2011 ARABIAN BREEDERS WORLD CUP
FROM CENTER RING
by Beth Ellen Hunziker
This year the Arabian Breeders World Cup celebrated its fifth anniversary! It is amazing how much the show has grown and evolved in such a short amount of time. In fact, breeders worldwide agree that the Arabian Breeders World Cup is the premier Arabian horse event in the United States, and it is rivaling the top shows in Europe, including the prestigeous All Nations Cup and the Salon du Cheval's World Championships.
Everyone who attends the Arabian Breeders World Cup has an opinion about what makes it the top show in America. However, most will agree that two of the most defining aspects of the event are the horses that are presented, and the judges who officiate the competition. Each year of the show has seen an increase in the numbers and quality of horses presented. The horses shown this year made it one of the most memorable experiences in the history of the show - they came from North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia, and represented the crème de la crème of the Arabian breed.
Likewise, the international judges selected for this year's show were world-class breeders and horsemen. Each judge possessed the expertise and experience, as well as the integrity, to give this show an extremely high level of credibility and prestige. Although the judges came from around the world and brought with them their individual opinions, they came together and collectively selected the winners of the show, and established extreme type and quality as the hallmark of their champions of the 2011 Arabian Breeders World Cup. Here are some of their thoughts about this year's show...
Deb Watson, Australia
ABWC judge, Deb Watson came all the way from Tallegalla, Australia. She and her family have been breeding purebred Arabian horses since 1976. The Watsons are primarily breeders who show their horses in halter and performance on the Australian National Championship level. Deb rides and competes in endurance, while her husband Ian is the halter trainer who shows their horses at all levels of competition. Although both Deb and Ian have full time jobs outside the horse industry, they personally maintain their 62-acre property. They also are hands on with the breeding, foaling, weaning, and all other horse related jobs that come with owning their own farm. The Watsons own approximately 25 purebred Arabians; those numbers fluctuate as they produce up to four foals per year. They have imported two mares from Poland and exported several horses to the UAE and Malaysia.
Arabian horses haven taken the Watsons to many parts of the world. Deb shares some thoughts about her trip to Las Vegas and judging the 2011 Arabian Breeders World Cup, "The Arabian Breeders World Cup has horses from all over the world competing. It was a great honour to have judged that level of horses and to be a part of such a distinguished panel of judges. Certainly there are other Arabian horse events that can compare in part with the Arabian Breeders World Cup, but not totally, this show is very unique.
We had a great time and this show was the highlight of my judging career thus far. Both the people we met, and the horses I judged, were outstanding and this experience will be forever in my memories. Among my favorite horses that I judged at the show, I think the Champion Yearling Colt, Barzan Al Shahania, was sensational, and I loved seeing Da Vinci FM in the flesh and up close.
For me, the highlight of the show was judging the Supreme Championships. Although I found aspects of this process challenging, I loved every minute. Also, during the Lifetime Achievement Award presentation, which Dr. Marek Trela accepted on behalf of the Polish State Studs, the stallion Ecaho was brought out - this was a "special" moment for me."
The Arabian Horse Breeders Alliance has been successful in creating an event that is considered by many to be the top breeding show in the United States. They have achieved this success by constantly refining their vision and keeping an open dialogue about how the event can be improved. Judge Deb Watson offered these suggestions, "I found it difficult to judge the Supremes on Sunday, as I had not judged some of those horses in their qualifying classes. I was concerned that I had to give those competitors the opportunity to be judged on the same basis as I had judged the others in their classes. Maybe commencing the show 1/2 hour earlier each morning would allow for it to finish a little earlier each afternoon, especially as we all hope more horses will be entered. Perhaps even making a limit on numbers of entries would alleviate the longer days and make for an event that exhibitors would see as the premier event to show at, and vie for entries.
If I were to score the show, I would give the organization, venue, quality of the horses, quality of the presentation, judging panel and overall experience a 21 across the board. I loved it!"
