Celebrating the Horse without Borders – The Egyptian Arabian, a Global Ambassador
Words by Lisa Abraham
Photography by Don Stine, Lori and Victor Ricigliano, Suzanne Sturgill, Jenni Ogden and Lisa Abraham
Egyptian Breeders Challenge: Auction and competition
The Egyptian Breeders Challenge (EBC) Live Stallion Auction is another show highlight. As this year’s auction was scheduled on Championship day, energy was high! For this annual sale, the arena is converted into an exciting auction house with staging for live presentations. As usual, a lovely social preceded the auction with attendees being treated to a generous selection of tasty finger foods and beverages, graciously sponsored by Lone Star Arabians, as part of their exclusive EBC sponsorship.
Auctioned off are breedings to stallions enrolled in the current EBC programme. The resulting foals from those breedings are then eligible to participate in the lucrative EBC classes as yearlings. Additionally, it is an opportunity to purchase breedings to certain enrolled stallions whose stud books are not open. Through the years, several once-in-a-lifetime opportunities have been made available. For example, in 2012, long after his stud book had been closed, Judy Sirbasku of Arabians Ltd offered a breeding to Thee Desperado (The Minstril x AK Amiri Asmarr by The Egyptian Prince), that sold for $21,000. And, in 2014, in support of the Gleannloch festivities, Kehilan Arabians offered a breeding to Makhsous (Sultann x Nabda by Wahag), that sold for $7,000.
|EBC Colt Champion TF Esfahan (Botswana X EAI Etheena)
|EBC Colt Reserve Champion Apalo DB (Bellagio RCA X Makeda DB)
The 2016 EBC Live Stallion Auction raised a total of $119,750. The top earning stallions included: Shaikh Al Nadir (Ansata Sinan x Nadira Fujai by Shaikh Al Badi) and Alixir (The Elixir x The Prevue by The Minstril) for $4,500 each; Bellagio RCA (Alixir x Rhapsody In Black by Thee Desperado) for $5,000; Al Bahir (Ansata Sinan x Savannah CC by Thee Desperado) for $6,000; and leading the pack was Botswana (Thee Desperado x The Minuet by The Minstril) with two breedings that sold for $7,000 apiece.
|EBC Filly Champion FH Shahteenah Psyche (Shaheen Al Waab X Psyches Premonishahn)
|EBC Filly Reserve Champion Sudan Aria (Etaya Sudan Amir X Al Amirah)
The winners of the 2016 EBC classes, which are strictly Amateur-To-Handle, shared from a pot of $82,977.50! The EBC Champion Filly, earning $16,627.50, was FH Shahteenah Psyche (Shaheen Al Waab x Psyches Premonishahn by Padrons Psyche), bred and owned by Franklin D Holloman. The Reserve Champion Filly, earning $9,145.13, was Sudan Aria (Etaya Sudan Amir x Al Amirah by Ansata Malik Shah), owned and bred by Barbara Sim. The EBC Colt Champion was TF Esfahan (Botswana x EAI Etheena by Safeen), owned and bred by Allison G Mehta. He earned $16,563.50 and was the only unanimous Champion of the entire show. The Reserve Champion Colt, earning $9,109.93, was Apollo DB (Bellagio RCA x Makeda DB by Mishaal HP), bred and owned by Dreamco Arabians, LLC.
I would like to devote some space to a horse that has become such an important part, not only to the EBC Programme, but also to the overall tapestry of the Egyptian Event: Botswana. In 1999, as a yearling, Botswana was the Egyptian Event Champion Straight Egyptian Futurity Colt, chosen from a group of 25. Then in 2009, he became the Egyptian Event Supreme Champion Stallion. In addition to this, for eight consecutive years, from 2007-2015, he was the Leading Halter and Performance Sire at the Egyptian Event. Not only was Botswana the sire of the 2016 EBC Colt, but also, in years previous, his yearlings have won a total of five EBC Championships and two EBC Reserves. In 2010, Botswana yearlings won both the filly and colt EBC classes. Furthermore, a breeding to Botswana has been offered in the EBC programme every year since 2000.
