A JUDGE’S PERSPECTIVE:
D I C K
A DA M S with Jeff Wallace
Please tell me about your beginnings with the Arabian horse. I was born into a purebred cattle breeding family (Registered Polled Herefords). We had horses that we used primarily to move cattle to and from various grazing areas. My father sold a young bull and a group of heifers to another breeder who made partial payment with an unregistered Half-Arabian gelding. I never acquired proof or knowledge of the authenticity of the Arabian blood, but I did develop a perception of why this gelding was functionally much better than all the other kids’ horses in our community—I was convinced that it was the Arabian blood, and that was all that mattered! The “seed of perception” was planted. How would you like to be remembered as part of the fabric of the Arabian breed? With the Arabian horse we have a unique breed; a breed that has a highly functional quality and ability … not a functional quality and ability that has been categorized as a ‘ breed’ of horse. I would like to be remembered as a champion of that philosophy, and as an impactful breeder who innovated and inspired for both the beauty and versatile functionality of the Arabian horse, both in and out of the show ring. If you could bring two horses back to life, who would they be? I would bring back the two Arabian stallions who were clearly, the most impactful sires of the North 142 | ARABIAN HORSE TIMES
American Arabian Horse breed: The iconic Polish bred *Bask, for what he did to improve and diversify the function of the Arabian horse, and the legendary *Ansata Ibn Halima, for the huge contribution he gave to the Straight Egyptian Arabian horse. Both were owned and cared for by breeders who had exceptional promotional abilities, but more importantly, a true love and personal affection for them. I would also bring back Fame VF! Please tell us about the year you discovered the Arabian horse. Figuratively, with the Walter Farley books, literally, when my father gave me a Half-Arabian filly in the late 1960s. Please describe your most memorable win and the horse you were showing. Two highly memorable wins: With Fame VF: he was the “dark horse” that the controlling politics vigorously denied and grossly underestimated! His humble origin and continuing story could be considered the greatest stallion promotion of the historical Arabian breed. Why would I make such a grand statement? Because he was put in a position where he bested the odds of absolutely every aspect of the political machine of the “golden era” of the Arabian horse. He became and still is, the “template of hope” for the small breeder! The Fame VF “story” is proof that if you have a superior product and you are thoughtful, innovative and cannot be
intimidated, you can beat the political makeup of bias and prejudice.
the spectrum of the one-horse owner, to major international breeders.
And Morneesaa: she was a 3/4 Egyptian Ibn Morafic filly who I was privileged to show to the Championship in a 102 entry Western Pleasure Snaff le Bit/Hackamore Futurity Championship at a huge Santa Rosa Show. She was also reserve champion at the Santa Barbara Western Pleasure Futurity. She was one of the first of the era of soft and smooth western pleasure horses.
My most meaningful relationship would be with Pat and Bob Radmacher, and the group of Fame VF breeders. The Fame Family was a franchise group of the working class who developed into an exceptionally efficient, competitive and forceful entity in the Arabian breed’s show and market domains. The interesting quantifier to the Fame VF Program was that its huge successes occurred after the mid 1980’s over-production “glut” and “crash” resulting from the 1986 Tax Revision Laws.
Is judging horse shows important to you? If yes, why? Of the utmost importance! Shows are the quantifiers for both the competitive market and the competitive emotion. A show’s results have a twofold reaction: first, they offer a “real-time” immediacy that will project the quality and credibility of the competition itself. This is very important to the continuation of the individual show and to future shows in general. If we are to build interest, it has to come from positive expressions and successes in the public realm. Our shows must become a much more serious social choice for the discretionary interest of both audience and participant. It is very important that the judging be at its very best! Secondly, excitement with credibility! That is what the exhibitors and spectators enjoy and appreciate at the moment and, most importantly, take home with them. If the exhibitors are treated with a high degree of positive respect and appreciation from the show and judge, it will increase growth. As a judge, I have the ultimate responsibility to send a strong image of knowledge, credibility and propriety to the breeders, exhibitors and spectators.
