Gumniska, or history comes full circle
Whether we are like our ancestors or not, we sometimes follow their path, make their mistakes, or make similar choices. Sometimes we become the heroes of a story that likes to repeat itself. Because certain processes, phenomena and episodes repeat themselves, although perhaps it we that find similarities to already known events in them. It is sometimes said that history has come full circle, that it has returned to where it started. Or maybe we are dealing with a wheel of time, after which everything starts all over again? Such reflections and awareness of historical events in Arabian horse breeding accompanied me during my visit to the stud of Klikowa Arabians. The host of the stud, Marek Rzepka, born, raised and even registered in Gumniska, showed us around the former estate of the Sanguszko princes, telling us about the place, horses and people with incredible charisma and passion. These are the stables where on May 12th, 1931, the stallions Kuhailan Haifi d.b. and Kuhailan Afas d.b. stood after being brought from the desert by Bogdan Ziętarski. These are the stables where, in 1943, despite the war raging around, the only mare from the Sławuta dam line of Ukrainka (born 1815) was born, the famous Forta, which survived the war. Monumental oaks and plane trees in front of the palace, which probably remember the beginning of the 19th century. The magnificent Sanguszko Chapel … In the falling dusk a small light attracted our attention and when the great door of the chapel opened, the sight took our breath away. The atmosphere of the neo-Gothic chapel adjacent to the west wing of the palace, along with partially preserved furnishings, moved us to a different place and time. A group of women preparing for the May service was probably surprised by the sudden appearance of visitors, but kindly invited us to stay inside. Discreet light, a carved wooden altar, pews, and on the left side a low door leading straight to the palace. At that moment I realized that prince Roman Sanguszko probably prayed here in 1939, leaving Gumniska and Poland forever. It was here that Bogdan Ziętarski went to for a short prayer before the evacuation of the Gumniska herd ordered by the Germans at the beginning of January 1945. Ziętarski did not leave the horses until the end of their journey. And now, 90 years after his expedition to the desert, we, Arabian horse breeders, are here, and near the old Gumniska stables you can once again hear the neighing of a proud purebred stallion.
Prometeusz, the son of the famous Pianissima, had made headlines in Poland several times. Even his appearance in the world in 2012 aroused emotions due to the growing fame of his father, the stallion FA El Shawan (US). Of the nine descendants of Pianissima from the years 2007–2015, Prometeusz certainly carries in him the blood of two outstanding individuals of the Arabian breed. The stallion FA El Shawan (born 2005), by Marwan Al Shaqab (QA) out of Foxbriar Shakita (US) by ZT Shakfantasy (AR), went down in history as the sire of FA El Rasheem (US), born in 2011. Interestingly, FA El Shawan comes from the dam line of Selma d.b. (born 1865) – a line imported in the 1930s to the Soviet Union. This family, like its Polish branch, descended from the mare Selima (GB), born in 1908 at Crabbet Park Stud. About the dam of our hero – the stallion Prometeusz – Janów’s multi-champion Pianissima, everything has already been said and written. However, the quality of the female line of Szamrajówka (born 1810 in Biała Cerkiew) should be emphasized, which combines all the best elements of Polish breeding, derived from the times when Pure Polish was a recognizable sign of the highest quality. Pianissima, daughter of the stallion Gazal Al Shaqab (QA), born in 1995 by Anaza El Farid (US) out of Kajora (US) by Kaborr (US), became an icon of world breeding mainly because it was the first horse in the history of the Arabian breed, where the exotic beauty of Straight Egyptian horses is intertwined with the correctness of build and expressive movement typical of Pure Polish horses. Pianissima’s worldwide career has set new breed standards. Pianissima’s beauty has become a model of the show horse type. Unfortunately, neither Pianissima nor the stallion FA El Shawan are with us anymore.
