This feature first appeared in The Arabian Magazine in March 2008, and the cover remains in my favourite Top Ten covers.
Straight Egyptian stallions are as romantic an idyll as many can get and when I visited the US last year, I was keen to meet one such stallion that had captured my attention through the pages of The Arabian Magazine: Botswana. On meeting him, I was not disappointed. In spite of having an arm in plaster, I was happy to go on my own into his stable and he fussed over me, displaying the truly delightful nature that he is known to have and which he passes on so well to his children. Out in the paddocks, Botswana turned on the charm, galloping, playing and showing off in the way that you would expect of such a powerful stallion. A wonderful person, Botswana is as magical as it can get for many people and it is not surprising that he has legions of fans around the world.
Now 10 years old, Botswana is a bay straight Egyptian stallion owned by the Botswana Trust and happily living in the rolling countryside just outside Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
With his pedigree including three lines to the legendary Ruminaja Ali* (Shaikh Al Badi x Bint Magidaa) and another to Ansata Ibn Halima (Nazeer x Halima), Botswana comes from a long line of celebrated sires. Of the Dahman Shawan strain, Botswana traces tail female to El Dahma through the Farida line.
With these highly desirable bloodlines, Botswana is a proven sire, winning the Leading Sire Award at the US Egyptian Event in both halter and performance sections as his youngstock do the talking. After the 2003 US Egyptian Event, at five years old, Botswana was ranked as the fourth Straight Egyptian Leading Halter Sire, the youngest stallion to ever rank in the Top 5. Since then, Botswana has always been in the Top Three Straight Egyptian Halter Sires. In 2004 and 2005, he was ranked second, just behind his own sire, another legend Thee Desperado* (The Minstrel x AK Amiri Asmarr). In 2006 and 2007, Botswana was the leading Straight Egyptian Performance Sire at the US Egyptian Event and last year, he added the Leading Straight Egyptian Halter and Performance Sire title (combined points) to his crown. This has been achieved with less than 70 show-age youngstock, underlining Botswana’s ability to pass on his beautiful looks, his powerful movement and his quick-to-learn nature.
Curt Westley and Allison Mehta, who own Talaria Farms and are proud to be able to look after Botswana for the Trust, say: “We believe that his children’s steady rise to the top of the line is due to Botswana’s prepotency. He is consistently siring extreme type, correct bodies and legs, high natural tail carriage and beautiful sculpted heads with large, lustrous eyes.
“Botswana foals have won numerous Top Tens, Top Fives, Reserve Championships and Championships at the Egyptian Event plus Class A Championships, Scottsdale Top Tens, Regional Top Tens, Top Fives and Championships giving their sire an astounding 70% ‘winning-get ratio’. They have excelled both at halter and in performance, especially western.”
The influence of Botswana is beginning to be felt across the world – TF Fezzan (Prince Ibn Shaikh x Ramses Forever) was exported to the Gerzanne Stud in New Zealand, where he has already taken a National Championship crown while Kenya PG, a Botswana daughter, was Reserve Champion Mare at the 2007 Egyptian Event in Israel.
At just 10 years of age, Botswana is a stallion still at the beginning of his career. Yet when one stands next to him in the stable or watches his children perform so well in the show-ring, one can’t help but feel that he is sure to fulfil his destiny.
All photography Suzanne