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Pinga. Complicated fates with no happy ending

Breeding

Pinga. Complicated fates with no happy ending

Pinga (Gazal Al Shaqab - Pilar by Fawor), by Javan
Pinga (Gazal Al Shaqab - Pilar by Fawor), by Javan

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After Pianosa and the iconic Pianissima, Polish breeding prematurely lost another mare from Janów’s well-known and respected “P” line. On March 30th, 2021, Pinga (Gazal Al Shaqab – Pilar / Fawor), who was on lease at the American Cedar Ridge Arabians stud, passed away. She was 17 years old, older than her cousins, but it would still be hard to consider her an age-old matron. She left a feeling of regret among admirers of the Arabian breed, who considered Pinga to be the leading ambassador of Janów Podlaski in recent years.

Good genes

The Szamrajówka family, descended from Biała Cerkiew of the count Branicki family, is undoubtedly one of the most flexible Polish dam lines. Its history and the achievements of its representatives, starting with Piewica, thanks to which the blood of Szamrajówka returned to Poland after World War II, through Pierzga, Pentoza, the charismatic multi-champion Pilarka, her daughter Pipi and granddaughter – the still present at Janów Palmeta, dam of Pinga’s mother Pilar’s and, of course, Pianosa and Pianissima, as well as many other mares and stallions, have been described in many articles and books. What was the position of bay Pinga in this long line of outstanding Arabian horses?

Her mother, the grey Pilar (Fawor – Pipi / Banat), currently owned by Al Shaqab stud, where Pinga’s sire Gazal Al Shaqab also comes from, was born by the Bug River in 1996. As a yearling she became Polish Junior Champion Mare. In 2010 she was exported to Qatar for the record sum of that auction – 240 thousand euro. In Poland she left not only Pinga, born in 2004, the 2005 Polish Junior Champion Mare and freshly decorated Senior Champion Mare, but also Pilarosa (by Al Adeed Al Shaqab), sold a few years later, in 2018, to the Czech Republic, for 133 thousand euro. Two of her other daughters, Pieta (by Gazal Al Shaqab) and Pinta (by Ekstern), left Poland earlier – they were purchased by Shirley Watts (Halsdon Arabians): the first of them in 2007 for 300,000 euro, the second in 2009 for half a million. Pilar gave her new owners seven produce (also by way of embryo transfer). However, not only fertility – before leaving, she gave birth to ten foals – turned out to be her advantage, but most of all the fact that she passed on type, charisma and spectacular movement to her offspring.

Pilar had someone to inherit good genes from. Her mother Pipi by Banat, daughter of the phenomenal Pilarka by Palas, European and World Champion, is also the mother of Pilar’s brother and sister: the stallion Pilot and the mare Pilica, dam of Palmeta by Ecaho, who today, after the departure of Pinga, holds, nomen omen, the palm of priority in the Janów herd. So it was not a coincidence, but an extremely successful mating. In turn for Pilar a particularly valuable partner turned out to be the Qatari stallion Gazal Al Shaqab. The result of this marriage was not only Pinga, but also other horses whose names are widely known, such as the above-mentioned Pieta or Pomian, used in Janów Podlaski.

Gazal Al Shaqab himself, whose pedigree was harmoniously combined with Egyptian, American and – through his mother Kajora – Polish blood, and who, together with his son Marwan Al Shaqab and his stable mate Al Adeed Al Shaqab, built the position of his maternal stud in the world, is an epochal sire in the latest history of Polish breeding, father of the unforgettable Pianissima or the wonderful Emandoria. Polish “Gazals” invariably enjoyed success with buyers and over the years not only brought considerable income to Polish breeding, but are also counted among the most valuable dams today.

Pinga during the lease to Al Jawza Stud in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by Nawaf Aljohani
Pinga during the lease to Al Jawza Stud in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by Nawaf Aljohani

