Amity ~ God's Gifts: Rosinka
The Arabian Horse Project Presents:
Amity ~ A Dedication to Mares
Part 2: God's Gifts
By Claudia Darius
Preface by Lisa Abraham
Featuring the Artwork of Deborah Rush DeRosier and Hanna Darius
In 2019, while attending the Arabian Horse World Championship in Paris, I spent an evening with Jaroslav Lacina (CZE) and Drazen Lazic (DEN). The competition had been completed and everyone had comfortably settled into groups for socializing. Although I was well acquainted with both Jaroslav and Drazen, this was our first time enjoying extended conversation and many things were discussed as the evening progressed. However, at one point Drazen asked, "Lisa, how did you get into Arabian Horses?" Since he seemed sincere and we had the time, I told him my exceptionally long and emotional tale of falling in love with a mare and feeling as though I could not live another moment without having her in my life. When my saga had been completed, I expected him to respond in a manner that at least somewhat reflected my emotional delivery. However, at the time, I am sure he did not realize it, but he gave me so much more.
Although Drazen is newer to the business, he has certainly fast-tracked his way in terms of education and knowledge and is already contributing. But in life, sometimes the greatest wisdom comes from innocence—from someone who still remembers what it looks like from the "outside". So after exhibiting admirable patience, he waited till I had exhausted all details and explanations, and carefully stated, “You know Lisa, that seems to be everybody’s story…”. At first, I was shocked by the lightness of the statement, but then even more so by its profound accuracy of it. Drazen was right—so many of us are doing what we are doing because, at one point, we fell in love with a mare.
This project began by commissioning Deborah Rush DeRosier for illustrations. Based on the warm and thoughtful subject matter chosen for the initial drawing, we all decided that Amity was the perfect title. However, with further thought, we decided that it also aptly defined our overall theme for this phase of our endeavor. Amity is a meaningful noun, originating from the Latin amicus, which translates to “friend”. However, according to Merriam-Webster, amity has also become known to describe “relationships between political leaders and nations in which goodwill is shown despite differences that might exist between parties.” Interestingly, we found that each of its definitions describes important aspects of the Arabian mare’s importance in our lives. Not only do mares serve dutifully as our friends and companions, as well as to each other, but also, in many instances, have taken on roles as international ambassadors.
As the creators of The Arabian Horse Project, Claudia and I intend to utilize our own experiences to frame and/or outline subject matters for discussion. As Arabian horse professionals and enthusiasts, we all share universal experiences of being dedicated to this unique breed. However, for some of us, the business of Arabian horses has in some ways overshadowed our more emotional and even private feelings for these individuals who hold such meaning in our day-to-day lives. To begin the second part of Amity: A Dedication To Mares, which will later include additional contributions from members of our community, Claudia and I have chosen a personal story that holds special meaning to the Darius family both from the perspective of breeding and as a family member.
By Claudia Darius
Darius Arabians ~ Germany
It is important, not only for me but also for my entire family, to record Rosinka’s significance. We started breeding in 1987 by acquiring a nice mare named Travellers Joy (Zehros X Farjeca) with a foal at her side, which had been sired by World Champion Amal (Abdullah X Naomi). The following year we bred her to Komplekt (Patron X Karmen) for a baby with Crabbet, Polish, Russian bloodlines, which were popular lineages for breeders at that time. However, as our interest and education grew, so did our preferences for type and qualities that we wanted to have reflected in our horses. So, after a few years, as a family, we decided to dedicate our efforts exclusively to straight Russian bloodlines. Of course, these are also a mix of ancestry, but we admired the horses of Tersk Stud and felt their program exemplified what we came to value most in an Arabian horse. However, during the 1990s, most of the Russian horses were being exported to the United States and therefore, difficult for Europeans to purchase.
So, in 1996, we contacted Karin Merkel, owner of Beluga Stud, who was in southern Germany. She had acquired a few Russian horses from the United States, one of which was Rosinka (Princip X VA Mandolina), who had been bred by R-A Aloha Arabians. Although at the time Rosinka was a yearling, she was now five years in age. However, through our research, we found an old video of her while she was still abroad and became eager to learn more.
