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Las Vegas: behind the scenes

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Las Vegas: behind the scenes

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fot. Urszula Łęczycka
fot. Urszula Łęczycka

The Arabian Breeders World Cup was held from 15th to 18th April in Las Vegas, NE for the fourth time. Poland was represented only by Janów-bred Pinga (Gazal Al Shaqab – Pilar/Fawor), leased by Frank & Frank Partners, a company created by Frank Hennessey from Hennesssey Arabians and Frank Chisholm from Palmetto Arabians. Pinga went second in her class (6–8-year-old mares) and she won the Top Ten Senior Mares title. The main prize of the show, Arabian Breeders Cup, was taken by Janinie Merz, the owner of Om El Arab International stud. Three Gold Medals went to Ajman Stud.

Urszula Łęczycka was observing the show and then she shared her impressions with polskiearaby.pl:

Las Vegas is a very interesting, and, until now, probably the only event that combines the European type of show or the Middle Eastern one with American reality. And, in my opinion, this experiment is a very successful one because we have horses from the US, but also from Europe and Arab countries that are being graded by judges mostly from outside the US, using methods from ECAHO shows. The show is being held in the United States, which definitely reflects its character and organization. The event impresses by its professionalism and a really American momentum. Its localization – practically in the central part of the world biggest entertainment park – is absolutely unique. The arena is placed in the ground floor of an enormous, luxurious hotel, which seems a city itself. In order to get inside the lobby you have to go through a huge casino, surrounded by a dozen restaurants. The hotel has its own shops, cinema, spa, and it is big enough to accommodate all show participants and audience – so it must be the only show that can be reached by… a lift.

A big choice of bars and restaurants in the hotel lobby create favorable conditions for meetings after the show. Without any doubt, it is a huge advantage of this place. The hotel itself is located somehow aside the city centre, Las Vegas Boulevard, which enables placing a stable and parking even the biggest horse carriages comfortably. Next year it will be the fifth anniversary of the event and it is already well-known among the Las Vegas citizens (apart from ABWC rodeo and Lipizzaner horses shows are being held here).

fot. Urszula Łęczycka
fot. Urszula Łęczycka

Admission for the audience (no matter whether the spectators stayed in the hotel or not) is free of charge (apart from VIP area). After entering the show part we had to pass through a decent-sized fair and exhibition area where horse equipment, jewelry and clothes were offered, which attracted the visitors. Although the VIP area was always filled with guests from the whole world, this year a larger amount of visitors was seen at free stands – which is a good omen for the future of the event. There was a nice atmosphere (just like at the Aachen show) as the VIP area was situated just beneath the free stands. Everyone could chat freely without the presence of impolite security guards who chase spectators away from celebrity zone. Unfortunately this occurs at some European shows.

fot. Urszula Łęczycka
fot. Urszula Łęczycka

The amount of horses seems to rise each year. This time the organizers has given the spectators and judges a real marathon – over 200 horses appeared. They were graded from Thursday till Sunday, from 9 AM till evening hours (the classes ended at 6–8 PM). According to certain observers, in case of this amount of horses and classes (apart from ‘ordinary’ championship classes, geldings -, amateur presenters-, futurity-, and liberty classes were presented) the event shall last more time in order not to force the audience and judges to over ten hour long marathon during four days. However, it was one of the best organized shows that I was able to watch – a six-point judging is, in my opinion, a big advantage because it gives judges a free hand while horses conformation is being graded. Eliminating extremely high and extremely low notes was controversial for some of the participants (it must be painful when a horse receives one outstanding note which, unfortunately, is not included in the final note). I like this method because in some cases too high or too low notes are eliminated – however, in my opinion, judges did a very good job, despite some mistakes (which, after all, occur during almost every show), especially in very first classes that are being graded. The jury (Debby Cain and Corky Sutton from the US, Murilo Kammer from Brasil, Peter Pond from Australia, Marianne Tengstedt from Denmark and Marie-Louise Van Wyk from RSA) soon became agreeable, and in my opinion, most horses received such grades that they deserved. A real pleasure – and a real challenge for judges – was a Senior Mares Championship, as twelve prominent mares performed. There were Eagleridge Passionata (Sanadik El Shaklan – River Oak Dimity/Arjai Summitt), bred by Eagleridge Arabian Farm, owned by Ajman Stud (with Frank Spoenle), Gloria Apal (Psytadel – SA Misha Apal/AS Natsir-Apal), bred by Swatam Arabians (with Bob Boggs), a fantastically-built Negma Al Shaqab (Safir – Kajora/Kaborr), bred by Al Shaqab Stud, a half sister of Gazal Al Shaqab – with Michael Byatt), an interesting and very correct Om El Beladeena (Al Lahab – Om El Benedict/Sanadik El Shaklan) from Om El Arab International, or, finally our Polish Pinga, whose quality was also excellent, however, she wasn’t a favorite among all these well-known rivals.

