Shows held in places known for being tourist attractions no doubt have a way of drawing visitors. “You will have the opportunity not only to admire the beauty of purebred Arabians, but also learn a bit of Czech history and craft”, wrote the show’s organizer, Jaroslav Lacina, in his welcome letter. It is noteworthy to mention that the event, encompassing the Czech National Show, the international B-ranked Prague InterCup and the unaffiliated Porsche European Cup has one more asset in the form of a strong personality, who is also the ECAHO president. He is able to make all
guests, regardless of the results, happy upon departure. But, as he himself emphasized, this is greatly due to the attractions awaiting the participants in their free time. The history of the city dates back to the 10th century, when the first bishopric (973) was established on these lands. It was also here that the first university in Central Europe was opened – Carolinum (1348). The year 1784 brought the consolidation of five administratively separate cities into one
urban organism. Today they are well known Prague districts: Staré Město with the famous square surrounded by baroque tenement houses, the town hall and the Charles Bridge; the located on the right bank of the Vltava River Nové Město; the former Jewish district Josefov; the established in 1257 Malá Strana and the “royal” Hradčany, the seat of the government. In 1992 the full of historic monuments center of Prague became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.
All this translates to the number of tourists. The Czech capital is one of the most popular cities in the world – 6.2 million visitors gave it the 21st spot among the most visited cities of our globe, according to the newest Euromonitor International ranking. The narrow alleys of the Old Town are hard to walk through and the Charles Bridge is always packed with crowds equipped with cameras and selfie sticks, regardless of the time of day or weather (this time it was cold, windy and rainy). Yet it did not discourage the show’s guests, who after spending an intensive day at the show arena mustered up energy to hit the town, together with its restaurants and pubs.
Two in one
In order to get to Císařský Ostrov (an island on the Vltava River), where the equestrian center hosting the show is located and later get off it, one had to be aware that at the same time Prague was an arena for many other events, including mass ones (for example the Birell Prague Grand Prix – a race with as many as 9 thousand participants). Perhaps the large competition from other events resulted in few spectators, yet the VIP tables were filled to the very last one. The representatives of the sponsors turned up in fair amounts, including the main sponsor, Al Khalediah
Farm (Saudi Arabia). There were also plenty of horses, mainly from Poland. The Polish representation amounted to as many as 32 participants (together with the Tersk horses training in Poland) out of the 60 present. The State Studs were represented in Prague by Janów Podlaski with 7 horses – if we include Adyga, who after this year’s sale is owned by Shirley Watts. Mrs. Watts appeared at the Císařský Ostrov with her husband as both participant and sponsor. As you can see, without horses from Poland the competition in the classes would’ve been almost
symbolic. This is the third – after Buksza and the Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival – international show, where Polish breeders (mainly private ones) come so numerously, making use of the great opportunities to acquire titles so close to home. We also noticed the presence of Reinhard Sax’s stud (Germany), which disappeared from European arenas after the terrible accident in April on their way back from the Berlin show. The return of the German breeder after a several month break is good news. He left Prague with a bronze medal in the senior stallion championship for Al Milan (AL Lahab – Milena/Ibn Narav).
The show was judged by Christine Jamar (Belgium), Ferdinand Huemer (Austria), Tomasz Tarczyński (Poland) and Francesco Santoro (Italy). Due to a small number of entries the yearling stallion championship was not held. There was only one class and its winners qualified for the junior stallions championship. Similarly to previous years, the horses were assessed for six traits, not five – separately for the head and neck.
The classes were held once, but the finals had a double life. Similarly to Wels it was agreed that horses qualify for two finals at once. Here it was the Prague InterCup and the Porsche European Cup, eligible for horses born and registered in Europe. The additional contest allowed many horses that did not qualify for the ECAHO show finals to receive prizes of 200 Euro and gadgets in the parallel championship. Thanks to this much more people left for home in good spirits, which definitely makes this idea worthwhile.
