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The 2015 Championnat du Monde du Cheval Arabe
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December 13th, 2015

The 2015 Championnat du Monde du Cheval Arabe

By Lisa Abraham

with contributions by Judges Dr. Nasr Marei, Claudia Darius, Koenraad Detailleur, Colleen Rutherford and Urs Aeschbacher

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featuring photography by
Lisa Abraham and Henrike Hörmann

 

On the evening of November 13, 2015, Paris was under a terrorist attack. In Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, three suicide bombers attacked innocent people attending a concert, followed by mass shooting in public areas. Sadly, 130 people were killed, while 368 were injured. According to Wikipedia, “The attacks were the deadliest of France since WWII and the deadliest in the European Union since the Madrid train bombings in 2004.”

From an article titled, “How Paris stood with the U.S after 9/11,” by Nash Jenkins, “The attacks of Sept. 11 floored the world, and shock translated to sympathy quickly in France. Le Monde (a major French media) made that clear in a headline atop the first page of its Sept. 12 edition: Nous sommes tous Américains — We Are All Americans. While flowers accumulated in the park across from the U.S. Embassy, one American expatriate recalled the hundreds of Parisians who had gathered at Notre Dame to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’” As an American who clearly remembers the physical destruction and emotional devastation resulting from that horrific early morning attack, Paris’s support of the U.S. was deeply appreciated.

So now it was Paris, and the French people, who required the same support that it had once provided. According to what appeared on social media, the Arabian horse world showed its strong support with sympathetic posts to express solidarity. When the news was received that the Salon du Cheval and the Arabian Horse World Championship would go on—it was received with great support. Michael Byatt of Michael Byatt Arabians (USA) shared, “I love Paris. I have been going to Paris since 1971 (the horse show since 1981) and I felt as though I was going to my second home and supporting my friends and continuing to live my life. Not being there due to the tragedy would have felt like abandoning a friend in need.”

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The 35th Annual World Championship, which took place from Nov. 27-29th, 2015, as part of the Salon Du Cheval in Paris (France) was spectacular. Not only were the horses of exceptional quality, the judging of the highest caliber, but also and most importantly, it was attended, not by a crowd, but by a community.

Due to the recent tragedies, the show released official statements regarding heightened security measures. However, as this overall equine event is heavily attended, security has always been significant. It was impressive that although security was increased, it was executed in the most non-intrusive ways. Bags were checked and overall appearances were observed, but it was done quickly, quietly and without personal discomfort.

 

The Media

The World Championship is a huge media event. Every major Arabian horse media was represented as well as countless freelancers and local press. There was strong  competition to cover the show in unique ways and everyone searched for fresh angles. Social media has provided an entirely new dimension for coverage as news can be communicated immediately. Of course this is important to those who were unable to attend, but it also adds to the experience of being at the show as online posting and event selfies have become activities that many people enjoy.

As society’s appetite for instant news has become insatiable, there have been some interesting shifts in media within the Arabian horse industry as well. Video interviews seem to becoming more popular as several of the larger medias had a camera and microphone ready to provide on the spot commentaries which captured the excitement of participants. This added an entirely new dimension to show coverage.  Second, the traditional print media has been forced to find new avenues to remain fresh. By the time an issue is printed, coverage is already “old news.” Not only has the story been told and retold, but the market becomes instantly saturated by show images of multifarious quality.

With over fifty years of publication, the Arabian Horse World is one of our industries most treasured resources. As many medias of various styles have come and gone, the Arabian Horse World has maintained market importance. In regards to the shifts in media presentation, Jeffrey Wintersteen shared, “Obviously social media has made a rapid change in how show coverage and results are distributed. In the 24-hour news cycle that effects even our industry, the World also relies on Facebook and Instagram to disseminate that information timely, as well as, partnering with other media groups like Arabian Essence. As for how it applies to print, the World has always been held in high regard for our industry leading design, making it a 'coffee table book' type magazine. As the magazine has won countless design awards, each issue of Arabian Horse World is a work of art--however, we never place more importance on style than substance. It is the beauty and quality of our publication that compels our subscribers to save every issue. So our show coverage in the print serves more as a beautiful record that our clients and subscribers appreciate.” 

