THE 2015 ARABIAN NATIONAL BREEDER FINALS
November 13th, 2015
FUN IN THE ARIZONA SUN - THE 2015 ARABIAN NATIONAL BREEDER FINALS
By Beth Ellen Hunziker
FRIENDS AND FAMILIES ENJOYED THE ARIZONA SUN AND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BREED IN THE WORLD - THE ARABIAN - at the Fifth Annual Arabian National Breeder Finals, September 30 - October 3, 2015 at Westworld in Scottsdale, Arizona. Once again, the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona (AHAA) hosted the star-studded international event, which drew horses and people from around the world. Scottsdale is the unrivaled capital of the Arabian breed, thanks in large part to the efforts of the AHAA, which has assumed a leadership role in the community with their innovative concepts, teamwork and support of the industry on a global basis.
The mission of the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona is to support all breeders and owners of Arabian horses. They have been extremely successful in achieving that goal through efforts such as the Arabian National Breeder Finals. This show has grown rapidly over the past five years and it has already become an important international event. This year, many people flew from the All Nations Cup show in Germany, directly to Arizona for the Breeder Finals. Although these travelers might have been jet lagged, that didn’t seem to stop them from attending the show or any of the great open houses and parties held by Scottsdale breeders.
The Arabian National Breeder Finals truly is a celebration for breeders. Mr. Frank Hennessey, of Hennessey Arabians, in Ocala, Florida has been a tremendous supporter of the show specifically because of its focus on breeders. To demonstrate his support of the Finals, Mr. Hennessey sponsors the High Point Breeder Award. This prestigious award is presented to the breeder whose horses at the show earned the highest accumulated total points. In addition, the breeder of each champion of the show was honored for their accomplishments. So often, the owner and handler of the champion receives the acknowledgment and the breeder is completely ignored. That is definitely NOT the case at this show! It is actually quite common to see the breeders welcomed into the ring to accept their awards and join in the fun of the victory celebration.
Another interesting aspect of this show is the fact that many breeders present their own horses in the amateur classes offered at the show, which are some of the toughest and most hotly contested classes in the competition. Often the team to beat at the Finals is from Pegasus Arabians. This year, they won the prestigious ANBF Breeders Cup for the third consecutive time. Owners of Pegasus Arabians, Dean and Terry Wikel, their family and team, proudly accepted this honor again. It’s great fun to watch Dean and his grand daughter, Tori Wikel, compete - often against each other in the same class. Tori may be young, but she is fierce and Dean may be older, but he can keep up with any of the younger handlers. It is very heart warming to see a family share this kind of deep passion for the horses. The Wikels obviously have a lot of fun and it gives us all hope that future generations will value and preserve our breed.
The Royal family - that is the family of Royal Arabians - is another fun loving family who has been tremendous supporters of the AHAA, the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and the Arabian National Breeder Finals. Once again, Mark Davis and Cindy McGowan, owners of Royal Arabians, were the Title Sponsors of the Finals. They were also the successful bidders - again - of the live auction for the gorgeous cover art from this year’s show program, created by equine artist extraordinaire, Karina Peacemaker. Karina donates her artwork to the AHAA to be auctioned off for charity, and every year she has donated her art, Mark and Cindy have purchased it for their Karina Peacemaker collection.
The competition was deep at this year’s show. The ANBF Gold Senior Champion Stallion was El Chall WR (Magnum Chall HVP x Major Love Affair), bred by the late Donald Camacho Jr, of Wind Rose Farm and owned by Felix Cantu of Rancho Las Portrancas (Mexico). Rodolfo Guzzo presented El Chall WR. In addition to his many prestigious titles, this incredible stallion has been named U.S. National Reserve Champion four times. With all of the friends and family there to support El Chall, Felix Cantu, and Rodolfo Guzzo, show photographer, Laurelle Anderson, needed a wide-angle lens to get everyone into the shot. It was a huge, fun-loving group that showed their appreciation of the victory. I could not help but think of Don Camacho, looking down upon this exuberant group and smile. Don truly loved his horses and often competed in the amateur classes at Scottsdale. El Chall was a source of great pride for Don and his wife Lisa, who is continuing their champion-producing breeding program.
