By Beth Ellen Hunziker
The mission of the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona is to support all breeders and owners of Arabian horses. They have been extremely successful in achieving that goal through efforts such as the Arabian National Breeder Finals. This show has grown rapidly over the past five years and it has already become an important international event. This year, many people flew from the All Nations Cup show in Germany, directly to Arizona for the Breeder Finals. Although these travelers might have been jet lagged, that didn’t seem to stop them from attending the show or any of the great open houses and parties held by Scottsdale breeders.
The Arabian National Breeder Finals truly is a celebration for breeders. Mr. Frank Hennessey, of Hennessey Arabians, in Ocala, Florida has been a tremendous supporter of the show specifically because of its focus on breeders. To demonstrate his support of the Finals, Mr. Hennessey sponsors the High Point Breeder Award. This prestigious award is presented to the breeder whose horses at the show earned the highest accumulated total points. In addition, the breeder of each champion of the show was honored for their accomplishments.
Another interesting aspect of this show is the fact that many breeders present their own horses in the amateur classes offered at the show, which are some of the toughest and most hotly contested classes in the competition. Often the team to beat at the Finals is from Pegasus Arabians. This year, they won the prestigious ANBF Breeders Cup for the third consecutive time. Owners of Pegasus Arabians, Dean and Terry Wikel, their family and team, proudly accepted this honor again. It’s great fun to watch Dean and his grand daughter, Tori Wikel, compete - often against each other in the same class. Tori may be young, but she is fierce and Dean may be older, but he can keep up with any of the younger handlers. It is very heart warming to see a family share this kind of deep passion for the horses. The Wikels obviously have a lot of fun and it gives us all hope that future generations will value and preserve our breed.
The competition was deep at this year’s show. The ANBF Gold Senior Champion Stallion was El Chall WR (Magnum Chall HVP x Major Love Affair), bred by the late Donald Camacho Jr, of Wind Rose Farm and owned by Felix Cantu of Rancho Las Portrancas (Mexico). Rodolfo Guzzo presented El Chall WR. I could not help but think of Don Camacho, looking down upon this exuberant group and smile. Don truly loved his horses and often competed in the amateur classes at Scottsdale. El Chall was a source of great pride for Don and his wife Lisa, who is continuing their champion-producing breeding program.
In the Senior Mare Championships, there was great anticipation and wild cheering from the crowd, while the elegant entries were far more demure. They gave their all in the class and actually seemed to enjoy of the applause. The ANBF Gold Senior Champion Mare was the Polish beauty Perfirka (Gazal Al Shaqab x Perforacja), bred by Bialka State Stud, and owned by Dick, Lollie and Lara Ames of Cedar Ridge Farm, in Jordan, Minnesota. Perfirka was shown to her title by Alcides Rodrigues.
The Junior Colt class gave us an exciting glimpse into the future. The 2015 ANBF Gold Champion Junior Colt, Veyron ORA, is the son of two national champions: Vitorio TO and Luxemere Jizette. Veyron ORA was bred and owned by Janey Morse of Oak Ridge Arabians, and he was presented by David Boggs. This exciting young colt has the looks, pedigree and the heritage of a world-class champion.
The Championship Fillies were all sired by national champion stallions including the ANBF Gold Champion Junior Filly was Leen Al Shaqab, by National Champion and World Champion Stallion, Marwan Al Shaqab and out of Loubna Al Shaqab by WN Star of Antigua. This statuesque chestnut beauty was bred and owned by Al Shaqab Member Qatar Foundation and shown by David Boggs.
According to Taryl O’Shea, the Executive Director of AHAA, one of the association’s main goals for the ANBF is to encourage and support the breeders of purebred Arabian horses. They certainly have achieved that goal! Walking the red carpet, the walkway lined with colorful and inviting farm cabanas, you could see breeders and owners from around the world. Some were there to see their horses compete, others were there to see the offspring of perspective sires they might want to incorporate into their programs and others were there looking for their next champion or champion producer.
Two of the most popular and hotly contested classes were the Weanling Championships. The ANBF Gold Champion Weanling Colt Sicari (Hariry Al Shaqab x Fadila PCF), was bred and owned by Pegasus Arabians, Dean and Terry Wikel. Ricardo Rivero presented this handsome youngster. Truly Memoraable (Trussardi x MPA Giada), bred by Jason Gales and owned by Jeff Sloan, was the ANBF Gold Champion Weanling Filly. She was presented by Joao Rodrigues.
The contributions made by Egyptian horses and their breeders have been documented throughout history. A quick glance at the pedigrees of many of today’s show ring super stars, as well as the breed’s most important sires and dams, will show Egyptian breeding within the first, second or third generations. This occurs most notably through the offspring of Marwan Al Shaqab, who traces his Egyptian heritage through his sire, Gazal Al Shaqab, to Anaza El Farid, a son of Ruminaja Ali and a descendant of the great Egyptian sires: Shaikh Al Badi, Morafic and Nazeer.
In addition to encouraging breeders, AHAA is deeply committed to supporting amateur owner participation. One of the most successful efforts - and also one of the most lucrative - coming from any organization in the industry - is the Scottsdale Signature Stallion program, initiated and sponsored by the AHAA. This organization is all about creating opportunities for owners to participate and enjoy their Arabian horses, and they are constantly coming up with exciting and rewarding ways to make that happen. The support these classes receive is demonstrated most clearly by the huge crowds of family and friends who cheer on their competitors - often cheering for each other. Yes - the Scottsdale Signature Stallion classes offer substantial prizes to the champions. However, the real winners are those who get out there to show their horses and enjoy the sportsmanship of competition - regardless of whether or not they win a ribbon, roses or a trophy. It’s really all about the Arabian horse, their beauty, their character and the bond we share with them. That is the best prize of all - friends and family sharing our passion for the breed.
There are also SSS classes for horses Three-Years and Over. Champions each earned a check for $1,000.00. Reserve Champions in the class brought home a check for $600.00 and Top Ten Winners each earned a check for $300.00. The goal of distributing all that prize money is to encourage breeders and have them come back next year.
The Association’s goal of supporting our breeders and attracting new people into the breed continues to be upheld by the Finals Show Committee. The dates have been set for our 2016 show, so mark your calendar and don’t miss walking the red carpet, and being apart of something very special in the industry.”