Fans of Polish Arabians cannot be disappointed after Equator‘s performance during the World Championships in Paris (24-26.11.2017). This Michałów stallion showed himself marvellously on Saturday in the qualifiers and in the finals exhibited his stellar movement, charisma and show talent. No one expected a miracle – it was obvious that the gold would go to the favourite in this competition, the Qatari Wadee Al Shaqab, the pupil of Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Al Thani. But Equator deserved the silver and luckily there wasn’t a repeat from Verona, where some judges completely omitted Pustynia Kahila in their final verdict. On the contrary, two judges, Steve Lieblang and Marc Veray, saw the winner in Equator. And it has to be said that today, when some judges and activists are openly expressing their animosity toward Polish breeding (like the peculiar statement of Jaroslav Lacina for the Polish TV station TVN about “a prayer for the survival of the Arabian horse in Poland”; it’s hard to find something more detached from reality than that), medals for Poland can be counted double. Either way the Polish team returned victorious – with a silver and three Top Ten titles, two for mares (Potentilla and Emandilla) and a stallion (Kabsztad). Two horses on lease, Galerida and Morion, also won Top Ten titles, but for their lessees from Egypt and Qatar.
We should also emphasize the enormous success of a horse from private breeding, the first since Girlan-Bey. As we remember, Girlan-Bey, bred by Michał Bogajewicz, became a World Junior Res. Champion Stallion in 2005 as a representative of the Swedish OKS Arabians stud of the Kristoffersen Family. After 12 years the same title was won by Fuerte, bred by Jan Dobrzyński, currently representing the Kuwaiti Abhaa Arabians stud.
Grand style at its best: Sunday finals
The Sunday finals began with the usual “fireworks” – there was the cancan, the military orchestra and the judges’ oath. Next up was the mare championship, held to the sounds of Pink Floyd’s “Money”, that has become a commentary to the rivalry of horses, bought and sold for huge amounts. “Money, so they say / Is the root of all evil today”… Let’s hope that Arabian horse shows are not just about money.
Meanwhile the yearling fillies battled it out for the podium. Victorious was LR Era de Excalibur from Estancia Las Rosas and the participants of the show held white roses, an homage to the Uruguayan name of the stud. This is another great Parisian success of Duchess Laetitia d’Arenberg, who several years ago celebrated the winning of the gold medal of Era’s sire, Excalibur EA. This time however the winner, LR Era de Excalibur, was surrounded by Saudi flags, as she performed under the banner of Al Sayed Stud. The national anthem of Saudi Arabia was performed live by the orchestra, as it was in all subsequent decoration ceremonies.
The fact that the 1,5 million dollar purchase by Patricia Dempsey, the filly Om El Erodite, made it to the podium was no surprise, though her presentation could’ve ended tragically due to a dangerously looking fall of Ted Carson. However, to the relief of everyone around, the performance ended successfully and resulted later in the bronze medal. The silver went to Seranza of Israeli ownership, which was a huge surprise.
There was no surprise during the junior mares championship – observers placed their bets on Mozn Albidayer and it was her that was chosen by the judges almost unanimously as the winner (with just one exception). The beautiful like an alabaster figurine Mozn justly returns from Paris with the title of Gold Champion. The Egyptian Madinat Al Baydaa gained the silver and the Qatari Belladonna AT – the bronze.
In the senior mare finals we saw Polish representatives: Galerida, Potentilla and Emandilla – all three proved that they are mares of the highest world quality. Galerida showed herself splendidly, Potentilla once more presented her signature trot and suspension phase and Emandilla made an overall stunning impression. A white and red flag appeared in the audience – and there were reasons to be proud. But the Polish contestants had tough rivals, such as Anood Al Nasser, Shirin By Aisha, and Tehama Ballalina. As well as the wonderful Delight’s Divah RB, Bint Hazy Al Khalediah and Arwa Aljassimya, so if we were counting on a bronze it was wishful thinking. Victorious was Tehama Ballalina, before Shirin By Aisha and Delight’s Divah RB. Awards were handed by Wayne Newton to the sounds of “Still” performed by himself.