Our next step was to meet Rosinka, so we scheduled a visit and traveled south. Immediately we fell in love with her--not only for her pedigree but also for her personality and fancy look. She was a darker chestnut with a lighter mane and tail and a genuinely nice structure. But most of all, she impressed us with her charisma and expression. Although she was smaller, only 146-147 centimeters, when showing off and full of snort and blow, she looked ten centimeters larger! But we also loved that she could be personable and even graceful.
Since we all felt strongly about Rosinka, it did not take my father long to acquire her for the family. As breeders, Rosinka’s pedigree had several individuals that we wanted to be represented in our program--most particularly Kilimandscharo and Balaton, who were two of our favorite stallions. Although Balaton is not directly represented, Rosinka’s sire was a maternal bother to him while also sharing strong paternal similarities. On her dam’s side was Moment, the full brother to Muscat, as well as the famous Mammona. Truly, for us, Rosinka’s pedigree was a dream come true.
By the time Rosinka came to be ours, she was already quite experienced. Not only was she a riding horse, but she had also been driven. So, we knew that her education and handling had been extensive. But we realized very quickly that deep down she had the inner character of a warhorse. Rosinka was courageous, bold, and had strength. On the other hand, she could be stubborn too. Soon after she arrived at our farm, I wanted to bathe her. But my God, one cannot imagine how she objected. She didn’t freak out or fight but made it abundantly clear that she simply did not want water on her body. Naturally I was patient and eventually succeeded, but to this day, both she and all of her offspring--her daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters have this same dislike of being bathed. But of course, we adore her endearing depth of character and love her even more for it.
Although at the time, we were unaware of just how great the influence would be, in 2004, Darius Arabians purchased Massai Ibn Marenga (Mirokan X Marenga) and thus solidified the future of our program. Some breeding programs can be determined by the influence of a certain stallion—and this is what Massai has done for us. Through the years he has consistently produced the type for which Darius Arabians has become known. In addition, his babies are charismatic and smart, while his daughters have been outstanding producers and mothers.
In 2003, my mother and I met Massai for the first time while he was in Paris to compete at the World Championship as a yearling. We went with the intent of meeting and evaluating him as he was straight Russian and had already experienced success in the show ring. He was there as a member of Frank Spönle’s lineup of competitors, so in between classes, we took time to visit him in his stall. Besides being beautiful, our first impression was of his temperament. As everyone knows, Paris is intense. There is constant commotion and stress--and it can be loud. But amongst all the chaos, little Massai was laying in his box and fast asleep. We knew he had a prestigious owner, so the most for which we could hope was a breeding when he came of age. My mother and I communicated this to Frank, secured the possibility, and had hope for the future. However, when the time had arrived, we got an unexpected proposition—an unimaginable one. Instead of discussing the details of a breeding contract, we were offered the opportunity to purchase this young stallion who had already won our hearts.
Very soon after, Massai arrived at our farm and his new home. We were so grateful to Frank for the opportunity—and I for one was still in shock. But, without question, we all agreed, Rosinka was our first choice for him. Although it was late in the year, we covered her immediately. Rosinka is a balanced, well-proportioned mare. She has a beautiful laid-back shoulder, a strong back and loins, a nice hip with a long hindquarter, and an outstanding tail set. Although as an aged mare who has carried many foals, her back has softened a bit, throughout most of her life, she has had a near-perfect topline. She has a lovely neck with good length and a nice arch. Even though we would not consider her head to be “modern”, Rosinka is exceptionally pretty. Her face is feminine as well as correctly proportioned, with super nice eyes and good ears.
We were hoping that Massai would contribute length of leg to the pairing, as well as a bit more refinement in her head and neck. Both Rosinka and Massai are excellent movers, but we had hoped that their foal would have his lightness of foot and elevation. To share the very least—the match was a success and, in 2005, Rosinka gave birth to the very first Massai baby—a beautiful, super pretty, bay filly we named Da Rhomara. We were so thrilled with this match that we repeated it four times. To continue Rosinka’s legacy with our farm and family, we have kept Da Rhomara, as well as a daughter and granddaughter.
As a mother, Rosinka excelled. From a breeding perspective, she was easy to get in foal and is, in fact, still cycling. When it came time to give birth, although she was always closely monitored, she preferred to be alone and did not require assistance. She was not an overprotective mother but took appropriate care of her foals by guiding and teaching them—and, in return, her babies inherited her independence. In addition, not only did she carry and raise all her babies, but she was also eager to get close to some of the others on the farm. If the need had ever arisen, Rosinka would have been an ideal surrogate mother.
