It is a great honor and privilege to hold the position of president, manager and chief breeder at a Polish State Stud. However, it is also a great responsibility. With all these conditions in mind, Hanna Sztuka took over the management of Białka Stud on November 15th, 2021. As the manager in Białka, she is responsible for the entirety of the stud’s activities, including breeding matters. Hanna Sztuka quickly showed that action is her element. Because to want is to do. Two months after Białka was taken over by Hanna Sztuka, Arabian horse lovers were invited to a New Year’s Meeting and a presentation of breeding stallions. This meeting took place last Saturday, January 22nd, 2022.
Like a charming fairy, Białka welcomed guests wrapped in a snow robe sparkling with ice crystals. Despite the frosty weather, the turnout was good. A large group of people took advantage of the invitation to the New Year’s Meeting in Białka, from the presidents of other State Studs, through private breeders, to Arabian horse lovers. There was Lucjan Cichosz, acting as the president of Janów Podlaski Stud and Marek Skomorowski, acting president of Michałów Stud. There were also private breeders known for their show successes, incl. Waldemar Bąk, Józef Pietrzak, Wojciech Parczewski and Andrzej Wójtowicz. However, it is especially worth noting that many small private breeders for whom breeding Arabian horses is a passion and a way of life also showed up. It is among them that we can find the most ardent supporters of Pure Polish horses and the use of Arabian horses. So it is safe to say that the Saturday meeting in Białka was a meeting of real horsemen made of flesh and blood.
The presentation of breeding stallions from Białka Stud, which took place in the indoor arena, started the New Year’s Meeting, and the mood was enhanced by the huge Christmas tree decorating the interior. The guests were welcomed by Robert Krześniak, member of the Management Board of Małopolska Hodowla Roślin. As we have learned, 2022 is a special year for MHR. On September 3rd, celebrations are planned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Białka Stud and the 150th anniversary of MHR. Then, Hanna Sztuka took the floor, together with the stud’s employees to present the stud’s breeding stallions to the guests. Among them were stallions of breeds other than Arabian, but it was the Arabian stallions that aroused the greatest interest among those gathered in Białka. This interest focused on the main attraction of the event, namely the stallion D Kaheel, leased to Białka Stud for this breeding season. As you know, emotions are need to be built upwards in a good movie script, so we had to wait for the grand entree of the star. The waiting was made pleasant by the guests with hot snack: bigos washed down with non-alcoholic wine.
The honor of inaugurating the event went to the stallion Palatino (Pesal – Palmeta by Ecaho) b. 2006, bred and owned by Janów Podlaski Stud, leased for this season to Białka. Palatino is the son of the stallion Pesal, born in 1991 in Białka Stud, the pride of Białka breeding, as well as a representative of Ilderim d.b. Everything has already been said about the qualities of Pesal: his dazzling beauty and extremely gentle character are features extremely desirable in breeding. Palatino is his father’s inherent son. He has all the features that characterize the classic type of Polish Arabian stallion, i.e. correct build, beautiful head, beautiful eye and phenomenal movement and bravery. The owners of Białka hope that Palatino will leave some worthy offspring and extend the Ilderim family there. It is also worth mentioning at this point that the team of Białka presenters was supported during the presentation by Piotr Dwojak, who had not been seen for a long time. It is a good thing that this experienced and talented presenter will once again add his skills to the state stud farms. Another Arabian stallion presented at Białka was the young stallion Celadon (Pogrom – Celita by Lawrence El Gazal) b. 2019, bred and owned by Białka Stud, which is currently being prepared for a breeding career at his home stud. Maybe not everyone remembers that the dam of Celadon belongs to the Babolnian Bent-El-Arab damline, well represented at Białka.
The next one was Pentagram (Druid – Pętla po Visbaden), b. 1999, bred by Janów Podlaski Stud, owned by Grzegorz Miklaszewski, currently on lease to Białka Stud. Pentagram is a horse of outstanding utility type, the son of the best purebred racing horse in post-war Poland, the stallion Druid and a representative of the Bairactar d.b. sireline. Pentagram is a correct horse with great utility values, features which are desirable in Białka breeding. As is commonly known, although Białka Stud is striving to strengthen its show line, utility horses are an extremely important area of the stud’s activity.
Another Arabian stallion presented at the breeding stallion parade in Białka was Falset (Ekstern – Flaminia by Gaspar) born in 2018, bred and owned by Michałów Stud. Falset is the last son of Ekstern, an epochal sire. Falset underwent racing trials at the racetrack. Interestingly, his maternal stud decided to select the stallion Falset for castration and sale. At the last moment, the head of Białka Stud saved him from the knife. As you can see, she noticed the breeding potential and valuable origin in this stallion, as he represents the lineage of Kuhailan Haifi d.b. and the extremely valuable and rare Ukrainka damline through Forta. The point is not that Falset should produce outstanding offspring, but that he should leave good horses. It is also about extending his male lineage. Hanna Sztuka is known for the fact that her breeding choices are non-obvious and may arouse controversy, but her undoubted breeding intuition has so far produced unexpectedly good results.
Another stallion bred and owned by Białka Stud, who got a chance to prove himself in breeding, is Palert (Alert – Pericola by Kahil Al Shaqab), born in 2018, bred. Palert also represents the lineage of Ilderim d.b., which is undoubtedly the advantage of this stallion, because this is the family that is to be cultivated in Białka.
The chestnut stable mate of Palert also turned heads, i.e. Belmari (El Omari – Bint Ermina by Kabsztad), born in 2017. Silver medalist in the junior stallions class at the National Arabian Horse Show in Janów Podlaski in 2020 and bronze medalist of the 2021 National Show in the senior stallions category. Belmari undoubtedly appears to be a promising sire, although you never know in advance how a given individual will perform in breeding.
