The 2017 Arabian Horse World Championship
The 2017 Arabian Horse World Championship
~With a Dedication to Dr. Nasr Marei
By Lisa Abraham
The 2017 Arabian Horse World Championship in Paris, France took place on November 24 – 26 and under the High Patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco. Although the 37th edition of this historically important show, it takes place as part of the much larger equine exposition, the Salon du Cheval. The Salon du Cheval, which is one of Europe’s premier equine events, is in its 47th edition and took place over a nine-day span beginning on November 25th. It welcomed 150,000 visitors, 450 exhibitors and over 2,300 horses.
An American in Paris
Nancy Harvey: It has been my goal to attend the Arabian Horse World Championship for nearly as long I have been a member of this community. I have had friends who have judged the show and others who owned horses that have won at this incredible venue. As this was my first time, I was anxious to experience everything for myself.
Needless to say, I was not disappointed. The high level of pageantry as well as its historical importance made it an honor for me to attend. The show had a great atmosphere and was fun. The presentation of the horses was exceptional as were the creative decorations in the arena. It was also wonderful to see the stands full and to witness the tremendous local support this show has earned. Not only is Paris an exciting city in which to hold an event, but it also a city with many attractions for guests to enjoy when not admiring the beautiful Arabians. We all had a wonderful time visiting the awe-inspiring museums and having meals that were second to none.
I enjoy seeing the way events are presented in the various countries and the traditions of each of the hosting countries. Back home in the United States, I hear from people that we should ‘do things like Paris.’ But I would hazard to say how can we do it like Paris--Paris is Paris and the World Championship is like no other show.
~ Nancy Harvey is the President of the United States Arabian Horse Association
Marketing and Promotion
The high level of professionalism in the Arabian horse world is growing in all aspects. As this year’s show approached, it was the pre-show promotion and marketing that got my attention. I was impressed with the well thought out campaigns that were rolled out in strategic layers though a variety of complimentary mediums. Although the principles of marketing and advertising remain the same, the avenues available for promotion have evolved, which in turn has altered effective methodologies. For example, a traditional “rule of thumb” has been the adage “repetition, repetition, repetition.” Of course this is still true, but creative variation is imperative. In the past, the primary goal was to create attention. Although this step cannot be ignored, it is far easier to achieve in our contemporary marketing environment. Now the challenge is how to MAINTAIN attention. Although there were several highly professional campaigns which marketed both farms and contenders before the start of the World Championship, I found the one promoting Junior Filly Madinat Al Baydaa, owned by Al Baydaa (EGY), to be a standout.
Chris Lowe: The promotion and marketing in the Arabian horse business has seen big changes in recent years. In the past it was done solely in print media and then flyers were also distributed around show grounds. Although we are still fans of the magazines, the internet has become our most important venue for advertisement. However, it must be treated with respect as images and video can easily be manipulated and messages taken out of context--as a community, we must all be careful about this. On the other hand, it has greatly accelerated our ability to get and share news at a rapid pace--so being able to keep up to date with show results is far easier. Al Baydaa has been proactive in our Social Media marketing and campaigns. We have built a fan base who solicits information which is how we know we have targeted the right people.
Early in the year, it was agreed that we were only going to take Madinat Al Baydaa to Paris. Since her last appearance in the show ring was in March, we knew that we had to create high exposure for her. First, we felt we needed a top-quality video. Her trainer, Raphael Curti of Privilege SFQ, developed a concept after being inspired by an advertisement for a car. We loved the idea and implemented it. Then we began a strategic plan which involved social media and eblasts. Gregor Aymar, of Eyecatcher Advertising, developed a great look for our campaign. Finally, we were very conscious of when to release materials so as to not clash with other shows and loose exposure to high traffic.
The World Championship is where the world’s elite join to compete for the pinnacle title in the Arabian horse community. Paris--what is there to say—it’s the city of romance and love. To compete in Paris is an honor; to become Top 10 is a dream for many; while to earn a medal—this can be a fantasy. We are very proud of our team and of Madinat’s success.
