U.S. Nationals 2020: Halter and Performance Coverage / Stats

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N A T I O N A L S Tulsa, Oklahoma ¡ October 23, 2020 STORY


Morgan Moore

or the first time in the history of the Arabian Horse Association, the biggest question weighing on the minds of potential exhibitors in the days before October 23 was whether the U.S. National Championships would be held. With COVID cases on the rise and numerous international Arabian horse competitions cancellations, Arabian horse aficionados waited anxiously. Much to the relief of all involved, the show began without complication. Exhibitors, trainers, grooms, and owners worked hard to comply with the mask and social distancing rules so that the show could proceed. After a year of sporadic equine events and isolation, the show environment felt a bit foreign. Attendees cautiously greeted one another, yet there was excitement in the air. The record entries also reflected the enthusiasm of the Arabian horse community. Over 1900 horses were entered (nearly 500 up from 2019). The Arabian Horse


Association helped facilitate this surge by dropping the qualification requirements prior to the competition in the wake of unprecedented qualifying show cancellations across the country. For the first year ever, Performance Halter was added to the schedule. This class requires that the horse be 3 years of age or older and actively competing in an under-saddle class at the same competition. With $5,000 in Sweepstakes money at stake in each class, the competitors showed up, with the Purebred Arabian Performance Halter geldings class boasting 41 horses. The class was won by the 2017 gelding Jhavani DHA (TF Royal Shahbaz x Nevaeh DHA), owned by Deer Haven Arabians, who also claimed the titles of National Reserve Champion Canadian Futurity Gelding and a Top Ten finish in the Arabian Futurity Gelding class. Jhavani DHA also competed in the Futurity Western Pleasure class. The main ring breeding halter arena boasted exceptionally strong numbers with 19 beautiful mares in the Adult Amateur to Handle Mares class. The Amateur

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2020 U.S. NATIONALS Top left: Champion Senior Stallion FADI AL SHAQAB (Besson Carol x Abha Myra), owned by Al Shaqab, Qatar.

Champion Senior Mare PITONISA AS (Ever After NA x Psyches Amber Dream), owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, Doha, Qatar, and shown by Sandro Pinha.

mares class had eight horses in the top ten alone who had previously been named National Champion, Reserve National Champion, or Egyptian Event Gold Champion. The class was won by the dynamic, multi-National Champion Ghazala El Jamaal (Marwan Al Shaqab x Foxbriar Parysel), owned by Royal Arabians, who had also previously won a National Champion title in Australia. This year’s judges featured diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise. The result is that some traditionally “halter” judges evaluated performance horses and vice versa. With that said, some were return judges in all arenas. Specifically,

Unanimous Champion Junior Stallion *PRELUDIO OSB (Dominic M x Partyssima OSB), owned by Manny Vierra, Brentwood, California, and shown by Sandro Pinha. “*Preludio was bred by Olivia Strauch in Uruguay. I really liked that horse, and I liked his pedigree as well. So we made the deal,” says Manny Vierra of Valley Oak Arabians. “Handler Sandro Pinha has him dialed in. He showed Preludio as a two-year-old in Brazil, and he’s been bringing him along the right way. In some ways this Covid thing was a bit of a blessing – just slowed everything down. The U.S. Nationals was his second show in the U.S. – The first was the Midsummer Nationals where he was also unanimous Champion. “Shortly after his arrival in the U.S., we had an open house for him at Sandro’s. We sold 40 breedings to him that day. When I first laid eyes on him, I was really impressed. He has so much type, beautiful eyes, beautiful ear set, and tiny ears … so many things I think we’ve lost. And he is so tightly coupled. Short backed. Great legs. Great feet. That’s what we need to get back to. We started him under saddle to give him something to do and get his mind relaxed. He’s a really nice horse to be around. His temperament is just great. I hope that comes through in his get. We will have 25-35 foals on the ground this year, including eight of my own.”

the judging panel for halter welcomed back Leslie Connor who had the opportunity to judge RH Triana as a young horse to U.S. National Champion. This year, Leslie Connor had the opportunity to judge two of her daughters who claimed U.S. National Championship titles: U.S. National Reserve Champion Senior Mare Unforgettable J (by MPA Giovanni), owned by Jerland Arabians, and U.S. National Champion Futurity Filly Aria Tresor (by Conquest BR), owned by ISRA Arabians.