 

Rules for Entry and scoring

According to the 2015 ECAHO (European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations) 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 memberd 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 were judged: type, head & neck, body & topline, legs and movement. The Championships were judged comparatively.

The 2015 World Championship Panel of judges included: Urs Aeschbacher (Switzerland), Claudia Darius (Germany), Koenraad Detailleur (Belgium), Manfred Hain (Germany), Murilo Kammer (Brazil), Dr. Nasr Marei (Egypt), Ann Norden (Sweden) and Colleen Rutherford (Australia).

The 2015 World Championships!

 

Championships

The Yearling Fillies set the tone for Championship day with intense competition showcasing incredibly high quality.  Interestingly, in their Qualifying Classes it was yearling filly Jayda Alrabi who earned her age groups highest score of 92.83, in which she tied with D Shireen. But on Championship day, it was Rewayah Athbah (EKS Alihandro X Fedora RG), who was bred and is owned by Athbah Stud (KSA), who became the Gold Champion. Sultanat Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab X OFW Mishaahi), who was awarded two 20’s for movement in her Class, and who was bred by and is owned by Al Shaqab Stud (QAT), became the Silver Champion. As a side note, Sultanat Al Shaqab is a full sibling to World Champion, Khalil Al Shaqab. The Bronze was awarded to Mozn Albidayer (SMA Magic One X Mattahari). Mozn Albidayer, who was also the 2015 All Nations Cup Bronze Champion, was bred by Al Qasimi Mohammed Bid Saud (EAU) and is owned by Albidayer Stud (EAU). She was also awarded three 20’s for Type in her class.

With this final Gold Championship, Yearling Male AJ Azzam (AJ Mardan X Ysadora) became the European Triple Crown Champion. The Triple Crown consists of the following shows: the All Nations Cup (Aachen), The European Championships (this year in Verona) and The World Championship (Paris). As AJ Azzam was bred and is owned by Ajman Stud (EAU), this has been quite an achievement for all. The Silver Champion was Alexxanderr (Excalibur EA X AR Most Irresistible) who was bred by Frances Butler & Brandi Carson (USA) and is owned by Alsayed Stud. While the Bronze went to Luigi (Kanz Albidayer X Lolita) who was bred by D. Saelens (BEL) and is owned by Al Shahania Stud (QAT). In their Qualifying Class, AJ Azzam and Luigi tied with a score of 93.83, in which AJ Azzam won by Type.

An interesting side note regarding the Yearling Males is that all three competed in Aachen with the exact final line up. In Verona, although Alexxanderr did not compete, it was AJ Azzam and Luigi who were Gold and Silver. So in three shows, three different panels of judges came to the same conclusions. Also, Type was high in this Championship. In their Qualifying Classes, AJ Azzam, who was one of only two horses in the show to be awarded such scores, received straight 20’s for Type; Alexxanderr received four 20’s and two 19.5’s; and Luigi received three 20’s and three 19.5’s.Junior Mare Gold Champion D Shahla (Marajj X FT Shaella)

The Junior Female Championship was clearly dominated by D Shahla (Marajj X FT Shaella), a 2012 mare who was bred by and is owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE).  The Silver was earned by Bint Hazy Al Khalediah (El Palacio VO X Hazy Al Khalediah), a 2013 mare who was bred by and is owned by Al Khalediah Stables (KSA). While the Bronze was earned by Om El Aisha Aljassimya (WH Justice X Om El Aliha), a 2013 mare who was bred by Om El Arab International (USA) and is owned by Aljassimya Farm (QAT).

The Junior Female Championship was an excellent example of just how deep the competition was at this show. This Championship consisted of the following horses: D Shahla (Gold), Bint Hazy Al Khalediah (Silver),  Om El Aisha Aljassimya (Bronze), Elle Flamenca (fourth), Bahia Al Fabia (fifth), Delight’s Divah RB (sixth), Nesj El Daikhima, Pustynia Kahila, Minwah and Piacolla. At the 2015 Menton show, the final line up was: Delight’s Divah RB (Gold), Om El Aisha Aljassimya (Silver) and Bint Hazy Al Khalediah (Bronze). At the 2015 All Nations Cup, the lineup was Piacolla (Gold), Elle Flamenca (Silver) and Pustynia Kahila (Bronze). In addition, Elle Flamenca was the 2015 Arabian Breeders World Cup (Vegas) Junior Mare Gold Champion.

