The Aura of *Aramus An arabian classic in three acts by Cassie Parker-Charbonneau
In Poland, the historian Zenon Lipowicz wrote that the horse is man’s companion from the cradle to the grave. Polish artwork depicts the laughing child with his pony; the farm laborer with his draft horse; the red-coated lord with his hunter and the exotic Arabian posed in an elaborate stableyard resembling a stage setting. In the United States, we have traded equine companionship for the American dream of upward mobility — large, fast cars, “go-anywhere” recreation vehicles, helicopters and private jets. However, once in a while one of the proud breed, an elegant *Aramus
Arabian horse, inspires us with feelings beyond those of horse-asornamental-stable-piece. The Russian-bred stallion, *Naborr, was one of these special Arabians; his Polish-born son *Aramus was equally admired as a horse that struck awe in the observer. These two aristocratic sires, sharing the same Saklawi strain type, were treasures such as described in “The Outermost House:”
sire Negatiw, to the Skowronek dynasty were explored. As a prolific sire and champion in his own right, *Naborr set the stage in the United States for the heralded introduction of several trademark sons from abroad. To name a few, the *Naborr imports from Poland included *Mirzaz, *Werbor, *Druzba, *Gwalior, *Faraon and *Aramus [Aramis] who was
The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older
foaled January 1, 1962 at the Michalów State Stud and imported
and more complete than ours, they move finished and
by the Burton Arabian Farm of Wisconsin in May 1967.
complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or
Like father, like son,*Aramus, an alabaster colt of 15 hands
never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are
with the classic swan neck and smooth level croup of his line,
not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations,
stood out in silver elegance from his P.A.S.B. “class of 1962.”
caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow
Even though he proved unlikely as a racer (like his sire he won
prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
only two out of several starts), his movement was riveting in its
natural grace with fluid animation and genuine, floating gaits.
Furthermore, *Aramus imitated *Naborr in the most important regard in producing Arabian foals from a variety of bloodlines
Like Father, Like Son However, to begin at the source of the *Naborr/*Aramus
that were as alike as “peas in a pod.” All offspring exuded extreme presence and the sterling, share-your-tent disposition prized by Arabian lovers everywhere. Several comments from
mystique, please refer to The Arabian Horse Times, November
observers seeing *Aramus for the first time were practically
1999, pages 94 - 99, where the international adventures of
word-for-word those expressed about initial *Naborr viewings
*Naborr — foaled at Tersk in 1950, and ultimate heir, via his
— “Real excitement; perfection in a Polish import; stamps his
ARABIAN HORSE TIMES • JUNE 2000
arabian archives: *ARAMUS foals with quality; no picture can do this exotic Arabian justice; untouchable show horse; elegant; exotic; electrifying and the most breathtakingly beautiful horse in the world.”
ACT I — 1962-1967: Beauty Behind the Iron Curtain Or if by luck you chance to spy A white horse, pass not quickly by But look upon his splendour; For there shall be, For all to see —God’s love, most fair and tender.
“Legend of the White Stallion” by Helen Holmes
In the early spring of 1967, a group of 25 ambitious Arabian breeders and enthusiasts from throughout the United States journeyed together as the “First Arabian Horse Tour of Europe
The day *Aramus arrived in Wisconsin from Poland with the leather name tags attached to his mane and tail.
and the Middle East,” visiting Arabian horse farms and government studs in Jordan, Egypt, Italy, Austria, Poland and
“Anything you liked?” asked her husband.
England. Lloyd and Evelyn Burton of the popular Burton Arabian
without a moment’s hesitation, replied, “The third horse out.” Of
Farm (of the famed American Living Legend, Gazon) were part
course, that number three horse was *Aramus, which was also
of the group, accompanied by Lloyd’s brother, Durand Burton.
