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THE GREATEST ARABIAN HORSE SHOW ON EARTH

SCOTTSDALE HALTER divisions

February 14-24 WestWorld, Scottsdale, Arizona BY CINDY REICH

Dickens said it best; “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of cold and rain, it was the epoch of mud …” Well, Dickens didn’t quite say exactly that, but it pretty much sums up Scottsdale 2019. The international halter classes are always held in the Aljassimya arena adjacent to the Equidome, which means indoors, for which I’m sure all the exhibitors were extremely grateful. Instead of the usual short sleeve shirts, sunglasses, and ball caps, it was puffy jackets, scarfs, and wooly hats, as the coldest, wettest and muddiest Scottsdale of recent memory commenced.

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2019


Unanimous Champion Senior Stallion *SULTAN GK (WW Stivallea x Al Magna by Al Mabrook), owned by Al Babtain Stud, Kuwait, on lease to Sahara Scottsdale, and shown by Andy Sellman.

*

SULTAN GK

A literal dark horse came in out of the rain to cause a huge stir at Scottsdale this year. *Sultan GK (WW Stivallea x Al Magna by Al Mabrook), owned by Al Babtain Stud of Kuwait, was unknown in the U.S. and unannounced before heading out into the rain for his halter class. “*Sultan GK came over from Europe and was in quarantine here until one week before Scottsdale,” says Andy Sellman. “I thought there was absolutely no way we could show him, given that time frame. But we thought we might as well start working with him and see what we think in a week. He actually was doing really well, so we decided to go ahead and show. There were some good stallions in his class, so if we weren’t very high up, I wasn’t going to feel bad. It was really a nopressure situation. “When *Sultan GK came into our barn from quarantine, I had a reaction like I have never had with any other horse. Looking at him for the first time, I couldn’t really process him all at once. He is very big. He has an extremely typey head. His neck is unbelievable — not only extremely long, but extremely hooky. And he can use it. His tail and head go up instantly at the same time — he is full of charisma. He has good feet and legs. I just couldn’t process all of this being in one horse in the moment. And the thing is, even now — every time I see him, my reaction is just — wow! And we haven’t even spoken about his pedigree. His pedigree is very interesting — I believe he will

prove to be very useful as a sire. He is only a young horse, but I feel he will be a great influence in years to come. “When he looks at other horses, you see him build like he is going to tease them, but he’s like a peacock that wants to show his feathers off to everybody. He is a gentleman and is very sensitive and responsive in a way that is unusual for such a large horse, especially a stallion. Sultan walked from our stalls through the rain to the covered arena, again looking like a peacock, and all of a sudden, about 40 people materialized around him, taking cell phone pictures and getting very excited. It was like a movie star had just walked into the crowd. At that point, I felt validated that I wasn’t the only one who was so amazed by this horse. “Sultan is so brave — he didn’t look for excuses to not perform. He just walked in and did his thing, won the class, went back out into the rain and back into his stall and started eating his hay. Outside elements don’t faze him. Every day when I see him, I say, wow. Every day that I am around him, I am more and more impressed. He is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. And daily, he reminds me why I love what I do.”

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important Arabian show in the world for halter horses. Each year, owners and breeders from around the globe meet to compete, bringing with them the best of the best from diverse breeding programs. Scottsdale success was my dream when I first came to Scottsdale as a wide-eyed teenager in 1975. “To be a part of it all is magical, to succeed and Champion Senior Mare *JJ LA CONDESA (*Marwan Al Shaqab x JJ La become a Scottsdale Senorita), bred and owned by Haras Mayed, Fernando and Joaquin De Champion is perhaps the Santibanes of Argentina, and shown by David Boggs. greatest achievement a “The Arabian horse has often been described breeder and handler can garner together. This as ‘living art’ — an animal of immeasurable year, it was my privilege to win the Scottsdale beauty, with a bond for mankind that carries Champion Mare title with the sensational *JJ with it a reflection of centuries gone by. La Condesa. This was La Condesa’s first show Breeders have long dreamt of assisting the in the United States. The thrill is always electric! hand of God in creating the next generation of She holds a special place among the wonderful equine excellence,” says David Boggs. mares I have shown and won the Scottsdale “The halter division gives us the opportunity to show with in the past. I am also grateful and present our creations to other members of the humbled to have handled and presented 15 Arabian horse community. When top honors are Scottsdale Champion Stallions on behalf of their achieved, one’s skill as a breeder is validated. owners and breeders over the years. To display, present, and share each of our own works of art in Arabian halter classes is an experience of great pride and joy. “Since 1955, the Scottsdale show has earned its place as the largest and perhaps the most

“Although the results of the 2019 Scottsdale Show are still being celebrated, already I can hardly wait for the halter gates to open in 2020!”

