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Press review: „The Arabian Magazine”, 12/2008
Author : Monika Luft | 2009-01-05 | Drukuj
The December edition of the British “The Arabian Magazine” concentrates mainly on stallions. The editor-in-chief, Samantha Mattocks, approaches two most famous stallions dynasties nowadays, created by Gazal Al Shaqab and Padrons Psyche (which, as Jadem Arabians recently announced, is moving to Europe). Many young stallions wait on their way to glory, but it will not be easy to outshine the legend of these two breeding giants. Another article, by Jackie Keen, brings information on stallions available in Great Britain. There are many renowned stars among them, such as Master Design GA (British National Champion) or Final Shadow, but also other stallions perhaps less known on the continent, but with already acquired reputation in the British Isles, like young H Tobago by Psytadel or Madaba by Crusader. British breeders also place their hopes in young stallions, whose first crops of foals will be born or shown this year. Forever Besson by Besson Carol and Orion OS by Om El Bahreyn are among them. As ridden classes are very appreciated in the Isles, stallions successful under saddle are hugely respected, e.g. Ruger AMW by Tallyen El Jamaal or Toman by Grand.

Journalist and photographer Carol Maginn gives her personal impressions on Stallions of The United States. What does a “good horse” mean? – the author wonders. She feels that a good horse is a good horse, regardless of bloodline or pedigree. Another question is: what should count more – show-ring wins (and if so, should we take into consideration halter or performance?), or the quality of the foals? As it is difficult to answer these questions, Maginn concentrates on different stallions, who drew her attention for various reasons. Firstly she mentions Showkayce 1992 by Fame VF, show and performance champion whose offspring has already distinguished in many fields (e.g. Shownel, the Middle East Junior Champion Filly). Another stallion that deserves a closer look is Makhnificent KA 1995 by Makhsous, the sire of many straight Egyptian champions. The author also points at Amin by Ibn Morafic and Brandon Bay JCA by Versace, and obviously does not forget such great stars as Gazal Al Shaqab, whose influence on American breeding cannot be overvalued, or Imperial Baarez, who, according to Maggin, exemplifies Arabian type with a sweet disposition and performance success.

Doris Melzer deals with German stallions licensing rivalry. Every October breeders and Arabian horse lovers come to Aachen to see new stallions. Last year only about fifty stallions were presented to the judges, less than in previous years. In Melzer’s opinion the reason could be that in 2009 stallions may also be presented in regional stallion shows and owners can decide if they prefer to show in Aachen, or a town in their home region. The best stallion of the 2008 show was the grey three-year-old Nedschd Mansour by Majdan-Madheen, who received a Gold Ribbon for a tremendous personal magnetism and a very good movement. Other horses awarded with the Gold Ribbon were Bolero EM by Shaklan Ibn Bengali, Jascorial by Kardinal, TM Lopez by TM Aikonos and Miad Al Shaqab by Alidaar. Another four stallions were good enough to get the Silver Ribbon: Om El Shampane and Egyptian LV Lahab (both by Al Lahab), Egyptian Farid HP by Farres and DF Siraj by Sameer. Eight stallions were given White Ribbons. The German licensing system is certainly an important indication for German breeders. It is a pity that 2008 was the last year, when stallions were judged in one place and time. It was a chance of seeing all the new stallions together – a chance which many breeders and observers from all over the world could not miss.

The latest issue of the British magazine brings also an extensive portrait of Ansata Stud which celebrated its 50th birthday (text by Steve Diamond). Unfortunately joy from this unique anniversary (not many private studs may be proud of such long tradition) was clouded by the information that the stud’s founder passed away. Donald Forbis died on December l5th, 2008, in Mena, Arkansas, at the age of 81. The story of the Forbises family sounds like a movie screenplay. Donald Forbis met his future wife, Judith Freni (who has been fascinated with horses since her early childhood – she was even riding on Black Watch, a gelding which belonged to a famous film star, Zsa Zsa Gabor), during his business stay in Turkey in 1957. At that time Judith – a 23-year-old graphic artist – worked at the U.S. International Cooperation Administration’s Turkish Mission as a secretary, and in her free time she was successful in many equestrian competitions. Donald, emissary of an oil concern, a robust man (an ex-star of a student football team), experienced with honorable service in the US Navy during World War II, and what’s more – looking a bit like Bart Lancaster, made a powerful impression on young Judith. At first sight they fell in love with each other and after a year they got married. Shortly afterwards they have started a new chapter in Arabian horse breeding. During their stay in Turkey the young couple bought their first few Arabian horses for races. Don trained them and Judi was a successful jockey. Lots of track wins made her an inspiration to the women of the region, who at that time were totally subordinated to men and could not even dream of their own careers. When the Turkish contract was over the couple, advised by Carl Raswan, decided to visit Egypt. Near Cairo they found the El Zahraa stud, where they bought a few young mares and one stallion. Ibn Halima, who was then a yearling son of Nazeer, later became one of the great Arabian stallions. Soon afterwards the Ansata Stud has become famous and its star Ansata Ibn Halima turned out to be one of the top American Arabians. While Judith was busy with the breeding program and also with writing and translating books dedicated to Arabian horses, Donald was creating new studs: firstly in Oklahoma, later in Texas and Arkansas. Besides the couple spent many years abroad – they lived in Libya, Iran, Greece, Columbia, Egypt and Great Britain. Throughout the time they developed their breeding program and achieved an enormous number of horses, which conquered the world, bringing their breeders countless titles and honors. Last year in Al Rayyan Farm, Doha (Qatar) and at the Egyptian Event in Lexington, Kentucky the Forbises pompously celebrated the 50th anniversary of both: their wedding and the stud, even though they decided to sell the Ansata landmark to Dr Thomas Roesener, a retired surgeon and experienced breeder, and their huge herd was spread around the world. Some horses found their way to the Middle East, and the Forbises were left only with a few animals (and co-property of a few more). Judith has become an advisor at Al Shaqab Stud in Doha. Unfortunately soon afterwards Donald Forbis was diagnosed a cancer… Grief of Forbises’ friends and admirers may be soothed by awareness that half-century-long history of Ansata is one of the most beautiful stories in modern Arabians breeding. Its memory and heritage will never be forgotten.

As usually, a few articles in the magazine are dedicated to photography. “Digital lies?”, a text by experienced Australian photographer and Arabian horse breeder, Nicole Emanuel, reprinted from “The Australian Arabian Horse News” is one of them. Emanuel makes us aware of how powerful (and dangerous) the Photoshop can be. Without a big problem we can create a beautiful, typey Arabian horse from a picture of a… typey Thoroughbred stallion. Obviously such measures are totally against the ethics of journalism and press photography. But what cannot appear in the news pages can be easily found in the ads (generally editorial staffs do not interfere with the ads, unless they are manifestly untrue or abusive). The article explains to what extent the photo can be altered without worry of being accused of manipulation. Emanuel warns that too much interference may cause even legal troubles (e.g. the buyer may withdraw on a basis of an argument that he/she saw a picture of a different horse). It seems obvious that “improving” a photo of a stallion, whose breedings are on sale, is unethical – nevertheless such measures are sometimes taken. Sooner or later cheating is usually revealed and a reputation of that owner or breeder rapidly decreases. But dishonest actions of the few affects us all and we tend to doubt in what we see. Many owners who promote their horses decide to put an annotation: “conformation unaltered” to underline that the photography presents the true shape of the horse. Every breeder, as Emanuel says, should be proud of one’s work and should not be afraid of presenting horses the way they really are.

In December issue we also find shows accounts and many other interesting articles – more details on the magazine website
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