Storming the shows

Pinga stood out from the very beginning, as evidenced by the titles of Polish Junior Champion Mare and Best in Show, which she won as a yearling, after the “start-up” at the shows in Bełżyce and Falbork, where she also triumphed. In Janów, during her class performance, she received an astronomically high final score of 96.33 points from the judges, including nine maximum marks for type, head and neck and movement. She drew attention especially with a sweeping trot with the suspension phase, which is a favorite thing of the Arabian breed fans. The head is not as exotic as that of her cousin Pianissima, but shapely, dry, with a large, dark eye, a long, nicely set neck and, it is worth noting, a perfect body – this is how we will remember Pinga. “Arabian Horse World” (No. 12/2005) wrote the following about her performance in Janów in 2005, when she charmed the judges and the audience: „Again the daughters of Gazal Al Shaqab dominated the competition, with three from Michalow and a nockout from Janow Podlaski scoring top honors. The big story of the show was the star of section B – the new Polish princess, Pinga. Closely bred to the 2004 international showring sensation Pianissima, Pinga is a near look-alike daughter of Gazal tracing tail female to the immortal Pilarka. Pinga could not have looked better on show day, and was shown to perfection by Janow Podlaski’s lead presenter Jan Trela. Her tail was flagged from the moment she hit the ring, accentuating her exceptional topline. Nostrils flared, she pranced in front of the judges for her presentation, exuding charm. When asked to trot off, Pinga proved to be even more formidable than Pianissima, covering ground with incredible power, lightness, cadence, and animation the entire circumference of the ring (…) Although not as complete or harmonious as her elder counterpart Pianissima, Pinga excels in length of neck, and athletic ability, making her a definite contender for top honors the world over as she matures”. This has come true. And a few years later, in 2010, observers were not less enthusiastic when Pinga appeared in Janów in order to win the laurels of the Polish National Championship as a senior. The same “Arabian Horse World” was delighted (No. 10/2010) that the 4-6 year old mares class turned into a “welcome home party” for Pinga, who had just returned from the USA a few weeks earlier. Her final score was impressive again: 93.67 points. The then president of PAHBA, Izabella Pawelec-Zawadzka, commented: “Pinga’s performance will remain, at least in my memory, an unforgettable, breathtaking experience. And this is largely thanks to Jan Trela. From the moment this couple entered the arena, time has seemed to have stopped. There was an incredible bond and a truly magical contact between man and the horse. It is difficult to express this electrifying atmosphere in words, but one thing is certain: the mare was ready to do anything for her human” (“Araby” No. 3/2010).

Pinga being shown at All Nations Cup 2015 in Aachen, by Joelle Müller Photography
Pinga being shown at All Nations Cup 2015 in Aachen, by Joelle Müller Photography

Between the National Championships that were so successful for Pinga, the Polish star also claimed (apart from victories in regional shows) the Senior Mare Reserve Championship in Scottsdale and the Top Ten Senior Mares title in Las Vegas in 2010. She was then leased by Frank & Frank Partners, founded by Frank Hennessey (Hennesssey Arabian LLC) and Frank Chisholm (Palmetto Arabians). According to the information we have found, the lease contract, brokered by Jerzy “George” Zbyszewski, provided for 50,000 dollars a year, four embryos for Americans and insurance for the amount of 500,000 USD. Greg Gallun prepared Pinga for competitions in the USA. However, it was not in the USA that she received her greatest honors, but in Europe.

Two years later, Pinga won the European Championships (Moorsele 2012) and the World Championships. “I still see Gianmarco Aragno standing in the middle of the arena and his tears falling when he looked at Pinga” – recalled her triumph in Paris Marek Trela, the then head of Janów Podlaski Stud (“Araby Magazine” No 1-2 / 2014). “There are groups of people that visit the stud who have nothing to do with horses, and they always gather close to horses such as Pinga, Pianissima and Palmeta,” he also said. – Even for laymen, the beauty, Arabian type and charisma of these horses are captivating. This is something universal. Beauty seems to be universal.” In 2015, Pinga, then on lease to Al Jawza Stud, was awarded the Reserve Championship in Aachen and the Platinum Champion Mare medal in Paris. At that point in her life Pinga was trained by Glenn Schoukens. “I’m honored to have been part of her life”, he tells us. “She was great fun to show and a sweetheart to have in the barn”. In January 2016, also in the colors of the Saudi lessee, Pinga won the PSAIAHF championship in Riyadh.

During her second stay in the USA she was also to be shown under the supervision of trainer David Boggs. She made only one appearance, on February 19th, 2021 in Scottsdale, finishing third in her class. Soon after, the fatal colic put an end to dreams of show successes for Cedar Ridge Arabians.

Pinga during the PSAIAHF 2016 in the KSA, Gold Medal Senior Mare, after winning her class with 93,7 points, by Mohammed Abu Haimed
Pinga during the PSAIAHF 2016 in the KSA, Gold Medal Senior Mare, after winning her class with 93,7 points, by Mohammed Abu Haimed

