The 2016 US Egyptian Event
The 36th Annual US Egyptian Event:
Celebrating the Horse without Borders -The Egyptian Arabian, a Global Ambassador
By Lisa Abraham
Photos by Don Stine, Lori and Victor Ricigliano, Suzanne Sturgill, Jenni Ogden, Randi Clark and Lisa Abraham
The Pyramid Society’s (TPS) 36th Annual Egyptian Event in Lexington, Kentucky (USA) was a show of brave innovation and deep community spirit. From June 7-11, members of the Straight Egyptian (SE) community gathered from all over the world to enjoy a week of camaraderie and competition. For the Egyptian Event, 2016 represented a year that important changes were implemented and these were received with both support and appreciation.
Judy Sirbasku of Arabians LTD: The Exclusive 36th Anniversary Signature Sponsor
It is exciting to announce that the 2016 exclusive 36th Anniversary Signature Sponsor was Judi Sirbasku of Arabians LTD—most particularly as this was her second consecutive year. Judy’s contribution and support of this show has been enormous. Not only has she bred and owned many of the horses competing each year, but she also represents a strong client base. It is also important to note that an impressive number of Pyramid Society members and SE breeders were initially introduced to this breed through the efforts of Judy, her late husband Jim and Arabians Ltd.
Anna Bishop: Working at The Pyramid Society for numerous years has afforded me the opportunity of meeting many breeders, enthusiasts and members. As with any organization, I’ve seen people ‘come and go,’ and likewise, I’ve been privileged to work with those breeders whose dedication and commitment to the Straight Egyptian Arabian and The Pyramid Society were paramount in every conversation and action. These were the breeders whose passion kept them going and triumphed over the heartbreak from inevitable disappointments and losses. These were the breeders who persevered and became leaders and mentors for others. The late Jim Sirbasku and Judy Sirbasku are such examples. Defining passion, they have helped write the ongoing Egyptian Event success story. Their efforts fueled success through numerous sponsorships, including Judy’s Signature Sponsorship for the last two years. Through the years, every fund-raising effort has readily been endorsed by Arabians Ltd., including the very successful Egyptian Breeders’ Challenge member incentive program. Thank you, Judy, for your unwavering passion and commitment, as well as to Shawn, and the Arabians Ltd. team. We’re grateful for you, along with each additional sponsor, breeder, exhibitor, attendee and enthusiast who helps strengthen and unite our world-wide Straight Egyptian Arabian community through your passion!
~Anna Bishop is the Executive Director of TPS.
Omar Sakr of Sakr Arabians: The Exclusive 36th Anniversary Trophy and Ribbon Sponsor
Omar Sakr of Sakr Arabians (Egypt) is deeply influential in the world of Straight Egyptian Arabian horses. Not only is Omar a co-founder of The Egyptian Arabian Horse Pyramids Foundation in Egypt, and serves as the current Chairman of its Board of Trustees, but he was also the President of the Egyptian Arabian Horse Breeders Association (EAHBA) for ten years. Omar has been a dedicated breeder of Straight Egyptian Arabian Horses for over 25 years and has been instrumental in the publishing of several important reference manuals published in Egypt and piloting educational conferences. Finally, Omar also serves as an active member of TPS Board.
Lisa Lacy: The Egyptian horse has a long history that includes individuals along the way who had the vision and the determination to not only protect and nurture the horse, but also to identify its quality and strength, and intensify its assets. Omar Sakr is one of the more recent such visionaries. Once he discovered the Egyptian horse and its heritage, Omar imported back to Egypt distinctly Egyptian horses that traced their own lineage directly to the Egyptian Agricultural Association’s legendary breeding program. His was the first major importation of Egyptian bloodlines back to Egypt in more than seven generations. Omar’s vision led to a reinvigoration of Egyptian breeding in this horse’s historic homeland and led to an explosion of Egyptian horse owners in Egypt.
In addition, Omar, his wife, Sherifa, and their family, have developed their own breeding program that has had a substantial impact throughout the world. Sakr Arabians has produced highly regarded herd sires, winning show horses, and stunning broodmares who have anchored new breeding programs around the region and the world. For example, Sakr Arabians captured three consecutive Egyptian horse World Championships in Rome, Italy: Nabila Sakr, Champion Mare; Farouk Sakr, Champion Stallion; Adham Sakr, Champion Stallion. Adham Sakr also won Senior Stallion honors in Kuwait in 2015.
Not content to simply create a world-class breeding program, Omar has also committed time and effort to mentor new breeders and owners through progressive and interactive seminars, such as the 2014 Egyptian Breeders’ Association (EBA) Seminar, in Cairo. The success of the EBA seminar caught the attention of TPS, which adopted the EBA format as the template for the TPS’s 2015 International Breeders’ Conference: “The Art of Breeding Egyptian Arabian Horses.”
