The Breeders Interview – Fairview Arabian Stud, Australia
In every edition of The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine, we speak to a selection of breeders from around the world about their experiences and successes with their breeding programme. We are delighted to share some of these incredibly insightful features online.
The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine (TABM): Please share with our readers a short background of your farm.
Peter Hall, Fairview Arabian Stud, Australia: The Fairview Arabian Stud was founded in 1969 and was owned by myself with my beautiful wife, Vivienne, until her passing in 2010. The stud was located at Cobbitty, a short drive from Sydney, but this was sold in 2012 and I relocated the remaining Arabian horses to a new property in Queensland, so that I was living near my family members and grandchildren.
13 Amir El Shaklan. Credit Pat Slater.
TABM: What have been the bloodlines that you have focused on, and why did you choose them? Has this focus changed over the years?
Peter: Like many studs, we started with the purchase of one part-Arabian mare and then, like many, the foundation pure Arabians were all of Crabbet breeding. This was all that we could purchase at the time in Australia and back then, one even had to put their name down on waiting lists. However, after breeding with these bloodlines for several years, it became very obvious to us that we were not breeding the TYPE of Arabian horse that we desired, the TYPE we had in our mind’s eye. So, we started the search for a stallion or colt that filled our ideal.
In 1976 we decided to hold an auction sale and as a draw, we imported several pure Arabian mares from the UK, and these mares were sold. The first annual Fairview Arabian Stud auction sale was conducted on 16 April 1977. An Australian auction record price for this time was achieved for the pure Arabian mare Indian Astra (Ludo x Indian Starlight) (imp UK) of $18,000 Australian dollars.
In 1977, we again purchased mares in the UK to bring home for our 1978 sale, but in addition we purchased Arabian mares to retain in our stud. One of these mares was the amazing double British National Champion mare Sheer Magic (Scindian Magic x Mafari) purchased from the Howard–Price family. This famous mare was a multiple championship winner and also the dam of a British National Championship winner. After her purchase, Sheer Magic was shown for the final time at both the British Nationals and the International Show where she was awarded the Mare Championship at both shows. Sheer Magic is still the most decorated show horse ever to be imported into Australia.
During our overseas trip in 1977, we were delighted to meet the fabulous Arabian colt El Shaklan (Shaker El Masri x Estopa) at Om El Arab in Germany, bred by Sigi Siller. El Shaklan totally captivated our imagination. Here was the Arabian colt that we had been searching for, although he was not for sale. He had the exotic face, beautiful eyes, the conformation, length of leg and total Arabian type. He completely filled the eye and our imagination of things possible ran wild – and so, the dream started!
We searched for a mare to breed to El Shaklan and found her at the Marbach State Stud in Germany. We purchased Sascha (ex Smoky by Kanzler) who was sired by the International Champion stallion Saher (Ghazal x Sahmet). Sascha was purchased specifically to be bred to El Shaklan in the hope that she would produce a super colt foal and future stallion for our Australian stud.
Champion Yearling Filly Fairview Dare to Dream. Credit K Sheridan Photos.
TABM: What were your breeding goals when you first started? Have they changed over the years?
Peter: Our aim had always been ‘to merge the spiritual ideal of the Arabian horse with the mortal concept in the attainment of perfection.’
This arrived sooner than we realised. In 1978, Sascha was bred to El Shaklan and the resulting foal was the exotic and greatly admired stallion Amir El Shaklan, born 24 July 1979. While the list of Amir El Shaklan’s show winning progeny is totally awesome, his own credits include 23 Supreme Championship Awards – all won by the time he was five years of age, at which time he was retired to stud duties only.
We continued to evolve over the next 20 or so years, with the focus being very much on El Shaklan. In 1979, the young filly Esperanza was imported from Major and Mrs Maxwell in the UK. She was sired by Shahks (Morafic x Shiaa) from the Spanish mare Esperada (Tabal x Berlanga), much the same family as El Shaklan. She was purchased purely to breed to Amir El Shaklan and the resulting linebred foals were outstanding, including three Australian National Championship winners.
