S rin S rin time time time time in Dahshur
A n ita
Ena n de r
Pho to s
A pri l
Vi s e l
t’s a paradox — the dry Egyptian desert interrupted each spring by a bounty of greenery fed by the Nile River. Alfalfa grows abundantly under stately orchards of date palms; huge piles of the fresh-cut feed are transported daily by donkey cart and tractor-trailer. The mangoes are in bloom, promising juicy fruit soon to come. Bougainvillea in a riot of colors sprawl across walls and trellises. In the pastures and paddocks, new foals frolic together under the watchful eyes of their dams. It’s springtime in Egypt. We returned to Dahshur to enjoy the bounties of spring at Paraskevas Arabians, including a dozen young foals. Over the past 30 years, Philippe Paraskevas’s breeding philosophy has not focused on a single look or ideal. Diversity is his credo. That doesn’t mean that the horses lack consistency. Rather, they show consistency of a different type, the characteristics of the desert horse: balance, excellent legs and feet, strong hindquarters, great bone in the hocks and a hind end that is square and correct, substance, and the almost indescribable look of the desert reflected in large, wide-set eyes.
Previous page: The mare Kawkab El Shark (Gabbar x Aneeda EAO).
Although known for keeping a large number of stallions, Paraskevas is also passionate about maintaining diverse dam lines. Breeders increasingly view strains as family names, no longer associated with particular phenotypes. Paraskevas begs to differ. “The Arabian was never meant to be a two or three (root) mare universe. Nor should it become so. It is critically important that we perpetuate all the available strains.” In his 30 years of experience, strains and particular dam lines perpetuate certain characteristics. “We must retain the characteristics of each, because this yields critical diversity for our breed.” This season has been an especially good one for his chosen dam lines, as his mares produced 9 fillies among the foal crop of 14. Paraskevas is a proponent of perpetuating the rare mare lines that were part of the Inshass stud. The Abeyyan Om Greiss (tracing to El Obaya Om Greiss) and Kuhaylah Krush (tracing to El Kahila through her daughter El Zabia) have prominent places in his breeding program.
“The Inshass mare lines offer important outcrosses for Arabians that are inbred with Saqlawi Gidran and Dahman Shawan. With so many horses heavy in Abbas Pasha blood, we are fortunate that the mares at Inshass were often bred to desert stallions, such as El Deree, and to Inshass stallions, such as El Moez, Hamdan, and Anter, rather than being heavily crossed on Saqlawi I,” he says. Of great importance to Paraskevas are certain breed characteristics that he finds in abundance in the Abeyyan. “These are balanced horses, with superb tail carriage, wide and expressive eyes, and abundant desert Arabian spirit.” Saja el Leil (Ghallab x Bedaya EAO) is a black mare that shows all these characteristics. Huge, luminous eyes dominate her shapely head, and her body and legs show the balance and athleticism Paraskevas favors. Her 2013 filly Israa el Leil (by Gabbar) has her dam’s look, with large wide-set eyes. Garet el Kamar (Kamel el Awsaaf SEA x Suhaila EAO) has an elegant, arched neck and an upright carriage that could easily distract one from her otherwise superb body
Facing page, top: The mare Saja el Leil (Ghallab x Bedaya EAO). Facing page, bottom: Young mares under saddle. Above: The 2013 filly Israa el Leil (Gabbar x Saja el Leil). Left: The mare Leilet El Eid (Ghallab x Tasahil).
and correct legs. Leilet el Eid (Ghallab x Tasahil) shows the well-laid-back shoulder and matching long croup that makes riders drool. Upright like Garet, her head is somewhat shorter, but this effect is a bit misleading because of the huge nostrils and dryness apparent even in this young filly. Another 2013 filly, Shaerat el Wedyane (Shaer el Nil x Wedd), shows the characteristic tail carriage, elegance, and femininity that convinces one of the merits of this group. The other Inshass strain Paraskevas breeds traces to the mare El Zabia. “The Kuhaylah Krush were described as almost unobtainable in the desert, owing to their quality and character,” he says. “Fortunately, the gift of El Zabia’s dam, El Kahila, to the Royal Khassa Inshass by King Ibn Saoud in 1927 added this precious strain to the Egyptian gene pool.” The horses of this strain still carry the dryness and desert look of their originating dam and sire. El Kahila was bred to the desert stallion El Deree, with subsequent crosses to the Rabdan stallions at Inshass. The substance and bone of the horses several generations back in the pedigree are still apparent.