In 2002, all EBC records became digitally recorded and reveal that since 2002, breedings to Botswana offered in the EBC Stallion Auction have generated $123,300 for the programme. Breeders that purchased a breeding in the auction and then competed with their Botswana yearlings have earned a cumulative total of $170,332.12.
Allison Mehta, of Talaria Farms, shared: “One of Botswana’s greatest gifts has been that he is so consistent for beautiful Arabian type. We have been successful using him on mares that have great old bloodlines that should be preserved, but who also have phenotypes that are not ‘showring desirable’ today. I truly believe Botswana’s gift of beauty has provided some old and rare bloodlines a chance to continue further than they might have otherwise, at least in this country.
“I do believe it’s important to mention that both Curt (Westley) and I are not fans of inbreeding, although we understand you need to do it occasionally to set type. Since Botswana was already so line bred, we have strived since his very first foal crop to bring him mares that are almost total outcross in terms of pedigree. In our attempt to take The Minstril/Thee Desperado lines in a slightly different direction, one will see that he has been bred to daughters of Safeen (Ibn Safinaz x Abitibi Madeena by Imperial Madheen), Rofann (Soufian x Bint Romanaa by Morafic), Richter MH (El Halimaar x Fasarra by Farazdac), The Elixir (Hi-Fashion Mreekh x Jaliya by Halimm), RG Al Mone (Alcibiades x RG Anemone by El Hadiyi), ZT Faa’iq (Anaza El Farid x ZT Jamdusah by Jamil), Ansata Iemhotep (Prince Fa Moniet x Ansata Nefara by Ansata Halim Shah) and so on…
“The Straight Egyptian (SE) gene pool is really small, particularly when you go back three generations or so with stallions like Botswana. We have five older SE mares standing in the paddocks at Talaria right now, three of them already in foal, that are total outcrosses; and three of them have fairly rare bloodlines and they are all for Botswana. Over the last six years or so, he has become quite popular with non-Straight breeders and we feel it’s even more important to make sure we have some very special SE mares also carrying Botswana foals as he grows older.”
In 2012, The Pyramid Society’s (TPS) Standard of Excellence was released, and in 2013, this publication was adopted as the official guideline for judging at the Egyptian Event. Not only does the Standard of Excellence define the breed standard, is also serves as the basis for the judges’ scorecard used at the event.
The Egyptian Event utilised the Modified European Judging System, which assessed individual horses against the ‘ideal’ or ‘standard’. A three-judge team conducted judging and a point system from 1 to 20 that allowed for half points was used. The following categories were scored: Type; Balance, Quality and Substance at the Walk; Head; Neck and Shoulder; Body and Topline; Legs and Hooves; and Movement. Since it is expected that an Egyptian Arabian be readily identifiable as such, Type was weighted at a multiplication factor of five, while all other categories are weighted by a multiplication factor of four. The Championships were judged comparatively.
This year marked changes regarding presentation, both of the physical appearance of the horses and of the actual manner in which their handlers presented them, and these changes were enforced. Weeks before the event, TPS released its new policies and methods of enforcement. The first set of policies concerned the actual appearance of the horse. As stated by TPS, “Horses are to be presented without makeup, dye, heavy oils, grease or artificial appliances which distract from their natural beauty, and they must be shown with natural eyelashes and no balding.”
The second set announced regarded the actual manner in which handlers presented the horses for the judges. It was strongly advised that showing horses that exhibited signs of intimidation through excessive use of the whip or shanking would absolutely not be tolerated. Signs of intimidation were defined as, “May include but not limited to, crouching; cowering; quivering; withdrawing or evading backwards or sideways form the handler; buckling at the knees; sudden extreme flinching or shying the head away from hand or whip movements of the handler; and/or anxious pinning of the ears and wringing of the tail. A fearful horse will be penalised and may be excused.” Shanking was defined as, “The use of the lead and/or chain in any harsh and forceful manner especially as used for intimidation and not correction.” As for the stand up, it was advised that the horse’s eyes be above the nostrils. In addition, all policies were clearly stated in the show programme.
