A homely atmosphere, magical sunlight of a late Spanish summer and a competition of an unexpectedly high quality – that’s this year’s 33rd Spanish National Show in a nutshell. The event was held over the 15 and 16th of September at the Centro Ecuestre de Castilla y León (The Castile and León Riding Center) in Segovia under the patronage of King Juan Carlos. Although as late as July it was still not decided whether the show would take place due to the crisis, the mobilization of 28 exhibitors who entered 55 pure bred horses made it possible. The public also turned up in rather large numbers, filling out the shaded stands.
Without a doubt the uncrowned queen of Spanish breeding is Marieta Salas from Ganadería Ses Planes (Mallorca). It was her who brought the most horses (8) and it was her who was most often mentioned as the breeder of other people’s horses. And it was also Marieta Salas who collected the award for Best Breeder and the King’s Cup (Copa de Su Majestad El Rey) for Best Sire (Abha Riyadh) from S.A.R. Teresa de Borbón Marq. de Laula, a breeder of Arabian horses since 1963 and chairwoman of the Spanish Arabian Horse Breeder’s Society, A.E.C.C.A. (Asociación Española de Criadores de Caballos Arabes). Marieta Salas triumphed in
many categories. The bred and still owned by her Abha Riyadh (Alfabia Damascus – Abha Maharani/Marwan Al Shaqab) won the 4-6 year old stallions’ class (with three “20s” for type and a final score of 91,75), gained the Senior Stallion Gold Medal and a special award for the highest scored horse in that age category. The Junior Stallion Gold Medal went to Abha Sharik (Abha Peshawar – Abha Nouba/Khidar), who also won the three year old colts’ class with a score of 91,75 (including a “20” for head and neck), as well as a special award for the highest
scored horse among the juniors. In turn the Junior Bronze Medalist, Abha Ulan (Abha Qatar – Abha Gazali/El Perfecto) is the winner of the yearlings’ class. The Senior Mare Gold Medalist, Abha Quraysi (Alfabia Damascus – Gual Samantha/Navarro III) placed first in the 4-6 year old mares’ class (with 91,5, including a “20” for type). Whereas in the two year old fillies’ class the first two spots were taken by the following Ses Planes graduates: Abja Taj (Alfabia Damascus – Abha Mudira/Marwan Al Shaqab) and Abha Talia (Alfabia Al Bustan – Samira El Bri/CH El Brillo).
Another stud which made their presence strongly known at the show was Yeguada García Ferrero from Seville, which owes its successes for the most part to horses from Ses Planes. García Ferrero gained a silver medal in the junior stallions category for the bred by them 2 year old Flavio de Luc (Alfabia Al Bustan – Abha Jawharah/El Perfecto) who also collected the Duque de Veragua award for Best Head of the Show. The second colt in class – Marengo de Luc (Abha Nahash – Abha Ninufar/Marwan Al Shaqab) – was also a graduate of the same stud.
Also having qualified for the finals and the podium (with a silver medal) was the 3 year old filly Al Farah de Luc (Abha Nahash – Abha Jawharah/El Perfecto). García Ferrero’s next two successes were the result of cooperating with Equus Arabians of Albert Sorroca, who bred Kaliope E.A. (WH Justice – Kudola Kossack/Balaton) – winner of the 3 year old fillies’ class and Junior Mare Gold Medalist and the colt Coliseum E.A. (Shanghai E.A. – Creta E.A/Madras Kossack) – second in the yearlings’ class.
Equus Arabians itself also brought some medals home with them. The silver medal in the senior mares category went to Coliseum’s granddam Cyrea E.A., who bears a highly recognizable in
Poland pedigree (Khidar – Cygarniczka/Monogramm), with a score of 91,75 including a “20” for type. She was also the winner of the 7 years and older mares’ class. Another finalist qualifier was the second in class year old filly Elixir of Shanghai E.A. (Shanghai E.A. – Essence of Marwan/Marwan Al Shaqab). Victorious in that class was another daughter of Shanghai E.A. and later the Junior Mare Bronze Medalist, Korea E.A. (out of Kudola Kossack by Balaton) with 90,25, including a “20” for head and neck – owned by Ricard Cunill (SiR Arabians).
The highest scored horse in the movement category was Mencey RV (Enzo – Morning Shadow/Markema) from Risco de las Vegas stud (Tenerife), a second spot holder in the 3 year old colts’ class (90,25), while the Best Handler award went to Toni Moreno (who, among others, showed the mentioned colt).
It must be said that although there were horses that stood out from the rest, the overall quality of the competition was high – higher than at some European national championships. Of course the Polish Nationals can boast the participation of international stars and future fames, but some of the young Spanish horses also have a large chance of shining abroad in the near future.
Words of acknowledgement go to the organizers, who put in a lot of effort so that the event ran smoothly. Pau Romero, the show’s announcer, was responsible for the event’s pleasant atmosphere, as he presented every owner with due diligence. The judges (Maria Annaratone Ferraroni, Pierluigi Rota and Christian Moschini from Italy and Richard Pihlström from France) exhibited an amazing unanimity.
Spain has its own, long tradition of breeding Arabian horses, which came to the Iberian Peninsula together with the Muslim invasion (in the 8th century). Valued due to their valor in battle, they were initially bred solely for the needs of the military. However later their use spread out and became more common. The first Arabian Stud Book was established in the military stud of Yeguada Militar in Jérez de la Frontera in 1847, but as early as 1834 a Stallion Depot in Cordoba was founded (famous for its wonderful 16th century buildings). The first Arabian stallion registered in Spain was the chestnut Abayoul, imported from the desert. Already
then a strict selection was employed and only the best individuals were used in breeding. The first Arabian horses from Poland were imported in 1906, whereas 1912 saw the arrival of: the descendant of Ibrahim d.b., Ornis (from Antoniny) and famous in later years Ursus (Dahman Unir d.b. – Hagar/Hamdani I) from Biała Cerkiew, who became one of the pillars of Spanish Arabian breeding. In 1930, thanks to the purchases of Don Cristóbal de Colón (a straight line descendant of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of the Americas), known as Duque de Veragua (the Duke of Veragua), Spanish breeding was enriched with as many as five daughters of Skowronek (and a sixth one in 1934), which today can be found in many pedigrees
of modern Spanish Arabians. Similarly to what happened earlier to magnate studs in Poland, this distinguished stud was also annihilated. Duke Veragua was murdered in 1936 during the Spanish civil war; his palace was burnt down and the horses robbed or destroyed. The stallion Congo, a grandson of Ursus, was one of those who helped restore breeding at Yeguada Militar. But if Poland was able to count on some (but still!) fresh blood from abroad during the communist period, then Spain under the rule of Franco completely gave up on any kind of imports. It was not until the return of democracy that Spanish breeding opened up to the world.
Today one can find Polish horses or with those with Polish blood at Equus Arabians (Barcelone) or Risco de las Vegas (Canarian Islands), among others. They are mainly mares bred at Polish state studs or their progeny. As I heard from one of the top breeders, the general opinion in Spain is that Polish private breeders do not possess good breeding material, because they cannot afford the best, expensive mares offered by the state studs at the Janów’s auction. For that reason they prefer to purchase poor quality dams offered at the monthly tenders, instead of importing higher quality mares from abroad. As you can see, there is still a lot of work lying ahead of Polish breeders if they want the stereotypes and half-truths to be forgotten and the Spanish market to open up for Polish private horses.
Watch the video from Spanish Nationals 2012, by Arábigan – arabigan.com