Kahil Al Shaqab – First Impressions and Lasting influence
by Beth Ellen Hunziker
I first saw the exciting stallion Kahil Al Shaqab at the 2014 World Arabian Horse Championships at the Salon du Cheval. Although I was watching the show on the video live feed, it seemed as though I could feel his energy and charisma halfway around the world. His flamboyant carriage, his gleaming mahogany coat, and his obvious connection with his handler, Giacomo Capacci, captivated me. It was a jubilant scene when Kahil was proclaimed the World Gold Champion Senior Stallion and representatives of his breeder and owner, Al Shaqab Member Qatar Foundation, joined him in center ring. Winning this title is the highest honor in the realm of Arabian horses and Kahil Al Shaqab was the newly crowned King. The impression he made as he accepted the applause and surveyed the crowd, was that he was bred and born for this moment – it was his destiny.
A few months later, in June of 2015, I had the opportunity to attend Giacomo Capacci’s Open House in Cortona, Italy. It was a star-studded event, which included the guest of honor, the world famous Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli – it was an incredible experience. However, for those of us from the world of Arabian horses, there were some equine superstars we were very excited to see as well: a gathering of World Champions unlike anything any of us had ever seen or will ever witness again. Among the World Champions presented were the legendary sires, Gazal Al Shaqab; his son, Marwan Al Shaqab; and the heir apparent to this dynasty of greatness, Kahil Al Shaqab. The impression these stallions made on me was deep – seeing them in the flesh, looking into their eyes, watching them prance and rear and vie for the crowd’s attention and applause was spellbinding. Witnessing the dynasty they have created through their offspring was a moment I will never forget. Kahil Al Shaqab is the sire of the newest generation of champions from this line.
Just like his grandsire, Gazal Al Shaqab, Kahil was selected to stand at the legendary Janow Podlaski State Stud in Poland. An invitation from this historic breeding farm is an incredible honor. According to Mohammed Al Sulaiti, Manager of of Al Shaqab Member Qatar Foundation, the lease of Kahil Al Shaqab to Janow Podlaski was a mutual agreement and the actual story is far more interesting than just the fact that Kahil was invited to stand at Janow. Mohammed and Dr. Marek Trela, the Director of Janow Podlaski, were talking at the 2011 All Nations Cup show. Dr. Trela told Mohammed that he was searching for a new stallion for Janow and Mohammed suggested that he consider Kahil. Dr. Trela had previously judged Kahil; he liked the colt and was interested in exploring the idea further. Dr. Trela’s primary concern was that Kahil, at just three years of age, was an unproven sire. That November, Dr. Trela traveled to Qatar to attend the WAHO Conference and during this time, Mohammed invited him to visit Al Shaqab and inspected Kahil’s first foals, as well as Kahil’s dam, OFW Mishaahl. Trela’s inspection of the foals and OFW Mishaahl convinced him that Kahil was the right stallion for Janow’s breeding program and an agreement was made. At that time, Kahil was being campaigned for the title of World Champion Colt and Trela announced that even if Kahil did not win in Paris, he still wanted him at Janow. During his time at Janow Podlaski, Kahil was bred to some of the finest mares in Poland and the results – just like his grandsire’s – are proving to be breathtaking in beauty and priceless in their breeding potential. They have risen to the very pinnacle of competitions in Poland. In fact, their show ring success made Kahil Al Shaqab the leading sire of the 2015 Bialka Spring Show.
In September of 2015, I attended the All Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany. Many people believe this show offers the toughest competition in the industry. As I watched the classes, my attention was drawn again and again to some very special young horses. They were all rich, brilliant bays with bold movement and great tail carriage; they had a distinctive style defined by elements of balance, refinement, quality, and beauty. Each time I turned to my program to check their breeding, I found their sire was Kahil Al Shaqab.
My personal favorite of the Kahil offspring in Aachen was Pustynia Kahila (x Pustyna Malwa), a 2013 filly bred and owned by Michalow State Stud. She was named All Nations Cup Bronze Champion Junior Female. I loved her style and elegance. Earlier in the year, she was the Polish National Gold Champion Junior Female and in 2014, she was the World Gold Champion Yearling Filly. Her half-sister, Al Jazeera, (x Alhasa), bred by Janow Podlaski, was also very lovely and won her class of Two-Year-Old Fillies over Pustynia Kahila. Al Jazeera was the 2014 Polish National Gold Champion Junior Filly. The yearling filly D Shireen (Kahil Al Shaqab x Magic Mon Amour), bred and owned by the Dubai Stud was another outstanding beauty at the show.
