Eine Dynastie von Welt-Champions

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Some Thoughts about the World Championships 2014

What was already apparent over the last few years, became obvious this year: The WORLD Championships in reality are “The Championships of the Arab Countries”, because the big breeding nations, such as USA and South America, were hardly present. And from Europe, only the Poles can compete on top level.

At the end of the year, the friends of the Arabian horse look forward to the most important show of the year – the World Championships in Paris. This show gives you a good reason to visit this city of cities in Christmas glamour – Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees, the Christmas market dotted with Thousands of lights. However – at 10° C no such Christmas feelings came on, also because the show has moved to the end of November, a wee bit too early for Christmas feelings. But that did not distract from the show itself, which was organized perfectly as always.

A brief overview at first: Just as in previous years, this year‘s World Championships were dominated again by the Gazal Al Shaqab dynasty – horses from this (sire-)line won 4 out of 6 Gold Medals, or a total of 11 out of 18 medals, and almost 40% of the horses in the top ten places were representatives of this line. And another amazing success: we have already seen the fourth generation of World Champions in direct line here in Paris: Gazal Al Shaqab in 2001, Marwan Al Shaqab (by Gazal) in 2008, and now Kahil Al Shaqab (by Marwan) in 2011 and 2014 and his daughter Pustynia Kahila in 2014. It is almost futile to point out that Marwan Al Shaqab once again became the leading sire of this show: three of his children were Gold Champions, seven grandchildren won other medals. For the second time Kahil Al Shaqab participated and was appointed Champion with 7 out of 8 votes, this year in the senior category, after he achieved the junior title in 2011 – this dynasty of World Champions compares to none!

But despite all the excitement about the Gazal Al Shaqab dynasty, we should not forget about the other medal winners, such as Eden C, who won the Silver Medal of the Senior Stallions and comes from the Padrons Psyche line; he achieved one of two medals for Saudi Arabia. The Bonze Medal once again went to a Marwan-grandget: Equator by QR Marc from Poland. But there also was a Gold Champion of the Padrons Psyche line, it was Excalibur EA by Shanghai EA, who cannot deny is sire – in good and bad points. He was the only grey in a phalanx of bay Gold Medal winners, but he was the “surprise winner” for a different reason: He won the Triple Crown and was the first Gold Medal winner (or Champion) in the history of the show who came from Uruguay! Las Rosas Arabians had purchased this colt from Equus Arabians in Spain. But even he is not free of horses of the Gazal dynasty, as his dam is a Marwan daughter, and again the new “magic cross” of combining the Gazal Al Shaqab and Padrons Psyche lines seems to have paid off. Also the Silver and Bronze winners came from one of the two rival families: FA El Rasheem, a Marwan son got Silver, Kanz Al Nasser by WH Justice – and thus of the Padrons Psyche line – got Bronze.
Also the classes of yearling colts – where there were only 10 starters in total, and therefore all became Top Ten – was taken by a member of the Gazal dynasty, Ghazwan Al Jassimya, who is a Marwan-son. Two Marwan grandsons took Silver and Bronze: Morion from Poland (by Kahil Al Shaqab, and D Mshary by QR Marc, from UAE.

The mares gave a different picture if one considers all medal places, because behind the Gold Medal Champion Najdah Al Zobair (by Marwan Al Shaqab) from Qatar, there were two Laheeb daughters: Badawieh AA, bred by Ariela Arabians, was at the same time the best “Straight Egyptian” horse of the show, and represented a totally different type of Arabian, compared to what we saw before. The same can be said about the Bronze Medal winner Emira from Poland. She, as well, was stamped by her sire Laheeb, even though Monogramm was her grandsire.
Another surprise victory went to Donna Molta Bella SRA, bred in US and by DA Valentino (by Versace – Fame VF – Bey Shah); she is inbred to Bey Shah, but one of her great-grandsires is again Padrons Psyche. Most likely, her victory came only as a surprise to us Europeans, because in US she was already “World Cup Gold Supreme Champion Junior Mare”. She is owned by the (so far rather unknown) Al Saqran Stud, that is at home in Kuwait as well as UAE. Two Marwan grandchildren were found in the Silver and Bronze ranks: D Shahla (by Marajj) and Esperanzza Al Ventur (by FA El Shawan). A great impression left, without any doubt, the winner of the yearling fillies, who was hardly recognizable as a yearling: Pustynia Kahila (by Kahil Al Shaqab), is an overall harmonious filly with a wonderful neck, set on a long, well-angulated shoulder, and with a good body. Maybe one misses a real highlight in her, but she is a solid filly through and through. She is of the first foal crop of Kahil Al Shaqab at the Polish State Studs, when he was used there in 2012 after winning his Junior World Champion title. Behind her, on Silver rank, the judges placed the Marwan daughter AJ Sawari of Ajman Stud in UAE. The Bronze Medal was taken by Victoria Al Shaqab by Al Adeed Al Shaqab, the “Grandseigneur” of Al Shaqab Stud, who is 19-years-old by now.

