The 2017 Arabian Breeders World Cup: VEGAS!
The 2017 Arabian Breeders World Cup: VEGAS!
By Lisa Abraham
The 2017 Arabian Breeders World Cup (ABWC), which took place from April 12th-15, was another spectacular show and exceeded all expectations one would have of a thrilling Las Vegas venue. Just as Las Vegas is one of the most exciting cities in the world—the ABWC is one of the most glamorous shows on the planet. In its eleventh edition, it also celebrated the prestigious status as one of the world’s most important Arabian horse competitions as many of our most prominent breeders attend along with their top horses.
The South Point Hotel and Casino has been the home to the ABWC since the beginning. It is a unique locale as show participants and guests can stay where the show is being held—which makes for exceptional convenience. The Hotel was opened in February 2006 and is the only one in Las Vegas to offer equestrian facilities. It hosts over 60 shows annually, of various disciplines and breeds and offers 4600 seats with 1200 stalls—ample room for even the largest expositions. From the moment one entered the actual show venue of the South Point Hotel and Casino, it was easy to see the tremendous effort spent to make the ABWC a special experience.
Sophie Delavaud: This was my first year to attend the ABWC and I was very impressed. The show was well organized and I really appreciated the atmosphere and arena set up. As an event organizer myself, I’m interested in what other shows are doing and how they achieve success. The Arabian horse world is moving in a new direction as our events are getting bigger while the competition, both for horses and attendance, is getting tougher. I think it is crucial for organizers to travel, to meet new people, to share experiences and to expose ourselves to new and different ideas. I have to admit, I found the show to be impeccable. Due in part to their venues, Las Vegas and Paris are very similar as they are much more than Arabian horse shows. While both Paris and Las Vegas offer glamorous arenas for competition, those who attend can also enjoy two of the most amazing cities in the world.
~Sophie Delavaud is the Show Manager of the World Arabian Championship (FRA)
Behind the Scene
Meticulous care has gone into the overall look of the ABWC show. Of course, every show strives for a quality presence with its own unique ambiance. However, when an event takes place in a “city of destination,” such as Las Vegas, the pressure to shine is amplified. Based on the strong International respect and support this show has earned, it is obvious that the organizers were diligent regarding the overall branding of the show—certainly no stone was left unturned.
The ABWC was created and hosted by the Arabian Horse Breeders Alliance (AHBA), which is maintained by a Board of Directors consisting of the following (unless listed otherwise, all are from the USA): Scott Bailey, Robert Boggs, Jay Constanti, Kimberly Jarvis, Lawrence Jerome, Murray Popplewell, Robert North, James Swaenpoel (BEL) and Jeff Sloan (Chairman). While the ABWC Show Committee includes: Phyllis LaMalfa (Executive Director), Taryl O'Shea (Show Manager), Scott Bailey (Sponsorships/VIP Coordinator), Kelly Charpentier (Commercial Exhibits) and Riyan Rivero (Public Relations/Media). Regarding this group of people as the cumulative force behind the ABWC, I would like to make a couple of comments. First, after attending and covering this show for several years, I think it's important to mention their admirable ability to bravely innovate, while at the same time, maintain objectivity regarding success and effectiveness.
Second, although the show is thoroughly well executed, I feel the organizers excel in the promotion and marketing of the event. Each year, thoughtful planning goes into the graphic presentation, while assiduously utilizing all available medias for promotion. In a very short period of time, the ABWC has become one of the most important shows in which to compete, win and attend. In my opinion, this accelerated speed of growth indicates intelligent planning and strong personal cooperation among a group of high achieving individuals. As a side note and as photographer, I have often noticed that shows do not always consider how an atmosphere or ambiance will be communicated though visual media and overall show promotion. This shortsightedness can damage post show promotion and put a difficult burden on the media to create a marketable presentation. This is not the case with the ABWC as it is obvious that appearance is a large consideration in the design and layout of the show. The best example of this is the actual arena design and VIP section itself—which is one of the most beautiful in the world.
