Years ago, the Polish Arabian horse show calendar included four events that, every year, every Polish lover of Arabian horses waited for. We used to see each other at the beginning of June in Białka, then in Radom, then Janów Podlaski, and finally at Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival (AKEAHF). Unfortunately, the pandemic and Covid-19 meant the show and auction organised in Radom and the Festival in Nowe Wrońska did not take place for three years in a row, even though they featured in the ECAHO calendar every year. Sopot partly filled the gap, but we missed Radom and AKEAHF.
Oliwia Kowal with Elgoriusz (Medalion x Elgora by Poganin)
Therefore, the information that the All-Polish Arabian Horse Championship, originally held in Radom for four years, would take place this year for the first time since 2019 did not initially seem probable. However, another surprise was that not only was the show going ahead, but the organisers of the show also moved the championships from Radom to Tarnów. This proved to be a great decision as the Tarnów region, historically associated with Arabian horse breeding in Poland, perfectly suited the event. It was here that Bogdan Ziętarski imported Arabian horses from the Arabian Peninsula for Prince Roman Sanguszko. In addition, as we found out, the descendants of the Prince are still associated with Tarnów. His grandson, Prince Paweł Sanguszko, took the honorary patronage of the Tarnów Championship, which was organised by the Polish Arabian Horse Breeders Association.
The show was judged by Gianmarco Aragno, Peter Birch, Bérengère Fayt, Robbie Den Hartog, Helen Hennekens Van Nes, Jonas Salzman, and Michaela Weidner. The ringmaster was Bart Beckers.
Polish breeders and owners always take part in the horse shows in large numbers, so while the over 100 horses entered was normal for us, it was still impressive. In this respect, the shows organised in Poland definitely stand out from the rest of Europe. It is good that Polish breeders want to show and evaluate their horses, that they are not ashamed of them, and that the level of breeding, despite the whining of malcontents, is in good condition.
On Saturday morning, in a terrible downpour and with no prospect for a quick improvement in the weather, the show started as planned. Well, maybe with minimal slippage. Nevertheless, the mood was high thanks to the event organised the night before for the guests inside the spacious, beautifully decorated tent that protected them from getting wet to the skin.
Starting the show were the colt classes, and the first two yearling colt classes saw two of Sunday’s medallists. The bay Zigi Zahn (AJ Azzam x Zigi Zana by QR Marc) confidently won the first section for his breeders, the Michałów Stud, with 91.67 points. Right behind him was the grey Gladius SA (Dominic M x Ginessa by Shaghai EA), bred by Waldemar Bąk. In the Championships, Zigi Zahn was almost unanimously chosen as the Gold Champion Yearling Colt, with Gladius SA taking home the Silver medal. The podium in the championship was completed by the winner of the second section of yearling colts, the delicate, black-bay Portado (Haash OSB x Portia by Kahil al Shaqab) from Janów Podlaski Stud.
The classes of two- and three-year-old colts were, as usual, smaller than the yearlings, and there were only six horses forward. Without too much surprise, the Junior Gold Medal went to Janów Stud’s dark bay Al Narciso (Erantis x Amorena by Pogrom), who won the two-year-old section with a score of 90.67. The Silver medal went to the bay Will KL (Dominic M x Wieża Czarów by Vitorio TO) who came from the Tarnów region, specifically from Klikowa Stud. Will KL inherited expression and expression from his mother, but unfortunately not the movement, resulting in third place in class. The third medal in Sunday’s championship went to the spectacular, though ‘typical Farid’ bay, Książę (RFI Farid x Kalifornia by Ekstern) whom we know from this year’s Białka. He is owned by Ewelina Kania-Boć.
As usual, the filly and mare classes were eagerly anticipated, not least as they usually raise a lot of emotions within us. Fortunately, the weather was gradually improving by the time the yearling fillies came in, making the conditions more pleasant.
They divided the yearling fillies section into three classes, with 24 horses entered. Gold in Sunday’s Championship went to the grey Livorna (AJ Azzam x Liguria by El Omari), bred by Michałów Stud and the winner of the third class. Livorna is a daughter of the stallion AJ Azzam (AJ Mardan x Ysadora by Marwan al Shaqab), who was leased by Michałów State Stud and sired some of his progeny there. Having been overlooked in Białka, they were appreciated in Tarnów. Taking Silver was the grey De Zeidana (D Zeidan x Diodora by Zeus EA) bred and owned by Petroniusz Frejlich, who won the first section. Repeating her success in Białka, the Bronze went to Janów’s chestnut filly Eleganza (Haash OSB x Eduarda by Pogrom).
