Already for the second time the capital of the Czech Republic played host to the B-ranked international Arabian horse show – the Prague InterCup. After last year’s reservations towards judging this time the participants and spectators alike literally went over the marks of each horse with a fine toothcomb. And it has to be said that – apart from a few exceptions – the judgments of both public and jury (Silvia Garde-Ehlert from Germany, Nasr Marei from Egypt, Renata Schibler from Switzerland and Scott Benjamin from Canada) were for the most part unanimous. That definitely bodes well for the show’s future, especially since it was impossible to find fault in both the organization and hospitality of the hosts. They put a lot of heart and soul into having the humbly gathered public at the Emperor’s Island (Císařský Ostrov) enjoy themselves in the best possible way. The organizers saw to tastefully chosen music (from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” to Quinn), as well as attractions in the shape of dancers, falcons and richly adorned outfits of women riders. Furthermore, one only had to look into the catalogue to predict
that huge emotions would accompany the show, due to the fact that the venue was attended by truly big celebrities, well-known from other European arenas. First of all the Middle Eastern owners, who keep horses in European training centers, put up a worthy representation. Poland entered 14 horses (several other Polish-bred horses also competed, but under foreign banners); the most – six – were brought by Janów Podlaski Stud. As Dr. Marek Trela emphasized, the equines presented in Prague were different than those which are preparing to perform in Aachen. In all the capital of the Czech Republic welcomed a total of 57 Arabian horses.
On Saturday afternoon the first class (of yearling fillies) revived the spectators, who were weary with the heat and the poor quality of the Czech National Championships which took place that morning. When the arena was entered by eight very pleasant year old females, something finally began happening. Victorious (with one “20” for head and neck and a final score of 91,83) was the Saudi Maysaa Al Khalediah (Marquis CAHR – Hazy Al Khalediah/F Shamaal), the later Prague InterCup Silver Medalist. Poland was represented in this class only by the Bełżyce-bred Gataka (Ekstern – Gwarka/Monogramm), winner of the show in Warsaw’s Royal Baths Park. She was presented personally by her breeder and owner Andrzej Wójtowicz. With a total of 89 points she managed to just squeeze into the class’ top five, but stood no chance with the daughters of Marwan Al Shaqab (Rose Al Shaqab, Muranas Mabrouka) and the owned by Dubai Stud filly Donna Bella HBV. Already during the first stage of the Prague event it became clear that the judges would look at more than just heads – especially Scott Benjamin was strict in evaluating the conformation and legs of the presented horses. It is because of him that this category saw the lowest mark for this trait – a “13”.
Among the seven 2 year olds were two fillies from Poland: Bełżyce’s Fortycja (Pegasus – Florencja/Oset) and Janów’s Pietra (Eden C – Pepina/Pilot). Only the latter found enough recognition in the eyes’ of the judges to make the top five (90 points). The class was won in an impressive style by the presented by Giacomo Capacci, never before shown, bred in Italy and owned by Athbah Stud from Saudi Arabia, daughter of WH Justice – Shirin By Aisha (out of Aisha By Missouri/Missouri). With one “20” for head and neck she garnered as much as 92,17 points. This is one of those “romantic” stories that sometimes still happen in breeding. The filly spent the first two years of her life out in pasture, undisturbed by any training because her owner had no intention of showing her. Meanwhile in April of this year she was spotted out by the manager of Athabah Stud, Ward Bemong. “She was in field condition, but I loved her immediately”, he told polskiearaby.pl. “She was not really for sale. But she is worth every penny we gave for her!”. It was definitely a good deal, because the filly’s value must now be many times higher that the initial price, as in the finals Shirin won the Gold! She will surely bring joy to her new owners more than once. The Bronze went to, as it turned out on Sunday, the second in this class Rihanna El Hadiyah (Al Hadiyah AA – Reza El Bri/CH El Brillo) from La Movida Arabians (a final score of 91,33, including a “20” for head and neck).
