THE 2016 ARABHORSE SCOTTSDALE FARM TOUR
The 2016 Arabhorse Scottsdale Farm Tour:
Celebrating The New Year with Arabian Horses
By Beth Ellen Hunziker
It was difficult to tell what everyone enjoyed most – the beautiful Arabian horses, the brilliant sunshine, the lavish hospitality, or celebrating the New Year with friends. The Ninth Annual Arabhorse Scottsdale Farm Tour offered all this - and more. The tour showcased twelve farms over four days with two additional farms welcoming visitors by appointment. It was a fun-filled whirlwind of a weekend with great energy, camaraderie, and mutual support from some of the top Arabian horse facilities in Scottsdale.
Scott Bailey, of Arabhorse.com, initiated the Farm Tour in 2008. Since then, it has become a destination event for Arabian horse breeders, owners, and trainers from around the world, as well as local horse lovers too. The original concept was to introduce the Arabian horse and Scottsdale breeders to the local public and to encourage new people to become Arabian horse owners. The event also benefits Healing Hearts Animal Rescue and Refuge through donated items that are auctioned off at the different farms. This year, the auction items included: breedings to top stallions, gorgeous fine art, handcrafted halters and breast pieces, and other treasures. The total raised for Healing Hearts Animal Rescue and Refuge was $24,950!
Once again, Royal Arabians, owned by Cindy McGown and Mark Davis, were the official sponsors of the Farm Tour. Royal Arabians has generously supported the Arabian horse community – especially in Scottsdale – for many years. Cindy and Mark, along with daughter Amanda Frasier, are devoted and very hands-on breeders and owners. Their low-key, casual, warm, and friendly style ensured that everyone felt welcomed and enjoyed the beauty and family friendly nature of the Arabian horse.
The Arabhorse Farm Tour started off on Thursday, December 31st, at Guzzo Worldwide and Royal Arabians. Perhaps it was the bright, warm sunshine, the gorgeous Arabian horses, or the delicious Mimosas – but everyone seemed more than ready to start celebrating the New Year. Royal Arabians has two facilities: one in Mesa, which is for their breeding and performance horses and the one on Cactus Road in Scottsdale, which is home to their halter show horses. The farm on Cactus Road is shared with Rodolfo and Natalia Guzzo of Guzzo Worldwide. Rodolfo presented some incredible show horses, including a very special yearling filly bred by Robin and Drago Kragulj of Robin Hood Farm, the breeders of the fabulous National Champion Mare, RH Triana. Michael Carpio of Royal Arabians, followed up by bringing out a yearling filly, bred by Royal Arabians and sired by their stallion Royal Invictus, that literally made the crowd gasp with disbelief when they saw her. Other special horses presented included the superstar stallions National Champion Brixx IA, National Top Ten Stallion Royal Emanuel, and National Reserve Champion El Chall WR. It was a spectacular start to a memorable day.
Cindy McGown, Royal Arabians: "The Arabhorse Farm Tour was, once again, a great success. The tour is an excellent way to invite new comers to our farms and see these beautiful animals in a fun and educational environment. I hope everyone enjoyed the farm tour as much as I did."
The next open house on the schedule was Arabian Expressions, owned by Greg Knowles. Greg had a few surprises in store for everyone. Judy Sirbasku and Shawn Crews of Arabians Ltd. were in the house and brought some fantastic straight Egyptian Arabians for everyone to enjoy. Greg presented some really top show and breeding horses, including some incredible young fillies by Calypso OS, by Ajman Moniscione, owned by Mustafa and Chera Sabankaya of Ottoman Stud. These fillies were all stamped with extreme type, huge black eyes, unbelievable ears, great tail carriage, and show horse charisma. They were still a bit wild, but very showy. It will be fun to see how they grow up. This was definitely a group of horses worth seeing!
Greg Knowles, Arabian Expressions: “The Arabhorse Farm Tour was a huge success for us this year. We had record crowds - I believe we counted close to 300 people. I think the most remarkable thing about my open house was the response I got when I asked the crowd to raise their hand if they already owned a horse. Only about 10 percent raised their hands, so that means 90 percent were new people, non-horse owners, who came to learn more about the Arabian horse. It was great to see so many new people. In addition, we’ve already sold two horses and there is one sale pending. It was also very special to be able to welcome back our dear friends, John and Debra Mitchell. We wish them the very best this year with their new horse, Lark RCA, a beautiful straight Egyptian colt, purchased from Arabians LTD.”