Scott Bailey: Before the ABWC, we didn’t have an event in the USA that was like many of the International shows with VIP tables, and a "European" way of showing horses, with the emphasis on the trot and horses in the ring one at time. Since my background includes catering/banquets as well as creating and implementing design and layouts for events, I felt this part of organizing the Vegas event was right up my alley. From the very beginning, I wanted to create the BEST ARABIAN VIP event in the USA. My emphasis was on the WHOLE experience and I looked to Aachen and Paris as my main examples. It has been very important to me to that all VIPs feel special, whether they pay 5k or 25k, and that visibility of center ring was good from all tables. Also, I have worked hard to design sponsorship banners and to place them in the perfect areas to maximize visibility. Like all shows, we depend on sponsors and want them to feel they received real value for their contributions.
I am very proud of what we have created with this event and there have been so many special moments through the years. I remember in the show’s second year (2008), after the Dubai Stud (UAE) purchased the amazing Simeon Sehavi from Australia. Before going on to Europe and the Middle East, they sent her to compete in Vegas, where she became the Reserve Champion Mare—that was a big honor and huge compliment to the show. Then in 2012, our stallion showcase included WH Justice who stood in center ring surrounded by his fans and breeder, Wendel Hansen, in a very touching moment. Finally, I personally have loved all the presentations for people who have been recognized with either the Lifetime Achievements or Ambassadors Awards. We have honored some of the very best in the business and each one was special to me.
The trophy offerings at the ABWC were outstanding and worthy of recognition as they may be the nicest in the Arabian horse world. The display, which is organized annually by Sonya and Chris Bickford (USA) was nothing short of a treasure trove of elegant and glistening magnificence of museum quality. Not only did this display meet the standard of what one would expect to see in a city like Vegas, but it may have also surpassed it. The large display was in a spot of significance so that guests could enjoy them throughout the show--and being photographed among the trophies was a highlight.
As he does every year, Premium Sponsor, His Majesty Mohammed VI King of Morocco, of Haras Royal De Bouznika, donated the spectacular awards given to the Supreme Champions: traditional Moroccan saddles for the Gold Winners; while Moroccan bronze stirrups were given to those who earned Silver and Bronze placements. In addition to maintaining the awards display, Sonya Bickford made the elegant garlands which were given to all champions and class winners.
With the eleventh anniversary of the ABWC, there were some very special additions added to the award collection. At many of the world’s top shows, it is customary for the judges to be awarded generous gifts from the show. From the perspective of the audience, the job of a judge can be a thankless one. It is incredibly tedious work in which concentration must be maintained for long hours, sometimes in difficult conditions, which can include significant jet lag after international travel. Therefore it is standard for shows to formally recognize the panel of judges as part of the ceremony which normally takes place just before the Championships. For the first time at the ABWC, the judges were awarded bronzes made by internationally celebrated artists Judy and Kim Nordquist (USA).
Judy Nordquist: The ABWC has always been special to me and my daughter Kim. As commercial vendors, we have supported this show since the very beginning and are very honored to have contributed. As one of the most exciting shows in the world, it attracts prestigious guests from everywhere which has generated great visibility for our art.
In 2006, for the second show, we created the bronze trophies that were awarded to the Gold, Silver and Bronze Champions—this continued till 2016. We have also created other trophies which have included the Lifetime Achievement Award and Ambassadors Award. The first Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Wayne Newton, which was a high point in our careers.
Once again, this year was also special. Bob Boggs approached us, on behalf of the ABHA Board, with the idea to create a miniature bronze of our iconic Championship Bronzes that had been awarded for ten years, to be given as gifts to the six judges. Of course we were thrilled with this opportunity. It was an unforgettable moment for Kim and myself to watch this international panel rewarded with our trophies.
We are very grateful to Bob for his ongoing friendship and support. For the past ten years, he has brought from his beautiful farm, Midwest Station I in Minnesota, our life-size filly and colt bronzes to display in center ring. We would also like to thank those who sponsored the creation of our bronzes to be used as gifts for the judges. They were as follows: Stan Keeter, Midcrest Farm (USA); David Boggs, Midwest Station II (USA); Michelle Pfiefer and Chauncey Fleming, Shellbird (USA); and Sh. Naif Fahad Al Owaidah, Al Owaidah Arabian Stud (KSA).