Lloyd Burton’s choice of the Polish group. But, immediately there
All the tour members enjoyed educational forays to foreign
was a problem. Having determined that their Polish pick was
tourist spots, as well as the main attraction — vying for a chance
sired by *Naborr, the couple felt that perhaps importing another
to discover the elusive “price-is-right” Arabian dream stallion
*Naborr son might be too much of a good thing! Also, the group
somewhere along the unfolding route. While the underlying goal
still had the British stud farms to tour, and Lloyd Burton did not
of a typical American breeder is producing a “better Arabian,”
want to make a final decision before seeing the English
his success is getting the sire based on the breeder’s ability to
Arabians. But both Burtons were truly smitten by the 5-year-old
recognize quality wherever he may find it beckoning.
Mrs. Evelyn Burton graciously shared her memories of her first
After reviewing the English bloodstock, the couple decided
sight of *Aramus in Poland in a recent interview via telephone at
that Aramis (PASB) was by far the most elegant and typey of any
her home in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. She stressed the manner in
of the Arabians seen in the Middle East, Europe or the British
which the tour group had been warned by the American
Isles and was the closest to the ideal junior stallion to cross with
Embassy that upon entering Poland, they would be venturing
Gazon (Ferzon X Scheraff, 1955) daughters back at the ranch.
behind “the Iron Curtain” and must expect to be viewed as spies
Typically, there was some red tape in actually procuring a
and interlopers. “We were told,” she related, “that our hotel
government-bred Arabian from Poland.
room would most likely be bugged and that as Americans, we
Upon their return to the United States, by sheer perseverance,
were apt to be poorly treated. Nothing could have been further
the Burtons secured a New York broker who arranged to have
from the truth,” she assured. “The Polish people, including the
*Aramus flown into the U.S. Quarantine Station in New Jersey.
‘Communist’ tour bus driver, made every effort to insure that the
“Meanwhile,” Evelyn Burton reminisced, “we were beginning to
group enjoyed all visits throughout the country.
wonder just which Arabian would be ours from that European
“I was designated as the Burton Farm note-taker, while Lloyd
shipment.” Consoling themselves with memories of the
was the photographer during our review of the sale horses,”
excellence of every one of those Michalów Stud Arabians, the
recalls Mrs. Burton. The Stud manager brought out about a
Burtons hooked up the farm horse trailer to their camper and left
dozen Arabian colts and stallions, and in single file put them
for the East Coast.
through their paces. After the impressive presentation, Mr. and
Lo and behold, after an interminable amount of suspense, the
Mrs. Burton were able to confer.
Burtons found themselves being congratulated by the quarantine
ARABIAN HORSE TIMES • JUNE 2000
arabian archives: *Aramus
Naseem (1922 GSB) Negatiw (Negativ 1945 RASB/PASB)
*Naborr (Nabor 1950 RASB/PASB)
Lagodna (Russian “War Spoil”)
Skowronek (1908 “Horse of the 20th Century”)
Taraszcza (1937 PASB)
Posejdon (by Ibrahim, sire of Skowronek)
Obra (to Lezginka 1895)
*ARAMUS [ARAMIS PASB] Sire Line: Ibrahim D.B., 1907 Antoniny Dam Line: Milordka
Amurath Sahib (“Polish Broodmare Sire”)
Amurath II (PASB)
Amneris (Michalów, Poland)
Tail Female: Anielka (Amurath 1881 X Belgia)
Bakszysz (Ibrahim X Lezginka) Kalina (Koheilan IV X Windobona [Posejdon])
Koheilan I (Weil)
Aneilka (PASB, re-imported Milordka mare)
veterinarian, who could not praise enough the “beauty from
undercover and underweight from the rigors of trans-Atlantic
Communist Poland.” The “Number Three Horse” had made it
travel, *Aramus was trailered West to Burton Arabian Farm via
through the Iron Curtain with flying colors. Evelyn Burton
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, home of Lowe Arabians. In 1960, Mike
remembers to this day, after 33 years, her excitement and joy,
and Janet (Burton) Lowe had founded their herd on Burton-bred
when she discovered, braided into *Aramus’ mane and tail, two
stock and had added the senior sire Silique (*Silver Drift X Bint
leather tags stamped with the name ARAMIS.