The 2016 Egyptian Event Panel of Judges included: Ala’a Al Roumi of Kuwait, Steve Lieblang of USA, Jill Lochner of USA, and Dana Gardner of USA.
|Bint Bint Asila RCA
Unless stated otherwise, breeders and owners are from the USA. The 2016 Junior Mare Gold Champion was Daenerys (Burak Ben-Eden EA x Good Faith by Thee Desperado), a 2014 mare bred by Eden Ahrens and owned by Gail Ahrens. Bronze honours were earned by Ebonie Starr (Justynn x Amer Baasma by Thee Desperado), a 2014 mare bred by Ahmad E Amer of Egypt, and owned by Horace Penny and Melinda Penny Canady.
The Junior Mare Silver Championship was earned by Bint Bint Asila RCA (Mishaal HP x Bint Asila RCA by The Sequel RCA), also a 2014 filly. Bint Bint Asila RCA is special for several reasons. First, she was the only Mishaal HP (Ansata Sinan x Mesoudah M by Messaoud) foal born in 2014 and she was also the last born for her breeder/owner Judy Sirbasku, who also owned the sire. Then in 2015, just after the untimely passing of Mishaal HP, she became the unanimous EBC Champion Filly, making the victory deeply sentimental. Now in 2016, as the Two Year Old Straight Egyptian Futurity Filly winner, Bint Bint Asila RCA was presented the coveted sterling silver Ali Pasha Sherif Perpetual Cup by Gulson Sherif herself, who travelled all the way from Egypt to be present. Bint Bint Asila RCA was also chosen for the Most Classic Head Award.
|Aadeyn Mirado Nadir
|Above: Caiiro ; Below: Thee Dominion
The Junior Stallion Gold Champion was Aadeyn Mirado Nadir (Ramses Mishaal Nadir x Aadeya Rose by Thee Desperado) who was bred by and is owned by James and Jill Spizale. As a 2015 colt, Aadeyn Mirado Nadir was the youngest of all the Junior Champions. He was also the recipient of the Most Classic Head Award. The Silver was earned by Caiiro by Alixir, a 2013 colt bred and owned by Gail Ahrens. As a side note, Caiiro’s dam, Good Faith (Thee Desperado x Minstrilsmonalisa by The Minstril) was also the dam of Daenerys, the Junior Filly Gold Champion. The Bronze Champion was Thee Dominion (Scapa x Thee Desert Rose by Alixir), a 2014 stallion bred and owned by Daniel and Carol Heithold. Thee Dominion was also the 2016 Scottsdale Junior Colt Champion in the International Competition for Straight Egyptians.
Makeda DB (Mishaal HP x Jamiil Baarrah by Alixir), also a 2016 Scottsdale Champion, became the Senior Mare Gold Champion. This 2009 mare, bred by DNJ Arabians, is owned by Dreamco Arabians, LLC. She was also the dam of Apollo DB, the EBC Reserve Champion Colt. The Silver Champion was Luna Thee Cielo (TheMakeda DBsperado x Celeste TF by Mishaal HP), a 2011 mare bred by Lisa Cifrese and Richard Geha and owned by Kleio Arabians, LLC. Luna Thee Cielo also earned the Most Classic Head Award. Finally, the Bronze was captured by MM Al Andaluz (Suhal Al Nasser x Tafitaa by Thee Desperado), a 2012 mare bred by her owner Luis Miguel Muzquiz of Texas. As a side note, MM Al Andaluz’s sire, Suhal Al Nasser (Ashhal Al Rayyan x Konouz by Imperial Mahzeer), was the 2012 Egyptian Event Senior Stallion Silver Champion, also owned by Luis Miguel Muzquiz.