~Judy and Kim Nordquist are internationally acclaimed artists of bronze sculptures. Their breathtaking bronzes enrich municipal, private, corporate and fine art collections around the world.
Another addition to the incredible line up of awards was the work of a rising star, sculptor Carol Fensholt Nierenberg (USA). Last year, in 2016, Carol created the Lifetime Achievement Award bronze, which was presented to her close friends and business partners, Robert and Dixie North of North Arabians (USA). For 2017, in addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, Carol was chosen to create the trophy bronzes awarded to the Supreme Champions.
Carol Fensholt Nierenberg: In 2016, on behalf of the AHBA Board, Scott Bailey offered me the opportunity to create a sculpture to represent its “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Because our great friends, the Norths, would be the recipients, the opportunity was replete with meaning –– and responsibility. I felt determined to create something as beautiful as Dixie. I also knew, from visits to her home, that there wasn’t much space left for trophies, with all the winning North Arabians has done. That’s why I decided to sculpt a rearing horse ––-the footprint would be small.
I also feel the stance expresses the essence of the award. The sculpture’s vertical gesture represents the pinnacle of height a horse can reach, just as the award itself represents the pinnacle a breeder can reach: a lifetime of achievement in creating horses that have elevated the Arabian breed to a new level of excellence and beauty.
The first time my husband, Stu Nierenberg, and I attended the ABWC, in 2009, we were wowed! We had never imagined such a horse show –– so exciting, so well-orchestrated, so high-end with its dramatic lighting, music, VIP tables, galas, flags of all nations ceremony, banners, red carpet and décor. As a sculptor, creating the Supreme Championship trophies for this show has been my Holy Grail. I was thrilled beyond measure to see them lined up on the trophy table; delighted to watch them presented by Wayne Newton to the owners of some of the world’s most beautiful Arabians; and so honored to know that they have now gone to be appreciated at fine Arabian owners’ homes and trophy rooms around the world.
The privilege of creating these works of art for this fabulous show has been a high point in my life. To me, the Arabian is three things –– curvaceous beauty, fiery energy, and sweet elegance. These are the qualities I try to capture in all my Arabian sculptures –– and I hope they come through. I felt that the hand-fabricated black iron bases of the Gold and Silver trophy heads and the black granite plaques for the Bronze medallions, with their clean, simple lines, would be a high-end contemporary contrast to the motion and baroque curves of the heads themselves.
I also like the way the black steel rods put the Gold and Silver heads up in the air –– this lends the heavy bronze a feeling of lightness, and also elevates the significance of the win. I rubbed back the white patina on the manes to reveal the gold of the natural bronze, giving the trophy heads a jewelry-like quality. To me, that’s what these works of fine art should be –– jewels for the coffee tables, credenzas and fireplace mantels of their winners. Congratulations to all Supreme Champion winners this year! I hope you enjoy your trophies as much as I loved creating them.
~After years of successful careers in Manhattan, Carol Fensholt Nierenberg and her husband, Stu Nierenberg, moved their primary residence to Carefree, Arizona. Through a series of events, they have found themselves a place in the Arabian and Iberian horse communities. Carol is now a full-time sculptor, known worldwide for her exquisite equine and canine bronzes. She sits on the Boards of the American Women Artists and the Scottsdale Artists' School, and is a Signature member of the worldwide Society of Animal Artists.
Although promotion is a critical consideration for shows at all levels of competition, the world’s most important shows, such as the ABWC, enjoy the vigorous presence of the industry’s top medias. Of course, the role of media has always been important, but the competition to produce not only the best coverage, but also the fastest, is growing at an incredible rate—and in Vegas, the intensity was high. One area of promotion that has quickly gained in popularity is video coverage—outside of the live feed. Although this takes a greater production team to execute, it is a very polished way to share an accurate portrayal of the competition and overall ambiance. This is especially complimentary to social media as it has become our industry’s most effective means of instant communication and marketing.
