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The 2015 International Arabian Horse Show: Morocco
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November 16th, 2015

The 2015 Salon Du Cheval D’ El Jadida:

The International Arabian Horse Show: Part two of three

By Lisa Abraham


 The 2015 International Arabian Horse Show, from Oct 14-15, in El Jadida, Morocco, was an event with important potential.  Although a relatively new show, it is already being supported by some of our most important farms, breeders and enthusiasts. It was organized by the Association du Salon du Cheval (ASC) and the Royal Moroccan Arabian Horse Breeders Association (ARMECPSA), in collaboration with the Societe Royale d’Encouragement du Cheval (SOREC) and the Arabian Horse Organization (AHO).

Christine Jamar, one of the 2015 judges, shared, “The Morocco show was new for me. It was the first time that I judged in El Jadida and I was very pleased with the set up. The show was held in a beautiful arena that could be compared to one in which the World Championships (Paris) is held. The arena had been built in one year, which was hard to believe, but everything was ready. The show was also very well organized. The sand in the arena was of top quality--which was nice for horses, handlers and judges. There were also a good number of participants. However, I expected more horses of high quality, but I think that this will be better in the future. But all of the champions were of good quality.

“There were also lots of enthusiastic spectators, which indicates that the Moroccan people are interested in Arabian Horses. I believe that in the future, this festival will be known worldwide as they also have other big competitions such as fantasia, which are spectacular, and an exhibition hall that had beautiful pieces of local art and attributes of horses. Finally, the hospitality in Morocco is always exceptional which facilitates a positive show atmosphere. It was a great experience and I hope to be there again in the future.”


Pure Arabian Horse Breeders Gala in the Zaytouna Restaurant at the  Mazagan Hotel and Beach Resort


Gala: Pure Arabian Horse Breeders

On Wednesday, October 14th, after classes, The Horse Fair Association and The Royal Moroccan Association of Arab Thoroughbred Horse Breeders hosted a gala dinner. It  was a lovely evening at the Zaytouna Restaurant which is located in the luxurious Mazagan Hotel and Beach Resort. A main purpose of the evening was to recognize certain photographers for their outstanding work. The Arab Photographers Union sponsored a photography competition for those whose work is concentrated specifically on the Arabian horse. This competition was open to all photographers within this subject. Five finalists were chosen for recognition and were given awards.

After enjoying some casual social time and the brief awards ceremony, we were served a multi course dinner of traditional Moroccan food, while continuing to enjoy each other’s company. The food was not only attractive to the eye, it was served elegantly and quite tasty as well. It was a beautiful evening as just outside the ornate dining room, on the veranda, every star was visible to the eye. The Gala ended pleasantly with tea and coffee.




 The Competition

 The International Arabian Horse Show was an ECAHO Class A Show. Horses were judged individually on the following: standing, walking and trotting.With a point scale of  between 10 and 20, the following class criteria were ranked: head and neck, body and top line, legs and movement. The Championships were judged comparatively. The 2015 panel of judges included:  Dr. Gianmarco Aragno (Italy), Mrs. Christine Jamar (Belgium), Mr. Tamas Rombauer (Hungry), Mr. Raouf Abbas (Egypt), Mr. Koenraad Detailleur (Belgium) and Dr. Abdelouashed Maagoul (Morocco).The Dubai Stud won Gold and Silver in both Yearling Championships--with Yearling Colt Champions D Sari and D Qaswarah

I would like to mention the quality of the show program as I found it to be incredibly well done. Although we all value show programs, as a journalist, the program is essential to my work. Also, the size of the publication is important. A concise program is much easier to manage than a heavy bound book, which is also important when considering travel. From a graphics perspective, it was attractive and pleasant to the eye; from a content perspective, it had all the appropriate information regarding rules and competitors; and finally, from the perspective of usage and travel, it was a favorable size. For my work, all of these factors were appreciated.

Another observation I would like to share is that, of the champions, there was strong diversity in both type and pedigree. Often times in my coverage, I will include numbers relating to the progeny of certain stallions as a very small handful of sires have dominated the rings of the world. In El Jadida, of the eighteen Champions, fourteen different sires were represented, with only four of them siring more. The sires represented by two champions were: SG Labib, AJ Portofino, AJA Justified and Marwan Al Shaqab. To me, this is a healthy sign, not just for the show, but for the industry as a whole.

The big winner in both Yearling Championships was the Dubai Arabian Stud (EAU) as they bred and own  the Gold and Silver Champions for both the Fillies and Colts—an impressive achievement.  The Yearling Female Gold Champion was D Yamamah (X Aria Marquesa), while the Silver Champion was D Maleekah (X Angeliccah). Both fillies were sired by SG Labib (WH Justice X DF Halifa), a 2009 stallion. The Bronze was earned by Madheena Selman (Sandhiran X Mashahir), who was bred and is owned by Mr. Bennani Smires Abdeslam (Morocco). The Yearling Male Gold Champion was D Sari (Kahil Al Shaqab X Magic Mon Amour), while the Silver was earned by D Qaswarah (RFI Farid X D Muwadah). The Bronze Champion was Jawen Aslal (ZT Marwteyn X Just Adore), who was bred and is owned by Mrs. ET Myriam & Alain Chatton (France).