The exotic grey ANBF Silver Senior Champion Stallion Baha AA (Al Ayad x Baraaqa AA), bred by Ariela Arabians of Israel, is owned by Arabian Horse Ventures, and was presented by David Boggs. Baha AA was the National Champion Stallion of Israel, as well as the 2014 Egyptian Event Supreme Champion Straight Egyptian Senior Stallion. Baha AA was on lease to Raymond Mazzei and Inga Applequist when Raymond showed the stallion to his title at the Egyptian Event in Lexington, Kentucky. Jeff Sloan, who has a long history in straight Egyptian breeding, recently purchased Baha with a partnership. Jeff has been very successful in introducing new owners not only to the beauty of the Arabian horse, but also to the crème de la crème of the breed. A handsome dark bay was named ANBF Bronze Senior Champion Stallion. Ice Storm SRA (DA Valentino x LL Albufera) was bred by Stoneridge Arabians and Oak Ridge Arabians. He is owned by Maureen Grossman and was shown to his tile by Dagmar Gordiano of Midwest Training Center. It was the first competition for this young stallion, only four-years-old, but he showed like a veteran of the ring, looking much like his legendary sire - DA Valentino. Maureen and Dan Grossman were the owners of Ice Storm’s sire, DA Valentino. The loss of that great sire was felt by the entire industry. Hopefully, this young stallion will follow in his sire’s footsteps and lead to a bright future.
In the Senior Mare Championships, there was great anticipation and wild cheering from the crowd, while the elegant entries were far more demure. They gave their all in the class and actually seemed to enjoy of the applause. The ANBF Gold Senior Champion Mare was the Polish beauty Perfirka (Gazal Al Shaqab x Perforacja), bred by Bialka State Stud, and owned by Dick, Lollie and Lara Ames of Cedar Ridge Farm, in Jordan, Minnesota. Perfirka was shown to her title by Alcides Rodrigues. The Ames family visited Poland for the first time in 2014. On a tour of the Polish State Studs, they met and fell in love with the flea-bitten aristocrat daughter of World Champion, Gazal Al Shaqab. They thought she would be perfect for their breeding program and brought her back to the States. Perfirka was in foal to the Monogramm son, Ekstern, and she produced a colt this spring. Her beauty and breeding ability make Perfirka a true treasure and a great asset to the Cedar Ridge Farm breeding program.
The ring was full of beauty on Saturday night including ANBF Silver Senior Champion Mare BH Beijings Velvet (Beijing BHF x BH Versaces Velvet), bred by Robert and Judith Burton, owned by The El Rasheem Group LLC, and presented by David Boggs. This dark, exotic femme fatale expects roses - lots of them! She is the reigning 2014 U.S. National Champion Futurity Filly and every inch a champion. This beautiful young mare is yet another champion selected by Jeff Sloan for The El Rasheem Group LLC. The ANBF Bronze Senior Champion Mare KBT Kharra Mokha (Magnum Psyche x KBT Kaffe Mokha) was bred by Kirk and Debra Thorn, owned by John and Debra Mitchell and shown by Greg Knowles. Debra and John Mitchell are enthusiastic new breeders with a passion for great horses. Everyone could see the pure joy and excitement on Debra’s face, while John, although a little more reserved, was beaming from ear to ear. Debra and John gave all the credit for their success to their trainer and mentor, Greg Knowles.
