A chat between Krzysztof Dużyński, owner of polskiearaby.pl and Monika Luft, publisher of polskiearaby.pl
K.D.: So there won’t be an article about Białka?
M.L.: No, at least not in the sense of a regular coverage, which simply lists what happened.
K.D.: Is it because we’re trying not to mix our own experiences when writing about an event? This is especially visible in the equine industry, because many people have their own interests and sometimes combine various functions.
M.L.: In the case of hobby covering media, such as this one, if you don’t get involved, then you can’t explore the subject thoroughly.
K.D.: At the same time there are so many virtual advisors who create breeding programs for others, worry about the fate of various sire or dam lines. For example they are now wondering whether to use a certain stallion from Bełżyce on a wider scale, who was rather successful at Białka.
M.L.: Everyone has a right to have their own opinions. In such situations I often recall what Director Marek Trela once said: “Other people’s horses are the easiest to breed”. But since we are living in a free country, at least for some time, everyone can say what they want. However that usually doesn’t translate to anything. Not in this business. Because he who really breeds horses has to make decisions regardless of virtual advisors.
K.D.: You mentioned Director Trela. He was one of the main actors of this year’s spectacle in Białka due to his rather significant choices in the last two seasons.
M.L.: I remember very clearly that Parisian battle, where Kahil Al Shaqab and Shanghai E.A. fought for the title of World Champion. It was, as we know, an extremely emotional showdown and
already then we wrote – as did others – that two years later a different battle will take place, a battle between the get of these two stallions in Poland. It was known then that Kahil would go to Janów and Shanghai would be used at Michałów. Białka 2014 was to be a war field. The question is though, did this battle really take place. In my opinion, not really, mainly due to quantity reasons. Kahil was used on a very wide scale – in Janów alone 59 of his get were born (38 yearlings and 21 of this year’s foals). On the first day of the Białka competition Janów Stud presented only one horse which wasn’t a descendant of Kahil! Whereas at Michałów only nine foals
by Shanghai were born last year, out of which only one came to Białka – the future Yearling Champion Mare Galerida. Therefore the scale is incomparable. During the show we saw a total of 23 yearlings by Kahil and 8 by Shanghai, out of which 7 bred by private breeders. None of the 14 get of Kahil and Shanghai foaled at private studs came close to landing a top spot. So if we were to speak about a duel, it would only be among the state stud horses and it was a duel of 16 to 1.
K.D.: In terms of statistics and putting on a show, the invasion of Kahil get was significant and amounted to almost one fifth of all the horses presented this year at Białka. I don’t know whether you’ll agree with me, but they were rather impressive. At first we had to change the specimen
standard that we were used to so far – and get our eyes used to a different type of Arabian. We called it, to make things simpler, an “American” type, though these horses are good movers, large, well reared, with a very correct conformation and long necks. But with different heads than the ones that were the standard in Polish breeding recently. Different than “Ekstern heads”, which are shorter and more profiled.
M.L.: Simply speaking – not only were we used to different heads, we liked those curved lines and those short heads with a look of a sea horse. Meanwhile the arena soon filled up with horses of a different type, with longer, “wedge-shaped” heads, where the distance between the eye and the nostrils is visible greater. This completely changes the proportions of the head. This came as a kind of shock, because even the studs’ logotypes proudly bear images of delightfully dished heads.
K.D.: After a while the eye gets used to it. When I watched a fifteenth “Kahil”, the feeling of discomfort had greatly subsided. Since there were so many of them, this strangeness ceased to be so heavy and I think that the judges also succumbed, awarding Kahil’s get with high scores. For many of these horses they may forever be their life scores.
M.L.: It is hard to predict, but today this may seem as a beginning of a new standard of Arabian horse – at least in Poland. We won’t be reading anymore about “short heads” as a synonym for “good head”. Because it won’t be just this year. Białka 2015 will be similar when it comes to yearling classes and today’s “Kahils” will be competing in the two year old classes. In 2016 it will be difficult to find a horse in “today’s” type. This year the eye could rest when watching the two and three year old classes. In two years’ time the type that we roughly called “American” will be
dominant, especially since other breeders, seeing as that type appeals to the judges, will not be so brave as to bring the “older” (from the 2016 perspective) type. The private breeders have actually gone down that road already, using FA El Shawan.