Facing page: The 2013 filly Shaerat el Wedyane (Shaer el Nile x Wedd Al Moussa). Top: The mare Zahret El Nile (Hafez el Ahd x Bedaya EAO). Left: The mare Garet el Kamar (Kamel el Awsaaf SEA x Suhaila EAO).
Paraskevas selected two half sisters from the EAO that, between them, have produced 11 fillies and 4 colts. It is difficult to pick a favorite among this group. Wide chests, strong hindquarters, and correct legs prevail. Most have somewhat straighter profiles, but with large, wide-set eyes and dryness that shout â&#x20AC;&#x153;desert.â&#x20AC;? Zay el Kamar (Zay el Hawa x Rouchane EAO) is a scopey, balanced filly. Farhet el Oumr (Ghallab x Rouchane EAO) is a stunning liver chestnut with substance, wellsprung ribs, and a wide chest. Her 2013 filly is a bit more refined but already with tremendous hindquarters and correct legs. Gebine el Kamar (Goubrane x Rouchane EAO) is a beautiful bay
Right: The filly Zay el Kamar (Zay el Hawa x Rouchane EAO). Facing page: The mare Gebine el Kamar (Goubrane x Rouchane EAO).
with an elegant head and neck as well as substance. The young Rissalet el Shark (El Araby x Rouchane EAO) and Rouchane EAO’s 2013 colt Zay el Badr by Zay el Hawa show width in the chest and correct legs that are so characteristic of this group. As for movement, it is a given. “These horses are born to be ridden in the desert,” says Paraskevas. He describes the Krushiah as somewhat cautious, proud, even haughty, taking time to develop rapport with their riders. We saw the sense of independence and confidence, giving us the impression that any of these horses would not hesitate to lead a group into battle.
Farhet el Oumr (Ghallab x Rouchane EAO), above, and her 2013 filly Leilet el Oumr (by Zay el Hawa), right. Facing page, top right: The mare Rissalet el Shark (El Araby x Rouchane EAO) Facing page, bottom: The 2013 colt Zay el Badr (Zay el Hawa x Rouchane EAO).
The mare Eitr el Leil (Quaher el Dhalam x Razane EAO).
Right: The mare Dihket el Karawan (Khafif EAO x Razane EAO). Below: The filly Naghmet el Karawan (Habib el Rooh x Razane EAO).
A third strain is the Saklawiyah Gidraniyah. While this is usually thought of as a strongly Abbas Pasha/Ali Pasha Sherif group developed at the RAS and then bred at the EAO, Paraskevas has chosen to focus on a rare line within this strain that comes through the Dalal daughter Ghazalah who went to Inshass. She was bred to the desert stallion El Deree to produce Saada. This line developed with little Nazeer influence and so has retained significant outcross potential. Paraskevas finds they are usually larger and impressive movers. Yaqueen el Rooh (Gabbar x Rooh el Fouad EAO) is the oldest of the group. This beautiful bay mare has a tremendous shoulder and strong hip, yet shows the sleek lines traditionally associated with the Saqlawiah. Her 2013 daughter Sajaya el Rooh by Diwan el Arab moves like a gazelle, with her feet seeming never to touch the ground. Yaqueenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2013 half sister, Ahlam el Rooh by Faress el Ahlam, has the same strong quarters as Yaqueen, with a beautifully arching neck and shapely head.