The Junior Colt class gave us an exciting glimpse into the future. The 2015 ANBF Gold Champion Junior Colt, Veyron ORA, is the son of two national champions: Vitorio TO and Luxemere Jizette. Veyron ORA was bred and owned by Janey Morse of Oak Ridge Arabians, and he was presented by David Boggs. This exciting young colt has the looks, pedigree and the heritage of a world-class champion. Competing against his paternal half-brother was this year’s ANBF Silver Champion Junior Colt, MC Vulcan (Vitorio TO x Lovins Khrush SSA), bred by Ross and Marjeanne McDonald. He is also owned by Oak Ridge Arabians and was presented by Dagmar Gordiano of Midwest Training Center.This was just the beginning of the numerous titles earned by the impressive offspring sired by Vitorio TO (DA Valentino x Sol Natique by Solstice), a stallion whose breeding career has gone global. He is currently standing in Poland at the Michalow State Stud where he is siring one champion after another. Vitorio TO is owned by Janey Morse, who is understandably proud of him and all his accomplishments, both as a five-time National Champion and as a sire of World Champions. Vitorio TO is represented in the United States by Midwest Training Center.
The Championship Fillies were all sired by national champion stallions. The ANBF Gold Champion Junior Filly was Leen Al Shaqab, by National Champion and World Champion Stallion, Marwan Al Shaqab and out of Loubna Al Shaqab by WN Star of Antigua. This statuesque chestnut beauty was bred and owned by Al Shaqab Member Qatar Foundation and shown by David Boggs. The ANBF Silver Champion Junior Filly was Aria Quintessa, sired by twice National Champion Trussardi (Stival x Precious As Gold), and out of MC Sophiie (Adonis x Sonora Rose), bred by Robert and Delma Koessler. Aria Quintessa is owned by Quintessa Partners LLC, managed by Jeff Sloan, and presented by Alcides Rodrigues of Midwest Training Center. The ANBF Bronze Champion Junior Filly Lady Vitorio ORA, was sired by the five-time National Champion, Vitorio TO and is out of TM Mona Lisa. She was bred by Oak Ridge Arabians and is owned by Pamela Halbrook. Dagmar Gordiano of Midwest Training Center showed her to the win. This was a wonderful class of fillies, which was dominated by very high quality contenders. Team Midwest achieved the amazing feat of taking home the top three spots - the Gold, Silver and Bronze Championships - for their clients.
According to Taryl O’Shea, the Executive Director of AHAA, one of the association’s main goals for the ANBF is to encourage and support the breeders of purebred Arabian horses. They certainly have achieved that goal! Walking the red carpet, the walkway lined with colorful and inviting farm cabanas, you could see breeders and owners from around the world. Some were there to see their horses compete, others were there to see the offspring of perspective sires they might want to incorporate into their programs and others were there looking for their next champion or champion producer.
Two of the most popular and hotly contested classes were the Weanling Championships. The ANBF Gold Champion Weanling Colt Sicari (Hariry Al Shaqab x Fadila PCF), was bred and owned by Pegasus Arabians, Dean and Terry Wikel. Ricardo Rivero presented this handsome youngster. Earning the Silver title was Polimar (Polidoro FC x Shalimar MA), bred and owned by Rocksanne Pieters, and presented by Gil Valdez. The Bronze Champion Weanling Colt, Mareq MA (QR Marc x Temptation T), was bred and owned by Steve Miles of Milestone Arabians, and was shown by Alcides Rodrigues. Truly Memoraable (Trussardi x MPA Giada), bred by Jason Gales and owned by Jeff Sloan, was the ANBF Gold Champion Weanling Filly. She was presented by Joao Rodrigues. Taking the Silver title in the class was Psophia LMA (Padrons Psyche x Vivacious X), bred and owned by Harry and Lisa Markley, and presented by Sandro Pinha. Bronze Champion in the class was Angel of Vitorio ORA (Vitorio TO x Star of Justice ORA), bred and owned by Oakridge Arabians and presented by David Boggs.
