Today at night Izabella Pawelec-Zawadzka, the Honorary President of the Polish Arabian Horse Breeders Society, called the First Lady of Polish Arabian horse breeding not only in Poland, unexpectedly passed away. She was the co-founder of the PAHBS, a many year President of the Society, a member of the WAHO Executive Committee, for many years a member of the ECAHO board, an international judge, the chief editor of the “Araby Magazine”, an authority for several generations of Arabian horse supporters. Her commentaries accompanying Arabian horse shows in Poland have become legendary.
Born in 1937, an inhabitant of Warsaw, a daughter of a cavalry officer in the Tsarist army, she grew up listening to her father’s stories about horses. She studied animal husbandry (1954-1958) at the then Warsaw’s University of Life Science (today the University of Agriculture). During her studies she learned to horse ride, training among others under the watchful eye of Major Leon Kon, an instructor of the Cavalry Training Center in Grudziądz. She also had the chance to meet other fabulous riding instructors, among them Colonel Henryk Leliwa-Roycewicz, an Olympic medalist and founder of the Horse Riding Club at Służewiec. “No one taught me so much as did
Major Roycewicz. When I approached him about riding lessons I thought that I already knew quite a bit, especially since I had taken lessons with Major Kon. The colonel thought otherwise. He treated me just like all the other riders – like a novice: he even taught us to clean the horses and saddle them. Before we rode onto the arena he made us spend many hours in the stable mounting and dismounting, mounting and dismounting, mounting… and later we had to get through an entire set of vaulting exercises. A lot of water had passed under the bridge before we were honored with the chance to jump fences”, she told the “Hej na koń” portal. After graduation from the university she took up a job in the Animex Foreign Trade Center. Her closer acquaintance
with Arabian horses came during her stay in the United States, where she travelled in 1968 together with husband Jerzy Zawadzki, delegated on behalf of Animex to Atalanta Products Corp. of the known breeder Leon Rubin, owner of Sir William Farm. After returning to Poland she started working in the Horse Breeding Department, Breeding Federation and Animal Trade (1972) and so her “Arabian” chapter began, associated among others with frequent visits to Janów Podlaski Stud. She leased several horses and was also the owner of the Białka-bred (1996) Emon (Pers – Emoza/Ernal), sold later to the Balearic Islands.
She has written herself down in the history books of Polish Arabian horse breeding in many ways, among others as the advocate of bringing the stallion Monogramm to Poland. “Even now I have him before my eyes. That glint that accompanied him. Both our jaws, with Dir. Jaworowski, dropped! (…) Monogramm had this incredible fire and power. When he entered the arena, he owned it. He was very impressive, of a chestnut, slightly reddish coat color. He appeared
to be on fire. And those large, dark eyes. He was so interested in his surroundings, so happy. And he was a fabulous mover. The Americans did not value good movement and oftentimes even tried to conceal it. But he made a royal entrance and that‘s what caught our attention”, she recalled last year in her talk with polskiearaby.pl. (“Monogramm. A true living legend. A sire born once in 50 years!”).
For Izabella Pawelec-Zawadzka horses, especially Arabian horses, were her entire life. As she said in the afore mentioned article (“Hej na koń”): “Arabians are full of magic, personality, warmth and extreme gentleness. You can form a special bond with them, like with no other horse. Also none of them have such a gaze.”
Hail to her memory!