Cover story: Arabians Ltd.

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ARABIAN HORSE WORLD L E G E N D. L I F E . L U X U R Y.

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SHAH MISHAAL RCA (*MISHAAL HP x BINT ASILA RCA)

A RABIANS LTD. BY

JEFFREY WINTERSTEEN

T

he 40-year legacy of Arabians Ltd. was built on the foundation of Thee Desperado (The Minstril x AK Amiri Asmarr), and subsequent outcross sire *Mishaal HP (Ansata Sinan x Mesoudah M – full sister to Imperial Madheen). The contribution of both sires has not only enriched the breeding program of Arabians Ltd., but also of stud farms in nearly every corner of the globe. The breeders who have thoughtfully chosen to use these sires, or blood from progeny and grandget, have a bond, and their lives are intertwined by their affinity for these two great stallions. Their stories give a glimpse into the far-reaching legacy these sires left behind.


COLTHILL CRESCENT ARABIANS ArAbiAns ltd. AffiliAte fArm

Colthill Crescent Arabians, owned by Mike Cimino in Folsom, Louisiana, has been an Affiliate Farm of Arabians Ltd. since 2004. “My first encounter with Straight Egyptian Arabians was at Arabians Ltd.,” remembers Mike. “My former wife and I drove to Waco, Texas, for a Learning Day at Arabians Ltd. It turned out to be the coldest day of the year. Of the small group that also attended, none lasted long as the temperatures continued to drop. Even in those conditions, I will never forget the sight of watching Thee Desperado prance down the lane. He had an ability to look directly into one’s soul, and he did so with me. I knew right then and there we were going to become involved in these horses. Shawn and Judy treated us like we were the only people on the earth and made us feel like family from the minute we first arrived. Before we left that weekend, we were the proud owners of a six-month-old The Minstril daughter, named Lotus Wanisa. She would become our foundation mare and go on to produce many beautiful fillies for Colthill, except for one of her daughters that we retained, all of Wanisa’s daughters went on to be foundation mares for new breeders. “We have enjoyed a wonderful and supportive relationship. Judy, Shawn, Stephanie, Tara and the entire staff have worked hard at helping us become and stay successful. They have assisted me and our clients, being there for whatever our Colthill team has ever needed. Stephane, Jenna, and all the Mare Care Division staff are the best there is. We consistently have all our mares check in foal each year thanks to the professional collection, handling, and shipping services offered. The Show Division speaks for itself. We consistently have winners at every show our horses enter. There is nothing closer to family in the horse industry than being part of the Arabians Ltd. family.”

MERRYMAN ARABIANS

John and Jeri Merryman’s Merryman Arabians is only a stone’s throw from Arabians Ltd. in Waco, Texas, and they’ve been a part of the Arabians Ltd. family for over 20 years. “Our first encounter with Arabians Ltd. was answering an ad to meet at DeShazer Arabian Farm for a newcomer conference in April 1995,” explains John. “Approaching the farm pastures, we saw the graceful Arabian mares grazing there. During the day, we learned much about the horses and their history. The following June we traveled to Waco to see the ‘mother farm.’ Jeri’s first time to hold the lead of an Arabian horse was getting to walk The Minstril – such a gentle, beautiful stallion! Later that year we leased Kalila RCA (by Ruminaja Ali) who was in foal to The Ministril. That was the beginning of a new chapter of our lives, so much so that when John retired we moved from Houston to Waco to be close to the farm and the horses. “What keeps us so passionate about this business is selecting the stallions to breed our mares to and seeing the resulting foals,” continues John. “Since 1996, we have produced 25 foals. With the exception of one filly that we chose to keep, we have sold all of the fillies that our mares produced. Several have been exported, many have helped American breeders get started like we did years ago.

Meeting breeders from around the world who purchase these foals, as well as going to the Egyptian Event in Kentucky each year and seeing our foals do well in the show ring, has been a thrill for us. We have made friends with breeders in foreign lands, something Jeri and I would never have had the opportunity to do if the horses were not in our lives. Our success is due in large part to Judy’s support, encouragement and example. The staff at Arabians Ltd. is second to none in their fields.”

