Arabian horse breeding in Poland is not only a men’s thing. Women breeders made their tributes for the breeding as much as men although this task is usually more difficult for them to handle. How to combine every day’s duties with managing several horses stud farm, taking care of foals, planning successful crosses? Is it at all possible? Polish women breeders do handle it, but each of them differently as each of them is different – from their experience, education, geographical origin. But all of them share the same passion. We introduce beautiful and talented young Polish women breeders.
Arabians from the palace
ALICJA POSZEPCZYŃSKA together with her parents, Ewa and Krzysztof, is the establisher of Warsaw area located Chrcynno-Palace stud. Its successes made it one of the most recognizable private Polish farms abroad. The charming manor is located around 19th century palace designed by Henryk Marconi, the same who designed the famous Janów Podlaski State Stud barns. Alicja dedicates her whole life to horses and she is well prepared to this task being Animal Science faculty graduated.
“I don’t treat horses as a hobby since very long time”, she says. “It is my profession that I dedicate 365 days a year to. So there are no holidays. Horses wouldn’t understand it, for them every day is the same – I can’t explain them that there are holidays! It happened sometimes to cancel a theater or party attending in the last moment because of colic. Sometimes it may be even few hours when I’m away that a horse breaks a fence, hit a door, jump out the maneige or escape with a line during lounging. As we say in Poland: eye of an owner feeds a horse.”
But not only is the owner’s presence important. It is also intuition thanks to which, in Alicja’s opinion, women are good breeders: “If the knowledge on horses, their conformation and pedigrees is supported by intuition, ability to predict the effects of mating – the results of breeding should be good”, she declares. “I very often face the opinion that for a successful breeding the most important thing – besides money – is luck. Funny is that this thesis is always being told by men. I don’t agree on that definitely – of course you need luck but you cannot explain all your faults with a lack of luck! First of all you need to correctly choose a stallion for the mare predicting the effect, then carefully raise the foal with not only proper care and feeding but also exercises, training and taking care of its psychical health. All these conditions affect the eventual success or its lack – good luck is just one of them.”
Thanks to such plan Chrcynno-Palace stud is successful internationally. As Alicja confirms, her biggest success is breeding year by year as follows: Psyche Victoria (A-shows champion, Polish National Bronze Champion, twice World Top Ten), Chaos Persefona (A-shows champion), Psyche Kreuza (Best in Show at Junior Spring Show, Silver at Polish Nationals, European Top Five, twice World Top Ten), and then in 2010 Echo Aurora (bronze medal winner of „ARABIA-Polska” Arabian Horse Festival, Polish National Silver Champion). This year, in November, during the European Championships in Verona, Chaos Persefona and Psyche Kreuza both won their classes and then the Top Five titles! This way Chrcynno-Palace Stud made another step in the history of Polish private breeding. In the meantime Alicja had such horses as: Pallas-Atena, Galahad, Ganga, Gaja Selene, Echo Apollo, Echo Adonis, Psyche Ares, Psyche Kybele – all of them champion entitled or class winners. What more the talented and entitled breeder, a professional in both education and practice can dream of? As many other breeders she dreams of the highest trophies in the world. “This is why for me the most important is to keep the highest level of my breeding”, she concludes. “For sure it will be very difficult but until it’s possible I will try to make it.”
From photography to the Monogramms
One of Polish youngest stud farms is Zalia Arabians located near Łódź in central Poland. Her establisher KATARZYNA DOLIŃSKA is and was a passionate – first as equestrian rider, then equine photographer and finally as a breeder of Arabian horses. And what horses! Although the stud was established just few years ago it has some of most carefully selected and full of bloodlines variety collection of horses. “Until this year we owned the biggest number of privately owned Monogramm daughters in Poland. Our horses find new homes very quickly in many different countries as Czech Republic, France, Slovakia, Iran or Norway”, Katarzyna recalls talking about her biggest successes until now. “One of our best home bred horses, colt Primero Marc (QR Marc – Poruta/Monogramm) as the first Polish bred and owned stallion went for lease to Brazil where he is going to compete at shows and be used in breeding as chief sire in Haras Engenho.”
Looking at the dynamic development of this young and relatively small (only several broodmares) stud it’s hard to believe that it all began from photography. “First of all, my biggest satisfaction is being with these wonderful animals”, Katarzyna says. “I like to watch their proud movements with swan necks, seeming not to touch the ground with their foot. Arabian horse photography I learned from my friend Liliana Dembska, long time equine photographer. As time was passing my photos were improving and other breeders started to ask me for photo shootings. It was and still is a big satisfaction to catch Arabian horse beauty in a moment. Whenever I have time and weather is good enough I meet my horses with camera and the results you can often see on my stud’s website.”
The passion for photography is certainly useful in the own horses promotion. But horses had also a big influence on Katarzyna’s private life – thanks to them she met her just married husband Robert and now they not only run the breeding together, but also share their dreams: “We share our passion and love for Arabian horses”, Kasia says. “Robert is also a show trainer and handler of our horses. And the dreams? I would like to have a bigger farm to develop my breeding. Surely the dream of every breeder is to breed good quality and achieve high trophies on shows or races. I think you need persistence and humility and the success will come.”
She looks good with black
Hidden amongst the pine forests of central Poland is another Arabian horse farm. It’s focused on black breeding. The idea maker and idea producer of this unique project is ALICJA MARTA NAPIÓRA – graduated and professional pharmacist who continues her long time family tradition in this business. Privately she is the mother of few years old son Konrad and establisher of Silvatica Black Arabians. Almost all horses here, besides their beauty and performance abilities, are of this rare beautiful color. It is one of the reasons why Silvatica Black Arabians is one of the most often visited studs in Poland, that often also ends up with horse purchases or new friendships.