Facing page: The filly Ahlam el Rooh (Faress el Ahlam x Rooh el Fouad EAO). Above: Yaqueen el Rooh (Gabbar x Rooh el Fouad EAO) and her new filly Sajaya el Rooh by Diwan el Arab, right.
Paraskevas does breed horses from the more populous Moniet el Nefous branch of the Saqlawiah as well. He is careful to seek a balance of elegance and refinement with exceptional structure, striving to keep the curves and sweep of this family without the longish back that is sometimes found in the Moniet descendants. The stunning Kawkab El Shark (Gabbar x Aneeda EAO), almost pure white, probably heads the list for elegance and refinement. If one subscribes to the association of strain with type, this mare certainly would confirm that belief. Dorrat el Samaa (Rafik el Oumr x Aneeda EAO), her younger half sister and also grey, is trying to catch Kawkab in the stunning beauty race. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have seen both ridden in the desert, and it would be difficult to chose one over the other,â&#x20AC;? says Paraskevas. The bay Quareat el Fingale (Gabbar x Shameya EAO), the other mature mare in this group, also carries an elegant neck and head with good balance. Look beyond the beauty and you see short canons and long forearms, well-laid-back shoulders and matching quarters. All three mares show an exceptional ability to use those hindquarters, exploding from behind and traveling with naturally elevated fores.
Above: The mare El Sit (Ateya x Kawkab el Shark). Left: The filly Moniet El Shark (Diwan el Arab x Aneeda EAO). Facing page: The mare Kawkab El Shark (Gabbar x Aneeda EAO).
These mares show another particular trait — one often described but rarely seen. Those who have heard Dr. John Shelle try to describe “quality” — fineness of coat that naturally reveals the dark skin around the eyes and muzzle — should take these mares as exemplars. Paraskevas never clips his horses. Yet looking at these three mares, one sees an extraordinary demonstration of dark skin showing around the eyes and muzzle — what the show world attempts to emulate with #40 blades and applied substances.
Dorrat el Samaa (Rafik el Oumr x Aneeda EAO), facing page, and her new filly Shagaret el Dorr by Khafif EAO, above.
The chestnut Asmahan (Ateya x Shameya EAO) has an elegant neck, well set, but even so clearly reflects Paraskevas’s emphasis on substance. Kawkab’s daughter, El Sit by Ateya, shows more of her sire, with a shorter head and more robust build. Looking at the younger mares, Quareat’s daughter Hanat el Akdar by Quaher el Dhalam is very refined with upright carriage and a flag tail that says “look at me.” The blackgoing-grey Moniet el Shark (Diwan el Arab x Aneeda EAO) is a more moderate version, again reflecting the Saklawiyah stretch tempered by substance and correct proportions. Dorrat el Samaa’s 2013 filly Shagaret el Dorr by Khafif EAO has a stunning shoulder (certainly influenced by her sire) and the promise of an even stronger hindquarter than her dam, with all the elegance and beauty of her dam and aunties. Overall, the group shows somewhat longer and finer heads than the Inshass lines.
Right: The mare Asmahan (Ateya x Shameya EAO). Facing page: Quareat el Fingale (Gabbar x Shameya EAO), top, and her 2013 filly Hanat el Akdar by Quaher el Dhalam), bottom.