SHARMEL ARABIANS

Sharon Redman of Sharmel Arabians in Weatherford, Texas, does horses full time now, but her path to Egyptian Arabian horses was not a direct one. “I had ridden and worked at our family ranch in Oklahoma since I was very young, and I knew that if I ever had my own horses, they would be Arabians. That opportunity finally came 13 years ago. As fate would have it, one of my first two mares had Egyptian blood. I studied and grew to love the story of the Straight Egyptian. Wanting to know more, I visited Arabians Ltd. in the fall of 2009. Seeing all the stallions was awe-inspiring, from the elegant Thee Desperado, to Alixir and his playful presentation, and the majestic Mishaal.” On that visit Sharon saw a beautiful weanling filly, Kareena RCA, by Thee Desperado. “She was not for sale at the time,” remembers Sharon, “but to my great fortune, eventually when Judy saw how much I really loved that filly, she agreed to my offer, and the filly became my foundation Egyptian mare.” Kareena’s first filly is now in Kuwait, soon to have her first foal. Kareena RCA has also been a successful show horse, earning the title of Champion World Class Filly as a three-year-old. “My passion for the Egyptian Arabian centers on their exceptional qualities that should be preserved to retain the essence and uniqueness of the desert-bred Arabian and to continue to infuse those lines into the modern Arabian horse. I feel so very fortunate to have been introduced to Egyptian Arabians; they are a true source of joy and love in my life.”

MORIAH RIDGE ARABIANS

Doris Brune of Moriah Ridge Arabians always dreamed of one day being in the horse business. One day while browsing through an equine magazine, she came across an ad on learning the business of horses. It turned out to be a seminar at Arabians Ltd. “That was in the early spring of 2004. God had brought me to the most beautiful horses that I’d ever laid eyes on! Thee Desperado was still the ‘big man on campus’ so to speak. Alixir, Thee Infidel, Thee Asil, and Pimlico RCA were all mesmerizing. I have a soft spot in my heart for those good ol’ boys, which has influenced my stallion choices for my mare thus far. I want to be part of preserving their bloodlines.” Although Doris was not in a position to purchase a mare until 2015, during those 11 years she continued to visit the farm and attend the Egyptian Event. “The staff always welcomed us as we continued to learn, but mostly dream, about their horses until 2015, when we could finally choose one for ourselves. SC Harmony, a striking grey filly sired by Bellagio RCA, was our pick. She has since

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MARBACH RCA

(THE SEQUEL RCA x ALIA GALAL RCA)

blossomed into a mature mare who gets more beautiful every day. We are pleased that she is a great mother and wonderful producer. “When I see others compete at the Egyptian Event, I get choked up and teary-eyed every time,” continues Doris. “I am happy for our friends when they make it to the winners circle and imagine myself one day rejoicing in my own victory. My competitive spirit lures me into the show ring, but my even greater love is just spending time with the foals. There is great victory simply in connecting with them and seeing them follow you as you try to leave them. It is only by a great blessing that we have the horses in our lives. As I enjoy them, I am reminded of my parents and grandparents who in many ways made this dream possible for us. I so wish that they could have met Harmony and her filly; I think they would marvel at those two and just experience them the way I do every time I see them.”

AMETHYST ACRES EQUINE ArAbiAns ltd. AffiliAte fArm

Debra Burke’s husband, Mark, was the Breeding/Farm Manager at Arabians Ltd. and had the opportunity to work with some incredible horses, including Thee Desperado. “One of my fondest memories is raising a scruffy little orphaned filly that was born on a hot July day in 1998,” remembers Debra. “She was named Fariha Magidaa, but Mark and I called her ‘Frilly.’ Since we lived next to the farm, Mark moved Frilly from the mare care barn down to a small barn behind our house where we could more easily bottle-feed her every few hours. She could hear us inside the house and would nicker loudly as it got closer to ‘milk time’ in case we had forgotten her!”

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The Burkes eventually moved to Virginia and opened their own operation, Amethyst Acres Equine. Fariha Magidaa has blossomed into a beautiful broodmare for Arabians Ltd. and has produced foals that now reside at Al Jood Stud in Qatar and Hanaya Stud in Switzerland. “But as things so often happen when you are involved with these amazing horses,” explains Debra, “one of Frilly’s daughters now lives with us in Virginia, Desperados Fatinah (by Thee Desperado). Like her dam, she is producing beautiful foals, including a colt named Attimo (by Bellagio RCA) that now lives at Al Ghanayim Stud in Kuwait. Twenty years have gone by in the blink of an eye, but the legacy of that one little scruffy filly will live on for generations.”

