Photography by Ricard Cunhill.
Lead Photograph Malikat Al Moluk (Mameluk x Asalat Al Hala)
The first weekend of August saw the Arabian Horse Organization (AHO) run two shows in Chantilly – the World Cup and the Breeders’ Championship Europe. Held for the first time at the Polo Club, having previously been held at the Chateau de Chantilly and the beautiful Grand Stables, both shows were a great success – and very different to many of the shows that I have been to over recent years.
The first thing that we noticed, walking into the show, was how relaxed it was. There was no barrier, sectioning off the VIP from the rest of the world. There was no feeling of division, as there is at so many shows, of ‘them and us’ – when, lets face it, we are all, for the most part, there for the same reason: to enjoy the show, and to experience the horses. Instead, there was a feeling of welcome, of oneness; something that is sadly rare in the modern showing world.
Originally run as a Breeders’ Championship only, the show has expanded to include a World Cup where the Middle East can compete their horses. Held on the first two of the four days that this event runs, the highlight is still very much the Breeders’ Championship. In a world where many admit that the breeder is, perhaps, struggling, it is great to see that the primary focus of this show is the breeders – and they are rewarded accordingly. The top seven placed horses in each class takes home €1,000, and with few classes having more than seven entries, this meant that pretty much everyone was in the prize money.
|Emerald J (QR Marc x Emandoria)|
A word needs to be mentioned on the scoring system. The catalogue states: “The AHO has established a scoring system based on principles aiming to guarantee some homogeneity in judgement as well as backing up the judges’ decisions.”
As well as explicitly explaining the points system – 20 as ideal, 16/16.5 as rather good, and less than 14 as poor, for example – the scoring is broken down further – head and neck are two sub-categories, one for head and one for neck with the average being used as the final score. This is also done for body and topline, and the legs are split into front legs and back legs.
Further, any point given that is more than 1.5 points different from the average score in any section, be it type, legs, etc, is eliminated.
All in all, this is an interesting system, and one that could perhaps be adopted at more shows around the world. The Arabian Breeders’ World Cup in Las Vegas is perhaps the closest to this system, but it could easily be developed further.
The World Cup
The AHO World Cup was held first, on 3/4 August, and judging this show were Claudia Darius (Germany), Josy Everars (Belgium), Greg Gallún (USA), Majed Mahajawi (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Mohammed Oussidhoum (Morocco), and Anna Stojanowska (Poland), with Reem Ahmad Al Sultan of Kuwait also present as a probationary judge.
With all the classes starting at the very civilised time of 2pm, the first day saw all the fillies and mares show, as well as the colts. The second day was the stallion classes, and the championships and special awards – the highest scoring female and male, and then Best in Show. Between the championships, there were lots of presentations all featuring the ridden Arabian – polo, costume, dressage – which was so lovely to see. Again, at this event, those at the show actually watched and enjoyed these displays – they weren’t just ‘fillers’ between the main events; refreshing to see.
|Nadeem Al Arab (WH Justice x Om El Euphoria)|
The stallion classes were particularly notable, as both Morion (Kahil Al Shaqab x Mesalina), bred by the Michalów State Stud of Poland and leased by Al Thumama Stud of Qatar, was shown in the junior class while Emerald J (QR Marc x Emandoria), bred and owned by Christine Jamar of Belgium, competed in the senior class. Both won their sections, and it was exciting to see them go head to head in the Senior Male Championship. And mention must be made of Pepita (Ekstern x Pepesza), bred by Janów Podlaski State Stud in Poland and owned by Al Fali Stud in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who showed her classic Polish movement to win her class for mares aged seven years and over.