The Egyptian Arabian horse has long been the archetype for visionaries, and Omar Sakr has carried forward the vision for his own generation and for the future. Finally, it was Omar who was the visionary for the creation, development and the publication of The Pyramid Society Stud Book for Straight Egyptian Arabian Horses Worldwide.
~Lisa Lacy, Bentwood Farms. Lisa has also served on TPS Board and has served as an International Judge.
Kentucky Horse Park
The Kentucky Horse Park (KHP), which continues to be the home of this prestigious show, is one of the most beautiful equine facilities in the world. The park, whose history is rooted in Thoroughbred racing, became the property of the state of Kentucky in 1978. At the time, it was the only public park in the world dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. The KHP hosted the 2010 World Equestrian Games and is home to the prestigious Kentucky Rolex Three Day Event--which is one of only six international events that competes at this top level. Furthermore, there is no doubt that this picturesque venue contributes to attracting some of the industry’s most important photographers, ensuring thorough international coverage.
Lori Ricigliano: Once every year, breeders and enthusiasts of the regal Egyptian Arabian Horse, meet in historic Lexington, Kentucky for the Egyptian Event. This show is so much more than a competition. People gather from all over the world not just to celebrate the Straight Egyptian Horse, but also to learn more of its history and how to become better custodians. In addition, there are numerous activities focused on camaraderie and fun.
The backdrop to this great show is the beautiful KHP. As photographers, my husband Victor and I really appreciate all this park has to offer. Within the park grounds, there are many gorgeous walking paths woven among mature trees; lush green pastures; beautifully maintained white fences; and historic stables. It's the perfect background to capture that special shot. Also, throughout the park, it just feels so "equestrian"--as if there is no other world outside of the horse. We find this to be artistically inspirational and are grateful for the opportunity to have that reflected in our photography.
Lori Ricigliano, Marketing Mafia. Lori with her husband Victor were 2016 Official Egyptian Event Media Photographers for the TPS
The media played an important role in this year’s Event. Pre show promotion was strong and was communicated primarily through social medias and email newsletters. This pre show strategy had two goals: (1) To introduce, educate and prepare participants and guests for the new policies that were going to be enforced; and (2), to create excitement for the upcoming show and its many activities. Both goals were met with success. For the first time this year, The Pyramid Society (TPS) utilized Facebook heavily as an important tool in this communication as its structure provided for timely questions, answers and clarifications.
Through the duration of the week, attending medias worked diligently to record the many facets of the show. It was attended and/or represented by many top international medias such as Arabian Horse World, Arabhorse.com, Arabian Horse Times and The Arabian Magazine (UK). Additional coverage will also be provided by both Bait Al Arab (Kuwait) and Desert Heritage (Italy). The live feed was provided by The Arabian Horse Global Network and Don Stine was the Official Photographer.
The Pyramid Society Stud Book for Straight Egyptian Arabian Horses Worldwide
The 2016 Egyptian Event was the ideal occasion for the release of The Pyramid Society Stud Book for Straight Egyptian Arabian Horses Worldwide. Led by Omar Sakr, this monumental reference manual has been in the works for several years. The Pyramid Society Stud Book for Straight Egyptian Arabian Horses Worldwide was sponsored bySheikh Khalid Bagado of Al Khaled Farm (KSA), who also sponsored the seminar committed to introducing this important piece of reference literature. The seminar was followed by a an unprecedented book signing by several of the book’s main contributors which included: Omar Sakr (Egypt) , Judith Forbis (USA), Mohamed El Bourini (Egypt) , Keri Wright (USA), Joe Ferriss (USA) and Henry Metz (USA) in place of Christie Metz.
Cynthia Culbertson: The publication of The Pyramid Society Stud Book for Straight Egyptian Arabian Horses Worldwide is a pivotal moment for both The Pyramid Society and the Straight Egyptian Arabian. While the founders of The Pyramid Society carefully constructed the definition for a Straight Egyptian nearly 50 years ago, having this stud book in print means there is now an authoritative and definitive reference regarding these horses: If a horse traces in every line of its pedigree to horses listed in the stud book, it is Straight Egyptian! Thanks to the hard work and dedication of those who saw this project to fruition, owners and breeders can also now order certificates from TPS attesting that their horse is Straight Egyptian, which will be beneficial both for the marketplace and show ring. The Stud Book serves to give owners and breeders certainty that their horse is indeed “Straight Egyptian” and will be a positive influence in eliminating any confusion over the bloodlines of these unique and influential horses.
