Photography by Anette Mattsson www.fotografmattsson.com
The 2015 Polish Arabian Horse Days is one that will be remembered for many years to come. From the record-selling high lot of Pepita to revered photographer Stuart Vesty taking to the show-ring, and not forgetting the new stars on the block announcing their arrival both during the show and then the farm tours, this was certainly an event that those there won’t forget in a hurry. Quite simply, August in Poland is simply the best place to be – book your ticket for 2016 now!
I don’t care how many times I have driven through the gates of Janów Podlaski, it still gives me a shiver to pass through into the most hallowed of places in the Arabian show scene. There is no other location, perhaps with the exception of Malvern, home to the British National Championships, that is so synonymous with its show and so full of history – more so than anywhere else in the world. For here in the beautiful grounds of Janów, dreams are made, ambitions are realised, jaded souls are moved, and magic happens.
The Arabian Horse Days week begins, as usual, with the Polish National Show and this August saw the 37th running of this event. Judging this year were Helen Hennekens-van Nes from Belgium, Deirdre Hyde from the United Arab Emirates, Murillo Kammer from Brazil, and Marianne Tengstedt from Denmark. Friday afternoon saw the male classes – the colts and the stallions – and then it was indoors to the beautiful indoor arena for the presentation of the 2015 Pride of Poland collection.
The show certainly began in some style as the first of two yearling colt classes made their way into the arena and immediately, it was obvious that we had a future star in our midst. This was the Janów Podlaski owned and bred Paris, out of the beautiful mare Palmeta (Ecaho x Pilica) who was later honoured with the 2015 WAHO Trophy for Poland. Paris’ sire is Kahil Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab x OFW Mishaahl), a stallion leased by the Polish State Studs for two seasons and whose progeny have been exemplary. Just as Kahil’s grandsire Gazal Al Shaqab (Anaza El Farid x Kajora) and his paternal half-brother QR Marc (ex Swete Dreams) have made their mark in Poland, so Kahil is making his in the same indomitable style and it will be interesting to watch these youngsters grow. Paris is from the second season of foals in Poland and he won his class easily with 91.17 points. A very pretty grey with a smooth body, Paris was a great horse to start the show with and it was with little surprise that he was named Gold Junior Male Champion on the Sunday. Taking second pace with 90.67 points was Woj (Empire x Waranga), owned and bred by the Michalów State Stud, and he would stand Silver come Sunday. In third with 89.67 points was Milian (Lawrence El Gazal x Mila), bred and owned by Białka State Stud.
Winning the second yearling colt class was another Janów-bred Kahil Al Shaqab son, the very showy El Pais (ex El Fatha), who scored 90.5 points and would claim a Top Five Junior Male Championship placing on Sunday. Taking second place with 90.17 points was Dong (Equator x Demeter), a bay Michalów bred son of their multiple champion Equator; the next generation! Third place went to PPH Parys Ltd Petrarca (Kahil Al Shaqab x Poezja), with 89.67 points.
The Janów-bred Kahil sons continued to dominate in the two-year-old colt class and here, it was the Pepita son Pitawal that took the honours. Pepita, of course, was the Best in Show in Poland last year and was up for auction this year, so all eyes were on her son. Pitawal didn’t disappoint, winning the class with 90.67 points and went Top Five in Sunday’s championship. Standing second to him was the successful Peon, again by Kahil Al Shaqab and this time, out of Penta (Ecaho x Pepina), and this cross of Kahil with the ‘P’ line of Janów is one that really works. With his score of 90.33, Peon comfortably took the place again of Erset Al Khalediah (ZT Maghossny x Ersefona), bred and owned by Polska AKF Ltd, who received 88.17 points from the judges.
There was only entry in the three-year-old colt class, a good grey bred and owned by private breeders. This was Wiron (Kabsztad x Wirka), bred by Brygida and Jerzy Chrapkowski and owned by Joanna Kustra Lech. While in his class, this grey colt scored 88.83 points, come Sunday he would be named Junior Male Bronze Polish National Champion – no small feat among such impressive company, and a great achievement for private breeders across Poland.
It was straight on to the stallion classes and there were some great names forward in both sections. First in were the stallions aged four-to-six-years and winning this was the huge-moving and ever popular Cefir. This son of Eryks (Gazal Al Shaqab x Emmona) is owned and bred by the Białka State Stud and the crowd always gets behind him. With a score of 92 points, he easily won his class and secured a great win for Białka. Indeed, come Sunday, he would go home with the Polish National Champion Stallion title in what was a very moving moment indeed. Taking second – and Silver Polish National Champion Stallion – was the typey Barok (Om El Bellissimo x Baida), owned and bred by Janów Podlaski. Barok actually tied with Pomain (Gazal Al Shaqab/Pilar) for second with 91 points each, but his higher type score secured him the placing. Pomain, also owned and bred by Janów, had to settle for third place.