Left: Champion Senior Mare AAOTH PCF CRYSTAL VISION (PCF Vision x MCA Afire Beylee), owned by Rae-Dawn Arabians and shown by Murray Popplewell, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and Scottsdale, Arizona.

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SCOTTSDALE HALTER

THIRTY YEARS OF MULAWA AT SCOTTSDALE

From left to right, Reserve Champion Senior Stallion *KAVALLE MI (*Gazal Al Shaqab x Karess), with Mulawa’s resident trainer Cameron Bonnie, Jane, Greg and Julie Farrell, Andy Sellman, and First Place Mare Eight and Over *ROMANCE MI (Magnum Forty Four x Rimaraa).

“The success of both *Kavalle MI, Reserve Champion Senior Stallion, and *Romance MI, First Place Mare Eight and Over, at the Scottsdale show represents a poignant milestone for Mulawa-bred Arabians at the world’s greatest annual celebration of the Arabian horse,” says Scott Benjamin of Mulawa Arabian Stud, Australia. “This last decade has been filled with unforgettable moments for the Aussie-bred ‘MI’ competitors, beginning with 2011 Reserve Champion Junior Filly honors for *Always Valentine MI, Gold International Champion Filly for *Prussia MI (2013),*Impressa MI (2014), and *Vangelis MI (2016), as well as back-to-back Reserve Senior Stallion Championships for *Advantage MI in 2018 and *Kavalle MI in 2019. They bring the Mulawa story in Scottsdale full circle, as their sire and maternal grandsire, respectively, Magnum Forty Four, was the first of the Magnum Psyche get to win at Scottsdale 20 years ago in 1999. *Kavalle MI adds further acclaim to the incomparable Karmaa family of International champions — as Karmaa (Kaborr x An Marieta), Kavalle’s grandam, was purchased in Scottsdale 30 years ago by a honeymooning Greg and Julie Farrell.”

Champion Junior Filly ARIA VENETIAN LACE (EKS Alihandro x BH Beijings Velvet), owned by Khidam El Shawan Legacy, Birmingham, Michigan, shown by Andy Sellman.

Champion International Breeders Senior Stallion DELACROIXX (RD Dynamo x *HED Caramba), owned by Delacroixx Holdings LLC, Birmingham, Michigan.

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SCOTTSDALE HALTER

Champion Junior Colt NABHAAN AL SHAHANIA (Na-Mous Al Shahania x *Elzunya Meia Lua), owned by Al Shahania Stud, Doha, Qatar, and shown by Ted Carson. Champion International Breeders Senior Mare BESSOLINA EL MARWAN (*Marwan Al Shaqab x HB Bessolea), owned by Al Shahania Stud, Doha, Qatar.

Champion International Breeders Junior Filly ATARE AL SHAHANIA (*Emerald J x MFA Annies Song), bred and owned by Al Shahania Stud, Doha, Qatar.

While the international, Egyptian, and Egyptian-related classes might not have the large numbers of entries that the classic and SSS classes have, it is still good that a U.S. show supports these divisions. Outside of the Egyptian Event and Las Vegas, there are no other shows that cater to these horses and owners, or invite international judges to offer their opinions. (Read Egyptian and Heritage class coverage in our upcoming May issue.) In the International Yearling Championships, the Gold Champion Yearling Filly was MD Alihandra (EKS Alihandro x *MD Mirka), shown by Mike Wilson, for owner/breeder Manuel Durini. I had the extreme pleasure of judging this fillyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother, *MD Mirka, when she was a yearling in Ecuador, and she was one of the nicest yearling fillies I have ever judged. It is nice to see that as beautiful as *MD Mirka was as a yearling, she went on to show successfully past her yearling year, as she was Gold Champion Junior Filly at Scottsdale in 2016 and has now gone on to be a great producer as well. That is the sign of a truly great mare! Gold Champion International Yearling Colt was