~Cynthia Culbertson, El Miladi Stud (USA). Cynthia is also a Board Member of TPS.
Shopping at the Egyptian Event is special. Some of our community’s most important artists and vendors attended, making the show a good opportunity to acquire unique and collectable items. The vendors set up on the concourse which surrounded the arena, ensuring convenience for shoppers to peruse in between classes. This year some of the artists/vendors included: Zan Economopoulos, Deborah (Rush) DeRosier and Nancy Gates of Heirloom Halters. Among the vendors are large booth spaces occupied, furnished and decorated by farms to conduct business, to share farm information and/or to provide comfortable spots for clients to relax in between classes. Some of the farms who take advantage of this opportunity are: Kehilan Arabians, Hadaya Arabians and Rancho Bulakenyo.
This year a very special guest set up a booth to share her family’s influential history with the straight Egyptian Arabian: Angie St. Clair Lloyd. Angie’s parents were Les and Lois St. Clair of St. Clair Egyptian Arabian Stud. In 1964, although not yet a focused program, St. Clair Egyptian Arabian Stud started in the horse business. Then eight years later, they discovered that the type they were most drawn to was that of the Egyptian Arabian horse. With the aid of constant study, they built a herd of horses whose names and pedigrees are not only still relevant today, but also, are deeply treasured. For example, the St. Clair’s owned *El Mareekh, *Deenaa and *Magidaa. As breeders, their contribution was enormous as they produced “greats” such as: Bint Deenna, Ibn El Mareekh and Anaza El Farid—each holding influential and cherished positions in our pedigrees.
Angie St. Clair Lloyd: Mom passed away on September 13, 2001, shortly after selling the last of their foundation stock. When Dad passed away on March 7, 2013, I then became the recipient of all the horse memorabilia. I made a hasty decision in June of 2013 to donate several of the St. Clair “treasures” to TPS for their silent auction. I had not been to the Egyptian Event in more than twenty years, but with my youngest daughter at my side, I drove to Lexington with the items I felt could “let go of” and hopefully raise money for the Society that had been a big part of our lives. However, I was not prepared for the overwhelming emotion that consumed me--just being there. It brought back so many memories...
I had become Facebook friends with a lady from Australia, Dorothy Hodge. Dorothy posted the kindest things about Mom, Dad, and the horses and also shared photos of her beautiful *El Mareekh bred stallion, Monteego Bay. When I met Dorothy at the 2015 Egyptian Event, one would have thought we were reunited, long lost friends, when in fact we had just met. I shared with Dorothy that I was trying to come up with some way to memorialize Mom and Dad because many years before Mom passed away she repeatedly said to me, “I want to be remembered.” Since her passing I have struggled with fulfilling that dream of hers. While standing near the Perpetual Trophies, Dorothy said, “Why not make one of these in their name?”
… And so began my journey…
In my mind, there was never any doubt who I would ask to make the trophy and to my surprise, Dorothy had the same gifted artist in mind: Rik Augustin. I asked Rik if he would consider creating an *El Mareekh bronze to memorialize Mom, Dad, and St Clair Egyptian Arabian Stud. He responded, “I have always wanted to do a bronze of *El Mareekh and I said I would never do another unless it was of *El Mareekh--so YES I would be honored!” To fund this project I had to make the profound decision to sell a majority of their collection of art and bronzes. The Egyptian Event was a way for me to get the word out about this memorial, show the pieces I have for sale and reintroduce the St. Clair breeding to the newcomers. The response was awe-inspiring!
~Angie St. Clair Lloyd, St. Clair Egyptian Arabian Stud
If we want our children to carry on our love for the horse, we must educate them, which is why programs that teach our youth are so important. Four years ago Melinda Jeffries (Jeffries Arabian Center) and Jillian Whitlow (Empire Egyptians) joined forces to start a program to do just that. Jillian shared, “Our goal is to promote and cultivate the youth to have the knowledge and leadership skills to be the next generation of ambassadors, breeders and participants of TPS. We focus on well-rounded knowledge of basic horsemanship through fun and enjoyable activities. This year our numbers were increased as well as the interaction among the kids. It has been a nice reward for us to observe that after several years of participation, the children have forged friendships and share a camaraderie which now extends from year to year.
The center for all youth activities was the “Youth Tent,” which was located on the arena concourse among the vendor booths. Not only was this the official meeting place for all activities, but it was also a place where kids could relax throughout the week with movies and snacks. The schedule of youth activities included: A meet-and greet (June 7); a show grooming clinic taught by Jeffries Arabians (June 8); a photography clinic taught by Don Stine (June 9); an art project taught by Jillian Whitlow and Melinda Jeffries (June 10); and, on Championship night (June 11), an ice cream social and stick horse competition.
