A BREEDER’S VIEW LISA MARKLEY b y De n is e He a rs t
Lisa Markley with Evandro LMA (EKS Alihandro x Melinas Dream LMA).
isa Markley’s introduction to Arabian horses came via a summer job after high school at Malstrom Arabians in Kent, Washington. “I always loved animals but I knew nothing about horses. I just fell in love with them,” she says. After that came years in partnership with Greg Knowles at Arabian Expressions in Spanaway, Washington, where the stallion Magic Dream CAHR stood. At the 2021 Scottsdale Show, two Scottsdale Champions were out of Lisa Markley-bred mares – Champion Breeders Club Yearling Filly ATH Priyanka WLM (Apolo x Psophia LMA), owned by Linda and William Michaels who leased the dam from Lisa, and Champion Scottsdale Signature Stallion Yearling Colt ATH Evandro LMA (*EKS Alihandro x Melinas Dream LMA), owned by
Lisa Markley and Linda Michaels. Another horse bred by Lisa won Top Tens: Anaya LMA (Marwan Al Magnifficoo x GAA Angelica) Top Ten Hunter Pleasure Maturity ATR with owner Kathryn Baker and Top Ten Performance Mares Three and Over ATH. These are just the latest in a long string of winners that Lisa has bred over the years with a limited number of mares – not least of which is Pitonisa AS, multi-U.S. National Champion and Scottsdale Champion. Today, at the Scottsdale farm Lisa shares with her husband, Harry, Lisa nurtures her small group of broodmares and their foals. When she’s not in the barn, she and Harry enjoy riding out from their summer cabin in Happy Jack, Arizona, or team roping with friends. Lisa is the heeler. “We have a blast,” she says.
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// Psyches Amber Dream (Padrons Psyche x Mi Amber Dream), Lisa’s most prized broodmare.
We recently visited with Lisa and discussed her eye for a good horse, the discipline required to remain true to one’s vision, and her advice for small breeders.
Q. How many breeding-age mares do you
currently own? What qualities of conformation, temperament, and pedigree must a mare possess to be included in your breeding program? Please give us examples of mares that best embody that ideal.
breeding choice on how a horse does in
A. My broodmares have to have correct leg
conformation and good length of leg, good hips and croups, and natural, pretty arched tail carriage, fine throats and big eyes. They do not necessarily need exotic faces, but they have to have big, kind eyes and pretty nostrils. Balance and refinement are also musts, as are style and confidence, and good temperament. I will not have a mare, or any horse, on my farm that is not sweet natured. As far as pedigree, I choose to stick with what I know, and that means not only on paper but what I have personally seen with my own eyes, at least three generations back, if not more. My three broodmares, Psyches Amber Dream (Padrons Psyche x Mi Amber Dream [Magic Dream x Mi Fire Dream]), Mi Maria LMA (QR Marc x Psyches Amber Dream) and Psophia LMA (Padrons Psyche x Vivacious X by Magic Dream) all share these
I don’t base my
the showring. That is the opinion of others, not mine.
characteristics, as does my last Magic Dream daughter, Vivacious X (x A Class Act by Gold Krugerand), who is retired. My mares are closely related. They’re different but they all have that look that I love. They have to please you. I love looking at my mares. I love doing everything with them. You have to feel that way about your broodmares.
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Left: Multi-National Champion Pitonisa AS (Ever After NA x Psyches Amber Dream), bred by Lisa. Right: Psyches Amber Dream with her newborn filly Pitsona AS.
Q. Describe the one horse you’ve bred who has
come closest to your ideal of the Arabian horse.