Paraskevas breeds two other strains representing the lines he has developed the longest. “Early on, I made mistakes, as all beginners do. But within a few years I found two lines that now are producing in the fourth and fifth generations. “One of my foundation mares was of the strain Kohailah Rodania (KR), tracing to Rodania,” he says. “Lady Anne Blunt, one of the very few undisputable authorities of all time in the breed, later selected her in the desert.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;This strain gives superlative movers with great strength of character and endurance. In the first generation we got two fantastic stallions: Gabbar by Sajed from the Sid Abouhom sire line, and Rezkallah by SEA Ateya from the Rabdan. Both inherited superior build and adaptation to the dry desert conditions from their dam Haneyat EAO, an Aseel daughter (bearing Sameh correctness) out of Hadeena EAO. Hadeena was a Maher daughter out of Rawayeh, the dam of El Mareekh EAO. Fortunately, we also got fillies to carry this strain forward. In the second generation we got the mare Ana Ishta, who produced Sehr el Leil, dam of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s colt Fadl by Fadlan EAO. This gives us four generations in this line. What I find most appealing in this line is its trueness to what a warhorse should be, in spirit as well as in build. As we have bred these
four generations, what I have tried to do is to conserve its well-known main assets, add a measure of R.A.S. refinement, without risking the loss of its identity however, a difficult balancing act. We have now acquired a filly from the Riyala branch but, as regards the Rawayeh/Risala branch shown here, our main concern was to avoid long backs, a potential pitfall with Rodanias if one is not carefully selecting Saklawi blood for them.” A second line of KR has given several stallions and the lovely Robaeyet el Khayyam, a young mare of correct structure. From a wide chest and well-sprung ribs to a laid-back shoulder and matching long hindquarters, square and correct legs, and short back, she is everything one would expect of a Rodania. Many would be surprised that the package comes with a very feminine, wellshaped neck, beautiful head with somewhat more square muzzle, and soft eye that says, “I want to be with you.”
Left and facing page: The mare Robaeyat el Khayyam (Khafif EAO x Tabashir EAO).
Another early foundation mare for Paraskevas was from the Hadbah Enzihiyah (HE) to Venus through the branch head mare Yosreia. “This strain gives sound foals and horses that thrive under saddle,” he says. “They are powerful and easily withstand the rigors of the desert, being of serious, reliable, and steady disposition. They are balanced but not exotic and, fortunately, are not too inbred. This gives breeders great genetic flexibility. Perhaps they are a bit overlooked because they have been readily available, producing above average but not superstar foals. In the view of cognoscenti breeders, they are the cement that binds together all the other strains.”
The matriarch of this line is the beloved Ataa (SEA Ateya x Ateyat), who has produced six foals, including the stallions Ateya and Faress el Ahlam, both by Ghallab. Through these sons alone she has contributed more than her share of “cement.” I had the good fortune to ride this 16-yearold mare out into the desert, accompanied by nine stallions. She asserted her place immediately behind the head stallion and refused to be outridden by the boys, especially two of her sons that were with the group. Her filly from 2012, Ana Baheera by Goubrane, shows the slightly lighter, longer body often found in the Egyptian Hadbahs, which may show the influence of her Saqlawi-type sire. Her neck is well set on, with a head that is a bit longer than the Inshass lines, but less so than the Saklawiyah.
Above: The beloved mare Ataa (SEA Ateya x Ateyat). Right: The 2013 colt Fadl (Fadlan EAO x Sehr el Leil by Kamel el Awsaaf).
Although she is only a yearling, she already shows exceptional dryness in the head and fineness in coat and skin. This year Ataa produced another colt, Mawood. He has a long and somewhat higher-set neck than his half sister, with a pleasing but masculine head. “In the future, we look to this line for balance and harmony and adaptability,” notes Paraskevas. “Every time I am in a quandary, not sure which stallion to pick for a maiden mare, I choose one of our Hadban stallions as a test for the mare.” Around the world, it seems there are fewer and fewer breeders with multiple-generation breeding programs using exclusively homebred stallions. Even fewer keep significant numbers of offspring so that the progression of breeding decisions can be viewed at the
Left: Ataaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s filly from 2012, Ana Baheera by Goubrane. home farm. Lining up each senior mare with two additional generations of offspring (and with the sires immediately available for viewing!) is an exceptional experience. One wonders how many newer breeders will have the inspiration and patience to develop their own visions through such selective breeding over several decades. Our final view was of a mare walking away, where we could admire large hocks set well apart, beautifully aligned below the point of the buttocks, a classic vertical line continuing straight through canon, pastern, and hoof, and a stride with significant overstep. For some, it would seem an odd final vision to want to carry home. It was pure delight. Those who seek correct structure, legs, and bone, with balance and beauty, should visit. It gives one hope.