Augusta Hammock: 2015 was an important year of growth for the Youth Program at the Egyptian Event. It was before the EBC Stallion Auction, when darling art items created by the children were successfully auctioned off—this is when I knew I wanted to be involved. Once a seedling artist myself, I understand the significance of enabling the youth to express their creativity and recognizing them for it. This year, not only was I honored to sponsor the Youth Art Activity, but also, I was delighted to provide the commentary while the children's art items were auctioned off once again. Together, we raised an astounding $900 for future youth activities!
I reminisce about toting my sketchbook around at the Egyptian Event when I was a child. Most memorable was my encounter with Shary B. Akers, who graciously looked through my sketches and spoke words of encouragement over my future as an artist. Now, many years later, I see the effect that experience had on my life. From one artist to another—Shary to me and me to our youth—we do what we are able to build up the next generation of creative minds. One never knows what the children we empower will accomplish someday.
~Augusta Hammock, The Hadassah Reserve. Augusta is also a Lifetime Member of TPS
The Trustees' Award is one of TPS’s highest honors. It is an award chosen by the Board of Trustees which, "Seeks to acknowledge and formally recognize the lifetime of achievements and the passionate dedication of its recipients--both to TPS and to the Egyptian Arabian Horse." Past recipients of the Trustees' Award include: Amid Abdelhamid, Anna Bishop, Joe Ferriss, Willis & Imogene Flick, Donald & Judith Forbis, Barbara Griffith, Martha Murdoch, Tom McNair, Dr. Hans Nagel, Judy Sirbasku, Rhita McNair and Polly Knoll. In 2015, both Bait Al Arab (The State Stud of Kuwait) and Mr. Mohammed J. Al Marzouk were chosen to be honored. Representing the Board of Trustees are: Dr. Joseph (Jody) Cruz, Robert Fauls, Judith Forbis, Martha Lucas, Christie & Henry Metz, Sherry Mosely, Tom Salome and Howell Wallace. This year the Rogers Family of Kehilan Arabians was recognized as the recipient of this prestigious Award.
Henry Metz: When it came time to choose this year's recipient there was one obvious name, the Rogers family of Kehilan Arabians. Their journey started with Jean, the family matriarch who had a childhood dream of owning an Arabian horse. Once married, she gained the support of her husband Herb and the lifetime venture began. Very early on they focused on Straight Egyptian Arabian horses and the interest became a family affair as daughters Nancy and Becky joined.
Over a 40 year stretch, the Rogers family established one of the most premier breeding programs of straight Egyptian bloodlines. They have also continuously and generously supported the many activities and programs of TPS. I think it would be fair to say that most people have no idea of the level of support this family has provided because it is always been done discreetly and without personal expectations--this is the true gift of giving.
Additionally, the Rogers family has provided an immeasurable amount of service over the years. Both Nancy and Becky have served on the TPS Board of Directors and both have held officer positions. They also have headed numerous committees which have taken on some of the more challenging issues faced in recent times. For these reasons, and even more, the Rogers family deserve this honor. Unfortunately the little girl who had a dream is no longer with us, but I have to believe she is looking down and smiling, knowing that her husband and daughters continue to live out her dream.
~Henry Metz, Silver Maple Farm. Henry is also a past President of TPS and is a current Trustee.
Gala & Fundraiser: Guardians of the Treasure
The 2016 Gala & Fundraiser, “Guardians of the Treasure,” which took place on Friday, June 10th, was an evening that will be remembered as special. Along with the rest of the week, there were several innovations to the night which enhanced the enjoyment of this formal occasion.
The Premier Auction Fundraiser included: a breeding to Imperial Madheen; an original bronze by Karen Kasper; original paintings by Ali Alminmar and Jill Vanstone; a unique, antique saddle from North Africa and two European vacation packages. The total raised was an impressive $91,500 (all denominations are USD). The top selling items were the Imperial Madheen breeding, which was donated by Omar Sakr, and purchased by Judy Sirbasku for $29,000; and “Egyptian Splendor,” donated by the artist, Karen Kasper, and was purchased by Jeff Sloan for $20,000.
Gail Mailloux: The Egyptian Event Gala and Fundraiser serves two functions. Firstly, and most obviously, it’s a social occasion. On this evening we put on our finery, surround ourselves in a beautiful atmosphere and enjoy cocktails and a nice dinner. It is a way to reward our hard work over the last year by spending time with each other in a formal atmosphere. The second function is to present the Premier Auction. Outside of personal sponsorships, this is The Pyramid Society’s main source of income and therefore essential that it is a success.
