Nearly every person in the world has read the book The Black Stallion, and there is still a ripple of excitement that passes through us when we see such a horse in real life. Add into the mix the continuing legacy of one of the greatest breeding programmes in the world, and you have a recipe for something truly magical.
Om El Sultaan is this horse, a beautiful and correct colt who embodies power and emotion, and he is ready to make his show-ring debut this month at the Youth and Mid Summer Nationals in Oklahoma City, USA
Om El Sultaan is the latest in a series of stars to come from Om El Arab, located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, California. For fifty years, this world-famed farm has produced countless champions who have gone on to take titles in every corner of the world. Founded by the late Sigi Siller, and owned by her daughter Janina Merz, Om El Arab remains the ultimate breeding goal for many.
Foaled in 2019, Om El Sultaan represents a remarkable seven generations of this amazing breeding programme, being out of the grey mare Om El Sultanah who was the first filly born at the farm when WH Justice (Magnum Psyche x Vona Sher-Renea) was leased to Aljassimya Farm and stood at Om El Arab. Om El Sultanah’s dam is Om El Sofia (by Al Lahab), out of Om El Sofie Dream (by Dreamcatcher SMF). In turn, Om El Sofie Dream is out of Om El Shosana, a mare with Om El breeding on both sides of her pedigree. She is sired by Sharem El Sheikh, by El Shaklan (Shaker El Masri x Estopa) and out of Bint Shaker (by Shaker El Masri) out of Estasha (Shaker El Masri x Estopa). At the root of this line is Estopa (Tabal x Uyaima), the heart of Om El Arab and a mare who, some 55 years after her birth, remains as important as ever.
Om El Sultanah. Kelly Campbell photo
Om El Sultaan is sired by the double World Champion, EKS Alihandro (Marwan Al Shaqab x OFW Psylhouette), a stallion who has been used to great effect in the Om El Arab breeding programme, including with the multiple-champion filly Om El Erodite, out of Om El Excella (Al Lahab x OmEl Bint Shaina).
“We were not expecting a black foal from a grey mare, but we were thrilled when Om El Sultaan was born,” recalls Janina. “He represents so much of our breeding programme – not just the history, but the lines that are also still so relevant in the show-ring today.
“So many people have bought their foundation mare from us and have gone on to have great success with them. One example is Om El Bellatrix (Om El Shahmaan x Om El Berenice Dream), who went on to produce Belladonna AT (by Wadee Al Shaqab), a Bronze World Champion Filly. Our Om El mares make such great foundations, be it for a new or already established programme, and when crossed with Egyptian and Polish lines especially, they come into their own.”
Om El Sultaan is certainly one of the latest examples of this, with this year’s foal crop yet to be seen by the outside world. Co-owned with Antheia Arabians and Psynergy Equine, Om El Sultaan will show this weekend with Andy Sellman, while his dam will compete with Andy at this year’s US Nationals. Meanwhile, there is no doubt that this dynamic colt will be setting his name into the history books and become the next great from Om El Arab.
All photography unless stated Stuart Vesty www.vestyphoto.com