~Chris Lowe is the Farm Manager of Al Baydaa Stud
European Breeder Trust AG Lottery
European Breeders Trust AG (EBT) was formed in 2017 by Karl-Heinz Stoeckle, Gregor Aymar and Dr. Nils Ismer (all from Germany). The purpose of the EBT is to combat many of the problems resulting from the decline of the Arabian horse industry in Europe by creating both financial and political influence. It seeks to address both the reduced number of foals born and availability of perspective buyers; and to create greater accessibility to important industry resources such as high-quality stallion services and competitive marketing opportunities. EBT is a “shareholding company” and available only to European Arabian horse breeders. To ensure the stability needed to grow, EBT has formed a partnership with the Arabian Futurity Europe, a non-profit organization which was established fifteen years ago by Karl-Heinz Stoeckle, Gregor Aymar and James Swaenepoel (BEL).
In September the EBT made its first big splash in Aachen with its European Breeders Select Sale—and it was a great success. With fifteen prestigious lots offered, it earned 1,065,000 EUROS. So a strong presence in Paris was a logical next step. Besides having an attractive booth in the vendor area, the EBT offered its first Breeding Lottery on Saturday, November 25th. Presented were breedings to some of the world’s most elite sires, donated by their owners. Five breedings apiece were offered for Marwan Al Shaqab, E.S. Harir, Excalibur EA and RFI Farid. The lottery was well received by impressive attendance and was moderated by the entertaining Erik Blaak (NLD). However, only EBT Shareholders were eligible to participate.
Lisa Abraham: The Auction in Aachen was an International success. Can you share your thoughts regarding the outcome?
Dr. Nils Ismer: Because it was our first, the Auction was a big challenge and we were unsure as to how it would run. We were particularly concerned that some of the previous auctions in Europe were not great, so it was therefore impossible to forecast any potential results. In the end, I feel the whole event was a big success. Everybody was happy and enjoyed themselves. However, what was surprising for us was that the embryos went extremely high while some very high-quality fillies did not do as well. Afterwards we discussed this and agreed that it seems that hope sold better than the facts, which is something we all need to consider for the future as it may be a new trend in the market.
Lisa Abraham: Regarding the Lottery in Paris, what were the conditions for participation?
Dr. Nils Ismer: A shareholder is required to have at least 25 shares. For each breeding that was offered in the lottery, a shareholder could enter to purchase an opportunity to win for every share owned, at the price of 100 EUROS. So for example, I won one of the Marwan Al Shaqab breedings. I purchased five opportunities to win at 100 EUROS a piece. When I won, I then owed 500 EUROS. This was the purpose of the lottery. We feel that we wanted to offer high end breeding opportunities for shareholders, but at very affordable prices. However, a shareholder could only win one breeding per stallion offered.
Lisa Abraham: At this time, how many shareholders does EBT have?
Dr. Nils Ismer: We have 35, with opportunities for 7 or 8 more—then all shares are sold. Once the last share has been purchased, we can then consider enlarging the number. At that time, we will probably make forty more available. Ultimately, we would like to involve everyone who fits the criteria of being a European Arabian horse breeder as the more shareholders we have participating, the greater our power and influence will be in the marketplace.
Lisa Abraham: What’s next for the EBT?
Dr. Nils Ismer: This year is going to be to be an important one for EBT. First we are going to Hong Kong to increase our possibilities in the Chinese market. There we will hold our next breeding lottery in February which will be available worldwide via live feed. In addition, the Trust has leased the stallion Dominic M (DA Vinci FM X Rosa La Valentina) from Las Rosas Arabians, in Uruguay. We feel he is a very nice stallion with interesting blood who we believe can bring special qualities to Europe. He will be available only to European breeders and to shareholders at a very reasonable price.
Finally, we have just developed a new benefit for those involved: each shareholder will receive a “free credit” valued at 100 EUROS per share owned. For example, if a shareholder owns or purchases the minimum package of twenty-five, he or she will receive a dividend of 2,500 EUROS which can be invested in the purchasing of a breeding or into the breeding lottery. This dividend opportunity has been made effective immediately.