In Polish breeding, Pianissima left three daughters: Pia (born 2009) by Ganges, Pianova (born 2011) by Eden C and Pamina (born 2015) by Pogrom, and the stallion Prometeusz (born 2012). Prometeusz was born at Gallun Farms, owned by Greg and Nancy Gallun, California. He did not grow up in Poland; he remained in the US in order to have the greatest possible promotion. The pedigree of Prometeusz, as well as the stallion himself, aroused considerable interest of breeders in Poland, which increased after the death of his sire, as well as a result of the dynamically developing “invasion” of the progeny of his half-brother, the stallion FA El Rasheem, on the show rings in recent years. The decision to sell Prometeusz without using him in Polish breeding (in 2018 he was purchased by Sheikh Mohammed Al Mualla from the United Arab Emirates for his Ghaleb Stud), met with a huge wave of criticism in our country, which is why information about the purchase and bringing him to Poland by Marek Rzepka turned out to be sensational and certainly very much awaited, especially since the stallion had considerable achievements. In 2018, while under the care of Tom Oben’s training centre, he won the Senior Gold Stallion Championship at the International Show in Vichy, France. In the same year, at the international show in Bruges, he was rated at 92.19 points. In 2019 in Sharjah he was second in the 7-9 year old stallions class with a score of 92.5 points. He missed the bronze medal by a nose, i.e. one point. Earlier, still in the USA, he was among the ten stallions whose breeding sales were the best at the Scottsdale Signature Stallion Auction 2015; he was a stallion whose offspring could compete in the Arabian Horse Association’s sweepstakes program, and was also a stallion whose offspring were eligible to compete in the Scottsdale Signature classes.
What breeders say
Marek Rzepka, the creator and owner of Klikowa Arabians, tells us about the purchase of Prometeusz: “We have approached this subject many times, trying to buy a Prometeusz breeding package or lease him. We offered a very high amount for a one-year lease, but our proposals were rejected. The previous owner of the stallion, Sheikh Mohammed Al Mualla, was not interested in selling breedings. Nevertheless, from time to time we reminded ourselves to him, asking about the lease and breeding. The more the sheikh refused us to buy breedings and a lease, the more I strove for this unique horse to find his way to our stud. Perhaps in life some things are just destined to happen. This was probably the case with Prometeusz, whose home today is in Klikowa. Although he is officially Janów-bred, he has never been in Poland before. And I think that the only son of Pianissima should be in Poland as an absolutely unique horse who must get his chance in breeding. He has enormous potential. It would be a pity not to use it.”
Greg Gallun, who welcomed Pianissima’s newborn son in California, notes: “Prometeusz holds so much important and proven blood that his going to Poland is only logical. I’m confident that over the coming years the legacy of perhaps the world’s greatest mare Pianissima will endure. Our respect and admiration for him as a breeding stallion and as horse of excellent character is genuine. We look forward following his new path and to one day greeting him in person.”
Although Prometeusz has not been publicly presented in Poland yet, European breeders know him. Javier Fernandez Echarri (Belgium), a veterinarian dealing with Prometeusz during his stay in Belgium, expresses his appreciation for the horse: “Prometeusz is a beautiful horse from the outside and the inside, very gentle and easy to work with, and has the most amazing eyes you will come across nowadays. I’m very happy he is back to Europe, and I will have the chance to breed to him again. If he will be available, I would be happy to breed my best mare to him, mother of last year Gold Yearling Filly at European Championship. Surely Prometeusz is one of most interesting stallions nowadays.”
Belgian trainer Tom Oben recalls: “The moment they called me that Prometeusz was gonna come to us we were very excited. Having had the pleasure of dealing with his mother and now his son was overwhelming. The day he arrived the first thing that i noticed on him was his big black gentle eye. Prometeusz is in my opinion a very correct well build horse with the sweetest disposition we could wish for in a stallion. I’m sure the new owner will have a great time together with him and its again a nice opportunity for the Polish breeders as well as those of the rest of the world that he will become again available at public stud.” Oben is accompanied by another trainer from Belgium, Glenn Schoukens: ” My sincere congratulations to Klikowa Arabians with bringing this legendary stallion to Poland. I am sure he will be a great asset not only to their breeding program but to all of Polish and European breeders. I really look forward what the future will bring.” Tomasz Tarczyński, breeder and ECAHO judge, says: “I have been following the fate of this stallion for a long time, due to his excellent and unique origin. However, for a while I could only see him photos from the States. I had the opportunity to judge him for the first time at the Sharjah (UAE) show in 2019 and the stallion made a huge, positive impression on me. I especially remember his beautiful, perfectly set, large black eye, noble, dry head and strong body, which definitely stood out among the presented stallions.”
Long-time president of Janów Podlaski Stud, Marek Trela, sums up: “I am sure that Polish Arabian horse breeders should be grateful to Mr. Marek Rzepka for undertaking the difficult mission of bringing Prometeusz to Poland. This stallion was created to be in Poland, he should be used here, and here is also where he belongs. Due to his unique, and – as life has shown – also one of a kind pedigree and excellent Arabian type, he can become a valuable sire to our breeding. I personally counted on him a lot, and now I will await his offspring with curiosity and hope.”
PROMETEUSZ (US), bay stallion, born 2012
Sire line: Saklawi I 1886, bred by Anazeh Ruala (B)
Dam line: Szmrajówka ~1810, bred by Biała Cerkiew (PL)