Interview by Samantha Mattocks and Laura Pyke
‘For the love of a horse…’
Lead Picture: Black Ameer
Located near the Cheshire border with North Shropshire, Moonwalker Black Arabians has slowly grown to become home to a treasured collection of horses, including six black stallions and two precious foundation mares, all originating from the United States of America. Founded by Louise Millington, with support from her family, the yard is run day-to-day by her assistant, Charlotte Stokes, who has been involved with Moonwalker Black Arabians from very early on. The stud has an overall total of ten stallions, with mares and youngsters making up the rest of the equine family.
Having watched the iconic film The Black Stallion, made by the great Francis Ford Coppola from the famous book by Walter Farley, countless times since childhood, and then having competed in endurance riding for a number of years on her Welsh Section D gelding, Louise finally began a search for her own black stallion. Back in 1998, this finally resulted in her purchase of the beautiful yearling Cumbria Zarife from Cumbria Arabian Stud, started by Fiona Walling renowned for breeding superb endurance horses and based in the Scottish borders.
In addition to being superb examples of the breed, all of Louise’s stallions have wonderful temperaments, and the most kind and gentle natures. Allow us to introduce them to you.
Cumbria Zarife and Louise during their endurance competitions days together.
At the heart of the stud is the 19-year-old Cumbria Zarife, who Louise has owned and loved since buying him as a yearling. Sired by AHS Premium Performance Stallion, the late, great Al Sood (Bay Saab x Ansata Sahhara) and out of Midnight Grace (Mista Beaujangles x Rexifa), Zarife is a straight Egyptian from superb bloodlines. Al Sood was a grandson of the legendary American stallion Ansata Ibn Halima, and his tail line can be traced back 13 generations to the Abbas Pasha desert mare, Ghazieh. As a sire, Al Sood consistently produced winning stock with easy, loving temperaments, character and trainability. They excel in all disciplines; endurance, cross-country, dressage, and western, to name a few.
On Zarife’s dam side, Midnight Grace comes from the Saqlawi lines and Babson/Brown breeding of Hallany Mistanny, whose parents were imported from the stud of Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik in Egypt. “Zarife has an incredible temperament,” says Louise. “Foaled in 1997, this black stallion stands at 15.1hh. He has excelled at endurance over the years and became a Gold Series endurance horse, with a low resting heart-rate of 27bpm and quick recovery rates. He was equally unfazed turning his hoof to dressage and western with only a couple of months of training to win and be placed at the AHS British National Championships. Zarife is a stallion of whom you could ask for the moon and he would give you the galaxy!
“His pedigree goes back to famous US horses such as Ansata Ibn Halima (Nazeer x Halima), HMR Hallanys Mesaoud (Hallany Mistanny x Bint Gulastra), Mista Beaujangles (HMR Hallanys Mesaoud x Kapri Nah), and Bay Saab (Saab x Mossa RSI). Cumbria Zarife is an incredible stallion and consistently passes his qualities on to his foals, all of them having his beautiful temperament, stunning movement, and ability to be ridden in all disciplines. Zarife’s turnout companion is a Welsh mountain pony called Jessie, who has been his friend since Zarife was three years old.
“In 2012, Zarife’s long awaited son was born, out of the renowned homozygous black mare Beau’s Dancer (NV Beau Bay x My Raven). To everyone’s delight, the colt was his sire’s double in every way; looks, temperament, he has it all. Of course he was named Ibn Zarife. He is tall, homozygous, and has the movement and mind that mean he is destined for a ridden career. I think he is a stunningly beautiful and athletic young stallion, well balanced and handsome. His great performance bloodlines show in his aptitude for a ridden career in endurance. He too has a low resting heart rate of 27, just like his sire, and he is a brave and confident boy who will do whatever you ask of him.
“’Baby Zarife’, as he is known, or Zee, also has a companion called Tommy, a miniature Shetland who gallops around the field with him. They have races and Zee often jumps right over him. They are a great source of amusement! There is no doubt the he will grow up to follow in his sire’s footsteps. He loves people and training, and is not fazed by anything you present him with. Cumbria Zarife’s heritage lives on in him.”