Without a doubt, that would be multi-National Champion Pitonisa AS (Ever After NA x Psyches Amber Dream). She embodies everything that I could ever hope to breed. When Pitonisa was born I knew before she even stood that she was special. She turned around and she just had this look to her. I had a grin on my face that you couldn’t take off. She was beautiful, but she had this old school look that we don’t see that much any more. I think it was reminiscent of that elegance of her great-grandam, Mi Fire Dream – she just had a different look from what we see today. Pitonisa’s sire, Ever After NA, was a beautiful horse with a gorgeous eye. He was so high quality — tall with a great hip and loin. His sire *Sir Fames was a handsome horse, and his dam
Entaicing NA by Aicyng was beautiful. He and Amber were a great cross. They also produced Forever Mi Dream, dam of U.S. National Reserve Champion Futurity Colt and U.S. National Champion Yearling Colt, World Cup Gold Champion Yearling Colt Antares RCF, and Amani Al Shahania, Canadian National Champion Two-year-old Filly, and U.S. National Top Ten Champion Yearling Filly. Psyches Amber Dream is a such a fabulous mother. I think it’s best for Amber if I keep her in foal. I love the black-bay colt with four little white socks that she had this year by Antares RCF. I love his mind. He is such a cool horse. I just bred her back to Antares.
Q. What is your ideal number of foals in a given year?
One to three tops! And by the way, I don’t care whether I get a colt or a filly. Because if I
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// believe in the cross so much, why should it matter? I am patient enough that I will let them grow up and see what they want to be.
Q. Any mares you wish you could have? Some bloodlines you would like to try?
A. I would love to have Pitonisa back.
As far as adding bloodlines, Botswana (Thee Desperado x The Minuet) is probably the one I would choose to add to my program. Mr. Mohammed Al Jaidah from Qatar, who bought some of his first horses from me 20 years ago, leased Mi Maria from me last year to breed to Botswana. I have never seen Botswana in person but I’ve watched a lot of his videos. Mi Maria had an absolutely beautiful Botswana colt – pretty, correct, refined in the neck. Very high quality.
Q. Walk us through your stallion selection
process, as you weigh such factors as the quality and marketability of a stallion’s foals, and his compatibility with a given mare. What are the “must haves” in a stallion that you use?
First, I don’t base my breeding choice on how a horse does in the showring. That is the opinion of others, not mine. Quality is my priority. I don’t worry about marketability because if I have a high quality foal, it will be marketable.
I want to see a
horse that’s beautiful just standing there, not doing anything.
Two of Lisa’s broodmares, top, Psophia LMA ( Padrons Psyche x Vivacious X), and left, Mi Maria LMA (QR Marc x Psyches Amber Dream).
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Three offspring out of Psyches Amber Dream and sired by Ever After NA, winning Produce of Dam at the 2015 Scottsdale show, from left to right, Amani Al Shahania, Forever Mi Dream, and Pitonisa AS.
— it is less of a gamble if
however I’m not willing to lose the great qualities they have. A stallion’s pedigree is important. I want to know the horses in their background, and I want the stallion to “look like” his pedigree – it is less of a gamble if it makes sense why they look the way they do. It drives me crazy when people run and breed to the next big champion without considering whether he is compatible with their mare. It doesn’t work that way. The hardest thing to find is a stallion with a really clean, natural, neck. I grew up seeing Magic Dream in the crossties every day, and while his neck was not super long, the shape was excellent and he had a really good throat and a pretty shoulder. That spoiled me. That’s hard to find. A lot of trainers are really good at standing these horses up and doing all sorts of cool things, but I want to see a horse that’s beautiful just standing there, not doing anything.
it makes sense why they
Q. Who is the most memorable Arabian stallion
If I haven’t seen a horse in person I try to see a lot of videos, especially casual ones so you can really see what he looks like. When I look at stallions, I consider how they will complement my mares. I’m very honest with myself about what each of them needs, none are perfect,
I want the stallion to
“look like” his pedigree
look the way they do.
that you have ever seen?
There are several. *Muscat took my breath away just standing in his stall, Padrons Psyche at
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the U.S. Nationals as a three year old gave me goosebumps, and seeing Ali Jamaal ringside up close brought tears to my eyes. And of course there will never be another that has my heart like Magic Dream!
Q. Your best sale — not only in terms of dollars,
but in terms of enhancing the reputation of your program and in building future sales? Once again, this would have to go to Pitonisa.
A. Q. Do you invest only in sure things, or do
you occasionally take a flyer on a horse or a breeding? For example, using the young unproven stallion Antares RCF comes to mind.