Reproductively, we could rely on her for several things. First and foremost, her daughters and granddaughters have mirrored her character and strengths as mothers. As for conformation, she consistently passed on her excellent overall structure, her strong bones, her straight topline, and her nicely shaped neck. All her babies also had her beautiful, large, black eyes. In 2014, at the age of twenty-three, Rosinka gave birth for the last time to another filly and full sibling to Da Rhomarah—a cross we felt we had to do one more time. We named her Da Rohara Bint Massai, and she was exported to Kuwait as a yearling.
In 2016, Rosinka, along with our entire family, began a new chapter with the happy news from my brother Arno and his wife, that our family was expecting a new member—a little girl due the following year. Naturally, we were excited about the future and believed she would inherit the family's love for animals, most particularly for horses. Suddenly, we had hope that there would be someone to carry on our passion. Although we would have loved her no matter what, we were lucky that even as a young baby, she demonstrated similar inclinations.
I remember when Hanna was a newborn and not old enough to walk. She was visiting the farm with her father and patiently sat on his lap while we chatted. But through a glass door, she saw our dog, Bärraban, a Hovawart, which is an old German breed, quietly pass. This was her initial realization of an animal. At first she was quiet, then all of a sudden she started to shake and get extremely excited. It was crazy to see, but her whole body was vibrating. As she grew a bit, her relationship with Bärraban became very close, in fact, the German word “hund”, which translates to “dog”, was one the first words she enunciated.
Hanna’s relationship with the horses also started early. At first, we carried her around the farm and carefully introduced her to everyone. Then by the time she could walk, she already knew all of them. But from the very beginning, we encouraged a special relationship with Rosinka. Even as a toddler, Rosinka loved Hanna and neither have ever been afraid. When they are together, Rosinka often lowers her head while her eyes get concentrated, and her ears twitch back and forth as she listens for Hanna’s little voice. But Rosinka is more than just patient. From the very beginning, she has always been conscious of her little friend and extra careful. Now that Hanna is older, she can groom her a little bit, feed her, and safely lead her around the farm while Rosinka walks very slowly and cautiously—never forgetting that it is she who is taking care.
One of my favorite memories was of a visit from a family friend and her six-year-old son. Together we walked through the stables, but the boy was afraid. He had never experienced farm life and was not accustomed to animals—so the horses, as well as the barn noises were scary to him. Then suddenly, Hanna, who was about 2 ½ years old, looked at him, grabbed his hand, and said, “Now I will show you ‘my’ horses. This is the stable of Rosinka, and this is the stable of Massai. You don’t need to be afraid—I will show you all of them.” I remember how shocked this boy was to see that Hanna was not scared and how well she spoke. On his own, he bravely continued to follow and did seem to enjoy his “tour”.
Hanna learned Rosinka’s name very quickly, as well as Massai’s. Although she could not go in Massai’s stall, not only did he watch her intently, but he “talked” to her as well. No matter where she was in the barn, he would reach and stretch his neck to keep a close eye and her—and they both watched to see if she had treats. From the time she could stand, one of the first things we taught her was to feed carrots. Of course, we gave her very long ones so that her little hands would never be in danger of accidentally getting nipped. However, to this day, her favorite things to feed Rosinka and Massai are bananas—which they love. Throughout the week we save them for her weekend visits.
On June 12, 2021, Rosinka turned thirty years old. We thank God for her health and that she still looks exceptionally good. As I reflect on our time with Rosinka, and the decision to acquire her, I can share that she has never disappointed us—in no way. Apart from her huge contribution to our breeding program, she exceeded any expectations because she also became a member of our family. She never, not even once, made us question her importance. For Hanna, who has also become a center of priority for our family, Rosinka is her favorite. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to share our story and I hope that it inspires breeders and enthusiasts to understand that a horse does not have to be a World Champion to make an impact on a program and in a family. To Darius Arabians, and to those who have acquired her offspring, Rosinka is a mare of great significance.
The Arabian Horse Project would like to thank Deborah Rush DeRosier for the usage of her original drawings: Amity and Rosinka. We would also like to thank Arabhorse.com for its professional support and media platform.
The original drawings Amity and Rosinka, by Deborah Rush DeRosier, were commissioned by The Arabian Horse Project and are owned by the Darius family.
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