Another rising star on the Arabian horse horizon is Francesca Aragno, of Mondovi, Italy. In 2016, she started with the Arabian Horse World as a marketing representative at shows around the world. Then as the year progressed, she developed her own concept in conjunction with Arabian Horse World and Arabian Essence called Arabian Insider. Francesca and her team had a strong presence in Vegas and worked very hard to offer coverage with positive and unique angles which featured both the horses in the ring and those who love and enjoy them.
Francesca Aragno: The ABWC is very nice show with high quality horses competing. It was a big honor for Arabian Insider to work in Vegas and to share our coverage with the world. As part of the media, we received great support from the ABWC committee which made us feel very proud of our of contribution to the show.
I was born into the world of Arabian horses and it has been my dream to work in this business. When I was three or four years old, my father put me on the back of an Arabian stallion, and from that moment on, all my younger years were spent with horses and other animals. Once my father came home and found me riding a horse with the saddle on backwards; another time, when I imagined myself to be a trainer, he found me shaking a whip in front of the walker where I had tied all our dogs pretending they were horses. Now as an adult, I hope to become a breeder.
My vision for Arabian Insider is very big—and we are only in the beginning stages. I have personally invested in Arabian Insider and am grateful to those who have sponsored our work, such as Al Shaqab Stud. Though effective communication and entertainment, we want to help attract more people to our business—new breeders, new buyers and new sponsors. It is our goal to provide unique, but still comprehensive coverage of Arabian horse events and the people in our community. While several new ideas are being developed, we are very excited to work with SKY TV, an international satellite TV provider as this has been a big opportunity. We now have several larger shows to our credit, with the ABWC being the most recent. The Arabian Insider would like to thank the ABWC for the opportunity to cover this show and we look forward to next year.
IntArah Dream Embryo Auction
One of the highlights of the 2017 ABWC was the third edition of the IntArah “Dream Embryo Auction,” brainchild of the IntArah group who are: Luciano Cury (BRA), Mario Zerlotti (BRA) and Cindy McGowen (USA). The “Dream Embryo Auction,” which was first introduced in 2011, in Brazil, raised an astounding $1.9 million (USD). Then in 2015, for its first Vegas venue, it raised $1.4 million. That year the two highest selling embryos were of Marwan Al Shaqab X RD Marciena and of QR Marc X Valori TRF, both of which sold for $120,000.
The vision behind this black tie event is to bring back the glamour and high dollars that existed in the auctions of the 70’s and 80’s. Taken from www.intarah.com, “The concept for the embryo auction is easily explained. The goal is to offer for sale unborn foals, also known as embryos that are of the finest bloodlines available in today’s market. The sires and dams of these foals are many of the most successful Arabian mares and stallion in the world. The opportunity to purchase an unborn foal out of a mare that many breeders could only dream of owning was the inspiration for the title, ‘Dream Embryo Auction.’ Embryo sales have been quite successful in the private market for several years. The IntArah Group is motivated to provide that dream opportunity to the Arabian horse community in an elegant, tasteful and exciting setting and believe that by doing so, the market will be once again ignited and inviting to those who seek the elegant lifestyle offered by the Arabian horse.”
As in 2015, the auction took place in the South Hall of the Casino, but this year on Friday night. The South Hall seats 400 people and is one of Vegas’s top off-strip destinations for entertainment of all sorts—a very appropriate venue for this elegant event. Upon entering the show room, guests were encouraged to get their photos taken with spectacular Vegas show girls, which was a fun way to set the tone of the evening. Also, a lovely meal was provided buffet style with two fully stocked bars. To the winners of each lot, a bottle of champagne was offered as a gift to be enjoyed as the festivities of the evening continued.
