The International Influence of American Breeders on the Arabian Horse
June 25th, 2009
The International Influence of American Breeders on the Arabian Horse
by Beth Hunziker
One of the most remarkable facts about the Arabian horse breed is that you can trace the lineage of nearly every horse back to its desert ancestors. For centuries people from around the world traveled in search of Bedouin horses in order to establish new breeding programs or to enhance their existing ones. These visionaries would settle for nothing but the very best. Through the efforts of these breeders, the Arabian horse made its way to all parts of Europe and eventually to America where it has been cherished for its beauty, intelligence and character.
The international visionaries of today are just as dedicated, just as determined, to breed the best Arabian horses possible. They have also traveled to the ends of the earth to find just the right individual and many of them have found the horse of their dreams at a farm in the United States. This trend has placed a select group of Americans among the ranks of elite breeders who have influenced the Arabian horse around the world. Some of the earliest American breeders are no longer with us, but they live on through their horses and the get, grand get and even great grand get, which are products of their programs. Through their horses, the torch has been passed to breeders of today and now it's their responsibility to preserve and protect the distinctive character of the Arabian horse.
More than one person has said that breeding Arabian horses is not for the weak of heart. Over the past 5 years or so, most American breeders have had to make some rather dramatic adjustments to their programs. The result has been an even greater focus on quality rather than quantity. Very few owners today consider themselves to be large breeders, most produce only one to five foals a year. But whether they have five foals a year or 50, American breeders continue to produce some truly exceptional horses - horses that have had an incredible influence both in the United States and beyond.
How do we measure influence? One way is to check the data source on the American Registry's website. Among the many research categories is a list of the leading sires in the world; the rankings are based on the number of foals each stallion has sired. Of the top 50 stallions on the list, 35 were bred in the United States. Quantity is a good indicator of influence, but perhaps the most important factor is a horse's ability to produce foals with classic breed type and quality.
Ranked number two among American bred stallions on the AHA data source list of leading sires of the world is Padrons Psyche. Although he came from humble beginnings; his dam Kalika was in foal when she was purchased by an elderly couple in northern Minnesota, Psyche's, potential for greatness was clear from the beginning and each of his owners helped him to fulfill it. His sons and daughters have won numerous national and international championships. Psyche's influence has been further established by his outstanding sons and daughters who are among the most prized producers for breeders around the world. Psyche's son, Magnum Psyche, closely follows his sire's footsteps and is ranked fourth overall in the list of leading sires. In turn, the American bred stallion, Magnum Psyche has also produced national and international champions who are now becoming the next generation of national and international champions and producers of exceptional offspring. One of his most successful offspring is the phenomenal multi-national champion stallion and sire of international champions, Magnum Chall HVP. Although Chall was bred in Brazil, he is now a major player in the American breeding scene due to the quality of the foals he has been siring. These are just a few of the Padron Psyche get and grand get that are making their mark in the world of Arabian horses. There are others, stallions and mares, that have won the most prestigious titles in the world and more importantly are contributing to breeding programs from the esteemed studs of Poland, the pampas of Argentina and back to their ancestral homelands in the deserts of Arabia. THAT is true influence - a family that consistently produces generations of greatness.
Among the top 35 American bred sires on the data source list, seven are straight Egyptian including the stallion Shaikh Al Badi and his son, Ruminaja Ali. These stallions have contributed tremendously to straight Egyptian programs around the world. Forward thinking breeders saw the potential of crossing Ruminaja Ali on mares of other bloodlines too. One of the best examples of this successful outcross can be seen in his important son, Ali Jamaal, an American bred stallion whose influence is felt everywhere. Another son of Ruminaja Ali was the American bred stallion, Anaza El Farid. This stallion had a very short breeding career and died at a young age. But before Anaza El Farid was taken from us, he gave the world a wonderful gift - his son out of the national champion mare Kajora; Gazal Al Shaqab, a stallion whose influence is remarkable for a stallion of his young age.
Also on the list of American bred leading sires is Bey Shah, a prolific producer of exceptional sons and daughters. Many of his offspring were exported and went to South America, Europe, Australia and other parts of the globe where they increased their sire's influence. Several sons of Bey Shah appear on the list of leading sires of the world including, Fame VF, a stallion that was also bred in the US. Fame VF was crossed with many mares of diverse bloodlines. One of the most successful crosses was with a daughter of El Shaklan, which resulted in a stallion that also appears on the list of leading sires of the world, the much beloved Versace. Like his namesake, Versace was lost to us all too soon, but he has left many wonderful sons and daughters to carry on his legacy of high style. One of Fame VF's most notable daughters was national champion, Little Liza Fame whose greatest achievement was her son sired by the afore mentioned Gazal Al Shaqab; the international show ring superstar and a leading sire of today, Marwan Al Shaqab.
Additional straight Egyptian stallions bred in the United States and ranked among the very top leading sires of the world are The Minstril and his son Thee Desperado. This father and son team has produced more than 1400 offspring combined. They have sons and daughters in virtually every country where Arabian horses are found. Breeders value these stallions and their offspring for the type, quality and refinement that they produce with proven consistency.
Many of the stallions that appear on the Arabian Horse Data Source list of leading sires are no longer living such as the influential sire Ivanhoe Tsultan. He was the foundation for more than one successful breeding program and he while he produced national champions, his sons and daughters produced even more. His influence is like the concentric circles created when a raindrop falls into a pool of water. It starts with one circle that grows larger and larger and expands into ever greater circles.
The circle is the symbol of eternity, unity and of completeness. When someone says, "They have come full circle," it means they have returned to the point of their beginning. This is true for American breeders of Arabian horses. They once looked to the breeders in deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and northern Africa, to Egypt, to the stud farms of Poland and Russia, Germany, England, Spain and other places to find the Arabian horse of their dreams and they did find them. They brought them to the United States, built breeding farms and worked to emulate their mentors. Now, decades later, breeders from those very same countries seek them out to find the horses of their dreams and it all begins again. It is indeed a full circle.
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