P h i l i p p e Pa r a s k e va s ’s
Proposals for Showring Reforms —
Philippe Paraskevas published The Egyptian Alternative primarily to advocate for certain breeding ideas. The book was also quite critical of showring practices, the acknowledged venue for breeders to have their efforts evaluated. We sat down to discuss his vision for changing the showring.
AHW: You have been breeding for nearly 30 years now. Why did you decide to become a writer and an advocate for change? Paraskevas: I believe in the power and lasting influence of ideas. I also believe in the goodwill and benevolent intent of the huge majority of breeders. As a beginner, I did not find proper guidance in the most popular books available. In the spirit of giving back to the breed, I decided to offer beginners an alternative to the status quo. AHW: Your first book, The Egyptian Alternative, was very critical of the showring. Many of your readers, including those from the broader breeding community, are similarly critical of the showring. Your book’s Facebook page has grown to become one of the most followed in Arabian horse circles, with 75,000 connected. Share with our readers your vision for a better way to showcase the breed. Paraskevas: We need a true alternative — a new paradigm. We need to showcase the Arabian horse both for its beauty and utility, not leave them stranded worlds apart. To that end, the showring needs to be reformed with one overriding objective in mind: make it more relevant to the essence of the Arabian horse. By so doing, the industry can hope to win back the attendance
that has deserted the current show scene in the past decades and, by the same token, solve many problems that plague the breed but that originate with the shows and their influence. AHW: Where would you start? Paraskevas: With the standard and process for judging. I cannot say enough how much I admire the top professional judges. Their knowledge is crucial to the future of the breed, and we need to learn from them every day of our breeding life. Having said that, even the best of the best judges can only apply the current systems, and the current systems do not do justice to what the Arabian should be. They reward appearance over utility and neglect some essentials. AHW: What would you change? Paraskevas: Start all judging at halter with legs. That’s right, legs first. Without proper legs, from the hooves up, the rest is irrelevant. Put the bar to a minimum of 17 (in the commonly used 20-point scale) for horses to remain in the top-end competitions. Eliminate the rest from championship or “top ten” eligibility. That reform alone will help straighten out the breed in a decade. Some horses with crooked legs could still get “most classic head” in a specialty class, but elimination from overall championship contention would serve notice to breeders
around the world to restore what should be the foremost criteria for the Arabian, a horse capable of utility. While legs are a prerequisite, they are surely not the only factor; nobody is advocating that. Once the first elimination has taken place, judging should go on to the next stage with the focus on general skeletal conformation, as it applies to the Arabian (and not, for instance, the saddlebred; conformational assessment is true type). In assessing conformation, horses should not be forced (by the threat of the whip) to stand like statues stretched in front of the judges. Everybody knows that. Judges, breeders, owners, handlers, and even the most casual observers know this pose is a disguise for faulty skeletal formation. If we are serious about the future of the breed, it should be banned. Assessment should of course include judging the head and its type. Yes, reward a beautiful head, reward it with a 20 if it is deserved, but do not elevate that single factor to the de facto deciding factor. AHW: Speaking of “type,” do you subscribe to there being a single, ideal conformational standard? Paraskevas: Whole chapters of fascinating books have been written on this one issue. I am an advocate for diversity. If these legends were still with us, nobody in his right mind would advocate putting Nazeer before Sid Abouhom, or *Bask before Khemosabi — or vice versa; all are necessary ingredients for the serious breeders of our horse. Preservation of diversity necessitates that breeders and judges be apprised of the different characteristics of the strains and sire lines. Horses should no longer be observed through the prism of the “Ideal” but rather in relation to their faithful representation of their roots. AHW: What about movement? Paraskevas: Movement is all important, but it is not confined to the trot. Movement should not be judged on the ability of the handler. Enough of their trying to keep up with a horse in an extended trot. This is so artificial, and so alien to the nature of the Arabian! Malpractice on this factor alone has damaged the breed. In the showring, movement can only be judged at liberty. Liberty will also give the judges further insight into every horse’s type, conformation, heart, and disposition. AHW: Wouldn’t that be impractical because of the time involved?