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SCOTTSDALE HALTER the *Equator son, Momayz Aljassimya, out of their phenomenal producer, RP Miss Surprise. This WH Justice daughter has produced out of a variety of sire types, which makes her such a valued broodmare! The Gold Champion International Junior Filly was the *Emerald J daughter Atare Al Shahania out of MFA Annies Song, shown by Michael Byatt for Al Shahania. It’s impressive that this lovely filly was Gold Champion Yearling Filly last year. Of course her dam has produced several Scottsdale, U.S., Canadian, and Youth National winners. Navan LRA (AJ Portofino x Callisto LRA), owned by Ron Armstrong, was Gold Champion International Junior Colt, shown by Sandro Pinha. The Gold Champion International Senior Mare was Bessolina El Marwan, a mare that is another great product of both her sire, *Marwan Al Shaqab, and her dam, HB Bessolea (by *Besson Carol), who has already produced such luminaries as Baahir El Marwan, Baanderos, and *Baviera HVP, to name a few. Gold Champion International Senior Stallion was Delacroixx (RD Dynamo x *HED Caramba), who ended 2018 as U.S. National Champion Futurity Colt and has made a great start for this year with his Scottsdale win. This dynamic and typey bay stallion was shown by Andy Sellman for Delacroixx Holdings. While the majority of the classic halter classes ended up in the covered warm up arena, the sun did come out in time for the championships to be held in the Wendell arena. The Champion Junior Colt was Nabhaan Al Shahania (Na-Mous Al Shahania x *Elzunya Meia Lua), owned by Al Shahania and shown to the win

Champion International Breeders Junior Colt and highest score of all Junior Colts NAVAN LRA (*AJ Portofino x Callisto LRA), bred and owned by Ron and Laura Armstrong, Newaygo, Michigan. “In our 20 years breeding Arabian horses, Laura and I have never been more excited about a young stallion,” says Ron Armstrong. “Navan LRA is proving to be an amazing show horse, and is going to be even more important as a great outcross to so many mares today.”

Right: Champion International Breeders Yearling Colt MOMAYZ ALJASSIMYA (*Equator PASB x RP Miss Surprise), owned by Aljassimya Farm, Doha, Qatar, and shown by Giacomo Capacci.

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SCOTTSDALE HALTER

Above: Champion Scottsdale Signature Stallion Auction Yearling Colt/Gelding AOTH KREED Z (JJ Bellagio x Promonahde), owned by Gemini Ranch LLC, Plant City, Florida, and shown by Renae Mendel.

Above: Champion Scottsdale Signature Stallion Four Years and Older Mare ATH ANGEL OF VITORIO ORA (Vitorio TO x Star Of Justice ORA), owned by Oak Ridge Arabians, Freeport, Illinois, and shown by Austin Garrett.

Below: Champion Scottsdale Signature Stallion Yearling Colt/ Gelding ATH THE GENERAL LRA (Grand Commandd x Justtina), owned and shown by Ron Armstrong, Newaygo, Michigan.

by Ted Carson. Nabhaan Al Shahania’s dam, *Elzunya Meia Lua, was herself Silver Champion Junior Filly in the International division in Scottsdale in 2016, while her sire, Na-Mous Al Shahania, was 2017 Scottsdale Champion Classic Junior Colt and 2016 U.S. National Champion Yearling Colt. Gold Champion Junior Filly was the EKS Alihandro daughter, Aria Venetian Lace (x BH Beijings Velvet), owned by the Khidam El Shawan Partners, and shown by Andy Sellman.

“The Scottsdale show is the best Arabian show of the year,” says Renae Mendel. “It has the best programs and incentives to show your horse. Showing Arabians in the amateur halter division is so fun. You are out there with a beautiful animal that truly just wants to work hard and do a good job for their owner. Plus, everyone goes to Scottsdale, and it’s a great chance to see all our horse friends every year.”

*Marwan Al Shaqab has always been a bit of a “golden cross” on Magnum Psyche daughters so it was no surprise that Champion Senior Mare was Argentine National Champion Mare, *JJ La Condesa (*Marwan Al Shaqab x JJ La Senorita by Magnum Psyche), shown by David Boggs, bred and owned by Haras Mayed, Fernando and Joaquin De Santibanes. Champion Senior Stallion was *Sultan GK (WW Stivallea x Al Magna, who is by Al Mabrook), an interesting cross of *Gazal Al Shaqab and Egyptian-related and Spanish bloodlines. He had done some winning in Kuwait, Chantilly, and elsewhere abroad before making the trip across the water to capture his Championship at the largest Arabian horse show in the world! He was shown by Andy Sellman for Babtain Stud of Kuwait. Of course the largest halter classes of the Scottsdale show are the Signature Stallion classes and Stallion Auction classes, which provide a healthy payback for the winners of these amateur handler only classes. The Signature Stallion classes are “amateur to

