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The Evolution Of Starline Arabians by THERESA CARDAMONE

Laughter rang through the clear air as the horses carried their riders up the winding trail, huge eucalyptus trees lining the way. 27-year-old Barbarry Coast was doing all she could to keep up with her 16-year-old stablemate, Adams Fire. With 16 national championships, four national reserve championships, eight Scottsdale championships or reserves and 10 additional top ten honors between them, the titled pair of show horses were clearly enjoying their retirement. Almost as much as Lori Lawrence and her daughter Nicole, the women on their backs!


Lori, Nicole and Carey with 6-time National Champion SA Gisele after her 2017 U.S. National Championship in Country Pleasure Driving AOTD ~ 2017

Nicole, Lori and her husband Carey are dedicated, hands-on owners of Starline Arabians, qualities deeply appreciated by Joel Kiesner—their trainer for more than ten years. “They are really interested in every aspect of the horses,” he says, “From making breeding decisions to watching them grow up as babies in the pasture; then evaluating every stage of their development up until the horses come into the training barn. They are devoted to the care of their horses— always doing what the absolute best thing is for the horse, including retirement. Every one of their horses has retired at the top of their game, with 100% dignity.” It is very important to the Lawrence family that the horses who have brought them so much enjoyment and success in the show ring are retired while they are still sound and happy at their job. “I love Barbie (Barbarry Coast) like I can’t describe,” says Lori. “She takes a lot of pride in herself, still. And, every time Adam hits that trail, he’s like a fire-breathing dragon…in a good way! So, Barbie and I are always trying to keep up with Nicole and Adam. One day, he’s getting hotter and hotter and hotter, and keeps trotting higher and higher and higher, until it’s like they were taking their victory lap in Tulsa! It was one of the most joyful experiences of my life to see that horse at home, on the trail, with a little keg shoe and barefoot behind, breaking three inches past level, with Nicole smiling ear-to-ear.” “We can’t keep them all,” Lori laments. “We’ve sold quite a few excellent horses along the way that still have a lot of career in front of them. But some of them—like Adam, Barbie and Nabasken—have given so much, not only to us, but to the whole industry, that we feel they deserve a really incredible life here with us in Rancho Santa Fe. You can see them relax into it. The first month that Adam was here, he was pretty hot when we turned him out. Now, he just stands there, enjoying the sunshine. Their whole mode changes after a while, they get it. I wish we could do it with more, they deserve it.” (Nabasken Afire captured nine national champion titles for the Lawrences in both open and amateur English Pleasure.)

Kelle King

The staggering success of Lori and Nicole—on multiple horses over the course of years—is a testament to their dedication to the sport. Starline horses have accumulated over 50 United States, Canadian or Youth national championships and 29 reserves, as well as 19 Scottsdale championships—primarily in the amateur English pleasure and country English pleasure divisions. In fact, Lori Lawrence holds the distinction of being lauded on the “Hall of Fame” banner above the in-gate at the U.S. Nationals as one of the top-winning riders in the history of the breed—amateurs and professionals alike. Kelle King

Lori’s mom, Joan Eichen with Adams Fire at his retirement party ~ 2017

Keeping themselves ready to ride has been a tremendous asset that has tipped the balance in their favor more often than not when Lori and Nicole hit the show ring. The family is grateful to Joel Kiesner, who has partnered with them in creating such a formidable dynasty. “I have met very few people in my lifetime—and I am surrounded by professional horsemen—that have as much dedication and true passion for these horses and what we all do,” Kiesner explains. “I appreciate that so much because I have also devoted myself to horses. Lori and Nicole are riders who are dedicated to working really hard at it. They understand how to get there…it’s a triangle: them, the horses, and the trainers. They work on their riding at home every day, on those wonderful horses, on the trails—how nice would that be?! When they come here to Tennessee to ride their show horses, they’re ready.”

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~ Lori Lawrence

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Lori and Joel Kiesner with Multi-National Champion Nabasken Afire and Nicole ~ 2008 Multi-National Champion Carry On with Nicole ~ 2001

Multi-National Champion Barbarry Coast with Lori and Nicole ~ 2005

Joel Kiesner and Lori with Multi-National Champions CP Rock On, Adams Fire and Nabasken Afire ~ 2008

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“My background was getting on the back of any horse I could as an 8to 10-year-old child, galloping around, and staying on!” Lori recalls. “I developed a pretty good seat from all of that childhood running around. Nicole started riding real young and had more of a foundation with professional instructors. She spent a lot of time with me—we had horses just up the street then—and we would take off on the trails. I think it is underestimated what that does for your riding in the long run, just learning how to handle a horse and feel comfortable and confident. You get to know what they are really like, versus just going out and having them ready to get on and take lessons.”

