Memories ... Strawberry Banks Farm

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s e i r o m e M

Strawberry Banks Farm

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Baske Afire February 22, 1999 - December 15, 2015 Ar abian Horse Times | 2 | Volume 46, No. 10

Baske Afire “Greatness Gone Too Soon”

Sadly, Baske Afire (Afire Bey V x Mac Baske) was lost to the Arabian horse community a month after the death of his dam and less than three weeks after the death of his sire. He was the Afire Bey V son most likely to have a chance to equal his father’s unprecedented record as a sire of champions in the breed. With 967 registered offspring, Baske Afire had both the numbers and the combined record and percentages to be competitive with his illustrious sire. “Mac Baske had been bred to Afire Bey V previously and produced Empress of Bask,” recalls Shawn Stachowski. “Jim [Stachowski] wanted to breed her to *El Ghazi, but I convinced him to rebreed her to Afire Bey V for her 1999 foal. Of course, once he was born, there was no doubt that Baske Afire was an absolute phenomenon. He had a neck like a swan, trot, charisma and swagger ... he had it all! He had it and everybody knew it. He was full of himself too.” An outstanding sire is critically important in a pedigree, but it takes a great mare to produce a great breeding stallion. Baske Afire’s dam Mac Baske (Baskevich x AH Meditation, by Meridian) was a great show horse with multiple national wins in English pleasure and pleasure driving. “Mac Baske was a classic Arabian mare,” says Jim Stachowski. “She had that unmistakable *Bask++ look. She was a great mare.”

Jim continues, “People always asked why we didn’t show Baske Afire. Well, there was a lot of interest in breeding to him and after people saw his first foals, his book kept growing every year and he simply couldn’t handle both a show career and breeding a hundred mares a year at the same time, so he went directly to being a sire. “Baske Afire quickly became a recognized breeding sire,” says Jim. “When bred to good Saddlebred mares, he was able to retain the Saddlebred style and elegance, while adding outstanding Arabian type and character. Consequently, he became a sought after sire of Half­ Arabian and purebred horses for both performance and halter. Even as yearlings, his offspring were obviously talented English-type Arabians. There were a great many good reasons to breed to him and people did.” Following his first year at stud in 2001, there were 29 offspring registered with Baske Afire listed as sire. The year he turned five, Baske Afire registered over a hundred foals and from there it took no time at all for Baske Afire offspring to start setting fire to the national Arabian show ring. His initial foal crop was filled with winners. By February 19, 2008, Baske Afire had well over 600 registered foals on the ground. Thirty of his sons and daughters descended on the Scottsdale show that year and were successfully shown in halter and performance. Baske Afire get won seven championships

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at that show, including champion and reserve in the English Pleasure Junior Horse championship. But nothing Scottsdale had to offer could have topped the appearance of the celebrated Baske Afire himself at the Cedar Ridge Arabians auction. There, his subsequent sale for 2.8 million to Barbara Chur and Strawberry Banks Farm virtually stopped the show. “I will never forget purchasing Baske Afire that night,” says Barbara. “It was Neil’s birthday and I was so elated, but kept thinking Neil would kill me for spending so much!” Baske Afire arrived at Strawberry Banks Farm after the breeding season of 2008 where he joined the farm’s famous national champion English sires, A Temptation and Hey Hallelujah++//. Both of Baske Afire’s new

stablemates were impressive matches for him. Hey Hallelujah++// (Huckleberry Bey++ x Hallelujah Bask) had 19 major national awards at the time of his retirement and A Temptation (Tempter x A Love Song) was the breed’s quintessential show horse, a U.S. National Champion in the English Pleasure Junior Horse and Open, as well as the Pleasure Driving Open and Amateur and Reserve Champion Park Horse. “Originally, I just wanted to purchase breedings to Baske Afire,” says Barbara, “but I was so impressed with his young foals and what I was seeing in the show ring and. I knew we needed him to be a part of Strawberry Banks in a big way! I felt that he would bring strength and maturity to our program and be

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a fantastic cross for our Hey Hallelujah++// and A Temptation daughters.” Trainer, Brian Murch, agrees. “Baske Afire as an individual had beauty, strength and charisma. When you look into certain horse’s eyes, there is just something special there. Baske Afire had that ‘look.’ No matter where Baske Afire was on the farm—in his paddock, walking down the shed row, even standing in his stall—he would catch your eye. If you had to pick one that you would want to be riding in a difficult situation, it would be Baske Afire. He always seemed to have something extra.” Brian’s wife, Melanie, was equally impressed with the great horse. “I feel so fortunate to have been involved with Baske Afire,” Melanie says. “One of the greatest Arabian stallions of modern times.”