|Luna Thee Cielo
|MM Al Andaluz
The 2016 Senior Stallion Gold Champion is a horse that has not only won the heart of the American Straight Egyptian community, but is also sure to go down in history as one of the great Egyptian Event competitors: Ibn Raad (Scapa x LPS Thunderstruck by Thee Infidel). In 2012, as a yearling, Ibn Raad, who is owned and bred by Elizabeth Witt, won his Futurity Class. In 2013, he won the Extended Specialty Two Year Old Class and was the Junior Stallion Silver Champion. In 2014, he won the Extended Specialty Futurity Three Year Old Class and was the Junior Stallion Silver Champion. And in 2015, he won the Four and Five Year Old Stallion Class and was the Senior Stallion Bronze Champion.
Tara Carpio, who has been Ibn Raad’s trainer since he was a yearling, shared: “Ibn Raad is definitely a ‘once in a lifetime’ horse. I have been fortunate enough to have him in my care since he was two years old. The success he has had in the show ring has been incredible. He still gives me goose bumps when he enters the ring. He loves to show off! I would have to say next to his incredible owner, Beth Witt, I am his number one fan. I am looking forward to the future with Ibn Raad.”
| Shah Mishaal RCA
The Silver was earned by Shah Mishaal RCA (Mishaal HP x Bint Asila RCA by The Sequel RCA), a 2012 stallion owned and bred by Rock Creek Arabians. Shah Mishaal RCA is also a full sibling to Bint Bint Asila RCA, the Junior Mare Silver Champion. The Bronze Champion was Desha Wahiid (Laheeb Al Nasser x Alfabia Salaa by Adnan), a 2009 stallion owned and bred by Sandra DeShazer. Finally, the Most Classic Head Award was given to DWA Barakkas (Imtaarif x Seranade In Black by Al Baraki), who was bred by Mary Ann Brieger and Kristina Rad and owned by Charlie and Sandra Miller.
Upon reviewing the scores and placements for this coverage, the deep influence of Mishaal HP stood out. Not only was he present in the pedigrees of eight Champions, but also, he sired three of the Champions; he was the sire to the sire of three Champions; and the sire to the dam of one of the Champions. Mishaal HP was imported to America in 2004 by Arabians Ltd. He was first on lease and was later purchased and used to great success by this internationally respected programme. Sadly, in 2013 Mishaal passed away at the age of 17.
A Special 2016 Egyptian Event Memory
Shopping at the Egyptian Event is special. Some of our community’s most important artists and vendors attend, making the show a good opportunity to acquire unique and collectable items. The vendors set up on the concourse that surrounds the arena, ensuring convenience for shoppers to peruse in between classes. This year some of the artists and vendors included: Zan Economopoulos, and Deborah (Rush) DeRosier, and Nancy Gates of Heirloom Halters.
Among the vendors are large booth spaces occupied by several Arabian farms to conduct business with clients, share sales and farm information and/or to just have a comfortable spot for clients to take breaks in between classes. Some of the farms that take advantage of this opportunity include Kehilan Arabians of Texas, Hadaya Arabians of Wisconsin, and Rancho Bulakenyo of California.
This year, a very special guest set up a booth to share her family’s influential history with the Straight Egyptian Arabian, Angie St Clair-Lloyd. Angie’s parents Les and Lois St Clair were founders of St Clair Egyptian Arabian Stud, Tennessee. They started in the horse business in 1964, although not at that stage as a focused programme. In 1972, they discovered the type they were most drawn to was that of the Egyptian Arabian horse. As they studied constantly, they built a herd of horses whose names and pedigrees are not only still relevant today, but also are deeply treasured. For example, the St Clair’s owned *El Mareekh (Aseel x Rawayeh by Alaa El Din), *Deenaa (Sameh x Dahma II by Nazeer), and *Magidaa (Alaa El Din x Maysa by Anter). As breeders, they bred both Bint Deenaa by Ansata Ibn Halima (Nazeer x Halima by Sheikh El Arab) and Ibn El Mareekh (El Mareekh x Bint Deenaa), each holding influential and cherished positions in our pedigrees today.
