Recently appeared a tendency for splitting the Polish population of Arabian horse into a show, race and endurance type. In certain countries, as France or the Arab Emirates, such a division became already a fact. Does it mean that Polish Arabians can`t be “bold and beautiful in one” any more? Herewith I`m going to prove that it is still possible and should be a desired direction of Polish breeding.
When Poland lost its independence and Arabian horses couldn`t be tested as war horses, they were bred for their beauty and refinement, what caused a significant degeneration of the population. Only the racing program elaborated in 1926 by Bogdan Ziętarski, the stud manager of the Prince Sanguszko, prevented its further decline. Thanks to that program, considering physiological identity of Arabian horses, differing them from English thoroughbreds, Polish population achieved an extremely high quality. In the pre-war Poland, except the State Stud at Janów, the majority of the Arabian horse population was privately owned. Nevertheless, in the decade 1927-1937, owing to a sophisticated mechanisms of distribution of prize money, the number of horses in race training increased four times.
A list of major show-winning horses, with the titles of Champions, Reserve Champions, Top Ten and Best in Show, since the very beginning of Arabian horse shows, i.e. from the sixties until the foaling year 2005, consisted of 403 heads (Table 1). From that group 76,18% were raced, comparing to the average indices for the whole Polish population, which in the most advantageous period (foaling years 1978-1997) amounted only 69,57%. Moreover, the average coefficient of success (Cs) per head for the show winners` group amounted 1,27, whereas the average value for the whole population has always been close to 1,00. So, they were not only more beautiful, but also more persistent than their peers!
Tab.1. A comparison of average values of coefficients of success and percentages of races` participants from the groups of champions according to the breeders
Number of horses
Including raced ones (heads and percent)
Average Cs per head
It shows that the ideas of Mr. Ziętarski were fulfilled by Janów Podlaski Stud, where the highest percentage of born progeny was raced and whose average value of Cs per head was relatively high, although a respective value for privately-bred horses was higher. The latter was, however, inflated by the coefficient of the Derby-winner Gafal (11,22) what influenced significantly a small group of private raced horses, whereas the results obtained by Janów were achieved for a big, representative sample. As far, as a proper test of use value of Polish Arabian horse population is concerned, much more important is the highest possible percent of raced progeny, ensuring at least a basic training and several starts for each horse, than a presence of a few outstanding racers in an age-group. It gives to Polish Arabians an advantage over horses with different genotypes.
In the most precious bloodlines of our breeding, if not in every generation, then at least in every second one, occur individuals distinguishing themselves with more than average look and race results. In subsequent age groups their younger descendants appear, even quite recently. As an example, let`s introduce two dam lines in Polish breeding, especially rich in champions:
3/15/7, O; 3,54
Some single examples: Elandra 1995 (Monogramm – Erlanda), a milky-white and highly refined mare, not only a show winner (Scottsdale Champion Mare, US National Reserve Champion Mare, World Top Ten) and a topseller of 2005 Janów Sale, but also a persistent racer, whose race career consisted of 2 seasons, 19 starts and 2 wins, with a coefficient of success amounting 2,02. Her peer, another Monogramm daughter, Gracja-Bis (out of Grenada), bred by Michał Bogajewicz, as a 2-y.o. won the Junior Championship and Best in Show of Warsaw Summer Show, put afterwards to the race training achieved a Cs = 2,00 and when put to stud – gave birth to Girlan-Bey, Junior Champion of Poland and World Reserve Champion! The most efficient Monogramm son in Poland was Ganges 1994 (out of the Oaks winner Garonna), Champion of Poland and US National Reserve Champion Stallion, whose coefficient of success achieved 3,00. Not much worse proved the colt Migrant 2000 (Emigrant – Mina), bred by Mr. & Mrs. Pietrzak, Junior Reserve Champion Stallion of private breeding at Białka, afterwards raced with Cs = 2,57.
In recent years, because of an unsecure situation of the Służewiec Racecourse, percentages of raced progeny decreased to a lower level than before the war. It is shown in the Table 2.
Tab.2. The percentages of born foals submitted to racing trials
The number of purebred broodmares
The number of born foals
The number of 3-year-olds in training (heads)
Percentages of 3-year-olds in training in relation to born foals (%)
Let`s hope that the recent agreement between the Polish Jockey-Club and the Tote will stabilize the situation, because shares of born progeny taking part in races for at least one season are the measure for testing of use value of the population. The more praise deserved such breeders as Janów Podlaski Stud who, despite everything, tried to test racing abilities of their get on the basis of Polish bloodlines. In the youngest generations colts and fillies appeared, successful as well in show-rings as in the racecourse. The Junior Champion Stallion at Białka, Prado 2005 (Ekstern – Pętla), bred by Janów, couldn`t be named “a poodle on leash”, because he ended his first racing season with a Cs = 1,73 and is prepared to be raced as a 4-year-old. His half-sister and a stablemate Cenoza 2005 (Ekstern – Celna) – Junior Champion Mare at the Janów Autumn Show 2006 – achieved a Cs = 1,39 as a 3-y.o. and is likely to improve that result. Also the filly Wilda 2004 from Michałów (Gazal Al Shaqab – Wilga) combined showiness (The Falborek International Show Junior Reserve Champion Mare) with racing efficiency (Cs = 1,58).
All horses mentioned above were bred rather for show successes, than for speed. They prove, however, that obtaining “bold and beautiful in one” in Polish breeding is quite possible, what significantly increases the market value of our Arabians.
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