The Arabian Horse Days, which have permanently written themselves down in the calendar of the Polish breeding tradition, surprise us with something each year and are remembered due to certain events and horses participating in them. Two years ago they caused much excitement by means of the spectacular successes of the invincible Pianissima and the sale of World Champion Mare Kwestura for a “trifle” of 1,125,000 Euro. Last year for the first time in the history of the auction a yet unborn foal was sold, while the National Show ended with the success of the private breeders, who returned home with four out of six junior medals, including two Reserve Champions.
The 32nd Polish National Arabian Horse Show combined with the 41st Pride of Poland Sale was to be the year of Pilar, who held promise for a financial success, especially since her perhaps most titled daughter was entered into the National Show – the bay Pinga, Polish National Champion Filly and Best in Show of 2005, who returned to Poland just a month ago after residing almost two years in the US. Unfortunately the weather and the worldwide economic crisis foiled all plans and this year’s Arabian Horse Days will be remembered as a dramatic evacuation of horses in pitch-darkness during the storm and a decrease of the auction’s income after several years of prosperity. However Pilar fulfilled the expectations and she achieved the highest price of the auction: 240 thousand Euro.
The first day of this year’s National Show battle for the coveted titles commenced with the yearling colts of class 4A, which included two favorites for the Champion Colt garland: the Janów Podlaski-bred Pogrom (QR Marc – Pętla/Visbaden) and Michałów’s Empire (Enzo – Emira/Laheeb). It was speculated that these colts would exchange between themselves the titles gained at Junior Spring Show in Białka, which was exactly what happened on Sunday morning during the championships. The class was won by the dainty Empire, who though slightly feminine and not a very good mover, without raising his tail at that, definitely has one of the most beautiful heads among the colts born over the last several years in Poland. His victory confirmed the primacy of marks for head and neck over the total score. Janów’s robust Junior Spring Show Champion Colt, the bay Pogrom, had to yield before Empire and with a score of 89,67 had to settle for second place, which in accordance with the championship rules closed the doors for him to the champion title on Sunday.
Class 4B was won by Janów’s grey Almanzor (El Nabila B – Alantina/Emigrant), who once again delighted the public with sweeping movement. Second placed the private-bred Zimarc (QR Marc – Zeksterna/Ekstern), bred and owned by Czeple Arabians, who bested the bronze medalist from Białka – the bay Maran (FS Bengali – Missouri/Wachlarz), bred and owned by Kielnarowa Stud. The son of Bengali placed fourth, right behind Amanito (Eden C – Altamira/Ekstern), bred and owned by Janów Podlaski. Closing off the class Top Five was a representative of Falborek Arabians, who brought to Janów a numerous group of horses. The most attention was focused on the above mentioned grey Emarc (by QR Marc), as he is the son of Polish National Reserve Champion Filly from 2008, Eksterna (Ekstern – Emanta/Pamir). He scored a total of 88,33.
After the yearling colt classes came time for the competing of the two-year-olds. Already during the initial presentation it was easy to predict the winner – Michałów’s El Omari (Enzo – Embra/Monogramm), whom we did not see in Białka. This handsome chestnut colt presented himself very well and made a very positive impression, which cannot be said about Chimeryk (Eryks – Chimera/Emigrant), who in accordance with his name (meaning “capricious”) had no intention of cooperating with his handler. This resulted in lesser marks for movement, which in turn prevented him winning the class. Whereas El Omari turned out to be the best moving stallion of the younger generation; during his presentation he literally flew in the air to the beat of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and in the Sunday championships gained the bronze medal.
Traditionally the class of three year old colts was the least numerous, with only four contestants. There were no surprises and the classification from Białka was repeated – the first spot with a score of 89,67 went to the gifted mover Echo Adonis (Al Maraam – Echo Kallisto/Pamir), bred and owned by Chrcynno-Palace Stud, before the chestnut Chagall (Poganin – Corina-Corina/Dębowiec), bred and owned by St. Roch Arabians, who gained 0,33 point less.