fot. Urszula Łęczycka
fot. Urszula Łęczycka

There were no surprises in the championships – the Ajman Stud’s domination at the show was being predicted from the beginning. Indeed, the stud won three out of six gold medals. We have to admit though that this year Ajman Stud has brought really excellent horses which were very well-shown by the best handlers and they deserved those titles. The performance given by a sure favorite for the Senior Stallion Championship title, Escape Ibn Navarrone-D (AS Sinans Pacha – Navarrone P/El Khadir P), bred by Dion Arabians, was excellent. Although he is not my favorite stallion, he was definitely the most ‘European’ one in his group, he looked great and he moved in an excellent way, shown by Frank Spoenle, who was all out in order to present his charge in the best way. No wonder – his owner who normally doesn’t make the stallion available to foreign breeders, was offering during the show breedings for a very attractive price, on condition that the contract and a credit card number was given back to the manager before finishing the event.

In the end I would like to make one different, but important remark. I would like to have a big hand for Kristof Heymans, who chose the music! The show had an excellent musical setting, which was especially useful when it was necessary to raise the audience’s spirits. Somebody in the VIP section had even the idea to publish an after-show CD ‘The Best Of…’

Results

Yearling fillies championship

Gold medal
RD Marciena (QR Marc – NW Siena Psyche/Padrons Psyche), br. Murray & Shirley Popplewell, USA
Silver medal
Kharalisa BPA (Khadraj NA – Rhapsody In Gold/Twinfir Extragold), br. BP Arabians, USA
Bronze medal
Bettina MP (WH Justice – Om El Belinda Estopa/Om El Shahmaan), br/o. Jon & Mindy Peters, USA

Yearling colts championship

Gold medal
Cavalli (DA Valentino – Aspyn/Padrons Psyche), br. Robert D. & Sally J. Poling, USA
Silver medal
Faconnable (Marwan Al Shaqab – Francescaa/Besson Carol), br. Fran & Gene Haskin & Michael Byatt, USA
Bronze medal
SW Abraxas (Ever After NA – Midnight Pashahn/Magnum Psyche), br. Greg & Veronica Cowdrey, USA

Junior Mares Championship

Gold medal
Felicia RLC (Shael Dream Desert – Camelia K/Donatello K), br. Haras das Paineiras, Brazil, o. Ajman Stud
Silver medal
RD Challs Angel (Magnum Chall HVP – Bey Angel TGS/Shahllenger), br. Wind Dancer Farms, USA
Brązowy medal
Om El Excella (Al Lahab – Om El Bint Shaina/Sharem El Sheikh), br. Om El Arab International, USA

Junior Stallions Championship

Gold medal
El Chall WR (Magnum Chall HVP – Major Love Affair/DS Major Afire), br. Donald Camacho Jr, USA
Silver medal
OFW Magic Wan (Marwan Al Shaqab – Magna Prelude/Magnum Psyche), br. Harold & Dolly Orr, USA
Bronze medal
Troubadour PA (Magnum Chall HVP – Psyches Secret/Padron Psyche), br. Pegasus Arabians Inc., USA

Senior Mares Championship

Gold medal
Eagleridge Passionata (Sanadik El Shaklan – River Oak Dimity/Arjai Summitt), br. Eagleridge Arabian Farm, o. Ajman Stud
Silver medal
Negma Al Shaqab (Safir – Kajora/Kaborr), br. Al Shaqab Stud
Bronze medal
Gloria Apal (Psytadel – SA Misha Apal/AS Natsir-Apal), br. Swatam Arabians, Belgium

Senior Stallions Championship

Gold medal
Escape Ibn Navarrone-D (AS Sinans Pacha – Navarrone P/El Khadir P), br. Dion Arabians, Belgium, o. Ajman Stud
Silver medal
Art Dekko TT (Audacious PS – HC Amareea/Echo Magnifficoo), br. Dale L. & Gloria E. Hotchkiss, USA
Bronze medal
Ever After NA (Sir Fames HBV – Entaicyng NA/Aicyng), br. Robert L. & Dixie L. North, USA

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