The energy at this year’s auction was unprecedented—truly unforgettable, even magical. Greg Knowles (USA) was the auctioneer, while Rory O’Neill (USA) announced. The two worked seamlessly, bouncing off one another as they generated high prices and kept everyone motivated. Twenty-three embryos were sold for an IntArah record of $1,982,500.00. The top selling embryo was sold for $210,000 and was that of FA El Rasheem X Honey’s Delight RB. It was consigned by Aria Prestige Holdings, LLC and was purchased by Aljassimya Farm (USA/QAT). The second highest selling embryo was that of EKS Alihandro X CR Jasmeenah for $200,000. It was consigned by Aljassimya Farm and purchased by Mindy Peters (USA). However, my favorite lot was that of Ajman Moniscione X Luxiemere Jizette. This lot was consigned by Bassam Al Saqran of Al Saqran Stud (KWT) and was purchased by North Arabians (USA) for $35,000. What made this lot uniquely special was that all profits generated from this sale were donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (USA). As a side note, I would also like to add that at the 2016 All Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany, Bassam Al Saqran was also a major donor in a charity event sponsored by the Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE).
For its third edition, IntArah also introduced the “Dream Jackpot.” All consigned lots from 2017 are eligible to compete in what will be called the “Yearling Jackpot Class,” which will take place at the 2019 ABWC. The Prize money offered to the winners is indisputable proof of the high stakes involved in participation, both at the auction and in the ring. The total prize offered to the winners will be $77,777.77, in which the Champion will receive $50,000; the Reserve Champion will receive $10,000 and each Top Ten will receive $2,222.
Lisa Abraham: How did the idea for IntArah originate?
Mario Zerlotti: As a veterinarian and specialist in equine reproduction, I work daily with important mares as individuals and producers. At one point, my colleagues and I realized that just a small group of breeders could utilize these elite mares and their bloodlines. After some discussion, we felt it would provide a wonderful opportunity to breeders to offer these embryos through a public auction.
Lisa Abraham: After Brazil, why did you choose Vegas as a venue?
Mario Zerlotti: We felt that Vegas was a perfect fit for what we wanted to achieve through IntArah. In Vegas, there was everything we wanted to bring back to the Arabian world: the glamour, the party environment, the quality of the show and the deep involvement of breeders. In addition, Southpoint Hotel offered a state of the art showroom, which is located on the casino floor.
Lisa Abraham: From the first one in Brazil to the third IntArah that just took place, what have you learned for positive future growth?
Mario Zerlotti: We chose Brazil for our first IntArah due to the booming economy—and it was a huge success. The second one, which was in Vegas as well and our first in the US, was also successful. However, this third was the most successful of them all as we were able offer the highest quality mares and was attended by a record number of great breeders. We feel this last auction validated the IntArah name. Now we think that the world is open to us. We have many ideas and plans which include a new location—we intend to have the next one on a different continent. We are also very excited about the creation of the “Jackpot Class” as we feel it will add excitement to the event.
Lisa Abraham: Have you discovered something through this process that had not been anticipated?
Mario Zerlotti: Yes-we are very excited by the participation of new buyers who eventually become breeders—this is not something we thought about in the creation and development process.
Lisa Abraham: What was the highlight of this year's IntArah?
Mario Zerlotti: It was the unprecedented participation of so many amazing breeders—both as sellers and buyers. The support we received for this auction was incredible.
The Classes were judged by a group of five, with a mix of both American and International judges. Classes were scored on a scale of 10-20, which included half points. The following categories were considered: Type, Head, Neck & Shoulder, Body & Topline, Feet & Legs and Movement. In each category, the high and low scores were eliminated. In the case of a tie, the score for TYPE determined the winner; if the tie remained, the score for MOVEMENT determined; finally, if the tie remained, then the horse which received the higher Preliminary accumulated score from the designated Call Judge prevailed. The Championships were scored comparatively and included the evaluations of the entire panel. In the Championships, the Class winners determined ties. Also in the Championships, it was also interesting to note that the judges were required to rank their entire Top Ten, as opposed to only their choices for medals. This added a nice dimension to understanding the deeper preferences of the judges as greater variances can be evaluated.
This year's scores were interesting to analyze. Primarily they reflected an experienced panel and were in acceptable overall agreement. As the panel in 2016, the scores were high, but there were very few 20’s awarded—taken from the Preliminary Class scores of the medal winners, there were only nineteen 20’s awarded, which was comparative to the sixteen in 2016. However, there was not a single unanimous Gold Champion.