What changes in the industry would you like to see today? I have a degree in Political Science/Constitutional Law. Political Scientists tend to approach and analyze issues from the pragmatics of the socioeconomic rule of law. Constitutionalists approach and interpret the validity and the credibility of that law. We have many misinformed members within our show community who campaign for the concept of a “level playing field.” They would like the higher end of the field “lowered” to their level. This approach is extremely counterproductive because it restricts improvement and growth beyond the status quo. The correct approach to “leveling the field” is to bring the quality of the low end up. By bringing up the lower end, we create more positive socioeconomic energy for the middle tier product; something we do not seem to have in our current economics. It also stabilizes and grows the upper tier, and it greatly reduces the dilemma of the liability horse that can’t be sold or given away.
What horses in your lifetime have made you weak in the knees? I have always been most affected by the beauty of an exquisite mare who just seems to be overwhelmed with herself and her specialness! Tell us about some of your most meaningful client relationships and how they have affected your business. I have been very fortunate to have had clients spanning
Dick Adams with Fame VF (Bey Shah+ x Raffoleta-Rose), 1987 U.S. National Champion Stallion. Volume 45, No. 9 | 143
I would like to see: • The restructuring of the AHA Bylaws, through a thoughtful amending process. It’s the “American Way!” • The restructuring of the Regional concept. • The AHA allow more Tenth Amendment-type powers for individual Regions and local clubs. Let the clubs determine what form of judging to best benefit their prosperity. • I would like to see more specific specialty instruction and accreditation for judges. Give the judges who have the greatest passion and quality to judge great opportunities to acquire education. The vast majority of judges are highly ethical, but possibly half are lacking knowledge essential for the most accurate adjudication (of class specifications and rules) and evaluation of the entries! • I would like to see more thoughtful show selection of judges relative to a higher order of discipline expertise. As a knowledgeable breeder, why would I feel comfortable with a lesser qualified person’s “opinion” of what was right or wrong with my horse. All I really want is a placement. I would like never to see: • The vested interfered with by the non-vested. Stay in your wheel-house! • Any of the dreams of our Arabian horse “Family” taken away because they don’t agree with a non-vested ruling majority. We need to re-think all areas that demean and demoralize. Basically, it has been proven that the numerical Category Scoring Systems can be demoralizing to many who should be encouraged! I feel no need to criticize beyond what is absolutely necessary. • Most breeders are faced with two challenges relative to participation in the show ring: 1.) Cost. The cost/reward balance is not there. 2.) Credibility. We would see many more entries if the perception of ring credibility was higher. Example: In North America, we have a judges cadre that is sanctioned by the AHA, USEF and CEF. The AHA’s Education Evaluation Commission and Commissioner do a very good job of educating its judges, but most of the time spent (in educating) is much too generalized over the many diverse disciplines of our show class schedules. I would like to see more optional education available. We need to approach each judge with the available knowledge that they (as an individual) need in a manner that they (as individuals) will understand. Name your 3 favorite performance horses of all time and why? Hallelujah Bask had great ability and an even greater heart. She was the embodiment of the ideal park horse 144 | ARABIAN HORSE TIMES
mare. She and Brian Murch were spectacular together. And then she went on to produce the great Hey Hallelujah (by Huckleberry Bey). Little Liza Fame was the National Champion Halter winner that my SavannaH Farms Partner Bill Melendez trained and showed so successfully, and we used to demonstrate (and definitively prove) that Fame VF halter champions had the tractability of mind and body to be superior performance individuals, and that the non-halter Fame VF sons and daughters had great value as performance horses. Little Liza Fame went on to produce the Living Legend Marwan Al Shaqab. Amazing Fame V (and Stan White Jr.) went on to put a “period” on the point of Fame VF being a great performance sire. What three men in the Arabian industry have been mentors to you? My greatest mentor to my successes in the Arabian horse domain was my father. He was a very strong leader within his community and State. He bred cattle with a scientific and “street-wise” intellect that was much more thoughtful than any stockmen of his era. When it came to the realm of competition, I would credit my Martial Arts Master for instilling within me the definition of masterful physical and mental technique and execution.