The AHBA hopes the Breeders World Cup will continue to flourish and one of the best ways for that to happen is for those who attend to share their experience with others. Deb Watson replied, "We absolutely would recommend this event to others. In fact, we already have and will continue to do so, every chance we get. We hope the show continues to be the best show on the world scene and goes on to grow far into the future."
Dick Adams, United States
When I arrived at the Las Vegas airport to pick up ABWC Judge, Dick Adams, we greeted each other as long -time friends. After all, Dick has been involved with Arabian horse for more than 40 years. He is a true horseman with experience in training and breeding, and of course, he is an expert in stallion management, having owned and managed one of the most important sires in the breed, the great Fame VF. Today Dick's primary involvement with Arabian horses is as a judge.
Of all the horse shows that Dick Adams attends, he says the Scottsdale All Arabian Show is one of his favorites, "It's the greatest show on dirt! Not counting set up and teardown time, Scottsdale is 10 days of nonstop horse show. You can see almost every discipline of halter and performance known to the Arabian breed - except endurance and racing.
The Breeders World Cup differs from the Scottsdale show in the sense that as a spectator or participant, you can participate in the schedule of the entire event. The scheduling of classes is designed to allow for the attendance of special "event" features that have been incorporated into the Show. I think it is the perfect length of time for people to attend the entire event and really be able to enjoy themselves."
The organizing committee of the Breeders World Cup makes every effort to ensure their event meets or exceeds the expectations of everyone who attends the show, including their judges. Dick Adams shared his impressions of his experience as a judge of the ABWC, "This Show "screamed" of a positive attitude. The management was excellent. Right now, I consider it the best-managed show on the international Breeding-In-Hand circuit. I thought it was entertaining to both the attendees and Internet viewers.
Every time I have attended the ABWC over the past five years, it has been a unique experience. Each show leaves us with special, unforgettable moments. For Dick Adams, there were several highlights, "I thoroughly enjoyed Frank Spoenle's brilliant presentation of the great stallion Da Vinci FM. This presentation was expertly planned and executed by a man who has great "feeling" for creating imagery. Another memorable moment was the Senior Mare Championship. It was a great competition between the prototypes of the Americas (North and South) and that of the Middle East and Europe. For me personally, some of the most special horses of the show were the mares Star of Marwan, and Panerea by Palawan, and the stallions FA El Shawan and Da Vinci FM."
I asked the judges to used a point system to evaluate the show. Here are Judge Dick Adams' sc ores, and comments, for the 2011 ABWC: "Organization: 20. Over all, it was an excellent production by a very astute management. Venue: 18.5. I thought it was excellently managed into a 20. My only concern was the upper-respiratory problem that became apparent with many horses as the show progressed. I am sure this is something the show management will want to address. Quality of the horses: 20. I will never forget the "cream" at the top and judging many of the world's very best individuals. Quality of presentation: 19.5. The "Masters" were at the top of their game. Also, the venue afforded the talents of some young handlers to be showcased.
Judging panel: 20. It was an honor to judge with this group. Their expertise was exceptionally high. Overall experience: 20. It was unforgettable... from all aspects. Don't forget the number girls! I give them a 20 as well for adding fun and humor!
Dick Adams concluded with these final thoughts, "I absolutely recommend the Breeders World Cup to anyone wanting a great experience with Arabian horses. I find it hard to comprehend what the show year would be without this GREAT Show."
Fabio Amorosino, Brazil:
It would be difficult to meet a person who has a more razor-sharp mind for business and a heart full of passion for the Arabian horse than Fabio Amorosino. Every day he works in the demanding business of international finance and each month he commutes from the megatropolis of Sao Paulo, Brazil to Wall Street and New York City. No doubt after working in these high stress cities, Fabio craves the peace and beauty of his Arabian horse farm.