Full results of the show can be found on Arabian Essence, but the championship results are as follows.
|Arsenia OS (AJ Mardan x Maryse OS)|
Yearling Female Championship
Gold – Arsenia OS (AJ Mardan x Maryse OS), bred by Gestüt Osterhof, owned by Ajman Stud
Silver – Sheikha Al Juman (RFI Farid x PF Panama), bred by BM Arabians Stud, owned by Al Juman Stud
Bronze – Rashediah Al Khashab (EKS Alihandro x Symphony of Love), bred and owned by Al Khashab Stud
|Sheikha Al Juman (RFI Farid x PF Panama)||Rashediah Al Khashab (EKS Alihandro x Symphony of Love)|
Junior Female Championship
Gold – Malikat Al Moluk (Mameluk x Asalat Al Hala), bred by Hader Kalawa, owned by Al Khashab Stud
Silver – HDM Maria Apal (RFI Farid x WW Imania-Apal), bred by Eleonore Mertens, owned by Ajman Stud
Bronze – Mayadah Albidayer (Kanz Albidayer x Maranta), bred and owned by Albidayer Stud
|HDM Maria Apal (RFI Farid x WW Imania-Apal),||Mayadah Albidayer (Kanz Albidayer x Maranta)|
Senior Female Championship
Gold – Bint Hazy Al Khalediah (El Palacio VO x Hazy Al Khalediah), bred by Al Khalediah Stud, owned by Al Orasia Stud
Silver – Pepita (Ekstern x Pepesza), bred by Janów Podlaski, owned by Al Fali Stud
Bronze – EKS Shakira (Shakir El Marwan x Poetica B), bred by Willi Brown, owned by the Royal Cavalary of Oman
|Pepita (Ekstern x Pepesza)||EKS Shakira (Shakir El Marwan x Poetica B)|
|HL El Ganador (HP Shakir TE x Lonco Babby Maria)|
Yearling Male Championship
Gold – HL El Ganador (HP Shakir TE x Lonco Babby Maria), bred by Familia Duch Matthei, owned by Hanaya Arabians
Silver – Yas BHM (Kahil Al Shaqab x Caterina FM), bred and owned by Ali Ghanem Ali Humalia Al Mazroui
Bronze – Madagaskar J (Excalibur EA x Mississippi J), bred and owned by Jadem Arabians
|Yas BHM (Kahil Al Shaqab x Caterina FM)||Madagaskar J (Excalibur EA x Mississippi J)|
Junior Male Championship
Gold – Nadeem Al Arab (WH Justice x Om El Euphoria), bred by Om El Arab, owned by Aljassimya Farm
Silver – Wortex Kalliste (Shanghai EA x Marwanah Kalliste), bred and owned by Kalliste Arabians
Bronze – Raoud Albidayer (SMA Magic One x DL Marielle), owned and bred by Albidayer Stud
|Wortex Kalliste (Shanghai EA x Marwanah Kalliste)||Raoud Albidayer (SMA Magic One x DL Marielle),|
Senior Male Championship
Gold – Emerald J (QR Marc x Emandoria), bred and owned by Jadem Arabians
Silver – Morion (Kahil Al Shaqab x Mesalina), bred by Michalów Stud, leased by Al Thumama Stud
Bronze – Mahder Al Jamal (Nader Al Jamal x Mahity Al Jamal), bred and owned by Jean Mattens
|Morion (Kahil Al Shaqab x Mesalina)||Mahder Al Jamal (Nader Al Jamal x Mahity Al Jamal)|
Best in Show – Bint Hazy Al Khalediah
The Breeders’ Championships Europe
Judging this show, held 5/6 August, were Jerzy Białobok (Poland), Mark Gamlin (UK), Ingela Gyllenkrok (Sweden), Nasser Moustaha (Egypt), Christina Valdez (Spain), and Christina Valette (France). Again, Reem Ahmad Al Sultan was present as probationer judge, making it a very long show for her!
|DA Ariyana (EKS Alihandro x DA Miss Justice)|
The classes in the Breeders’ Championships were extremely competitive; there were no classes that I thought lacked depth, and the standard of privately-bred European Arabian horses is certainly very high indeed. Indeed, in the first yearling filly class, there was just one point separating the top six placed fillies, with Padme di Mar (Psyrasic x Principessa Di Mar), bred by Soc. Agr. Tre Stelle in the top spot on 91.1 points, and she would end up Silver Yearling Filly Champion. Taking third place in this first class was Malena (Makisa Adaggio x SA Karima), bred by Davide Bona, and she took the Bronze title in Sunday’s championship. The Gold Yearling Filly title was awarded to the winner of the second class; this was the beautiful chestnut DA Ariyana (EKS Alihandro x DA Miss Justice), bred by Diamond Arabians. She scored 91.45 and again, the top six were separated by just one point; incredibly close, and some incredibly beautiful fillies forward.