Wahida) in 1963. Upon first seeing the Burtons’ Polish import, the Lowes joined the *Aramus bandwagon and formed a family
ACT II — 1967-1972: Polish Émigré rises to the Top in the Midwest
Man loves his women, his children, his herds, his crops,
partnership to promote the newest *Naborr son and potential superstar. Without fanfare, his exceptional elegance, refinement and outstanding athletic ability raised *Aramus to the “Top of the Charts,” and he fulfilled his early promise.
his wealth in gold and silver and his precious horses ... And when he rides the latter, he forgets the rest, For nothing will distract him from his horses.
— En Naceri (Arab poet) Shown in 1967, by Lloyd Burton, he was Minnesota and Most
The name Aramis, stamped in leather, would become *Aramus,
Classic Champion, as well as a Canadian National Top Ten
engraved in the hearts and minds of countless Arabian fans of
Stallion. By June 1968, *Aramus had been pinned the Grand
the late 1960s American show scene. Arriving in New Jersey,
Champion Stallion in Wisconsin, repeated his 1967 win in
ARABIAN HORSE TIMES • JUNE 2000
arabian archives: *Aramus comprise only the tip of the iceberg. In 1970, *Aramus was named the U.S. National Champion Stallion and the Canadian National Champion Stallion — honors never before awarded one stallion in the same year in Arabian horse history! In addition, *Aramus’ show record in performance would truly “rock the industry:” a eight-time Champion Park Horse (three reserves); twice Pacific Slope Top Five horse; 1973 U.S. National Top Ten Park Horse and 1973 Canadian National Champion Park Horse and Formal Driving Champion; the Pacific Slope Formal Driving Reserve Champion Horse; 1974 Canadian National Reserve Champion Lloyd Burton and *Aramus, the day of his arrival in the United States.
Formal Driving Horse; 1970 and 1974 U.S. National Top Ten Formal Driving horse;
Minnesota and was the Region III Reserve Champion Stallion.
1972 U.S. National Champion Driving
Altogether, he racked up nine champion stallion class A wins,
Horse and 1974 U.S. National Reserve Champion Formal
the Supreme Champion Stallion title at Reno and another Region
VI Reserve Champion Stallion title. These laurels, however, *Aramus
The Get On the breeding front, *Aramus get included the champion stallions Arakus, Ben Aram, Carawal mi Contar, El Aramus, Ga-Ramus, Ru-Aramus, Secratariat, Snowbird, WN Arastarza and Zayann, to name a few. The daughters of *Aramus proved talented broodmatrons as well as Class A Showgirls: Airamiss, Cybis Electra, Daalda Artemis, Emenee, Fancy Miss Aramus, Miss Ann, Star of Aramus, and the versatile Markus, bred by the Lowes, the 1973 U.S. National Reserve Champion Gelding and the favorite mount of Wayne Newton during his Vegas show extravaganzas.
The Grandget To mention the next generation — the *Aramus grandget — the champion daughter-as-dam, Airamiss, provides a perfect example. Not only the dam of Illizi, Supreme Horse of the 1978
AHRA Stud Books’ Research 1969-1971
Vol. 22 — Foals of 1970 and 1971: *Aramus was third overall with
Vol. 20 — Foals of 1969: *Aramus led the list of stallions siring “10 or
35 foals to his credit. 1970 was also the year *Aramus was named
more foals” with 42 foals to his credit, despite his heavy show
both U.S. and Canadian National Champion Stallion, thus
schedule. Only 10 stallions sired 20 or more foals, and *Aramus took
becoming the first double National Champion Stallion in the same
the lead after only one year, 1968, at stud (imported May 1967).
year in the history of the Arabian breed!
Vol. 21 — Foals of 1969 and 1970: *Aramus again led the list of sires of “10 or more” with 42 foals, followed by *Bask (imported 1963) with 39 foals. ARABIAN HORSE TIMES • JUNE 2000
arabian archives: *ARAMUS
ACT III — The 1970s: Star Attraction in Vegas Time: A Saturday in December 1974 — 8:15 p.m. Setting: The Copa Room at the Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, Nev. (filled to capacity) Action: As the lights dim and the curtain opens, Wayne Newton bounds on to the stage, dressed in a spectacular white leather suit, decorated in Indian designs. As he sings his first number: “Come Back to Me,” he always ad lib’s at the part that says, ‘ride a horse,’ with ‘An Arabian, of course!’ Legend has it that somewhere in the Nevada desert an ancient Spanish treasure is buried. Coming upon Wayne Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah, a horse lover might believe that he has stumbled upon the next best thing. Singer/Actor/Arabian ambassador Wayne Newton has created a verdant oasis and *Aramus and Bill Lowe.