The winner of the seven-year-old stallion and over class was a welcome surprise as Girlan-Bey made his return to the show-ring. A Reserve World Champion Colt, Girlan-Bey is sired by Pesal (Partner x Perforacja) and out of Gracja-Bis (Monogramm x Grenada). Bred by the Kristoffersen family of Sweden, this 13-year-old grey is leased by Gerarld Kurtz and it was good to see him again. Indeed, he scored the only 20 of the day, for movement, and won the class with 91.33 points. In Sunday’s Senior Male Championship, Girlan-Bey took home the Bronze title. Second to him in the class, and also Top Four Stallion, was the lovely Equifor (Gazal Al Shaqab x Eqviria), bred and owned by Janów Podlaski, with 90.67 points. In third place with 90.5 points was another Erkys son, this time Chimeryk (ex Chimera), owned and bred by Michalów State Stud. Any hopes that we might have had of seeing Eryks himself were not realised, however, as it turned out that he had foundered that morning. This was truly as shame as it could have been a very historic show for Eryks and his progeny.
With the classes over, everyone made their way into the indoor arena for the welcome dinner and preview of the sale horses. Before the preview began, however, there was a beautiful video tribute to Izabella Pawelec-Zawadzka, who had sadly passed away earlier this year. There was barely a dry eye in the room and this was a fitting tribute to the First Lady of Poland, whose absence was keenly felt this year.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny and today was the day for the female, beginning with the first of three yearling filly classes. Kahil Al Shaqab has not been the only stallion used by the Polish Studs of late – Lawrence El Gazal (Gazal Al Shaqab x Lara El Ludjin) has also made his presence felt on the Polish breeding programmes. His first foal crop are now making their way into the show-ring – and winning – and thus it was that his daughter, Celita (ex Cella) took the win in this first class with 92.17 points. Bred and owned by the Białka State Stud, Celita is a very good moving, showy bay and she would take Bronze Junior Female Championship title the following day. Standing second to her was the very lovely grey Adelita (Kahil Al Shaqab x Altamira), bred and owned by Janów Podlaski, with 91.83 points. Michalów stood third with Pontia (Equator x Polonica), who received 91.5 points from the judges. All three fillies oozed quality and this was a lovely class to start the day with; indeed, the top six in this class all scored over 90 points, not small achievement.
The feminine and smooth Foggita (El Omari x Foggia) took the win in the second yearling filly class for her owners/breeders, the Michalów State Stud. I very much liked this filly and she will be one to watch for sure. With 91.33 points, she secured first place and went on to place Top Five Junior Female amid great competition. Taking second place for private breeders Falborek Arabians was the EKS Alihandro daughter, Wasalia (ex Wasa), a black/grey filly that covered the ground effortlessly to score 90.33 points. Third place went to Michalów’s El Medonia (Shangai EA x El Medina), a very expressive filly that received 89.83 points from the judges.
The winner of the final yearling filly class would go on to claim the Silver Junior Female title – this was Prunella (Abyad AA x Pradera), a filly heavily influenced by Egyptian bloodlines. Owned and bred by Janów Podlaski, she scored 92.33 points. For me, this filly had the edge and was the best of the yearlings on the day. Taking second place, and Top Five Junior Female, was Janów’s Kahil Al Shaqab daughter, Bambina (ex Bellisa), a very elegant filly that carried herself beautifully. Her score of 91.67 points secured her the placing ahead of Michalów’s El Larinera (Empire/El Emeera), a very Polish filly who received 91.5 point from the judges.
It was straight on to the first of the two-year-old fillies and the Janów Podlaski magic at this show continued to shine – all their horses seemed to display a certain joie de vivre this year and class after class, they dominated. Some Arabians truly have something about them – something that you cannot always describe – and Cedora is one of those horses. Sired by Kahil Al Shaqab and out of Cenoza (Ekstern x Celna), this bay filly danced her way around the ring to claim the top spot for Janów Podlaski with 91.67 points. In second place for the Michalów State Stud was Galerida (Shanghai EA x Galilea) with 91.17 points. Just behind in third, also for Michalów, was Expressja TV (El Omari x El Medina), the showy bay filly named in a nationwide television competition. Her sire, El Omari, was Polish National Champion in 2013 and he is producing well for the farms there.