That same year also saw the arrival in Australia of Kreoluka (ex Ksarina), sired by Silver Scenario (ex Countess Naborr), a son of Tornado (Bask x Silwara). This lovely mare proved to be a wonderful producer when bred to Amir El Shaklan – a complete outcross breeding but a great success. In 1987 she foaled the superb colt Fairview Klassique, owned by my friend Quentin Naylor in Kentucky. USA. This special stallion swept all before him including the 1994 Australian National Champion Stallion title and also the 1997 US National Champion Stallion title. Kreoluka’s 1989 colt foal, Fairview Kaptivation, was also beautiful and was named National Champion Stallion of New Zealand.
In 1982, we imported the straight Russian-bred colt Nevinska (Nazim x Nevidal) from the UK and in 1983, Estashan (Malik x Estasha), bred by Om El Arab Stud in Germany arrived at Fairview Arabian Stud. His dam was a full sister to El Shaklan, and Estashan was owned in a partnership.
We took great care in the selection of breeding stock, searching out horses that had extreme Arabian type in both conformation and the face. Selection was based upon individual quality and horses who phenotypically displayed the genetic qualities expected from their pedigrees.
The El Shaklan influence at Fairview Arabian Stud was further enhanced in 1990 with the importation from the USA of classical international champion colt SK Shakla Khan (ex Sun King Raindrop by Hilglor Rainmaker), sired by Sanadik El Shaklan (El Shaklan x Mohena). Shakla Khan was suggested to us by Sigi, and what a wonderful purchase he turned out to be! He was a fantastic show horse and superlative breeding stallion, siring many Australian National Championship winners for Fairview, and others, including our famous mare and double champion, Shakla’s Silver Dream (ex Silver Glint by El Shaklan), and international champion mare Windella Silver Sensation, now owned by Heather Brown in the UK. Twice Australian National Champion, she was judged Supreme British National Champion in 2006. Sensation’s dam was our 1996 Australian National Champion Mare Windella Silver Fascination, sired by Amir El Shaklan and from the mare Silver Glint (ex Silver Shimmer by Fari II) by El Shaklan.
The Paris World Champion Stallion, Estasan Ibn Estopa, bred by Om El Arab, arrived at Fairview in 1999 when he was 15 years of age. He was sired by Ibn Estopa, the only full brother to El Shaklan, and his dam was Bint Estawa (by Malik by Hadban Enzahi), out of the beautiful mare Estawa, a full sister to El Shaklan. When Estasan Ibn Estopa was bred to our SK Shakla Khan daughter Windella Silver Sequin, a full sister to Shakla’s Silver Dream, she produced our 2005 and 2007 Australian National Champion Ghazal Ibn Estopa. Ghazal was also judged Australian National Reserve Champion Stallion under Saddle.
For the past 30 odd years, the majority of Fairview Arabian Stud’s broodmares have been linebred to the El Shaklan family. I now also have a small group of three Straight Egyptian mares, including the lovely Fairview Mahl-Le-Kah (True Colours x Coolong Park Haanicia), who will be bred to Al Adeed Al Shaqab (Ansata Halim Shah x Sundar Alisayyah) this year.
In 1987, Fairview and Sheila Stump’s Windella Stud formed a wonderful partnership that revolved around the Arabian mare Silver Glint (imported UK), a lovely daughter of El Shaklan. The partnership continued until Sheila’s passing in 2005. Together we bred many outstanding pure Arabian horses, some with the Windella prefix and others without.
In December, 2006 the beautiful Straight Egyptian colt Al Kha-Zar (Thee Asil x Infidel’s Princess), bred by the Kenworthy family of Paradise Arabians in the US, was imported as we felt we needed an outcross bloodline to the El Shaklan family. He is tall, correct and beautiful, and he sired many lovely foals here in Australia. He is now owned by Maria and Frank Daraio in Victoria.
Fairview Nile Princess, Straight Egyptian filly sired by Al Kha – Zar ( USA ). Credit Fairvew Arabian Stud archives.
TABM: Please share key moments that stand out in the early stages of your breeding programme?
Peter: It would have to be when we first saw El Shaklan, and then bred Amir El Shaklan.