K.D.: That’s a bit of fortune telling, let’s concentrate on today. Using Kahil was also a bit of a hazardous game. We heard that the feeling of victory didn’t accompany Janów from the very beginning. There was a moment of horror during the PAHBS meeting when the foals were shown. Later, after the first inspection, the moods were more optimistic. As I remember you weren’t very fond of the foals when still with their dams. But today we can say with all certainty that these horses
are progressing. Their conformation, the way they move, are all in accordance with Janów’s philosophy. Perhaps they won’t be winning against the French-breds, but should do well at the track. They may turn out to be a good proposition for endurance riders. And some will definitely excel in beauty. Among these great numbers there will surely be good heads as well.
M.L.: And some mares will become wonderful dams.
K.D.: Yes, I called it “laying down the foundations” for the future of Janów Podlaski. I don’t know what other ideas Director Trela will have, but such a foundation, on a large scale, with huge consequences for the future, has been prepared.
M.L.: What does this mean for private breeders? Of course we can say that if someone doesn’t like this type of horse, then no one is forcing anyone to breed Arabians. For many it is a hobby, not a profession. But either way we know that for a large number of people it is an important part of life that they won’t want to give up. Will these breeders have to conform to this type, regardless of their own taste? Or will they do their own thing and seek fortune at other shows, not dominated by horses from the Polish state studs? Somewhere where the “American” standard will not prevail. Although the success of Galerida might mean that two standards will co-exist.
K.D.: We both like to deal with stallions that appeal to us. We have great sympathy for Shanghai E.A. The finals of the yearling fillies were an interesting experience for me, namely thanks to Galerida. And not because I saw her as a foal and later as a weanling and deep down I rooted for her. But seeing five bay horses so strongly stamped by their sire was something extraordinary. And she seemed like out of this world! Let’s be honest, Galerida will not win the Sabellina Stakes. But she can bring her maternal stud lots of pride and joy.
M.L.: She can also become an excellent promotional tool for Polish breeding in the world.
K.D.: The dams of her rivals are very decent broodmares, out of which the best seems to be Panonia. And did anyone expect such a daughter as Burza out of Bursa by Aslan? Of course this also attests to Kahil’s strength as a sire. But Galilea (Galerida’s dam) is a world-class dam all in her own right! And the judges appreciated Galerida’s show charisma, considering that she is not a horse of such strong build or powerful movement as the remaining horses. I have to also mention the surprise when a Piaff daughter Anawera bested Piacolla. We were sure that it would be Piacolla that
would come out victorious. Piacolla’s show charisma is extraordinary! That’s something that’s very hard to give marks for. It’s common knowledge that we’re dealing with something between a beauty pageant and a figure skating competition. A given day, the current mood, new surroundings – everything can influence the judges’ marks. But we are sure that Piacolla will go into very good hands. Without any doubt she will be the hit of this year’s Pride of Poland Sale. Several years ago a similar scenario was realized with Piacenza and was 100% successful.
M.L.: We can wonder whether Piacolla will surpass Piacenza’s sale price, but we can rest assured about her future.
K.D.: Weren’t you shocked by the crazy scores? The judges really let themselves get carried away at times. Those scores were some of the highest in the show’s history! Do you think the judges were having fun or do you have some doubts about their honesty and skill?
M.L.: No, I don’t. They were experienced judges that knew what they were doing. It wasn’t some outburst of creativity, but carefully thought out actions.
K.D.: I want to emphasize one more thing. Białka rouses emotions, because it is not a regular kind of show, where you go to claim ribbons and titles. It is a kind of competition in terms of breeding ideas. For me it is a combination of a show and a horse inspection. This formula is rather clear. Many of these horses will not be seen at any European show. We may meet them at the races, maybe they will be useful in breeding. But their show career will end here – now or next year.
M.L.: Horse shows took root from inspections at the studs and over time became a huge spectacle. The question is did this year’s spectacle benefit or lost due to so many identical horses? I heard someone speak of “clones”. Kahil Al Shaqab stamps his get so strongly that it is difficult to tell them apart. So in this case the spectacle lost some of its former flame. The diversity, which is the basis of every good show, was a lot smaller on the first day than the viewers expected. But of course if we treat this as an inspection, then the show served its purpose. We saw the results of using this stallion and now the breeders have lots of food for thought.