A. To some, Antares RCF may be considered
a “flyer,” but to me, he’s about as sure of a bet on a young breeding colt as I could ask for. But of course, I knew him well, since I bred his dam, Forever Mi Dream (Ever After NA x Psyches Amber Dream), was Scottsdale Reserve Champion SSS Yearling Filly ATH (out of 82 fillies), and is now owned by Jack and Elizabeth Milam. She’s a full sister to multi-National Champion Mare Pitonisa and Canadian National Champion Filly Amani Al Shahania. Bred to Barzan Al Shahania (who I absolutely love both as an individual and his whole pedigree), she produced Antares, who got the best of both worlds. He looks like what his pedigree says he should. He’s correct, athletic and oozes quality. Not many stallions are as amazing as this colt is just standing still. In fact, if I had Pitonisa back I’d breed her to Antares. He is an absolutely gorgeous individual. He will be one of the very few who will cross over. He has so much quality and his neck is so elegant, with functional conformation and a big stride. It’s really is nice to see form to function.
The mare Vivacious X (Magic Dream x A Class Act), now retired, and below her daughter Victoria LMA by Barzan Al Shahania
Q. Advice to those who nurture the dream of
“a few good mares and a small breeding farm” and the anticipated success thereof? Some do’s and don’ts for those dreamers? Can it be done without a Psyches Amber Dream, for instance?
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Top left and right: The two 2021 Scottsdale Yearling Champions out of Lisa’s mares: SSS Yearling Colt ATH Evandro LMA (*EKS Alihandro x Melinas Dream LMA), owned by Linda Michels and Lisa Markley, and Scottsdale Breeders Club Champion Yearling Filly ATH Priyanka WLM (Apalo x Psophia LMA), owned by Linda and William Michaels. “These are the first Arabians the Michaels have ever bred. They are ecstatic,” says Lisa. “They are great partners – they breed dogs, so they get it.”
A. Decide what discipline you want to breed for. In
this age of specialization it’s just not realistic to think that I’m going to breed an English horse, for instance, and I’m okay with that! I am thrilled that my horses have gone on to become outstanding western, trail, hunter pleasure and now even dressage horses! Have an idea in your mind of the look and characteristics that you want to create, and find a mare or two that fit that look, both physically and on paper. There are no sure things in breeding, but I am confident in the integrity of my mares. I’ve chosen to breed them in ways that increase the chances for good outcomes. Some of the foals are more amazing than others, but they’re all very good quality, correct and have great temperaments.
Don’t be a follower. By this I mean, know what your mares need to reach as close to perfection as possible. I see so many people run to breed to a stallion because he wins a big prize and their friends are breeding to him. This does NOT mean he’s the right cross for your mare. Of course this can be done without an “Amber,” just make sure that your mares are bred to look like what it is you want to produce. And of course it takes discipline. I sold Forever Mi Dream to the Milams when she was a weanling. I consider myself a breeder, not a collector. I’ve watched a lot of people who breed them and keep them and all of a sudden they have 30 horses. I can’t do that. I want the breeding program to be manageable for me, and I want to do the very best for my horses every day. I also want to enjoy my life, enjoy my husband, and spend time with my mom. I am really careful about where my horses go. They have to go to great homes where they will be appreciated.
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// Show winners bred by Lisa Markley or in partnership with Lisa.