The Gold Junior Female Champion came from the second two-year-old filly class, as did the first 20s of the day. They were awarded to Pustynia Kahila, a filly no stranger to the winner’s circle. Sired by Kahil Al Shaqab, she is out of the Ekstern daughter Pustynna Malwa and is owned and bred by the Michalów State Stud. With two 20s for type, she easily took the win with 92.33 points and, later, the Junior Female Championship. This bay beauty is so haughty and showy, and she is always a joy to watch. In second place, and scoring a 20 for movement, was Prometida (Kahil Al Shaqab x Panonia), owned and bred by Janów Podlaski. This beautiful filly scored 91.83 points. Third place in this class went to Białka’s Perforia (Vitorio TO x Perfirka), who also received a 20 for movement and a final score of 91.5 points.
The elegant Om El Bellissimo daughter Amarena (ex Amiga) won the three-year-old filly class for Janów Podlaski. In second place was the feminine Emandorissa (Abha Qatar x Emanda) for the Michalów State Stud. With 90.83 points, she edged the Ekstern daughter, El Schanel (ex Entorja) into third. Bred by Wojeich Parczewski and owned by Best Arabians, this showy grey scored 90.67 points.
Following the lunch break, it was straight on with the mare classes, starting with the four-to-six-year olds, split into two sections.
I remember being at the Janów Podlaski breeding parade in 2011 when the superlative mare, Pinga (Gazal Al Shaqab x Pilar), was shown with a foal at foot. The foal in question was by Eden C (Enzo x Silken Sable), and her name was Piniata. Now four years of age, Piniata elegantly stepped into the show-ring for this class and was rewarded by the judges with 92.67 points, the highest of the show thus far. Somewhat amazingly, this included just one 20, for head/neck, but this bay beauty certainly oozed charisma as she took the win. Indeed, this charisma continued to the next day, when she was named Polish National Champion Mare. Very movingly, Rhonda Coleal, who bred Eden C, was at the show and there were tears and smiles all around when Piniata not only won, but claimed the coveted title that so many greats have worn over the years. Truly magical.
Taking second place and Top Five Senior Female in this lovely class was Euzona (Om El Bellissimo x Euzetia), bred and owned by Janów Podlaski, with 92.33 points. I find it amazing that Euzona is now four years old – I distinctly remember being at Janów, watching the show as the first Om El Bellissimo yearlings made their way into the show-ring, while sitting with Bellissimo’s breeders, Sigi Siller and Janina Merz. Om El Bellissimo is sired by Om El Shahmaan (Sanadik El Shaklan x Om El Shaina) and out of Om El Benedict (Sanadik El Shaklan x Om El Beneera), making him a double Sanadik El Shaklan grandson, Sanadik, of course, being another stallion brilliantly utilised in Poland. Third place in this very beautiful class was Perfinka, the Polish beauty leased by Al Muawd Stud in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with great success. Sired by the late Esparto (Ekstern x Ekspozycja), a wonderful stallion who suddenly passed away this summer, and out of Perfirka (Gazal Al Shaqab x Perforacja), who was sold to the United States in last year’s Pride of Poland Sale, Perfinka has been loved by all who saw her as a foal at Białka Stud, when she was presented in the pouring rain. Today, she was shown by Ryan Jones, who handled her for Al Muawd to the Gold All Nations’ Cup Junior Female title, and in spite of receiving two 20s, one for type and one for head/neck, her overall score was 92.17 points. This really was a wonderful class and the top six horses all scored over 90 points.
A small breath and it was on to the second section of four-to-six-year-old mares. As the mares made their way in, it was evident that the Polish look that we know and love so well was more evident in these older classes. Taking the win in this second section was a daughter of Om El Shahmaan, Emandilla (ex Espadrilla by Monogramm), a powerful moving bay mare who scored 93.17 points, including one 20 for movement. Owned and bred by the Michalów State Stud, Emandilla would place Top Five in the Senior Female Championship. Second to her was Palatina (QR Marc/Palmeta), again with a 20 for movement, who was full of snort and blow and looked fabulous. Bred by Janów Podlaski, she is owned by PPH Parys Ltd and she scored 91.83 points. Third place in this fabulous class was Zigi Zana (QR Marc/Zagrobla), owned and bred by the Michalów State Stud and many times a champion already. Today, she scored 91.5 points and seemed to lack some of her usual flair, perhaps. Mention must be made to Naifa Al Khalediah (Ganges x Nadrat Al Khalediah), who placed fifth but who received straight 20s for movement from the judges, the first such score in the show. She received 91 points for her owners/breeders Polska AKF Ltd, and the 90+ scores went all the down to seventh place.