Something new being offered at the ANBF are the Egyptian Heritage classes. These classes acknowledge the important influence and valuable contributions of Egyptian bloodlines to breeding programs around the world. The Egyptian Heritage Gold Champion Male was AA True Justice (WH Justice x Amal Al Badia), bred and owned by Amani Arabians LLC and shown by Gil Valdez. The Silver Champion Male was Shazaam Z (Shaheen Al Waab x Baariyah), bred by Diana and Duane Cantey. He is owned by Dr. Mahmond Aljazzar and was shown by Greg Hazelwood. Taking the Bronze medal was Azizah Shahzaad (KA Damascus x Saahara KA), bred and owned by Colleen Jackson and shown by Joao Rodrigues. Bella Mazin (Bellagio RCA x Thee Lotus Mazin) was the ANBF Egyptian Heritage Gold Champion Female. This lovely grey mare was bred by Mathew and Wendy Roberts. John Blincoe is her proud owner and she was shown to the win by Ricardo Rivero. The Silver Champion Female in the class was Lady Simone AJF (Royal Magic ITSB x Sanegors Lady D). This champion was bred by Aljassimya Farm. She is owned by Jeannette Lane and was shown by Gary McDonald. Taking the Bronze Champion title was GS Shaheerah (Shaheen Al Waab x Corwhin Amal). This petite and very pretty filly was bred by Glenn Stevenson. She was presented by Steve Heathcott for her proud owner, Mr. Mohd Qaad N Saed. The contributions made by Egyptian horses and their breeders have been documented throughout history. A quick glance at the pedigrees of many of today’s show ring super stars, as well as the breed’s most important sires and dams, will show Egyptian breeding within the first, second or third generations. This occurs most notably through the offspring of Marwan Al Shaqab, who traces his Egyptian heritage through his sire, Gazal Al Shaqab, to Anaza El Farid, a son of Ruminaja Ali and a descendant of the great Egyptian sires: Shaikh Al Badi, Morafic and Nazeer.
In addition to encouraging breeders, AHAA is deeply committed to supporting amateur owner participation. One of the most successful efforts - and also one of the most lucrative - coming from any organization in the industry - is the Scottsdale Signature Stallion program, initiated and sponsored by the AHAA. This organization is all about creating opportunities for owners to participate and enjoy their Arabian horses, and they are constantly coming up with exciting and rewarding ways to make that happen. The support these classes receive is demonstrated most clearly by the huge crowds of family and friends who cheer on their competitors - often cheering for each other. Yes - the Scottsdale Signature Stallion classes offer substantial prizes to the champions. However, the real winners are those who get out there to show their horses and enjoy the sportsmanship of competition - regardless of whether or not they win a ribbon, roses or a trophy. It’s really all about the Arabian horse, their beauty, their character and the bond we share with them. That is the best prize of all - friends and family sharing our passion for the breed.
Make no mistake - everyone had a great time at the ANBF showing their horses and cheering for their favorites. But there was more… According to the AHAA website, the prize money offered in the SSS Yearling Filly and Colt Championships was $12,727.75. The Champions each earned $4,454.71; the Reserve Champions received $2,227.36 and the remaining Top Ten Winners each took home a check for $755.71. The Two-Year-Old Fillies and Colts competed for their share of a purse of $11, 395.00. Champions earned a check for $3,988.25, while the Reserve Champions earned a check worth $1,994.13. Top Ten Winners in the class each received a check for $676.58. There are also SSS classes for horses Three-Years and Over. Champions each earned a check for $1,000.00. Reserve Champions in the class brought home a check for $600.00 and Top Ten Winners each earned a check for $300.00. The goal of distributing all that prize money is to encourage breeders and have them come back next year.
According to Taryl O’Shea, AHAA Executive Director, “The Arabian National Breeder Finals continues to grow into the show that we had always hoped it would become. From it’s inception, our goal has been to put on a world class event in a wonderful destination, so people can come and have a great show experience, as well as have some fun. This year, the horses and people that competed at the Finals were the best in the industry and we are thankful that owners, breeders and trainers continue to see the value of this show to the industry. The Finals is a great showcase for the Arabian horse; the atmosphere is electric and it is held in the Mecca of the Arabian horse breed - Scottsdale - where people can visit the beautiful barns and facilities to get a glimpse of up and coming super stars. The Association’s goal of supporting our breeders and attracting new people into the breed continues to be upheld by the Finals Show Committee. The dates have been set for our 2016 show, so mark your calendar and don’t miss walking the red carpet, and being apart of something very special in the industry.”