The final open house of 2015 was held at Gemini Acres, hosted by Sally and Jim Bedeker. Gemini is one of the most lavish farms in all of Scottsdale and the perfect setting to welcome in the New Year. Lucho Guimarães, the head trainer at Gemini, presented their horses, which included their patriarch, Da Vinci FM, by Versace and the exciting JJ Bellagio, by Magnum Psyche. These stallions looked magnificent among the sparkling lights and flashing cameras of the paparazzi. It is easy to understand why their offspring are winning in show rings around the world and are coveted for their breeding potential as well. Gemini Acres is also home to two of my favorite mares: the gorgeous bay imported from Belgium, Claudiaa (Psytadel x RA Cool Elegance) and Duchess of Marwan (Marwan al Shaqab x Amety B). Duchess of Marwan is the dam of Artemas GA, the beautiful black colt, sired by JJ Bellagio, who is now an international champion and owned by Stella Bella Arabians.
Taylor Mason, Gemini Acres Manager: “The Arabhorse Farm Tour is always a highly anticipated event. This year however, exceeded expectations. With a record turnout and an even higher sales/breeding interest, certainly this Arabian-centered weekend has proven its value. We are humbled to open our doors and be among such great company in sun-filled Scottsdale showcasing our very best. In 2014, we hosted the “Gemini Acres Production Sale” during the Farm Tour. This year, we took a charitable approach, which was fun and benefitted a worthy cause. However, we are happy to announce that plans are already underway for hosting another great production sale during the next Scottsdale Farm Tour and we look forward to seeing everyone there.”
After all the celebrating on New Year’s Eve, we were uncertain how many people would attend the first open house on New Year’s Day. Much to our surprise and delight, the open house for Laurie Martin’s Performance Horses was packed with people ready and waiting to see her fantastic show and breeding horses. Many of the people at Laurie’s open house were new to the event and were attracted by the top performance horses at her facility. Arabian performance horses are extremely popular, not just in Scottsdale, but throughout the country. Laurie and her staff presented horses in hand, under saddle and at liberty, proving that halter horses are also talented athletes. Among the horses shown were offspring sired by Enzo, NYN Hissani, Jiuliusz de Wiec, LC Arlington, Khadraj NA, and others. Laurie Martin and Michael Brock were warm and welcoming hosts. Their stallion Khash PGA, a multiple national champion in both hunter and western pleasure, was one of the most exciting horses of the day and really put on a show for the crowd. It was the perfect start to the New Year.
Everyone then moved on to Culbreth Equine Training and what fun we had there. Chris and Michele Culbreth have a very picturesque facility in North Scottsdale with spectacular views of desert and mountains. It was a beautiful setting to enjoy some very fancy show horses. The line up at Culbreth’s included national champions shown in hand, as well as gorgeous purebred and half-Arabian horses under saddle in hunt, side saddle, western, and English pleasure. Chris and Michele are two of the most respected people in the business, One of their clients, Jackie Deatherage, whose horse was presented, shared this heartfelt sentiment, “In my 25 plus years of 'dealing' with horse trainers, I cannot remember having liked and respected anyone as much as I, and many people do, Mister Chris Culbreth”. Through the farm tour, the Culbreths have introduced many new people, non-horse owners, to the fun, and excitement of owning and showing Arabian performance horses. This is a critical market – especially for all the wonderful geldings, we love so much and for our talented and athletic halter horses as they mature.
Chris and Michele Culbreth: "This year’s Farm Tour was once again a resounding success for Culbreth Equine. We again had a huge crowd of both new and returning fans of the Arabian horse. As one of only a few farms that have participated in the event every year since its inception, we have had the pleasure of seeing the event grow. It has evolved from one that was mostly local people, to an extravaganza that includes horse lovers from around the world. The Farm Tour has also had a positive influence on the horse market in our area. We have seen an increase of horses being purchased and sold during the weeks leading up to and following the event."