The Junior Male Gold Champion was Morion (Kahil Al Shaqab X Mesalina), a 2013 colt who was bred by Michalow State Stud (POL) and is owned by Al Thumama Stud (QAT); while the Silver was earned by Equiborn K.A. (QR Marc X Espadrilla), a 2012 colt who was bred by and is owned by Knocke Arabians (BEL). I would like add a comment regarding EKS Mansour. In their Qualifying Class, Equiborn K.A. and EKS Mansour tied with a score of 93, in which Equiborn K.A. won by Type. Although EKS Mansour earned fourth place in the Championship, as a photographer, I found him to be one of the most enjoyable horses to photograph and certainly, for me, one of the most photogenic. Finally, the Bronze was earned by Gallardo J (Emerald J X Gomera J), a 2013 colt who was bred by Jadem Arabians and is owned by Ajman Stud (UAE).

Like the Junior Females, the Junior Males have also had a season of deep competition amongst each other. In Menton, the lineup was: Gallardo J (Gold), EKS Mansour (Silver) and Equiborn K.A. (Bronze); in Verona, it was: Gallardo J (Gold), Equiborn K.A. (Bronze) and Morion (4th); and in Aachen: Morion (Gold), Gallardo J (Silver) and Equiborn K.A. (Bronze).

My favorite part of being a journalist is being able to share in “dreams that come true.” Although every Championship was not only extraordinary, each represented moments that will never be forgotten. However, the Junior Male Championship seemed to touch the heart of the crowd as handler Tom Oben tearfully embraced Morion, just before the prize giving ceremony. For Dana Al Meslemani of Al Thumama Stud, Morion’s win represented not just one dream, but a multitude of dreams that came true.

Junior Stallion Gold Champion Morion (Kahil Al Shaqab X Mesalina) Dana shared, “Ever since I was a little girl I used to dream of one day having an Arabian horse. For many years, I rode Arabians at the Al Shaqab riding school. I was in love with both their outer beauty and their auras. To me they were very special and definitely distinctive when compared to all the other breeds I had come across.

“In 2010, after my high school graduation, my parents purchased three Arabians as pleasure horses for us to enjoy. Although our interests have since developed into a serious breeding program, at the time, this was not our intention. However, in 2014, Hilke De Bruycker joined what had become the Al Thumama team as our farm manager. Although we formulated an eight to ten year plan, we both agreed that we would, ‘go big or go home!’

“I saw Morion twice last year, once at the European Championship and once again at the World Championship—both Hilke and I loved him. In June of this year, Hilke went back to Poland and after seeing Morion again, felt he looked even better. Although we knew we wanted to lease him—we also knew it was a long-shot. So when Director Bialobok agreed to our lease and to trust us with Morion, it was a dream come true.

“Finally, Morion himself is our dream come true! I need to thank God as it was never even a consideration that we could achieve a World Championship Gold Medal in this short period of time. It wasn't just my dream come true of one day owning an Arabian, but also a dream come true for the entire farm for accomplishing this goal, and for the various people and that made the win even more momentous and exceptional. Al Thumama Stud thanks Hilke De Bruycker, Tom Oben and his team, Nils Ismer and Director Bialobok!”

The Senior Mare Championship maintained its tradition as being the most beautiful of them all. Interestingly, all medal winners were born in 2007 and all three competed in the same Qualifying Class with exactly the same line up. However, the 2015 Bronze Champion in both Menton and Aachen, Salwa Al Zobiar (Marajj X Esklawa), prevailed in Paris as the Gold Champion. Salwa Al Zobiar was bred by H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohammed Ali Al Thani (UAE) and is owned by Al Zobair Stud (UAE). Abha Qalams (Alfabia Damascus X Abha Mudira), who was bred by Ganaderia Ses Planes (SP) and is owned by Al Shahania Stud (QAT), was the Silver Champion. In their Qualifying Class, Salwa Al Zobair and Abha Qalams tied with the female high score of 94.24. Ultimately it was Salwa who won by Type, in which she was the only other horse to be awarded straight 20’s in this category.