The two classes for seven-to-ten-year-old mares gave people a chance to draw breath slightly. There was a tie for first place between Pilarosa and Parmana, with the latter receiving a higher type score and thus securing the win. Parmana (Al Maraam x Palmira), who is owned and bred by the Michalów State Stud, also scored one 20 for head and neck to finish with 92.5 points. Pilarosa (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Pilar) had to settle for second for Janów Podlaski. In third place, again for Michalów, was the lovely Lawinia (Ekstern x Luanda), who was full of snort and blow the minute she came into the ring. This attitude was reflected in her show, where she received straight 20s from the judges for movement to finish with 91.67 points.
Winning the second seven-to-ten-year-old mare class was Elliseina (Galba x Ellissara), a lovely grey bred by Michalów and owned by Polska AKF. She would go on to take the Bronze Senior Female Championship. With her scored of 91.5 points, she finished ahead of the super Sefora (Ekstern x Sawantka), who received 90.67 points from the judges. She is owned and bred by Janów Podlaski, as was the third-placed mare, the serene Bigamia (Ekstern x Barka), who scored 90.33 points.
The final classes were for mares aged 11 years and older and were, again, split into two. The winner of the fist section was the big-moving Palanga (Ekstern x Panika), owned and bred by Michalów, whose one 20 for movement helped her on the way to a total score of 93 points and Silver Senior Female Champion. With 92.5 points, Wilda (Gazal Al Shaqab x Wilga) took second, again for Michalów, with the lovely bay Pieta taking third place with 91.33 points. Bred by Janów Podlaski, Pieta is owned by Halsdon Arabians of the UK, and this 12-year-old mare is sired by Gazal Al Shaqab and out of the legendary Pilar (Fawor x Pipi).
The wonderful Embra (Monogramm x Emilda) won the second class for the Michalów State Stud. Now 20 years of age, this mare has done it all and it is always a treat to see her. She scored 91.83 points from the judges. There was a tie for second as two mares both scored 90.67 points and were also equal on type. However, with the higher movement score, the beautiful fleabitten mare Amra (Eukaliptus x Albigowa) took second place. This 15-year-old mare had a calm, serene beauty to her and she was a joy to watch. Bred by Janów Podlaski, she is owned by Halsdon Arabians. Ekstera (Ekstern x Eunona) placed third, a 13-year-old mare bred by J Leszek and owned by Best Arabians.
With the classes over, we all made our way back to the homes for the night. While no fault of the horses, it must be acknowledged that there was a lacklustre feel to the classes today, especially in the afternoon. Maybe in Poland, we are so used to being spoiled and seeing one 20 scoring horse follow another that we set our expectations too high; food for thought.
Sunday’s championship day dawned bright and sunny – and hot! Indeed, by the time the auction was reaching its conclusion later, many of us were feeling the heat, and that was not just to do with the incredible prices being raised.
While I have already mentioned the medal winners throughout the piece, it is worth talking about them again in context of Sunday’s championships.
The Junior Female Championship was a very beautiful class and also very soulful. Stuart Vesty, for many years now the official photographer for Arabian Horse Days, had his chance on the hallowed turf as he trotted in the winner of the three-year-old class, Amarena, and there were smiles a-plenty as he encouraged everyone to cheer for him! The Gold Champion, however, oozed pure elegance and she gave me goosebumps, being of course Pustynia Kahila, with Prunella in Silver, Celita in Bronze, and both Foggita and Bambina awarded Top Fives.
|Stuart Vesty and Jeff Wintersteen|
The Junior Male Championship was, again, a high-quality affair and Paris was the standout Gold Champion. In Silver was Woj with Wiron in Bronze. Owned by a private breeder, the announcement that Wiron had placed Bronze was greeted with huge cheers and his owner could not stop hugging and kissing him, wonderful to see! El Pais and Pitawal completed the Top Five.
The Senior Female Championship was, quite simply, breathtaking. To see all these mares in the ring together was just gorgeous and I think that this is a class we would have enjoyed watching forever. Gold went to Piniata with Palanga in Silver, Elliseina in Bronze, and Euzona and Emandilla awarded Top Fives.
The Senior Male Championship was equally moving as Cefir took Gold for Białka – an achievement that was greeted with tears from his handler and a standing ovation from the many locals that head to Janów Podlaski on the same weekend every year. This really was a very special moment indeed and one that many enjoyed. Barok took the Silver, Girlan-Bey the Bronze and a Top Four placing went to Equifor.
It was now time for the special awards and these included: Highest Scoring Mare – Emandilla; Best Head – Palanga; Best Mover – Lawinia; and Best Breeder – Michalów State Stud.