Many changes were implemented this year and we are grateful that they were received so positively. The biggest change was the actual venue itself. It has always been my personal desire to tap into the Fasig-Tipton for some of our show functions. Its location is ideal as it is on the way to the Kentucky Horse Park and close to our hotels. Fasig-Tipton is an incredible Thoroughbred auction facility which offers a grand space of green grass, preened trees, immaculate stabling and the famous ivy-covered auction hall though which so many race winners have passed. Due to the facility’s size and ability to accommodate, we found this location ideal to suit our needs. One advantage was that the dining area was its own room. After the Premier Auction, most of us adjourned to the “walking ring” with its rubber bricked floor—the same space where the Thoroughbred industry’s best are paraded. There we had plenty of room to enjoy the music and dance, yet others could remain behind in the quiet lounge areas in the nearby dining hall.
As the Gala Chair, it is my responsibility to make the overall evening special. But, due to the critical importance of the Premier Auction, it is much more than just organizing a party. The Premier Auction is an incredible challenge. This year the decision was made to reduce the number of items offered and to expand offerings beyond just fine art. For the first time, we offered access to frozen semen from an iconic stallion now deceased. The stallion chosen was Imperial Madheen. It was a thrill for me to work with his owner, Mr. Omar Sakr, to design a successful plan to utilize the limited amount of semen through an ICSI program.
~Gail Mailloux, Two Silo Farm. Gail is also a Board Member of TPS and is the Gala Chair
Egyptian Breeders Challenge: Auction and Competition
The Egyptian Breeders Challenge (EBC) Live Stallion Auction is another show highlight. As this year's auction was scheduled on Championship day, energy was high! For this annual sale, the arena is converted into an exciting auction house with staging for live presentations. As usual, a lovely social preceded the auction with attendees being treated to a generous selection of tasty finger foods and beverages, graciously sponsored by Lone Star Arabians, as part of their exclusive EBC Sponsorship.
Auctioned off are breedings to stallions enrolled in the current EBC program. The resulting foals from the sales are then eligible to participate in the lucrative EBC Classes as yearlings. Additionally, it is also an opportunity to purchase breedings to certain enrolled stallions whose stud books are not open. Through the years, several once-in-a-lifetime opportunities have been made available. For example, in 2012, long after his stud book had been closed, Judy Sirbasku offered a breeding to Thee Desperado, which sold for $21,000; and, in 2014, in support of the Gleannloch festivities (to which this show was dedicated), Kehilan Arabians offered a breeding to Makhsous, which sold for $7,000.
The 2016 EBC Live Stallion Auction raised a total of $119,750. The top earning stallions included: Shaikh Al Nadir (Ansata Sinan X Nadira Fujai) and Alixir (The Elixir X The Prevue) for $4,500 each; Bellagio RCA (Alixir X Rhapsody In Black) for $5,000; Al Bahir (Ansata Sinan X Savannah CC) for $6,000; and leading the pack was Botswana (Thee Desperado X The Minuet), with two breedings which sold for $7,000 apiece.
The 2016 winners of the EBC Classes, which are strictly Amateur-To-Handle, shared from a pot of $82,977.50. The EBC Champion Filly, earning $16,627.50, was FH Shahteenah Psyche (Shaheen Al Waab X Psyches Premonishahn). FH Shahteenah Psyche was bred by and is owned by Franklin D. Holloman. The Reserve Champion Filly, earning $9,145.13, was Sudan Aria (Etaya Sudan Amir X Al Amirah), who was bred by and is owned by Barbara Sim. The EBC Colt Champion was TF Esfahan (Botswana X EAI Etheena). TF Esfahan, who was bred by and is owned by Allison G. Mehta, earned $16,563.50 and was the only unanimous Champion of the entire show. The Reserve Champion Colt, earning $9,109.93, was Apalo DB (Bellagio RCA X Makeda DB), who was bred by and is owned by Dreamco Arabians, LLC.
I would like to devote some space to a horse who has become deeply influential in the EBC program and to the overall tapestry of the Egyptian Event: Botswana. As a yearling, Botswana was the Egyptian Event Champion Straight Egyptian Futurity Colt, chosen from a group of 25. Then in 2009, he became the Egyptian Event Supreme Champion Stallion. Also, for eight consecutive years, from 2007-2015, he was the leading Halter and Performance Sire at the Event. Not only was Botswana the sire the 2016 EBC Colt, but also, in years previous, his yearlings have won a total of five EBC Championships and two EBC Reserves. In 2010, Botswana yearlings won the BOTH the Filly and Colt EBC Classes. Furthermore, a breeding to Botswana has been offered in the EBC program every year since 2000. In 2002, all EBC records became digitally recorded. Since 2002, breedings to Botswana offered in the EBC Stallion Auction have generated $123,300 for the program. While breeders who have purchased the breeding in the auction and then competed with their Botswana yearlings have earned a cumulative total of $170,332.12.