The 2017 International Panel of Judges included: Leslie Connor (USA), Terry Holmes (USA), Klaus Beste (KWT), Jack Maritz (ZAF), Dr. Nelson Moreira (BRA) and Irina Stigler (RUS).
The Championships began with the Yearling Fillies—and it was a high-quality group of youngsters. However, one of the highlights of the show overall, was getting to see the already famous Om El Erodite, who also became the Yearling Filly Gold Champion. Just a couple of months previous, on February 24, Om El Erodite sold in the inaugural Marquise Auction, which took place during the Scottsdale All Arabian Horse Show, for an astounding $1.55 Million. Not only was the evening historic, but it also provided a much needed “shot of adrenaline” to breeders and owners who have been suffering the effects of overall lower numbers in both breeding and sales. Om El Erodite (EKS Alihandro X Om El Excella), who was bred by Om El Arab International (USA) and is owned by Patricia M Dempsey Trustee (USA), in her Qualifying Class, received one 20 for TYPE and three 20’s for HEAD. She was also the youngest of all Yearling Champions.
Both the Silver and Bronze medals winners were a credit to the 2009 stallion Kanz Albidayer (Ajman Moniscione X DL Marielle), who was the sire to each. The Silver was earned by Kareemah Albidayer (X Khaleifa), who was bred and is owned by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi (UAE); while the Bronze went to Seranza (X Evening Serenade) who was bred by Michael Byatt (USA) and is owned by Annelie Jonker (USA). Both Kareemah Albidayer and Seranza were Qualifying Class winners and each were awarded two 20’s for HEAD. Also, with a Qualifying Class score of 333.5, Seranza was the second highest scoring female of the show.
In May of 2016, the Arabian horse community lost a dear member: Enzo (Padrons Psyche X RD Bey Shahmpane). Although he was both a National and Scottsdale Champion, his real contribution was as a sire in which he produced both National and International Champions, including 2012 ABWC Senior Stallion Gold Champion, Eden C. So it was a heartfelt win when another son of his, Enzino PCF (Enzo X Maria PCF), who was bred and is owned by Sam Peacemaker (USA), became the Yearling Colt Gold Champion. As a side note, Enzino PCF was also the youngest of the three Yearling Colt medal winners. The Silver was earned by Lucius GA (JJ Bellagio X Duchess of Marwan) who was bred by Sally K Bedeker (USA) and is owned by Gemini Equine LLC (USA); while the Bronze went to RD Harenaado (Hariry Al Shaqab X DM Endless Romance) who was bred by Murray or Shirley Popplewell and is owned Bassam Alsaqran (KWT).
Raymond Mazzei, of Furioso Bloodstock (USA), is not only a deeply experienced and respected member of the Arabian horse community, but he is also one of our greatest promoters. So previous to the show, anticipation was high to see the Straight Egyptian mare, Fanaticaa, that he was not only promoting, but he also bred. Although the overall quality among the Junior Mares was high, Fanaticaa (Al Raheb AA X Faleenah El Masr), a 2014 filly who is owned by Al Owaidah Arabian Stud (KSA), won the Gold in a near unanimous victory. In her Qualifying Class, Fanaticaa was also the highest scoring horse of the show for the categories of TYPE and HEAD, in which she earned three 20’s for TYPE and four for HEAD. As a side note, in 2011 Raymond showed her sire to a Senior Stallion Supreme Gold Champion victory at the US Egyptian Event, in Lexington, Kentucky. The Silver went to Juhaina Aljassimya (WH Justice X Toscana PGA), a 2015 filly who was bred and is owned by Aljassimya Farm; while the Bronze was earned by Diyannaa (ZT Marwteyn X Diya Forx), a 2015 filly who was bred and is owned by Psynergy Enterprise Developments LLC (USA).
