Poland Update – Things start moving

Dr. Marek TrelaPhoto: G. Waiditschka

Dr. Marek Trela
Photo: G. Waiditschka

The national and international protest over the dismissal of the three figureheads of Polish Arabian horse breeding, Dr. Marek Trela, Jerzy Bialobok and Anna Stojanowska on 19th February shows some effect. Yesterday, on 4th April, the Minister of Agriculture, Krzysztof Jurgiel announced, that due to the death of yet another mare in Janow Podlaski, he ordered the President of ANR (Agricultural State Property Agency) to take immediate action and to advertise the positions in Janow Podlaski.

What had happened?

After the dismissal of the three breeding experts, their chairs were taken by people with lower or no qualification. In the case of the Janow Podlaski board, the economist Marek Skomorowski was joined by Mateusz Jaworski, who was employed as horse breeding expert. In his Curriculum Vitae it was mentioned that “he has worked for the largest studs in Europe and the Middle East, including the Arctic Tern Centre in Belgium, one of the largest Arabian horse centres”, and “In the course of his duties he was responsible for creating a vision of the studs’ development and management, as well as preparing breeding programs and the organization of international horse shows.” Al Zobara and Al Shaqab Stud in Qatar are mentioned in a similar way as employers, but in the meantime all three studs have officially declared that Jaworski worked only in a minor position, e.g. as horse groom, and had no decisive or advisory powers.
Already some time ago, while Janow Podlaski was still under the leadership of Marek Trela, Shirley Watts of Halsdon Arabians had agreed to lease four of her precious mares back to Janow Podlaski for breeding. She had bought Preria, Amra, Augusta and Pieta over the years at the Janow Podlaski auctions for almost 1 Mio Euro altogether, and entrusted them to Janow Podlaski again, knowing that they are in the capable hands of Marek Trela. Only few weeks after the situation in the Polish State Studs changed so dramatically, Preria died suddenly of colic, caused by twisting of the intestine. Her death bore resemblance to Pianissimas death, for which the ANR held Marek Trela accountable, and which was given as the main reason for his dismissal. The question arouse, if Marek Trela was to be blamed for Pianissimas death, shouldn’t Marek Skomorowski be blamed for Prerias death? The answer should be in both cases the same, but isn’t, except, that Mr. Skomorowski was joined by the alleged horse breeding expert Jaworski.
However, the board of Janow Podlaski got cold feet when the delivery of the mare Amra came closer, and to be “on the safe side”, they made a decision, which most horse experts would say, was a wrong one. Only two days before the mare delivered, she was transported to Warsaw to be under supervision in a horse clinic during her delivery. There, she delivered her foal, and only one week later, she was transported back to Janow, where the following day she died of colic caused by twisted intestine.
For experts, it is quite clear that transport and environmental changes in the perinatal period (few weeks before and after delivery) are a significant threat to the health and life for both, the mare and foal, because of a sudden change in diet and the associated change in the bacterial flora of the digestive system, because of the stress of transport, environment change, and the company of other horses, and because, after giving birth, there is a sudden change in the abdomen associated with the expulsion of the fetus; suddenly the intestine – and especially the colon – has a far greater range of motion than normal. For this reason, mares after birth are more prone to colic with a twisted intestine than other groups of horses.

What will happen?

The advertisement of the positions in the board of Janow Podlaski may give Marek Trela the chance to apply, and as he is the person with the best qualification for it, this might be a chance to reassume his position – in theory. In practice, it is difficult to believe, that the ANR and Ministry of Agriculture will admit, that their decision to dismiss the three horse breeding experts, was wrong. Also, it need to be understood, that the success of the Polish breeding program was not the doing of three or four (including the stud director of Bialka) persons acting individually, each by itself. To the contrary, it was the success of a team. Even if Marek Trela would be reinstated, only a third of the “job” would be accomplished – so, let’s keep up the pressure!
Gudrun Waiditschka