Some Arabian horses stay with you long after you have first seen them. I remember, very clearly, being at the 2018 Scottsdale Show and watching the International classes. Into the show-ring came a mesmerising three-year old colt. He was incredibly showy, he was very typey, and he held your attention for the whole time he was in the ring. His name was Royal Asad, and he would take the crown of International Gold Champion Junior Stallion before the show was out. That moment has stayed with me, and it is as clear in my mind now as it was four years ago. And since then, the roar of the lion king, Royal Asad, has grown louder.
As with all good stories, we have to start at the beginning, and while Royal Asad is the undoubted star of this issue – with him gracing the front cover in full majesty while his daughter, Wilma PCF, shines on the back – his story goes much deeper. As behind every great Arabian horse are astute breeders and owners, ones who chose to make their dreams of horses a reality and ensure that the Arabian is the focus of their lives. Every one of us has a story about how we entwined our lives with Arabian horses, and while Royal Asad’s own story may have begun in Brazil, the land of his birth, the seeds were actually sown many years ago in California.
Royal Asad is loved and owned by Royal Arabians, founded by Cindy McGown and Mark Davies. This is a couple who have spent a lifetime devoted to the Arabian horse, focusing on halter, performance and breeding, all the while encouraging those with dreams to be involved with the breed to do just that.
It was Cindy who was horse-mad as a child. She grew up in southern California and loved horses, fiercely vowing that one day, she would have these amazing animals in her life. With her first job came her first horse, Apache Dan, a paint gelding, and others soon followed. While Cindy’s path was set on one with horses, the arrival of her first daughter, Amanda, saw all things equine put on hold. However, just as Cindy had fiercely loved horses from a young age, so did Amanda, and it was not long before horses joined the family once more. When Amanda was six years old, a horse named Skyfire was purchased and quickly became Amanda’s best friend.
Together, Cindy and Amanda shared a passion for all things equine, and Arabian horses quickly became part of that passion. Fate struck when, in 1996, Cindy met her soulmate in Mark and the fledgling Royal Arabians was born. While Mark had not come from an equine background, he loved the excitement that the horse shows brought and he happily lent his support to Cindy and Amanda, quickly sharing their dreams for Arabian horses. This passion spread throughout the whole family, with children Katie, Megan and Jonathan all falling under the spell of the Arabian horse – now extended to grandchildren Micah, Jordan, Eevee, Addie, Kathryn, Emmy, and Greyson.
“Our story is one of a family’s love for the horse,” says Cindy. “The journey we have had with Royal Arabians is one that has brought our family together and been an anchor for us. The Arabian breed has done so much, and we owe it so much – while they owe us nothing.”
El Tino, sire of Royal Asad
Over the last twenty-five years, Cindy and Mark have slowly and carefully built up a beautiful breeding programme based around a carefully selected group of foundation mares, and is split across three sites, all in Arizona. The Royal Arabians halter side is run by Rodolfo Guzzo in Scottsdale with the support of assistant trainer, the up and coming Carlinhos Souza. Meanwhile, their performance division run by Justin Cowden and Kirsten McKillop at Rio Verde, and the breeding side, run by Amanda, is at Mesa. Collectively, they offer their clients a full and personal service and horses owned by both Royal Arabians and their clients have taken titles at all the major shows across the United States. Cindy and Mark also stand a stellar stallion line up, of which Royal Asad is an integral part. He stands alongside his sire, El Tino, and it is time to learn more about this hugely charismatic stallion.
Foaled in 2015, Royal Asad is at the heart of the stud. This is a strong and intelligent stallion, one full of charisma and Arabian type. He is dynamic, and he truly commands your attention. Asad is the Arabic word for lion and this is a stallion with a gentle roar – turning on his power when he goes into the ring, yet is kind and soft enough to be fussed over by the grandchildren when they visit.
Royal Asad’s story began in Brazil, where he was bred. Some of the Royal Arabians’ team were there when this gentle giant was born, Guzzo, Amanda, and Travis Rice. It was immediately clear that this bay colt was destined for greatness and Guzzo quickly called Cindy and Mark to secure this special foal for Royal Arabians. They all knew that Royal Asad would be the next important step in Cindy and Mark’s journey, and that early faith in him has been proven time and time again.