Dick Adams and LBA Lode Star (Fame VF+ x LBA Anastasia, by Barbary+++)
FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE
As to people from within the Arabian breed, I have always respected the work and accomplishments of Bob Hart Jr., Sheila Varian and Judi Forbis. What is the worst Arabian fault for you and their greatest attribute? Worst Fault: Front feet maladies! Genetically, Man is the only difference in the inherent processes involving natural and artificial selection. While natural selection allows the environment to act as a screening system that will cull and allow only certain distinctions to pass, we (man) have the power and technique to have a significant effect on the developmental process of certain traits or characteristics. The casual exploitation of artificial selection has allowed for certain traits (detrimental to an individual’s survival) to be tolerated. This can be noted in the abnormal hoof development as seen in the concave anterior hoof wall and high heel of the compressed “club” foot. This is a syndrome! It is the collection of traits that, without corrective and counteractive shoeing techniques, would greatly contribute to chronic unsoundness and a severe decrease in survival ability. A condition that when physically corrected, often allows for an individual to appear more aesthetically “correct” and more appealing as a breeding and/or show animal. This malady is unseen in wild horse herds, simply because those afflicted would have become the least vigorous for survival and therefore, reproduction. “Beast of burden,” “service animal” or “living art”; no matter what the term, purposeful use is the intent of selective breeding. Greatest attribute: Human nature has instilled within man the love of beauty and the need for therapy! The Arabian horse is the approachable “beauty” that when you hug it, you can count on it hugging you back. The Arabian horse has the undeniable lure of its physical and emotional beauty, creating the strongest feeling of emotional partnership. If you were not a horseman, what career path would you have taken? My father’s best friend was a District Court Judge. That is where the Political Science/ Constitutional Law education came in, and the judicial approach to evaluating positive and negative. What living show horse do you admire most? Halter or performance. Marwan Al Shaqab and Afire Bey V, because of what they, their progeny, and their stewards: Michael Byatt, Al Shaqab, et al … Tim and Marty Shea, Maroon Fire Arabians, et al have done for the breed. Name three breeders (alive or deceased) that you admire most. Judi Forbis, Sheila Varian and Dr.
Eugene LaCroix. All three programs had their own uniqueness and are still very relevant. When and how do you see beauty in the Arabian horse and where does it touch you inside? To me, the most beautiful image is the ethereal white Arabian mare with full mane, a long full forelock floating around her huge dark eyes and a full tail, expressing her appreciation of herself. She loves herself and wants you to fall in love with her. A typical beautiful woman thing! When you hear the name *Bask++, what instantly comes to mind? Without hesitation, the icon of the North American horse—and not limited to just the Arabian breed. No other sire has contributed more to the quality of the versatile equine and its broadest use, than the great *Bask—no sire from any breed. Do you prefer the ocean or the desert? And why? I have spent many days in the Sonoran Desert, and while I certainly appreciated its beauty and respected its dangers, its dangers and beauties were able to be anticipated and dealt with. The ocean is much different. I’ve spent a significant amount of time kayaking off the Pacific coast of Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. I’ve seen fog so thick I could feel its heaviness creep in and envelop my kayak to point zero visibility. I’ve sat the low of ocean swells and actually had dolphins swim above my head in the rise of the swell next to me. I’ve had whales spout within 100 feet. I’ve seen the dorsal fin of a Great White riding the crest of a 10 foot swell off the Atlantic coast of Brazil. While the desert has its more subtle exciters and dangers, the ocean offers the gifts of surprise, danger and astonishment! Describe your perfect Arabian horse. My “perfect” Arabian horse is the mare or stallion that has the beauty, attitude and conformational quality to score 20s across the board on the most knowledgeable and correctly astute panel of five judges, and unanimously win the North American English Pleasure Triple Crown under the most qualified panels of English pleasure judges—now, that would be a breed changer! If you could perfect horse show judging, what would that look like for you? Here is the simple answer: educate and nurture our judges to excellence! Relative to judging, what is your “pet peeve”? To assume that a judge has the knowledge that is essential to make an accurate evaluation, is a huge affirmation of trust! We must understand that it is objective knowledge that lends to credibility, not subjective accreditation! ■ Volume 45, No. 9 | 145