Allison Mehta: The Story of Botswana
In the spring of 1999, at the suggestion of our farm manager, Maggie Costigan, I went to Arabians Ltd. to study their operation. It was a fun weekend and everyone was enthusiastic. On our last evening, Shawn was going to present The Minstril. As they were getting him prepped, I leaned against the stall front next to his and something began to nibble at my shoulder. I turned around and looked into the face of truly the most beautiful animal I’d ever seen. After they finished showing The Minstril, I asked to see the colt. As Shawn stepped him out, he arched his neck and snuffled at the mare across the aisle--and I was totally swept away. Even as a yearling, Botswana was ethereally beautiful with almost a luminescent aura about him.
Afterwards, I asked his price—YIKES…! Since we had just purchased Talaria and done extensive remodeling, it was far more than I could afford at that time. That evening, I went back to my hotel room and laid awake trying to figure out a way to purchase him. Although there was already a firm international offer on him, his breeders Pat and Frank Bradish preferred an American buyer if possible. In the morning, Shawn asked if I was still interested. I told her that even though I knew I would regret not doing so, I could not afford him at the time. To which she suggested syndicating him—and the rest is history.
One of Botswana's greatest gifts has been that he is so consistent for beautiful Arabian type. We have been successful using him on mares who have great old blood lines which should be preserved--but who also have phenotypes which are not "show ring" desirable today. I truly believe Botswana's gift of beauty has provided some old and rare bloodlines (at least in this country) a chance to continue further in the gene pool than they might have otherwise.
I also believe it’s important to mention that both Curt (Westley) and I are not fans of inbreeding (although we understand the need to do it occasionally to set type). Because Botswana was already so line bred, we have strived (since his very first foal crop) to bring him mares who are almost totally outcrossed in terms of pedigree. In our attempt to take the Minstril/Desperado lines in a slightly different direction, we have bred Botswana to the daughters of stallions such as Safeen, Rofann, Richter, Thee Elixir, Al Mone, ZT Faa’iq and Ansata Iemhotep.
The SE gene pool is really small, particularly when you go back three generations or so with stallions like Botswana. We have five older SE mares standing in the paddocks at Talaria right now (half already in foal) who are total outcrosses—three of which possess fairly rare bloodlines. All five are for Botswana. Since, over the last six years or so, he has become increasingly popular with non-Straight breeders, we feel it’s even more important to make sure we have also some very special Straight Egyptian mares carrying Botswana foals as he grows older.
Curt and I have loved and managed that yearling bay colt with a star for seventeen years now. Would we do it again, knowing what we know now about the odds of a beautiful colt turning into a legendary breeding stallion? Ah…who knows…but we do realize how lucky we’ve been in choosing Botswana. Our lives have been changed so extensively by this stallion and the program we’ve built around him--it’s been a fantastic ride. I still often get choked up when I start to talk about him…and sometimes he actually turns and looks at me with those incredible big, dark eyes and seems to say “Oh, come on, girl….don’t embarrass us!”
~Allison Mehta, Talaria Farms. Allison has also served as a TPS Board Member
In 2012, TPS’s Standard of Excellence: A Guide to The Pyramid Society Straight Egyptian Arabian Horse was released. While in 2013, this publication was adopted as the official guideline for judging at the Egyptian Event. Not only does the Standard of Excellence define the breed standard, but it also serves as the basis for the judges’ scorecard used at the Egyptian Event.
The Egyptian Event utilized the Modified European Judging System which assessed individual horses against the “ideal” or “standard.” Judging was conducted by a three-judge team. A point system from 1 to 20, which allowed for half points was used. The following categories were scored: Type; Balance, Quality and Substance at the Walk; Head; Neck and Shoulder; Body and Topline; Legs and Hooves; and Movement. Since it is expected that an Egyptian Arabian be readily identifiable as such, Type was weighed at multiplication factor of five, while all other categories are weighted by a multiplication factor of four. The Championships were judged comparatively.
2016 marked the year that changes regarding presentation, both of the physical appearance of the horses and of the manner in which they were presented by their handlers, were determined. Weeks before the Event, TPS released its new policies and methods of enforcement. The first set of policies concerned the actual appearance of the horse. As stated by TPS, “Horses are to be presented without makeup, dye, heavy oils, grease or artificial appliances which distract from their natural beauty and must be shown with natural eyelashes and no balding.”
