This feature first appeared in The Arabian Magazine in October 2010, and the cover remains in my Top Ten favourite covers – not least as it was a very special fold-out cover.
Good Karmaa: The Power of One
To put into words the influence of Karmaa in the Mulawa breeding programme is almost impossible. To picture the farm without her genetic influence and visible presence is utterly unimaginable. That one mare could found such a dominant family dynasty is testament to the power of the individual and the mare herself. She is a veritable vision of white, who carries with her an aura of supreme presence and has the serene air of one that simply exists on some higher plain. For Karmaa has never been “one of the girls”; she has always stood apart and above her contemporaries. In temperament, attitude and nature, she is always true to herself and we, as a breeding farm and a family of committed Arabian horse lovers, are all the richer for her very being.
The future Mulawa matriarch was bred in 1986 by Greengate farms in California, the result of the combination of Kaborr and the remarkably beautiful AN Marieta. Greg and Julie Farrell embarked on their first overseas trip as a married couple in 1989 and found themselves in that wondrous adventure land that was the Scottsdale of the 1980s, and more particularly at Tom Chauncey Arabians where the ethereal beauty of the young Karmaa immediately captured their hearts.
Julie with Karmaa
Upon arriving in Australia, Karmaa was quick to make an impact in the Australian show-ring, being awarded Champion Mare honours at both the National Stud Horse show and East Coast Championships in quick succession. Her show-ring presence was undeniable and she quickly amassed an allegiance of admirers that has grown with the years. Karmaa loved showing close to home and being the centre of attention. A mare of regal bearing with a temperament to match, Karmaa has strong likes and dislikes; she goes everywhere with her mind made up and will always lead. So while she loved the show-ring, Karmaa disliked being away from home for more than a day or so. She refused to settle in any showground stable and would only drink water brought from the farm. When travelled interstate, she showed signs of stress founder and so her show career was abandoned to ensure her good health and well-being. Even today Karmaa lives by her own rules: she strongly dislikes living in a mare band – so she doesn’t, simple as that! Rather than be at the Mulawa Mare Farm, Alabama, Karmaa lives at the Sydney farm under Julie’s watchful eye. She loves looking after weanlings as a nanny and enjoys meeting the constant flow of visitors who ask after her.
Karmaa has produced 12 foals by seven sires, 10 naturally and two embryo transfer babies. Mulawa has six Karmaa daughters, her first foal, a filly Karmia (by Vision) was the only female offspring to leave the farm; all others have been retained. Among her daughters is the internationally admired Kara Mia Mi (by GLF Apollo). National Stud Show Champion as a junior, Kara is now creating her own dynasty with the quality of her daughters and their progeny.
Mulawa Kara Mia MI
The oldest of Mulawa’s Karmaa daughters is Mulawa Aria, the best-producing female of her sire Arrival. Aria is a classic fleabitten grey who is a wonderful producer and whose daughter Audacia, by the Malik son Parkview Audacious, is a hugely-admired mare and the dam of two extraordinary foals. As this vein of the Karmaa family carries back to Mulawa’s foundation sire Ambition, it is very special to us. Two younger full sisters to Audacia will soon join the mare band.
One of the few Karmaa offspring not named for their dam is Mae Marie, with this exceptional white daughter of TS AL Malik being named for our own mother as she was born shortly after her passing. Mae Marie, twice Champion Mare at the National Stud Horse Show, is currently in foal to WH Justice.
Karmaa has had two foals by Magnum Psyche, the first being Mulawa Karismaa. An exceptional chestnut, she was Australian Champion as a yearling and has only recently recommenced her show career, gaining championship honours at the Queensland Gala Show. This year Karismaa has produced an amazing Guiliano colt via embryo transfer. The Karmaa story was touched by tragedy when the equally beautiful younger full sister to Karismaa was lost in a pasture accident as a weanling. It was two weeks after this loss that Karismaa was named 2006 Australian Champion yearling filly.
Karmaa has produced three stallion sons. Makers Mark (by Fame Maker R) is a leading sire of nationally honoured winners for Ramadan Arabians in Queensland and Karbon (by TS Al Malik) is both a well-credentialed halter and performance horse for Meracious Arabians in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.
The Karmaa son that was retained by Mulawa is none other than Klass, also sired by TS AL Malik. Klass epitomises the Arabian stallion as a show horse and has had a remarkable career, being four times East Coast Champion, winning as a yearling, a two year old, a three year old and then Champion Open Stallion, a feat unequalled by any other horse. Klass was named Australian Champion Halter Stallion in 2009 and returned to the ring in 2010 to be named Australian Champion Ridden Stallion. Klass has great conformation, wonderful type, a fantastic temperament and as he loves to learn new skills, he is currently in training to compete at the Australian Championships as a stock horse.
However even more exciting than Klass’s many successes in the show-ring is his ability as a sire. His first two daughters, Klassic Dream MI was named East Coast Champion Yearling Filly and Klassical Harmony MI was the Reserve Australian Champion Yearling Filly and Queensland Gala Champion Junior. And growing up in the broad pastures of the Alabama Farm is a yearling Klass colt, Konfidence, out of Karess (Magnum Forty Four x Kara Mia Mi), thus giving Konfidence two crosses to Karmaa. We believe that this young colt has tremendous potential and in so many ways, he resembles Klass himself.
Mulawa’s embryo transfer programme was virtually established with Karmaa as the catalyst, with the results of her offspring being the standard by which the success and worth of our breeding programme would be judged. Once again, it would be the grand dam herself who would chart the course to success. As Karmaa lives her life to please no one other than herself, she was not happy with her initial move to the Alabama Farm and although she was always treated like a queen, Karmaa did not enjoy being surrounded by other mares and the business of breeding. She refused to partake in the programme and would not cycle. Julie, distressed at seeing her favourite mare anything other than blissfully happy, bought her home to Mulawa and her favoured routine. Once home and happy, Karmaa’s reproductive system began to cycle once more and so a way was needed to be found to keep Karmaa happy and active in the programme. Karmaa is bred at the Sydney farm in her favoured surroundings and on the given day, Julie drives her up to the Alabama Farm where her favourite stable in the foaling barn and private pasture awaits her. Once she is flushed, rested and groomed, Julie then drives her the four hours back to Mulawa.
The results of Karmaa’s and Julie’s trips to Alabama have been two 2009 embryo transfer foals: Karmelia MI (by GLF Apollo), a full sister to Kara Mia Mi, and Kashmere MI (by Magnum Forty Four). Both these long sought-after fillies will ultimately join the Mulawa mare band.
Karmaa is now 24 years young and remains a vision of wondrous beauty and will-power. She is treated as the queen that she is, and it is no less than she expects. Karmaa’s place in the history of Mulawa and the wider Arabian community is assured as both her sons and daughters bring beauty and success to ongoing generations.
This cover was also very special as it was a fold out – featuring Karmaa on the front, and then Klass, Mulawa Karismaa. Mae Marie, and Mulawa Kara Mia MI on the concertina pages. It was a beautiful and fitting tribute to this lovely mare.
All photography Stuart Vesty.