Triumphant among the yearling colts was Figaro, behind him placed HL El Ganador (this time not victorious, though his promo claimed “Silver for a few, Gold for many”) and third was RD Harenaado (Hariry Al Shaqab – DM Endless Romance/Da Valentino) of American breeding, owned by Woody Arabians.
History takes place
The junior stallion championship brought Polish private breeding a historic result. For the second time a young Polish stallion, born at a private stud, reached for a silver medal of the World Championships. It happened just like with Girlan-Bey, after being sold abroad, but the promotion of a stallion on a world scale usually exceeds the potential of private breeders. Fuerte would probably not have gone so far while still in the hands of his breeder. This success shows, however, that even today when the podium of important shows is dominated almost completely by the world’s largest players it is possible for a horse from a small stud to win prestigious awards.
Alexxanderr turned out to be – unanimously! – golden, while Nadeem El Arab won the bronze.
A beautiful gesture
The impatiently awaited moment of Sunday was the final of the senior stallions – the viewings of the website broadcast soared to 1500 viewers, which is a sort of a record (the previous day the numbers were 700-800 online at one time). And there was plenty to admire. Together with the stars of this championship, Wadee Al Shaqab and Equator, Gazal Al Shaqab himself appeared on the show arena, led by Michael Byatt. The stallion came to collect the Platinum Championship title. A double World Champion, still in great form, a “global” stallion who became a living legend, once more drew the attention of the delighted public and was reason for national pride for the present in Paris Qatari aristocrats, including Sheikh Jassim Bin Khalifa Al Thani and Sheikh Joan Bin Hamad Al Thani, especially since this year marks the 25th anniversary of establishing Al Shaqab Stud by the Emir-Father, HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.
However before the final verdict was announced, we found out that the title of Best Sire went to WH Justice, which was to be expected, considering how the junior stallion classes looked like (we write about it further). The best producer was the dam of Wadee Al Shaqab, the mare OFW Mishaahl by Mishaah.
Equator did not best Wadee, but he reached for the title of World Reserve Senior Champion already for the second time. Previously he won the silver medal in 2015 (in 2014 it was a bronze and in 2012 the junior silver). For Wadee it was also not a first – he was named World Junior Champion in 2012.
The Best Breeder award went to Sheikh Jassim Bin Khalifa Al Thani, owner of Al Jassimya Farm. His graduates gained the highest point score during this year’s World Championships. The fantastic results of horses from this breeding find recognition all over the world. Poles should additionally appreciate the gesture of Equator’s lessee, who decided that the stallion who was leased for two years to the US will perform in Paris under the Polish banner. Thanks to that Equator’s silver meal went to Poland.
The show was judged by: Silvia Garde-Ehlert (Germany), Ferdinand Huemer (Austria), Steve Lieblang (USA), Luiz Rocco (Brasil), Renata Schibler (Switzerland), Marianne Tengstedt (Denmark), Marc Veray (France) and George Zbyszewski (USA).
Class competition. Equator with the second highest score of the show and Best Movement award among males
But let’s return to the first two days of the World Championships. 55 fillies and mares performed on Friday, including 8 representing Poland. The show began on time and bearing the number 1 was the pride of Duchess Laetitia d’Arenberg from Estancia Las Rosas (Uruguay), daughter of Excalibur EA and LR Expected Beauty/Shael Dream Desert, LR Era de Excalibur, leased by Al Sayed Stud (Saudi Arabia), who won her yearling group in the hands of Tom Schoukens with a score of 92,8 (incl. 2×20 for type and 2×20 for head and neck). Shows with number 2 Om El Erodite (EKS Alihandro – Om El Excella/Al Lahab), bred at Om El Arabi International, owned by Patricia Dempsey, placed third (91,33, incl. a 20 for head and neck), but it was her that claimed the Best Head award. The filly also possesses a free, dynamic movement and plenty of presence. Om El Erodite and the performing in the same class Priscilla OS (Poseidon OS – El Lucina OS/El Sid, 5th place, 90,58), bred by Gestüt Osterhof (Germany) this year changed owners. Priscilla OS, sold during the European Breeders Trust in Aachen, cost its buyer, Abhaa Arabians from Kuwait, 160 thousand Euro. But it appears that that’s not enough to win a Top Ten title in Paris, because the filly did not qualify for the finals, she was “pushed out” by the sixth place holder in the second series of the yearling fillies, the silver medalist from Verona, bred and owned by Pietro Re (Italy) Nemesi Regalis (SA Faez Simbad – Nashira by Chawy Na/Lucky Dream), who received a higher score: 90,75. Whereas Om El Erodite is the famous “Million Dollar Filly”, for whom her current owner paid 1,5 million dollars during the Marquise Invitational Auction in Scottsdale in February.