Although earning the 2015 Bronze Medal in Paris is an enormous accomplishment, sadly it left F.M. Gloriaa (WH Justice X Psity of Angels) one title short of becoming a European Triple Crown Champion. F.M. Gloriaa, who received four 20’s for H & N, was bred by and is owned by Mieke Sans (BEL).

Like several of the other Championships, there were other notable individuals in this lineup as well. Klassical Dream MI (fourth) who was heavily promoted in preparation for this show, was the 2015 Menton Gold Champion. While Wieza Mocy, who was a preshow favorite to win, was a Polish National Champion and a European Gold Champion. Wieza Mocy, who was bred by Michalow Stud (POL), while on lease to Oak Ridge Arabians (USA), reigned also as the 2014 U.S. National Champion, the 2014 Supreme Gold Champion in Vegas and then again at the 2015 Scottsdale Arabian show. In their Qualifying Class, Klassical Dream MI and Wieza Mocy tied—Klassical Dream MI won by Movement.Senior Male Gold Champion Hariry Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab X White Silkk) Platinum Male:  Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D (Ansata Sinan X Navarrone P)

It is fair to write that the Senior Male Championship was one of the most hotly contested of the show. Like the Senior Females, all three of the medal winners competed in the same Qualifying Class. However in this case, the Class line up did not replicate that of the Championship. On Championship day, it was Hariry Al Shaqab, (Marwan Al Shaqab X White Silkk), a 2010 stallion who was bred by and is owned by Al Shaqab Stud (QAT), who became the Gold Champion. Personally, I have admired and photographed this horse since 2012 when he first earned top Championship Honors at both the Scottsdale Show and US Nationals.

The Silver Medal was awarded to Equator (QR Marc X Ekliptyka). With a Qualifying Class score of 94.5, Equator was the highest scoring horse of the show and seemed to be a crowd favorite. Equator, a 2010 stallion who was bred by and is owned by Michalow State Stud (POL), was also the 2015 Gold Champion in Verona. As a side note, after Paris, Equator left directly to California (USA) where he is being leased by Aljassimya Farm for the seasons of 2016 and 17. The Aljassimya team shared, “We are really delighted to have him. He’s an honest, good horse with wonderful movement and a great way to use the Marwan sire line, in combination with the consistency of Ekstern and the 'E' damline.”

Finally, it was 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 (KUWAIT), who earned the Bronze. However, just two months earlier, it was E.S. Harir who was awarded Gold Champion honors in Aachen, just ahead of Equator, who was the Silver Champion.

The Qualifying Class scores were an excellent indication of the exceptional quality of these three Senior Male Champions. With a cumulative total of twenty-nine 20’s awarded to these Senior Males, they earned more than any other Medal earning group. Hariry Al Shaqab was awarded five 20’s for Type and five for H & N; while E.S Harir was awarded three for Type and three for H & N. But, most impressively, it was Equator who shined with a total of thirteen 20’s: five for Type, two for H & N, one for B & T and five for Movement.

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. Of the eligible horses, the one with the highest score is to be awarded the supreme title of Platinum World Champion.

For fans and spectators, the addition of the Platinum Award has provided priceless opportunities. This was especially significant as 2015 saw the very sad and untimely passing of Pianissima. Those of us who saw her compete to earn the 2013 Platinum Award will always be grateful to have witnessed her last public appearance.

Janina Merz, who with her mother, Sigi Siller, own and operate Om El International in Santa Ynez, California (USA). Their breeding program began in 1969 when Sigi’s father purchased their first mare, while living in Marbach, Germany.  Forty-six years later, Janina and Sigi sit at the helm one of the most influential programs in the world. Om El International touches every major show ring, including this 2015 World Championship as they bred the Junior Mare Bronze Champion, Om El Aisha Aljassimya.

Graciously, Janina shared, “Pianissima created an emotional response within me every time I saw her. She was an ethereal beauty, a being that was otherworldly. We were lucky to have her grace the world with her presence, even though it was just for a few short years. The news of her death was devastating--I can’t even imagine how it must have been for the people that were lucky enough to care for her. I reminisced about the many times I saw Pianissima, but most particularly, the last time I saw her. It was in Paris, the year she became Platinum Champion. What makes that time even more special is that I got to spend time with her in her stall after she showed. She was THE QUEEN, whether in the show ring or happily munching carrots in her stall. The Platinum Award is a wonderful addition to the World Championship. It lets us see great horses again, and in many cases, it is their last public appearance.”