Next on the schedule, was Rodrigues Training Center, owned by Annette and Joao Rodrigues. The environment created by Annette and Joao was cozy, intimate, classy, and fun. Everyone enjoyed the lively music and conversation until the horses were brought out. Then, all attention was directed to them. Joao and his talented brothers, Alcides and Diego, put on an exciting presentation of very high quality show and breeding horses that included beautiful fillies, handsome colts, and extraordinary mares sired by national champions and national champion producers such as Padrons Psyche, Trussardi, Ajman Moniscione, Hariry Al Shaqab, Pogrom, Ever After NA, Rodan Ltd., and others. There were some very impressive stallions presented as well. All the horses were beautifully conditioned and looked so happy to be out, showing off for the crowds of people. They seemed to have as much fun as we did!
The evening of January 1, 2016 was spent with Murray and Shirley Popplewell at Rae Dawn Arabians. Many people consider this to be the most beautiful farm in all of Scottsdale. The classic architecture with arched doorways, the wide brick aisles, the spacious stalls, the cozy fireplaces, and the manicured landscapes create an environment that is peaceful and functional. Despite the cool night air, Shirley and Murray’s warm hospitality made everyone feel welcome. Most people are familiar with the Popplewell’s National Champion Stallion Bey Ambition. The first horses to be presented were his sons and daughters. The program began with the babies, which were shown in hand, and then the older horses were shown under saddle. These are natural athletes who are even more appealing when ridden. Bey Ambition was also presented in hand and under saddle! He is a very handsome, spirited stallion, yet he was well mannered and truly gorgeous as he loped around the arena like a veteran of the ring.
In addtion to Bey Ambition, Murray and Shirley use other top sires in their breeding program and the second group of horses were sired by a variety of stallions. The Popplewells have had great success crossing their mares with Ever After NA and they showed several of his offspring. There was a very handsome colt by Stival, a lovely filly by Hariry Al Shaqab, and two very nice offspring by Shanghai EA. It was a fun and exciting presentation of the Rae-Dawn breeding program that showcased the beauty of their horses, and demonstrated their suitability as open or amateur performance horses.
Murray Popplewell, Rae-Dawn Arabians: This year’s Arabhorse Farm Tour was the best one ever. We had a great crowd and such a diverse group. We had people who had never seen an Arabian horse, we had some of the top breeders in the country there, and we have visitors from around the world. It really was exceptional. In fact, we had a group from Saudi Arabia come back the next day, and they purchased five horses. I give a lot of credit to our amazing staff including Claudinei Machado, Bruno Guiraldelli and Colby Powell who worked so hard to prepare the horses and have them looking so good. We also want to thank Scott Bailey, David Cains and James Mead of Arabhorse.com for organizing this event, and for their commitment to promoting Scottsdale breeders and the Arabian horse.
The recent addition of Straight Egyptian and Egyptian Heritage Classes at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show has brought in a completely new group of horses, breeders, owners, trainers, and exhibitors to the area. Tara Carpio has focused much of her career working with Straight Egyptian Arabians and when she moved to Arizona, she brought her unique experience to the community. Although, this was the first year Tara participated with the tour, it was standing room only at her open house, which began on the second morning of January. It was wonderful to witness the interest people showed in the Straight Egyptian horses, and the support from Egyptian breeders who attended including: Keri and Carolee Wright, Jaleen Hacklander, and Shawn Crews, and others. Tara had a big surprise for everyone. Right in the middle of her presentation of straight Egyptian horses, she brought out a towering Tobiano pinto half/Arabian saddle/pleasure gelding that acted like he owned the place, and with his gorgeous good looks and high hocks trot he pretty much ruled the ring. Everyone had a great time with Tara and her fabulous horses.
The crowds of people drove or walked the short distance to the next stop on the tour, which was McDonald Arabians, owned by Gary and Jennifer McDonald. Every farm on the tour is unique, and the special thing about the McDonald’s ranch is the sense of history and family. After all, Ross and Marjeanne McDonald, Gary’s parents, have been breeding Arabian horses for over 45 years. The Arabian horse continues to be a family affair with three generations competing and showing together. Gary McDonald was the commentator and his son, Kenneth, presented most of the horses with great skill and showmanship. Gary’s daughter, Camille, also participated with one of the mares. The show and breeding horses presented were of very high quality and represented leading sires from around the world including Versace, EKS Alihandro, Abha Qatar, Pogrom, Bey Ambition, Gazal Al Shaqab, Besson Carol, Dakar El Jamaal and his son Mazkarade, as well as other notable sires. It was a fun-filled presentation of past and future champions.