The above mentioned Nemesi Regalis (awarded for best head) was one of the more known participants of the B series of the yearling fillies. The absence of such studs as Ajman or Dubai was very much felt. It was known for awhile that some of the leading studs would not be present in Paris. Meanwhile, when you roll out the red carpet, you need to have stars. And here the large stars of this season, marching from victory to victory and causing great emotions, were a no-show. On the other hand this gave a chance to others – and so a class was won by the Israeli (and bred by Michael Byatt) Seranza (Kanz Albidayer – Evening Serenade/Marwan Al Shaqab), owner of the Bronze Supreme Champion Yearling Filly title from Las Vegas, who also here showed what she is capable of, gaining 93,33 pts including as many as five 20s for type and one 20 for head and neck.
In the first of the two junior mare groups we had two contestants from Poland, namely Michałów’s Poganinka (El Omari – Pentra/Poganin) and Emanolla (Vitorio TO – Emandoria/Gazal Al Shaqab), but they did not find themselves in the top five despite high scores – both gained 91,33 pts. Emanolla, in the hands of Piotr Dwojak, boasted her spectacularly long neck, good body and excellent movement. But Paris and “title” shows overall are about heads and in this field neither Emanolla nor Poganinka (2×20 for movement) can beat their exotic rivals. The class was won with a score of 92,58 (including a full row of top marks for movement and at the end an award for Best moving mare) by the American Beloved Gracious Lady (Bey Ambition – AP Sheez Sassy/Bey Shah), bred and owned by the buyer of the “Million Dollar Filly”, Patricia Dempsey. Also performing in this class was the daughter of Empire and Lanckorona by Poganin (sold during the 2014 Summer Sale to Kuwait for 15,5 thousand Euro), Jewaher Lemar. She placed seventh with a score of 91,33. The award for best head went to Madinat Al Baydaa (RFI Farid – TS Madeleine/Ansata Sinan), bred and owned by Al Baydaa Stud (Egypt), who placed second with 92,5, incl. a 20 for type. The filly repeated her success from last year at the same place and time.
In the B series of the junior mares the decisive favourite was the star of Albidayer Stud (Sharjah), the phenomenal Mozn Albidayer (S.M.A. Magic One – Mattaharii/Magnum Chall HVP), who has a numerous group of fans. And it was her that won, with a score of 93,08, with an entire row of 20s for type and four more for head and neck, also receiving the award for best head. In this class we also saw Bambina (Kahil Al Shaqab – Bellisa/Poganin), whose conformation does not destine her to fight for the podium in such a strong competition, but she cannot be denied impressive movement by judges, even the most unfavourable towards Polish breeding. She received one 20 for this trait, a final score of 91 and placed eighth.