Pinga (Gazal Al Shaqab X Pilar), who was a 2012 World Senior Gold Champion, was crowned Platinum World Champion Mare. Pinga, a 2004 mare, was bred by Janow Podlaski (POL) and is owned by Al Jawza Stud (KSA). While Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D (Ansata Sinan X Navarrone-P), a 1997 stallion who was bred by and is owned by Dion Arabians (BEL), earned the Male Platinum honors. According to an article written by Nakashen Valaitham, published on iqeuine, it is noteworthy that Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D’s dam, Navarrone-P, who recently passed away on August 2, 2015, was the only mare to have produced two World Champions: Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D who won Senior Stallion Gold honors in 2004 and Escape Ibn-Navarrone-D (by A.S. Sinans Pacha) who won in 2005.

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I have been covering Arabian horse shows for a while now. Over time my coverage has evolved more into story telling. There is always something that stands out for me that creates a theme for my coverage--a “tie that binds” or something of general importance that contributed to the overall success of a show. Going into this particular show, I had believed that the terrorist attack in Paris, just previous to show time, was going to be the story—and certainly it contributed to the sense of “community” which seemed apparent. But the real story of Paris 2015 was the horses—the unbelievable quality of the competition.

After seeing the show and going through the scores, I honestly cannot imagine how difficult this show was to judge. There seemed to be so little difference between the competitors and on any given day, anyone of them could have been medal winners. The pressure on the judges must have been both intense and immense. For this reason, I have invited several of them contribute their thoughts to this editorial as after the horses, they were the stars.

The 2015 World Championship panel of Judges

 

Contributions from the Judges


Dr. Nasr Marei (Egypt)

After the despicable terrorist attack, most of us expected that the World Championship and the Salon Du Cheval were to be cancelled. However, two days later it was confirmed that both events were to continue as scheduled. Although the tragedy casted its shadow on everyone, once the first class of fillies entered the ring, it was business as usual.  

Judging a show like the World Championship is a great responsibility as our decisions can affect the future of the breed. In the ring, where we work, the mental and physical pressure is enormous since it is a strenuous task to stay focused for such long hours. The goals are to be fair and consistent. With our choices, we set preferences for breeders that will be followed to produce future champions. Therefore, judges, who should be of high standards and experience, must be very careful in selecting their winners. If a judge loses concentration or gets distracted for any reason, mistakes can happen. Judges can make mistakes too like any other human being.

We accept the task of judging for many reasons--most importantly, because we enjoy it. There is no immediate reward, financial or otherwise, from which judges profit. Our reward is to have the honor and privilege to be acknowledged as GOOD judges. Also, it is a prestigious achievement to be invited to judge major events such as the World Championship.  At shows of this caliber, we evaluate some of the best horses in the world; learn what other breeders are producing; and meet fellow breeders and important people in our little world of Arabians. Finally, it is a great privilege to see, up close, the most magnificent Arabian horses. At this show in particular, I saw some remarkable Judge Dr. Nasr Marei horses.

The World Championship organizing committee is very careful in its selection of judges. Their criteria includes: experience, credibility, political image, national diversity and a variety regarding personal preference. In doing so, they always keep in mind that the panel should be in harmony, despite any differences. Once in a while, harmony is not achieved usually due to a lack of familiarity with the judging methods by one or more of the judges. But with six active judges out of eight in each class, discrepancies are minimized. This year we had two non-European judges: one from Brazil and one from Australia. It is always the policy of the organizing committee to include judges from non-ECAHO member countries like USA, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and others to cover and satisfy all possible preferences and tastes.

As a judge, I have noticed a change in type. I strongly believe that the preferred TYPE changes every few years. At one time, the Russian horses dominated the show ring; later it was the Golden Cross followed by the Polish; while the Egyptian horse “vogue” was popular in the years 2002-05. Our champions now have bloodlines which combine all of the above, which I refer to as the UNIVERSAL HORSE. Most show oriented breeders that follow this trend and are breeding the Marwan Al Shaqab and WH Justice type. It remains to be seen if this phase will undergo any changes in future, like the preceding ones, or will it continue forever.

