PRESENTING THE PERSONALITIES
Marianne Tengstedt Te n g s t e d t A r a b i a n s , D e n m a r k with Jeff Wallace
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Marianne, tell us what it is that you love about judging the Arabian horse year after year? It gives me the chance to follow the breed I love so much— all from first row! As a judge, you always have the best view. I also like to meet up with other people all over the globe with the same common interest, the fantastic Arabian horse. What was it like to see your stallion Fire Fighter end up in one of the Polish State studs for breeding? For me, first of all, it is a great honor and it’s a recognition of my breeding program. I have always admired the Polish people for their breeding programs, and having a chance to contribute to that (if only a little bit) is what most breeders dream about. Do you have a favorite son or daughter that Fire Fighter produced at Bialka State Stud? If yes, which one is it and why? This is too difficult to answer; I have not yet seen them all! Throughout your judging career, who would you consider to be your most valuable mentors? Tell us a little bit about what they taught you and what your relationship with them was like. When I was very young, I was working in my free time at a stud farm for Arabian horses. I met an expert in horses, Mrs. Anna Aaby, 40 years ago. She was born in Sweden and came from a home where horse breeding had been the passion of her whole family. She had worked with horses and pedigrees all her life. She showed interest in me and asked me to join her when she went judging. She judged all horse breeds. Anna taught me to be objective and always start looking at a horse in a positive way. Her advice to me was, “You will never be too old to learn something new, so always keep your mind open and learn from the ones you admire.” I tried my best, and have been listening to many Arabian horse discussions over the years, from many great horse people. Mr. Maxwell, Mr. Jörgen Frederiksen, the Mertz family of Om el Arab, Mrs. Brigitta Foch, Mrs. Ursula Roberts, Dr. Nagel, and many more Arabian horse experts.
Of course, we want to know a couple of favorite judging moments on an emotional level and a couple of very funny instances. I have so many lovely memories from my judging around the globe, but one of my most emotional moments was in Aachen 1999—my first time judging there—when the mare class came into the arena, one fantastic mare after the other. At that point, I had tears in my eyes and felt humbled; I could not understand how someone had chosen “little” me to stand in the ring and try to judge these amazing horses. I felt a big responsibility, but of course, again I enjoyed the horses from the first row. Another great moment for me was when I judged Paris for the first time. When the judges were introduced, they played the anthem from my country, Denmark. Again, with a tear in my eye, I asked myself, “Why me?! As for funny moments, I have had many, but as is often the case, to appreciate them you had to be present. But yes, I have had many good laughs with my judging colleagues. How has your view of the Arabian horse changed over the years? Are there characteristics and/or faults that mattered more to you at one point in time than they do today? Meaning, do you evolve as a judge? Well, yes and how! The breed as such, over the years, has changed quite a lot. Nowadays, we have horses that must “have it all” to become a champion. With the start of using frozen semen worldwide, the breed has become more similar in different parts of the world. I still have my “good old” style of horses that melt my heart. And also, I can live with a fault on a horse if the rest is extremely good. You shared in Stroghen that you have been a foster parent for many years; tell us what that experience has been like for you. I was born and raised in a city and have always had a horse at a riding school (my clever parents pressed for me to have a proper education). So, I studied for some years and became a chemist, working in laboratories for some years, but always with a dream to be able to have a farm
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Marianne (center) with the other 2010 Arabian Breeders World Cup Judges, clockwise from Marianne: Debby Cain, Corky Sutton, Murilo Kammer, Marie-Louise Van Wyk and Peter Pond.
with Arabian horses. 25 years ago, we got the opportunity to purchase a farm that was just right for Arabians. There were some spare rooms on the farm, and I thought, why not fill them with some nice kids that need a safe place to be? Denmark is a lovely country with a high standard of living. Nevertheless, there was and is a need, for families that are willing to share their homes and lives with kids who are in need of some stability. Over the years, we have always had a minimum of two kids living with us. 112 Halter | ARABIAN HORSE TIMES
All-together, it adds up to more than 12 and we still have contact with most of them, so for Christmas we always have the house full. Our own daughter, Sara, has been raised with all these brothers and sisters. She also has a good education (as requested of her parents). She has a degree from university in History and Religion. She has her own family and they live on a farm built in 1864. Her interest for horses has always been big, and yesterday I drove the first two horses out to her farm, so soon she will be breeding Arabians with my lines.
MARIANNE TENGSTEDT What does your dream horse look like? I have met many dream horses, but most of them are much too expensive and not mine. If you could resurrect any two horses, who would they be and why? Difficult question, but I think *El Shaklan and *Ali Jamaal. I love what those two horses have added to the breed, and their lines can be found worldwide. How has the Arabian horse enriched your life? I cannot imagine living without them. I have so much to be grateful for, thanks to the amazing Arabian horse. What makes you happy? I’m generally a happy person, and I try to make others happy, too. My kids, newborn foals, thinking of next year’s foals, walking my dogs, listening to the horses eating their hay on a rainy day, spending time with a few dear friends, and so on.
in Poland. Pilarka and Bandola were my favorites at that time. Also, I visited Om el Arab in Germany quite a lot. I saw *El Shaklan as a colt and even now I love these lines. Recently, ZT Shakfantasy arrived at La Movida—an elderly horse, but still one of my favorites. He is very classic in style. Aachen is a very special show as its history and tradition are amazing. What makes Aachen so special, and in particular, special to you? For me, Aachen is indeed special. I have attended almost every year. In 1983 I showed a filly to a class win, which was a great experience for me at that time. 16 years later, I was invited to judge the show in 1999. This year, it will be the 7th time I have the honor of being in center ring again—first row to all the fantastic horses! Many, many great horses have walked into that ring, and many, many special moments I have spent in Aachen. n
What is your favorite horse destination to travel to? I have several special places: for seeing lots of top horses, the Middle East; in South America I enjoyed the special atmosphere. I once visited Lady Gina in Argentina. I had a long ride on one of her fantastic mares out on the pampas with the gauchos. La Movida in Austria is a must for their interesting breeding program, and I love the nature in the UK and their horsemanship. Do you like the desert or the ocean? I live 4 km from the North Sea, so I’m used to the ocean. For me, this is home. The desert is fascinating—to sit in a tent at sunset, drinking tea, is also very special; but if I had to choose, I would stay by the sea. When you first began your life with Arabian horses, what European breeders impressed you the most and why? As a Scandinavian and with the influence from Poland in our breeding programs, it is the State Studs Volume 46, No. 3 | Halter 113