The colts at the All Nations Cup, sired by Kahil, were very special as well. In the Yearlings, a colt named Paris, (x Palmeta) caught my eye. He was third in his class in Aachen, which was an excellent follow up to his earlier title of Polish Gold Champion Junior Male. Kahil’s biggest winner at Aachen this year was the two-year-old colt, Morion, (x Mesalina), bred and owned by Michalow State Stud. Morion was the All Nations Cup Gold Champion Junior Male. In addition, he was the 2014 Polish National Gold Champion Junior colt and 2014 World Silver Champion Yearling Colt at the Salon du Cheval.
After the incredible excitement of the All Nations Cup, I was looking forward to seeing the Kahil offspring competing at the 2015 Salon du Cheval. There was tremendous anticipation created by the news that Dana Al Meslemani of Al Thumama Stud in Qatar had succeeded in leasing the handsome bay colt Morion from Michalow State Stud. Dana and Al Thumama Farm Manager, Hilke De Bruycker, had seen Morion earlier and believed deeply in his potential. They joined forces to negotiate an agreement – never giving up on their dream - until they finally accomplished their goal. Hilke announced the achievement to the world and they quickly made plans for Tom Oben to present Morion at the Salon du Cheval. The show is now over and everyone knows the tremendous success Morion, achieved, first winning his class and ultimately, winning the title of World Gold Champion Junior Colt. According to Hilke, plans for Morion including competing in the Middle East show circuit and then starting his breeding career.
Another extremely impressive offspring sired by Kahil Al Shaqab, is the exquisite three-year-old bay filly Minwah, (x LC Primavera by Padrons Psyche out of WN Samana by GG Samir), bred by Mohammed Al Sulaiti and owned by Al Jassimya Farm. In 2013, this gorgeous filly established her sire, Kahil Al Shaqab, as a serious breeding stallion when she won two of the most prestigious titles in the world: Menton Gold Champion Yearling Filly and World Gold Champion Yearling Filly.According to MohammedAl Sulaiti, Minwah’s breeder, she is an especially significant filly because she was Kahil’s very first foal and it was she who established him as a sire – even when he was still just a colt. I happen to agree, Minwah is a very special filly and I look forward to seeing her grow into a beautiful mare and fulfilling all of her potential as a show horse and more importantly, as a broodmare.
All that has been accomplished by this line of sires: Gazal Al Shaqab – Marwan Al Shaqab – Kahil Al Shaqab, is written in stone. The consistency this family has achieved is legendary, asthey have dominated show rings around the world for decades. The titles these stallions – and their offspring – have earned are almost too numerous to count. However, it’s not just the numbers of titles they have earned; it is the level of competition they conquered. In 2001, Gazal Al Shaqab was named World Gold Champion Stallion and his son, Marwan Al Shaqab, was named World Gold Champion Colt. In 2002, Marwan was again named World Gold Champion Colt and in 2008, he was also named World Gold Champion Stallion.
Kahil Al Shaqab continued his family’s legacy by earning the titles of 2011 World Gold Champion Colt and Menton Gold Champion Junior Male. Three years later, in 2014, Kahil also earned the most important title of World Gold Champion Stallion. Today, Kahil Al Shaqab is a champion in his own right and he is creating his own dynasty with his daughter, World Gold Champion Filly, Minwah, and now his son Morion, the 2015 World Gold Champion Junior Colt.
There are many stallions sired by Marwan Al Shaqab. How and why does Kahil Al Shaqab stand out? To find the answer, I looked to his mother, OFW Mishaahl (Mishaah x OFW Balarina by RSD Dark Victory x Balaquina by Bask). Oh my--what a pedigree! No wonder the Polish breeders used Kahil Al Shaqab with such tremendous success – his pedigree is full of Polish aristocrats and legends of the breed. In fact, Kahil has seven lines to Bask, which certainly explains his athletic ability, as well as his prepotency in producing such powerful moving foals. Two additional stallions found in Kahil’s pedigree – and which I believe continue to contribute classic type are Fadjur and Gamaar. This level of genetic strength creates a consistency that is extremely important – and helpful – to breeders who are serious about improving their herd and producing exceptional individuals.
At only seven-years-old, Kahil Al Shaqab has already firmly established himself as both a supreme show horse and a sire throughout Europe. In their effort to provide Kahil with every opportunity to fulfill his ultimate destiny and to take his influence to a global level, his breeders and owners, Al Shaqab Member Qatar Foundation, have placed their heir to the throne into the very capable hands of David Boggs of Midwest Training and Breeding Stations.