Also, I believe the quality of horses is getting higher. That being said, as in any show, there are winners and ones that are not so lucky. Depending on the show, this should not be taken that the latter horses are of lesser quality. When a horse qualifies to show in Paris, it should already be considered a serious contender for the elusive tittle of World Champion or even Top Ten. Owners and breeders of horses competing in Paris should be very proud as every Arabian horse lover will be watching and following.  At this year’s World Championship, we evaluated some young colts and fillies that were superb and will mature to be amazing horses. I expect the quality of next year's horses to be even higher. 

 

Claudia Darius (Gemany)

After judging the World Championship in 2013, I felt honored to be invited back this year. Just like then, when the invitation arrived, I felt many things—responsibility, curiosity, pride, nervousness, but most of all--pure joy. However at the time, nobody could have predicted how special this particular show would be.

Judge Claudia Darius

Coincidentally, when Paris was attacked, I was with Christianne Chazel in Cairo judging the EAO International Championships. In a very short moment this terrible attack destroyed everything people believed in—although we were so far away, we felt very close. In those initial moments, nobody was thinking about the World Championship, but from that minute on, Christianne’s phone never stopped ringing.

The show was attended by people representing cultures and religions from all over the world. It was an amazing feeling to be part of this community who stood together for one important reason: our Arabian horse. We all demonstrated that the dedication we have for our beloved horse has no borders and fights all circumstances. Never once did I hesitate to attend.

While each show has its own challenges, I personally believe that every level of showing deserves the same professional attention from the judge(s) while evaluating the horses. But because the World Championship crowns the show season, it therefore puts extra pressure and responsibility on the judges.

The dense quality competing this year in Paris was overwhelming. It was a privilege to stand in the middle of the ring and be so close to these stunning individuals—each of them competing for the highest honors. But in the Championships, last moment decisions were made between individuals of equal quality, but of different types, with the differences being only small details, perhaps based only on a short look into the eye of a horse and personal taste.

This was a world class competition and there were several horses who deserved to be Gold Champions. The owners of all the Top Ten competitors should be extremely proud of their horses for their performances and achievements. My heartfelt congratulations to all involved. Well deserved!

 

 

 

Urs Aeschbacher (Switzerland)

I feel at each show, including the small ones, a huge responsibility when judging. For many years, besides being a judge, I have also bred, trained and owned horses. So I am aware of the time, know-how, luck and money necessary to bring a horse to a show. Therefore it is important that owners, breeders and trainers get a professional and fair feedback on the horses they present. For this reason, I try to give 100% concentration for every horse I judge.

However, although the show ring certainly influences the breed, I question the influence of any individual judge. On the one hand breeders want to breed the same type of horses that are winning the big shows and owners want to buy these horses. But on the other hand, I think that the worldwide actual trend of show Arabians is stronger than that of any one individual judge. When I was judging Paris, the European Championships and Aachen 20 years ago, most of Champions of these shows wouldn’t win anymore today--but a lot of the judges are still the same. Today, one of the major challenges of judging is that there is less variety in type, topline and movement between the horses shown. Because they all look very similar and are of such high quality, sometimes only nuances or personal taste make the difference between competitors.

Although I have judged Paris once before, I also know Paris from showing our own horses there. In 1994, our mare Tiffaha earned the title of Reserve Champion Senior Mare. Since that time, Paris has become bigger and more international. Advertising before and during the show has grown a lot and seems to be a must for owners and trainers. But I think this is the trend for all title shows all over the world. In the end though, you still need a good horse to win—and that is the only thing that hasn’t changed.

What was most significant about this year’s show was the high level of quality of the horses especially in the Junior classes, where it was very difficult to rank them. But in the Senior Female Championship, I found the mare Salwa Al Zobair to be absolutely outstanding. For me, she represented perfection in balance between type, substance and overall harmony. In the Senior Male Championships there were two stallions who stood out: Hariry Al Shaqab and Equator. For me, both of them well-deserved the Gold Champion title. Hariry Al Shaqab is a perfect show horse in perfect shape when standing in halter. Equator has a unique Arabian charisma and balanced movements which touched my heart. In the end, I judged with my heart and voted for Equator.