“Happiness and joy from my breeding comes with the people visiting my farm who like my horses”, Marta underlines. “And when, after buying one horse, they come for another one, satisfied with the look, great movements, beautiful black color and good character. I would lie saying I don’t enjoy the success of showing my horses, it builds you up and motivates for further breeding and makes you sure that the breeding program you have chosen is right”.
What is Marta’s biggest success? As she confirms – the trophies taken at shows by her black horses, as we know it is especially difficult to judge the black color sometimes. It is not so easy to breed good quality horses being limited to just one color. However her home bred colt Rascal (BS Black Fable – Ravenwood Nejma) was entitled as Reserve Champion at St Petersburg Open. To her personal successes Marta also includes the discovery and purchase of a Marwan Al Shaqab daughter Marjjana VA who was very successful in 2009, being Best in Show in Exloo (Netherlands) and Silver Medal winner in Vilhelmsborg (Denmark). That great show season ended up with All Nations Cup 2nd place in class with the same score as the class winner.
How Marta is able to combine duties of a young boy mother, a pharmacy owner involved in big family investments and also being a breeder? The key to success is, in her opinion, a good team of co-workers: “I think that if you work with people who share your passion and love for Arabian horses, who help and support your decisions, you are able to combine everything. Of course life is twisted sometimes but following the plan – either in breeding or in private life – you can reach the success. I think every breeder dreams of breeding World Champion and of course this is also my dream… and as we all know, dreams are for having fun of reaching it.”
A surgeon in the stable
In the opinion of another talented young Polish woman breeder the key to fulfill breeders’ dreams – either men or women is a good cooperation with other people. KATARZYNA OSTROWSKA, living in north Poland, is one of the busiest women breeders in Poland. Surgeon graduated and from her profession; from the passion – recognized artist and the owner of one of the most beautiful, 19th century barns locating St Roch Arabians stud, specialized in sport Arabian horses breeding. Asked if the sex of a breeder matters she answers: “Since many years at Polish State Studs breeding decisions are the result of men and women cooperation. In Michałów the director is Jerzy Białobok but the breeder Mrs. Białobok. In Janów Podlaski we have Dr. Marek Trela as director and Mrs. Anna Stefaniuk as main breeder, the same in former state stud Kurozwęki where the director was Władysław Guziuk with the main breeder Mrs. Teresa Dobrowolska. So maybe I answer in twisted way saying that men and women complement one another in breeding. Looking back at the history of horse breeding there are a lot of both men and women names – to mention the great visionary Ignacy Jaworowski who introduced Monogramm in Polish breeding; the legendary Andrzej Krzyształowicz – breeder of
Pilarka, Etruria and many more to win the highest trophies; Roman Pankiewicz – breeder of Bask who «changed the US breeding» making new standards of the breed there, but also we can’t forget Lady Wentworth who used and promoted the legendary Skowronek; Anna Bąkowska who bred the wonderful Bałałajka without which we wouldn’t have Bandola, «the Queen of Janów» or Bask; Teresa Raciborska, the breeder of Amurath Sahib; Marieta Salas, Lenita Perroy, Patricia Lindsay, Sheila Varian and Shirley Watts. I think the sex doesn’t matter but vision, ability of observing, intuition, luck, dreams and faith in your assumptions.”
All our women breeders interviewed confirmed that besides luck, knowledge and intuition either in horse breeding or any other activity the love for your job matters. Katarzyna Ostrowska
underlines also that fulfilling your plans, also breeding ones, needs a discipline and ability to separate your different life fields from each other: “I think all of us lack the time. Implementation of our plans and intentions requires discipline and consequence. I have a simple rule – I never bring the hospital to my barns and the barns to the hospital or my art studio. In a moment I focus on only one task and try to do my best. Dividing the life between home, farm, hospital and art studio is not easy, it needs determination and efforts.”
So does the effort orientated into few such different activities leaves some space for satisfaction? For Katarzyna Ostrowska the satisfaction is the rare in Poland focus of her breeding program – sport one. “There are no simple solutions in breeding”, she explains. “It makes the search for interesting mating and not popular, risky breeding decisions so fascinating.”
Horses that made her St Roch Arabians farm recognizable not only in Poland but also internationally are: Niniwa, Zarina, Corina-Corina and Chagall. The most famous and most entitled is Niniwa (Etogram – Niwa by Eukaliptus), twice European Champion in Arabian showjumping, who opened the doors for Arabian horse performance in Poland. She was appreciated by the breeders from Poland and abroad. Director Marek Trela includes her into 3 unique Arabian horses in Poland next to Pianissima and Sambor; trainer Roy Rich describes her as one of the best jumping Arabian horses in the world. Zarina (Ostragon – Zgadula by Fawor) won all her races in first season and in the next one she took part in most important stakes. Corina-Corina (Dębowiec – Cuma by Eukaliptus) and her son Chagall (by Poganin) prove that Katarzyna’s breeding program includes not only performance abilities but also beauty of an Arabian horse. Corina-Corina as a yearling was 4th in class at Polish Nationals 2001. At that time it was the best result of Polish private bred horse at Polish Nationals. Chagall was 2nd in class of 3 year old colts at 2010 Polish National Show. Plans for the future? Maintaining such a stable and such a team, who, despite amounts close to 40 horses, determine a system in which each horse is treated individually with due attention, which allows to explore and develop its talents. The success already reached is running the breeding for 14 years, following own thoughts no matter what fashion is and not falling into a fast success hunger.