Starline’s Chanel—the top-winning Whippet in AKC history

Lori credits the family’s deep involvement with world-class Whippet dogs for providing crucial experience that led to their equal success in the horse show ring and informed their future as top horse breeders. Likewise, her youth with horses gave her the tools she needed to be a top dog handler. “It’s interesting how they tie together,” Lori offers. “It’s been a symbiotic relationship for decades, it’s gone back and forth. People would ask how it was that I learned to show dogs so quickly. I showed halter horses a little bit, here and there, in my twenties, and that impacted my experience with showing the dogs. It all transferred over. Now, the dog breeding is transferring over into the breeding of the horses.” Since Starline is the breeder of over 100 AKC champions including Starline’s Chanel—the top-winning Whippet in AKC history—and have also bred the number one sire in the history of the Whippet breed, the mind boggles at the possibilities. “People are always so surprised when they want to come and see our ‘kennel,’” Lori chuckles. “We’ve never had a ‘kennel,’ we don’t even have crates…they are just our house dogs! The most we’ve ever had is eight at one time, and that’s really unusual. It’s usually around five or six; now we only have four as we aren’t really breeding actively anymore. They expect a really big operation, but it isn’t. It all just stemmed from one bitch that we started with.” Lori never had any ambition to be a horse breeder. “I just felt like it was too late-in-life to make a study of it and compete with people like the Sheas,” she explains. “I would rather just go and get a great baby by a top breeder like that. But Joel said to me one day—after we had SA Gisele and Noblemis—’You know, if you wanted to, you could do the same thing in horses that you did with dogs. You can be very successful breeders with just a couple of mares because you have two of the greatest IXL Noble Express mares in the country, and you should be breeding them!’” Keisner stands by that advice. “It’s a true statement that if you own mares like Noblemis and Gisele, you have an obligation to contribute to the breed,” he states emphatically. “And if you make horses, you have to sell some. It doesn’t go well otherwise.”

~ Lori Lawrence

“We don’t want to get big,” Lori continues. “We don’t have a ‘farm’… we have a four-stall barn but don’t foal any out, although we’ve raised a couple here. Nutorious was foaled out in Temecula, and then came home as soon as he was weaned. We didn’t breed SA Adriana, we bought her, but raised her here. I just don’t want to get too carried away with it and end up with a herd of horses. The whole philosophy was to breed the best to the best, stay very small, and try to produce only top, top quality, like we did with the dogs.” Ar abian Horse Times | 17 | English • 2018


Lori’s strategy is already paying off. The first two of Starline’s contemporary homebreds to hit the show ring were foaled in 2013 and they have risen immediately to the top of their class. SA Mistafire— the gelded son of Afire Bey V and Noblemis— earned a 2016 Top Ten in the English Pleasure Futurity before claiming the 2017 U.S. National Reserve Champion AEPA AHT $100,000 Saddle Seat Futurity honors and the 2018 Scottsdale Champion English Pleasure Junior Horse title. He will undoubtedly continue to add to his coffers in future competitions. And then, there is Nutorious, the 2013 Half-Arabian son of the legendary mare Rumina Afire and the Saddlebred stallion, Undulata’s Nutcracker. Raised at Starline, he became the first homebred U.S. National Champion for the Lawrences when he captured the 2016 Half-Arabian English Pleasure Futurity title. Lori is thrilled to be preparing to show Nutorious herself this year. “I just started riding him a couple of weeks ago when I went back to practice,” she enthuses. “I can’t wait to show him!” If all goes well, the pair will compete at regionals and in the National Maturity.

National Reserve Champion SA Mistafire with John Golladay ~ 2017

National Champion Nutorious ~ 2016

As for the up-and-coming offspring of SA Gisele (IXL Noble Express x Rumina Afire), the winner of seven U.S. national championships and two reserves in country English pleasure and pleasure driving over the last seven years, “The first one that people will see is the 2014 Half-Arabian Nuttin But Chrome, by Nutcracker,” Lori informs. “He’s pretty special! He’ll be in the AEPA Half-Arabian English class with Joel. He is big-trotting and high-necked, with natural, natural ability. He’s a little different than anything we’ve had before, all the Ritida babies. He looks like Gisele. You can see her in every one of her babies. Even though he is chestnut with a big white blaze, you can still see his mother in his eyes and the way he uses himself. He has a great work ethic and we’re fairly optimistic that he will love to show, like his mother, because that’s the way he is. He’s a pretty exciting young horse.”