 

Judge Colleen Rutherford

 Colleen Rutherford (Australia)

What an amazing 2015 for me, it was surreal a dream come true. First I was invited to Las Vegas to judge the Breeders Cup. Then just a few months later I received an  invitation to the World Arabian Horse Championship at the Salon du Cheval--I had to read it twice before I believed it. The World Championship surely must be the epitome for any Arabian horse breeder, owner, admirer and/or judge to attend at least once.

Forty years ago when I started judging, I had been advised to “look for the good in the best”—to judge positive. I was also told if you have five horses in a class you can make one friend and four enemies--now that’s the truth! Judging can be a very difficult job. For example, when one had to choose between a horse with the brilliant trot, or an amazing front, but perhaps doesn’t have the depth of girth or the rib spring; or when one is a little too long in the loins or back, or straighter in the shoulder. However, that is what a judge is there to do—to evaluate and appraise.

The point system is to assess the various sections of each horse. Comparative judging is where personal preference counts—especially when there is one amazing horse after another. I want a complete horse, one that ticks almost all the right boxes: balance, elegance, conformation, presence, type, movement and “form to function.” In the senior stallions I chose E.S Harir. For me he had it all--he was complete. The same applies to my selected mare, Abha Qalams. She was not extreme in one particular section, but in all points correct. She was also my choice for Gold in Vegas. All the competing mares were worthy and beautiful, but for me, Abha Qalams was the closest to perfection.

All the judges were lovely, but Dr. Nasr Marei and I had some interesting chats. What a wonderful kind and knowledgeable gentleman, I certainly hope our paths do cross again. He had such a positive attitude and was a pleasure to work alongside. It was also an honored moment to stand with my colleagues while the La Marseillaise was presented and a tribute to the lives lost and families devastated by recent events in Paris. It was very emotional. Thank you to all the dedicated workers who make this event the highlight of the Arabian horse show calendar.

 

Koenraad Detailleur (BEL)

Paris is truly the highlight of the Arabian show year. Arabian horse lovers come from all over the world for the special atmosphere in Paris and everyone looks forward to  seeing the crème de le crème together in the ring. It is also a show to discuss horses, have fun, eat good food, shop and conduct important business.

Although it is an honor to judge the World Championship, there is tremendous pressure to choosSenior Male Silver Champion Equator (QR Marc X Ekliptyka) e the right champions. When someone steps into the arena to receive a medal, it is an unforgettable moment in their life—as a judge, I feel this importance.

Because of the overall high quality, this was absolutely the toughest Championship ever held. For example, in the Yearling Fillies, eight of the ten horses received a score of minimum 92 points—this has never been seen before.  All of them were capable of winning a medal. However, some were superior in their Classes and not as strong in the Championship, while for others, it was the other way around. The Championships are a new competition and it’s important to perform in that single moment—sometimes, because of the incredible high quality, the owners/handlers even need a little bit of luck.

What made 2015 special was that every Championship was a battle. Unlike in previous years where there may have already been top favorites, this year, many horses could have earned Silver, Bronze and even Gold. Personally, some of the horses really touched me during this edition. Equator, for example, when he came into the arena, I got goose bumps in both his Class, and again in the Championship.

It was nice for me to judge with such a good group of judges and thus far, I have heard only positive feedback. I would also like to congratulate the breeders and owners, because they were all very close to earning medals--they were all winners--all extremely nice horses, very exceptional and hard to breed!

 

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I would like to close this editorial by thanking everyone who contributed to making it special, most particularily Luciana Fasano of Fazenda Floresta who sponsored this coverage.

 

 

For further information on The World Championships and the Salon du Cheval, please visit:

http://en.salon-cheval.com/

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For a full size gallery of images:

http://www.arabhorse.com/photos-by-lisa-abraham/lisa-abraham-the-2015-championnat-du-monde-du-cheval-arabe-photos-by-lisa-abraham/?photo=30595

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Henrike Hörmann is a photographer whose unique style has become recognizable. Through her work which has been published internationally, she is making an impact in the Arabian show world with her ability to portray the emotion and warmth of her subjects. Her farm, Hof Hörmann, is in Königslutter Germany, where she is currently breeding her third generation of Arabian horses.

 

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. She is also a breeder of Straight Egyptian Arabians.