Royal Asad has an incredible pedigree, and one that is under-utilised. He is the perfect outcross for the Royal Arabians’ breeding programme, as well as for many breeders around the world. His bloodlines are rare and different, and they offer so much to those looking to add a new and exciting option for their mares.
Royal Asad is sired by the brilliant stallion El Tino, who also stands at Royal Arabians and who comes from one of the most beloved sire lines in North America in recent years, being by the late superstar stallion DA Valentino. A multiple US National Champion, DA Valentino was sired by the great Versace (Fame VF x Precious as Gold by El Shaklan), and out of DA Love (Padrons Psyche x Magnifficaa FA by Echo Magnifficoo). El Tino’s dam brings in more of the beautiful Bey Shah (Bay el Bey x Star of Ofir by Bask) Polish bloodlines; Imprimista CF is by Bey Imprimis (Bey Shah x Audrey Rose by Aristo Kossak) and out of Fantasy Bey (Pryvatecollection x Endless Fantasy by Amurath Bandolero). There is a huge amount of Polish blood in the back of El Tino’s pedigree, and this is evident in the great power and substance that can be found in Royal Asad.
Royal Asad’s dam, Lumiar Ethna. Credit Sorvillo
Looking to the damline of Royal Asad we have the black Brazilian National Champion Mare Lumiar Ethna, bred at the famed Haras Lumiar in Brazil. Her sire was the great, and also perhaps under-utilised, stallion RFI Maktub who tragically died just as his star was beginning to shine. Foaled in 1998, the influence of RFI Maktub is significant, and this is a sire who truly adds something to a pedigree. His sire in turn was Altam Yshmayl, sired by RSD Dark Victory (Bey Shah x Kamasi Sabaha by Khemosabi) and out of Yamina (Khivan x Melia by Brutus), a Brazilian-bred mare of Crabbet and Egyptian lines. Lumiar Ethna’s dam is Evening Star TGS, sired by the great stallion Lumiar Amadeus – also a son of RDS Dark Victory and out of CA Sabrina (Sabal x Amurath Saratoga by Amurath Baikal). Evening Star TGS’s dam is the Varian-bred Promise V. This mare was sired by one of the Varian greats, Huckleberry Bey (Bay el Bey x Taffona by Raffon) and is out of Pavane V (Khemosabi x Baycatka by Bay-Abi).
When bred together, the combination of El Tino and Lumiar Ethna resulted in a dynamic colt with a heavily Polish-influenced pedigree. Bey Shah appears six times in Royal Asad’s pedigree, while Bey el Bay – a stallion who changed the look of breeding programmes in America at that time – appears seven times. And it is also worth noting that the first three generations of this superstar pedigree are all Brazilian-bred – a noteworthy point for those looking for that little extra je ne sais quoi. All in all, there is no doubt that Royal Asad has a royal pedigree, and he has both the phenotype and genotype to prove that he combines the very best of the best.
On that remarkable day when Royal Asad was born, it was Guzzo who first saw the foal. For many years, he had admired the bloodlines of Lumiar Ethna and especially the influence of RFI Maktub – a stallion who had huge potential and whom Guzzo greatly respected. In recent years, this bloodline has been increasingly sought the world over, and recognising Royal Asad’s potential as a foal put Royal Arabians firmly at the front of breeders’ minds.
|Lumiar Ethna||El Tino|
|Evening Star TGS||RFI Maktub||Imprimista CF||DA Valentino|
|Promise V||Lumiar Amadeus||RFI Cyntilation||Altam Yshmayl||Fantasty Bey||Bey Imprimis||DA Love||Versace|
The show horse
Cindy and Mark trusted their team, especially the enthusiasm of Guzzo, and they purchased Royal Asad sight unseen. However, it would not be until a few months later that the couple would get to see just how amazing their future sire was. His debut show was the Brazilian National Championships and there, he was not only named unanimous National Champion, Royal Asad also received a standing ovation on his victory lap. It was at that point Cindy and Mark realised that not only did they have a super star show horse, they also had a new up and coming stallion for the Arabian breeding world.
Having travelled to Scottsdale, Royal Asad’s first show on American soil was the 2017 Arabian Breeders’ World Cup in Las Vegas. There, he commanded and was named Supreme Gold Junior Male Champion. Later that year, the Arabian Breeders’ Finals in Scottsdale beckoned and once more, Royal Asad was garlanded in Gold.