“southern plantation” in the wastelands by establishing his showplace Arabian ranch near his place of business — the “Big Band” Las Vegas Strip.
Minnesota Show and 1978 U.S. National Top Ten Mare, Airamiss
*Aramus had a total number of over 300 registered Arabian
further produced Khalim El Khatar, 1978 Canada/Saskatchewan
foals which included 55 percent fillies and 97 percent greys.
High Point Champion in English Pleasure, Western Pleasure and
Unlike *Naborr, who sired 100 percent greys, *Aramus had, at
Costume. Another daughter, Emenee, is the winner of six
this point, sired five chestnuts, three bays and one black. The
championships and is the dam of 1979 Scottsdale Junior Champion Mare and 1981 U.S. National Champion Mare Rohara Tsultress (by Ivanhoe Tsultan), who went on to win five championships and “Dam of Distinction” honors for Rohara Arabians. Eventually, *Aramus’ fame was brought to the attention of another “industry star” — Wayne Newton. Gary Long, Newton’s trainer, had seen *Aramus perform brilliantly in Illinois in the Park championship, and kept telling Newton to try to buy this producing “white horse!” But, *Aramus was not for sale at any price. Eventually, a lease was agreed upon, and *Aramus stood to mares in Nevada as well as Wisconsin. After some gentle persuasion, the Burtons and the Lowes announced that for the ultimate exposure *Aramus deserved, the next step was Las Vegas! In 1972, Wayne Newton acquired full interest in his dream horse *Aramus.
latter, “the black,” brings to mind an interesting highlight of the early Newton breeding endeavor when he began purchasing Thoroughbreds for racing and Arabians for show. The year was 1969, and Newton was serious about securing bloodstock that were “bred for black.” With Tom Chauncey, he was a partner in the purchase of the aged, expensive *Naborr, who sired only greys. So, from Malabar Farm in California, Wayne Newton secured the ebony Malabar King, and advertised his intentions to the world. “I was convinced that I could raise the perfect black Arabian horse,” he remembers. “Well, I found myself buying 20 horses before I realized that you have to breed for conformation. You have to let the animal be what it is. The superior animal is not going to be [black] or pure Spanish or pure Polish, or pure anything other than Arabian.” Thus, the stage was set for Newton’s true appreciation of *Aramus who, he described in his
While Milordka is a very old Polish family line, Poland lost all
Amneris, Elsissa, only left a slender female line in the 1940’s.
tail female branches for a time due to World War II. The family
One daughter, Bajadera, foaled a filly on the “March to
is closely associated with Michalów and calls to mind mostly
Dresden,” and both were subsequently lost to Poland.
white broodmares beginning with “E” from the root mares of
However, Amneris certainly came into the category of Arabian
Ela and Estokada. Presently, Janów does have one branch
matriarch. From *Aramus alone descend over 400 offspring —
through a mare imported from Russia. The older Michalów
and in the European arena, her son, the immortal Aquinor,
branches trace back to the Weil and Babolna Studs and/or the
reigned as master producer. He is best remembered in America
Austrian-Hungarian Stud Radautz. More specifically, the dam of
as the sire of Mike Nichol’s 1972 National Champion winners
ARABIAN HORSE TIMES • JUNE 2000
arabian archives: *ARAMUS autobiography Once Before I Go with Dick Maurice, “[He was] ...