Where is Pinga, or media storm number 1

The Saudi stud farm Al Jawza, which leased Pinga in 2015 (the lease amount for the year was 180 thousand euro; the mare was insured for 500 thousand euro), led her to the above-mentioned successes in Paris (platinum) and Riyadh (gold). Nevertheless, that stage of Pinga’s career became a pretext for unprecedented hysteria, and as a result of a campaign, both in social and traditional media, against the participants of this venture under the slogan “Where is Pinga?”. Information about the alleged disappearance of the mare was given, in an almost psychotic atmosphere, by, among others: “Świat Koni” (April 15, 2016), “Gazeta Wyborcza” (April 19, 2016), “Fakt” (April 19, 2016), Onet website (April 21, 2016), “Dziennik Wschodni” (April 21, 2016). The mailbox of Al Jawza breeders was flooded with aggressive emails from Poland, and the intermediary between Janów and the Saudi client, Mateusz Leniewicz-Jaworski, became the object of an extremely disgusting hatred. Absurd accusations were made against him, and the scale of the hatred poured out on him was shocking even for the low standards of social media. Meanwhile, the mare soon returned home safe and sound. From the perspective of several years, it should be assessed that this media attack was aimed at starting a political row after the dismissal of three people in February 2016: Marek Trela from the position of the president of Janów Podlaski Stud, Jerzy Białobok from the position of the president of Michałów Stud and Anna Stojanowska, an official at the Agricultural Property Agency, supervising of state studs. This is how Mateusz Leniewicz-Jaworski recollects this situation today: “The owners of Al Jawza stud trusted me and entrusted me with negotiating the lease of Pinga. The contract was signed during the World Championships in Paris in November 2014. The amount of the lease was high, and the stud in Janów, which was in a difficult financial situation, obtained concrete help in closing its annual balance sheet. It is hard to hide that in 2014 the lease saved the financial result of Janów Podlaski Stud, for which Marek Trela thanked me. It was without a doubt the most successful lease of this mare: platinum in Paris, silver in Aachen, PSAIAHF gold in Saudi Arabia, silver in the A-class show in Qatar. Pinga returned to Janów in great shape and condition, with a delay of less than three months, caused by the quarantine and canceled flight, which forced her to quarantine again. The international scandal was caused by sensationalists associated with Anna Stojanowska and the dismissed presidents. To this day, it gives me a lot to think about. Conclusion? It’s not the horses that count for them”.

Pinga during the Qatar International Arabian Horse A Show in 2016
Pinga during the Qatar International Arabian Horse A Show in 2016, by Mohamed Al Naif

The last trip

In 2019, during the Winter Auction at Służewiec, Warsaw, the lease of Pinga was offered for the first (and last) time to the public. Then the sum of 40 thousand euro for the year of the lease, with the possibility of taking two embryos, one for the lessee, one for the owner, i.e. Janów Podlaski. The winner of the auction remained anonymous. Meanwhile, however, after more than half a year, on June 8th, 2020, Cedar Ridge Arabians (Minnesota), owned by Lara Ames, the owner of “Arabian Horse Times”, announced that it would lease Pinga. Lara Ames has a particularly emotional attitude towards Polish horses. It was she who bought Perfirka in 2014 (paying EUR 220,000), she also leased her daughter Perfinka, which was sold in 2020, after the end of the lease agreement, for a record amount of 1,250,000. euro to Saudi Arabia, to Alrajhiat Stud. Cedar Ridge lost the bid then, but welcomed Pinga, who was to remain in their care, at the Midwest Station II training facility until January 2022. Unfortunately, unexpected complications after the mare’s surgery due to a torsion of the intestines caused that Pinga is no longer with us.

Pinga during the World Championship 2015 in Paris, by Joelle Müller Photography
Pinga during the World Championship 2015 in Paris, by Joelle Müller Photography

Lara Ames told polskiearaby.com: „We loved our Polish horses. On our last family trip with my dad, we fell in love with Perfirka and Pinga. We purchased Perfirka in the auction that year. She is the love of our life and family. We will never sell her or an embryo. That is what us lead us to leasing Perfinka as my dad loved Perfirka so much that he wanted to get her daughter. We have since had two babies out of her that I will share the video of and the photo of Perfirka and her foal in the pasture. When it was time for Perfinka to go back, they approached us, not us approaching them to lease Pinga. Because of our love for her on our first visit we did. It was not about a dollar, but it was about trying to get some babies out of her to carry on her legacy. Our time with her was very short. But in that time my mother and her developed a special bond. Pinga, Perfirka, and Perfinka will always hold a special place in our heart. We are proud and honored to be a part of their life”.

The tragic development of events devastated the breeder: „I have cried tears for the last week everyday about, then when the accusations came in yesterday and I was devastated. I love all of my horses. I am not perfect, but I think if you asked anyone in the United States they would say my family tries to do a lot for the breed and love of the horse. I am devastated, but my love for Pinga will never change”.