The next year saw the now three-year old colt take to the ring just once, in the Scottsdale International classes. It was here that I first saw Royal Asad, and he instantly impressed – both those outside of the ring and the judges themselves. He left with another Gold, this time Scottsdale International Junior Male Champion. Four times shown – four times Gold; quite the record!
For those who know Royal Asad well, they say that he is the perfect combination of sire and dam, effortlessly blending together. He has a huge, powerful trot and displays athleticism that is somewhat lacking among some of the modern show horses; one look at Royal Asad, however, and you know that you are looking at an Arabian, one full of power and charisma. He is a war horse, and just watching him is enough to give you goosebumps. Add to that his huge eye, balanced limbs, amazing way of carrying himself, good length of neck, and beautiful Arabian type, and it is clear that Royal Asad is the whole package. Not only that, but he has the proven pedigree to back up his looks and personality.
As a two-year old, Royal Asad was lightly tested on select mares siring the filly Royal Asselah (ex R Arabella by Jullyen el Jamaal out of R Bellazar), bred by Karen and Eric England, and the colt Luxemere Latour (ex Cassiopeia BPA by Odyssey SC out of LC Mon Amie), bred by Suzanne Acevedo. The filly was subsequently purchased by Royal Arabians and would go on to be named Scottsdale International Yearling Filly before being sold to Nesma Stud in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With them, she was named Bronze Yearling Filly Champion at the Menton Mediterranean and Arab Countries Championships in 2018, adding a Bronze Junior Female title at the Prague Intercup in 2020.
Royal Asselah (ex R Arabella by Jullyen el Jamaal). Credit Alessio
“Those first two foals showed us that Royal Asad was all we hoped he would be as a sire, and more,” says Cindy. “He has produced his look with incredible refined tea-cup muzzles and large black liquid eyes. This first foal crop, while small, showed the early promise that Guzzo saw in Royal Asad was right. And since then, he has continued to shine.”
From the 2019 foal crop came Hennessey Arabians’ homebred filly H Envy H (ex RD Enzarra by Enzo out of GF Simply Magic) and Royal Emma Lei (ex Eliza Bey SWF by WH Justice out of Natalia Bey), since sold to Al Abdia Stud in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
H Envy H (ex RD Enzarra by Enzo). Credit Suzanne
2020 saw more stars arrive sired by Royal Asad including Hamed Sarm (ex Treasure AS by Titan AS out of Trussarsha), bred and owned by Sarm Stud in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and named Silver Yearling Colt Champion at this year’s Prince Sultan Abdulaziz International Arabian Horse Festival. There was also Royal Asarian (ex Royal Dyana by RD Dynamo), a bay gelding already named US National and Scottsdale Champion. 2020 was also the year our back cover star arrived, Wilma PCF (ex Sophie Els by PA Gazsi out of Nahja Els). Perhaps Royal Asad’s brightest star yet, Wilma PCF was named US National Champion Yearling Filly and has just taken the Bronze Junior Female International title in Scottsdale.
Royal Asarian (ex Royal Dyana by RD Dynamo)
Wilma PCF (ex (ex Sophie Els by PA Gazsi). Credit Nate White
Another star was born in 2021, the filly Royal Ambrose out of RD Fabreanna (Falcon BHF x GF Simply Magic by Magic Dream CAHR), dam of multiple champion Donna Molta Bella SRA (by DA Valentino). Bred and owned by Royal Arabians, this filly went back to her roots to show in the Brazilian National Championships where she was Reserve Champion in her foal group.
Royal Ambrose (ex RD Fabreanna by Falcon BHF). Credit Tupa
“We are all very excited about each foal crop sired by Royal Asad,” say the Royal team. “We have faith that Royal Asad will more than fulfil his potential, and we truly believe that he will contribute a lot to the Arabian breed. His progeny are already shining on the world stage, and we are looking forward to see the next collection of foals to come from our beloved stallion.”
Royal Asad is just seven-years old, and he has yet to reach his full potential. Looking at his star children such as Royal Asselah and Wilma PCF, however, it is clear that when crossed with the right mares, Royal Asad brings much as a sire. He has that ability to stamp his stock and pass on his charisma and type. You just know that there is so much more to come from Royal Asad, the lion king.
All photography by April Visel. Royal Asad is the cover star of The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine Volume VI Issue I. Find out more about Royal Asad at the Royal Arabians website.
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