Barnes Arabian Ranch

Set against the stunning backdrop of the Grand Valley in Colorado, Barnes Arabian Ranch is owned and run by Dixie and Nick Barnes, a young couple whose passion for the Arabian horse runs deep. Dixie’s grandparents were great breeders, but this tenacious lady is determined to be known for the programme that she runs with her husband and, following incredible success at Scottsdale in February, they are fast gaining a name for themselves.

Dixie and Nick have long enjoyed success in the amateur classes at the Arabian Breeders’ World Cup in Las Vegas as well as in Scottsdale at the All-Arabian Horse Show, but this year their dreams came true when they took home three titles with three fillies – one of which was the second generation of their own breeding programme.

Dixie and Nick Barnes with Enzenya BAR (Enzo x Blue Spruce Siena Mink by SH Rembrandt). Lori Ricigliano photo

“For us, breeding is the most important thing,” says Dixie. “My grandparents were breeders, with Kari Wells, my grandmother, still breeding now. My mother, Rolleena Smith, also breeds. We are essentially three independent breeding programmes that have all branched out from the same root of bloodlines, and it remains a family co-operation. I think that is something very special indeed.

“We love going to shows, but we live with our horses all year and I have to be able to look at them and know that they are a true and correct Arabian horse. I enjoy going to shows and looking at the lines that are doing well – and then comparing that to our own breeding programme. While we have always believed in the breeding choices that we have made, this year’s Scottsdale results confirmed this belief. To have a Top Ten, a Top Five and a Reserve Champion was just amazing.”

Sapphire BAR (Emerald J x Jezzabelle BAR by Eden C). Lysa Roman photo

All three fillies were shown in the AOTH – amateur owner to handle – classes, which, in Scottsdale, are fiercely competitive. Add in that two of these classes were the Scottsdale Signature Stallion Auction classes – possibly the most valuable in the world, and therefore also incredibly competitive – and you can see that these plaudits are not easily won.

“Nick has been showing the horses in the amateur classes for many years,” smiles Dixie. “I, on the other hand, prefer to be on the outside of the ring, the behind the scenes action getting the horses ready and cheering for our horses. As we had two fillies in the same class, I also had to show and competing against my husband added a different element to the show!”

For those who have not been to Scottsdale, the Wendell Arena is an amphitheatre-like outdoor arena and this is where the action heats up during the second week of the show. It was here that Dixie and Nick would show their three fillies, and where their dreams came true.

Sapphire BAR (Emerald J x Jezzabelle BAR by Eden C). Lysa Roman photo

Sapphire BAR is a very special bay yearling filly, being sired by the multiple champion Emerald J (QR Marc x Emandoria by Gazal al Shaqab) and out of Jezzabelle BAR. “Jezzabelle is the first horse that Dixie and I bred,” explains Nick. “We both love her sire, Eden C (Enzo x Silken Sable by Genesis C), and he is a significant feature in our breeding programme, also being the sire of our seven-year old stallion, Ultimate Eden. Jezzabelle is out of Blue Spruce Sarandipity (WS Wiszard x Blue Spruce Sara by Bluespruce Hazeer), a mare who is four generations of Kari’s breeding programme. Jezzabelle is the first horse I ever showed, taking Top Ten in the AOTH class in Scottsdale, and that was what really hooked us on the amateur programme and confirmed our passion to show our own horses.”

Dixie continues: “We are so happy with Sapphire BAR. She is just everything that we hoped from this cross – which takes our solid foundation, yet also crosses the Padrons Psyche lines with those of Marwan al Shaqab (Gazal al Shaqab x Little Liza Fame by Fame VF). She was awarded Top Ten Yearling AOTH and she is now safely back home, growing up with her friends and just being a horse. That is so important to us both.”

Epiistar BSA (Epiic x Evenstar BSA by Eden C). Cat McKenna photo

The second filly that the couple took to Scottsdale was the charismatic grey filly, Epiistar BSA, sired by Epiic, a son of the flashy Egyptian-sired stallion AJ Thee Luca (Thee Desperado x Hed Caramba by Magnum Psyche) and out of Anastasiaa (Ata Bey Starr x Showgirl SP by Shaklan’s Padron NA). Epiitstar is out of Evenstar BSA, also sired by Eden C and out of Blue Spruce Morning Star (SH Rembrandt x Ultimate Girl by WN Ultimate Star). “BSA are the initials for Kari’s horses,” explains Nick. “Epiistar carries six generations of her family’s breeding, going back to the stallions Blue Spruce Tanzeer (El Hazeer x Blue Spruce Tango by Bur-Troy) and An Marretto (An Malik x Gai Parade by Gai Campaigner), who were such a key part to the family programme.

“It was really special to see Dixie show Epiistar BSA. To most people, it was just a lady with a horse, but to know the breeding… It really was the presentation of her grandparent’s lifelong love and devotion to the Arabian horse. I was so, so proud of her.”

Epiistar BSA (Epiic x Evenstar BSA by Eden C). Cat McKenna photo

Epiistar BSA showed in the AOTH three-to-four-year old mare class, where she placed Top Ten. She also showed in the Scottsdale Signature Stallion (SSS) Auction class where, to the couple’s delight, she placed Top Five. “I was so pleased with Epiistar,” smiles Dixie. “She showed so well. We love this filly and all that she represents.”