|Padme di Mar (Psyrasic x Principessa Di Mar)||Malena (Makisa Adaggio x SA Karima)|
|Satin K (QR Marc x Sayonarah El Bri)|
The two-to-three-year-old filly classes were also of a very high standard, and noteworthy was the first entry into the first of these classes. This was Jozefina Tersk (Napevnyi x Pobornica), bred by the Tersk Stud of Russia, and this charming bay showed off that traditional Russian movement that is much loved – and missed – to take fourth place with 90.8 points. Heading the class, however, was Satin K (QR Marc x Sayonarah El Bri), bred by Knocke Arabians, with a score of 92.6. She would later be named Silver Junior Female Champion. The Gold and Bronze winners would come from the second class, with Diamond Arabians proving to have a very successful show as their grey two-year old full sister to DA Ariyana took the Gold Championship. She won her class with a huge score of 93.1 points, including almost perfect marks for type. Cornelia Kolnberger is breeding some very beautiful horses indeed, and this is the second generation from her mare DA Luna El Bri (CH El Brillo x Riva), and the cross of EKS Alihandro over DA Miss Justice (by WH Justice) is a very potent one indeed. The Bronze Junior Female title went to Palmira de Cape (Ajman Monisicone x Tressor of Marwan EA), bred by Al Cape Arabians; she placed second in the second class with 91.05 points.
|Szakira (WH Justice x Splendida)|
|Rihanna El Hadiyah (Al Hadiyah x Reza El Bri)|
The mare classes brought forth some incredible beauties indeed – as well as a tremendous display of horsemanship from handler Johanna Ullström with the eventual Gold Senior Female Champion, Szakira (WH Justice x Splendida). Bred by DB Arabians, this ethereal grey mare captivated most of the audience, and she won her class with 92.5 points and she enchanted every time she came into the arena. This was a strong mare class, with Bad’iah de Cartherey (Ajman Moniscione x Yallah Bint Mahalim), bred by Chantal Rigat, just behind with 92.3 points. There were only two mares forward in the senior mare class, but they both took titles in the Senior Female Championship. Indeed, they swapped placings, with class winner Al Inaya (WH Justice x Al Dafina), bred by the family Huber, taking Bronze and second-placed Rihanna El Hadiyah (Al Hadiyah x Reza El Bri) taking Silver for La Movida Arabians. The scored 92.35 and 92.3 points respectively; so terribly close!
|Picasso di Mar (Cavalli x SG Wendetta)|
|Muntasir J (Excalibur EA x Mississippi J)|
The first of the yearling colts was incredibly close at the top, with just 0.2 points separating first and second, and they would hold these placings in the championship to take Gold and Silver respectively. These were Picasso di Mar (Cavalli x SG Wendetta), bred by Soc Agr Tre Stelle with 92.2 points, and A Kanz of Kossack (Kanz Albidayer x Ariel), bred by The Kossack Stud with 92 points. Winning the second class with 92.35 points and taking the Bronze Yearling Male Championship was Muntasir J (Excalibur EA x Mississippi J), bred by Jadem Arabians. Just behind in second with 92 points was Magesty KA (Eden C x Magnums Rose), bred by Knocke Arabians, with Kadidj de Lafayette (Shanghai EA x Kadidjha de Jalima) on 91.95 for Christiane and Daniel Souppat.