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2020 U.S. NATIONALS Top left: Champion Junior Gelding MB QUITO (Padrons Psyche x Abha Qalams), owned by Al Shaqab, Qatar, and shown by Michael Byatt. Top right: Reserve Champion Junior Colt DUCATI CFA (Boomerang NA x DM Althea by RHR Marcedes), owned by Buddy Salisbury, Westminster, Maryland, and shown by Ted Carson. Middle left: Champion Two-Year-Old Colt RHAN AL SHAHANIA (Marwan Al Shaqab x Jwaaher Al Shahania), owned by Al Shahania, Qatar, and shown by Michael Byatt. Bottom right: Champion Futurity Filly ARIA TRESOR (Conquest BR x RH Triana), owned by Kris and Ashley Glover, and shown by Andy Sellman. Bottom left: Reserve Champion Half-Arabian Two-Year-Old Colt ESQ COLOR THYME (Xample Thyme SA x Color Cool Too), owned by Donna Knight, Pickton, Texas, and shown by Tony Steiner.

The famous triplets of Kyrie Arabians returned to compete for national Champion honors. These three horses made headlines from birth as they were the result of a successful ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) procedure after their dam, Canadian National Champion Half-Arabian mare Kyrie Elleison, passed away. The three foals are all sired by National Champion Vitorio TO and captured an incredible series of titles. Big Man In Town won Champion HA/AA Gelding In-Hand Stock/ Hunter AAOTH, Champion HA/AA Futurity Gelding In-Hand, and Canadian Champion HA/AA Futurity Gelding. Epona Elleison won Champion HA/AA Mare Breeding Stock/Hunter AAOTH, Canadian Champion HA/AA Futurity Filly, and Champion HA/AA Futurity Filly Champion. Elle Vitorina won Champion HA/AA Mare Breeding Saddle Pleasure Three and Over, Champion HA/AA Futurity Filly Reserve, and Canadian Top Ten HA/AA Futurity Filly. Kyrie Arabians owners Lisa Gaudio and James Kazanjian also celebrated wins with HA/AA Champion Yearling Colt/Gelding

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National Champion Canadian Futurity Colt AAOTH JR FRANCOIS (Kavalle MI x JR Francesca), owned by Gary Kehl, Scottsdale, Arizona. “I am happy and proud to have shown GRK Farm’s very first National Champion halter horse, as I have for a few of my other clients. Thanks for the opportunity Mr. Gary Kehl. JR Francois is one of a kind!” — Lucho Guimaraes National Champion Breeders Sweepstakes Performance Halter Stallion AAOTH KHAL DRAGO J (Khadraj x Khassandra J), owned by Ali Brady. “U.S. Nationals 2020 was a first show for Khal Drago J as well as a first Nationals for overseas handler Matthew Winberry! We couldn’t be more elated to have earned the honors of National Champion with this special horse in the first year ever of the Performance Halter!” — owner Ali Brady.

Inexxess (Exxalt x Beni TG) and National Champion Performance Halter Mare PA Mikkella (PA Kid Khan x Milleah). And their yearling filly OFW Tallulah Skye (Exxalt x Lulu Marajj) was named U.S. National Top Ten Yearling Filly and PA Mikkella earned a Top Ten in the competitive AAOTH Mares class. This small farm holds the honor of breeding more National Champions at the 2020 U.S. Nationals show than any other breeder. One of the most anticipated classes of this year’s show was the Arabian Park Championship which teased a showdown

between legendary National Champions Inception (IXL Noble Express x Bonita Afire) owned by Maroon Fire Arabians, Black Daniels (IXL Noble Express x Victoria Bay) owned by Robert Bick, and Noble Soldier (IXL Noble Express x Sweet Summer Fire) owned by Mary and Jim Hagale. The class was won unanimously by the unbeaten phenom Inception ridden by Joel Kiesner. Black Daniels claimed the National Reserve Champion spot with Rob Bick in the irons. The Arabian English Pleasure open class featured an equally powerful lineup with

The famous triplets of Kyrie Arabians all sired by Vitorio TO and out of the HalfArabian mare Kyrie Elleison. Champion Half-Arabian Futurity Filly, Champion Canadian Half-Arabian Futurity Filly, and Champion Half-Arabian Mare Stock/Hunter Type AAOTH EPONA ELLEISON, Champion Half-Arabian Saddle/Pleasure Type Three and Over and Reserve Champion Half-Arabian Futurity Filly ELLE VITORINA, and Champion Half-Arabian Gelding Stock/Hunter Type AAOTH, Champion Half-Arabian Futurity Gelding, and Champion Canadian Half-Arabian Futurity Gelding BIG MAN IN TOWN, all bred and owned by Lisa Gaudio and Jimmy Kazanjian, West Grove, Pennsylvania.