HARWOOD ARABIANS

Amethyst Acres Equine grew to be an Affiliate Farm, and it was through them that Jeff and Laurie Harwood of Harwood Arabians came to be introduced to the Straight Egyptian. “Wandering through the magazine section of Books A Million, I picked up the quarterly issue of Arabian Horse World and was struck by a picture of Thee Arabella. It melted my heart!” explains Laurie. After attending a conference at Amethyst Acres Equine, the Burkes urged them to make a trip to Arabians Ltd. “I will never forget the walk that Shawn Crews took with me through the mare pasture and meeting Rhapsody In Black in person. Her soft nose and amazing demeanor have stayed with me, and having a granddaughter of hers is such a dream come true. I am so thankful for Judy’s willingness to let her go.”

AL GHANAYIM STUD

Al Ghanayim Stud in Kuwait was founded seven years ago by Mr. Ayed Al Thuwainy, as he followed his lifelong dream of breeding Arabian horses. “In the beginning I immersed myself in researching all I could find on the Arabian horse. I discovered that Straight Egyptian Arabians were the most rare and valuable. Many that caught my eye were related to Thee Desperado. But it was my first glimpse of Bellagio RCA that inspired my vision for our future. He is like a movie star. Some of my most enjoyable moments in life are simply watching Bellagio’s sons and daughters grazing in our lush green paddocks. “In particular, Bint Bellagio (x Princes Hamamaa by Thee Desperado) has had my heart since she stepped off the truck in Al Wafra. She was the filly of my dreams and affectionate in a way I had not experienced with any horse. “I also imported a number of Thee Desperado’s best daughters. Shawn was recently with us for a visit when she saw the fourteen-month-old black colt (by Bellagio RCA) out of our Thee Desperado daughter, Kavetas Miracle RCA. Her reaction confirmed my thoughts – he is a one of a kind. “We are also breeding mares to Shah Mishaal RCA and are looking forward to the results of blending all these great bloodlines together with our stallions from Germany (GR Faleeh, GR Lahab, GR Nashad) purchased from our dear friend Annette Escher. An exciting time in our program for sure.”

ARIELA ARABIANS

Chen Kedar of Ariela Arabians, Israel, and the Ariela-bred horses have made a dramatic impact around the globe. So too has their relationship with Arabians Ltd. “I saw Desperado many years ago,” explains Chen. “I was fascinated with his correct structure and wonderful body. I also really like his type; he is special in this regard. So combining the correctness and beauty, it was something I was really looking for. That said, what I think is very important with Desperado is that he brings this black pigment and beautiful eyes. I think putting Desperado into those pedigrees really helps prevent the pigment loss and white eyes we have in some of those Egyptian bloodlines.” With regards to *Mishaal HP, he was on Chen’s radar before he arrived in the U.S. “I saw him in Germany when he was a young horse. I liked him, and I tried to lease him, but it didn’t work out,” remembers Chen. “A few years later, I found out that Arabians Ltd. was trying to bring him to the U.S.; I really encouraged them to use him. I saw a real quality about this horse that I couldn’t find elsewhere. I just had a feeling that he would be a wonderful stallion. In Europe he was only bred to blood that was very closely related to him; I didn’t see that as the best option. However, I thought that the crossing with Desperado horses would be a wonderful combination. I think that it has turned out that way, it is an amazing cross.” “The story of the Arabians Ltd. stallions is one that begins with Ruminaja Ali and has now spanned four decades,” says Shawn Crews. “The irony of this remarkable story is that Judy Sirbasku, the woman responsible for not only preserving this famed stallion program, but for elevating it at every turn with every generation, finds her greatest pride and joy in her mares — it’s they who fuel her passion for breeding Straight Egyptian Arabian horses. “Judy has bred or owned the dams of so many significant sires. While the stallions have been getting all the attention, Judy has quietly, methodically, and with years of careful intent, built one of the most valuable collections of beauties to be found anywhere in the world, including the dam of Ruminaja Ali, Bint Magidaa. ‘Maggie’ lived to be twenty-eight years old. She and Judy were very close; I think that mare taught Judy what a great mare feels like, looks like, produces like, and thinks like. “But let’s get back to our stallions. As we tell you a bit about our young stallions coming up, you will feel from them the strength of their genetic make-up — which means they will give me a foal that looks like their family,” continues Shawn. “Thee Infidel and Pimlico RCA, our senior stallions, along with Bellagio RCA, the ‘movie star,’ have three younger stallions sharing the barn that are climbing up the ranks. “A couple of weeks ago, I had a client in who has never seen our stallions. It was a quiet weekend so we brought out each of the six stallions. Bellagio knocked their socks off. I had the younger boys, Shah Mishaal RCA, Luxe RCA, and Marbach RCA on the list to show last. Now, I get to see them every day, but something about standing there seeing all three back-to-back was different. I am thinking to myself, ‘holy cow — that is one heck of a group of young stallions!’ I knew The Sequel, Mishaal and Thee Desperado would be proud, too.”

