Death of Two Great Arabian Sires

December 15, 2015

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Baske Afire (Afire Bey V x MacBaske, by Baskevich)

(February 22, 1999 x December 14, 2015)

Baske Afire (Afire Bey V x MacBaske)
Baske Afire (Afire Bey V x MacBaske)
Three weeks after the death of Afire Bey V, the Arabian horse world has lost another of its most significant sires of performance and halter champions: Baske Afire, his illustrious son. Baske Afire died Monday, December 14, at Barbara Chur’s Strawberry Banks Farm, in East Aurora, New York, his home since 2008.

“It is very sad news, and true,” said Barbara Chur. “He was a wonderful part of the Strawberry Banks family, and will be greatly missed. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that was neither treatable nor curable.”

Like his sire, Baske Afire distinguished himself early on as one of a very few modern stallions whose influence will resonate indefinitely in Arabian breed history.

Baske Afire’s consistency as a sire came as no surprise. He represented a double shot of the powerful Huckleberry Bey/*Bask combination. Baske Afire was a Huckleberry Bey grandson, and out of Mac Baske, a daughter of the *Bask son, Baskevich, a US and Canadian National Top 10 park horse, and sire of champions. A closer look at Mac Baske’s pedigree reveals that *Bask appears twice more in her dam’s female ancestry: through Mesalia and Negatraz. For the last 16 years Baske Afire’s own sire, Afire Bey V (Huckleberry Bey x Autumn Fire, by *Bask), led the sire ratings for the number of his US National performance and halter champions.

Bred to perpetuate the legacy of his ancestry, Baske Afire’s best purebred Arabian crosses were on

Baskghazi (Baske Afire x FY Fire Ghazi)
Baskghazi (Baske Afire x FY Fire Ghazi)
daughters of *Bask’s sons and grandsons. Baske Afire’s consistency in siring topnotch Half-Arabian show horses had become legendary. The most winning examples were invariably out of hand-picked American Saddlebred mares. His Half-Arabians, like his purebred Arabian progeny, halter and performance horses alike, had the shapely long, high-set necks, long, laid-back shoulders, high withers and strong coupling so desirable in today’s halter show rings, and so typical of Baske Afire’s offspring. Along with those characteristics came the tractable, willing temperament essential in any show horse, in any discipline. His untimely death is a great loss, but Baske Afire already had proven himself a horse for the ages.

Afire Bey V (Huckleberry Bey x Autumn Fire, by *Bask)

July 26, 1985 – November 25, 2015

Afire Bey V (Huckleberry Bey x Autumn Fire
Afire Bey V (Huckleberry Bey x Autumn Fire
“He died the day before Thanksgiving,” Marty Shea said. “He didn’t get up that morning. I went to look at him, and he didn’t want to get up. I told the staff, ‘Let’s wait a couple of hours, and see what he does.’ As a couple hours went by, he began to act like he was uncomfortable, so that was that. I called the Linigers. He was 30 years old, he had had a wonderful life, and he didn’t owe anybody a dime.”

In the fall of his third year, his breeder, Sheila Varian, sent Afire Bey V to Tim and Marty Shea, and he remained with Sheas for the rest of his life. Colorado Arabian enthusiasts Dave and Gail Liniger made an offer on Afire Bey V ten minutes after they met him; they never parted with him.

The Sheas trained and showed Afire Bey V for the Linigers. He won several Regional English pleasure titles and was a US Top 10 park champion, but it soon became evident that his destiny lay in his genetic gifts as a sire. This marked the 16th year Afire Bey V achieved the Arabian breed’s Number One ranking as the sire of halter and performance champions at the US Nationals.

His unprecedented record reflected his pedigree. His sire, Huckleberry Bey (Bay El Bey x Taffona, by Raffon), the 1981 US National Reserve Champion Futurity Colt; became 1984 US National Reserve English Pleasure Champion, and went on to be a leading sire. Afire Bey V’s dam, Autumn Fire (*Bask x Sparkling Burgundy, by Fadjur) produced 16 exceptional offspring.

Liniger, who founded real estate giant Re/Max International, created a compelling advertising and marketing campaign for Afire Bey V, but had the stallion not succeeded as a sire, Liniger told interviewers, there would have been very little to promote.

Following in*Bask, his maternal grandsire’s footsteps, many of Afire Bey V’s stellar performance offspring have had successful halter careers, as well. “There are very few performance sires who can do that,” said Tim Shea. Not surprisingly, given Afire Bey V’s pedigree, his offspring and grandchildren’s influence has been pervasive in another aspect. They possess, and have passed on, their ancestors’ excellent work ethic, tractability, and soundness. There is no hyperbole in suggesting that Afire Bey V’s legacy will endure for generations.

Archived News 2015