North Arabians - Open House
June 9th, 2009 • Arabhorse.com
North Arabians -
Where Dreams Come to Life!
By Beth Hunziker
I have a collection of Arabian horse magazines and books that span more than 25 years; they fill almost a whole room. People ask me why I keep all these magazines and books. The answer is simple - they are my treasure - one of my most valued possessions. The wonderful thing about an Arabian horse magazine, or a book, is that as you hold it in your hands and read the stories, you can find yourself in another place and time, another country, another culture and yet you are always among friends - friends of the Arabian horse.
For years I have looked through the magazines and I often dreamed of visiting the marvelous places, of meeting the amazing people and especially seeing the fantastic Arabian horses that appear within the pages. What I wouldn't give to see their shining coats, their flagged tails, their flowing manes, to watch as they prance in place with excitement, gallop with wild abandon and stop to be petted or to enjoy a carrot and then finally to look into their lovely dark eyes... that would be a dream come true.
I don't know what came over me - if it was the personal invitation from Dixie and Bob North, or the strong encouragement of a friend, but this year I was determined to fulfill my dream of visiting North Arabians for their annual open house. The experience was far greater than I could ever have imagined!
San Diego, California is a very accessible city and with all of its many attractions it is considered one of the top destination cities in the US. The drive up to Ramona, California; home to North Arabians is quite scenic and only took about 45 minutes. Ramona is a rather small and somewhat quirky little place - there was a rodeo in town that weekend and there was a tractor parade too! The town is actually very charming and peaceful - just like one of its most famous landmarks - North Arabians.
Along the way to the farm, here and there, we saw trees with charred and blacken trunks - a grim reminder of the fires that passed through the area only two years ago and that resulted in the loss of the North's family home. But the trees had recovered and all around them was lush green grass and masses of wild flowers that seemed to instill a sense of hope and renewal. As we pulled into the farm we had to pause a moment for the gates to open and when they did we got our first glimpse of the elegant stables, the graceful trees, and some of the pastures with beautiful Arabian horses grazing peacefully. It was just like the pictures in the magazine - only more beautiful. A lovely chestnut filly raised her head and walked to the fence. With a head like hers; tight ears, huge dark eyes, a little white strip and a tiny muzzle; I knew it had to be a daughter of the legendary Padrons Psyche.
We were warmly greeted by Dixie and Bob North; the breeding manager, Mike McNally; Rodolfo Guzzo and Sandro Pinha, trainers and handlers, for the Norths, and then the many friends that had also come to enjoy the open house. After a few moments of refreshments, Bob North took the microphone and announced the beginning of the presentation. To me it said a lot about the Norths, they didn't need to have an announcer for their presentation because nobody knows Dixie and Bob's horses better than they do.
The presentation began by acknowledging Padrons Psyche - the legend of the Arabian breed who had called North Arabians home for the past nine years. Psyche is now in Belgium under the ownership of Paul Gheysens. However, before Psyche left he gave the Norths a parting gift of five wonderful fillies and one handsome colt born this spring. The Norths are committed to continuing the Psyche legacy here in the United States and around the world -without a doubt they are and always will be Psyche's biggest fans. Although Psyche no longer stands at North Arabians, his presence is felt everywhere. There is still an aire of expectancy all around the farm. It seems as though he may appear around the corner any moment. You can almost hear the echo of his whinny and the stomp of his hooves as he demands the attention that is his due. His legacy remains and always will through his sons, daughters and grand children that will forever call North Arabians home. And so it was fitting that the horse presentation began with some of the newest Psyche foals; three fillies were shown and a then a handsome two year old colt that was a full brother to one of the fillies. From a breeder's perspective, it was interesting to see the consistent quality that Psyche is so famous for showing up in these young horses of different bloodlines.
The next group of horses represent the next step in the North's breeding program; that was to cross their stallion Sir Fames HBV (Ffames x Cajun Lady HCF by Cajun Prince HCF), onto their Psyche daughters. This cross is nothing short of MAGIC! All of the offspring were sired by Sir Fames and out of Psyche daughters and each was more beautiful than the one before it.