Saudi Arabia in the lead, Poland right behind
The representatives of the Saudi powerhouse Al Khalediah Farm had many reasons to celebrate. It was them that received the special Prague Cup of Nations trophy for Saudi Arabia. They owed this result to the successes of their graduates. The gold in the junior mares category went to Lamis Al Khalediah (El Palacio VO – Laha Al Khalediah/Galba), the gold for senior mares – to Ghazalat Al Khalediah (PA Gazsi – Argentinna SS/Arius SS), bred by Pannonia Arabians (US),
also awarded for the show’s highest score (92,08). Chosen as Senior Gold Champion Stallion was Peace From The Desert (Marwan Al Shaqab – FS Penelope/FS Bengali). The Saudi Arabian colors were also represented by other Prague winners, from Athbah Stud: the yearling mares bronze medalist Bent El Reeh V (EKS Alihandro – Lola Dona/Magnum Psyche), the junior
stallions gold medalist Wajeeh Athbah (EKS Alihandro – El Dorada/Sanadik El Shaklan) and the senior mares silver medalist Star of Marwan (Marwan Al Shaqab – GW Natarious Star/LBA Lode Star), bred by Virginia Wood (US). Another Saudi stud, Shazin Stud, still a newbie on the breeding scene, could boast the junior stallions silver medal for its representative EKS Amir (EKS
Alihandro – EKS Lady Dauphine/Patrician B), bred by Elkasun Arabians (RSA).
The next great winners in the international show, right behind the Saudis, were Poles, who left with the yearling mares silver medal for Janów’s Empuza (Kahil Al Shaqab – Eulerta/Ganges), the junior mares silver medal for Adyga (Kahil Al Shaqab – Amiga/Piaff) – though this medal belonged to Halsdon Arabians from the UK – and a bronze in the same category for another Janów daughter of
Kahil Al Shaqab, Axara (out of Anilla/Pesal). Bronze medals were also awarded to stablemates Pitawal (Kahil Al Shaqab – Pepita/Ekstern) and Potentilla (Ekstern – Panonia/Eukaliptus), also awarded for best movement (two “20s” and a “19,5”). The Janów
graduate turned out to be one of the few horses that proved that they can move always and everywhere. Similar abilities were displayed by the German Marshan (Meshan Ibn Kubinec – Marni/Windsprees Mirage) from the stud of Reinhard Sax.
Great joy, shown in a very spontaneous way, was brought to her breeders by a filly from Jordan,
Mimi NK (Nofal NL – Cinnamon N Spice VLA/First Cyte), who took the yearling mares gold medal. Another medal – in the senior stallions category – made its way to Qatar for the highly decorated Sultan Al Shaqab (Amir Al Shaqab – Abha Al Shaqab/Abha Fadil), claiming the silver.
In the Porsche European Cup it were the Polish horses that clearly dominated the scene. Janów
Podlaski received the title of Best Breeder. The entire top five in the junior mares category descended from Poland (Empuza, Adyga, Axara, Amarena, El-Schanel). On the junior stallions podium Poland shared space with Reinhard Sax (Pitawal, El Amir, Petrarca, Marnay Al Justice, El Pais), similarly to the senior mares finals (Potentilla, Elliseina, Farida Bint Khidar, Naifa Al Khalediah, Ekstera) and the senior stallions (Al Milan, Marshan, Najm Al Khalediah, Gotico).
Marking their presence were also horses from the Polish division of Al Khalediah Farm – Polska AKF Stud (5 participants). Out of this group the most successful was the freshly crowned bronze medalist from Janów Podlaski, Elliseina (Galba – Ellisara/Laheeb), bred by Michałów Stud, who won her class and later claimed the silver in the Porsche European Cup.
So there weren’t reasons to complain. „To je paráda!” (That’s wonderful) was what almost all the trainers present in Prague could say to each other, because almost every stable took home some kind of recognition. In a year’s time they will surely come to Prague again.
The results were listed by Arabian Essence website, which also provided the online broadcast from the show.