Q. You have been a regular participant/observer
AE Juliette (Magic Dream CAHR x A Class Act) 1996 Mare, Scottsdale second place fillies of 1995 and 1996 AOTH, South African Supreme National Reserve Champion Mare, as well as National Champion in performance. AE Magic Melody (Magic Dream CAHR x A Class Act) 1997 Mare, South African National Champion Mare. AE Wizard (Magic Dream CAHR x Fames Flower) 1997 Stallion, Scottsdale Reserve Champion Breeders Cup; exported to England Mastro Al Jamal (Selket Marque x Vivacious X) 2008 Stallion, Multiple Jordan Gold Champion Colt and Stallion, Multiple Israel Gold Champion Stallion Ambario (Aria Impresario x Psyches Amber Dream) 2011 Stallion, Scottsdale Reserve Champion Yearling Colt; U.S. National Top Ten Yearling Colt; Exported to Kuwait Psantana (Pstrategy x Sheeza Dream W) 2011 Gelding, Multiple Regional Championships in Halter and Hunter Pleasure as well as U.S. National Top Ten awards in both. Gioni (MPA Giovanni x Alester) 2009 Gelding, Multiple Top Tens in Scottsdale in halter as well as Regionals and Local Championships; Exported to Europe Forever Mi Dream (Ever After NA x Psyches Amber Dream) 2012 Mare, Scottsdale Signature Stallion Reserve Champion (out of 82 fillies), also she is the dam of many gorgeous foals including MultiNational Champion Antares RCF Pitonisa AS (Ever After NA x Psyches Amber Dream) 2013 Mare, Five-time National Champion, and one time Reserve National Champion, Scottsdale Champion, Regional Champion, World Cup Gold Champion Amani Al Shahania (Ever After NA x Psyches Amber Dream) 2014 Mare, Canadian National Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, MultiRegional Champion Filly Penelope LMA (Ever After NA x Psyches Amber Dream) 2016 Mare, Junior Champion Filly Melinas Dream LMA (Ever After NA x Psyches Amber Dream) 2016 Mare, Reserve Champion Junior Mare and dam of Evandro LMA (by EKS Alihandro) Scottsdale Signature Stallion Champion Yearling Colt Mi Maria LMA (QR Marc x Psyches Amber Dream) 2016 Mare, Scottsdale Reserve Champion Mare AOTH, Scottsdale Top Ten Three-Year-Old Mare, Scottsdale Reserve Champion Senior Mare AAOTH, Arabian National Breeder Finals Silver Champion Scottsdale Signature Stallion Yearling Filly ATH, Arabian National Breeder Finals Bronze Champion Scottsdale Signature Stallion, Two-Year-Old Filly ATH
at Scottsdale and the Nationals for many years. Please comment on the changes and trends in the breed that you have observed.
I think we are all doing a very good job of breeding — the quality continues to get better and better every year. The western horses are becoming even more beautiful. And I think that people are becoming friendlier with one another.
Q. Where do you think the future for the Arabian
horse lies? What is your fondest wish for the breed as a whole, and for an individual horse sold off your farm?
The future depends on all of us, we need to expose as many people to Arabians as possible, and not just to the show world. We must share the amazing personalities and all of the wonderful qualities that this breed has to offer. Where we live, we get people of all ages coming by, they stop and pet the horses, each one having their favorite. I always try to go down and talk with them and invite them to come see the new babies when they’re born, everyone loves that! My mares are all great with sharing their babies so people fall in love pretty quickly! My wish is that all of these foals that we bring into the world get registered and acknowledged, and are given the opportunity to grow up, and see what they want to become. And most of all, that they have a long life of someone loving them.
Psophia LMA (Padrons Psyche x Vivacious X) 2015 Mare, Silver Champion Breeders Finals Weanling Filly, Scottsdale Top Ten Yearling Filly, dam of Priyanka WLM Champion Breeders Club Yearling Filly ATH OUT OF LISA’S MARES:
Evandro LMA (EKS Alihandro x Melinas Dream LMA) 2021 World Cup Junior Colt 1 & 2 Years of Age ATH, 2020 Colt, SSS Champion Yearling Colt, Scottsdale Top Ten Junior Yearling Colt Priyanka WLM (Apalo x Psophia LMA), 2021 World Cup Junior Filly 1 & 2 Years of Age ATH, Gold Champion Breeders Cup Futurity, Top Ten Scottsdale Signature Stallion Auction Filly ATH Vincenzo GA (Da Vinci FM x Vivacious X) 2013 Stallion, U.S. and Canadian Champion, Reserve Champion and Top Tens, MultiNational Champion Hunter Pleasure Champion
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Lisa Markley discusses her eye for a good horse, the discipline required to remain true to one’s vision, and advice for small breeders, by D...
Published on May 5, 2021
Lisa Markley discusses her eye for a good horse, the discipline required to remain true to one’s vision, and advice for small breeders, by D...