Hanna Sztuka is committed to cultivating Polish sirelines. Thanks to her inquiry, she found in private hands a representative of the extremely rare male line, Krzyżyk d.b. This stallion is Orbitale (Wojnicz – Olivia by Eldon), grandson of Olita from Janów, bred and owned by Wiśnicz Stud. This grey stallion, known to endurance lovers, and at the same time handsome, gives hope for offspring with versatile abilities. The offspring of this stallion is also a chance to continue the male line of Krzyżyk d.b. at Białka.
As prof. Krystyna Chmiel says, Arabians have been transformed into show models, while Arabians can do anything, because they are exceptionally clever and intelligent horses. It is good then that Białka Stud relies on the versatile use of Arabian horses, and the working type is not a disadvantage there, but an advantage. However, one cannot disregard the realities of the Arabian horse market. Maintaining and improving the show line are sine qua non conditions to maintain the prestige and sales success of the state studs. Hence the decision to lease the show type Arabian stallion to Białka, which crowned the presentation of Białka breeding stallions.
Białka can boast the lease of the stallion D Kaheel (FA El Rasheem – D Muwadah by QR Marc), b. 2016, bred by Dubai Stud and owned by Abhaa Arabians from Kuwait. The decision to lease this stallion was dictated by purely commercial reasons. This stallion is the son of one of the top world class sires at the moment and represents an outstanding show line. D Kaheel meets the expectations of Białka, as it is a horse with large frames, exceptional beauty and great movement, with a suspension phase. A head endowed with a large black eye, small well-developed ears and in the movement and standing position D Kaheel wonderfully exposes his neck. He works under saddle and already has offspring. However, his greatest advantage is his extremely gentle and friendly nature. The guests who welcomed the newly arrived stallion had the opportunity to see it for themselves. We were allowed to get very close to him, to stroke and examine him closely. D Kaheel passed the balance test with flying colors, when Krzysztof Czarnota lifted his hooves and Krystyna Chmiel was touching his ears. D Kaheel was calm and allowed everything without showing any irritation or impatience. Although, as Piotr Dwojak told me, the stallion immediately gave up on these attractions. D Kaheel is delightful in every aspect and we wish that he will leave a field of future champions in Białka.
When the presentation of breeding stallions was over, everyone went to the stud’s office to listen to a lecture by Prof. Krystyna Chmiel “Polish male families and their importance in breeding”. The lecture was held under the maxim of: “not a word about Saklawi I”. Two more sayings sponsored the presentation of Krystyna Chmiel, namely: “let’s hurry to use stallions because they leave so quickly” and: “one good stallion is worth a herd of medium mares”. The bitter conclusion was that Polish breeders did not know how to respect and appreciate the great stallions in which Polish state breeding abounded. Instead of using them, these stallions were either sold or unused. It is difficult to report in detail what we heard from the professor, as this lecture was full of details and nuances worthy of an audience composed of real experts. It turned out that they were among the audience. Small private breeders present in the room reported that they knew or owned this or that horse mentioned in the lecture, or had or have offspring of these horses. It was possible to find out that in the hands of private breeders there are still many horses from disappearing Polish male lines, often those that are no longer present in state breeding. The speaker discussed in detail 7 Polish male lines, i.e. Bairactar d.b. imp. 1817 to Weil, Krzyżyk d.b. imp. 1876 to Jarczowce, Koheilan Adjuze d.b. imp. 1885 to Babolna, Ilderim d.b. imp. 1900 to Sławuta, Ibrahim d.b. imp. 1907 to Antoniny, Kuhailan Afas d.b. imp. 1931 to Gumniska and Kuhailan Haifi d.b. imp. 1931 to Gumniska.
In the face of the extremely critical situation of Polish male lines, in the opinion of Krystyna Chmiel, a query should be made as to who and has what in private breeding, in order to possibly collect and freeze the semen of stallions from old Polish families present only in private breeding, in order to be able to restore these families to the state studs. This postulate of the professor is not new, but so far none of the people responsible for state breeding want to implement it, or rather commission its implementation.
As I mentioned earlier, the lecture by Krystyna Chmiel met with a lively response among the private breeders present in the room. There is a general opinion that the stewards of state Arabian horse breeding do not have any idea for this breeding, and the conclusions of the presentation were not encouraging. The time of preparations for the next Pride of Poland auction is approaching. Meanwhile, there is great uncertainty in the background, will they change the legal status of the studs or not? Who will be the organizer of this year’s auction? There are many unknowns. At this moment, there is nothing else to do, except that while waiting for further developments, the heads of the state studs should do their best within the scope of their duties. Certainly, the example of the New Year’s Meeting in Białka showed one thing. The pandemic is a pandemic, but studs should be more open to the organization of various events, such as breeding parades, breeding conferences, etc., available to a wide range of Arabian horse breeders and lovers. This is conducive to building a positive atmosphere around Arabian studs, and all activities in this direction are extremely necessary. In addition, such meetings are extremely pleasant, integrate the environment and, despite even bitter thoughts, carry a large charge of positive energy. Certainly, everyone returned from the Białka meeting satisfied and full of enthusiasm. So we are waiting for the next meeting in Białka and for the presidents of Michałów and Janów Podlaski to follow the example of Hanna Sztuka, inviting everyone willing to similar presentations of breeding stallions at their studs. And for Białka and Małopolska Hodowla Roślin, thank you for this year’s New Year’s Meeting.