Ten years ago, the amazing Russian stallion Artist graced the cover of our special Collectors’ Edition. Sired by Aswan, Artist celebrated his 30th birthday that year, at home at Georgian Arabians. While he has since passed, the legacy of this giant lives on and we remember him in this feature, as published in 2011.
In 1981, a very special horse was born at the world-famed Tersk State Stud in Russia. The horse was Artist and while he excelled on the racetrack in his home country, it was in England where he would make his mark as a superlative sire. His classical pedigree remains as admired today as it was when he was a young stallion. Owned by Georgian Arabians, Artist celebrated his 30th birthday this year and in this special edition, we reflect on this once-in-a-lifetime stallion.
I am not sure exactly how many living sons there are of the legendary Aswan in the world today, but I am certain that the answer is ‘very few’. Aswan was, of course, the stallion gifted by the Egyptian Agricultural Association to the Tersk Stud and his arrival in Russia marked a new generation and a huge step forward in their breeding programme. Artist is a living son of this incredible sire, while his damline contains some of the finest horses to come from pre-War Poland, when they were taken from the State Studs there to Russia, and incorporated into the Tersk State breeding programme. While his pedigree contains these wonderful roots, Artist is classified straight Russian and he certainly contains those qualities that we have all come to know and enjoy from this country.
Artist, photographed at age 25
Artist, called The Iron Horse of Russia, had an extraordinarily successful career on the racetrack in young life and he passes this tremendous athleticism on to his progeny. His foals have been blessed with Arabian type, beauty, power and athleticism, with many excelling in the performance arena.
In 1997, Susan George purchased Artist from the Gucci sale for her Georgian Arabian Stud and it is perhaps here that he has shone the most. Accompanying Artist from Gucci was the wonderful G Baryshnia (ex Buhara by Moment out of Nevasta), one of Susan’s much-loved mares and a superb dam for Georgian Arabians, as well as placing third at the 1998 Paris World Championships.
Two years after Artist’s arrival at Georgian Arabians, his first foal arrived. This was Aktor, who was out of Susan’s most precious foundation mare, Luzhana (Rezolute Bay x Ludora by Ludo out of Oranet). Five years later, Aktor would be the first of many Georgian Arabian homebreds to take a British National title as he became the 2004 Reserve British National Champion Novice Ridden Gelding.
In 2001, Egatist arrived in the world. This grey stallion was sired by Aswan and out of the Polish mare, Egala (Grandorr x Egina by Palas out of Estrada). Susan describes Egatist: “He is so well made, with a handsome head and soft, expressive eye. He is eye-catching and expressive on the move, with superb paces and he covers much ground so effortlessly. Egatist’s genuine temperament makes him a joy to know and ride. He is a natural athlete and enjoys everything asked of him.”
These words were proved when, in 2009, Egatist was crowned the coveted Champion Ridden Stallion at the illustrious Horse of the Year Show. He was partnered by the young Abi Taylor and Susan describes their partnership as ‘exceedingly special’. This year, Egatist has been produced in dressage by Andrew Lovell, proving the all-round ability this Russian/Polish lines.
Artist himself has enjoyed time in the show-ring. Susan recalls her beloved stallion memorably taking the Reserve Championship at the UK Egyptian Event in 2001: “This was an amazing occasion as there were so many fans of his, including many of his race trainers and Ann Green and others, were all in floods of tears as he entered the arena roaring. Everyone got to their feet and he truly stole the day!”
Artist holds a very special place in Susan’s heart and he certainly mesmerises visitors to the stud. I myself remember visiting Georgian Arabians for the first time in 2005, and seeing a then 24-year-old Artist dancing around the indoor arena. While he was the oldest horse in the presentation, Artist just turned on his incredible flamboyance and showed off to the crowd. In the process, he surprised his handler who, quite possibly, had decided that this quiet ‘old’ boy would just quietly trot around the arena; never underestimate an Arabian!
As winter falls across Somerset, Artist stays as the proud king of Georgian Arabians. Susan can see his stall from the house and with his progeny continuing the precious bloodlines of this stallion, his artistry will always remain.
All photography by Susan George
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