The world of the Arabian horse has been hit once more by tremendous loss. We are still accepting that the likes of Sigi Siller, Erwin Escher, Sheila Varian, and Irina Filsinger are no longer with us – and now we have a whole new sense of overwhelming grief once more. And this has, no question, been the hardest edition of the magazine that I have ever had to put together.
Rosemary Archer, Ryan Jones and Beatrice Paine all passed away within a few weeks of each other this summer. They were strong people, dynamic in their own way, and fuelled by a passion in, and respect for, the Arabian horse. Our lives are all the richer for having known them, but the gap that they leave in our lives is vast. Add in Ecaho, the great stallion, and I think you can understand why this has been a difficult edition for us to compile.
Ryan’s very sudden passing, at the British National Championships, sent shockwaves around the world. I honestly do not think that any of us will ever be quite the same again. But I do hope that we will be stronger for it – our friendships cherished, and our enemies respected. For grief has no space for hate. We all stand united in love and compassion – for those we have lost, and for the families who have been left behind.
Rosemary and Beatrice were contemporaries and shared a huge love for the Crabbet Arabian. They were both strong-willed ladies, and very determined to breed the kind of horse that they believed in. Beatrice, especially, is of the kind of character that we may not see again. Both ladies offered precious connections to the past – that past now truly confined to the pages of history. They knew Lady Wentworth and Lady Anne Lytton, and they knew the celebrated Crabbet Arabians of the past in their lifetime. Thankfully, the influence of these two programmes, the Worth Stud and the Bowdell Stud, will continue around the world for many generations to come.
Ryan… The Greatest Showman. He, too, had a life with rich Arabian horses, begun by growing up in Wales at his parents Bychan Arabians. He was a world-class breeder, trainer, manager, and showman. Those who loved him are still trying to comprehend that he has gone, and we can just hope that Time will prove to be the great healer that she always has been in the past.
But from such dark days comes light – as always. I have been told anecdotes about Rosemary, Ryan and Beatrice that make me smile. And legacies do live on – Sigi’s being a case in point. For among the sadness in this edition, we celebrate the continuation of her breeding programme through a look at Om El Arab and Antheia Arabians and the open days that they held earlier this year.
This whole edition is dedicated to Rosemary, Ryan and Beatrice. All three spent their whole lives devoted to the Arabian horse. But fate is a funny thing, and it ensured that, in 1951, Rosemary and Beatrice became friends. Come the 1980s, and Ryan and Beatrice became friends. Their collective passing leaves a huge, huge void in the lives of those who loved them. But my word, I bet they are having one amazing horsey debate and party wherever they are! Let us all raise a glass to them tonight, and acknowledge their great achievements in our own personal way.