K.D.: When speaking of football it is often said that the home team gets help even from the walls. We can place a bet that the “Kahils” will do very well also at the Polish Nationals. A distance of 100
m from their stable to the show arena, no traveling, no special logistics and planning – all this will pay off at Janów Podlaski in August. And Białka is in my opinion a chance for Białka-bred horses, not many of which will travel somewhere further. But in the future, of course if wise decisions are made, they will repay their breeders. Michałów, as always, gave a good account of themselves in terms of strategy, breeding and promotion. We can only assume that Michałów’s domination would be even greater if the show took place on their grounds. Whereas the private breeders seem to have a grudge towards a lack of a larger number of shows in our country. The
Italians have more than a dozen; in Sicily itself, where the climate conditions are more harsh, there are several. But this is something that can’t easily be changed. Luckily there are now new shows appearing where private horses have a chance of making themselves seen. I heard people saying that “we will finally have a place to “play” our horses!”. It is up to the organizers, their ideas and initiative, whether these shows will grow or decline. Those that complain should ask themselves whether they would be able to organize such a show. Once upon a time we considered shows to be of a Coubertin nature, that everyone competes for medals in a pleasant, no pressure
kind of way. Today we know that there are influences everywhere, personal sympathies. I don’t believe that if a judge hates a given handler – for example he or she witnessed that handler’s brutality towards a horse – that it will not influence the scores of other horses presented by him. Is any harm done? They can always say that the sun shone at a different angle, maybe someone doesn’t like someone else. The judges are usually polite towards the hosts, especially since they are judging on the territory of other judges, in this case from Poland.
M.L.: Since we’re on the subject of judges, let’s not pretend that they don’t know whose horse they’re evaluating – a state or private bred. They know the handlers, their faces, they know who works for whom. A good handler can give a horse a boost, whereas a poor presentation can significantly lower his final score. There were several surprises at this year’s Białka show – a horse
who no one placed their bets on (even his owners didn’t expect any kind of success), unexpectedly received very high marks in the hands of a state stud handler. If he would’ve been shown by someone else, the marks would probably be much lower.
K.D.: Are you referring to the situation when the breeder and presenter suffered a foot injury and his horses were shown by Piotr Dwojak?
M.L.: Yes, nobody expected the son of Madras Kossack – Gentleman – to receive such recognition. As a matter of fact the two and three year old colt classes were full of surprises. A star of the show arena, a horse that appealed to judges at higher ranked shows – the colt Gzavi, did not find himself on the podium. Furthermore – he didn’t even make the championship top five. The judges omitted him completely, which must raise questions.
K.D.: The signal was clear – this is not an international show, but an inspection of the youngest generation on the Polish breeding stage. A signal for the future for horse owners who will want to “play” their horses in these less numerous classes. For several years now the three year old class has not been overloaded. The state studs participate in it on a small scale, because they have a different look on rearing and stamina trials. On the other hands many private breeders don’t have the patience or funds to bring a horse to that age category. Decisions regarding a male horse are usually made very quickly, without giving them a proper chance.
M.L.: No one has the time to build a stallion’s career over many years. Gzavi, who competes in the three year olds’ class, is already a sire. In the world three year old stallions are advertised by their get. Which means they began breeding as two year olds. Such is the practice nowadays. No one waits to build a breeding career for a stallion when he returns from the track, because that would mean that his get would be born when he turns five. For a private breeder it is too long.
K.D.: When we were at Białka, another show took place at the same time in Bruges. It is worth checking how many horses competed there. In Poland the yearling classes consisted of 15 horses,
over there – two or three. We easily take for granted what we have. The scale of breeding in Poland is absolutely phenomenal. The Belgian show was very poor in terms of entries, considering that it is the abode of some of the greatest breeders in Europe! We must remember that the Belgians have often claimed the All Nations Cup.
M.L.: And this happens despite a rather common use of embryo transfer. Each year one mare can produce several foals, which can compete against each other in the yearling classes. In Poland even without this there are 15 contenders in one class.
K.D.: Yet there was a situation when one of the many daughters of Espadrilla and QR Marc competed in Białka and her full sister in Bruges, winning the bronze medal of the international show.
M.L.: However in Poland, despite allowing embryo transfers, we still don’t see things like that.
K.D.: We also don’t see many new faces among the private breeders. The number of those that stopped coming to Białka does not equal those that just started to do so. But some remain strong. This year Falborek sent a smaller group of horses to Białka, as they placed their bets (successfully) on Wels. Chrcynno-Palace also presented a rather scarce group. There were a couple of disappointments – let’s hope that they won’t discourage the owners. Just like we wrote many times before, Białka is a very specific kind of show. On one hand it is very spectacular – we will definitely return to watching it many times via the Arabian Horse World recording. On the other hand – it is hidden near Krasnystaw.
M.L.: It’s hard to deny that chance persons will not find their way there.