Next of the boys is After Midnight JG (US) (Gazal Al Shaqab x Trevs Jewell), born 2007. He is a tall, proud, homozygous black stallion bred in the US and exported to Italy before coming to the UK. Louise explains, “His previous owner, Filippo La Porta of Imacara Arabians in Sicily, brought him up and trained him and with such devoted love and training, After Midnight became the impeccably mannered stallion that he is today! Filippo has kept in touch; he is really devoted to Midnight and has flown over to visit him and watch his progress with us. The fact that Midnight has now welcomed a companion pony into his paddock is a testament to his exceptional temperament. He and the miniature Shetland Yum Yum are now firm friends. I didn’t name Yum Yum!”
|After Midnight JG|
After Midnight is closely related to World Champion stallion, the incredible Emerald J (QR Marc x Emandoria); he made Arabian breed history in 2015 as Dubai Gold Champion Senior Stallion, while his son Gallardo J (ex Gomera J by Ekstern), and half sister attained championships just weeks before. Such amazing achievements only go to further establish Gazal Al Shaqab as a sire of show ring champions today, the world over.
Louise goes on to say, “So After Midnight has high calibre breeding and is a rare, and precious, black son of Gazal Al Shaqab, a World Champion as well as a sire and grandsire of World Champions including, of course, Marwan Al Shaqab. Gazal Al Shaqab is a stallion I admire for his great type, balance and quality. He was leased by the historic Polish studs Janow Podlaski and Michalow where he produced multiple champions, including the two World Champions Pianissima (ex Pianosa by Eukaliptus) and Emandoria (ex Emanda by Ecaho).
“With a powerful mix of Egyptian, Polish, Russian and American bloodlines, Gazal is a son of the beautiful straight Egyptian champion Anaza El Farid. His dam, Kajora, was a US champion mare prior to her acquisition by Al Shaqab. Her parents were champions before that too, and the dam line goes back to the lauded Polish ‘E’ dynasty. Gazal’s pedigree just contains all of the most celebrated Arabians in modern history including Ruminaja Ali, Naborr, Ansata Ibn Halima, Exelsjor, Bint Deena, and Bint Kholameh.
“On After Midnight’s dam side, Trevs Jewell was a highly decorated champion mare in America including Scottsdale Top Ten and Canadian National Top Ten futurity mare. Her dam, Beau’s Dancer, is world renowned as a producer of champions exported the world over, each one known for their exquisite beauty and incredible movement along with a superb temperament.
“Jewell hails from Egyptian heritage horses such as the great Magnum Psyche son PFC Trevallon (ex Kamber), a magnificent black stallion now exported to Dubai and no longer available at public stud. Her damsire, the beautiful NV Beau Bey was foundation stallion and giver of the most incredible movement and elegance to his stock. Generations on, I think After Midnight is a great example of all his ancestors. He has a stunning head and body, and incredible movement and power; he is a very masculine horse, with a superb temperament, and is excellent under saddle. He has progeny throughout Europe and he is now available at stud in the UK.
“Our most recent arrival is the enigmatic stallion Magnum Dancer (Magnum Psyche x My Midnite Dancer), a homozygous black Arabian born in 2007. He is beautiful, elegant and athletic! He is possibly the only black son of the great Magnum Psyche and hails back to Gdansk and Bask in his dam lines.
“Magnum Dancer moves with a lightness and balance unseen in many horses with stunning movement, and he dances as he plays. It has to be seen! He too has now been backed and is going well under saddle. He enjoys being ridden and has multiple talents upon which to draw. His sire, Magnum Psyche, has given a legacy of sons and daughters to the Arabian world with exceptional movement and presence that cannot be equalled. Magnum Dancer’s dam, My Midnite Dancer was sired by the beautiful MS Rafiq; an extremely typey stallion with a gorgeous head and neck, and beautiful movement, along with an ultra long mane and forelock, which he passed to most of his offspring. Rafiq was closely related to the great double national champion and ‘Aristocrat Mare’ Bint Miss Fire, and was the inspiration behind Flying A Ranch’s later purchase of her son, NV Beau Bey, sire of countless champions all over the world. Magnum Dancer possesses all the qualities of his forefathers and is available by AI for this breeding season.