While Kanz Abidayer was influential in the Yearling Filly Championship, it was the 2007 stallion, El Tino (DA Valentino X Imprimista CF), with the Junior Stallion medal winners. The Junior Stallion Gold Champion was Royal Asad. Born on July 12, 2015, Royal Asad (El Tino X Luminar Ethna), who was bred by Michel Alberto Morelato (USA) and is owned by Cindy McGowen or Mark Davis (USA), was the youngest of all the Junior Champions. The Silver went to Nadeem El Arab (WH Justice X Om El Euphoria), a 2014 colt who was bred by Om El Arab International (USA) and is owned by Aljassimya Farm; while the Bronze was earned by Dominus Arabco (El Tino X Shavanna El Maden), a 2015 colt who was bred by Sylvio Barbosa Neto (BRA) and is owned by Pedro Gonzalez Toledo or Roxana Zambrano (USA). Interesting to note, in their Junior Colts of 2015 Class, the winner was Misrah Aljassimya with a score of 331.5, followed by Dominus Arabco with a score of 331; and then in third was Royal Asad with a score of 330.0. However, with a Class score of 331.5, Nadeem El Arab was his Class winner.
Regarding the Senior Mare Championship, although the judges were varied on actual placement, they were relatively decided on who were to be the medal winners—and all three were Preliminary Class winners. The Gold was earned by Ghazala Al Shahania (Marwan Al Shaqab X Majalina), a 2012 mare who was bred and is owned by Al Shahania Stud (QAT). With a Preliminary Class score of 334.5, Ghazala Al Shahania was also highest scoring female. The Silver went to Arwa Aljassimya (Besson Carol X Athina El Jamaal), a 2013 mare who was bred and is owned by Aljassimya Farm; while the Bronze was awarded to FT Havanna El Keav (HK Keav Power X Hillary VCM), a 2010 mare who was bred by Flavia Maria Ramalho Torres (BRA) and is owned by Cindy McGowen or Mark Davis.
The Senior Stallion Championship is always one of the most anticipated and exciting—and this year's was special. The Senior Stallion Gold Championship honors were awarded to a horse who has already won important International titles which include the World Arabian Championship in Paris: Fadi Al Shaqab. Fadi Al Shaqab (Besson Carol X Abha Myra) is a 2008 stallion who was bred by Dolly Orr and Michael Byatt (USA) and is owned by Al Shaqab Member Qatar Foundation (QAT). With a Preliminary Class score of 337.0, he was also the highest scoring horse of the show. Following the victory, it was a great honor to be present as Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani, the manager of Al Shaqab Stud, proudly presented Fadi Al Shaqab to his excited fans. The Silver was earned by a stallion who is also famous for prestigious Supreme Championship wins which have included US Nationals and Scottsdale: LD Pistol. LD Pistol (Magnum Psyche X Halana), a 2000 stallion and the eldest of all medal winners, was bred by Allen W or Marian M Corrow (USA) and is owned by Midwest Station II (USA). It was heartwarming to see this stallion being photographed for both his Class and Championship wins with someone comfortably on his back, surrounded by a group of people who have loved him for many years. Also, as a side note, LD Pistol was the 2012 ABWC Senior Stallion Bronze Champion, in which two judges chose him for Gold. Finally, the Bronze went to the youngest of the three Senior Stallions: Sir Charmed FF. Sir Charmed FF (SF Sir Real X Bremervale Charmed), a 2013 stallion was bred by Future Farms (AUS) and is owned by K or D Dertell or H OR A Hardwick (AUS). In 2016 Sir Charmed FF was an ABWC Junior Stallion Top Ten finalist in which one judge chose him for Silver.
Although Aljassimya Farm was established in Qatar in 1979 with a variety of animals which included Arabian horses, it wasn’t until 2011 when Sheikh Jassim bin Khalifa Al Thani established a farm in Santa Ynez, California (USA), that they began their path to becoming an important player in the competitive Arabian horse world. Under the management of Bart van Buggenhout, the farm has made incredible steps in breeding, showing and positive community leadership. Last year, with Equator PASB (QR Marc X Ekliptyka), Aljassimya took home the 2016 ABWC Senior Stallion Gold Championship award. In addition, not only did Equator PASB win with the highest score of the show, but he also received the highest scores for Type, Body & Topline, Feet & Legs and Movement—a tremendous win for such a young farm.