The senior mares classes were opened by Michałów’s Galerida (Shanghai EA – Galilea/Laheeb), leased by Al Baydaa Stud. She most caught the eye of the US judge Steve Lieblang and the Swiss judge Renata Schibler. The least – Jerzy “George” Zbyszewski, representing the US. As a result, with a score of 91,92 she placed third. Another Polish representative in this class, Janów’s Potentilla (Ekstern – Panonia/Eukaliptus), was the only mare in this edition of the World Championships that exhibited a trot with a suspension phase. She trotted lightly and was an example of a horse with a dance to her step. Unfortunately, her slightly longer head, for which some judges gave her just 18,5, eliminates her from competition at this level. If not for Ferdinand Huemer from Austria, Potentilla would have had a whole row of 20s for movement. But she made up for it with two 20s for type and her final score was 91,67 and a fifth place. The class was won, together with the award for best head, by the Brasilian-bred daughter of Ajman Moniscione and Honey’s Delight RB/JJ Señor Magnum, the chestnut Delight’s Divah RB, owned by Al Sayed Stud (Saudi Arabia). She received 2×20 for type, 4×20 for head and neck and a 20 for movement, which gave a total of 92,58.
In the B series of the senior mares we had Polish representatives: Michałów’s Emandilla (Om El Shahmaan – Espadrilla/Monogramm) and Janów’s Pilarosa (Al Adeed Al Shaqab – Pilar/Fawor) and Euzona (Om El Bellissimo – Euzetia/Etogram). The highest placed the graduate of Michałów, who gained 91,75 pts, incl. 2×20 for movement. Pilarosa was eighth, Euzona ninth; both received 91 pts. The last horse to compete on Friday was Tehama Ballalina. It has often been confirmed that the last will be the first and this principle was in force here. Tehama Ballalina (Tehama NA Sidaqa – JJ Shai Majestic Queen/Laddinn), bred by Linda Ferguson (Zimbabwe), owned by Al Zobair Stud (UAE) was honoured with as many as five 20s for type, four for head and neck, two for movement and for best head. Her score of 93,5 was the highest of the day. And so her promotional campaign “This is how she dances!” was not an empty marketing promise.
37 stallions and colts took part in the competition on Saturday. The winners of the yearling colts class turned out to be the owners of best heads: Figaro, son of Wadee Al Shaqab and the famous Shirin By Aisha (WH Justice – Aisha By Missouri/Missouri), bred by Fausto Gladich from Italy and owned by Al Jassimya Farm (Qatar). Shirin By Aisha, owned by Athbah Stud, the previous day placed second in the B series of the senior mares (93,08, incl. 4×20 for type, 2×20 for head and neck and 3×20 for movement). The second best head winner was the widely promoted HL El Ganador, who according to his name (“Winner”) never loses. Figaro received 92,67 pts (incl. 3×20 for head and neck, while HL El Ganador, with an unfound in Europe pedigree (HP Shakir Te – Lonco Baby Maria/HP Emir), bred in Chile and owned by Hanaya Stud (Switzerland) – 92,5, incl. a 20 for type and head and neck.
In the A series of the juniors the judges voted spread out differently and the best head owner placed just third. It was D Arghad (FA El Rasheem – Krystal Tiara/Ekstern), presented rather unfortunately last year on the same arena. „A colt with a head and neck like a dream”, we wrote then. „The judges however pointed to the chain of the halter being too tight, which resulted in a prolonged discussion, finally cut short by the show’s organizer, Christianne Chazel, who entered the arena and abruptly ended the dispute. The horse had to leave the arena.” This time all was alright and the bred by Dubai Stud D Arghad scored success (91,83, incl. a 20 for head and neck) under a new owner, Asayel Stud (Kuwait). But he was bested by two other rivals: Jaal Aljassimya (WH Justice – Annaiss/Ansata Nile Echo) from Qatar (92,5, incl. 3×20 for movement and a 20 for type) and the proudly presented Perseus KA (Espressivo – Phirouettes/QR Marc), bred by Knocke Arabians (Belgium), owned by Al Mazrouei Stud (UAE) – 91,83.