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LUXE RCA

(*MISHAAL HP x THEE SCARLET LADY)

Both foundation sires Thee Desperado and *Mishaal HP passed away in 2013 within months of each other. “Desperado’s son The Sequel RCA was purchased when he was four years old, ensuring that we would never lose the Desperado look genetically,” says Judy Sirbasku. “He was really our insurance policy.” When The Sequel RCA was lost in the spring of 2018, it was unexpected. But perhaps it was divine intervention that the next step in their breeding program came in the form of a bay colt by The Sequel RCA named Marbach RCA. And it just as easily could not have happened. A few years prior, Judy and Shawn wanted to market a special horse, the black Alixir daughter Alia Galal RCA, from their affiliate

farm in Louisiana with Colthill Crescent Arabians. Mike Cimino was first going to get her in foal to The Sequel RCA. They had two contracts fall through. There was also a valued Kuwaiti client who wanted her, but hadn’t yet committed. “We were feeling pretty poor about ourselves that we couldn’t get this gorgeous black mare sold,” laughs Shawn, thinking back. “It was just a little weird.” The next spring, Mike calls Shawn and says Alia Galal RCA had a bay colt and he had never seen anything like it. Shawn explained this was a little unusual coming from Mike. “He usually stays out of assessing them, so this had me thinking. I didn’t get down there for a couple weeks, but when I did it was a ‘thank you Jesus’ moment … now I know why this mare didn’t sell! We would

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SHAH BELLA RCA

SHAH MISHAAL RCA x MISHAALA BELLE RCA

have shot ourselves in the foot if we had sold her.” The resulting bay colt was named after the famous Marbach State Stud of Germany. His pedigree traces to the stallion, Gharib (Anter x Souhair) through his granddaughter Bahila. Already Marbach RCA has garnered important show credentials: Breeders Finals Gold Champion Straight Egyptian Junior Colt, Scottsdale International Silver Champion Straight Egyptian Junior Colt, and Egyptian Event Reserve Champion Straight Egyptian Yearling Colt. That said, it is what he represents as a sire that is so important for the future breeding program. “He got Sequel’s eyes,” explains Shawn. “While all of our program has good eyes, these are the type of eyes that you can see across the outdoor ring at Scottsdale. And he is the only young stallion we have that has those eyes. The other thing we hope to gain from him is tail carriage. When you take that halter off or run with him on a lead, that tail goes straight up and doesn’t come down. I can show him for the fourth guest of the day and the colt still has his tail up.” Perhaps just as important, it is what just having him on the farm has done for the staff ’s outlook for the future. “He really brings life and excitement, not only to the program but to everyone who works here. When we brought him home from Mike’s, all the staff had a spring in their step. It is just uplifting to know you have a special one.” Shortly after Marbach RCA was foaled, our treasured Kuwaiti friend and client Ayad Al Thuwainy calls us and says he does want the mare. “Ayad had done so much with us,” explains Shawn, “Judy still

honored the price before she had this stunning colt. So, his dam left for Kuwait, making Marbach her only foal in the U.S., it really makes him one of a kind.” *Mishaal HP had been imported as a needed outcross. “Thank God we had a huge group of colts from him ranging in age from foals to two-year-olds,” says Judy. “We just put them away, and after some time we started going through them.” “Judy would come down on Saturday mornings, and we would do a little horse show and start evaluating them,” says Shawn. “Through this, we ended up with three that we think are outstanding. One we started with was Shah Mishaal RCA, who was one of the youngest.” In a twist of fate, the grey 2012 stallion Shah Mishaal RCA is out of The Sequel RCA daughter Bint Asila RCA. “We have 50 percent outcross blood in Shah Mishaal through Mishaal, and his dam is out of a Thee Asil daughter. Thee Asil had blow, snort, straight tail carriage, and an incredible neck. So we have those traits in Shah Mishaal, plus the big eyes from Sequel,” explains Shawn. Being chosen as the replacement for his sire, comparisons are only natural. “There have been some casual pictures taken at the seminars, and at first glance it is eerie how much he looks like his sire,” Judy says. “They are very much alike mentally and physically. That said, Mishaal came to us when he was seven years old, so I never saw him at a younger age. My guess, however, is that Shah Mishaal is even more extreme at this age than Mishaal was.” Shah Mishaal RCA has been shown sparingly, but has