After finishing off the colt classes a break was announced. Part of the audience dispersed and the other guests began a welcome dinner in the VIP sector, awaiting the evening preview of the Pride of Poland Sale horses. Suddenly a strong wind started blowing and the squall began uplifting some of the tent stables, which could not be held down, even by some n-teen people! The roof, burdened by the downpour, did not stand the load and the horses began to panic. Some dispersed in all directions, some were stuck in the tumbling stalls, while others found their own route of escape by breaking through the tarpaulin. The operation of transferring the frightened horses to quickly organized places in the manege and non-stall stables was made difficult by the lack of electricity and in turn – the lack of light. Amazing as it is to believe, no horse or person was seriously harmed during these dramatic events. Many people struggled with the weather and rescued the endangered animals with great sacrifice. In the end it all came down to some bruises and scratches. Nevertheless the stressed horses and tired staffs were deeply affected by what happened. Without a doubt it had much influence on the results achieved the next day during the subsequent class competitions.
The numerous as usual filly classes brought much excitement, especially since the very even level of quality made it difficult to single out a decisive favorite. Already the first class brought a face-off of the gold and silver medalists from the Białka show. The Champion Palatina (QR Marc – Palmeta/Ecaho) presented herself much worse than at Białka, scoring a total of 90,33 (lower than the previous 94,00), which resulted in third place of this class. Whereas the Reserve Champion from Białka, Michałów’s grey Zigi Zana (QR Marc – Zagrobla/Monogramm) proved what she’s worth – it was her day. With a highly raised tail she flew through the air with great finesse, for which the judges awarded her with maximum marks for movement: the tablet with “20” went up thrice! Second place in this class was secured by Janów’s Primera (Eden C – Preria/Ararat), bearing a dished, carved-like head, which the judges acknowledged with the highest marks among the junior females of this show (20-19-19). This filly also flaunts other assets: a nice movement and a very good body, for which she was awarded the highest score among the entire presented junior group, next to Bajaderka, sporting the best body over the last years, who can boast a similar score (19-19-18).
The next class of the yearling fillies (series B) was won by the equally well moving Piacenza (QR Marc – Primawera/Emigrant), bred and owned by Michałów Stud, before the first-time shown Janów filly Berenika (Eden C – Belgica/Gazal Al Shaqab).
In the next class of the two year old fillies (4A) we saw the showdown between three daughters of the world-famed sire WH Justice who, despite placing high, had to yield before Michałów’s Enzo daughter, the chestnut Wagira (out of Wkra/Gazal Al Shaqab). She won the class with a score of 91,33. Second, with a total of 91,00 was El Piatzolla (WH Justice – Enya/Ekstern), bred and owned by ZPH Strusinianka, a filly of a beautiful head and rather correct body for this
sire. The third and fourth spots went to subsequent daughters of WH Justice. Beginning with the superbly moving Pertisa (out of Pernacja/Ekstern), bred and owned by Falborek Arabians, who became a living advertisement for her dam, offered the next day in the Selection Sale (and who achieved the highest price among the mares offered there: 20,000 Euro). Right behind Pertisa placed the unusually toned chestnut Ekspiracja (out of Eklezja/Monogramm), bred by Lech Błaszczyk and owned by Krzysztof Falba, who due to the
slight injuries suffered the day before during the evacuation of the tumbling stables did not show her abilities to the full. Only fifth placed the daughter of Pilar, the grey Pilarosa (by Al Adeed Al Shaqab), who apparently did not meet the tastes of the judges, as she gained just 89,33, whereas she ended the Białka show in the Championship Top Five with a high total of 93,00.
However the subsequent series of the two year old fillies belonged to three Michałów daughters of Ekstern, who divided the top three spots among themselves: Mesalina (out of Mata Hari/Werbum), Lawinia (out of Luanda/Emigrant) and Pustynna Malwa (out of Pustynna Róża/Emigrant). Fourth came the daughter of the Ariela Arabians-bred stallion Al Lahab – Emlahaba (out of Emanta/Pamir), bred and owned by Falborek Arabians.
The last fillies’ class, where we saw three year old females, was dominated by private breeders. It was won in great style by the recent champion from Midelfart – Chaos Persefona (Poganin – Ceres/Ganges), bred and owned by Chrcynno-Palace Stud. The filly was in excellent form and presented great movement. On Sunday afternoon she was the only private-bred filly to enter the Polish National Championship Top Five, doing so at fifth place. The second spot in class was secured by the expressively moving Padova (Galba – Palanga/Ekstern) from Michałów, third came Bajaderka (Złocień – Bagatela/Pesal), bred by
Agricola Farm and owned by Monika Luft, while fourth placed another Chrcynno-Palace representative, the chestnut Gaja Iris (Poganin – Granada/Monogramm).
In the afternoon the arena was entered by the 4-6 year old mares – 26 beauties, 13 in each series. The first of them was won by Janów’s Sefora (Ekstern – Sawantka/Pepton), who proved with her tenure at the racetrack that beauty and stamina can indeed go hand in hand. That makes the usage of Ekstern for yet another season at Janów even more pleasing. Second came
the Reserve Champion from Białka 2007, the grey Wasa (WH Justice – Waresa/Empres), bred by Falborek Arabians. The latter stud also took home the ribbon for fourth place, awarded to the Michałów-bred grey Gemellia (Piber – Georgia/Monogramm), purchased at the Selection Sale for 21 thousand Euro.
The second series of 4-6 year olds belonged to – as expected – Janów’s Pinga (Gazal Al Shaqab – Pilar/Fawor), who scored 93,67 points. She was awarded with especially high marks by judge Doug Dahmen, who gave her three “20s” – for type, head and movement and a
controversial 18 for the legs, thanks to which Pinga turned out to be the “best legged” horse of the show, next to Gaja Valentina (Emiliusz – Ganga/Emigrant), bred and owned by Chrcynno-Palace, who contrary to Pinga received uniform marks in the shape of three “17s” for this trait. Pinga’s high score from that judge could’ve resulted from the fact that he originates from the US, where horses present a slightly different type. Right behind Pinga placed Pistoria (Gazal Al Shaqab – Palmira/Monogramm), who with the change of her coat color is
becoming more and more beautiful with each year. A slightly lesser performance was given by the 2007 Junior Spring Show and Polish National Champion Filly, the bay Ejrene. This mare did not show her best movement and though she garnered three “20s”, the total score of 91,33 allowed her to only place third and not enter the championships.
The battle of the 7-10 year old mares once again proved the quality of Janów’s Etnologia (Gazal Al Shaqab – Etalanta/Europejczyk), who won in great style with a total score of 94 points, an 0,33 points higher than the soon-to-become Polish National Champion Pinga, gaining as much as three „20s” for movement! This mare seems to be struggling with bad luck for some time, as for over three years she has not been able to “break through”. First she was in the shadow of Pianissima, later – Emandoria and this year – Pinga. Second in class was Michałów’s
Palanga (Ekstern – Panika/Eukaliptus) and third Palmeta (Ecaho – Pilica/Fawor), who gained three well-deserved “20s” for type! The biggest thrills though were still to come, as the arena saw the entrance of true stars, mares aged 11 years old and up. They posed gracefully for the judges and photographers to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. It was in that class that came the highest score of the show: for Michałów’s Emmona (Monogramm – Emilda/Pamir), who received the highest mark of “20” as much as nine times – for type, head and neck, as well as movement. Her impressive total score amounted to 95,33!
From this almost mystical atmosphere we were transferred to a less spectacular class, though one of the most interesting for the breeders – the 4-6 year old stallions. Because although Poland does not lack beautiful mares, breeding a good stallion is extremely difficult.
As befits masculine rivalry, the nostalgic classical music was changed to decisively livelier beats, among others by Danish percussion group Safri Duo. The class was won in wonderful style by Polish National Champion Colt and European Top Five Colt of 2006, the stallion Alert (Piaff – Andaluzja/Sanadik El Shaklan), besting the much titled Polish National Reserve Champion Colt, European Reserve Champion and World Top Ten Colt, the grey Kabsztad (Poganin – Kwestura/Monogramm), who placed second. Surprising was the outcome of the stallions’ class aged 7 and up where the favorite was none other than the double Polish National Reserve Champion from the last two years in a row – Drabant (Gazal Al Shaqab –
Demona/Monogramm). However he came in just fourth, giving way to Pegasus (Gazal Al Shaqab – Pepesza/Eukaliptus) and Eurykles (Emigrant – Eutona/Etogram), who has become very refined with age, gained dryness, became flea-bitten and has begun to resemble his sire. The victory in this class went to Salar (Ecaho – Saba/Etat), whose type was acknowledged by two judges with the maximum mark. It was starting to get dark and a beautiful red sun was setting over the VIP tent when the horses were stepping off the arena. All the classes took place outside, in nice weather and without any problems.
On Sunday, before the championships began, a minute of silence commemorated the passing of breeder, trainer and ambassador of Polish breeding abroad – Wojciech Kowalik. His absence during the decoration of the bred by him Boreas (Metropolis NA – Bombina/Bomarc), who placed 5th in the 4-6 year old stallions class, was a sad moment…
The junior championships did not bring any great surprises: the Colt Championships Top Five consisted of Empire, Pogrom, El Omari, Almanzor and the private-bred Zimarc. Whereas the Filly Championships ended with the victory of Zigi Zana, Primera, Piacenza, Wagira and Chaos Persefona. The choice of Senior Champion Mare caused some controversy, as many people considered Pinga’s score to be much over the top and that it was Emmona who deserved the top honors, but there’s no accounting for tastes and as we all know, the choosing of a champion is a very subjective decision dictated by personal likings of the judges. In accordance to all speculations that Pinga simply had to win to strengthen the position of her
dam during the auction, she was unanimously chosen Polish National Champion Mare, with the subsequent spots going to Emmona, Sefora, Etnologia and Zagrobla. The choosing of Polish National Champion Stallion caused no controversy at all and was easy to predict: the gold went to Alert, the silver to Kabsztad and the bronze to Salar, with Eurykles closing off the Top Four. The Best in Show trophy was awarded to Pinga. The awards for Best Movement and Best Head of the Show went to Michałów’s Emmona. Her home stud also returned with the trophies for Best Breeder, as well as Best Handler which was handed to Mariusz Liśkiewicz. The Best Trainer was Gerard Paty from Janów Podlaski State Stud. Named as the Best Racehorse of the Show was New Man (Major – Njuschaah/Santhos), bred and owned by Andrzej Wójtowicz. Whereas the honoree of the sixth edition of the WAHO Trophy was Palmira from Michałów Stud.
After a small break all gathered in the indoor arena where Fryderyk Chopin’s 200th birthday was commemorated with a special performance by Arabian stallions, which presented themselves to live music. The riders threw white roses in the direction of the piano, handed to them previously by a lady with a child in historical costumes. This beautiful picture of our tradition and national achievement began the 41st auction, known since 2001 as the Pride of Poland. The round 10th anniversary of organizing the event by Polturf did not end in a great celebration, as there wasn’t much to be happy about. It was the weakest auction of the past several years, as 10 out of the 36 horses offered in the main sale did not sell. Several were bought without any fight whatsoever after reaching the reserve price, which this year seemed to be set for many horses at a low level of 10 thousand Euro. The world crisis finally caught up with the Arabian business, but I don’t think anyone expected such a decrease of prices. In 2008 the auction brought a total of 3 million Euro, last year nearly 2,5 million and this year only slightly more than a million… Of course we should mention that in the previous years the high financial result came courtesy of the sale of the spectacular Kwestura, but analyzing the average price achieved from the sale of horses from the main auction list in 2007-2009 (excluding the mentioned mare from our statistics) we see that the average maintained an even level of around 80 thousand Euro per horse. This year that amount is lower by half, being a little more than 39 thousand Euro. A similar decrease can be observed in the number of horses which reached the 100 thousand Euro mark: in 2007 there were seven such horses, in 2008 and 2009 – six. This year the magical number of 100 thousand Euro was surpassed only by Janów’s Pilar (240 thousand euro). However this year’s auction doesn’t necessarily have to herald a long lasting crisis, as in the last decade we have witnessed similar events right after entering the new millennium. In 2001 fifteen out of the 39 offered horses did not sell and the average price for a mare was just
under 40 thousand dollars. The next year was slightly better, as up for sale was the freshly crowned Reserve Champion Filly – Wieża Wiatrów (Ganges – Wiaźma/Arbil) and the auction ended with the sale of 30 out of the 33 offered mares with an average price of 36 thousand dollars. A year later again 13 out of the 37 offered mares did not change owners, with the average amounting to just 32 thousand dollars. The highest prices were given for Embella (Monogramm – Emanacja/Eukaliptus) and Elwia (Ecaho – Etopka/Eukaliptus), for whom 140 thousand Euro was given each*. The third price of the auction was 105 thousand Euro for the Michałów-bred Figlarka (Monogramm – Frejlina/Pepton). These three mares “made” the entire auction, as the rest sold around 10 thousand Euro per horse. The years 2004-2005 brought a breakthrough. The number of offered horses was decreased to 29-30 and the prices went up. The mare Palestyna (Monogramm – Palestra/Penitent) achieved a sum of 300 thousand Euro, a year later Elandra (Monogramm – Erlanda/Eukaliptus) reached 290 thousand Euro. Sums surpassing 100 thousand Euro began to appear more frequently and after lean years again came years of plenty. In capitalism there are often fluctuations and there cannot always be increases and record prices.