And, thus Wayne Newton’s Aramus Arabians was born from
more than a horse. This was a soul that I loved deeply.”
the ashes of his “love affair” for *Aramus, as were all the “WN”
The duo, *Aramus and his sire, *Naborr, formed a class act in
prefix champions that have dominated the Arabian sales arenas
the Southwest — standing at the adjacent farms of the two close
and show circuit since the stallion’s death in January 1976 to the
friends and business partners Tom Chauncey and Wayne
new millennium. Newton’s program of crossing pure Spanish
Newton. Certainly, uncanny parallels were to develop from the
stallions on Polish and domestic-bred mares (and vice versa) has
partnership of Newton with Chauncey from the 1969 purchase of
adhered to the excellence of its inspiration — *Aramus.
*Naborr at auction to the 1976 death of *Aramus from serum
First there was *Naborr, then there was *Aramus. Both
hepatitis. In the words of one Arabian observer of the Scottsdale
stallions left a great legacy and a huge responsibility to continue
scene, “*Aramus and Wayne went together like *Naborr and Mr.
the excellence of their bloodline. And continue it does, with
Chauncey ... in both instances, they were emotionally enveloped
close to 40 Class A Show Champions sired by *Aramus alone.
by the horses’ personalities ...” From a business standpoint,
Having excelled both at halter and performance and in the
however, both breeders were Arabian connoisseurs, especially
breeding shed, *Aramus’ celebrity status was no fluke. But,
when it came to matching a good horse to a good deal.
Newton wrote his final tribute, when at the 1984 Nationals, the
Consequently, each stallion proved to be an excellent breeding
famous Arabian fancier shocked surrounding spectators by
investment for their respective owners.
rising in his seat and grabbing someone’s program right out of
Initially, since Chauncey had no place to keep a horse in
his hands. “Who is that horse? The moment that horse came into
Scottsdale, *Naborr was kept at Newton’s ranch in Mayer, Ariz.
the ring, I knew it was Aramis [*Aramus]. It was a 3-year-old
Correspondingly, when *Aramus first arrived in the West, he was
— just a baby ... Our eyes met and I knew that someone special
corralled behind the Chaunceys’ residence in Scottsdale.
was back. Yes, Aramis was back.”
Immediately, upon dissolving his *Naborr investment with
*Aramus, the image of his sire — *Naborr, the image of a Legend.
Chauncey in 1972, Wayne Newton secured *Aramus outright to
Two “oldies, but goldies”— in silver. A tough act to follow. ❑
stand year around at his home ranch Casa de Shenandoah. Thus, both men came to interbreed
*Naborr offspring with
*Aramus and augment their breeding programs. In his autobiography Newton would write of the kinship that he developed with *Aramus, the white Arabian of his childhood dreams. Consequently, when the horse became ill in late 1975, no expense was spared to secure the best medical advice. Doug Herthel, a California veterinarian, was flown into the ranch and took up residency at the Newton’s guesthouse. Newton juggled several Las Vegas engagements to be at the stallion’s side in his fight for life. Yet, despite all intercession, *Aramus was lost, and Newton describes himself as “devastated.” When asked by Dr. Herthel what would happen to Newton Arabians, he told him that he was getting out of the business! However, the vet pleaded for reconsideration. “Wayne, listen, if you get out, all that *Aramus meant to you will have been in vain. You’ve got to continue to perpetuate what it was that *Aramus meant to you ...”
*Aramus, 1970 U.S. and Canadian National Champion Stallion.
*Elkin, U.S. and Canadian National Champion Stallion, and
had been purchased from Tersk, Russia, to bring back the
*Elkana, U.S. National Champion and Canadian National
Skowronek sire line to Poland. “We’d just been through England
Reserve Champion Mare. In fact, this half brother to *Aramus
and looked at Skowronek-line horses there,” Dr. LaCroix related
was seen by Dr. Eugene LaCroix in September 1962 when he
in an early interview, “and Negatiw, a very well-balanced horse,
contracted to purchase *Bask.
was a far more impressive horse than any we’d seen in England.
The Poles were very open in showing all the Polish bloodstock
Another horse that stood out was Aquinor (Miecznik x Amneris)
to visitors, and one of the prized exhibits at Janów Podlaski
... as far as breeding type is concerned.” Of course, *Bask was
Stud was the grey stallion Negatiw (Naseem x Taraszcza), who
the LaCroix target and the rest, as they say, is history.
ARABIAN HORSE TIMES • JUNE 2000