The famous entrepreneur, Estee Lauder, once said, “We learn too much every day to be satisfied with yesterday’s achievements.” Based on Aljassimya’s strategic growth and show results, this must be a philosophy they share. Every year, after Championships, the ABWC recognizes the breeder with the greatest show success based on points accumulated according to Class placement. The winner of the 2017 AHBA Breeder Cup was Aljassimya Farm—the pinnacle of success in Vegas. At that time, the show also recognized a handler, chosen by the judges, whom they felt to be exceptional. For the third year in a row, the recipient of the ABWC Handler's Award was Ted Carson (USA).
The AHBA Lifetime Achievement Award
I have chosen to end this coverage with what I felt to be one of the most special moments at this year’s ABWC. The AHBA Lifetime Achievement Award honors a member of the community whose contribution has been uniquely significant. Although this is an award which is not given every year, the presentation is always exceptionally elegant, as well as touching and memorable. Previous receipts include: Wayne Newton (USA); Judith Forbis (USA); Dr. Hans Nagel (DEU); Bazy Tankersley (USA); Polish State Studs: Bialka, Janów Podlaski and Michałów (POL); Dr. Aloysio Andrade de Faria (BRA); Dr. Nasr Marei & Albadeia Stud (EGY); Howie Kale Jr. & Kale Family Arabians (USA) and Robert and Dixie North, of North Arabians (USA). This year’s recipient was The Father Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, founder of Al Shaqab Stud (QAT). Present to accept the award was Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani.
In 1992, HH The Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani established Al Shaqab. The farm was built on a landmark site not far from where the Al Shaqab battle took place over one hundred years ago, which was the battle that lead to Qatar’s independence from Ottoman rule. Within a very short period of time, under the management of Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani, Al Shaqab produced three stallions whose impact has been worldwide and whose influence will remain for many generations: Gazal Al Shaqab (1995), Al Adeed Al Shaqab (1995) and Marwan Al Shaqab (2000).
Although the influence of Al Shaqab Stud has touched every corner of the Arabian world, it has been just as prominent at the ABWC. Al Shaqab has produced an impressive five ABWC Champions: 2010 Senior Mare Silver Champion, Negma Al Shaqab; 2014 Yearling Filly Silver Champion, Victoria Al Shaqab; 2015 Senior Stallion Gold Champion, Hariry Al Shaqab; 2016 Junior Stallion Gold Champion, Falah Al Shaqab; and 2017 Senior Stallion Gold Champion, Fadi Al Shaqab. However, the depth of their influence has resulted from their incredible stallion power. Marwan Al Shaqab is the highest producing stallion of Champions in Vegas, with a total of sixteen of his progeny earning medals, five of which were Gold. Gazal Al Shaqab has produced six Champions, three of which were Gold; Hariry Al Shaqab has produced two Champions; while both Farhoud Al Shaqab and Fadi Al Shaqab have each sired a Champion as well. In summary, twenty-six ABWC Champions have been sired by an Al Shaqab stallion.
Michael Byatt: Al Shaqab has changed the story of the Arabian horse. Never will the history of our ancient breed be fully articulated without recognition of the enormous contribution from Al Shaqab. We ask, how did this happen? How did this small Gulf country of Qatar impact history in such a profound way? The answer lies in the mentality and determination of her people. The Al Thani family, led by HH The Father Emir, were and are visionaries. Whether transforming their country or the Arabian horse the key components were and are: belief, passion, and a “can do” attitude. These traits converging together created an undeniable recipe for success--and for that we have all benefited. A more deserving recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award could not have been found.
~In addition to his long history with Al Shaqab Stud, Michael Byatt is also one of the most influential competitors at the ABWC. Michael has earned countless medals in Vegas, along with being recognized for his breeding skills as the 2012 recipient of the AHBA Breeders Cup. In this current competition, not only did he represent three medal winners, but he also was the breeder (with Dolly Orr) of Senior Stallion Gold Champion Fadi Al Shaqab, the highest scoring horse of the show, and Serzana, Yearling Filly Bronze Champion, the third highest scoring horse of the show.
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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 Arabhorse.com as a Premier Contributor and Representative. She is also a breeder of Straight Egyptian Arabians.