The B series of the junior stallions was dominated by participants with WH Justice blood. There was his son, three grandsons and a great-grandson. Victorious was the last – Alexxanderr (Excalibur EA – AR Most Irresistible/ML Mostly Padron, 92,1), owned by Alsayed Stud (Saudi Arabia), bred in the US, with a score of 93,5, which consisted of 4×20 for type and four more for head and neck. The award for best head also went to a son of Excalibur EA. His sire was awaited by fans in Paris, but it turned out that he was not entered. At second spot we found Justice’s Polish grandson, namely Fuerte (Shanghai EA – Frymuszka/Ekstern), bred by Jan Dobrzyński, representing Abhaa Arabians (Kuwait). As you can see, Fuerte has managed to change colors yet again and has found himself in the same stable as the afore mentioned Priscilla OS. The son of Shanghai gathered 92,5 pts, incl. 2×20 for type and a 20 for head and neck. Alexxanderr and Fuerte were shown by Paolo Cappeci in a shining silver suit, very well matched to grey stallions. The Justice son Nadeem El Arab (out of Om El Euphoria/Sanadik El Shaklan) placed third (92,17).
The A series of the senior stallions was a true clash of the titans with a lot of joy for Polish enthusiasts, mainly due to Equator (QR Marc – Ekliptyka/Ekstern), who in Paris appeared under the Polish flag. The class was opened by the Michałów-born, but still representing Qatar Morion (Kahil Al Shaqab – Mesalina/Ekstern), who placed fifth with 91,08. It seems that Morion stopped cooperating with his presenter, Tom Oben, as they have ceased to be successful. Much better was the performance of the last in class Equator, who moved wonderfully in the hands of Tom Schoukens and faced off against Wadee Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab – OFW Mishaahl/Mishaah) like an equal. Wadee, as expected, won, but Equator stepped right on his heels. Apart from victory in class and the highest score of the show (93,83, incl. an almost full row of 20s for type, 4×20 for head and neck and 3×20 for movement), Wadee also received the award for best head. But it was Equator that was awarded for best movement in the male category! The final score of our leading contestant at this year’s Paris was 93,75, incl. also an almost full row of 20s for type, 2×20 for head and neck and 3×20 for movement. It has to be said that Equator’s lessee – Al Jassimya Farm – took great care to have the stallion well prepared for Paris. The public appreciated the performances of both stallions, cheering them on with great enthusiasm. During their appearance the temperature of the arena at Parc des Expositions Paris Nord Villepinte visibly increased. Also the online broadcast noted the best viewing during Wadee’s performance – 968 viewers (over a hundred more than during Morion’s performance).
Performing in the B series of the senior stallions was Michałów’s Kabsztad (Poganin – Kwestura/Monogramm), who placed third (91,58, incl. 2×20 for movement). Victorious was the representative of Australia, RHR Heir of Marwan (Marwan Al Shaqab – LC Psychesheiress/Padrons Psyche), bred in the US and owned by Southern Chariot Stud. He gained 92,08 pts, incl. 2×20 for movement. The award for best head was awarded unsurprisingly to the US Van Gogh AM (Magnum Psyche – Ynazia HCF/AF Don Giovani), owned by Asayel Stud (UAE) – 91,75, incl. 3×20 for type and a 20 for head and neck.
There was some surprise among the Polish fans, because both in the catalogue and during the broadcast Michałów mares were described as bred and owned by Janów Podlaski Stud. Indeed, right before the World Championships Janów was listed as a Monument of History, but that doesn’t mean that the horses changed breeders and owners.
Another show is behind us and we should expect that the discussion around judging will continue after Paris. This is similar to the discussion taking place in our country about the reform of the judicial system. Should judges support a side of a political dispute? Should they take part in demonstrations supporting one political option? It is the same in the “Arabian backyard” – we should think over whether judges who took part or take part in media campaigns against Polish state studs and who openly criticised or still criticise the changes that take place within them, should judge horses from these studs? This is not regulated by any code, it is a matter of ethical sensitivity. And shouldn’t the ethics of ECAHO officials be a matter of special attention of the authorities of this organization?
Photo gallery of champions by Ewa Imielska-Hebda
Full results: Arabian Essence