The second set regarded the actual manner in which handlers presented the horses for the judges. It was strongly advised that showing horses who exhibited signs of intimidation through excessive use of the whip or shanking would absolutely not be tolerated. “Signs of intimidation” was defined as, “May include but not limited to: crouching; cowering; quivering; withdrawing or evading backwards or sideways from the handler; buckling at the knees; sudden extreme flinching or shying the head away from hand or whip movements of the handler; and/or anxious pinning of the ears and wringing of the tail. A fearful horse will be penalized and may be excused.” “Shanking” was defined as, “The use of the lead and/or chain in any harsh and forceful manner especially as used for intimidation and not correction.” As for the stand up, it was advised that the horse’s eyes be above the nostrils. For further reference and clarification, all policies were clearly stated in the show program.
~The 2016 Egyptian Event Panel of Judges included: Ala’a Al Roumi (Kuwait), Steve Lieblang (USA), Jill Lochner (USA) and Dana Gardner (USA).
(Unless stated otherwise, breeders and owners are from the USA)
The 2016 Junior Mare Gold Champion was Daenerys (Burak Ben-Eden EA X Good Faith), a 2014 mare who was bred by Eden Ahrens and is owned by Gail Ahrens. While the Bronze honor was earned by Ebonie Starr (Justynn X Amer Baasma), a 2014 mare who was bred by Ahmed E. Amer (Egypt) and is owned by Horace Penny and Melinda Canady Penny.
The Junior Mare Silver Championship was earned by Bint Bint Asila RCA, also a 2014 filly. Bint Bint Asila RCA is special for several reasons. First, she was the only Mishaal HP baby born in 2014 and for her breeder and Mishaal HP’s owner, Judy Sirbasku, she was the last. Then in 2015, just after the untimely passing of Mishaal HP, she became the unanimous EBC Champion Filly—making the victory deeply sentimental. Now in 2016, as the Two Year Old Straight Egyptian Futurity Filly winner, she was presented the coveted sterling silver Ali Pasha Sherif Perpetual Cup, by Gulsun Sherif herself, who traveled all the way from Egypt to be present. Bint Bint Asila RCA (X Bint Asila RCA) was also chosen for the Most Classic Head Award.
The Junior Stallion Gold Champion was Aadeyn Mirado Nadir (Ramses Mishaal Nadir X Aadeya Rosa), who was bred by and is owned by James & Jill Spizale. As a 2015 Colt, Aadeyn Mirado Nadir was the youngest of all the Junior Champions. He was also the recipient of the Most Classic Head Award. The Silver was earned by Caiiro (X Alixir), a 2013 colt who was bred by and is owned by Gail Ahrens. As a side note, Caiiro’s dam, Good Faith (Thee Desperado X Minstrilsmonalisa) was also the dam of Daenerys, the Junior Filly Gold Champion. The Bronze Champion was Thee Dominion (Scapa X Thee Desert Rose), a 2014 stallion who was bred by and is owned by Daniel and Carol Heithold. Thee Dominion was also the 2016 Scottsdale Junior Colt Champion in the International Competition for Straight Egyptians.
Makeda DB (Mishaal HP X Jamiil Baarah), who was also a 2016 Scottsdale Champion, became the Senior Mare Gold Champion. Makeda DB, a 2009 mare who was bred by DNJ Arabians and is owned by Dreamco Arabians, LLC, was also the dam of Apalo DB, the EBC Reserve Champion Colt. The Silver Champion was Luna Thee Cielo (Thee Desperado X Celeste TF), a 2011 mare who was bred by Lisa Cifrese & Richard Geha and is owned by Kleio Arabians, LLC. Luna Thee Cielo also earned the Most Classic Head Award. Finally, the Bronze was captured by MM Al Andaluz (X Tafitaa), a 2012 mare who was bred by and is owned by Miguel Muzquiz (Mexico). As a side note, MM Al Andaluz’s sire, Suhail Al Nasser, was the 2012 Egyptian Event Senior Stallion Silver Champion, also owned by Miguel Muzquiz.
The 2016 Senior Stallion Gold Champion is a horse who has not only won the heart of the American Straight Egyptian community, but is also sure to go down as one of the great Egyptian Event competitors: Ibn Raad (Scapa X LPS Thunderstruck). In 2012, as a yearling, Ibn Raad, who was bred by and is owned by Elizabeth Witt, won his Futurity Class; in 2013, he won the Extended Specialty Two Year Old Class and was the Junior Stallion Silver Champion; in 2014 he won the Extended Specialty Futurity Three Year Old Class and was the Junior Stallion Silver Champion; and in 2015 he won the Four and Five Year Old Stallion Class and was the Senior Stallion Bronze Champion.