The 3 year old fillies’ class saw only three contestants, all daughters of WH Justice, including the Polish Ekspiracja (out of Eklezja/Monogramm), bred by Lech Błaszczyk and owned by Krzysztof Falba. With a final score of 89 she placed second behind Al Inaya (out of Al Dafina/Mahadin) from Al Hambra Arabians from Austria. Only slightly more numerous, with 4 contestants, were the yearling and two year old colts’ classes held on Sunday. Among the yearlings we saw the Polish Bir Ali ES (Porto – Bircza/Aslan), who had a successful performance during the Warsaw’s Royal Bath Park show. This time he placed third (89 points). The class was won by Al Marid (Al Milan – Bafra/El Nabila B) from Sax Arabians, the soon-to-be Silver Medalist, as well as the winner of the Silver Cup in the additional competition of the Prague European Cup. Awarded for the first time, the Prague European Cup gives a nod to horses of European breeding and ownership, which have earned the most points. Al Marid received as much as 92,67, including a “20” for movement. Performing in the same class Saiaf Al Shaqab (Gazal Al Shaqab – Venetzia/Versace), bred and owned by Al Shaqab Stud, placed second with a score of 90,67 and later reached for the Bronze Medal. The class of two year old colts finally brought reasons to be satisfied for Polish breeders, as it was won by Janów’s Amanito (Eden C – Altamira/Ekstern) with a score of 90,33, followed by his stablemate Almanzor (El Nabila B – Alantina/Emigrant) with 90,17 and at behind them at third place – Good Boy (Pegasus – Gwarka/Monogramm) from Bełżyce with 88,33.
The cards in the three year old colts’ class were dealt out in the very beginning, because no horse could threaten the Spanish (from Equus Arabians) Shanghai E.A. (WH Justice – Salymah/Khidar), who at full speed burst onto the arena to the beats of “Macarena”. Very well-known from numerous shows over the past years, he received as many as four “20s” for type and head and neck, which gave him a final score of 92,67. Nobody was surprised that he also received the Gold in the finals, as well as the Gold Cup in the Prague European Cup classification. Beyond all doubt his star will shine very brightly in this season also. The second place was secured by Marshan (Meshan Ibn Kubinec – Marni/Windspress Mirage) from Sax Arabians, who later challenged the Polish Ekier (Metropolis NA – Emika/Eldon), bred by Białka and owned by Piotr Jasiak, for the title of Best Mover. Marshan received as much as three “20s” for movement (and a final score of 91,67) similar to Ekier, shown in the 4-6 year old stallions’
class, who also had another task during this show – he served as a mount during the presentation of Arabian attire, sponsored by the Saudi stud Salayel Arabians. Acting as riders were Urszula Łęczycka and Danuta Konończuk (Dama Dana Equestrian Club). During the final comparison Ekier, who had every right to look fatigued after his performance under saddle, again proved, accompanied by the enthusiastic applause of the public, that he is capable of movement worth 20 points. And it was him who received the trophy for best moving horse, personally handed to his owner by the sponsor of the award, Marta Napióra (Silvatica Black Arabians).
The classes of 4-6 year old and 7 year old and above mares equaled in quality that what we’ve gotten used to seeing at A-ranked shows. Competing in the first of them were as many as 5 Polish-bred horses (this included two foreign owned): four daughters of Ekstern – Janów’s full sisters Atma and Altamira (out of Altona/Eukaliptus); the bred in Janów and owned by Przemysław Sawicki Batawia (out of Barka/Ararat) and the sold during the last auction Pasterna (out of Pasywa/Wachlarz), bred by Lech Błaszczyk, owned by Nina Suskevicova from the Czech Republic – as well as Michałów’s Padova (Galba – Palanga/Ekstern), currently sporting the colors of Al Shaqab Stud. And it was her, in the hands of Giacomo Capacci, who won in this category with a score of 92,67 (including one “20” for head and neck). Behind her placed the Dubai Stud-owned and US-bred Marabella KD (Marwan Al Shaqab – Ganges Jewel/Ganges), who probably inherited movement from her Polish grandfather, awarded for this trait with 20-20-10 (her final score – 92). Altamira was fourth (91,83), Batawia fifth (89,83), Atma sixth (89,5). Therefore the only one fighting for a medal was Padova, who ultimately gained the Silver. Whereas Altamira left Prague with the Bronze Cup of the Prague European Cup.