At our peak, we had over 40 pure Arabian horses and of the horses bred in Australia, the jewel in the crown was most definitely the mare Shakla’s Silver Dream. Silver Glint was also the dam of our 1996 Australian National Champion Mare Windella Silver Fascination (by Amir El Shaklan) and also the granddam of the Australian National Champion Mares Windella Silver Shadow and (by Amir El Shaklan) and Windella Silver Sensation (by SK Shakla Khan).
I believe that the stud’s success over the past 30 years has been the direct result of us changing our breeding goals/bloodlines to that of the El Shaklan family. We have specialised in these bloodlines as they epitomised our requirements for the classical, correct and beautiful Arabian horse. We always tried to breed Arabians with correct conformation, legs and movement but they also MUST have a beautiful head and a dished profile; they may be a correct horse but to us, they are not a top class pure Arabian if they do not have the face as well. The bloodlines we chose have enabled us to achieve great results in the show-ring and breeding programmes both in Australia and overseas.
International Champion Sheer Magic (UK). Credit Fairview Arabian Stud archives.
TABM: When was it that you realised that you were a successful breeder? And what, in your opinion, defines a ‘breeder’?
Peter: Many well known overseas visitors, including Lenita Perroy, have complimented Vivienne and myself on the number of show winning Arabian horses that we were able to breed from a relatively small number of mares, especially when compared to overseas studs.
During his lifetime, the iconic Amir El Shaklan produced over 350 pure Arabian progeny, plus several part-bred Arabians. Over 300 of those progeny are ‘A’ class show winners, including 22 Australian National Champion or Reserve Championship winners.
Amir El Shaklan was born on 24 July 1979 and died when 27 years old on 16 July 2006. The legacy Amir has left in Australia is huge and his extended family here immense! At the 2007 Australian National Championships, Amir El Shaklan was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, the first time that the Australian Arabian Horse Society has given such an honour.
To us, Amir El Shaklan, just like his sire El Shaklan, was a horse ahead of his time. He was the cornerstone of our breeding programme and the reason to continue the dream. To Vivienne and myself, he epitomised the Arabian Standard of Excellence. He was an Australian Arabian legend, and his loss almost shattered our dreams.
When Amir El Shaklan arrived in Australia as a foal at foot in 1979, I realised that we had been successful breeders. Even if we only ever bred Amir, the score was on the board. Over 40 odd years, thanks to Amir and SK Shakla Khan, our dream of creating a successful breeding programme was achieved. I must also acknowledge advice and recommendations from Sigi Siller.
Amir El Shaklan was undoubtedly the most influential Arabian sire in Australia during his lifetime and he has left a lasting legacy to Australian Arabian horse breeding. He has extreme Arabian type coupled with a beautiful balance and harmony of structure, a very lovely face and huge eyes, plus a super temperament – all features of the classical Arabian horse.
S.K Shakla Khan (Imported U.S.A.) and Peter Hall. Credit Pat Slater.
TABM: As a breeder, how do you feel about the showing world? Do you think that changes are needed to celebrate breeders more?
Peter: Changes are needed in the show-ring for sure, but not just to celebrate the breeders of superior Arabian Horses. Only shows such as the Arabian Breeders’ World Cup in Las Vegas or the Australasian Breeders Cup have the facility at the end of the show to celebrate the most successful breeder with an award. I think this is a great idea and these ultimate awards are highly prized. I think this type of award will become more common.
I refer you to my article in The Arabian Voice, printed in The Arabian Magazine in February 2011 on page 180. I think that this article should be re-printed – everything is still relevant.*
TABM: Do you think that breeders are a dying breed, pardon the pun?
Peter: Do I think that breeders are a dying breed? Yes, I guess this is so. Many Arabian horse owners cannot afford financially to continue to breed horses on a large scale. Many owners in Australia seem to breed a few foals for themselves, but they do not have a long-term goal or plan for the future.
TABM: Do you think that breeders and dedicated breeding programmes still have a place in the world today?
Peter: Yes, I do think that breeders and dedicated breeding programmes have a place in this world. Without these breeding programmes, our Arabian horses will lose type, and these horses could end up only being on view at a zoo.
Vivienne , Amir El Shaklan and Peter Hall. Credit Fairview Arabian Stud archives.