Fabio Amorosino took his responsibility as a judge at the Arabian Breeders World Cup very seriously. Even when he was not in the ring, he judged each class from the judges' stand. Yet, he expressed joy and delight with each class, "Judging the AHBA Breeders World Cup Show was a unique and unforgettable experience. The organization of the show was orchestrated impeccably. I wish to acknowledge the show committee, especially Mr. Scott Benjamin, who is a person I admire and a special friend, as well as the amazingly efficient team who create this wonderful event. As judges, we could feel a great atmosphere at the gala party, at the show, and at the other activities we were allowed to participate in. It was very special!
The judging panel selected for this year's show came from very diverse, yet complimentary backgrounds. I believe each judge showed total devotion to selecting the best individuals according their own transparent, straight-forward, and knowledgeable opinion. I just loved to be part of such a nice judging panel! It was a moment I will keep for my life.
The horses that were presented were of excellent overall quality. Some individuals have already been successfully campaigned on the international show circuit and were champions in Europe and the Middle East. I was very touched by the Senior Mare and Senior Stallion Championships. In addition, it is hard to find colt classes of such high caliber as those I judged at the World Cup!
For me, one of the highlights of the show was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to the State Studs of Poland, which Dr. Marek Trela, one of my fellow judges at the show, accepted on behalf of the Polish breeders. It was an honor to be there and witness this special moment!
The AHBA Board is very sensible, and I have no doubt their highest concern is for the welfare and best promotion of our outstanding Arabian horses! I would like to thank all the breeders, exhibitors, trainers, grooms, promoters, show organizers and the AHBA Breeders World Cup Board for giving me such an opportunity.
I look forward to attending the Breeders World Cup and seeing you all again soon!"
Doug Dahmen, USA:
The judges of the 2011 Breeders World Cup were some of the most experienced and respected Arabian horsemen in the industry. For judge, Doug Dahmen, it was his second time judging this premier event, which indicates the respect and esteem he has earned from his peers and professionals within our community. Although Doug has been actively participating with Arabian horses for over 40 years, his primary involvement today is as a breeder and an international judge. In fact, individuals in Doug's current breeding program are direct descendants of his very first horse, a purebred Arabian mare he purchased as a teenager.
Doug Dahmen was a member of the very first judging panel for the Arabian Breeders World Cup, and has since attended the event every year. Now, as the show celebrated its fifth anniversary, Doug shared his thoughts about its growth and status as one of the premier halter and breeding shows in the world, "Over the years, I have judged many shows around the world. The World Championships at the Salon du Cheval in Paris is still one of my favorites in terms of quality of horses and venue. It is hard to beat Paris - after all - it's one of the greatest cities in the world! However, in just five short years, the Breeders World Cup has earned a reputation as one of the top shows for halter horses in the world and it truly has become a "must see" event for breeders everywhere. There are many things about the Vegas show that make it a great event, including the Gala - NOTHING matches it for fun and atmosphere. It is an evening that celebrates our community and the spirit of competition and I think it sets the stage for the whole show.
From the first show in 2006, I got the feeling the World Cup was going to be special. Vegas is a venue unlike any other and the city gives the show a very special atmosphere - it's fun, exciting, and glamorous! Although the show was great from the beginning, each year there have been remarkable improvements, from the venue to the quality of the horses, each year the bar has been raised.
There were several special moments at the show for me. All of the championships included horses of a very high caliber, including some bonifide super stars! It was such a pleasure - a true privilege - to judge hoses of this quality. This show requires the champions to be very complete horses, they don't have just one extreme quality, they have extreme over all quality.