At the time of his untimely death, at age 15, Baske Afire sired 571 Purebred and 396 Half-­Arabian offspring for a total of 967 get. Even more remarkable, he has sired hundreds of champions, among them 45 purebred national and reserve national champions and 63 Half­-Arabian national champion and reserve national champion offspring. Between them, these magnificent horses have accumulated 279 national and reserve national championships in English pleasure, country English pleasure, driving, halter, side saddle, hunter pleasure, show hack, native costume and trail. Baske Afire has been in the top of the AHT Leading Sires Listings almost from the beginning. In 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, he was the Leading Sire of Combined Halter and Performance for both Purebred

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and Half-Arabians at the U.S. Nationals, and took this same title at the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Canadian National Championships. At the national level, Baske Afire’s leading winning offspring include Baske Is A Genius, She Be Adiva KBS+// and CF Jimmy Neutron. There are many, many great sons and daughters of Baske Afire that have several national and reserve national championships, like HA Toskcan Sun, Carrie Bradshaw, Little Miss Strange and Princess of Baske. When noting Baske Afire’s statistics, it’s good to remember that his very oldest offspring are only 13 this year, and many, if not most, are still showing. “The most exciting thing about Baske Afire’s legacy is his daughters and their potential and ability as broodmares,” says Barbara. “Like many breeders in our industry, we are just beginning to see what they can do

in the breeding barn and it’s very exciting. I think that, like *Bask+, Baske Afire’s long term strength as a sire is going to be found in his daughters. “Baske Afire was the perfect complement to our breeding program. He brought great bone, amazing length of stride, strength, competitiveness and excitement to our lives, our farm and our future foals. Baske Afire, along with A Temptation and Hey Hallelujah++//, completed our ‘Troika.’ We are anxiously watching three yearling colts, each by our three stallions. EMAGIN by Baske Afire out of Emayzing Grace (Hey Hallelujah++// x Ericca), EXACTLY by Hey Hallelujah++// out of Eternally Yours (A Temptation x Ericca) and A TRUE TEMPTATION by A Temptation out of A Blessing (Afire Bey V x Mac Baske, a full sister to Bask Afire).” Barbara reminisces, “A year after we purchased Baske Afire, we took him to Scottsdale to compete in the

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pleasure driving. Many people told me I was crazy to do that, but I did it because he really had not been shown, and what better venue to show him to people than at Scottsdale? Here’s a secret that delights me, I got to drive him before Brian did! What a thrill! It was like riding behind a freight train. He had fantastic strength and power, yet he was responsive and actually easy to drive. I will never forget it.” The trip to Scottsdale for Baske Afire in 2009 was definitely an impressive move. So many people had not seen this extraordinary horse whose offspring were dominating the national Arabian scene. When it came time for the pleasure driving championship, the fairgrounds at WestWorld came alive. He stopped the show once again! “It’s one of the memories of Baske Afire that will live with me forever,” remembers Melanie Murch. “When he started toward the in gate, suddenly people came running, I mean several hundred people from all over the fairgrounds. They came running and crowding into the stands at the Equidome, standing above the seats on the walkway, straining for a look at Baske Afire. It was like a rock star had walked in. Thank you so much, Baske Afire, for the spark and thrill you brought to all of us, just when it was needed the most. May your blood run through many future ‘rock stars’ that continue to inspire all of us. Fly high, friend.” ■

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s n o i l l a t S he t

r u h C a r a by Barb

HEY HALLELUJAH++ // (1993-2012)

