time in that atmosphere and she was too focused— strung too tightly—to think of anything but showing Ronteza.

On Thursday morning, she and Ronteza competed against about 30 other Light Weight entries to win one of five slots in Friday night’s final. So uninitiated was she that she did not realize that when her number was called first, it meant that she and her mare had scored the highest of the five horses who moved on to the Friday class. Describing her emotions that opening day of competition—the moments when her tension transformed into a joy that resulted in a nearly flawless performance—she later wrote, “Riding a good bridle horse has always been like a song to me. The movements my horse and I make together are the melody that floats through the air.” On Friday, they were back, and Ronteza was sharper than ever, so tenacious as she battled her steer that when she hit a slick stretch of dirt and lost her footing, going down heavily on her side, she scrambled right back up and kept going. It was all so seamless that Sheila, who had been jolted up from the saddle, simply stood still and her mare rose under her, avoiding the automatic disqualification that would have resulted had she been thrown off. Again, she and Ronteza scored highest. That’s what put the press onto the hottest story at the Cow Palace: the tall, thin girl from nowhere, riding her spunky little Arab mare, was suddenly nose-to-nose with the best reining riders in the world. The final competition, where the top three horses from both the Light Weight and Heavy Weight divisions rode for the championship, a $1,000 prize and a Bill Maloy saddle, was almost anticlimactic. Before an audience of 10,000 people, Ronteza was so in the zone that for years afterward, photographer George Axt used a shot of her that afternoon as an example of a classic sliding stop.

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In reining parlance, scoring the highest in the Grand National Rodeo’s Reined Cow Horse Open Championship was called “Winning the World,” and the news about Sheila and Ronteza reverberated across the horse world. In Scottsdale, a 13-year-old Gene LaCroix, not yet the household name in Arabians that he would become, heard it. “It was huge,” he remembers now, and because she was riding an Arabian, it had special significance. “I identified with it.” In San Francisco that evening, the magnitude of the achievement had not yet set in for Sheila and Wenonah when they loaded up an exhausted Ronteza and headed down the coast for Halcyon. They didn’t know that there was a party going on that the winner traditionally attended (and where plenty of people were prepared to celebrate them), but it wouldn’t have mattered anyhow. Sheila had to teach school the next morning, and what is a four-hour trip now was even longer then, particularly when pulling a horse trailer—a horse trailer with a horse in it who was worth the world to her young owner.

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A few days after Sheila arrived home from her transformative win with Ronteza at the Cow Palace, her next mentor drove onto the property.Tom Dorrance, who in years to come would be recognized as the original “horse whisperer” (the inspiration for the individuals and training systems that later would be well known), came looking for her. He had seen Ronteza’s performance and he felt that Sheila had potential. He remained for a few days, teaching her methods he had developed after watching horses in the wild, a “soft approach” that was based on his observations of their body language and herd behavior. It was the first of many such consultations; Dorrance’s techniques fit with her approach not just to horses, but to all animals, and they would be dear friends until his death in 2003. “Probably the most fascinating thing to me about animals is their language,” Sheila commented in 1995. “I was a shy kid who was always good with animals, so I spent tremendous amounts of time with them. I find them ultimately fascinating. I understand: I can look into their faces, can look at their ears, at how their bodies move … I really enjoy that. I never look at an animal that I don’t see some little sign in its behavior, and in my subconscious I’ll say, ‘Oh, I never noticed that before, oh, I get what it means!’”

Huckleberry Bey (Bay El Bey x Taffona) Sheila with Peter Cameron and Gene LaCroix.

Bay-Abi (Errabi x Angyl)

The Significance Of Sheila Varian In The Arabian Breed “Sheila had her definite convictions about her breeding program,” says Gene LaCroix, who knew her for much of her life (she once informed him that she saw him at his first big show, in Santa Barbara in 1959, and he remembers her early-1960s visit to Lasma in Scottsdale after *Bask’s initial national championship). “The last time I was at the ranch in 2011, we walked through the herds as we had previously. Now we’re into 10 or more generations of breeding, and she’s injected some lines that maybe I wouldn’t have, but she made it work for herself and she produced really good horses. “It reminded me of going to Poland when you could see generation after generation of horses,” he continues, “and they may have changed in type, but they didn’t lose structural integrity. She was breeding for the market, and there is nothing wrong with that, but she did not compromise good, basic conformation. If something was going to take her in that direction, she wouldn’t do it. She’d stop using it in her program. She produced a beautiful horse, and obviously, the record speaks for itself.”