|Vendor St Clair Egyptian Stud
Angie St Clair-Lloyd, of St Clair Egyptian Stud shared: “Mom passed away on 13 September 2001, shortly after selling the last of their foundation stock. Dad passed away 7 March 2013 and I became the recipient of all the horse memorabilia. I made a hasty decision in June of 2013 to donate several of the St Clair ‘treasures’ to The Pyramid Society for their silent auction. I had not been at an Egyptian Event in more than 20 years, but with my youngest daughter at my side, I drove to Lexington with items I felt I could let go of and hopefully raise money for the Society that had been a big part of Mom and Dad’s lives. I was not prepared for the overwhelming emotion that consumed me by just being there. It brought back so many memories of Mom, Dad, and the horses.
“I had become Facebook friends with a lady from Australia, Dorothy Hodge. Dorothy posted the kindest things about Mom, Dad, and the horses, and also shared photos of her beautiful *El Mareekh-bred stallion, Monteego Bay (Anaza Bay Shahh x Monietta Mareekha by El Mareekh). I met Dorothy at the 2015 Egyptian Event. One would have thought we were reunited, long lost friends, when in fact we had just met. I shared with Dorothy that I was trying to come up with some way to memorialise Mom and Dad because many years before Mom passed away she repeatedly said to me, “I want to be remembered.” Since her passing I have struggled with fulfilling that dream of hers. While standing near the Perpetual Trophies, Dorothy said, “Why not make one of these in their name?”
|Vendor Kehilan Arabians
“… And so began my journey… There was never any doubt in my mind who I would ask to make the trophy, and to my surprise, Dorothy also had the same gifted artist in mind: Rik Augustin. I asked Rik if he would consider creating an *El Mareekh bronze to memorialise my parents and St Clair Egyptian Arabian Stud. He responded, “I have always wanted to do a bronze of *El Mareekh. I said I would never do another unless it was of *El Mareekh, so YES, I would be honoured!” To fund this project I had to make the profound decision to sell a majority of their collection of art and bronzes. The EgyptVwndor ian Event was a way for me to get the word out about this memorial, show the pieces I had for sale and reintroduce the St Clair breeding to newcomers. The response was awe-inspiring!”
|Shah Mishaal RCA
The 2016 Egyptian Event was one of innovations and community bonding. The policies set forth in 2016 were a success for two equally important reasons: (1) they were well thought out and addressed timely concerns of the majority, and (2) they were supported and embraced by the community. However, for the last several years, we have had to adjust to another very big change, most likely brought on by a struggling economy. We have become a community made up primarily of very small breeders with limited resources. Although we are grateful to the few breeders that are able to continue on a larger scale, gone are the glory days that included farms such as Imperial Egyptian Stud, Gleannloch Farms, and Ansata Arabian Stud. So I would like to close this editorial with a relevant quote (from approximately 1992), from Lois St Clair:
“If you are a small breeder, don’t let anyone discourage you from attaining your dreams. We began as totally naïve young adults with no money, making unbelievable sacrifices, but with ideals and strict goals in mind. We looked up with admiration and envy to the big breeders and all they had accomplished. We too wanted the same—to one-day join the ranks of professionalism they had earned; to be respected; and to successfully compete on their level. We had only our desires that fuelled our spirit to be ‘among the best.’ We never wanted to be known as having the best because if you feel you have reached the top there’s only one way to go—down! There is always room at the top and there’s always going to be ‘a new kid on the block.’ Be happy with your decisions and don’t try to please everyone because it’s impossible; ignore ‘fads’ and stay steadfast with principles you believe in. You will be successful.”