Breeding programs are dynamic, that is to say always changing and evolving. As the newest foals arrive and the older horses develop, they are always being evaluated for their potential in the show ring, the breeding barn and the marketplace. Breeders are always looking for a way to take their program to a higher level of quality and consistency. Dixie and Bob North found what they were looking for in a son of Sir Fames HBV that they bred, Ever After NA, out of Entaicyng by Aicyng. The North's have experimented by crossing Ever After on Psyche daughters and also on mares of other bloodlines including Echo Magnifficoo. Although this is only Ever After's second foal crop, the results are extremely pleasing and it looks as though the North's have their pick between super star fillies and colts by this junior sire. Four foals by Ever After NA were presented, two fillies and two colts - a personal favorite was Inspiration NA, a colt out of the gorgeous Psyche daughter, Indiane Psylk.
The next group of horses that were presented was show fillies and mares. Among these were Arabian Breeders World Cup Champions and Reserve Champions, Brazilian National Champions and Reserve Champions and also yearling fillies with exceptional show ring potential, including daughters of Sir Fames HBV, Ever After NA and the Brazilian sire, Don El Chall. These fillies were breathtaking! Any breeder, or owner, would be proud to have these exquisite fillies in their stables.
Three yearling colts followed - one by Sir Fames and two by Psyche - and their quality was apparent the moment they stepped into the presentation area. With their style and good looks, they showed their future potential for the show ring, however, these youngsters will have to wait a little while before they start their breeding careers.
The momentum of the presentation was building with each new group of horses and soon it was time for the stallions of North Arabians. The first to be presented was the exciting yearling colt El Chall, sired by multi National Champion and sire of champions, Magnum Chall HVP (Magnum Psyche x Taamara by Don El Chall) and out Major Love Affair (DS Major Afire x HL Infactuation). This colt is already a show ring super star and has won the 2009 titles of Scottsdale Reserve Junior Champion Colt, Arabian Breeders World Cup Champion Yearling Colt and Reserve Supreme Junior Champion Colt - all in one year and he isn't done yet. But just so El Chall didn't start to think he was the boss, they brought out his father, the incredibly handsome stallion, Magnum Chall HVP, owned by Raegen and Lucky Lurken, and that stands at North Arabians. When Magnum Chall came out wearing his blanket of red champion roses, there was a collective gasp among the viewers. The North's had graciously opened their farm to a tour of visitors and many of them had never seen an Arabian horse! Imagine the impression made by this bronze like stallion, his chestnut coat gleaming in the afternoon sun, adorned by brilliant red roses as he pranced in place. Magnum Chall stopped, stood perfectly still and then blew a tremendous snort that called to the crowd for their attention. They were speechless for a second as the handlers brought father and son together - it was a memorable moment.
Next was Sir Fames HBV. He trotted boldly into the presentation area with his neck arched and his tail thrown over his back; his mane was flying and his muscles rippled with power under his shining dark bay coat. It was evident to all that this stallion has tremendous qualities to contribute to the North's breeding program as well as others around the world. His ability to sire offspring of exceptional type and style was made clear through his foals that were presented. But the show was not done quite yet. The Sir Fames son, Ever After NA, was then brought out. As beautiful as his pictures are in the magazines, they can not do him justice. His stature and carriage, beauty and expression are magnificent. Ever After NA is truly an exciting horse to see and, like his father, he seems to be passing those qualities on to his foals.
Just as the guests were about to leave the presentation area, Bob and Dixie made an announcement - they had a special surprise. Again, because many of the spectators were non horse owners, Dixie and Bob wanted to share a rare and wonderful opportunity with them. The guests all gathered back around the presentation area. The crowd nearest the gate parted to allow the passage of a chestnut mare and her tiny newborn foal. The people were mesmerized. You could have heard a pin drop except for the oooos and aaaahhhhhs over the beautiful mare as she nuzzled her little baby. And they were right to be in awe of this mare because it was none other than the reigning U.S. National Champion Mare, French Psylk and her three day old foal by Ever After NA! In fact, French Psylk was carrying this foal when she was crowned National Champion Mare last year in Oklahoma. It was a grand finale to a grand presentation! We were able to see, and experience for our selves, National Champions, International Champions, Breeders Cup Champions, and Scottsdale Champions. Most of us can only dream of such beautiful Arabian horses. But at North Arabians, we experienced those dreams come to life. - FINI