The later winner of the senior mares’ championship was to be found in the 7 and older mares’ class. All participants were already recognized stars of European arenas: Magora (Gazal Al Shaqab – Margotka/Algorytm) from Al Khalediah Stables, Espanna Estopa (Espanno Estopa – Dezions Tifla/Kruschan Ibn Kantar) from Sax Arabians, Fer Mia (J.K. Nasser – Martinique/Ansata Sinan) and her dam Martinique (Ansata Sinan – Marrat/Gual Moghar) – both representing Dubai, as well as the Michałów-bred Emira (Laheeb – Embra/Monogramm), leased to Ajman Stud. No wonder that a shower of “20s” fell. The very well conformed and superbly moving Emira achieved a spectacular result of 93,33 (a “20” for head and neck plus a “20” for movement) and in the rather unanimous opinion of the spectators deserved the victory. However the judges decided otherwise, awarding an even higher final score – 94,67! – to Magora. The
Saudi representative gathered as much as seven “20s” – three for type, two for head and neck and two for movement. The judges confirmed their verdict in the finals, choosing Magora as the Gold Medalist. Emira received the Bronze. Al Khalediah also took home the trophy for the highest scored horse of the show – a 5 thousand euro worth cup set with gold funded by the Czech artist Ingrid Glaserova. The present in Prague manager of Al Khalediah, Sheikh Mutlaq Bin Mushriff, was also the one who for 3 thousand euro purchased an armchair put up for auction for a foundation taking care of old an ill horses. So in the end the ones who benefitted from it all were the horses!
Before the senior stallions’ classes commenced the audience was treated to a falcon show. However the unruly or rather independent bird did not wish to return onto the arm of his trainer – so the 4-6 year old stallions entered the arena under the watchful eye of the predator perched somewhere over the arena. And he had a lot to look at, as the quality of the senior stallions was also something that no one could complain about. A display of stunning movement was delivered, as mentioned earlier, by the Polish Ekier, led by Marek Demczuk, but a full set of top marks (3x”20”) for movement was not enough to enter the top five (his final score – 89,67). Nevertheless the class was won by a Polish horse anyway: Palatino (Pesal – Palmeta/Ecaho), bred and owned by Janów Podlaski. He “trotted out” a score of 91,33 (including two “20s” for type!) to the hit song of Scatman and qualified for the championship finals. As it later turned out, he was the only horse from Poland who made it onto the Prague podium, scoring a Bronze Medal. The Gold and Silver went to horses from the 7 years and older category. The class was won by – dancing to the tune of “Vamos a la playa” – Nijem Ibn Eternity (Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D – Naravna/Naraw Ibn Aswan) with a final score of 93,5, including five “20s” for: type, head and neck and movement. The Belgian-bred stallion is owned by Al Khalediah
Stables. As the last class of the show was sponsored by that very stud, the sponsor handed the trophy to himself, and later enjoyed the Gold Medal which was also awarded to Nijem Ibn Eternity. Second place in class and later a Silver Medal in the senior stallions’ championship was claimed by Om El Extreem (Sanadik El Shaklan – Om El Bint Shaina/Sharem El Sheikh) from the Spanish stud Complutum Arabians. This stallion also achieved a very high score – 93,5, including a full set of “20s” for type and one more for head and neck. To general surprise, during the comparison which took place before the awarding of the trophy for best type, he bested the favorite Magora! We must also add that competing in the oldest stallions’ class was the Polish Etnodrons Psyche (Padrons Psyche – Etnografia/Aloes), bred by Stanisław Redestowicz and owned by Paweł Redestowicz. Shown by Piotr Stańczuk, the stallion garnered very good “reviews” expressed in the form of sincere applause and enthusiasm of the public. It was obvious that the horse was in his life form. The final score of 91,67 allowed him to place third.
