On 30 July, the sad news was shared that the beautiful, gentle mare Navarroné-P had passed away. Owned and very loved by Martine Van Hee of Dion Arabians, ‘Poppy’ was truly at the heart of the success of this farm and her legacy will be a lasting one. In this Breeders’ Edition of The Arabian Magazine, we share the story of the wonderful Navarroné-P.
Foaled on 18 May 1987, Navarroné was four years old when Martine discovered her, at Bluebell Arabians Training Center in Holland. “Navarroné had only just arrived there but she was not in good condition,” recalls Martine. “She had never been bred but as soon as I looked over the stable door and saw her, I knew right away that Navarroné had what it took to get to the top as a show mare.
“When she looked into my eyes, she gave me the confirmation that I needed and I knew that I had to buy her, whatever it would take.” In the end, it took six weeks of intense discussions before the owner finally agreed to sell her. “She cost what was, to us, a fortune but I knew that she was worth it. Even at four years old, she really was a dream mare,” adds Martine.
Everything that Martine felt about Navarroné proved to be true – partly due to her wonderful Spanish-infused pedigree. ‘Poppy’ is sired by El Khadir P, a son of Ibn Estopa, a full brother to El Shaklan being by Shaker El Masri (Morafic x Zebeda by El Sareei out of Galila) and out of the legendary mare, Estopa (Tabal x Uyaima by Barquillo out of Imelina). El Khadir’s damline, however, brings in a further Egyptian influence being out of Khadirah (ex Kadidja by Alcazar out of Chavali by Ornis), a daughter of Mubark (Hadban Enzahi x Malacha by El Sareei out of Moheba).
Poppy’s dam brings in more Spanish blood, along with a dash of Crabbet, being Navarra , a daughter of the great Jalisco (Figuroso x Fira by Tabal out of Ariana) and out of Cerva (Esmir x Faquih x Borni out of Paita). Such a high percentage of Spanish bloodlines helps to explain Poppy’s exquisite looks, including the huge, dark eyes that horses from these lines are so famed for.
|Eternity Ibn Navarrone D|
Navarroné arrived at Dion Arabians in 1991 and her first foal was born in 1994, Nabillah-D P, a filly by Alidaar (Shaikh Al Badi x Bint Magidaa by Khofo out of Magidaa). “This filly had to return to Navarroné’s breeder as part of the purchase agreement, so I guess you could say that, for us, the first foal was Sarai Bint Navarroné-D.”
Sired by Ansata Sinan (Prince Fa Moniet x Ansata Nefara by Ansata Halim Shah out of Ansata Sudarra), her full brother, Eternity Ibn Navarroné-D, was foaled in 1997. “The moment he was born, we knew that he would be a star,” recalls Martine. “That is why we named him ‘Eternity’ – from those first few minutes, as he took his first breaths and, within three minutes, was up and stretching his legs around the stable with his tail flagged, we knew that this young colt deserved a name to remember.”
Indeed, Eternity has gone on to excel in the show-ring, being a double World Champion, an All Nations’ Cup Champion, European Champion and Dubai International Arabian Horse Show Champion as well as many other titles. Not only that, Eternity has also sired many multiple champions including Nijem Ibn Eternity (ex Naravna by Narav Ibn Aswan out of Nenija by Neman), a winner of the coveted European Triple Crown titles.
|Escape Ibn Navarroné|
Two years later, in 1999, Navarroné-P provided the world with her second son – Escape Ibn Navarroné. Sired by AS Sinans Pacha (Ansata Sinan x Saskia RJ by Plakat out of BArwna), thus infusing more Egyptian blood into the pedigree, Escape arrived in the world 10 days early, thus starting a rescue programme to ensure that he received everything he needed to survive.
“After a few days, we thought that we were going to lose him,” Martine recalls. “We spent all day, every day, in the stable with him and Navarroné. We prayed to God to keep him alive and I made myself a promise that if he lived, I would call him Escape. Finally, he turned a corner and pulled through and I firmly believe that God kept this foal alive because he is so special.”
Now owned by HH Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman and the owner of the Ajman Stud, Escape has gone on to claim titles around the world including World Champion, All Nations’ Cup Champion, Dubai International Arabian Horse Show Champion and Arabian Breeders’ Alliance World Cup Champion. Quite the show record!
Through careful breeding, the Navarroné-P line goes down through many generations at Dion from just a handful of foals: Sarai Bint Navarroné-D (ex Ansata Sinan), 1996 mare; Eternity Ibn Navarroné-D, 1997 stallion; Shahir Ibn Navarroné-D (by AS Natsir Apal), 1998 stallion; Escape Ibn Navarroné-D, 1999 stallion; Miss Navarroné-D (by Sanadik El Shaklan), 2001 mare; Farhannah Bint Navarroné-D (by Ansata Selman by Ansata Hejazi out of G Shafaria by Prince Fa Moniet), 2004 mare; and Poppy Bint Navarroné-D (by Fever Ibn Eternity-D out of WH Marissa Rose by Magnum Psyche), 2008 mare.
“Year on year, the next generation of Navarroné descended foals would come along and you can see the continuation of her great qualities in each foal. But now, it is harder when these foals will arrive as my precious mare is no longer with us. Poppy was always more than just a broodmare to me, Samantha. She was the true love in my life, my friend, my everything. There is not a day that goes by when I do not miss her.”
|Sarai Bint Navarroné-D|
It was always Martine’s aim to stop breeding to Navarrone once she stopped ovulating naturally and this was a promise to her mare that she kept. “For the past few years, her only role in life was to live with us and her friends at home in her paddock. And through looking after her so well, we managed to have her with us for seven years after she blessed us with her last foal, a daughter named after her – Poppy Bint Navarroné-D.
“Now that she is gone, Farhannah is my next Navarroné. This young mare has always been special to me – so feminine and so like her dam. I will never sell her, she will see her days out with me. Poppy was the queen of Dion Arabians – and Farhannah will always be the duchess.” Indeed, just weeks before the passing of her dam, Farhannah made a return to the show-ring, taking the Bronze Senior Female Championship title at the Bruges Arabian Horse Event National Show and later, the Best Female and Best in Show in Chantilly last month.
Navarroné herself was no stranger to the show-ring, as Martine tells me: “One of Navarroné’s highlights, for me, has to be winning the senior female title at the All Nations’ Cup in 2003. Poppy was never beaten in any of the classes she has entered and, even at 18, she took the Senior Championship title along with Best in Show prize at the Elran Cup. With nothing left to prove – no that she ever did have, in my mind – Poppy retired from the show-ring for good after that show and she never left my farm again.”
At the end of July, it became apparent that Navarroné was starting to fade. “We didn’t let her suffer,” Martine tells me, as she smiles through the tears. “We were there for her completely at the end, which is all you can do. In August, her ashes came back to us and they are in her stable. Because Poppy’s stable will always be hers – I could never put another horse in there. That will always be Poppy’s sacred place – my dear, sweet Navarroné. Thank you, Samantha, for helping me share her story. My once in a lifetime mare; there will be never be another quite like her. And I will miss her forever. Run free, my beautiful Poppy…”