The progression of the Varian breeding program is well documented—old news at this point—but bears repeating. A study of her sire line, coupled with the performance of her most successful mares, reveals a blue chip strike rate of national champions and national champion producers (as well as winners and accomplished participants in most other equine disciplines, including Sheila’s own beloved cattle gathering and trail riding). In 1959, Varian acquired her first stallion, a 2-year-old colt named Bay-Abi, at the first Arabian auction held at San Francisco’s Cow Palace. As she told the story, the catalyst was that when she looked at Bay-Abi, she felt an instant connection to him. He had the essentials of what she liked: balanced conformation (he was a three-circle horse), beauty and a willing temperament. She was with her mother, Wenonah, at the time and it is likely that the pair found his pedigree to their taste as well. Two years later, they purchased their foundation mares. The first Arabians since General Patton’s World War II rescue were beginning to emigrate from Poland, and the Varians were among the earliest to participate. Wenonah researched pedigrees and, through British horsewoman Patricia Lindsay, selected three mares to import.

Like many others who commented, he noted that her rigorous devotion to conformational excellence is an increasingly valuable resource in today’s industry. “You can see now where some breeding programs are going for a certain type of horse, which can be a saddle horse, a halter horse, or what“It sounds strange now,” horsewoman Christy Egan says, “but back in ever different type,” he says. “And they are going so much for that look that those days, it was more expensive to transport horses from Poland than to conformational integrity is lost, and you see club feet, straight hocks, things purchase them in the first place. You bought them ‘by the [shipping] crate.’ like that. People don’t seem to be concerned about that.” He shakes his That was more practical than buying one or two.” head. “Sheila was concerned about it.” Ar abian Horse Times | 152 | PAR IS

Wenonah’s choices were *Bachantka (Wielki Szlem x Balalajka, by Amurath-Sahib), *Naganka (Bad Afas x Najada, by Fetysz [and out of Gazella II]) and *Ostroga (Duch x Orda, by Omar II). It is interesting to note that *Bachantka’s dam, Balalajka, also produced *Bask and *Bandola—but when Wenonah selected her daughter, *Bask had not yet been imported to the United States. No one had ever heard of him outside of Poland. Over the years, the headline horses at Varian Arabians have been the stallions, who received the bulk of the ranch’s promotional efforts. From Bay-Abi would come one of the iconic dynasties in the Arabian breed. The first generation out was his son Bay El Bey, born in 1969 from *Bachantka. A tall, stretchy stallion for the era, Bay El Bey was a Canadian National Champion Stallion and twice reserve in the United States, but by far, his contribution to the Arabian breed was as a sire, particularly of stallions. His three most famous sons—Huckleberry Bey (retained for the Varian program), Barbary (sold to Mike Nichols), and Bey Shah (bred by Lester and Jennie Walton)—had a profound impact on the breed in both halter and performance from the 1980s to the present, at first directly in some of the most successful competitors of all time, and now as strong pedigree influences. Huckleberry Bey was Varian’s next sire, and while the ranch was a source of horses for all disciplines of the ring, in the 1980s it was particularly well known for Huck’s English horses. He dominated the division, and sired Afire Bey V (sold to Maroon Fire Arabians), who is its strongest influence now. The next stallion in the line was the Huckleberry Bey son Desperado V, who polished the farm’s presence in western disciplines. Today, the line has extended to Desperado’s sons (such as Maclintock V, at Varian, and Sundance Kid V, who was sold to Palmetto Arabians) and grandsons, currently represented by the young Maclintock V son, Major Mac V. Through the years, Sheila was never afraid to add other lines and even complete outcrosses. She was an early patron of *Bask, and in 1969, she leased a newcomer named Khemosabi. For a time, she was a part-owner of Sanadik El Shaklan, and later, her best known additions were Jullyen El Jamaal and Audacious PS. Both introduced new influences (Jullyen especially, with his double infusion of Ali Jamaal), but both also reflected a line of Varian heritage. Jullyen counted Bey Shah as a great-grandsire, while Audacious’ sire, Fame VF, was a Bay El Bey grandson.

MENTOR ~ WENONAH VARIAN Both of her parents were highly intelligent; stimulating conversation was a hallmark of the Varian household. And Eric Varian fully supported his wife and daughter in their growing equine venture, often serving as the anchor who cared for the horses when they traveled to farms or attended horses shows. But it was Wenonah who studied the breed itself, pursuing Arabian pedigrees all the way to the desert and selecting the family’s foundation mares. Early in her life, Sheila was more focused on her hands-on work with the horses, learning to care for, ride and train them. As she grew into herself, however, her mother’s encyclopedia knowledge of bloodlines fueled her own education in the Arabian breed around her.

The fame of the Varian stallions notwithstanding, the secret to the program’s success lies just as much in the long and proven history of its mares. All three of the original Polish mares made their contributions in an unbroken procession, as did select additions over the years did as well. Ten generations down now, their descendants are the backbone of a broodmare band that has fielded not only winners and bloodstock for Varian, but also in other programs as well. One good example would be the line which began with *Bachantka. Bred to Bay-Abi, she produced Baychatka, who when crossed with Khemosabi, offered Moska. From Moska came generational history that fired out national champion after champion—glittery names like Magination V, Melody V and more— and decades down the line resulted in such stars of today as Zefyr, Onyx A and Monticello V. continued ...