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2020 U.S. NATIONALS Top left: Reserve Champion Western Pleasure Junior Horse ANADALAY J (Khaja J x Khassandra J), owned by Dennis and Linda Clark Limited Family Partnership, Argyle, Texas, and shown by Steven Scoggins.

the ever-beautiful mare Heirs Noble Love (Afires Heir x Noble Aphroditie) (now a nine-time National Champion), multi-Reserve National Champion stallion Life InThe Fazt Lane (Vegaz x River Dance NA), 17-yearold veteran and multi-National Champion stallion Vegaz (Apollopalooza x SMS Forever Bay), and multi-National Champion stallion VJ Royal Heir (Afires Heir x MA Ghazta Trot). The class brought packed (albeit, sociallydistanced) stands, and the excitement vibrated throughout the grounds. In the end, the exquisite Heirs Noble Love edged out her male counterparts to win unanimous National Champion with Life InThe Fazt Lane earning National Reserve Champion. Vegaz

and VJ Royal Heir finished top ten in the competitive class. Kola J (Khaja J x Jer Koko) returned to the ring in the open Arabian Western Pleasure after his 2019 unanimous win in the Arabian Western Pleasure Junior Horse. He was crowned unanimous National Champion with Stanley White III aboard his first year out in the bridle after a stellar 2020 show season, where he also earned Mid-Summer National Reserve Champion Western Pleasure and Scottsdale Champion Western Pleasure. In the working western divisions, familiar horse and human faces dotted the rose lineups with Legacy Fire Dammage (Flame Ison x CSP Mamazing) claiming the highest

Top right: Champion Western Trail and Champion Trail AATR Select WA MIDNIGHT MARQUIS (Midnight Magnum x Mi Black Duchess), on the left, owned by Thomas and Kay Wright, Newcastle, Wyoming, and shown by Mignon Stetman and, on the right, Champion Trail AATR Select, Reserve Champion Half-Arabian English Trail AAOTR, Reserve Champion Western Trail AAOTR, and Reserve Champion Half-Arabian Western Trail WGA IMA COPY KATNIC (High Roller NIC x Zee Kit Kat), owned by Sandra Augustine, Elizabeth, Colorado, and shown by Sandra Augustine and Jim Hitt. Bottom left: Reserve Champion Western Trail Junior Horse M GETTIN ER DUN (SVS Fornaio x Otoes Gold In Motion), owned by Marcia Epstein, Elizabeth, Colorado, and shown by Jim Hitt. Bottom right: Champion Half-Arabian Reining Rookie Primetime NonPro AATR RGD FANCY LIERJETT (Fancy Be Me x Lierette), owned and shown by Karen Gander, Englewood, Colorado.

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Top left: Champion Reining Intermediate and Champion Ranch Horse Riding LIL BIT O BUCKSHOT (Scimaron x AQR Sonatina), owned by Carol Roberts, Billing, Montana, and shown by Anita Dublin. Top right: Champion Half-Arabian Ranch Horse Riding and Reserve Champion Half-Arabian Reining Intermediate Open RIO BRAVERA O (Rio Bandera x BSF Fiona), owned by Carol and Michelle Roberts, Billings, Montana, and shown by Anita Dublin. Bottom: Reserve Champion Herd Work ALLI FARYDA CCA (Thee Halima B x FM Khaleen), owned by Brynn Marie McDonald, Billings, Montana, and shown by John Dublin. Bottom: Reserve Champion Herd Work Futurity KOPPERS MAJIC MIKE (Kodys Kopper Flame x DWFS Imajica), owned by Deni Grisette, Van, Texas, and shown by Riley Dublin.

score of the show in trail on the incredibly complex course designed by Tim Kimura known as the “Man of Trail.� In the reining arena, Crystal McNutt claimed both the on Rumour Haz It (Another Hero x JB Dos Jalapenas) and the National Champion title on Arezzona Bound (Arezzo NL x Angelina D). The Powell family dominated the HA/AA Reining Championship with SS A Noble Star (Starlights Starbright x Al Aleen) with Skylar Powell earning Reserve and fan-favorite Whoa Dam It (Okie Paul Quixote x GJ Lady Topaz) earning the National Champion title with Colby Powell. Royal Balenciaga (x Bella Victoria MP), the