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SCOTTSDALE HALTER

PEGASUS FARMS’ HOMEBRED FILLY WINS BIG What does it take to be a breeder? You might want to ask Dean Wikel of Pegasus Arabians. He won the largest and most competitive halter class of the show with a filly that epitomizes the Pegasus breeding program. Marsala PA is by Cadance PA (Cavalli x Donatella) out of Marquesa PA (Masquerade PA x Charizmah), both bred by Pegasus. These are the moments that validate all of the blood, sweat and tears of a 30-year breeding program. “When I brought the filly into the final, she felt good and gave me everything she had. I knew she would easily be Top Ten, and I was delighted when she won! “She was a really big foal and is a really big yearling — I didn’t want to stress her legs by conditioning her in the conventional way of longing or a treadmill. We have a short swimming pool that was designed for a horse to be stationary and swim, but I didn’t want to use it that way. So we would just swim Marsala PA to one side, turn around, and come back and do it again. Well, Marsala loved to swim. She would go again and again and absolutely loved it! Even on cold days, and the pool is not heated, it didn’t matter — she wanted to get in that pool.” Her sire, Cadance PA, was the sire of a large number of halter class winners and Top Tens. “Cadance PA was actually the leading sire of halter horses for this year’s show,” Dean said. “He is siring really good foals and we are really proud of him. I think one of the most significant things about Cadance PA is that he has sired really nice foals from mares of very different bloodlines and types. That is exciting for us. We work really hard on our breeding program, and we have turned down large offers on young horses because we wanted to retain them in our breeding program. For the last three years, I have only shown horses that we have bred ourselves, and we have been quite successful!”

SSS Champion Yearling Filly MARSALA PA (Cadance PA x Marquesa PA), with Tristen Wikel, left, High Point Junior Exhibitor 15-18, and Dean Wikel, right, Reserve Champion Adult Amateur Exhibitor 55 and Over.

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SCOTTSDALE HALTER

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Bills. It is gratifying to see these older offspring of *Hariry Al Shaqab doing so well. So many stallions seem to sire great yearlings, but you rarely see any of them back in the ring as older horses. The mark of a great stallion is not so much that the yearlings look fantastic, but that the offspring look good at three, four, five, or eight years of age. SSS Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, beating 34 other fillies, was the *Emerald J daughter, Esperranzza (x Vesperra by SF Veraz). If Esperranzza’s dam’s name seems familiar, she has already distinguished herself as a broodmare by also producing (so far) Exxalt and Exxaltress by Excalibur EA. Esperranzza is owned by Francis Butler and was shown by Michaiah Carson. The SSS Champion Yearling Filly and Colt each earned just over $17,000 for their owners. The handle,” while the auction classes are “amateur owner handlers.” In the Scottsdale Signature Stallion Auction Yearling Colt/Gelding class the Champion, standing first by two of the three judges, was the JJ Bellagio son, Kreed Z, out of Promonahde (Padrons Psyche x Bint Bey Shah), winning over $27,000 in prize money for Gemini Arabians and shown to the win by Renae Mendel. The Champion Yearling Filly in the Auction class was the lovely Rahere daughter, Stahrlite out of Dyna HCF by Don El Chall, winning for owners Janice McCrea Wight and Alex Chrys. In the Scottsdale Signature Stallion (SSS) Three-Year-Old Stallion class, Elvis SBA (*Hariry Al Shaqab x Epiphany DDA) took the championship for Carol Steppe of Daydream Arabians/Stella Bella Arabians, shown by Dr. Ben Bassichis. SSS Champion Three-Year-Old Mare was another product of *Hariry Al Shaqab, Jazzia CME (x Jazella FA), owned by Debra Mitchell and shown by Mike

General LRA (Grand Commandd x Justtina) bested 20 colts and geldings in the final to be crowned Champion SSS Yearling Colt for owner/ handler Ron Armstrong. It should be noted that Grand Commandd (Beijing BHF x GA MI Grandlady by Minotaur) was also the sire of the SSS Reserve Champion Yearling Colt, Grand Prix NA, out of Evelyn C, owned by North Arabians. Marsala PA, by Cadance PA out of Marquesa PA, prevailed over 44 yearling fillies in the final to take home the Championship for Pegasus Arabians who bred the sire, dam, and the filly. And that is what makes Scottsdale such a great show for breeders. From first-time breeders entering their first show, to long-established breeders such as Pegasus, there is no place on earth where spectators can receive such an education in breeding — if you are prepared to watch and study. Rain or shine.

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SCOTTSDALE HALTER

A WORD WITH THE JUDGES PAUL KOSTIAL

Left to right, Richard Petty, Lisa Jo White, and Paul Kostial.