Strawberry Banks Farm’s splendid grey stallion Hey Hallel ujah ++// sadly departed to greener pasture s. He leaves behind elegant champion sons and daughters and memories of a different era in America’s Arabian show ring. Brian Murch trained He y! From the very beginning and was with the multinational winner through all of his stellar show ring moments and his later years as a breeding stallion. Hey Hallelujah++// is the sire of 26 National winners, 10 National Champions and Reserve National Champions. His offspring have accumulated 153 Nation al show awards at the time of his unexpe cted passing in 2012. “Our lives have been con nected since the “H ey Hallelujah++// was a beginning of my career,” lot of horse,” says Murch. Bri an remembers. “He was “Hey Hallelujah’s dam, a handful Hallelujah and a ‘puppy dog.’ He trie Bask, helped me launch d so hard to my career as a please and win, that I nee nationally known perfor ded to give mance trainer. him a thoughtful warm up I drove Hey a great deal to get him to as a young relax and focus. horse. He was a Novem ber foal and we used the cart to build him up and help Hey’s first foals arrived make him strong. He too when he was k to harness five years old. They quickly immediately.” began to show off their talents on the show circuit. Among Heys mo A national sensation for st noted nearly a decade, offspring are RO Atlantis, Hey Hallelujah’s++// car Hey Bey Be, eer blossomed Emannuel, Enchanting Lov in the late 1990’s with mu e, Emericca, ltiple Regional Dheja Vu, QH Especialle championships in English ys Echo, QH pleasure Tallulah and the great He open and Junior English y Its My Toi, horse, and owned by Lissa Tehan and continued with great suc win ning cess in pleasure in Arabian costume by Bar driving open and amateur, bar a’s halter granddaughter, Sawyer Teh and combination. At the an. His time of his dau ghter, Emayzing Grace (Er retirement, he boasted 19 icca) major national was injured as a three yea and international titles and r old but is six National showing herself to be one Championships. of Strawberry Banks’ best broodmares!

“Coming to Strawberry Banks was a great opportunity for He y!,” notes Brian. “It gave him the chance to breed some wonderful mares and live a very good life. What will I miss the most about Hey?” Brian muses, “Ev ery morning he was the first face I saw when I opened the barn door and walked in. He was a very ‘human’ horse with great expression and a great hea rt. There were times when I would look at him and almost expect him to say ‘good morning’ back to me. He was a hug e part of my life and I miss him very, very much.”

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ATION A TEM(199P5-T 2016)

… “He brought joy to my life g… Excitement to the show rin to his get… Amazing athletic ability heart of His beautiful soul was the Strawberry Banks Farm.” —Barbara Chur upon the of A Temptation unexpected death

resent a Few Arabian stallions rep than the age line ary more extraordin lion, A stal m Far ks Ban ry Strawber Arabian by Temptation. A pure Polish Tonki, *Bask) x Tempter (Cognac [Bask] x *Elkana, ask out of A Love Song (*B re), A ma n pio am a U.S. National Ch ther to bro ter uar e-q thre a Temptation is pion Mare and the U.S. National Cham lish Pleasure National Champion Eng a half-brother Junior Horse, Ericca, and Allience ion to multi-national champ e Again, Lov To re ma and the champion His ks. Ban ry ber all bred by Straw in some cases show career equaled and estors. His surpassed, that of his anc bian show was the quintessential Ara coat, stunning ite career and his snow wh t strut gan ele Arabian quality and orite of fav a him de down the rail ma e. alik en sem hor spectators and ners with He has sired national win Huckleberry daughters of Afire Bey V, y Berry. ebe ckl Bey, Barbary and Hu back on ss cro nt He is also an excelle several h wit ng, edi bre his own *Bask Baske Afire winners from those lines. cross for has proven to be an ideal

pedigree. A Temptation’s “perfect” spring Some of his winning off pting Tem , less ath Bre W WW are pting Tem on, Fate, HS Justatemptati great the and e oic Tango, Rejoice Rej

y proud of Exxpectations. We are ver our wonderful Eternally Yours, one of tion out of the broodmares, by A Tempta great mare Ericca. stories about A Perhaps one of the great ost didn’t exist. Temptation is that he alm “He was one Barbara remembers that, o transfer and of our first tries at embry an embryo. find the vet was not able to and asked ked loo I , As we were talking he said and like ked loo o what an embry ed tinu con I l. bal cer soc a rather like wh did find at to move the slide until I ball and looked to me like a soccer tion! HE pta sure enough it was A Tem E SINK! TH WN ALMOST WENT DO n’t! did he us of all How lucky for

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s e i r o Mem

r u h C a r a b by Bar

I love all of my horses, but as you know, there are always a few very special ones that steal your heart ...