K.D.: And a wider public is needed, for example to applaud the winner of the Best in Show.
M.L.: Since we’re on that subject. Some private breeders present… plenty of self-interest. They come to an event because of their own horses and aren’t interested in anything else. Often after the performance of their horses they get up and leave. Only four people in the VIP sector remained till the very end of the show, including the Best in Show ceremony.
K.D.: Four people really interested.
M.L.: From our point of view we cover significant issues. Yet some readers demand descriptions of the horses’ conformations in our post-show coverages. I always thought that that was the role of the judges and that that’s what marks are for. Of course if some marks diverge greatly from what the public sees, we can make a comment about it. But describing the conformation of horses that have been already evaluated by the judges is not a good idea.
K.D.: I know that you’re not keen on analyzing the individual parts of a horse. But each hobby is very similar – the deeper you become involved, the bigger your expectations become. This is exactly what happens in the case of analyzing historical movies – not whether they are attractive to watch and what wisdom they bring, but whether the buttons on the uniforms were made out of the right material or not. We begin to enter hobbyistic details, which are very pleasant, but we must remember that not many things make it through to the general public. The way that state breeders talk with each other during the inspections differs from what they say among visitors. Is it our ambition to ponder on pure animal husbandry issues? No, because we are interested in another part of this industry, the spectacle part. And that’s how we look at it.
M.L.: But it is not just a world of spectacles. Also associated with it are some hazardous elements, rivalry and logistics. The mechanisms which rule this world seem more interesting than the best conformed shoulder. Furthermore there is also a historical and cultural forming aspect. But since it is a business, the interest of many play the main part.
K.D.: Yes, let’s see who the private breeders have to go up against. What kind of player is Director Jerzy Białobok when he enters Piacolla, who can have a bad day. He risks a lot, though this horse is so highly decorated that no harm should be done. What kind of player is Director Marek Trela,
who metaphorically placed all his eggs in one basket, his entire authority. I’m sure he must’ve had moments of doubt.
M.L.: A huge responsibility lay on him.
K.D.: But the award pool has been claimed. What Janów didn’t win in Białka – namely a gold for Kahil’s get – they will surely win during the Polish Nationals in August.
Yearling Colts Championship:
Gold & Best in Show
Morion (Kahil Al Shaqab – Mesalina/Ekstern), br/o. Michałów State Stud
Pitawal (Kahil Al Shaqab – Pepita/Ekstern), br/o. Janów Podlaski State Stud
Lord El Shawan (FA El Shawan – Lady Serenada/Ekstern), br/o. Małgorzata i Józef Pietrzak
Peon (Kahil Al Shaqab – Penta/Ecaho), br/o. SK Janów Podlaski
Junior Male Championship:
Eurogrant OZ (Ajman Moniscione – Ekspiacja/Emigrant), br. Ofer Meiri & Yzhak Dror (Israel), o. Małopolska Hodowla Roślin (Białka Stud) and Ofer Meiri & Yzhak Dror
Złoty Medal (QR Marc – Złota Orda/Pesal), br/o. Michałów State Stud
Gentelman (Madras Kossack – Greka/Major), br/o. Agnieszki Wójtowicz
Cefir (Eryks – Celina/Metropolis NA), br/o. Małopolska Hodowla Roślin (Białka Stud)
Fair (AB Jamil La Piana – Fila/Oset), br. PPH Parys
Yearling Fillies Championship:
Galerida (Shanghai E.A. – Galilea/Laheeb), br/o. Michałów State Stud
Prometida (Kahil Al Shaqab – Panonia/Eukaliptus), br/o. Janów Podlaski State Stud
Ceranova (Kahil Al Shaqab – Cerinola/Ecaho), br/o. Janów Podlaski State Stud
Al Jazeera (Kahil Al Shaqab – Alhasa/Ganges), br/o. Janów Podlaski State Stud
Burza (Kahil Al Shaqab – Bursa/Aslan), br/o. Janów Podlaski State Stud
Junior Female Championship:
Anawera (Piaff – Altamira/Ekstern), br/o. Janów Podlaski State Stud
Piacolla (Enzo – Polonica/Ekstern), br/o. Michałów State Stud
Egiria (Esparto – Egira/Emogrant), br/o. Małopolska Hodowla Roślin (Białka Stud)
Patria (Eden C – Palmeta/Ecaho), br/o. Janów Podlaski State Stud
Atanda (Eden C – Atma/Ekstern), br/o. Janów Podlaski State Stud