The Silver was earned by Shah Mishaal RCA (Mishaal HP X Bint Asila RCA), a 2012 stallion who was bred by and is owned by Rock Creek Arabians. Shah Mishaal RCA is also a full sibling to Bint Bint Asila RCA, the Junior Mare Silver Champion. The Bronze Champion was Desha Wahiid (Laheeb Al Nasser X Alfabia Salaa), 2009 stallion who was bred by and is owned by Sandra DeShazer. Finally, The Most Classic Head Award was given to DWA Barakkas (Imtaarif X Seranade In Black) who was bred by Mary Ann Brieger or Kristina Rad and owned by Charlie or Sandra Miller.
The Influence of Mishaal HP
Upon reviewing the scores and placements for this coverage, the deep influence of Mishaal HP (Ansata Sinan X Mesoudah M) stood out. Not only was he present in the pedigrees of eight champions, but also: he sired three of the champions; he was the sire to the sire of three champions; and the sire to the dam of one of the Champions. Mishaal HP was imported to this country in 2004, by Arabian Ltd. He was first on lease and was later purchased and used to great success by this internationally respected program. Sadly, in 2013 Mishaal passed away at the age of 17.
Shawn Crews: Mishaal HP was a horse that I spent several years and many frequent flyer miles to find. We were at a point in our breeding program where even the clients were getting anxious to have an out cross stallion. In 2003, while judging in Italy, Frank Sponle invited me to his farm in Germany to see several of the Straight Egyptian stallions in his care. One thing Judy and I both agreed on was that we wanted a stallion that had Imperial Madheen up close in the pedigree. So when Frank shared that he had an Ansata Sinan son out of Mesoudah M, who was a full sister to Madheen, it felt like an omen.
Mishaal was already seven years old when I saw him at Frank’s—yet he still seemed “colty.” He was big—well over 15 hands--and when turned loose, his tail went straight up and it felt like the ground shook as he trotted around the huge indoor arena. But I wasn’t sure and felt I needed to see progeny. Not only did Frank not have any to present, but there were only about ten registered at the time--and none bred to Minstril/Desperado mares. So upon arriving back in Texas, I went straight to Jim and Judy (Sirbasku) with a really rough video. Immediately Judy said, “Call Frank and get that horse.” She was sure.
I will never forget the day Mishaal arrived in Texas. We hired a big semi rig to privately deliver him from his quarantine in New York. When the truck came up the road and through the farm, I could hear him nicker—and he was LOUD! When I went up the ramp to collect him, he came right up to me and made an impressive showing as he stepped off the trailer. It was just Judy, Jim and our staff, but I could tell everyone was impressed. Finally, to me, it felt like we got the right horse.
As a sire, his foals were different. I was used to elegant bays with deer like refinement, long necks and amazing liquid black eyes. Mishaal’s babies were all grey and looked like body builders. But they were big--had tons of carriage and substance—and that is was exactly what our program needed. Although at first it was difficult to determine which mares would be best for him, we found the Desperado daughters that were out of Bint Bint Magidaa to be a great match. Then the real proof that Mishaal not only had a place in our program, but also in the US and around the world, was when his daughter Gameelah LDA, bred by Dan & Louise DeRusseau and owned by Nayla Hayek, became the 2011 Egyptian Event Unanimous Gold Champion Junior Mare, as a yearling.
A couple of months ago, David Gardner and I evaluated the herd together. It was he who actually started this program beginning with Ruminaja Ali and The Minstril. David has always been brutally honest with me and he shared that he was not convinced that Mishaal was the right stallion for this group of mares. But as we walked through the pasture every horse that got his attention was either a Mishaal out of Desperado bred mare or out of a Mishaal daughter. Then he said, “I can finally see the vision that you and Judy had—and it worked.” Coming from David Gardner—that was HUGE.
~Shawn Crews, Farm Manager at Arabians Ltd.
The 2016 Egyptian Event was a show that many of us will never forget, filled with special moments. But what stood out was the genuine community spirit and heartfelt celebration of the Straight Egyptian Arabian horse. The Pyramid Society made great strides this year to address the concerns of not just our community, but also, those of many in the Arabian show world. Even with an intelligent strategy, change is difficult…but without support—impossible. The policies set forth in 2016 were a success for two equally important reasons: (1) they were well thought out and addressed timely concerns of the majority; and (2) they were supported and embraced by the community. As the author of this coverage, it is my hope that this editorial reflects a community bound together by a common passion and an understanding that, to move forward, we must work together.
The 37th Annual Egyptian Event will take place on June 6-10, 2017
For more information: https://www.pyramidsociety.org/
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 Arabhorse.com as a Premier Contributor and Representative. She is also a breeder of Straight Egyptian Arabians and a member of The Pyramid Society.
THANK YOU to all the photograhers who contributed to this coverage!
Lori & Victor Ricigliano of Marketing Mafia: