The 2018 All Nations Cup Festival

The 2018 All Nations Cup Festival

By Lisa Abraham

The 2018 All Nations Cup Festival was held on September 27-30, at the Albert Valle Hall in Aachen, German. The show was well attended by an international audience as well as viewed through out the world via live feed, compliments of Arabian Horse Global Network. For the first time, the show extended over a four-day period, which eased the intensity of long class days and provided extra time to enjoy the charming surroundings of this historic German city. Although the All Nations Cup (ANC) began in England as a show meant to travel, Aachen has been its home since 1987, and has subsequently been organized solely by the German Arab Horse Society (VZAP).

For many, the ANC is considered to be one of the fairest Arabian horse shows in the world. The ANC Committee and VZAP strive to make sure that not only does the show operate at the highest professional standard, but also, takes enormous steps to ensure impartiality. To illustrate this commitment, the word “INTEGRITY” was used as an official statement in showmarketing and was also displayed on the numbers the handlers wore while presenting horses.

Another very important feature of the ANC is how seriously the organizers take the enjoyment of the audience. Beyond featuring the competition between some of the most important horses in the world, VZAP goes to great measures to ensure quality entertainment as well. Breaks are filled with organized presentations of horses; while the more formal show elements, which include the opening ceremony and presentation of judges, are dramatic and spectacular. From the very beginning, the organizers knew that a horse show had to be fun and that the schedule needed to be filled either with competition or enjoyable activities—it is fair to write that this goal had been well accomplished.


European Breeders Select Sale II, offered by The European Breeders Trust

The 2018 ANC was again the stage for the European Breeders Select Sale, which took place on Saturday evening on September 29th. It was organized by the European Breeders Trust AG (EBT), whose founding members include Karl-Heinz Stoeckle, Gregor Aymar and Dr. Nils Ismer (all from Germany). EBT was formed in 2017 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 prospective 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 breeders.

As auctions are becoming a more popular way to sell horses and excite breeders, organizers are investing enormous efforts to ensure their success—and that is exactly what the EBT did for the European Breeders Select Sale II.  The organizers used social media, proven marking techniques and excellent design work to build anticipation, months and weeks beforehand. Through all possible means, they ensured that this was going to be an unforgettable evening.

After the day’s competition, the Albert Valle Arena was transformed into an elegant auction hall with dinner and drinks offered before the festivities of the evening began. The doors opened at 6:30 as guests strolled in for early cocktails and socializing; while at 7:00, a light dinner was offered. After guests enjoyed these lovely and anticipatory moments, pre-auction entertainment was performed accompanied by an exciting light show. The auctioneer was Andrew Nolan (IRL), while the speakers included Mike Ashmore (GBR), Eric Blaak (NLD) and Rory O’Neil (USA). Overall, there were sixteen world class lots offered which raised a grand total of 945,600 EUROS. The lot with the highest earnings was #16: a 2019 foal by FA El Rasheem and out of AJ Dinara, which sold for 258,500 EUROS.

Lisa Abraham: What is your evaluation of the 2018 Auction?

Nils Ismer: The second edition of EBT’s Breeders Select Sale was a great success as our goal was met and nearly all horses were sold.  Also, we are pleased to report that both sellers and buyers were very satisfied, which is important when considering future endeavors that require support. As this was the second year, these results clearly illustrate that the Breeders Select Sale is operating at the highest standard in Europe. Offering the highest quality of horses, maintaining transparency in all business management and providing first class service are all factors that we feel have contributed to our success. Just recently, an independent survey rated EBT’s Breeders Select Sale as the best auction in Europe.

Lisa Abraham: After a successful inaugural Select Sale in 2017, what were the challenges you faced for 2018?

Nils Ismer: The biggest challenge was to find the right horses. However, in addition to our goal of offering the top quality, we also worked diligently to ensure fair sale conditions for both the sellers and the buyers, which can be a delicate balance. Every day more auctions are being organized in Europe thereby increasing our competition. But we feel that by continuing to offer the highest quality and operating with integrity, we will continue to grow in both numbers and strength.

Lisa Abraham: Can you describe EBT's growth since its inception?

Nils Ismer: Initially EBT began with eight breeders from Germany, France, Italy and Belgium. As of now we have around forty shareholders located all over Europe. From a financial perspective, we are proud to say that 2017 was a great success and it seems that 2018 will be the same. This is very important so that we can assure further activities and opportunities for our shareholders. As a nice bonus, we have been very encouraged by the support and interest we have we have received from breeders in Europe and outside as well—this has motivated us to push harder and find ways to innovate and offer more.