I am very proud of our breeding program. Actually, the end result is even more exciting than we had imagined. The time frame has been much longer than expected ... as new breeders in the 80’s, we had no idea how long our journey would be, but what a great journey it has been! I am most proud that our horses are not only great athletes (whether they be English, Country, Driving, Hunt, Sport Horse, Endurance, Western or Halter), but also beautiful with great minds! It is astonishing, the versatility we’ve been able to accomplish with our breeding program. One very special trait that we produce is gorgeous HIGH TAIL CARRIAGE! All of us as breeders of the great Arabian horse must not let that be lost! A Temptation is especially strong passing on this gene from his beautiful mother, A Love Song (*Bask x *Elkana).

Princess of Baske Ar abian Horse Times | 12 | Volume 46, No. 10

A Love Song


Baske Afire

Princess of Baske & Lissa

Exxpectations We love showing our horses. We don’t show great numbers, but what we do show is great! My daughter, Lissa, and granddaughter, Sawyer, both ride and will be showing. And I, of course, will continue driving—I just love it!

Hey Its My Toi & Sawyer Ar abian Horse Times | 13 | Volume 46, No. 10

s e i r o Mem

s! r e b m e m e r y l i m a F s k n a B y r r e b w a r t the S .. . t e g r o f r e v I’ll ne ning my Monday mor … when I made ok half ch payroll, whi to rounds to pick up t every pe d had to stop an an hour, since I ke as B a little fun with horse and have at nd ha s wanted my Afire. He alway d already eck out who I ha nose level to ch up and nd ld move my ha visited, so I wou When it. g in st kept follow down and he ju if I d re de ation, I won I visited A Tempt e he us ca be something, ed was interrupting em se s ay ate, Gus, alw er and his stablem th ge to t r morning ge to be having thei to see bars. It was neat l al st e th n ee betw l horse so some specia that there are al issy friendships. —M

… knowing Tempter, A Temptation, Hey Hallelujah and Baske Afire. For many years, I’ve had the opportunity to care for each one of them. They each have left special hoof prints and memories in my heart; I will truly never forget them. I will miss these guys forever! —Nicole

r ry of all ou orite memo v fa g in ry v e ri v d y e …m n th n Brian wo he nals. w o is ti a s N n . o stalli n at U.S o ti a pt m Te right class with A o excited she hopped s s a My mom w hey lapped ith Brian. T w y g g u b e in th r with their rena togethe a her e th d n u aro the look on et rg fo r e ev n her in roses—I’ll n st I had see ie p p ha e th face. That’s time. a very long horses. ve for these lo e in u n e g I would She has a passionate w ho , w o n k b ians. I Little did I amazing Ara for e es th ut o become ab ey could be how good th w e n k r e ev n Lissa your soul. —

... Hey Hallelujah has always been a very special horse to Brian and I. We had been involved in all aspects of him even before he was born. The night of our Open House, I’ll never forget ... Dick Adams and I were on the phone negotia ting Hey’s purchase, when Mr. Chur gave me the final offer written on a stic ky note. I ran inside, got back on the pho ne and they accepted the offer! I was never more happy, knowing that Hey was finally owned by Strawberry Ba nks Farm! —Melanie

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… when I was four years old Gowie won at Nationals wi th A Temptation. W e went back to the sta lls to give him a peppermint….. Gowi e was holding me as I gave it to him and he accidentally bit my finger! —Sawyer