A large surprise this year was the fact that in the top five of the highest sold horses two belonged to private owners. Purchased for a sum of 48 thousand Euro was last year’s Autumn Show Champion Filly from Janów Podlaski – the bay Gadnes (Psytadel – Gracea/Etogram), bred and owned by Jan Głowacki. This two year old filly showed a direction in which the demand of the market will probably be heading. Foreign buyers are looking for young horses, promising a show career and the most sought after are individuals with achievements under their belt. Such a horse was without a doubt Lot 25 Ermina (Galba – Echidna/Ararat), bred by Samko P.U.H. and owned by Monika Luft, a granddaughter of Elandra, a regular at international shows where she placed in the Top Five of her classes and a class winner from Białka. She found a buyer for the second highest price of this year’s auction, 90 thousand Euro! This mare with a uniquely beautiful carved head is the highest sold horse of private ownership in the history of the Janów sale. Her new owner however wanted to remain anonymous. It is only known that Ermina will leave Poland. The other two private owned mares (Primadonna and Sotika) were not sold and the reserve prices of 75 thousand Euro seemed to be too high for this year, though sometimes it is better to leave a good horse in your own stable than to sell it below the value that it means to us.
Looking at the Pride of Poland offer we find a different regularity than the one that the world demand is heading for. The average age of the offered mares is 8 years – with the state stud horses averaging 8,5 and the private-bred slightly over 4 years. Of course we must remember that we cannot sell only young and unproven mares, as they must leave progeny in Poland in order to maintain the continuity of the dam line and their sale cannot compromise our breeding itself. The interest in Monogramm daughters has decreased, who beside those with an outstanding show career aren’t such an attractive offer as they used to be a couple of years ago. Foreign buyers prefer to purchase the younger daughters of Ekstern than to spend large sums on 15-16 year old mares, burdened with a reproduction risk and problems with re-selling the horse at a later time. We must remember that our mares after producing several foals at the buyer’s stud often change owners, being simply a good investment. Six out of the seven Ekstern daughters offered this year for sale were sold. The highest price was achieved by the Junior Spring Show Reserve Champion Filly from 2001, Wilga (out of Wenessa/Egon). This 11 year old mare can boast a successful breeding career with her signature daughter by Gazal Al Shaqab – the grey Wilda, last year’s Polish National Reserve Champion Mare from Janów Podlaski. It is definitely a pity to sell such a handsome mare, proven broodmare, in foal to an outstanding sire of show horses QR Marc for a sum of 82 thousand Euro to Belgium. With that she became the highest sold horse from Michałów Stud, who this year painfully felt the world crisis in comparison to previous auctions. The stud’s budget will be enlarged by 368,700 Euro from horses sold at both the main auction and Selection Sale. Last year Michałów’s auction income amounted to more than one million Euro and two years ago, thanks to the sale of Kwestura, almost two million Euro! An even worse balance has been made by Białka Stud, which earned a total of just 64 thousand Euro… Whereas Janów Podlaski Stud is the only one that saved itself from the crisis, though this year’s result is lower than the previous, which surpassed one million Euro. The total of 560 thousand Euro, considering such a tough year, should be recognized as a rather large amount.