We should also mention the Czech National Championship which preceded the international event. Unfortunately, not much has improved since last year. We saw horses that should not have found themselves in the show arena – some didn’t resemble Arabians, some were in terrible condition. Everyone felt sorry for the judges (Claudia Darius from Germany, Elisabeth Chat from Austria and Marek Trela from Poland), who should have – according to the regulations – be looking for good traits in the presented horses. This time that proved to be a very difficult task. Today registered in the Czech stud book are about 300 Arabian horses and about 150 breeders. If these 30 horses, which were brought to the Emperor’s Island, is the best they have, that means that there is still plenty of work before them. In particular age categories victorious were horses bearing recognizable pedigrees, often those imported for example from Poland. Ironically, the only top mark for movement was awarded to the gelding Amir by Ainhoa St. Faust. The only thing that was praised was the implemented marking scale. Horses were evaluated for seven traits, not the usual five: type, head, neck, body, legs, walk and trot. As the organizer and at the same time ECAHO president Jaroslav Lacina announced, he will advocate the introduction of a more precise mark system also in international shows. Asked about what else he would change in Arabian horse shows, told polskiearaby.pl: „For me the shows should be for the joy of the people. They should enjoy to come and relax. For sure they have to compete but for me it is important to forget any personal fights and to really focus on horses. And if the better horse wins, for me it is a good sign. We would like to improve the pyramid system of the big shows. The winners of the gold titles in big shows shouldn’t compete at lower
shows. We have to give a chance also to the smaller breeders because we need to widen the number of exhibitors. We already see that there are less competitors in shows”. In that case did too many superb horses show up in Prague? „Yes, I think there were too many good horses and the effect could be that the normal breeders might be afraid to come again next year. But we try to support them. When we saw that some really good horses are coming we decided to support the European breeders with a new award – the Prague European Cup. I hope this idea will become more popular in Europe. Because at many shows the titles go mainly to owners from the Middle East.”
It is hard not to agree that European breeders need support, as few horses can stand up to those from the Middle East. We are usually happy that Ping strong in this rivalry. As Bohumil Hrabal* said in his river-long interview: “This is what is extremely interesting in Poles: although they always lose, they still consider themselves winners”.
* Pirouettes on a Postage Stamp: An Interview-Novel with Questions Asked and Answers Recorded by Laszlo Szigeti
Shirin By Aisha (WH Justice – Aisha By Missouri/Missouri), br. A. Gurioli & F. Gladich (Italy), o. Athbah Stud (Saudi Arabia)
Maysaa Al Khalediah (Marquis CAHR – Hazy Al Khalediah/F Shamaal), br/o. Al Khalediah Stables (Saudi Arabia)
Rihanna El Hadiyah (Al Hadiyah AA – Reza El Bri/CH El Brillo), br/o. La Movida Arabians (Austria)
Shanghai E.A. (WH Justice – Salymah/Khidar), br/o. Equus Arabians (Spain)
Al Marid (Al Milan – Bafra B/El Nabila B), br. Tomas Holubec (Slovakia), o. Sax Arabians (Germany)
Saiaf Al Shaqab (Gazal Al Shaqab – Venetzia/Versace), br/o. Al Shaqab Stud (Qatar)
Gold & The Highest Score of the Show
Magora (Gazal Al Shaqab – Margotka/Algorytm), br. Blömmerod Stud (Sweden), o. Al Khalediah Stables (Saudi Arabia)
Padova (Galba – Palanga/Ekstern), br. SK Michałów (Poland), o. Al Shaqab Stud (Qatar)
Emira (Laheeb – Embra/Monogramm), br. SK Michałów (Poland), leased to Ajman Stud (UAE)
Nijem Ibn Eternity (Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D – Naravna/Naraw Ibn Aswan), br. M. Smits (Belgium), o. Al Khalediah Stables (Saudi Arabia)
Silver & The Best Type
Om El Extreem (Sanadik El Shaklan – Om El Bint Shaina/Sharem El Sheikh), br. Om El Arab International (USA), o. Complutum Arabians (Spain)
Palatino (Pesal – Palmeta/Ecaho), br/o. SK Janów Podlaski (Poland)
Prague European Cup
(for European bred & owned horses with the highest score)
Shanghai E.A. (WH Justice – Salymah/Khidar), br/o. Equus Arabians (Spain)
Al Marid (Al Milan – Bafra B/El Nabila B), br. Tomas Holubec (Slovakia), o. Sax Arabians (Germany)
Altamira (Ekstern – Altona/Eukaliptus), br/o. SK Janów Podlaski (Poland)
The Best Mover
Ekier (Metropolis NA – Emika/Eldon), br. SO Białka, o. Piotr Jasiak (Poland)
The Best Chech Horse
Shamir Ibn Ansata (Ansata Sinan – Harima/Abha Hamir), br. L.F. Bouquet (Switzerland), o. Regutec s.r.o. (Czech Republic)
The Best Straight Egyptian Horse
D Yosra (Royal Colours – DF Yasiriah/Al Lahab), br/o. Dubai Stud (UAE)