Pinga pictured during her lease do Cedar Ridge Arabians in USA, by Rosie
Pinga pictured during her lease do Cedar Ridge Arabians in USA, by Rosie

The “Bloody Chapter”, i.e. media storm number two

In the quoted statement, Lara Ames referred to the storm that broke out in social media after the news of Pinga’s death. There was a fierce discussion on the Facebook of polskiearaby.com about what were the reasons for sending the mare on another lease and whether she was in good hands. At the same time, on the “Reinstate Anna Stojanowska, Jerzy Białobok & Marek Trela” profile, you could read a post about the “bloody chapter” in history (which we will come back to in a moment). An opposition member of parliament Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska asked on Twitter: “She left, although she could give valuable foals in Janów. What sum is the contract for? Was there consent to flush the embryos? We will not give up with Dorota Niedziela. “

When asked by polskiearaby.com about the contract, the Janów stud replied that the mare was leased “on market terms”. We can therefore assume that the offer was similar to the one announced during the winter auction in 2019 and amounted to 40 thousand euro per year (I wrote about the fact that it was a sum grossly lower than the amount for which Pinga was leased by Al Jawza stud in my report from Służewiec). It does not take a complicated investigation to conclude that Cedar Ridge Arabians’ lease fee was not more than 80,000 euro. We remember that the lease contract contained a clause regarding the collection of two embryos per year, including one for Janów Podlaski. Therefore, the one-and-a-half-year contract could provide for the right to flush out three embryos, and one would still be for Janów. The mare was insured – according to the information reached by the portal – for the amount of 300,000 euro. According to the stud’s statement, the money will be transferred to the Janów Podlaski Stud account.

Pinga shown by Glenn Schoukens, by Andre Shiwa
Pinga shown by Glenn Schoukens, by Andre Shiwa

Who brokered the transaction? Here is what the stud office in Janów reported to the portal: “The lease transaction for Pinga was attended by Mrs. Anna Stojanowska on the part of the Janów Podlaski Stud and Mr. Gerald Kurtz, who coordinated the lease of the mare”. However, Anna Stojanowska strongly denies her participation. “I have no idea why someone from the Janów Podlaski Stud pointed me as the person responsible for the lease of Pinga. I had neither the authority nor the time to do so, ”she wrote in response to a question addressed to her on this matter. “Pinga was leased during the Winter Auction at the Racecourse in December 2019 and it happened on the initiative and as a result of the activities of Grzegorz Czochański, who was then the President of Janów Podlaski Stud. It was one of the strangest auctions I’ve ever seen in my life. The mare did not even reach the Racecourse then, apparently due to her very bad condition. The lease was auctioned in front of the people and the cameras by an “absent” client. “She further declares: “When I came to Janów in mid-April 2020, after more than four years of absence from the stud as a horse breeding advisor, I was only told that Pinga was going to be leased and that the contract negotiated by Mr. Czochański during the Winter Auction was being clarified. The recipient waited until the mare would foal and it was possible to wean the foal and transport the mare to the USA. So it happened. The foal was weaned right after the National Championships in August 2020 and the mare left after a few days ”. Then he concludes: “In my opinion the lease of Pinga was a mistake from every point of view: the welfare of the mare, the stud’s image, marketing and many others. And I did not hide my opinion. “The Janów stud, in turn, claims as follows: “The advisor at the time of signing the contract was Ms Anna Stojanowska, who performed the service under an agency contract”. We also know that Lara Ames received a proposal for Pinga when the lease of Perfinka was about to end, so she did not participate in the 2019 Służewiec auction, as well as the fact that Pinga arrived in the USA on August 5th (i.e. before the Pride of Poland auction, which took place August 9th). The head of the Janów Podlaski Stud during the events described here was Marek Gawlik and it was he who signed the lease agreement for Pinga.

Pinga, silver medal senior mares at All Nations Cup 2015 in Aachen, by archive
Pinga, silver medal senior mares at All Nations Cup 2015 in Aachen, photo: archive

At the request to refer to the post published on Twitter by Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, Anna Stojanowska replies: “The Members of Parliament did not contact me about Pinga. Anyway, there is nothing more than what I have written at the moment that I could say about it. Except for one thing, colic causes horses to die, whether they’re are of financial or purely emotional value.” So it turns out that – although it is no secret to anyone that both of the above-mentioned MPs are in constant contact with Anna Stojanowska (they were among others at a show co-organized by her in Michałowice) – in this case they did not ask her about their doubts. To the above-quoted comment posted on the fanpage “Reinstate Anna Stojanowska …”, the former advisor of Janów said: “I do not answer for entries on” Reinstate… “. Moreover, she stated: “Regardless of what I write in this answer, your portal will make me a “bloody murderer”. Meanwhile, it is on the fanpage, for which Anna Stojanowska, as she says, is not responsible, there is the afore mentioned post: “Mr. Czochański, Mr. Chalimoniuk, KOWR and Minister Ardanowski have today added a bloody chapter to the history of their activity in the studs”. This type of poetics is actually used, but just elsewhere, namely by the completely unknown to Anna Stojanowska, Facebook administrator, Irena Cieślak.