… when A Temptation and I would have our “morning talks.” He always appeared to understand my conversations through his beautiful, soulful eyes. I loved his freckle (as I called it) on his nose—you could spot him immediately! Sweet, wonderful and wise … he had my heart. … when Baske Afire arrived at Strawberry Banks and after he was unloaded and put in his stall, a basket of his “toys” came off the trailer. I was amazed—never thinking horses played with toys! How he loved to toss his ball around in the paddock; what fun it was to watch him thoroughly enjoying himself. —Betsy

… these stallions leaving an impa ct on our hearts, and in this industry. T he y will live on in the offs pring they have sired and will continue to produce qual ity horses in the Arabian br eed. Each Straw berry Banks’ stallion had unique pers on al ities. The “boys” wer e fun to be arou nd…they would guarantee you a sm ile ever y day. We all had our “f avorites” and I ha ve to admit, Baske A fire was my boy. H e was always the high light of my day, a real comedian. When he walked out of his stall, his presence was known. He instan tly grew another 5 feet as if to say “H ey everyone, I’m th e man.” —Cou rt ney

… when I was mowing the pastures and Baske Afire would be out playing with his ball, running and flipping it up into the air.

…whenever someone would give Temptation fresh water he would lap it up like a dog!

ber, when we … and I will always remem . Nationals to took A Temptation to the U.S ends.” He Leg be inducted into the “Hall of ibit hall exh the would spend every day in one any m fro soaking up all the attention und aro s wa one who walked by. When no se hor the to pet him, he would watch his stall! He show on the live feed from exhibit hall at was supposed to be at the occasions, I 9 am each day. On some exhibit hall was late bringing him to the uld be wo and the big overhead doors through him lk closed. So, I would just wa carpet, the n the glass ‘people’ doors, dow l stall. cia spe his past the vendors and into was he get for Sometimes it was easy to a s wa tion a “big, bad” stallion. Tempta an and d, gol kind horse with a heart of lives the d che extraordinary fellow who tou of all who knew him. —Liz

… when we had Tempter, he was the happiest horse you’ve ever seen…never pinned an ear! Anyone who went to get him from the pasture couldn’t help but laugh, when as you approached the gate, he would run to you screaming. You would think he was wild, but then he’d halt and rub on you until you scratched him ... and then he let you go on your way. …when Hey! was outside, he would chase the cars that came down the driv eway with his ears pinned. Any time he could sho w off, he would. …when we would blanket Ba ske Afire, he could get it off without even undoin g the straps… everytime!

…when you would enter the barn, Temptation was the first horse you’d see … always with eyes bright and happy. During bar n check at night, he always welcomed you in with a soft nicker as you opened the door. —Stac y

al was born and the … when our first fo r foal ... Strawberry mare nickered to he y! Banks began that da ske Afire ... on Ne il’s …when I bought Ba have “killed” me! birthday ... he would w Hallelujah Bask … the first time I sa med we would own perform ... never drea y Hallelujah! her beautiful son He called and sa id, “I … the night Tim Shea n as a halter horse!” think Ericca could wi The rest is history! Championship driving … my first National 05 and then my A Temptation in 20 ar driving his son next one was last ye years between Exxpectations. 10 it was worth every championships but minute! —Barb

… each of these three stallions we re unique in their own way; wh at a privilege it wa s to be a part of their lives !

Baske Afire was so spirited and alw ays wanted to show his domina nt personality. He loved to give to me the br ush off when I wo uld go and bring him in from his paddock, as though giving me extra time to admire his extrem e athleticism and presence. As I cursed, he grinne d at me, and got more conf ident. What a magn ificent horse he was.

A Temptation was the epitome of eff ort in all aspects of everyt hing he did, in ever y way, shape and form. H e was by far, the easiest stallion to tra in an d be around—so kind. Hey was the mos t high energy indivi dual, always wanting to show he was “Bad Bad Leroy Brown.” He had a heart as big as Te xas. He loved to go to show s and was always furious when the tra iler lef t without him. —Br ian

Strawberry Banks Farm Barbara Chur, owner | Brian Murch, trainer, cell: 716.983.3099 | Nicole Ferrell, breeding manager 716.652.9346 | East Aurora, New York |

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