If I were to score the show, I would give the organization a 20; it is impeccable. I believe it is one of the best-run halter shows in the world. I think the venue would earn a 20; having the show in the hotel provides unprecedented opportunities to congregate, socialize, and nurture old and new friendships. The judging panel would receive high scores too, individually and collectively, they were one of the most knowledgeable, experienced, respectful, and pleasant panels I have ever worked with. The presentation of the horses by the trainers is one area I could see that has room for improvement. Overall, it was very good. However, I would like to point out that running your horse is not trotting, and faster is not always better. Trainers would get better scores for movement if they would rate themselves to their horse's ability to show it to its best advantage. Also, I would like to remind trainers to consider the age of their horses and their mental abilities - especially the yearlings - they need to be handled in a way that nurtures their self confidence and not handled too strongly.
For me, the highlights of the show, in addition to the great horses, were the premier of the film, "Path To Glory", which was fantastic, and also the luncheon lecture presented by Dr. Patrick McCue; he was an excellent speaker. I thought it was a brilliant idea to present a lecture like this - everyone seemed to really enjoy it.
I think everyone - the show organizers, the exhibitors, the trainers, and the owners - are doing a terrific job working together to accomplish something positive for our breed. I have judged many shows in many countries and I believe that in just five short years, the Breeders World Cup has equaled or surpassed other shows, and has become a leader, a wonderful example, in showing what is possible for our future and the future of the Arabian horse.
Koenraad Detailleur, Belgium:
When the AHBA first established the Breeders World Cup Show, their goal was to bring the style and excitement of the top shows in Europe to the United States. One of the most effective steps they took toward accomplishing that goal was inviting experienced and respected European judges to officiate the show. This year, Mr. Koenraad Detailleur, of Belgium, accepted the invitation and joined an outstanding group of horsemen and women to complete the judging panel. Koenraad Detailleur brought a diversity of skills and experience; he has been involved with Arabian horses for over 30 years, he is a highly respected ECAHO judge, and he also organizes the very popular Westhoek Cup in Belgium. These give Koenraad a very unique perspective and appreciation for the efforts of the ABWC show organizers.
Koenraad Detailleur has attended, participated, or judged many of the top shows in Europe and the Middle East. Each show has its own ambiance and character. I asked Koenraad how the Breeders World Cup compared to his favorite international counterparts. He replied, "For the overall quality, I would say the All Nations Cup, in Aachen, Germany achieves the highest level; the World Championships at the Salon du Cheval in Paris, France creates a very unique and special atmosphere, but you can have some truly unexpected, magical moments even at the small shows too. I was surprised that the Breeders World Cup in Las Vegas has built such a good atmosphere - and so quickly. There were many great quality horses! The best shows have a special quality - something that no other show has - that what makes it so extraordinary and memorable. I could feel the energy and excitement that only a Vegas show can have. So, that's very good. "
As the organizer of the Westhoek Cup, Koenraad Detailleur has a very discerning eye for detail - he misses nothing. I noticed how he observed and evaluated every element of the event - it seemed as though he was judging the show as much as the horses. Happily, the Breeders World Cup passed his test with flying colors! He had very positive comments to share, "I can't give even a small negative point about the show, it may seem as though I am only trying to be agreeable, but truly, there is not one thing I can find that I would change.
There were some very special moment and very special horses at this show. For me personally, two moments will be unforgettable. The first was during the Senior Mare class, and the second was the Senior Stallion class. I saw horses in these classes; both were dark chestnuts, extremely nice individuals, they blew me away! An experience like that, standing so close to these exquisite horses as they are presented, gives you as judge, a truly unforgettable feeling."
Koenraad Detailleur is an expert in the use of the European scoring system. I asked him to evaluate the Breeders World Cup. Here are his scores for the show: Organization: 19.5, Venue: 19, Quality of horses: 18.5, Quality of presentation: 17.5, Judging panel: 19.5, Overall experience: 19!
Koenraad Detailleur added these final comments, "I would absolutely recommend that people attend the Breeders World Cup! It's a very nice show to compete at, and I believe a very fair show. I would like to congratulate everybody who helped with organizing the show - it was perfect - it ran like a well-oiled machine, I wish them good luck for the future. It was a beautiful experience to judge the Breeders World Cup Show. The judging team was an outstanding group of very nice people. I wish to thank them all for sharing this experience and making it so special. If the organizers would ask me to judge Las Vegas again, I would immediately say, "Yes!" it would be with great pleasure."