The success David has achieved with the Al Shaqab horses in the United States goes far beyond the show ring and the colorful championship ribbons and gleaming trophies. Indeed, he has lead the Al Shaqab horses to countless victories and the most prestigious titles in North America, placing them into the spotlight, and gaining the attention of American breeders – both large and small. After the tremendous success David Boggs achieved with Hariry Al Shaqab in the show ring, winning Scottsdale Grand Champion Stallion, Arabian Breeders World Cup Gold Champion, and U.S. National Champion, as well as the record number of breedings sold to Hariry, David was the natural choice for showing and managing Kahil Al Shaqab.
Kahil’s introduction to American breeders began in the biggest way possible – the Midwest New Year’s Open House held on Sunday, January 3rd, 2016. Over 650 breeders, owners, and trainers, as well as international media, journalists, and photographers were there to welcome Kahil to Scottsdale. You could feel the anticipation leading up to his American debut and Kahil did not disappoint anyone. He burst onto the stage with his signature flamboyant style. Other champion stallions were also presented, but Kahil demanded everyone’s attention – and he got it.
According to David Boggs, “I give credit to Mohammed Al Sulaiti for his foresight and belief in Kahil Al Shaqab. As the manager of Al Shaqab, Mohammed is deeply committed to giving this incredible young stallion every opportunity to achieve all that is possible for him and we are honored – grateful – that Al Shaqab chose Midwest to help guide Kahil to his destiny here in the United States.
“Our plans for Kahil include his American show ring debut at the 2016 Scottsdale Show. It’s the biggest and most prestigious Arabian horse show in the world and we believe he is up to the challenge. He has the energy, attitude, and charisma of a champion, and he has the beautiful type and bold movement that horses need to win here in the states. Kahil is very strong in both these categories. Structurally, he has an incredible front end; his shoulder angulations, neck, and throat are amazing. He also has a strong hip and tremendous drive from his hindquarters. Kahil has seven crosses to the great Bask, which I credit for his outstanding athletic strength.
“Kahil is ready for the Scottsdale show. He acclimated very quickly to Arizona – I think he likes it here – and his energy is incredible. He has a tremendous work ethic; he seems to really enjoy the conditioning, exercise, and the sunshine. Our goal is to make him happy and to keep him healthy, to bring him to his peak of perfection, so he can be all he can be as a show horse and as a sire.
“Our efforts to showcase Kahil to American breeders began beautifully with his presentation at our New Year’s Open House. He has so much to offer breeders here. We want to bring Kahil the best mares of every bloodline available in the U.S. From the start, the response has been extremely positive with top breeders purchasing packages; breeders including Cedar Ridge Farm, Aria International, Milestone Arabians, Oak Ridge Arabians, Stone Ridge Arabians and more. National Champion mares are already booked to Kahil including the great RH Triana and Perfirka. It’s so exciting!
“I am looking forward to the coming months and the arrival of more Al Shaqab horses, including some very exciting sons and daughters of Kahil. I believe they will really show American breeders just what he can do – what he can bring to their breeding programs. The Kahil offspring will arrive later this spring, after they show at the Qatar National Championship show, which is in March.
“I want to add, that working with Al Shaqab has been such a pleasure. It is an excellent business partnership that has grown into personal relationships that we truly enjoy. The entire team is made up of really smart, talented, kind and incredibly devoted people – it just doesn’t get any better. Al Shaqab is the leading breeding farm in the world and it is an honor to be associated with them. Our success with Al Shaqab began with Hariry Al Shaqab and I believe it will continue with Kahil. We invite everyone to join us at Midwest. Come to the farm, enjoy the beautiful Arabian horses and prepare yourselves to witness the wonder of Kahil.”
The enthusiasm, energy, and excitement that surrounds Kahil Al Shaqab draws us to him like a magnet because he speaks to our hearts. His flashing eyes, flying mane, arched neck, flagged tail, and powerful carriage all whisper, “Dream, hope, imagine… while his sons and daughters with their huge black eyes, swan necks, strong bodies, delicate limbs and plume tails say, “Promise fulfilled…”
Kahil Al Shaqab’s unique beauty and charisma earned him the title of World Gold Champion. And, although it is a tremendous honor to win that title, it is the ability to sire champions and champion producers that truly immortalizes a stallion. With the united efforts of Al Shaqab Member Qatar Foundation, David Boggs and his dedicated staff, as well as breeders from around the world, I believe it is only a matter of time for Kahil Al Shaqab to be recognized as a truly great sire with a lasting influence.
~ Thank you to all the photographers whose images are featured. ~