Our cover star of The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine Vol V Issue III is also our October online cover star: RFI Unique.
Sometimes, a special horse comes along, one that you have no choice but to sit up and take notice of. This is an Arabian horse that leaves you spellbound, that captivates you, and who is so truly ‘Arabian’ that you have no choice but to watch every step that they take. Such a horse is unique – RFI Unique.
Bred in Brazil, this bay stallion has quietly, and assuredly, been capturing hearts and titles since he was foaled in 2017. Having won championships in Brazil and the Middle East, RFI Unique is now poised to conquer Europe. He is owned by the RFI Unique Partnership, that comprises of RFI Arabians in Brazil and Alkaisar Stud in Uruguay, owned by Mohammad Hijazi and Dania Kurdi and their family. Mohammed and Dania are passionate about the Arabian horse and have been breeding since 2015.
As his prefix suggests, RFI Unique was bred by RFI Arabians in Brazil who, through the inspiration of owners Rodrigo and Isabella Forte, have bred some of the most famous horses in the world including the 1998 stallion RFI Maktub (Altam Yshmayl x RFI Cyntilation). RFI Unique is a grandson of this horse, being out of RFI Ultraa AlMaktub, a daughter of Seduction HBV (ex Ryadika HBV by Ryad el Jamaal), sired by another Brazilian superstar, Power World JQ (World Series x Noble Illusion JP). His breeder, Rodrigo Forte, says: “RFI Arabians always name their foals with the same initial letter of the maternal family, in this case the letter ‘U’, coming from his dam RFI Ultraa AlMaktub. She is the great-granddaughter of the great Ultraa (ex Khemille by Khemosabi), one of the most emblematic daughters of Bey Shah (Bay el Bey x Star of Ofir) ever imported to Brazil.”
RFI Unique is sired by AF Maden, a son of one of world’s most renowned sires FA el Shawan (Marwan al Shaqab x Foxbriar Shakita). AF Maden brings in Russian lines through his dam, AF Odessa, being by Delmar (Marsianin x Love Melody) and out of AF Escocia (Sahibi x Apricot Lady). All in all, RFI Unique’s pedigree is a rich mix of Polish and Jamaal bloodlines, with a dash of Russian, Egyptian and Gainey breeding, resulting in a truly beautiful and typey stallion.
Rodrigo is one of the most prominent Arabian horse breeders in Brazil. It is he who bred the world-famed stallions RFI Maktub (Altam Yshmayl x RFI Cyntilation) and RFI Farid (RFI Maktub x RFI Fayara el Shiraz), among many other notable Arabian horses, and it is he who has now bred RFI Unique. From the moment RFI Unique was born, Rodrigo knew that he was already a very special horse. “He was very handsome,” recalls Rodrigo. “He was refined, long lined, and elegant from an early age, our whole family considered him to be the best male born in nearly 30 years of breeding. Because he was so special and singular, we named him RFI Unique.”
It was in 2019 that Alkaisar Stud first came across RFI Unique, and Olivia Strauch, a friend from Uruguay and who was first the agent for RFI Unique and is now part of the team, recalls: “RFI Unique was the sensation of Brazil in 2019. During that year, all the talk was about Rodrigo’s new colt. I have known the Brazilian trainer Dejair Souza, who shows for RFI Arabians, and Rodrigo’s adviser Leopoldo Coutinho for almost 20 years, and seeing their excitement, I was pretty sure they were up to something big. Sure enough, Unique’s entrance into the show-ring with Dejair at the Brazilian National Championships confirmed it – this colt was something else!”
María Vigorito, Manager of Alkaisar Stud, also shares her memories from the show. “Unique was unexpected. We weren’t really looking to buy a colt, or any horse for that matter! The reason why we went to Brazil was to see Chrystall Chall JM (Magnum Chall HVP x Xcentrika Di Eden JM), our filly who was going to the Interestadual Show. I actually remember that Mohammad was almost not able to go to the show, but he made it in the end. The minute we sat on the plane, he said: ‘we are not buying ANYTHING this time’.
“So, there we were, at the show, and suddenly in comes Unique, with his tail high up in the air, looking like something out of a dream. I knew we were in trouble right there and then…”
Unique could claim the title of 2019 Brazilian National Champion Colt, and Maria continues: “When we went to Rodrigo’s after the show, everything seemed to click with the horse and with the Forte family. Personally, I remember the phrase that says, ‘some souls are meant to find each other’, and that is how I felt when I first held Unique’s muzzle between my hands. It all made sense.
“RFI Unique is obviously a very beautiful looking horse, but he is like that inside and out. He loves people, and he loves to show. To see him in his stall is one thing, but when you see him in the show-ring, it just takes your breath away.”
The RFI Unique Partnership was formed, and the stallion was sent first to Europe, to the Schoukens Training Center in Belgium, and then on to Dubai to compete at the 2021 Dubai International Arabian Horse Championships. There, in his first international competition, RFI Unique claimed the Bronze Junior Male title among strong competition.
Rodrigo explains that the partners are focusing on breeding Unique at the moment: “We are planning the next steps for this young stallion, who will remain in Europe. Our main objective at this time is the freezing of semen as well as the selection of the highest quality mares we can find so that we can take advantage of his full potential as a stallion.
“To date, we only have a few foals born within the partner’s own farm. RFI Unique has less than ten foals on the ground, from mares with very different pedigrees, but the high quality of his stock has already impressed us. All have qualities similar to their sire, and all are very refined and beautiful.
“Between October and April next year, we have more foals due at both RFI Arabians and AlKaisar Stud. We are also very excited to see Unique’s foals in Europe through the original 40 breedings made available to breeders in Europe and the Middle East.”
Maria confirms: “We needed a new outcross stallion, and we all believe that RFI Unique will do great things for us and for all of those who trust him as a stallion. Having seen his first foals, I am certain that he won’t disappoint.”
With the future looking bright for RFI Unique, and with history in the making, Olivia concludes by saying how thankful she is to be involved in the adventure of this horse. “Working with the Partnership, I am able to help decide the steps of the career of one of the most promising young stallions of our time! From the very first moment I saw RFI Unique, I believed in him – we all did. And he is now fulfilling our belief in him. He truly is one of a kind, and we are very much looking forward to the next foals to come from this once in a lifetime stallion – RFI Unique.”
RFI Unique – cover star The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine Vol V Issue III
Related links: Alkaisar Arabian Stud