|UL Alonso (EKS Alihandro x Sid Lavanda)|
UL Alonso (EKS Alihandro x Sid Lavanda), bred by Ulrichsdal and Judy Oehlenschlaeger, won the two-year-old colt class with 90.9 points and would be later named Bronze Junior Male Champion. Standing second to him in this class was the eventual Gold Junior Male Champion, Al Picasso (RFI Farid x Al Princess Aliha), bred by the family Huber, with 90.45 points. Just 0.5 points behind was Skipinzski (Vivegas x DG Givenchey), bred by Tucana Arabians. The Silver Junior Male Champion title went to the class winner of the three-year-old colt class, R’adjah de Cartherey (QR Marc x Badi’ah de Cartherey), bred by Chantal Rigat. This big-moving bay won with 91.85 points, 0.1 points ahead of second-placed Izan Al Cape (Shanghai EA x Wioletta EA), bred by Al Cape Arabians.
|R’adjah de Cartherey (QR Marc x Badi’ah de Cartherey)||A Kanz of Kossack (Kanz Albidayer x Ariel)|
The winner of the junior stallion class was Primeval Kossack (Stival x Pribaltika), bred by The Kossack Stud. He won easily with 92 points, with second place going to Tucana Arabians’ Marsevarno (Vivegas x Catwalk) on 91 points. In the senior stallion class, Lawrence El Gazal (Gazal Al Shaqab x Lara El Ludjin) won with a huge score of 92.95 points, including a glut of 20s. He is bred by La Movida Arabians. Second place went to F Tayyar Ibn Al Lahab (Al Lahab x F Tahani Bint Shammal) on 90.8 points for breeders Hansjürgen and Inge Friedmann. It is fair to say that confusion reigned in the Senior Male Championship; Lawrence El Gazal had three votes for the Gold title and one for Silver, while Primeval Kossack had one for Gold and four for Silver. The Gold title went to Primeval Kossack, with Lawrence El Gazal in Bronze. The AHO rules stated that a horse receives 20 points for Gold and 16 for Silver, and thus Primeval Kossack came out on top. But it does seem strange that the horse with most votes for Gold doesn’t win. Lawrence El Gazal actually tied with Marsevarno, but his higher points in the classes put this fabulous stallion into the Silver spot. All in all, a rather confusing end to what had been an incredible show, with people pouring over the marks as the score sheets were given out.
|Primeval Kossack (Stival x Pribaltika)|
|Lawrence El Gazal (Gazal Al Shaqab x Lara El Ludjin)||Marsevarno (Vivegas x Catwalk)|
|Most Valuable Groom Jassmin Kennedy|
There were a number of special awards given, too. These included Bad’iah de Cartherey winning the Best Body and Best Movement Awards; La Movida winning the Best Breeder; DA Alihandra the Best Female and Highest Score of the Show; QR Marc the Best Sire; and Tom Oben winning Best Handler – curiously worked out on the number of horses a handler brings to the show rather than a vote by the judges at the show. There are also awards for the Most Valuable Groom – one voted for by the DCs at the show, won by Jassmin Kennedy, and one voted for through social media, won by Daniel Fontan.
Best Breeder La Movida
Most Valuable Groom Daniel Fontan
|Best Handler Tom Oben|
|DA Alihandra the Best Female and Highest Score of the Show|
All in all, this truly was a fabulous show. The quality of horses, especially in the Breeders’ Championship Europe, was incredibly high, and it is reassuring to realise that there are still so many world-class breeders committed to the longevity of their programme and not just breeding to sell. The show was incredibly well run and nothing was too much trouble for anyone, be you a VIP, a judge, or someone happily sat out in the sun watching the horses. The demonstrations between the championships celebrated the versatility of the Arabian horse; indeed, there was much to celebrate all weekend. At this show, you will find none of the, perhaps unnecessary, pomp and circumstance that other major shows run as a matter of course. Instead, there was a relaxed, all encompassing feel. Even the horses were rewarded; I cannot remember the last time I saw so many handlers enjoying showing their horses – patting them, hugging them, kissing them. It made such a wonderful change to have happy faces in the ring rather than the tense ones we see all too often – and that then transmits down the lead rope to the horses. Every placed horse also received a bunch of carrots; often, there were none left by the time the horse left the ring!
|Best in Show – Bint Hazy Al Khalediah|
This show truly was a breath of fresh air, and I have not enjoyed a show so much in a long time. The AHO are to be applauded for all that they do for European breeders, and I sincerely hope that this beautiful show in Chantilly survives for many more years to come.