Paraskevas: Not if you eliminate all the horses with offset knees and cannons, horses that stand profoundly beneath or behind, horses that track so badly they could never be ridden, etc. As I see it, movement (liberty) should be the crowning event of any championship, to be held only to determine the top ten positioning (and crowning the champion) after the top ten have been decided. Please note that many elements of classic beauty are best noticed at liberty. A true desert horse, with what may appear to be “very little dish” can look very different in full action when his capacity to breathe will reveal nostrils of a different caliber, showing us all that it is in action that the Arabian must be judged, even on points of beauty. In such a setting, a good eye will appear huge, without makeup or shaving, because the horse will be expressing itself (as opposed to obeying a feared handler). In this setting, beauty correlates with utility. Furthermore, liberty will allow judges to get acquainted
with each horse’s canter, thus restoring the native desert gait to its central role, alongside the crowd-pleasing trot. Liberty is a crowd favorite and will certainly bring back the enthusiasm to the showring. The rules may need to be tweaked to make the venue more appealing to breeders, but that should not be too difficult. Some owners would object. Why? Surely, a “champion” should be able to stand up to his peers when set free, or else we should ask ourselves: what kind of “championship” is that? AHW: This would almost eliminate the “stand up.” Paraskevas: It would also, hopefully, eliminate the abusive whipping, instilling fear in the heart of the horse (to guarantee obedience) that occurs in the current system. I also recommend installing cameras in the warm-up areas and in the barns at every major event to detect improper treatment of horses. If a special fund is established to that end, it will garner many donations.
Any handler, trainer, or owner who is caught abusing a horse should be banned for life. We have heard of professionals who were allowed to come back to work after being convicted of the most heinous behavior. Only the certainty of lifetime expulsion will deter them in the future. AHW: You are quite vocal about requiring horses to be ridden. Would you incorporate riding in your system? Or do you accept the apparent divergence in the breed between the halter horse and ridden horses? Paraskevas: Ah, the “two sorts of Arabians” that Rosemary Archer and others have written about. On the one hand, I am persuaded of the versatility of our horse. On the other hand, I strongly take exception to the notion that the requirements are mutually exclusive. It all comes down to proper breeding. People who cannot breed both beauty and utility all too often settle for just one set of criteria, at the expense of the others. One of the most neglected issues of our time is that of riding ability of the Arabian or, more often than not, the lack of it. While it is true that many fine people who own a horse for their own pleasure take pride in riding their horses, the same cannot be said of many who breed mainly for looks. The showring is still seen as the most important venue amongst these breeders, and it is impossible to over emphasize the harm being done to the breed by the divergence of judgment criteria between the functional Arabian and the beauty-contest Arabian. I have long advocated in favor of elevating riding to equal status to halter, only to hear from the industry how “impractical” and “expensive” it would be. Even as we may accept this argument, it cannot be the last word. AHW: So what would you do? Paraskevas: If we concede that it may be impractical and expensive to prove riding capability in a competitive environment at every show, it is not too much to ask that mature show horses that aspire to reach “top ten” status internationally be able to prove that they are fit to be seriously ridden. For the sake of their own future, breed organizations have to move from “hoping” that breeders qualify their horses under saddle to insisting on it. I am calling here for a qualification necessary to compete at halter for mature horses. I suggest that completing a 50-mile ride would be sufficient. Flat racing might also suffice. After all, the Polish studs still put most of their young horses on the track. Disciplines that require rigorous training and performance, such as dressage and eventing, might also serve as qualifiers. If I ever show one of my horses in a reformed