Gary McDonald: To us, the Arabhorse Farm Tour has everything to do with family. The holidays are a special time for us and always very busy. If we are going to work to host 500-600 guests at our open house, we want to make sure it is a memorable time for our family, and for our clients, friends, and guests too. This year, I had several people approach me to say hello and to tell me how much our open house means to them and their families – that attending our open house has become a holiday tradition for them. I love the fact that our open house has created an event that brings families together. Two of the main goals of the Farm Tour are promoting and marketing our Arabian horses, and we have been successful in selling horses and breedings to stallions standing at McDonald Arabians. However, I most proud of the fact that we continue to live and work with the horses together as a family, and that we are making very special memories for our family and for others.”
That night, as the sun began to set and cast a golden light, the crowds made their way to Pegasus Arabians at Sandspur Ranch, owned by Dean and Terri Wikel. Driving through the ornate gates, we entered a very special place of history. Sandspur was once the home of the legendary stallion Padron. Today, under the care of the Wikels, it once again is home to national champions and national champion producers. The evening was the perfect opportunity for Dean and Terri Wikel to welcome guests to their farm, to present their fabulous halter and performance horses, and to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Pegasus Arabians. For more than two decades, the Wikels have quietly created a very special breeding program, which has produced far too many champions to count. Their success has earned them the titles of Breeders National Finals, Breeder of the Year, three years in a row; Arabian Breeders World Cup, Breeder of the Year; and they are also nominated for the Arabian Horse Times, Breeder of the Year.
With over 200 stalls on the 22-acre ranch, several trainers make Sandspur Ranch their home including Ricardo Rivero International, Julie Daniel Training Center, Cari Thompson and Fannie Maritz, and the newest member, Ally Brady Show Horses. Everyone worked together to present horses to a crowd of over 500 guests. Ricardo Rivero showed the halter horses, while Julie Daniel, Cari Thompson, Fannie Maritz, and Ally Brady showed the performance horses. Many of the horses were sired by the Wikel’s stallions: Masquerade PA, Freedom PA and Cadance PA (who they are welcoming back after his European championship tour); as well as other high profile sires, which include Hariry Al Shaqab, and Titan AS. It was a spectacular presentation with great variety, which demonstrated the beauty and versatility of the Arabian horse.
Dean Wikel, Pegasus Arabians/Sandspur Ranch: “It was a pleasure for Terri and I to host the open house and presentation of horses. It was extra special having some of our grandchildren fly in from Ohio to join us. We had a very good turnout. This year, we’re celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Pegasus Arabians and it was really nice to see so many breeders in the crowd. We presented our stallions and had a very positive response. Our youngest stallion Cadance wasn’t able to be there because he’s just returning from his time in Europe. We presented a filly and a colt by him and they were very well received. We’re looking forward to welcoming Cadance back home in late January – just in time for the show and breeding season.”
Julie Daniel, Daniel Training Center: “The Arabhorse Farm Tour provided a great opportunity for us to share our beautiful horses with fellow enthusiasts along with the general public. We had so much fun! Many visitors stayed much longer than the suggested two-hour time frame and lingered back at the stalls asking questions and getting up close and personal with the horses. I think I speak for all of us at Sandspur Ranch, when I say that we all enjoyed the evening as much as the Farm Tour visitors. In fact we had so much fun, we are already making plans and looking forward to being part of the event next year.”