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Jullyen El Jamaal (Ali Jamaal x Jullye El Ludjin)

And that is just one line. *Naganka and *Ostroga made their marks, as did such additions as the *Bask daughter Autumn Fire, dam of Afire Bey V, who was purchased by Varian in 1981. These days, the Sanadik El Shaklan and Jullyen El Jamaal daughters are flexing their muscles, and individuals such as Misti Morn V (by Audacious PS), the Ali Jamaal mare Sweet Shalimar V (dam of Sundance Kid V), Sweet Klassique V (by Fairview Klassique), and the Desperado V mare Khantina Girl V, among others, are focused on the future. If the youngsters out on Colt Hill and in the filly pastures are any indication, visitors to the ranch lately report, there remains a lot of story to come for Varian Arabians.

Happy Trails, Sheila “There’s one thing you have to make clear,” says Sheila’s longtime friend, Kathie Hart. “Sheila Varian has died, but her program hasn’t. It is going on, and it is beautifully set up to do that.”

For Sheila’s many followers, the end came too soon for her. And even she might have said that her 78 years was more like a beginning than an entire journey. In 1995, when asked what she planned for her program after she was no longer there, she replied, “I never gave it much thought. Ask me in 30 years.” Sadly, she didn’t get 30 years, but given the passion with which she lived, it probably would not have been enough anyhow. Her death was the end of an era of horsemen. Like so many of her mid-century contemporaries, she occupied a place in the equine industry that has begun to disappear from view. It’s true that she was only one owner, one breeder, one trainer, one horsewoman in the Arabian breed—but as much as anyone could be, she was one of a kind.

Vesty photo

Varian’s mission in life was her breeding program. “From the time I was a little kid, really little, I’ve never wondered what I was going to do,” she said in the 1995 AHT profile. “I had a fairly straight path to follow and I followed it. I’ve wound around a little bit, but I’ve never had to sit down and say, ‘Now, in my life, what am I going to do?’”

In the past few years, she may have realized that six decades would not be enough. She had depended on her right-hand person, Angela Alvarez, since 1986, and it was to Alvarez that she passed her trust for the future. (What most Arabian enthusiasts may not have realized is that in all that time, much of Sheila’s freedom to travel the industry, to keep up with the horses in it, form friendships and acquire bloodstock, directly related to having Alvarez at home. She could leave Arroyo Grande secure in her mind that the farm was running as she specified.) For the final few years that she had left, she worked even more closely with Alvarez, and established a panel of trustees so that when the time came, the transition would be as smooth as possible.

Afire Bey V (Huckleberry Bey x Autumn Fire)

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Watch for the full story coming this fall ...







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Spotlight Stallion • Scottsdale Signature Stallion AHA Breeders Sweepstakes Nominated Silver Sire Breeders Stallion • ABHA Futurity Stallion Frozen Semen Available Worldwide


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Majestico is proof that small breeders can succeed in the national halter arena. We believed in him and set out with the goal of earning the 2016 Canadian National Champion Stallion title, after a f ive-year show ring hiatus. Thank you to everyone who participated in making this dream a reality:

“Looking forward to the future ... the future is ours!” — Jerry Schall

“ ... no matter how he is viewed, he is a picture of quality and balance, possessing both type and beauty. Majestico is a powerful and athletic moving stallion— the image of a great show horse.” —Peter Cameron

• The judging panel for selecting him as their champion from a class of beautiful stallions. • Jeff and Jerry Schall and Team Shada, for his meticulous care, preparation, and presentation. • The many equine professionals for contributing their respective talents and expertise. • My family, friends, and Majestico’s admirers; for their advice, support and encouragement, with special thanks to Peter Cameron and Dorothy Zielske. • My late husband, Doug Seward, who lost his seven-year battle with cancer in 2015. He had an incredible eye for a horse, and was Majestico’s greatest fan from the day he was foaled. • Majestico, for truly exemplifying his name in every way. • And most of all, thank you to God, for creating this beautiful stallion and for allowing this to happen. Nancy Cowette Seward Hobnail Farm

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Marwan Al Shaqab x La Vida Lloca

2 X N AT I O N A L C H A M P I O N Elk River, MN 763-441-5849

2008 stallion, ca & scid clear Standing at Shada, Inc. Nominated Sire: AHA Breeders Sweepstakes Minnesota Medallion Stallion Ar abian Horse Times | 167 | PAR IS

Bred and owned by Hobnail Farm The Seward Family Greenfield, MN

“Thank you to everyone who was a part of Perfirka’s life the last year and a half. We are so thankful and honored to own a mare of her stature. She is coming home to the green pastures of Minnesota, and we look forward to sharing her babies with all of you in the future.” — Love, Dick, Lollie and Lara

The Ames Family Jordan, Minnesota

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