“Then, there’s KT Mahalo, Gisele’s 2015 daughter by Afires Heir,” adds Joel. “And she’s just going to be unbelievable.” Lori concurs. “I saw her in longlines about two weeks ago, and it was pretty off the charts! She looks a lot like Gisele, smooth, with beautiful type, and you can definitely see ‘Captain’ in her, too. She has such beautiful motion on all four corners; all Gisele’s babies trot on all four corners.” Joel emphatically states, “I think Gisele is going to be a great, great broodmare. She is an evolutionary step forward and is a platform from which the next evolutionary jump can be made.”

Multi-National Champion SA Gisele with Lori ~ 2017

Starline recently sold SA Nuttin Like Me, a black full sister to Nuttin But Chrome, to Russ and Tammy McElliott on the advice of their trainer, Ryan Strand. “We’re very excited about her,” Lori states. “They plan to show her eventually and also bought Debonheir DGL from us at Scottsdale, although he wasn’t technically ‘for sale.’” Debonheir was the 2015 U.S. National English Futurity Champion, with U.S. reserve championships in the 2016 Saddle Seat Futurity and 2017 English Pleasure AAOTR Maturity. “I also have a beautiful English colt for sale, same age as Mahalo, named SA Heir of Love (Afires Heir x SA Gisele),” states Lori. “I want people to know that I sell good babies.” And not only good babies, Starline has also recently sold two of their most treasured broodmares: SA Adriana (H Mobility H x Rumina Afire) and Noblemis (IXL Noble Express x Brassmis), the 2014 U.S. National Champion English Pleasure AAOTR 40+. ~ Joel Kiesner

“I just don’t want to get too big,” repeats Lori. “I sold Adriana and Noblemis, and this is the reason why: I have Gisele, I’ll never be selling Gisele, and we bought as a weanling Noble Blessing, the full sister to Inception (IXL Noble Express x Bonita Afire). He was the most talked-about English performance horse at the 2017 U.S. Nationals following his spectacular National Champion AEPA AHT $100,000 Saddle Seat Futurity win, with Starline Arabians’ homebred SA Mistafire earning the reserve championship. “If everything goes well, Noble Blessing will be showing in the Futurity at this year’s Nationals. She’s spectacular. I have a confirmed embryo from her and Afires Heir. I felt I didn’t need four breeding mares, at max I will need two great ones. This new filly is very, very, very special; very much like Inception.”

SA Shes A Bae (Afires Heir x SA Gisele) 2017 Chestnut Filly SA Nuttin Like Me (Undulata’s Nutcracker x SA Gisele) 2017 Black Filly SA Heir Kiss (Afires Heir x SA Adriana) 2017 Chestnut Filly

Joel appreciates the two 3-year-olds that Noblemis is leaving at Starline. “Mistique SA is a super high-quality, beautiful chestnut filly by Night Flight SA, with quality everywhere,” Joel states. “I’m sure she’ll make it to the Futurity this year. Noblemis also has KT Miss Royal, by VJ Royal Heir, who is really beautiful with great motion front and back—both of them have super-balanced motion.”

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Multi-National Champion Eves Fire and Joel ~ 2018

Multi-National Champion Emperors Fire and Nicole ~ 2016

Starline is looking forward to the show careers of two young HalfArabian Afires Heir sons out of the phenomenal Dutch Harness Horse mare, Ritida. She is already the mother of Starline’s troika of champions by Afire Bey V: Adams Fire (2002), Eves Fire (2007), and Emperors Fire (2008). While Adam is now retired, Eve and Emperor bolstered their already-heavily-laden show records with 2018 Scottsdale championships in H/A English Pleasure Open with Joel (Eve) and H/A English Pleasure AAOTR 19-39 with Nicole (Emperor). The trio of full siblings have earned 23 U.S., Canadian, or Youth national championships and nine reserves between them. Horse show enthusiasts are looking forward to the eventual show debuts of Reigning Heir (2016) and Imperiall Heir (2017). By all indications, the Kiesner/Starline team will continue to produce champions for years to come. “It’s been a great relationship, for sure,” Kiesner says. “Some of my greatest accomplishments have been on their horses and with them on their horses. Part of that is a good working strategy, everyone being able to understand each other.” Carey Lawrence agrees. “Joel is such a smart, sensitive, deep-thinking individual,” he says. “He teaches you and is able to explain things in such a way that you can understand it. If he doesn’t think you’re getting it, he will take it down a notch until you finally do. I just cannot imagine Starline with someone else.” Lori harbors the same excitement for her journey with her current horses as she had for her first win. “When it doesn’t feel that way, it will be time to step away,” she attests. “With Carey and Nicole so involved and it being a family thing, we definitely enjoy it on a much deeper level.”

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Profile for Arabian Horse Times

Starline Arabians 2018, published in Arabian Horse Times  

Starline Arabians 2018, published in Arabian Horse Times  

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