Sunday, January 3rd was the final day of the Arabhorse Farm Tour. It started with the most lavish party of the season hosted by Midwest Training Center and Coulter Cadillac. David Boggs welcomed guests from around the world to their presentation of national and international champions, as well as future champions. It all kicked off with David’s son Jake Boggs presenting his miniature horse and newborn foal, which set the stage for this family friendly gathering of over 650 visitors. The presentation began with the youngest group of fillies and colts sired by some of Midwest’s internationally acclaimed sires. It won’t be long before many of these beautiful yearlings are wearing roses. Next came an incredible group of mares beginning with national champions Perfirka, Honey’s Delight RB, BH Beijings Velvet, Aria Qatars Angel, and the one and only…RH Triana. These breathtaking beauties were followed by the stallions of Midwest. This lineup of star power included: LD Pistal, Conquest BR, A Jericho, Rahere, Baha AA, Aria Impressario, Falah Al Shaqab, Nimer Al Shaqab, and Marsal Al Shaqab. The grand finale was the 2014 World Gold Champion, Kahil Al Shaqab, who will make his American show ring debut at the upcoming Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Many of the people who attended the Midwest open house had never seen an Arabian horse before. You can only image the impression these magnificent creatures made. There is no doubt that there was more than one future Arabian horse owner in that crowd, which is what the Arabhorse Farm Tour and Midwest is all about, introducing the best of the breed to the world.
David Boggs, Midwest Training and Breeding Stations: “Here at Midwest, we all eat, drink and sleep Arabian horses – it is a true labor of love for us. I am so proud to be a part of the Arabhorse Farm Tour for the past 9 years - it has really grown into a fabulous way to bring new people into our breed. From a business standpoint, this year’s event was the most successful yet and resulted in record amounts of breeding sales to the Midwest Stallions! Thank you again to Arabhorse.com!”
The last open house of the tour was held at Royal Arabians’ Mesa, Arizona facility, which is home to their breeding and performance horses. Cindy McGown and Mark Davis graciously welcomed everyone and introduced their talented staff before presenting their very special horses. The Polish beauty, Egzonera was a vision in white and completely stole everyone’s heart. The lovely mare Jumeriah Rose SWF put on an exciting performance for the spectators and for those who attended the presentation of Royal Arabians’ halter horses on the first day of the tour, we were reminded she is the dam of the ultra extreme yearling filly, Royal Invicta Rose, sired by Royal Invictus.
Once again, Amanda Frasier was the commentator and it is evident from her personal stories about the breeding, bloodlines, accomplishments, and future plans for each horse, that she dearly loves her horses. Everyone at Royal Arabians believes that their horses are meant to be enjoyed and for them, that means performance, as well as halter competition. Horses were presented under saddle in Hunter and English. They were beautiful and well mannered – even with all the people reaching out to touch their glossy coats as they walked by. Stallions were also presented and the star of the afternoon was Al Malik – what a classic beauty he is! He was adorned in a custom halter and breast collar, and he pranced and reared again and again, and then marched out of the ring, all to the delight of the cheering crowd. It was a spectacular finale to the 2015-2016 Arabhorse Farm Tour.
Scott Bailey, Arabhorse.Com: “For me the Farm Tour has always beenabout exposing the Arabian horse to new people outside of the business. I am most proud that when you looked at the crowds this year, and they were massive, the largest we have had in nine years. Most of them were new people who had never seen horses before. It was really great breed exposure for our beautiful Arabian horses. A big thanks to all the farms that participated! We had a new farm this year, Tara Carpio Arabians, who did very well and had a wonderful presentation. A big call out to Greg Knowles, Chris Culbreth and Gary McDonald, who are the only farms to have participated all 9 years. And, as always, thanks to Royal Arabians by being the Arabhorse Farm Tour Sponsor again this year.”
SHAWN CREWS, ARABIANS, LTD.: “I thought the Scottsdale Farm Tour was fantastic! The crowds were really impressive. I met new people who had never seen an Arabian horse, and I also caught up with some of our industry’s great breeders and handlers. The weekend had a very different feel to me. I have never experienced that many people who love the Arabian horse in one place– but it was not a horse show! It is a novel idea… and a great one! I cannot say enough about the hosts: Arabhorse.com, and the Scottsdale farms that participated. It took a tremendous amount of effort to coordinate the weekend—but they did it! Greg Knowles’s string at Arabian Expressions represented owners from all over the country, and looks ready to rock and roll for the big Scottsdale show. We were thrilled that the Straight Egyptian horses we brought all the way from Texas were so well received by the crowds. Sales were great too! In addition to the sale of his clients’ horses, Greg also sold a colt for Arabians Ltd that will debut for his new owners at Scottsdale. We wish them the very best!”