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MISHAAL JATHAB

ROSE OF MAGIDAA RCA

SHAH MISHAAL RCA x RAOUMAH

S HA H M I S HA A L R C A x B I N T M AG I DA A S R O S E

captured Champion Two-Year-Old Colt at the Egyptian Event and was Silver Champion Senior Stallion at the Egyptian Event with the farm’s trainer Luis Paniagua. Shah Mishaal’s foals are fulfilling his promise. “He has sired several foals,” says Shawn “and they are really off the charts. On top of that Shah Mishaal is really coming into his own, he is no longer a youngster, he looks like a stallion now.” Another one of the *Mishaal HP colts they kept was Luxe RCA (out of Thee Scarlet Lady by Thee Desperado). “This was a horse that we could never cut loose from,” explains Shawn. “Let’s put it this way, when you are in that grey area of the unknown, if you are smart enough, you do not make life changing decisions. So after every one of those horse shows, we decided not to sell him. Luxe is big like Mishaal was. Mishaal was all of 1,200 pounds and 15.3 hands, an imposing stallion. Of the Mishaal sons, first we used Ramses Mishaal Nadir whom we leased, then Shah Mishaal. Nadir gave us *Ramses Fayek blood — a line of incredible athletes. “Luxe has the imposing size and fantastic blow and snort. That said,” continues Shawn, “he is the absolute kindest stallion we have ever been around. He was mostly just raised in the pasture here; he wasn’t kept in the show barn, just raised like a ranch horse. He is the kind of horse that everyone on the farm has some kind

of relationship with.” They had an opportunity to part with Luxe RCA this spring, but to Judy it just didn’t feel right. “I had a deal cooking on him when we lost Sequel,” explains Shawn, “and although he is not closely related to Sequel, a couple days later Judy called me and asked me to pull the plug on that deal. She said that if we don’t keep some of these young stallions we are going to be in trouble.” Luxe RCA was Silver Champion Stallion at the Egyptian Event, so he has the show credentials, an important factor at Arabians Ltd. Perhaps as important from a breeding perspective, Luxe RCA’s female line is different than Shah Mishaal’s. “He is from probably the most proven family in our program,” explains Judy, “that of Omayma, the grandam of *Wanisa. In addition, his dam, Thee Scarlet Lady, is one of our foundation mares that is now 24 years old. That mare line, you almost can’t get a bad one out of it.” Thanks to the breeding wisdom of Judy Sirbasku, those three youngsters give a needed reassurance that the legacy of Thee Desperado and *Mishaal HP has been secured. Furthermore, the Arabians Ltd.’s commitment to the heritage of the Egyptian Arabian in educating and supporting future breeders, ensures that this legacy will survive and flourish far afield from the pastures of Waco, Texas.

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HAAH H M MII S SH HA AA AL L R SS( H RC CA A *MISHAAL HP x BINT ASILA RCA) (SIRE X DAM)

JUDY SIRBASKU, Owner SHAWN CREWS, General Manager WACO, TEXAS · 254.714.1803 · INFO@ARABIANSLTD.COM AFFILIATE FARM: COLTHILL CRESCENT ARABIANS 985.264.3250 · WWW.COLTHILLCRESCENT.COM AFFILIATE FARM: AMETHYST ACRES EQUINE CENTER, INC. 540.254.1017 · WWW.AMETHYSTACRES.COM ARABIANS, LTD · SCOTTSDALE DIVISION AT ARABIAN EXPRESSIONS



On the front cover: BELLAGIO RCA (Alixir x Rhapsody In Black), bred and owned by Arabians Ltd., Waco, Texas.

JUDY SIRBASKU, Owner SHAWN CREWS, General Manager WACO, TEXAS · 254.714.1803 · INFO@ARABIANSLTD.COM AFFILIATE FARM: COLTHILL CRESCENT ARABIANS 985.264.3250 · WWW.COLTHILLCRESCENT.COM AFFILIATE FARM: AMETHYST ACRES EQUINE CENTER, INC. 540.254.1017 · WWW.AMETHYSTACRES.COM ARABIANS, LTD · SCOTTSDALE DIVISION AT ARABIAN EXPRESSIONS D esig ne d and pro duc e d by Ar abi an Hors e World · 12/18 D es i g n eleme nt s by G ett y D esi g n R epr inte d f rom t he D e c emb er 2018 Ar abi an Hors e World c over stor y