A WORD WITH THE JUDGES RICHARD PETTY “Over the years, I have had the privilege of judging almost all of the different divisions offered at the Scottsdale Show. Even with the inclement weather this year, there’s not another horse show anywhere that can compete with those 10 days in February at WestWorld. “Owners and breeders from all over the world send their horses to be presented in the different halter venues that the Scottsdale show has to offer. The quality of horses shown emphasizes the beauty and type that the Arabian horse possesses. “When the stallion *Sultan GK (WW Stivallea x Al Magna) entered the arena that rainy morning, he literally took my breath away. I have been an Arabian horse judge for 40 years and don’t think I’ve ever experienced ‘the show’ that horse put on. He set the arena on fire … his type, personality, and charisma, along with his presentation that morning, is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my judging career.”

Paul Kostial was one of the main ring judges for Scottsdale, judging not only halter, but performance classes as well. “Kudos must go to Taryl O’Shea and Matt Kwapich especially, and the entire work crew that handled all of the weatherrelated issues,” he said. “The show still ran like a well-oiled machine and they were anticipating all of the potential scenarios the weather was causing. “The horses were presented beautifully, despite the cold and winds. The handlers were presenting their entries with professionalism and proper ring etiquette. It was a pleasure to judge, and despite not getting much of a tan this year, was always a pleasure. At one point, the wind and hail under what we called ‘the tent’ were so loud and ominous, I was planning my exit strategy in the event the tent decided to come crashing down. Luckily that didn’t happen, and by the last day, we had gorgeous, sunny Scottsdale weather — it was a perfect day for the Championships.” When asked about the quality of the horses, Paul responded, “In both the open and amateur classes there were often a variety of horses that could easily have been the winner, including three to five in some classes that were world-class Arabian halter horses. Personally, I would have wished for more entries in the open classes. However the amateur ‘Signature’ classes had 20-30 or more entries in some cases. It was quite nice to have those larger classes and judge horses that were presented so well by amateur handlers. “The Signature classes were among some of the most impressive. There were so many great entries, it was difficult to limit my list to 10, plus a reserve. And in many of those classes, three or four horses were vying for the top place in the class. Other than the weather, the show was exceptional all around. The handlers presented their horses better and in a less agitated manner than I’ve seen in quite some time. To see the depth of quality in the ring, the way the exhibitors and management and staff all pulled together under adverse conditions — and still put on a magnificent show — really made me appreciate the opportunity to be a part of it!”

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SCOTTSDALE HALTER

A WORD WITH THE JUDGES SHANNON AMSTRONG Shannon Armstrong was judging on the International panel and echoed the sentiment that, despite the weather, the show management made a heroic effort to make things as comfortable as possible for the people and the horses at the show. “The show committee adjusted our appointments to keep us dry, which was greatly appreciated! However, staying warm required many layers of clothes. The quality of the international halter classes was good overall, though I do miss the bygone days of large, deep halter classes at Scottsdale, when there was only one halter division and a Top Ten was still important and meaningful. “Among the horses that most impressed me were the fillies. I loved them! They showed us lots of type, potential, and charisma. I can’t wait to see how they grow up.”

Graham Smith with Ms. Ilya Agha, Miss Arab USA.

A WORD WITH THE JUDGES GRAHAM SMITH Graham Smith is from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and was one of the International judges on the panel for the International, Straight Egyptian, and Heritage classes. “I was very impressed with the show, especially the sportsmanship — not only in the classes I judged personally, but in the other classes I

Shannon Armstrong with George Zbyszewski.

watched as a spectator,” he says. “Good sportsmanship must be valued and the competitors always had a friendly pat on the back or a handshake for one another. I was also impressed that the officials — judges and stewards — were also respected and thanked for their services by the handlers and riders. “I especially loved the fact that the Scottsdale show clearly demonstrates the versatility of the Arabian with an extraordinary array of under saddle classes. Most of the shows around the world that I judge are primarily halter and do not have ridden classes. Or halter classes for geldings. I commend the show committee for the massive job they have coordinating such a huge class schedule and for their long-term vision in promoting the versatility of the Arabian breed. “I never like to single out individual horses for mention at shows, but I loved judging the International Senior Mare class for the eight and over mares. It was a very competitive class, but the Champion Bessolina El Marwan (*Marwan Al Shaqab x HB Bessolea) really stood out for me. She captivated me the moment she entered the arena. I loved her ethereal nature and her beautiful, large eyes. While beauty and type are hallmarks of the breed, I was equally impressed by her balance, good feet, short cannons and overall structure.”

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