TABM: Over the years, what have been your key successes, perhaps the ones that define your farm?
Peter: Over the years, our key successes in my opinion are the following Arabian horses of great significance, all bred by Fairview Arabians: Amir El Shaklan, Shakla’s Silver Dream, Windella Silver Fascination, Fairview Klassique, Fairview Dare To Dream (Maximus ERA x Fairview Just a Dream (exp Dubai), Windella Silver Sensation (exp UK), Windella Silver Shadow (Amir El Shaklan x Windella Silver Glitter), Espiration (Amir El Shaklan x Esperanza), Fairview Ellusive Dream (Ibn Amir El Shaklan x Shakla’s Silver Dream), Windella Silver Sequin (SK Shakla Khan x Silver Glint), Fairview Kaptivation (Amir El Shaklan x Kreoluka) (exp New Zealand), Fairview Amira Al Fujairah (Amir El Shaklan x Esperanza), Fairview Shakla’s Presious Asgold (SK Shakla Khan x EW Halina’s Estana), Fairview Shakla’s Kaliph (SK Shakla Khan x Fairview Amira Kalhua) (exp New Zealand), Fairview Ibn Shakla Khan (SK Shakla Khan x Windella Silver Shadow) and Fairview Light My Fire (SK Shakla Khan x Fair Flirtation).
We have bred a large number of Arabian horses, but the above list made the hard work worthwhile and most rewarding.
Amir El Shaklan. Credit Stuart Vesty.
TABM: And finally, what is next for you and your breeding programme?
Peter: On 14 June 2010, my wife Vivienne died from cancer and over the next 18 months I decided to disperse my stud. I did not want to continue what I had shared with Vivienne for the past 40 years by myself – that dream was over. My family were not interested in the horses and I was not in the right frame of mind to persevere. And so, most of my Arabian horses were sold.
After Vivienne’s passing, I threw myself into, and was co-founder, with Allan Preston, of the Arabian Horse Breeders Alliance of Australasia Inc, affiliated with the US Arabian Horse Breeders’ Alliance who conducts the Arabian Breeders’ World Cup in Las Vegas. The group has gone from strength to strength in Australia and run a successful show, the Australasian Breeders’ Cup, held in conjunction with Equitana and Equifest, a horse function that relates to all breeds of horses, everything horsey and also attracts crowds of non-horsey people. The Arabian horses are exposed to huge crowds of non-Arabian people; this show has a completely different structure and has a unique audience compared to most horse shows worldwide.
In 2012, the farm at Cobbitty was sold and I moved to the current farm at Dunmora via Maryborough in Queensland. The property comprises 106 acres and is now the home of a small number of pure Arabian horses and a herd of stud Brangus cattle.
In 2002 when Vivienne and I were in Paris for the World Championships, we were introduced to Al Adeed Al Shaqab and we both fell in love with him. He was like a porcelain statue that the artist had used artistic licence on to improve. Michael Byatt took us into Al Adeed’s stable, and Vivienne couldn’t wait to touch and cuddle the stallion. We knew then that we wanted to try and include Al Adeed Al Shaqab into our breeding programme.
It was not until after Vivienne’s passing that the opportunity to work with Al Shaqab came up and I so wish that we had been able to breed to Al Adeed Al Shaqab while Vivienne was still alive; she would have been over the moon with happiness. I now have a beautiful two-year-old filly named Fairview Al Adira, sired by Al Adeed Al Shaqab and out of D’Amors Amira-Khan (SK Shakla Khan x Amira El Shaklan). This coming October, I will breed two Straight Egyptian mares, Fairview Mahl-Le-Kah and Fairview Moniet Al Kha-Meel (by Al Kha- Zar) to Al Adeed Al Shaqab via frozem semen.
The Al Shaqab Stud has now appointed me as their Australian agent for the sale of breedings to their wonderful stallions. 2017 will see Australian mares being bred by frozen semen to Hariry Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab x White Silkk) and Fadi Al Shaqab (Besson Carol x Abha Myra), and possibly a couple of other Al Shaqab stallions as well. I must thank Al Shaqab for making their great stallions available in Australia, and also for giving me a new enthusiasm, just when I needed it the most.