 The Junior Female Gold Champion was Meshael Al Khalediah (El Palacio VO X Ghala Al Khalediah), a 2012 filly, bred and owned by Al Khalediah Stables (KSA). I would like to side-track for a moment and share some interesting information regarding Meshael Al Khalediah's sire, El Palacio VO, who is also owned by Al Khalediah Stables. Traditionally, after the All Nations Cup in Aachen, Christine Jamar hosts an open house at her farm, the home of Jadem Arabians in Belgium. It is quite an experience as she represents a powerhouse of some of our most important stallions, one of which is El Palacio VO.

El Palacio VO, a 2006 stJunior Mare Gold Champion  Meshael Al Khalediah (El Palacio VO X Ghala Al Khalediah)allion, is impressive, not only in presence, but in his unique pedigree as well. He is he sired by Straight Egyptian, Al Lahab, and out of one of my favorite mares, El Dorada. EL Palacio VO seemed to inherit the conformational strengths of both parents, but showed with the charisma that I associated with his dam.  His breeder Manny Vierra, of Valley Oak Arabians (USA), shared, “I leased El Dorado for two years, from 2004-2006, from Michałów State Stud (Poland). One of the things that drew me to her was that when she comes in to the ring she makes you look at her. She trots like a park horse, with her tail straight up and doesn’t stop.

“I believe El Dorada, who is by Sanadik El Shaklan, gets her charisma from her dam Emigrantka, a daughter of Eukaliptus. Although Emigrantka passed away young, when she was only seventeen, she was called the ‘Queen of Poland.’ Not only did she produce El Dorada, but Emigrant (X Ararat) as well, whom I own. Emigrant is another champion who showed with that same heart. El Dorada is always going to come into the ring like she owns it. In 2006, before she left for home, I showed her at US Nationals to a unanimous win.

“I chose Al Lahab for El Dorada after seeing him for the first time at Om El Arab (USA). I couldn’t believe his outstanding type and that he had a head to die for….Also, since Laheeb, Al Lahab’s sire, has been used successfully with the bloodlines of Sanadik El Shaklan, I knew I wanted to stay with that blood—and it worked! When El Palacio VO was born, I knew he was going to be special for three primary reasons; first, his pedigree; second, he carried himself in that ‘look at me, here I am’ way; and third, he had all the right parts in all the right places.”

The Silver Medal was earned by AJ Reeda (AJ Portofino X AJ Raheda), a 2013 filly who was bred by and is owned by Ajman Stud (EAU); while the Bronze went to Latifa Athbah (X Ermina), a 2012 filly who was bred by Athbah Stud and is owned by HRH Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Ahmed Al Saud (KSA).

The Junior Male Gold Champion was AJ Marzan (AJ Portofino X HED AB Maria), a 2013 colt who was bred by and is owned by Ajman Stud (EAU); while the Silver Champion was Lammah Athbah (X Parmana), a 2012 colt who was bred by Athbah Stud and is owned by Haras Royal De Bouznika (Morocco).  While the Bronze went to Shadi Al Khalidiah (F Shamaal X Layan Al Khalidiyah), a 2012 colt who was bred by and is owned by Al Khalidiah Stables (KSA).

Also a side note worthy of mention, AJA Justfied (WH Justice X AJA Beneja), who sired both Lammah Athbah and Latifa Athbah, was the 2010 Junior Colt European Triple Crown winner. In the ring, he has already proven himself--as a sire, his career is off to a favorable start. In 2014, he was in the United States, being represented by Michael Byatt. One of Michael’s many strengths is his commitment to the horses in his care and his genuine belief in them.  In April, for the Arabian Breeders World Cup, Michael brought AJA Justified for a special presentation and very eagerly accommodated private visits, before and after classes. I was fortunate enough to attend one as he is not only a formidable stallion, but remained in the states for only a brief period. Also, just weeks before the El Jadida show, AJA Justified, who was bred by Jane and Malcolm Hickford of AJA Arabians (UK) and is owned by RB Arabians (Israel), became the 2015 All Nations Cup Senior Stallion Bronze ChampioSenior Mare Gold Champion Ghazalat Al Khalediah (PA Gaszi X Argentinna SS)n in Aachen, Germany.

The Senior Female Championship was my favorite as I have always been a fan of Gold Champion, Ghazalet Al Khalediah (P.A. Gaszi X Argentinna SS), a 2010 mare  who was bred by Pannonia Arabians, Dr. Istvan & Agnes Merchenthaler and Dvina Arabians and is owned by Al Khalediah Stables (KSA). I first saw her in 2011 as she became the Junior Female Silver World Champion in Paris and then the Bronze Champion in 2012. Although I do find her to be an all-around beautiful, well balanced mare, I am mostly touched by the very close relationship she obviously shares with her handler Phillipe Hosay.

The life of a show horse is not always easy, as a lot is asked of them. Although all of our top horses know their jobs in the ring, often times the lifestyle does not accommodate long term personal relations. I think the relationship between these two is not only a credit to Phillipe as a handler, but to the character of Ghazalet herself—which, in my opinion, is an incredibly important and often overlooked, historically valuable trait of the Arabian breed—not often seen in the high end show ring.