The largest contingent, with a total of 17 horses, was shown by Poland (State Studs and private breeders). That they ended up on 4th place as breeder’s nation and 5th place in the ranking of the best owners nation, is surprising, but at least Michalow won all four Medals for Poland, and therefore can be regarded as the best individual breeder or exhibitor. One has to realize that the Arab countries, such as Qatar and UAE compete with many self-bred horses by now – and as you can see from the table, they are very successful at that. Naturally, Qatar has many Marwan offspring, which add to the glory of this country. Al Shaqab Stud ranks second, after Michalow, in the list of the most successful breeders.

Breeders and owners of participating horses
Welt-Championat - Tabelle
What is worrying is the fact that this year no horse from USA was shown – although the US was represented with 13 horses “bred in USA”, and thus ranks third in the ranking of breeders nations. So, it is not a matter of quality of their breeding products! Similar things could be said about Brazil, and if it was not for the surprise winner from Uruguay, South America would not have been present at this year’s World Championships, too. Australia was sadly missed as well – so the question needs to be raised, if this is indeed still a WORLD Championship, if the biggest breeders nations are missing?
To research the causes, we probably must not speculate too much, because in the old days, the World Championships was a platform where a championship qualifier or an actual medal winner was sold immediately after the show on the spot for good money to one of the Arab countries. These times seem to be over, because the Arab studs are breeding (part of) their champions themselves. And so the costs are out of all proportion to the benefit of participation.
European countries were represented at the show, of course, and here especially France. France is the biggest breeding nation in Europe and had a group of 16 horses at the show, but this is due to the fact that they fight for a special prize of their breeders association at the same time. A total of three horses in French ownership were in the Top Ten (i.e. 5%). Italy, the second biggest breeding nation in Europe, was represented with 13 horses at the show and one horse in the Top Ten; the latter is true also for Great Britain, Spain, and Belgium.

As in the previous few years, some former World Champions competed for the title of Platin Champion. This year, there were two mares, both coming form Ajman Stud and they could not have been more different in type and appearance: On the one hand there was the chestnut Kwestura (by Monogramm), on the other the grey Loubna (by Imperial Imdal), the one representing “Polish power”, the other an Egyptian fairy tale mare. The title finally went to Kwestura, who looked at the age of 19 years just fantastic and still knows how to move!
In the stallion class, the honour went to Marquis, and thus a Marwan son also among the Platin Champions.

As we have seen earlier, the Gazal dynasty dominates the showring in the top class. If we include the Padrons Psyche dynasty in our calculation, then these two groups of horses have accounted for 66 % of all Top Ten winners. This leads to the conclusion, that without any stallion of one of these two lines, it is not possible today to breed a show horse to compete on highest level. But that also bears a grave danger: The genepool for show horses gets narrower, because horses that do not fit into this „template“ of the standard show horse, have little chance – exceptions such as Badawieh AA only confirm the rule.
Let’s look which other sires (or rather sirelines) managed to have offspring in the Top Ten? Considering, how dominant El Shaklan and his sons were some years ago, his blood has almost disappeared in the direct male line. Only one yearling filly by Shahram, whose great-grandsire is Sanadik El Shaklan, was among them. Somewhat more often you find representatives of Versace (by Fame VF – Bey Shah) through three of his son: AJ Portofino, Vitorio TO and DA Valentino. Straight Egyptians were rare – apart from Badawieh AA, only Adham Saqr (by Imperial Madori) and Bebars Al Farida (by Imperial Baarez) could be found in the Top Ten. Apart from these groups, Khidar was represented with three offspring and TS Apolo, who is tailing back to Aladinn, was present himself as well as his daughter.
It is a pity that obviously only one “show horse ideal” exists today, the tastes of the judges have all become the same and were reduced to this one ideal. The Arabian horse was known throughout the centuries for its wide variation in shape and appearance, as well as for its variety in strains and families within the breed. If this development among the show horses continues, the diversity, a characteristic of the breed, falls by the wayside.

Gudrun Waiditschka