Rules for Entry and Scoring
The Arabian Horse World Championship is an ECAHO (European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations) Title Show. According to the 2017 ECAHO Blue Book, “To qualify for entry at the World Championship, an entry would have had to achieve: 1st to 5th place at an A or B Show; 1st to 3rd at a National Championship, C National, C International or C European show; and/or 1st to 2nd place at specific Origin Shows. Horses registered in countries which are not member of ECAHO must either qualify in an ECAHO affiliated show or may qualify at other shows accepted by the EHSC (European Horse Show Commission) which include: US Nationals, US Scottsdale, US Regionals, official National Championships, US Las Vegas Show and/or in a recognized Egyptian Event held in a non–ECAHO member country.
“There shall be a minimum of five Judges, of which the majority must be chosen from the EHSC A and B list of Judges. Those Judges chosen from non-ECHAO member countries must be selected from the Judges’ panel of the National Arab Horse Organization.” The Classes were judged on a scale of 20 points in which half points could be utilized. The following criteria was evaluated: TYPE, HEAD & NECK, BODY & TOPLINE, LEGS and MOVEMENT. The Championships were judged comparatively.
The 2017 World Championship Panel of Judges included: Silvia-Garde-Ehlert (DEU), Ferdinand Huemer (AUT), Steve Lieblang (USA), Luiz Rocco (BRA), Renata Schibler (SUI), Marianne Tengstedt (DNK), Marc Veray (FRA) and George Zbyszewski (USA).
In examining the scores, it was interesting to note that the Judges operated quite closely with each other. Although there was only one unanimous champion, they were relatively decided on who were to receive medals. Of the sixty horses competing in the Championships, only 32 were chosen for medals which means that in addition to the 18 medal winners, only 14 other horses were chosen for top placement.
The Yearling Female Championship featured medal winners who have tremendous potential for importance. Even as youngsters, all three have highly notable achievements. The Gold was awarded to the youngest horse of the entire show, LR ERA De Excalibur (Excalibur EA X Expected Beauty RP), who was bred by Las Rosas Estancia S.R.I. (URY) and owned by Alsayed Stud (KSA) and Las Rosas Estancia S.R. I.. At less than one year old, not only has LR ERA De Excalibur soundly captured top honors in Paris, but she was also the All Nations Cup Yearling Filly Gold Champion with the second highest score for TYPE of the entire show. In Paris, six of the eight Judges chose her for Gold, while two chose her for Silver.
The Silver medal was earned by Seranza (Kanz Albidayer X Evening Serenade) who was bred by Michael Byatt (USA) and is owned by Sheikh Mohammad Sulliman (ISR). Seranza first captured the attention of the world in Las Vegas at the Arabian Breeders World Cup. There she earned the Bronze medal and was awarded the third highest Qualifying Class score of the show. She was also the Bronze medal winner in Aachen and earned the highest score for MOVEMENT of the Yearling Champions. In Paris, her results were even more impressive. In her Qualifying Class, she received six 20’s, more than any other yearling; she earned the highest score for MOVEMENT of all Yearling and Junior Champions; and her score for TYPE was the highest of all Yearlings and tied for the second highest of the entire show.
Finally, the Bronze was earned by a filly who was the 2017 toast of both Scottsdale and Vegas. In the inaugural Marquise Auction, which took place during the Scottsdale All Arabian Horse Show (USA), on February 24th, Om El Erodite sold for an astounding $1.55 million USD—to write that she was the “talk of the town” would certainly be an understatement. Then a few months later in Las Vegas, she became the Arabian Breeders World Cup Yearling Filly Gold Champion. Om El Erodite (EKS Alihandro X Om El Excella) was bred by Om El Arab (USA) and is owned by Patricia M Dempsey Trustee (USA). In her Qualifying Class, Om El Erodite earned the Most Beautiful Head Trophy.