Dr. Marek Trela, Poland:
The Arabian horse has a special place in the hearts the Polish people who will soon be celebrating the 200th anniversary of their breeding program. Each year the State Studs host a festival, which includes the Polish National Championships, visits to each of the stud farms; Janow Podlaski, Michalow and Bialka; as well as the Pride of Poland Sale. The title of this event is more than a catch phrase - it declares who they are and what they have achieved. The breeders and horsemen of Poland are proud of their country and their world-class Arabian horses. Directing a breeding program with a history of nearly two centuries is huge responsibility and the success of the Janow Podlaski program rests on the broad shoulders of Dr. Marek Trela. As the protégé of past Director Andrzej Krzysztalowicz, Dr. Trela had a phenomenal mentor who generously imparted his knowledge and experience to ensure the future success of the Janow program. Dr. Trela became responsible for the breeding decisions at Janow in January 1995 when he became a member of the board of directors of the stud, and he has been at the lead of this historic and national treasure since January of 2000 when he became the head of the Board of Directors. Dr. Trela is one of the most respected authorities of the Arabian horse in the world today; he receives many invitations to judge and so we were very excited and appreciative that he was able to participate at the 2011 Breeders World Cup.
The Arabian horse community and his fellow judges warmly welcomed Dr. Trela to the World Cup show. There were several very special moments at the event that related to Dr. Trela and the breeders of Poland. Everyone raved about the premier of the film, "Path To Glory - The Rise and Rise of The Arabian Horse in Poland", produced by Horsefly Films. I highly recommend this film to anyone who loves Arabian horses - it tells the history of the Arabian horse in Poland, and it captures the sincerity, the genuine love the Polish people have for the Arabian horse. It is a truly special film.
For many of us who attended the World Cup the highlight was witnessing the presentation of the AHBA Lifetime Achievement Award to the State Studs of Poland, which Dr. Trela accepted. During the presentation, the stallion Ecaho, who was imported from Poland and is now owned by Haras de Cardena of Santa Ynez, California, was brought in the arena as a representative of the Polish studs. Ecaho was lead into the darkened arena, the spotlight found him and illuminated his silvery coat, mane and tail. His ears flicked back and forth with excitement until he heard a familiar voice. As Dr. Trela expressed the gratitude of the Polish people for this award, Ecaho seemed to recognize him and strained at the lead to be near him. When his handler, Gerard Paty lead Ecaho to Dr. Trela, the stallion stopped and bowed his head and touched his knee as though paying homage to his breeders. It was a touching, amazing, and unforgettable moment.
Dr. Trela was very gracious and generous with his praise of the show; "It was an honor to be invited to the Breeders World Cup and a pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful judging panel. I truly enjoyed their company and our candid conversations over dinner. I am invited to judge many shows around the world and my schedule is incredibly busy - but I would not have missed this experience for anything. I have to say that the Breeders Cup was probably the best-organized show I ever judged, it was very professional and it had a great atmosphere. The horses that we judged were of excellent quality and many could and have already won in international level competition. It was a special honor to be able to attend the premier of the film, "Path To Glory"; I hope everyone enjoyed seeing the history of Arabian horse in Poland. And finally, on half of all the people of Poland, I wish to thank the Arabian Horse Breeders Alliance for recognizing our efforts with the Lifetime Achievement Award."
The 2011 Breeders World Cup was a wonderful event full of magical moments. You can experience the fun and excitement of this year's competition and gala party - as well as past year's events - again and again by visiting the photo galleries on the Arabian Breeders World Cup website at www.arabianbreedersworldcup.com or the Arabian Horse Network at www.arabhorse.com