Considering that last year Shirley Watts from Great Britain purchased two Janów mares, offering for the daughter of Pipi, the bay Preria (by Ararat), 230 thousand Euro and several minutes later half a million Euro for the young Pinta (Ekstern – Pilar/Fawor), her total purchases amounted to 730 thousand Euro, which is slightly less than the entire outcome of this year’s auction! This time Halsdon Arabians will welcome three mares: Michałów’s Pampa (Gazal Al Shaqab – Palestyna/Monogramm) for 45 thousand Euro and Janów’s Hekla (Primo – Harpia/Ernal) and Agusta (Piaff – Albigowa/Fawor), for which Mrs. Watts paid 40 thousand Euro each, having spent a total of 125 thousand Euro. Everyone betted that due to the love for this dam line Mrs. Watts would make her dream come true and purchase the dam of the previously bought daughters: Pinta (500 thousand Euro) and Pieta (300 thousand Euro). Though during the pre-sale presentations she inspected Pilar thoroughly, applauding her loudly, during the sale she moved aside for Al Shaqab Stud from Qatar, allowing them to purchase this epochal mare for the already mentioned 240 thousand Euro. The new owners gave Shirley Watts a joyful hug – was it a thank you gesture for the opportunity to purchase this mare? Pilar has produced good looking foals each year and during her 10 year breeding career at Janów Podlaski gave ten foals, the most successful by Gazal Al Shaqab, to whom she was bred five times. So it is not surprising that it were buyers from the Middle East that were interested in purchasing this mare. Heading off to Qatar is also a Laheeb daughter – the grey Ariadne (out of Argentyna/Partner), for whom 60 thousand Euro was given and an Angor daughter – Galatea (out of Gehenna/Monogramm), who was sold for 27 thousand Euro. A decisively smaller group of horses will journey to the US: three mares for a total sum of 46 thousand Euro. This shows the change in the clientele market. Not as far as a couple of years ago buyers from the US were the most active bidders during the sale and today their presence is barely visible. Whereas the European market is developing more intensively – this year it was led by France, who purchased as much as seven horses for a decent total of 215 thousand Euro. Also the highest sold horse of the Selection Sale (30 thousand Euro) will head to France: the stallion El Azem (Gazal Al Shaqab – El Fatha/Entyk). Last year the stallion Eol (out of Eutona/Etogram), for whom 12 thousand Euro was given, also went to France. As we can see, our countries have more in common than just a love for Chopin’s music – perhaps the time has come for the expansion of Polish Arabians in that country?
Also our domestic breeders did not fail and took advantage of the sale offer to acquire good genetic material for their herds. Three mares will stay in Poland, including a Monogramm daughter, the chestnut Wyborna (out of Wybranka/Piechur), sold for 20 thousand Euro. Slightly more expensive at 30 thousand Euro was Emetyna (Ekstern – Esina/Sinus) and for a minimum price of 10 thousand Euro the beautiful Laheeb daughter, Percepcja (out of Perturbacja/Laheeb) was bought. The total amount of domestic purchases is 60 thousand Euro, which is 14 thousand higher than the American buys, not counting the four mares purchased by the Poles for a total of 18,5 thousand Euro at the Selection Sale, where the buyers from America were not present at all.
The auction itself was rather spiritless, without frequent surges of thrills and emotions which we could’ve witnessed in the previous years. A truly vibrant atmosphere appeared only during the bidding of Pilar and Ermina. The audience also did a good job of cheering on the horses and encouraging the potential buyers to make a decision to bid.
As this year’s auction showed it is time to search for new markets, as the buyers who have been coming to Poland for years have this time greatly reduced their purchases. We can only hope that the Polish Arabians, as many times before, will come out of yet another crisis unscathed.
*Embella was not paid and until 2007 remained in Michałów. She was sold to Dubai at a monthly tender on July 7th of 2007 (added by: polskiearaby.pl)