Of all the Championships, the Junior Female was the most competitive. Of the ten horses competing, seven were chosen for medals—more than in any other Championship. However, despite the depth of competition, the Gold went soundly to Mozn Albidayer, as seven of the eight Judges chose her to win. With Gold Championship wins in the world’s most prominent arenas, Mozn Albidayer (SMA Magic One X Mattahari), a 2014 filly who was bred by and is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qassim of Albidayer Stud (UAE), is one of the most important Junior Females in the world. At this show, with an averaged Qualifying Class score of 93.8, she earned the highest score for a female and the second highest of the entire show. In addition, her score for TYPE was the highest of the show.
The Silver went to Madinat Al Baydaa (RFI Farid X TS Madeleine), a 2015 filly who was bred by and is owned by Al Baydaa Stud (EGY); while the Bronze was earned by Belladonna AT (Wadee Al Shaqab X Om El Bellatrix), a 2015 filly who was bred by Adel Ali Bin Ale (QAT) and is owned by Al Thumama Stud (QAT). Both Mozn Albidayer and Madinat Al Baydaa earned the Most Beautiful Head Trophies in their Qualifying Classes. Other Junior Females chosen for medals included: Beloved Gracious Lady, Malikat Al Moluk, DA Alihandra and Marrakech J. Although not an eventual medal winner, it is important to note the achievement of Beloved Gracious Lady (Bey Ambition X AP Sheez Sassy), a 2015 filly who was bred by and is owned by Patricia M Dempsey Trustee (USA). In her Qualifying Class she was awarded straight 20’s for MOVEMENT which earned her the show’s highest score for this category and the trophy for Best Movement Female.
The Championship between the Senior Mares was the most intense of all the finals. With eight Judges, each with three choices for medals, there were 24 placement opportunities available for the ten competing horses. With the exception of two horses who were chosen for four medals, the eventual medal winners were all agreed upon to be the Champions. However, beyond that, there was little agreement as to actual placement. The competition between these mares was so close that each medal winner was chosen for Gold by at least two Judges. In addition, with a total of twenty-eight, the Senior Mare medal winners, in their Qualifying Classes, earned more 20’s than any other Championship group—twelve of which were for TYPE.
Ultimately the Gold was awarded to Tehama Ballalina (Tehama Na Sidaqa X JJ Shai Majestic Queen), a 2002 mare who was bred by L. Ferfuson (ZAF) and is owned by Al Zobair Stud (UAE). Tehama Ballalina was chosen by three Judges for Gold and, in her Qualifying Class, earned eleven 20’s--the second highest amount in the show. As a side note, in 2016 she was the ANC Senior Mare Gold Champion and the Senior Mare Silver World Champion. The Silver went to Shirin By Aisha (WH Justice x Aisha), a 2009 mare who was bred by Az. Agr. La Lezziola Di Gurioli Andrea (ITA) and who is owned by Athbah Stud (KSA). Shirin By Aisha was also chosen by three Judges for Gold. Finally, the Bronze was earned by Delights Divah RB (Ajman Moniscione X Honeys Delight RB), a 2012 mare who was bred by Adriana Espindola (BRA) and is owned by Alsayed Stud (KSA). Both Tehama Ballalina and Delights Divah RB were awarded the Most Beautiful Head Trophies in their Qualifying Classes. The other two horses chosen for medals in the Championship were Anood Al Nasser and Bint Hazy Al Khalediah—both were chosen once for Silver and once for Bronze.
The Yearling Male Championship resembled the Senior Mare’s in that the Judges were very decided upon who the winners were to be. However, with the colts, they were far more unified in their choices for placement. Ultimately the Gold went to Figaro (Wadee Al Shaqab X Shirin By Aisha) who was bred by Gladich Fausto (ITA) and is owned by Al Jassimya Farm (QAT). Figaro, who was the youngest of the three Champions, was chosen by five Judges for Gold. Also, this was the very first time Figaro competed in a show. The Silver went to HL El Ganador, who was bred by Matthei Duch (CHL) and is owned by Hanaya Stud (SUI). While the Bronze was earned by RD Harenaado (Hariry Al Shaqab X DM Endless Romance), who was bred by Murray & Shirley Popplewell (CAN) and is owned by Woody Arabians (ITA). Both Figaro and HL El Ganador were the winners of the Most Beautiful Head Trophies in their Qualifying Classes. As a side note, HL El Ganador was the All Nations Cup Yearling Colt Gold Champion, while RD Harenaado was the Silver Champion.
