I remember how emotional was the report of Mrs. Izabella Pawelec-Zawadzka from the Vilhelmsborg (Denmark) show in 2001. She came back transfixed by the looks of a bay, yearling colt, presented by the Al Shaqab Stud from Qatar. She said she got weak at knees when looking at him – she has never seen such a beautiful animal! Similarly impressed was Ferdinand Huemer, an experienced breeder and international judge, the owner of La Movida Stud and the President of ECAHO for two terms. Such a successful performance was a beginning of the European show career of Marwan Al Shaqab – now one of the most popular sires in the world.
He gained more and more successes so no wonder that in December 2001 he won the title of Junior World Champion Colt. That result was even more satisfying, when at the same time his sire Gazal Al Shaqab was claimed Senior World Champion Stallion. Seven years later Marwan
came back to Paris, to run for the title of Senior World Champion Stallion. And he achieved the goal, still looking as a breathtaking piece of art. Nowadays the semen of both Gazal and Marwan costs a fortune and the access to it is limited, as to a priceless medicine.
Years passed and another generation of grandget, or even a great-grandget of Gazal appeared in show arenas. Marwan was used for breeding very early, because Marieta Salas (Ses Planes) leased him to Mallorca as a 2-year-old. Between dozens of his sons and daughters from European and American countries some proved mediocre but, on the other hand, some won a world renown, as Marajj, Baanderos, Mardigras, Abha Palma and of course QR Marc.
He was born in the US, in 2005, bred by Vicki and Luis Doyle. The beginning of his show career was reserved but successful enough to arouse the curiosity of the breeders. His pedigree was as intriguing as the horse himself. Its male side was rich in the most renowned sires of the 20th Century, as Nazeer, Morafic, Shaikh Al Badi, Ruminaja Ali, Anaza El Farid, Gazal Al Shaqab and of course Marwan. He was inbred to Ruminaja Ali, the grandsire of his dam – a small, but
good-looking chestnut mare Swete Dreams. Such a cross nearly guaranteed a show success! Christine Jamar-Demeersseman spotted him and contributed to his import to Europe in 2008, by the Belgian breeder Paul Gheysens. One can`t guess for sure what was the main reason of the media fuss about him – was it his refinement or his record-setting price? Nevertheless, as soon as QR Marc put his hoof on the Continent, he became renowned from the very moment. On the way to Europe he took part in the Al Khalediah Show in Saudi-Arabia and won its Championship.
For the rest of the year he devoted himself mainly to his breeding duties, but already in December 2008 he made a great entrance, gaining the title of World Reserve Champion Stallion, being defeated only by his exceptional sire. Such a fierce but equalized struggle between those strong horse personalities was unofficially commented for a long time. Apart from his quality, also his perfectly elaborated publicity campaign contributed a lot to his popularity. In the last two years as much portions of his semen were sold as would be needed to inseminate more than 500 mares. Despite the high stud fee he became one of the most widely used producers in recent years. His owners did us a favor of making his semen available also in Poland.
Thanks God, the directors of our state studs have never been slaves to any trend, but knowing about his unique results made them decide to use QR Marc’s semen already in 2008. In 2009 15 foals by him were born in the state studs – 11 at Michałów and 4 at Janów Podlaski. It was a low number, but of an extreme high quality. During the spring inspections their long and well-shaped necks, expressive eyes and stylishness were noticed. The filly Palatina (out of Palmeta by Ecaho) was enchanting, the colt Pogrom (out of Pętla by Visbaden) – terrific, the filly Eferada (out of Efuzja by Emigrant) – very elegant. In fact, there occurred no inferior foals from those matings. Also at Michałów some nice colts were born, as the dry and refined Diaspor (out of Diaspora by Ganges) or well grown-up Cherubin (out of Chimera by Emigrant). Especially fillies were strikingly beautiful: the stylish Wieża Marc’a (out of Wieża Marzeń by Ekstern), well-developed and expressive Piacenza (out of Primawera by Emigrant) or – making a class in herself – Zigi Zana (out of Zagrobla by Monogramm).
Already at the Białka Junior Spring Show the yearlings by QR Marc were unbeaten. They captured championships both in colts and fillies. Pogrom, from Janów, proved incomparable, whereas his stablemate Palatina got the highest point score of the show, remaining unthreatened from winning her class to gaining the Champion title. The grey Zigi Zana, gaining a Reserve Championship at Białka, at Janów got the title of Polish National Junior Champion Filly. Successful in Aachen, for the time being reached the European Junior Reserve Champion Filly title at Moorsele, Belgium. Now let`s wait for her start in Paris! (Zigi Zana won the Top Ten Junior Fillies title as well as her stablemate Piacenza.)
We must admit that in his first breeding season in Poland QR Marc got excellent partners, well-proven as broodmares. Nevertheless, he fulfilled his producer`s tasks on a perfect level. Almost all his foals distinguish themselves with a plenty of refinement, good, long lines, an elegant movement and lack of markings. They showed no “human eyes”, bright eyelashes or depigmentations. His progeny is marked with long, thin and well-set necks, shapely heads with broad foreheads and small ears.
Of course, we must thoroughly follow the development of junior champions and avoid an excessive haste in evaluating the breeding potential of QR Marc. On the other hand, aren`t Palatinas, Pogroms and Zigi Zanas a sheer delight to look at? We shouldn’t be too cautious, neither too optimistic.
At Michałow Stud foals born in 2010 are growing. Some matings were repeated, several new mares were given a chance to meet the breeders` expectations. Certain private breeders may also take pride in QR Marc Progeny. Next year the results of the new crosses would be tested at Białka. Perhaps they would also try to catch up the world elite in the international shows. Or just the opposite – maybe the rest of the world would be forced to catch up with us? Who knows?