Lisa Abraham: EBT had a strong presence in China for their first Arabian horse show which took place in August. What is your evaluation of these efforts?

Nils Ismer: One of EBT’s targets is to discover and develop markets for our shareholders. The equine industry in China is growing--and that is not a question--it’s a statement. Due to the rate at which its economy and middle class are also growing, I believe that this is the largest opportunity for growth in the global equestrian market and could last for the next twenty years. However, the question remains if we will be able to include the Arabian horse into this development—or will we leave it to the other breeds such as the Warmbloods, Quarter horses or ponies. EBT is taking important measures to develop the Arabian horse industry inside of China to help build a platform for its shareholders to be present and in the forefront in this growing market. 

Lisa Abraham: What is next for EBT and you can share what you have planned for Paris...?

Nils Ismer: EBT is facing many important challenges. For example, we are working strategically to enlarge our network as well as preparing alternative marketing tools for both breeding and performance horses. We are also looking down the road and developing strategies to maintain adaptability in this everchanging market. For Paris we are planning another lottery of stallion breedings in which only EBT shareholders will be invited to participate. Through these lotteries we are very proud to offer our shareholders opportunities to some of the most prestigious stallions in the world.


Person of the Year: Ursula Rahm

The All Nations Cup Person of the Year

In 2016, the ANC introduced this award to recognize someone who had known significant achievement and respect in the Arabian horse community. Its inaugural recipient was Judith Forbis of Ansata Arabian Stud (USA), a woman who not only bred an influential dynasty whose reach has been both generational and international but has also written numerous books and articles which are coveted as resource treasures. The 2017 ANC Lifetime Achievement Award for a Person was awarded to Ignacy Jaworowsky (1924 - 2004). Ignacy Jaworowsky had been a director of Polish State Stud Michalow and was represented by his daughters Dorota Janiszewska and Agnieszka Rozwadowska.  This year’s recipient was a woman who has spent a lifetime pioneering important measures to ensure the safety of our horses in the show rings of Europe: Ursula Rahm. Ursula, who is 92 years old, was not only present to receive this honor, but also, gave a poignant speech expressing her continued concerns for the welfare of our show horses.

From the President of the Swiss Arabian Horse Society,

Renata Schibler

Mrs. Ursula Rahm’s legacy will always be synonymous with the health and treatment of the Arabian horse. She spent many years working to promote our special breed as a complete animal with its many talents and abilities and fought for their protection against a show scene that was becoming singularly focused on appearance.  In all her many endeavors, Ursula’s primary concern was always the welfare of the horse.

As ECAHO was formed, Ursula’s influence was important.  Her first official position was as treasurer and later she became a member of the Appeals Committee. However, she is best known for her role as a member of the Disciplinary Committee, in which she was held in high regard, not only by her colleagues, but also by the horse owners and trainers.

Ursula was also a committed member of the Swiss Arabian Horse Society (SZAP). As the current President of this organization, I would like to congratulate Ursula for this prestigious recognition and thank her for all her years of service to the wellbeing of the Arabian horse both here in Switzerland and all over Europe.


Horse of the Year: Padrons Psyche

The All Nations Cup Horse of the Year

Like the Award given to a person for a lifetime of achievements, this was the third year that a horse was honored as well. In 2016, the famous El Shaklan was the worthy recipient, represented by his owner, Janina Merz of Om El Arab (USA); followed by Gazal Al Shaqab. Although both equally special, in 2017, Gazal Al Shaqab was presented in person, which made the moment quite emotional to those who were also in attendance to celebrate his achievements. The 2018 recipient was also a horse loved all over the world as both an individual and a sire: Padrons Psyche, who was owned by Paul Gheysens of Knocke Arabians.

A Living Legend

By Dixie North

Padrons Psyche was larger than life and everyone knew it.  Farm guests would tell me they would have goosebumps when he came out--I know I always did. But at the same time, he had a heart of gold.  He could bellow and rear and prance like a stallion, then gently drop his head into the hands of a small child. Robert and I had Psyche in our lives for nine years and it was one of the most special times we have ever had.  We consider ourselves very lucky to have been in the right place in our lives when the opportunity arose to acquire him for North Arabians--it was a dream come true. Even though Psyche is no longer with us, his presence and influence on the Arabian world is stronger than ever.  His sons, daughters and grandchildren are all still producing competitive horses all over the world—and winning.

Interestingly, Psyche was partial to women and would form strong and unforgettable friendships with them.  Natalia Nieves Guzzo, who had worked at North Arabians at the time, bonded very closely with him.  So when we sold him, we trusted her to accompany him to his new home in Belgium. When Psyche was ready to load on the plane, he became anxious and nervous, so as soon as she was able, Natalia went to the cargo section to check on him.  She told us that he was so relieved to see her that he rested his head on her shoulder and instantly became calm. After spending most of the flight with him, once they landed in Amsterdam, she took him for a final walk before he boarded the trailer which was to take him to his new home.  When she left to return home, she told us that she realized she was not going to see him again and was heartbroken.  Natalia said, ‘Psyche taught me many things and gave me memories that will last a lifetime.  I am thankful to have been part of his life.’

At his home in Belgium, Schoukens Training Center, he met Monika Dobrun, who also formed a special bond with him and referred to him as ‘Psyche Grandpa’. While there they would play ‘hide and seek’ together--and he loved it.  Later when she moved to Australia, she would ‘face time’ with him.  She said he would look all over for her when he heard her voice from the device.  At the Schoukens Training Center Open House in 2016, following the All Nations Cup, Monika was asked to present Psyche to the large crowd. She said she was thrilled for the opportunity and was so honored to show him off. Monika called him her heart horse and they really loved each other. Finally, Denise Shannon says she trusted Psyche enough to give her 6-month-old son his first ‘pony’ ride; while her Mom used to stand by him and talk to him when he was on the treadmill.  Denise said he loved the company.

Psyche was also an intuitive horse. In 2007, we lost our home in a brush fire. When we were evacuated, there was no time to take the horses. The fire started very close to where we lived and with winds up 80 mile per hour. Before we were forced to leave, we watered the barns down, flooded the stalls and removed all flammables. Luckily the barns did not burn, and the horses in the green pastures were ok. Immediately afterwards, although we were not allowed in for three days, our vet was permitted to check on the horses.  With the few bales of hay that were left,  he fed them and cleaned the ashes out of the standing water. When we were finally able to return, we brought a truck load of hay and immediately went to feed the horses.  Psyche was standing in his stall very regally, and it was like he said, ‘Where were you, I’m hungry.’  Since the experience was traumatic for all of us, we expected him to be crazy, but he was very calm. Normally he was very particular about when he was to be fed and would start banging on his stall door exactly ten minutes before feeding time.  So it was obvious to us that he knew something was wrong.

For me, there will never be another Padrons Psyche--he was one of a kind.  He was ‘The King’ of North Arabians and I will miss him forever.  Our breeding program still has many treasured Psyche daughters and granddaughters including a 2018 filly who we love.  Robert and I are so grateful to have been Psyche’s caretaker for the years he lived with us and we wish him eternal peace in green pastures.

  The 2018 Panel of Judges


The Classes were judged by a panel of six, chosen from a total group of nine, who were picked through a lottery system before each class. The categories for scoring included: TYPE, HEAD, NECK & SHOULDER, BODY & TOPLINE, LEGS and MOVEMENT. Scoring was based on a 20-point system with half points. In the case of a tie, the horse with the most points for TYPE received the higher placement. If this did not resolve the tie, then the score for MOVEMENT decided.  The Championships were judged comparatively.

The Judges: Anne Norden (SWE), Renata Schibler (CHE), Mark Ismer (DEU), Steve Lieblang (USA), Abdel Maagoul (MAR), Fausto Scanzi (ITA), Marc Veray (FRA) and Marek Trela (POL).

One of the most interesting aspects of reviewing a show is the analysis of scores and forming a mental picture created by the judges. Upon initial analysis, it was difficult to find unity within the panel. And although the Classes and Championships are two entirely separate opportunities to perform and judge, there was great variation between the final line ups in each. For example, of all the Champions, only five were their Class Winners (four of which were Gold Champions); and of the Champions who were Class Reserves, four fell behind Class Winners who did not earn medals. Furthermore, while there were only two unanimous Champions, a wide array of fourteen horses were chosen for Gold.

It has been stated that with the introduction of the point system, also began the birth of a more universal horse. As our shows are judged according to the standard, breeding practices have adjusted to this measure, which could have contributed, over time, to a loss of diversity in Arabian type. Before the point system, the breeding styles of judges had to be scrutinized when choosing a panel so that a balance among preferences was established. Over time, the point system has neutralized the more personal aspects of evaluation. Also, in more recent years, certain bloodlines have dominated the breeding and showing world. Although the greatness of these lines cannot be disputed, it has also contributed to the homogeny in the showing arena. Although these bloodlines are still present, they are starting to fall back into the later lines of the pedigrees, which in turn, is creating slightly more diversity in both pedigree and type.

When quality is consistently high, it is the minute differences that can be attributed to the final line up of Champions. The greater the differences, the more personal preference becomes a factor in judging a Championship. At this show, the pedigrees among those in the Championships were more varied as well as the types—yet still consistent to the standard. Therefore, it is my conclusion that the variation in scores among the judges did not indicate disharmony, but rather preference in type as the quality was so very consistent.

The Yearling Filly Championship was a good example of the above summation. It was one of the most competitive in the show and the fillies were rewarded for their quality. The medal winners in this Championship cumulatively earned a total of twenty 20’s in their Qualifying Classes, the second highest amount in the show as a group. Also, not only were there seven horses chosen for medals, three different horses were chosen for Gold. Ultimately it was AJ Samara (AJ Mardan X Sama AM) who was bred and is owned by Ajman Stud (KSA), who earned top honors. As the youngest champion, in her Qualifying Class, not only did she receive the overall third highest score for TYPE, but also, with nine 20’s, she earned the second overall amount in the show. The Silver went to SS La Bella (Calypso OS X BF Bella Contessa) who was bred by Ottoman Arabians Yearling Colt Gold Champion: Admiraal (Emerald J X Haniyyah) (USA) and is owned by Al Saqran Stud (KWT). Finally the Bronze went to D Shihanah (FA El Rasheem X D Shahla) who was bred by and is owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE).  Other Yearling Fillies chosen for medals included: El Bellisima, MB Vivyanna (Qualifying Class Winner), Encarina and D Wojood.

The Yearling Colt Gold Champion, Admiraal (Emerald J X Haniyyah), captured the heart of the audience upon entering the ring.  Not only did he earn the highest averaged Qualifying Class score of all yearlings, but with a score of 19.75, he earned the second highest score for MOVEMENT in the entire show. Admiraal, who was bred by Al Muawd Stud (KSA) and is owned by Ajman Stud (UAE), was chosen unanimously. The Silver Champion was Maher Al Sayed (Alexxanderr X Mera Alsayed), who was bred and is owned by Alsayed Stud (KSA); while the Bronze went to D Bareq (FA El Rasheem X Royal Emira), who was bred by and is owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE). Interestingly, all three champions competed in the same Qualifying Class, however, D Bareq was the Reserve while Maher Al Sayed followed in Third. Other Yearling Colts chosen for medals included: Duke Santonio ME (Qualifying Class Winner), Poseidon KA and D Asali.

Venice MI (Allegiance MI X Valentine MI), the Junior filly Gold Champion, also took the ring by storm and earned the favor of both the audience and the judges. Of the Champions, in her Qualifying Class, she received the overall high score for females and the second highest of the show. And with a score of 19.63, she was also the highest scoring female for MOVENMENT. Venice MI is a 2015 filly who was bred by Mulawa Stud (AUS) and is owned by Al Muawd Stud (KSA). The Silver went to Junior Mare Gold Champion: Venice MI (Allegiance MI X Valentine MI) Rshediah Alkhashab (EKS Alihandro X Symphony Of Love), a 2016 filly who was bred by Psynergy Enterprise Development LLC (USA) and is owned by Al Khashab Stud (KWT); while the Silver was earned by another crowd favorite, Seranza (Kanz Albidayer X Evening Serenade), a 2016 filly bred by Michael Byatt (USA) and owned by Mohamed Shekh Suliman of Al Sheikh Stud (ISR). As in the case of the Yearling Colts, in their Qualifying Class, it was Serzana who prevailed over Rshediah Alkhashab. Other Junior Fillies chosen for medals included: Lulu Al Wawan, D Ajayeb, Loulou Al Nasser and Assilah al Shahania. Junior Colt Gold Champion: AJ Kafu (Shanghai EA X AJ Kahayla)