showring, it will have to finish the Tevis first. Horses that can prove their ability under saddle should enter the showring with bonus points compared to those that simply grace our gardens or live in their stalls. Beautiful horses that can prove they can do what an Arabian is supposed to do would be all the more valuable, I believe, than some of the less apt that we sometimes see crowned at halter. Think of it this way: chests would have to be wider, cannon bones shorter, backs shorter and stronger, hind quarters considerably more correct and powerful. AHW: What you are suggesting is revolutionary and would require the concurrence of many parts of the breed. Do you realistically believe people would come together to support this, or any other, major change? Paraskevas: I believe that a wide consensus exists on the necessity of reform. Grassroots movements of horse breeders large and small are busy organizing parallel structures. More and more shows and equestrian events are being held outside the purview of the organizations theoretically in charge of organizing them, a clear sign of alienation from the very public that these shows are supposed to attract. Many good people have simply quit the breed in frustration. Concurrently, there has been a downward spiral that ails the market. Ironically, the paucity of money to be made in Arabian horses today may be a blessing in disguise. For the first time in a long time, many who might otherwise defend the status quo now lack the motivation to stand in the way of reform. Many of the most powerful figures of the industry are now just as eager for reform as the “grassroots” breeders. Let us all seize the moment together, then: the time for action is now. AHW: Each major show organization, from AHA in the U.S. to ECAHO, has difficulty changing even some straightforward rules. How would you get people together to make the massive changes you are suggesting? Paraskevas: Only a broad-based reform will stand a chance of success, and achieving the acceptance of every sector of the Arabian horse community and every stakeholder is crucial. Acceptance will only come if all the entities you mention realize that change is in their interest. Imagine, if you will, a worldwide symposium of representatives of all the stakeholders in the breed who would plan to move decisively from “discussing” to “designing” a package of reforms, one of real practical relevance, and then
publish a “list of recommendations.” Participants should include widely respected senior representatives from concerned breed organizations, senior judges, respected breeders large and small, academics, researchers, and thinkers. These representatives should come from as many geographic areas as possible. All must find the package of reforms to be beneficial when taken in its entirety, even if only in the long term. AHW: This is very ambitious. Who sets the agenda for such a symposium? Paraskevas: It must be agreed upon in advance, not improvised at the meeting. This symposium cannot be a place to give speeches or to vent frustrations. It is now time to act. I have given my ideas, but many more are out there. The symposium must crystallize the ideas of the wise men and women who are truly dedicated to the breed. The symposium must have a sponsor and a number of personalities who will encourage its success. Together, these will set the agenda. AHW: In the context of such a symposium, assuming that delegates could agree on recommendations for change, what do you expect would really happen? Such recommendations can’t bind any organization. Paraskevas: Of course, breed organizations have large boards that will need to vote on any package for change, and it is easy to imagine that any blueprint for change may get held up in the bureaucratic grinder. Does this mean that the exercise may be superfluous? Not if you consider the moral force that such a list of recommendations will have. Never before have we had a large body of experts agree on such
a full package of reform. Imagine, for example, the impact that the publication of a document specifying innovative measures to effectively alter undesirable practices could have, if signed by respected members of the training fraternity, in addition to all the blue-ribbon panelists. I believe that this would soon become the “gold standard” of correct training and handling, under the pressure of public opinion. Given vision, given courage, given the readiness to negotiate in good faith for the sake of the future of the breed, everything is possible.
T h e Pa r a s k e v a s A r a b i a n s of Egypt Dahshur · Giza · Egypt Email: email@example.com www.PhilippeParaskevas.com Note: “All the horses pictured in these pages were bred by us, some are fifth generation of our breeding, and in many cases, we bred both sire and dam. None of the horses have been clipped, oiled, or artificially enhanced, as we prefer their natural beauty. And of course, all the photos are unretouched.”
Young mares of Paraskevas Arabians being ridden in the desert.
D e s i g n e d a n d p r o d u c e d b y A r a b i a n H o r s e Wo r l d · 0 5 / 1 3