Showing in the same classes was RD Entayvia, as well as the Scottsdale Signature Stallion class, a filly that the couple purchased from Murray and Shirley Popplewell’s Rae-Dawn Arabians. “Part of the allure of Entayvia is her sire, Equator (QR Marc x Ekliptyka by Ekstern),” Nick explains. “There are few horses in the world that demand your attention like Equator, who I have seen show in both Scottsdale and Las Vegas at the Arabian Breeders’ World Cup. I still get chills thinking about his entrance at the World Cup… Entayvia carries herself in the same way, and coming through the gate, going into the arena with her, I could feel her electric personality and power at the end of the lead. It was her powerful charismatic motion combined with the genetic prowess of her dam, MI Morena (Marwan al Shaqab x Ysabela by Parys el Jamaal), that led to the decision to add RD Entayvia to our breeding programme.”

RD Entayvia (Equator x Mi Morena by Marwan al Shaqab). Cat McKenna photo

To the couple’s delight, their belief in RD Entayvia paid off as she placed Top Ten in the AOTH three-to-four-year old mare class as well as Top Ten in the three-year old mare Scottsdale Signature Stallion class. However, to their great pleasure, RD Entayvia took the Reserve Champion title in the three-year old Scottsdale Signature Stallion Auction class.

“I think this photo by Mike Hartman says it all,” they grin. “It was such an amazing moment, to both be showing our fillies together, and to do so well. Words cannot describe how we felt when Entayvia was called in Reserve. It was a very special moment indeed – and one that still does not seem quite real!”

Dixie and Nick with RD Entayvia. Mike Hartman photo

Now safely back home, and in the middle of foaling season – they already have one filly on the ground – Dixie and Nick have had time to reflect, with Nick summing it up for the couple: “It is always wonderful to escape winter for a few weeks and the weather this year was outstanding. Getting to compete against one another was so much fun. We are both very competitive and it makes for a lot of jokes and good-hearted teasing after the class.

“We were able to purchase two breedings at the SSS auction, one of which will be used in partnership with some of our friends that are older. They decided last December that this would be their last Scottsdale and that they were not going to breed anymore. We had so much fun together this year that they asked us if we would be willing to do a partnership on an auction breeding, using their mare and I will show the foal in two years’ time. To have lifelong breeders of the Arabian horse ask us to be part of their breeding programme, in what will most likely be their last chapter on their Arabian journey, was an incredible feeling. We cherish that friendship and feel so honoured that they would ask us to be a part of that.

“Dixie and I both say that showing and visiting shows really isn’t about ribbons. Instead, it is about our love for our horses and our friends. I am so proud that these amazing horses have brought so many incredible people into our lives.”

While naturally disappointed that the Arabian Breeders’ World Cup was cancelled for this year, “it does give us more time at home with our horses,” says Dixie. “We love spending time with them and seeing them grow. It also gives us more time to choose our fantasy breedings – we have quite a list!”

Nick with Ultimate Eden BSA (Eden C x CR Sparkling Star by WN Ultimate Star). Lori Ricigliano photo

Among these possible breedings is their own stallion, the aforementioned Ultimate Eden BSA (out of CR Sparkling Star by WN Ultimate Star by RD Bey Shahmapne). Bred by Kari, Ultimate Eden has a sparkling show record including 2014 Arabian Breeders’ World Cup Legacy Futurity Silver Champion Yearling Colt, 2014 Top Ten Scottsdale Classic Yearling Colts, 2014 Top Ten Scottsdale Signature Stallion Futurity Colt, 2014 US Top Ten Arabian National Breeders Finals Yearling Colt, and 2015 Top Ten Scottsdale International Two-year Old Colt. Nick showed Ultimate Eden’s daughter Myztyque LRS (ex Sha Mist LRS by SH Crown Prince out of SH Shalimar), bred by Rolleena and owned by the couple, to Top Five in the Arabian Breeders’ Finals Yearling Filly Championship in 2018. Dixie and Nick also have one homebred filly by Ultimate Eden, Empress BAR (ex SWF Gianni by MPA Giovanni out of Lite Omorn SWF), who is also three. Plans are in place to breed these fillies, and continue the tapestry of the breeding programme.

Dixie and Nick competing together at the 2018 Arabian Breeder Finals: Nick has Top Five Yearling Filly Myztyque LRS (Ultimate Eden BSA x Sha Mist LRS by SH Crown Prince) and Dixie has Epiistar BSA (Epiic x Evenstar BSA by Eden C). Laurelle photo

Barnes Arabian Ranch is a small farm full of possibilities and dreams. Set in the Rockies, surrounded by steep, snow-covered peaks, sharp steep cliff faces, and deep canyons, Dixie and Nick have a lot of time to work on the horses, preparing them for the show season. The results they had in Scottsdale this year – dubbed by many as the ‘greatest show on earth’ – goes to prove that hard work does pay off and that dreams can come true. I wonder what their next dream will be, and whether it will be born this season, a special Arabian who goes on to change their lives once more in the way that only this special breed, can.
Nick Barnes +1 970-712-3701, Dixie Barnes +1 970-216-1457


  1. Dixie and Nick are some of the best people I know! It is so rewarding from an outsiders perspective to see all their hard work come to fruition. These two truly spend everyday with their horses. They work them, handle them, train them. It is so cool to see that hard work recognized not only in the shows but I’m this article. You go guys!! Keep up the hard work!!


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