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first-born foal of multi-National Champion FVF Bucarrdi, made waves at the show in the Hunter Pleasure division by winning the AHPA $75,000 Futurity with Justin Cowden and also the Arabian Hunter Pleasure AAOTR 60 & Over Class with owner/rider Thomas Hansen. 2020 was certainly a year for the history books from a global perspective. The U.S. National Championships, however, will be remembered for also being historic from a competition quality perspective. With any luck, 2021 will attract record numbers again to our next U.S. National Championship show set to be held in Tulsa,


Top left: Champion Country English Pleasure and Reserve Champion Country Pleasure Driving AFFLICTION (Mamage x PSI Love U), owned by Amazing Horse Woman, LLC, Somis, California. Shown by Jim Lowe. Top right: Reserve Champion English Pleasure LIFE INTHE FAZT LANE (Vegaz x River Dance NA), owned by Amazing Horse Woman, LLC, Somis, California, and ridden by Jim Lowe. Middle left: Champion HalfArabian Show Hack PHI BETA KAPPAH (Phi Slama Jama x BRA Quintessence), owned by Amazing Horse Woman, LLC, Somis, California. Shown by Jim Lowe. MIDDLE RIGHT: Top Ten

HalfArabian Pleasure Drivng Open AAOTD SF STONEWOODS N COOK (SF Specs Shocwave x Doubletrees Lady of Intrigue) owned by Amazing Horse Woman, LLC, Somis, California, and driven by Nancy O’Reilly.

Champion Park Horse INCEPTION (IXL Noble Express x Bonita Afire by Afire Bey V), 2013 stallion, bred and owned by Maroon Fire Arabians, Castle Rock, Colorado.

Champion English Pleasure Futurity JIMENY CRICKET (SF Aftershoc x Madison Brown), owned by Starline Arabians, LLC, Rancho Santa Fe, California, and shown by Jim Lowe.

Champion English Pleasure Futurity SHF ROSEMERRY (SF Aftershoc x Merry Magnifire), owned by Tom and Elizabeth Moore, Mound, Minnesota, and shown by Laura Rodel.

For more results go to: www.arabianhorseworld.com

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Oklahoma, next October. If anything, exhibitors walked away from the competition with a deeper level of gratitude for the opportunity to exhibit Arabian horses. In a year where so many anticipated opportunities were removed, the Arabian horse community exhibited incredible humility and sportsmanship which enabled the 2020 championships to be a resounding success. At the end of the day, however, any gathering can expose one to COVID. Every exhibitor took a calculated risk to participate in the 2020 U.S. National Championships. So

why the elation around the opportunity to compete with the very present risk? For me, as an amateur exhibitor/owner in trail and halter this year, the opportunity to present my horses grants me a few things that riding/handling them at the training barn does not: the opportunity to enjoy my horses unencumbered by the distance between myself and my trainers, the opportunity to present the partnership I have developed with my horse over time, and the chance to surround myself with the inspiration that comes from being with those who share this passion for an extended period of time. In a world where tangible interaction is diminishing, it offers unparalleled connections to like minds – both equine and human. Of course, the trophies are a goal, but achieving the Top Tens for me pales in comparison to the experience.

HA TOSKCAN SUN (Baske Afire x Matoska) with Jim Stachowski. “Beauty, talent, trainability, and pedigree — HA Toskcan Sun is the ‘complete package,’” says breeder Michelle Harris, and owners Scott Harris and Helen Lacey Reed. “His show record and awards include unanimous U.S. National Champion English Pleasure Junior Horse, U.S. National Reserve Champion English Pleasure in three consecutive years, Horse of the Year, English Pleasure Horse of the Year, and Driving Horse of the Year. “The most exciting, however, is his contribution to siring offspring with his characteristics. Toskcan was bred with the dream of recreating my aunt’s breeding program, which included Mi Toska, Toskcan’s grandam and the winningest *Bask daughter. Toskcan’s pedigree has four generations of dams and sires of U.S. National Champions or sires or producers of U.S. National Champions. “Two of the three foals in his first foal crop are U.S. National Champions. The 2020 U.S. Nationals featured his fourth foal crop old enough to show, and Toskcan earned the distinction of the second place sire on Arabian Horse World’s Leading Sires of Purebred Performance, and Purebred Halter and Performance Combined charts. “HA Toskcan Sun’s future is bright and we look forward the bright futures of his offspring.”

See all Leading U.S Nationals Sire Charts on our website.

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