A Treasure Beyond Measure
By Beth Ellen Hunziker
Is there a creature on earth that does not love a warm, sunny day in spring? Of all the seasons, spring is perhaps the most well loved. No where is that more true than at Om El Arab International, the breeding farm owned by Sigi Siller and her daughter Janina Merz, and known as home to some of the most beautiful Arabian horses in the world. The breeding program at Om El Arab is now in its 40th year. During that time, Om El Arab has produced some of the most highly acclaimed and influential stallions and mares in the breed. Why then, did they choose Alfabia Ajib, a straight Egyptian stallion, not from their program, and who is virtually unknown in the United States, to breed to an elite group of their best mares? The answer is simple. According to Sigi, Janina, and a host of others - Alfabia Ajib's foals are AMAZING!
In 2009, Sigi Siller attended a show in Libya where she met and became friends with Miloslava Khamis, owner of Bebo Stud, and a breeder of straight Egyptian Arabian horses. Sigi mentioned she was looking for a straight Egyptian stallion and Miloslava invited Sigi to visit her farm. In December of that same year, on their way to the Salon du Cheval in Paris, France, Sigi and Janina made a detour to Cairo, Egypt and visited Bebo Stud. They were warmly welcomed and treated to a special presentation of horses - including several straight Egyptian stallions. The young, handsome, grey Alfabia Ajib (Phaaros x Vishar Farhana) was among the stallions they saw. The horses were lovely. However, there was a group that seemed to stand out from the others - the foals sired by Alfabia Ajib.
Sigi was deeply impressed, "I really liked Alfabia Ajib when they brought him out. But when they turned him loose, I thought, "Wow! He's beautiful and he's a great mover too!" Then they brought out some of Ajib's foals. There was a very consistent look to these babies; each one was better than the one before. Seeing Ajib and his foals made me think of his sire and dam and all the great horses in his pedigree.
I have always admired Ajib's sire Phaaros (ZT Faaiq IQ x Bint Atallah). I recently saw Phaaros when I visited Saudi Arabia for the Al Khalediah Festival, he is an extremely handsome stallion. Although I have never seen Ajib's dam, Vishar Farhana (CAS Jabar x Tali Lahana), I did see a video of her - she was incredible! I believe she is the best moving straight Egyptian horse I have ever seen. Her hock movement is amazing! I am sure this is where Ajib got his movement - from his mother. All things considered, we believed that Ajib could be a great cross for our mares at Om El Arab, as well as other breeders here in the United States.
Ajib arrived at our farm in the spring of 2010. The agreement was for him to stand at Om El Arab for the 2010 and 2011 breeding seasons. This was a rather short amount of time to test him and to evaluate the results, so we did something a little crazy - we bred him to 10 of our very best mares. It was a huge risk! We believed Ajib could produce some good babies for us - but we had no proof - we had to wait and see. Our beautiful Om El Belinda Estopa (Om El Shahmaan x Om El Beneera by Sharem El Sheikh) was the first mare to produce a foal for us by Alfabia Ajib - it was an exquisite filly. The moment we saw her, she took our breath away, we could not believe our eyes! We now have six foals by Ajib; five fillies and one colt, all are grey. Each one has far exceeded our wildest dreams!
Janina Merz, the breeding manager at Om El Arab and co-owner of the farm with her mother, confirms Sigi's opinions, "Alfabia Ajib is a very complete horse. He is extremely typey - very handsome, yet still masculine - he has great carriage, and he is a very nice horse to be around, which is important to us. In addition to his physical qualities, Ajib's pedigree is extremely important. Breeding with straight Egyptian bloodlines is quite challenging because of the small gene pool. Alfabia Ajib's pedigree has no crosses to Thee Desperado. This offers American breeders of straight Egyptian horses, especially owners of Thee Desperado and Minstril daughters, a fantastic opportunity to infuse their breeding program with outcross bloodlines and ensuring a very high quality result. Another important bit of information worth mentioning is the fact that Alfabia Adij's semen is very high quality; mare owners can feel totally confident using his cooled or frozen semen."
After more than 40 years of breeding national and international champions, it is safe to say that Sigi Siller is one of the most experienced and discerning horsewomen in our breed. Yet even she expresses some surprise with her foals sired by Alfabia Ajib, "It's almost impossible for us to describe how beautiful our Ajib's foals are. I believe their photos will have to tell the story. Even after all these years breeding the horses, it's still very reassuring to hear the comments from breeders and professionals I respect. They seem to agree that Alfabia Ajib is producing really outstanding babies. I think mare owners of every bloodline should try this stallion, I am very certain they will be happy with the result - especially breeders of straight Egyptian horses. This is a great opportunity for them; I hope they will take advantage of it. I really believe Alfabia Ajib's contribution to the breed will be long lasting. In my opinion, he is a treasure whose value is beyond measure."
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