Clarissima (Esparto X Calineczka), a 2011 mare who was bred by Mr. Marek Kondraisuk (Poland) and is owned by Al Jazeera Arabian Horse Stud (EAU), was the Silver Champion; whileTF Magic Kamilah (FS Bengali X KAR Zafrani), a 2007 mare who was bred by Mr. Nelio Taboga and is owned by Fontanella Magic Arabians (Italy), earned the Bronze title.

The Senior Male Gold Champion was Memphis 27 (El Amin X SA Misha Apal), a 2005 stallion who is owned by Ajman Stud (EAU). Memphis 27 was bred by James Swaenepoel (Belgium). Not only has James been breeding Arabian horses for 25 years, he is the only European to sit on the board of one of our  communities most important shows, the Arabian Breeders World Cup, in Las Vegas (USA). Graciously, James shared a very touching story, “We knew Memphis was special the moment he was born. He was the only foal born in our field outside the barn, as his recipient’s signs of foaling were not accurate. Then after he was born, his mom did not like him to show. Every time he started to trot she kicked him—so it was no secret he was weaned at 100 days and many stitches! Since she was recipient number 27, to honor her, we added that to his name. We are so happy Memphis 27 competes for Gold every time he shows. Congratulations team Ajman Stud!"

The Senior Male Silver Champion was Peace From The Desert (Marwan Al Shawab X FS Penelope).  Peace From The Desert, a 2010 stallion who was bred by Arabian Horses Center Al Dirab and is owned by Al Khalediah Stables (KSA), was the also the 2015 Gold Champion Stallion in both Prague and Sharjah. The Bronze Champion was Wazeer Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab X Hanouf Al Shaqab), a 2007 stallion who was bred by Al Shaqab Stud and is owned by Bu Thaila Stud (Qatar).



Outside of the horses themselves, seeing old friends and meeting new ones is the best part of being at a show. We are fortunate that as an Arabian community, although our  daily lives are scattered all over the planet, at shows, we gather as though we never parted. Stories continue exactly where they left off, while at the same time, new ones begin.

To me, the Morocco show, yet still in its early stages, is already part of our global Arabian show circuit. Of course the horses and the farms who are supporting this show are a huge contributing factor to this, but there is another reason—the people. Often when I write show editorials, my coverage touches on previous shows as we are all building on experiences. In Morocco, not only did I meet new friends, but I was able to connect the dots of my work from one show to the next.

Just weeks before in Aachen, at the All Nations Cup, the Arabian world cheered as Yearling Filly Mimi NK (Nofal NK X Cinnamon Spice VLA), who was bred and is owned by NK Arabians (Jordon), became the Gold Champion. For the award ceremony, we all witnessed a special moment as Mimi NK’s family joyfully entered the ring, hand in hand. Every photographer present got this shot and, without a doubt, it was the most published shot from this year’s show. However, due to unfortunate timing, I was unable to secure an interview as I would have loved to promote the Aachen success of Nofal and Muntaha (Mimi) Kahook, of NK Arabians. 

That being written, since our important shows do relate to one another, lost opportunities have a way of reemerging—and, these “second chances” are often at more advantageous times. Thanks to the fact that the El Jadida Arabian show has secured itself as a show of destination, I was fortunate to have quality one-on-one time with Nofal and Mimi, to discuss not just the past—but hopes for the future as well.  

On the first day of the show, while at lunch, due to chance, I sat with Nofal and Mimi. Horses and shows were, of course, the topics of conversation. As we discussed Aachen, I was touched by Mimi’s emotion as she shared her feelings about her filly’s win. So even though my Aachen coverage was completed and published, my Moroccan coverage was not—and it is just this type of exchange that makes a show experience special.

About the filly who was named after her, Mimi shared, “Everything starts with a dream. In order for something to become reality—it all starts with the dream. And I think with our filly Mimi NK—it was a dream and it became reality—and, to me, that is the best feeling ever. First we got Gold in Prague and in Aachen, we won also, the Gold. Now we are looking forward to the World Championships! I hope, I hope, I hope—I have a dream and I hope it becomes reality in Paris!”




The marketing concept of “positioning” is huge when considering the success of a business or venture. Depending on what is being marketed, this could include one or all of the following: physical location, timing and/or with whom one surrounds oneself. In the case of the International Arabian Horse Show, strategic work has obviously been done to create strong market positioning. Not only does it sit comfortably, and without conflict, on the calendar among our most important shows, but it is also being attended, in person and with horses, by some of our most important breeders and individuals. When all the pieces are in place—than the rest is left up to time. Personally, I have faith that time will prove that the future of the International Arabian Horse Show, in El Jadida, is quite bright!


Please plan to attend the 2016 Salon Du Cheval D’El Jadida from October 11-16

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Lisa Abraham is an International Journalist and Photographer from the United States. Although she does free-lance for various media, her primary dedication is to as a Premier Contributor and Representative. She is also a breeder of Straight Egyptian Arabians.