In the Junior Colt Championship, the judges were closely divided as to who would earn the Gold. Ultimately, it was AJ Kafu (Shanghai EA X AJ Kahayla), a 2015 colt who was bred by HRH Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al-Nuaimi (UAE) and is owned by Ajman Stud (UAE), who was to earn the honor. While D Seraj (FA El Rasheem X Ladi Veronica), a 2015 colt who was bred and is owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE), became the Silver Champion. However, this Championship also illustrated just how closely these competitors are in quality. Not only did three of the judges choose D Seraj for Gold, but also, in their a Qualifying Class of Colts three Years Old, with and overall score of 92.30, it was D Seraj who prevailed over AJ Kafu, and earned three 20’s for TYPE and four for HEAD. The Bronze went to D Shallal (FA El Rasheem X D Shahla), a 2016 colt who was bred and is owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE). Other Junior Colts chosen for medals included: D Kaheel (Qualifying Class winner), Styx Kalliste and Yas BHM.

Senior Mare Gold Champion: Rihab Al Nasser (Marwan Al Shaqab X Remal Al Nasser)

The Senior Mare Championship was lovely presentation of both high quality and diversity.  Although it was also a very competitive group of mares, none of the champions were their Qualifying Class winners, which could indicate that this group of mares were also so close in quality that all were capable of winning. The Senior Mare Gold Champion was Rihab Al Nasser (Marwan Al Shaqab X Remal Al Nasser), a 2007 mare who was bred and is owned by Al Nasser Stud (QAT). Among the Champions, Rihab Al Nasser earned the third highest average Qualifying Score and was the eldest of all the Champions. The Silver went to Pustynia Kahila (Kahil Al Shaqab X Pustynna Malwa), a 2013 mare who was bred and is owned by Standina Koni Michalow SP (POL); while the Bronze Champion was Galerida (Shanghai EA X Galilea), a 2013 mare who was also bred and is owned by Stadnina Koni Michalow SP (POL). In their Qualifying Classes, Pustynia Kahila was reserve to Alsa; while Senior Stallion Gold Champion: E.S. Harir ( AJ Dinar X TF Magnums Magic) Galerida was reserve to Wildona. Other Senior Mares chosen for medals included: Wildona (one judge chose for Gold and was a Qualifying Class winner), Alsa (one judge chose for Gold and was a Qualifying Class winner), Psyche Kreuza (Qualifying Class winner) and Alfabia Akiabara.

The Senior Stallion Championship showcased solid stallion power featuring the unanimous Gold Champion E.S Harir (AJ Dinar X TF Magnums Magic), a 2011 stallion who was bred by Sheikh Abdulla bin Majid Alqassemi (UAE) and is owned by Al Saqran Stud (KWT). In addition to receiving the highest Qualifying Class score of the show, he was also awarded the most 20’s: six for TYPE, seven for HEAD and one for NECK. The Silver Champion was a stallion who has earned a place in the hearts of the global Arabian community and top recognition in some of the most important arenas in the world: Equator (QR Marc X Ekliptyka), a 2010 stallion who was bred by Stadnina Koni Michalow SP (POL) and is owned by Al Sheikh Stud (ISR) Additionally, with a Qualifying Class score of 19.90, which included five 20’s, Equator also earned the highest score for MOVEMENT. Finally, the Bronze went to E.S. Sarab (Marajj X Mahjesty), a 2012 stallion who was bred and is owned by Emirates Stud (UAE). Other Senior Stallion chosen for medals included: Equiborne K.A. (Qualifying Class winner) and Moharib Al Khazna.


The United Arab Emirates were the winners of the Ian Hedley Memorial Trophy: The All Nations Cup Breeders Trophy; and the Lady Harmsworh Blunt Memorial Trophy: The Nations Cup.  

All Nations Cup Awards 

The All Nations Cup concluded with two very important Awards. The first of which was the The Ian Hedley Memorial Trophy: The All Nations Cup Breeders Trophy. The guide stated, “This is a perpetual trophy donated by the Hon. Mrs. Mary Ann Wragg and Mrs. Annette Hedley. This award recognizes the country which had bred the most prizewinners each year on the occasion of the Nations Cup Show.” The second, and most important, was The Lady Harmsworh Blunt Memorial Trophy: The Nations Cup. This Award was given to the nation whose entries score the highest number of points per a predetermined scale. For the third consecutive year, the United Arab Emirates was the recipient of the ANC Breeders Trophy, and for the second consecutive year, earned The Nations Cup as well.


For a FULL SIZED gallery of Images by Lisa Abraham:


For information on the All Nations Cup and 2018 Show results:


For information on the European Breeders Select Sale:


For information on the European Breeders Trust:


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 as a Premier Contributor and Representative.