Janów Podlaski’s Palmeta was awarded the 2015 WAHO Challenge Trophy – and a basket of carrots! – and it was lovely to see her grazing in the sunlight while her many achievements were discussed, which you can read about elsewhere in this edition.
A new award for this year as the Izabella Pawelec-Zawadzka Polish National Junior Champion Colt Challenge Trophy and this went to Paris.
Time for the Best in Show and this went to Piniata, much to the delight of Rhonda and her husband, Jim, and there were plenty more tears as she joined this lovely mare in the show-ring. It was a great achievement for this young mare to take the title among the older horses, and it certainly reinforced how we all felt about Piniata when we saw her as a foal for the very first time – that she was a star for the future; and how!
Finally, the Best Trainer and Best Handler Awards were presented, with Pawel Kozikowski from Janów Podlaski being awarded both. However, he brought out his girlfriend, Joanna Wojtecka, into the ring and shared the honours with her – as she does much of the conditioning of the horses, this was a lovely touch. Hand in hand, the pair ran around the show-ring for a lap of honour. With smiles on everyone’s faces, it was time for lunch – and the auction.
The tension in the air was palpable as people gathered in the indoor arena at Janów for the auction. Presided over once more by auctioneer Andrew Nolan, Jeff Wallace, Scott Benjamin and Miroslaw Kolodziej were there to take the bids from the floor.
Lot 1 was Pepita – last year’s Best in Show and a 10-year-old daughter of the wonderful Ekstern (Monogramm x Ernestyna) and out of the Eukaliptus daughter, Pepesza (ex Pestka). Bred by Janów Podlaski, the bidding was fast and furious and before we knew it, we were already at the €1,000,000 mark. The highest-selling lot in Polish history thus far was Kwestura (Monogramm x Kwesta), who sold for €1,250,000; would Pepita go higher? Just as the bidding was coming down to a few farms, a new bidder stepped in – seated among the locals and a last-minute arrival at the event. The crowd went mad! At €1,300,000, with Kwestura’s record surpassed, Al Muawd Stud stepped out of the bidding, leaving the hammer to go down on a roof-raising €1,400,000! I think everyone there had goosebumps as the total was confirmed, and the winning bidder was invited into the ring to walk his new mare around. Everyone wanted to know who the man was – no one had ever seen him before – and all we could discover was that he was an agent from Switzerland.
Over the next 24 hours, the truth was slowly unveiled – Pepita had been sold to a new farm, Fali Stall Purebred Arabians from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and she would remain in Europe. Indeed, at the end of September, she arrived at Schoukens Training Center and I was able honoured to be able to announce her to those gathered for Schoukens’ annual open house.
No time to draw breath, however – Georgia was next. At 21 years of age, there had been many questions asked as to why this wonderful mare had been out into the auction; indeed, she took up four pages in the catalogue rather than the normal two. Sired by Monogramm (Negatraz x Monogramma) and out of Gizela (Palas x Gilza), Georgia has a legion of fans around the world and everyone was waiting to see where she would end up. As it was, Athbah Stud from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia purchased her. Manager Ward Bemong told me: “This mare will spend the rest of her days in Belgium – she deserves to just live out in a green field and be a treasured mare for the rest of her life. I told you I’d save her!” Georgia sold for €105,000 and she, too, is at Schoukens Training Center. If you visit The Arabian Magazine Facebook page, you will find a wonderful video of her presentation there.
With the standard set high, the prices followed suit. Lot 4, Pistoria (Gazal Al Shaqab x Palmira) sold for €625,000 to Al Zobair Stud; Lot 6, Wieża Róż (Ekstern x Wieża Babel) sold for €270,000 to Al Thumama Stud; Altamira (Ekstern x Altona) for €250,000 to Halsdon Arabians; Wasa (WH Justice x Waresa) to Qatar, the highest sale ever for a privately-bred horse in Poland; and Wkra (Gazal Al Shaqab x Wyborna) for €260,000 to Al Muawd Stud. By the end of the night, a staggering €3,995,000 had been raised – well over £1,000,000 higher than last year’s total. What a night!
Another €603,500 was added to the total the next day in the Summer Sale, taking the grand total for the 2015 Arabian Horse Days Auctions to €4,598,500. One of the highest lots in his sale was Melody (Psytadel x Mina), owned and bred by Malgorzata and Jozef Pietrzak, who went for €60,000.
With the excitement of the auctions over for another year, the focus was on excitement of a different kind. For that afternoon would see the start of the breeding parades – but that will have to wait for the next edition…