It seems that 2017 was the year for Alexxanderr. In September he became the ANC Junior Colt Gold Champion and earned the highest score of the show for HEAD. In Paris, he again prevailed and was the only Gold Champion to be chosen unanimously. In his Qualifying Class, Alexxanderr (Excalibur EA X AR Most Irresistible), who was bred by Frances Butler & Brandi Carson (USA) and is owned by Alsayed Stud (KSA), was also the recipient of the Most Beautiful Head Trophy. The Silver went to Fuerte (Shanghai EA X Frymuszka), who was bred by Jan Dobrzynski (POL) and is owned by Abhaa Arabians (KWT). Fuerte was also the 2017 European Championship Junior Colt Silver Champion. Finally, the Bronze went to Nadeem Al Arab (WH Justice X Om El Euphoria), a 2014 colt who was bred by Om El Arab International (USA) and is owned by Aljassimya Farm (QAT). In his own right, Nadeem Al Arab was the 2017 Arabian Breeders World Cup Junior Stallion Silver Champion. Interesting to note, all three of the Junior Male Champions were born in 2014 and competed against each other in the Colts 3 Years Qualifying Class with the same results regarding placement.
The Senior Stallion Championship was thrilling. However, as in the Yearling Colt and Senior Mare Championships, the Judges were in high agreement on their winners. Although not unanimous, six Judges chose Wadee Al Shaqab for Gold. In his Qualifying Class, Wadee Al Shaqab earned twelve 20’s, more than any other horse in the show and the highest averaged Qualifying Class score as well. Wadee Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab X OFW Mishaahl), a 2010 stallion who was bred by and is owned by Al Shaqab Stud (QAT), was also the recipient of his Class’s Most Beautiful Head Trophy.
As a fan and a spectator, I would like to make a personal comment on my experience of seeing Wadee Al Shaqab in the arena. For nearly the entire year of 2017, Wadee has been heavily promoted. As a fan of Al Shaqab’s, I have happily participated in this promotion which was a creative variation of formal layouts in print medias and fan cheerleading on Social Media. Behind the promotion was Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani, manager of Al Shaqab Stud, whose unique “shotgun” methods are vastly effective. Although Wadee was the Champion in Menton and I followed every step of his victory, the live feed does not always capture the essence of a performance. So, my first experience with Wadee in person was in Paris—and he took my breath away. His features are finely chiseled; he is neither too masculine nor too feminine, but rather a pleasant combination of both; he is charismatic, but not over the top; and he is elegant. Seeing Wadee in the flesh and celebrating his World Championship victory was, for me, the highlight of the show. Sometimes people describe getting chills when they see certain horses—Wadee Al Shaqab gave me chills.
The Senior Stallion Silver Champion was also a horse who is greatly loved and appreciated all over the world: Equator (QR Marc X Ekliptyka), a 2010 stallion who was bred by and is owned by Michalow State Stud (POL). Immediately after Equator became 2015 Senior Stallion World Champion, he left for the United States to be leased by Aljassimya Farm for breeding and showing purposes. While in the United States he won several important titles, and captured the hearts of Americans with his exceptional “arena filling” charisma. A perfect example of his success in the United States was in Las Vegas. That year, not only did he become the 2016 Arabian Breeders World Cup Senior Stallion Gold Champion by unanimous decision, but he was also awarded the show’s highest scores for TYPE, BODY & TOPLINE, FEET & LEGS and MOVEMENT. As a side note, although I have not experienced him personally, he has become well known for being a very kind horse as well—certainly a treasured quality in a stallion. However, as much as the Americans loved him, his fan base in Europe is passionate—and it is fair to write that they were glad to see him return home. In addition to his Championship placement, Equator also earned the trophy for the Best Movement Male. Finally, the Bronze went to solidly to Equiborn K.A. (QR Marc X Espadrilla), a 2012 stallion who was bred by and is owned by Knocke Arabians (BEL). Outside of the Champions, RHR Heir Of Marwan, who was chosen for Bronze by one Judge, was the only other horse in the Championship to be chosen for a medal.