Pinga photographed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by Mohammed Abu Haimed
Pinga photographed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by Mohammed Abu Haimed

Let us also add that Pinga is not the first horse to die while on lease (it also happened that horses returned in poor health condition, for example, Wieża Mocy, which was diagnosed with crushed spinous processes of the spine). Let us remind you that in 2015 the sire of Perfinka, Esparto, expected to be Ekstern’s successor in Polish breeding, was euthanized at the age of 13 during his stay at Ismer Stud (Germany). Despite the vets’ efforts it was impossible to save him. As admitted by the then boss of Michałów, Jerzy Białobok, no other stallion appeared that could take over Ekstern’s duties; the greater the loss was the premature death of his son Esparto. However, no one used this fact for political purposes (incidentally, the lease fee was only EUR 7,500; the stallion was insured for EUR 200,000 and compensation in this amount was paid to Michałów Stud). The fate of Pinga was different, as she got into politics twice – the second time her death became a pretext for a political brawl. However, in a few years, when emotions subside, we will primarily remember her contribution to breeding.

Pinga podczas PSAIAHF 2016, złoty medal czempionatu klaczy starszych, po wygranej klasie z wynikiem 93,7 pkt, fot. Mohammed Abu Haimed
Pinga during the PSAIAHF 2016 in the KSA, Gold Medal Senior Mare, after winning her class with 93,7 points, by Mohammed Abu Haimed

Mother of dams

As indicated by prof. Krystyna Chmiel, Pinga’s greatest merit is that she was the mother of dams. “Her breeding potential has been used,” she says. “And her offspring have far more virtues than just being descended from a great star. In this case, you can look not only at the paper, but also at the horse.”

Pinga produced a total of 13 offspring (some of them by embryo transfer): seven stallions and six mares. We learned from the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for breeding, Tomasz Chalimoniuk, that two embryos were collected from her in the USA. For now, however, it is not known whether foals will be obtained from both.

According to prof. Chmiel, Pinga best combined with the stallion Eden C. She passed on excellent movement to her offspring above all. Particularly noteworthy are Piniata, Paterna and Petula, who made themselves known as great performers at shows and promising brood mares. About Piniata prof. Chmiel has the highest praise: “Her movement and topline – one of the best I have ever seen.” Born in 2011, Piniata, daughter of Eden C, in 2015 followed in the footsteps of her mother, winning the title of the Polish National Senior Champion Mare, and then the Best in Show title. First she gave her home stud four stallions; however, in 2021 she became the mother of a filly by El Omari. Hopefully there is a long breeding career ahead of her. Her full sister Paterna is the Reserve Champion Mare from Białka from 2013 and the Reserve Champion Mare from Janów Podlaski (2014). Today she is the mother of one stallion and the promising Paradnica by Pomian, born in 2018, as well as a filly by Equator from 2020. In turn, Petula (by Kahil Al Shaqab) placed in the top five of the European Yearling Fillies Championship in Verona in 2015. In 2019 and 2020 she gave birth to colts, but – as the example of Piniata shows – you need to be patient, and the time for fillies will come.

Pinga, photographed during the lease to Cedar Ridge Arabians in USA, by Javan
Pinga, photographed during the lease to Cedar Ridge Arabians in USA, by Javan

There is no doubt that Pinga has won a prominent place among the representatives of the Szamrajówka family, over many generations. Will any of her successors be able to match her?

Pinga’s offspring registered in the Polish Arabian Stud Book:

– 2011 filly Piniata by Eden C
– 2012 filly Paterna by Eden C
– 2013 colt Pistolero by Kahil Al Shaqab
– 2014 filly Petula by Kahil Al Shaqab
– 2015 colt Portel (BE) by Pogrom – imported
– 2018 colt Prins by Pogrom
– 2019 colt Poter by Ecaho
– 2020 colt Pierantonio by Equator

Pinga’s offspring registered abroad:

– 2009 colt (gelding) Piast by Enzo (USA)
– 2010 colt Malik El Jamaal by Ludjin El Jamaal (USA)
– 2010 filly PA Penelope by Besson Carol (USA)
– 2011 filly F Pinnacle F by EVG Gentry (USA)
– 2016 filly Middle East by Emerald J (Belgium)
– ?

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