“Our Texan boy, Thee Egyptian Legacy is a homozygous black, six year old straight Egyptian stallion by the incredible Thee Desperado, foundation stallion of Arabians Ltd, and out of their beautiful foundation mare Abriel RCA. Thee Desperado offspring have been in the spotlight consistently throughout his long career, and at his passing in 2013 he had left an incomparable legacy of world class progeny such as Royal Colours and Al Lahab. His most celebrated accomplishment is that of being named Overall Leading Sire of the US Egyptian Event for 11 years in a row (1996-2006) – an unprecedented accomplishment among straight Egyptian sires!
“Thee Desperado’s South African National Champion son, Thee Cyclone, was chosen to play the role of ‘The Black Stallion’ in Disney’s IMAX adaptation of Walter Farley’s novel, The Young Black Stallion. He was also the first Egyptian Arabian to become a Breyer model horse! Thee Desperado’s foals enjoy being with people and are easy to train; their show coats bloom and they are noted for their meaningful expression, dark round eyes and length, and shape of neck. His bays have enjoyed much success and likeness to their sire and the blacks are added prizes when they appear; treasured for their quality, beauty and rare colour.”
|Thee Egyptian Legacy|
Thus, Thee Egyptian Legacy has an impeccable pedigree. He was the first foal of 2010, born on 6 January, and his beautiful expression and conformation ensured him a firm place in Louise’s heart. She spent months exchanging emails with Shawn Crews as to his progress and development until his was old enough and trained to be able to be shipped safely to his new home in the UK. He was quickly introduced to his own little herd friend in the shape of Sooty, a miniature Shetland, with whom he plays, together in complete contentment.
Louise enthuses about him, saying “He has an extremely beautiful head, one of the most elegant we have seen, and an excellent body. His temperament is so gentle. He lowers his head down to greet little children so that they may stroke him and treats them with the most incredible care. He grazes out in his paddock with Sooty and stables next to another stallion within touching distance with no trouble at all.”
Next up is Black Ameer (Black x Ameera Bey), a 2008 homozygous black stallion with no white markings at all. “He is the blackest horse we have ever seen!” laughs Louise. “Originally bred in the US by Irene of Flying A Ranch, he was imported to the UK by Samantha Beeley of Ess Jay Arabians, to whom we are extremely grateful, for allowing us to purchase him! His sire, Black, is awesome; a spectacular black stallion foaled in 2002, by NV Beau Bey and out of Black Silk by MS Rafiq. With those parents, how could he be anything but superb! Black has an exotic head, short and dished, big eyes, a long arched neck, great body and lovely, floating movement. His sons and daughters are outstanding and go on to produce the same.
“Black Ameer’s dam, Ameera Bey (NV Beau Bey x Midnight Dreamer by Saud El Ameer) is a big, bold homozygous black mare. Her breeding combines the blood of two of the all time leading sires of black Arabians. Saud El Ameer is a straight Egyptian, Sheykh Obeyd, homozygous black stallion, a majestic horse with size, substance and a fabulous disposition. He became renowned as one of the all time leading sires of Egyptian Arabians as well as black Arabians. His worldwide influence on the Arabian breed is set in stone.
“Black Ameer is the most elegant and serene stallion ever; he has the most beautiful temperament and elegant movement you could ever wish for. He truly floats around, with eyes like deep pools, and you cannot help but be bewitched by him. We have backed Ameer to ride and he even maintains his balance and elegance under saddle, which is great. His little friend is Jensen and he plays with him in such a gentle and playful manner.”
Despite not originally intending to stand her collection of Black Arabian stallions at public stud, Louise was eventually persuaded to do so by her family and visitors. She remarks, “So here we are, a new season ahead. The boys have all been to Stallion AI Services, at Twemlows Stud Farm in Shropshire. The facility is owned and managed by leading artificial insemination specialist, Tullis Matson, and is only four miles away. The stallions have each been trained and collected from, with frozen semen stored and available immediately, while fresh and chilled doses will be available by request.
“Semen can be exported worldwide and any queries regarding any aspects of the service can be made with the team at Stallions AI. Contact www.stallionai.co.uk or telephone 01948 666295. Their experience in AI, stallion collection, breeding, embryo transfer etc is unsurpassed, and their success is world renowned. Breeding training courses can also be booked to help you with your plans.
“So if you are thinking about putting your precious and beloved mare in foal, and want to have a precious, rare, black foal from her that will be your lifelong friend and beloved companion, or to further complement your breeding programme, then do consider a stallion from Moonwalker Black Arabians. They are gorgeous!”
… A black Arabian is your lifelong friend…