In 2012 the World Championship introduced the Platinum Award. Only the Senior Stallions or Senior Mares who have already won the title of Gold World Champion are eligible to compete for this prestigious honor. This year, earning the prestigious title of Platinum World Champion Stallion was Gazal Al Shaqab (Anaza El Farid X Kajora), a 1995 stallion who was bred and is owned by Al Shaqab Stud. In addition to many important Gold Championship wins around the world, he was the 2001 World Senior Stallion Gold Champion. So it was with great joy, that after sixteen years, he was welcomed back to Paris by a crowd who loved him and appreciated the supreme contribution he has made to the breed of Arabian horses.
A Collaboration between Friends: Dr. Nasr Marei and Ali Almimar
Several months ago, when Dr. Nasr Marei passed away, he left a hole in many of our hearts that only time can fill. Whether in the ring or on the sidelines, he had a notable presence. As Paris approached, many of us wondered what it would be like without him. Dr. Marei loved the Arabian Horse World Championship and he supported it. He was a Judge for five editions and attended in subsequent years. So it should it should not be a surprise that he and artist Ali Almimar chose Paris, 2017, for the unveiling of a very personal project.
Ali Almimar: Since the year 2007, Dr. Marei and I had spent a great deal of time together. He had been a good friend and, as an artist himself, was also a trusted advisor in my work. Through these years, I have had many opportunities to photograph his horses and portray them in my paintings—all of which have been sold. However, one year ago, Dr. Marei suggested the idea of an exhibition of my paintings solely depicting his herd, the Albadeia horses. Naturally I was very happy with this idea. The work began in December of 2016 at his farm as I photographed his horses once again. We also discussed possibilities for the exhibition--at first, we considered a gallery in Egypt. After returning home and studying the photos, I sent him my selection and he was very pleased with my choices. So immediately I began to paint.
While he was still well, I said to him, ‘Dr. Marei, I have an idea. What do you think about exhibiting in Paris? I would like to invite guests to a reception and we can explain the project together.’ He liked this idea and so it was planned. But soon after, he went into the hospital for the final time. Every day I prayed for his recovery. For my art, the Arabian Horse World Championship is the best show to exhibit as the most prestigious people in the world attend. Although Dr. Marei was not able to see our project to its conclusion, the exhibition of my paintings of the Albadeia horses was received very well and was a success.
On October 17, 2017 Dr. Nasr Marei passed away, leaving a grieving Arabian horse world. As an active member of our community, he wore many hats. He was not just a breeder, but the administrator of a ninety-year breeding program; he was an ECAHO A Judge who presided, multiple times, over our most important shows; he was a teacher, offering his experience both personally and in more formal classroom environments; and he was an artist with a style so raw, one could see the spirit of his subjects. However, as a person, it was Dr. Marei’s deep humanity that prevailed. He was passionate; he was emotional; he was tender; and he loved—with his whole heart. Perhaps the greatest testament to him was the incredibly large circle of loved ones he left behind—and this group was as deep and diverse as it was wide. As individuals, so many felt a unique and personal friendship with him--perhaps this was his greatest gift to all of us. Dr. Nasr Marei, my dear trusted friend, may you forever Rest in Peace and enjoy the company of those who have gone before you. Your presence in our lives will not be forgotten and our love for you is everlasting.
Lisa Abraham’s coverage of the
2017 Arabian Horse World Championship
has been dedicated to the memory of
Dr. Nasr Marei.
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Lisa Abraham is an International Journalist and Photographer from the United States. Although she does free-lance for various media, her primary dedication is to Arabhorse.com as a Premier Contributor and Representative.