Abelia (and cover photo)
We had smoothly reached the last junior female classes of the Tarnów championships, starting with the two-year-old fillies. Abellia (Magic Magnifique x Axara by Kahil al Shaqab) won the first section in style with a score of 91.83. Already known for her success at Białka, Abella would take the Junior Female Gold Championship for her owner/breeders, Janów Podlaski Stud. The Silver medal was taken home by a bay filly that I personally have great affection for – Psyche Apsara (Ghaith al Zobair x Psyche Victoria by Ekstern), bred and owned by Chrcynno-Palace Stud. In Sunday’s championship, it would be Calgary EA (Shanghai EA x Cleopatra EA by Shanghai EA), who took third place in the first two-year-old filly class, who would claim Bronze. This grey filly was bred by Albert Sorocca, who was present at the show, and is proudly owned and exhibited by Marek Rzepka from Klikowa Stud.
The mare classes always evoke a lot of emotions and watching them is a great pleasure, especially when breeders and owners enter horses who we haven’t seen for a long time, but who are much loved. This was the case in Tarnów, where Michałów Stud decided not to give its rivals a chance and they brought to the show a collection of mares who were second to none. Michałow would take all three medals in the Senior Female Championship, with no one else getting a look in, although honestly, no one could argue that these horses didn’t deserve to win, as their quality was breathtaking. Because when you see Zigi Zana (QR Marc x Zagrobla by Monogramm) and her movement awarded six 20s from the judges, and 94.25 points, can you blame her for winning gold and the title of Best in Show Female? Oh no – you just sit and admire! Equally, when the phenomenal El Belissima (Ascot DD x Ekliptyka by Ekstern) returns to the show-ring to take the Silver medal, and then the beautiful Bronze medal and Most Beautiful Head winner Parantella (Kahil al Shaqab x Palanga by Ekstern), come in, all you can do is watch in awe. Awe and regret that their presentation is so short.
It should be noted, however, that the class and quality of the vast majority of the mares entered in the show was overwhelming. For example, in the seven-to-nine-year-old mare class and 10 and over class, no mare scored below 92 points! Even 93 points in a class did not guarantee a medal, as was the case with the winner of the four-to-six-year-old class, Echo Anastazja (Psyche Keret x Echo Aurora by Eternity Ibn Navarroné-D), who scored 93.08 points, along with Hulina (Fire Fighter x Hulala by Pamir), who scored 93.17. We invite you to Poland if you want to see the most beautiful mares!
We always look forward to the stallion classes, although they have fewer horses forward than the mares. After the mare classes, that brought such strong emotions, the stallions this time paled a little compared to them. Nevertheless, it was nice to see some previously unseen horses, including the later gold medallist of the Senior Male Championship and Best in Show Male, the grey Alfabia Aragon (ZT Magnanimus x ZT Shakbey by El Shaklan), who was owned by the late Shirley Watts at Halsdon Arabians, and today lives in the stables of Joanna Wojtecka and Paweł Kozikowski. It was a very touching moment when Joanna dedicated the successes of this horse at the Tarnów Championships to Shirley. The Silver medal went to the likable, and now occasionally shown stallion, Eternal (FS Bengali x Ewitacja by Ganges) bred and owned by Jan Głowacki. Bronze went to the Białka Stud thanks to the performance of a stallion who has his own fan club – Belmari (El Omari x Bint Ermina by Kabsztad).
It is worth noting that the All-Polish Arabian Horse Championship was planned in such a way that you cannot complain about boredom at any time. The programme included classes under saddle, a gelding class, and a charity auction during which breedings to three fantastic stallions were auctioned: D Nayel (FA el Rasheem x D Nawal by Royal Colours), Emerald J (QR Marc x Emandoria by Gazal al Saqab) and D Mezyan (FA el Rasheem x D Mazaia by Royal Colours). The money raised was donated to the Care and Educational Institution Przyjazny Dom in Tarnów, with the breeding of Gold World Champion Stallion D Mezyan creating the most interest. The owners of the Lubochnia Arabians offered €10,000 and were successful, bringing the total raised for such a good cause to over € 17,000. Congratulations to the winners and a huge thank you to the funders of the auction!
Guests and officials who came to Tarnów emphasised that the show was organised at the highest European level. I do not think there were any dissatisfied people, and those that were, were in the overwhelming minority as most of us are already waiting for the next edition of this new-old show because of its warm, friendly atmosphere, allowing Arabian horse lovers to happily spend time together. And despite the very good organisation, rich programme and good ideas, the organisers guarantee that “next year will be even better!”. See you there!
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All words and photographs by Patrycja Makowska