The second edition of the international Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival (21st-22nd of August) at Nowe Wrońska (this year as B-ranked according to ECAHO classification) ended with a bang – six Mercedes-Benz cars drove off in various directions – as well as with a bonus for the organizer, Polska AKF Stud, when its graduate, Kasir Al Khalediah, won one of the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship IFAHR series race, held during the United Arab Emirates Day (23rd of August).
World Champions battle it out at Nowe Wrońska
The Friday and Saturday competitions took place in favorable weather for both people and horses – it was warm, but not sweltering hot. The arriving guests were welcomed by huge changes compared to last year – there was a road laid right up to the show ground, new parking lots and walkways and the arena was enlarged. “We tried to improve the comfort of all of the show’s participants, both exhibitors and other guests. I am pleased that the opinions are positive, though even larger changes are planned in the long run”, says the festival’s general director, Hubert Kulesza. Similarly to last year, the logos of sponsors and the Festival’s partners were shown on the led displays surrounding the arena, similarly to those at international football games, which added a world-class quality to the show. The online broadcast was provided by the “Świat Koni” team (who used a drone to film the show also from above) and the signal was also available on the ArabianHorseResults website.
Among the 105 entered horses 92 appeared on the show arena, among them World Champions Emmona and Aja Justified, World Reserve Champions Girlan-Bey (bronze medalist of the Polish Nationals from a week earlier) and Perfinka, as well as the freshly crowned Polish National Champion Piniata. Foreign contestants showed up with Frank Spoenle, Christine Jamar and Gerald Kurtz, who was later recognized as Best Handler (second place belonged to Paweł Kozikowski). Horses placed 1 to 5 in their classes received equal prizes in the form of cheques for 4 thousand PLN (around 1 thousand Euro). The class winners had a chance at fighting it out for the main prizes – cars. Second place holders fought for further cash prizes – 8 thousand PLN (around 2 thousand Euro) awaited the silver medalists and 6 thousand PLN (around 1,5 thousand Euro) was for the bronze. The Best in Show award was 15 thousand PLN (around 3750 Euro). And so the Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival, held in the Mazovian countryside, is the only European show today where – similarly to Middle Eastern customs – valuable prizes are awarded, such as premium cars. Two of them, as we were to soon find out, went to Janów Podlaski Stud, one to Michałów Stud, one to Bełżyce Stud and two returned with Frank Spoenle to Germany.
Once again it was proven that every show can be a surprise. Obvious favorites don’t always have to win and the judges can perceive the same horse in a different way. The contestants were evaluated by a jury made up of Cecilia Bourghardt (Sweden), Irina Stigler (Russia), Cristina Valdés (Spain), Peter Gamlin (Great Britain) and Ali Shaarawi (Egypt).
A shower of “20s”
Right on time, at 11:00 am on Friday, August 21st, sounded the flourish of trumpets (a musical motif composed for the needs of the Festival by Artur Telakowiec) and the arena was entered by yearling fillies from the A series. Immediately the inaugural class saw the show’s first “20” – for type, for Michałów’s Pontia (Equator – Polonica/Ekstern), who received a final score of 91,75 and won before seven of her rivals. The next “20s”, much more numerous, were awarded in the next series of yearling fillies (9 contestants). As many as five of them (for type, head and neck and three for movement) were acquired by the winner of the Białka show, Janów’s Bambina (Kahil Al Shaqab – Bellisa/Poganin), besting Michałów’s El Larinera (Empire – El Emeera/Ekstern). Her final score was 93,38 – but as it later turned out, it was neither the highest score of the show nor the highest mark for movement. The highest scored horse of the show was the later Gold Champion and Best in Show – Michałów’s Palanga (Ekstern – Panika/Eukaliptus). This incredibly beautiful 13 year old mare, a European Senior Reserve Champion (2006) and Polish National Senior Silver Champion from the weekend before, justly earned 94 points! Her collection of “20s” consisted of two for type, one for head and neck plus very high marks for body (2×18,5 and 2×19). In turn four “20” plates for movement were raised after the performance of Palatina (QR Marc – Palmeta/Ecaho), bred by Janów Podlaski and owned by PPH Parys, as well as Girlan-Bey (Pesal – Gracja-Bis/Monogramm), bred by Michał Bogajewicz and owned by Gunnar Kristoffersen (Sweden).
But before that, we marveled at the two and three year old fillies. Among the 12 two year olds the best proved to be Janów’s Al Jazeera (Kahil Al Shaqab – Alhasa/Ganges, 93,5 pts, including two “20s” for type and three more for movement). It has to be said that the arena at Nowe Wrońska allowed horses to move freely. And some of them made use of this to the fullest – in the two year old fillies class these also included Prometida (Kahil Al Shaqab – Panonia/Eukaliptus) from Janów Podlaski (2nd place) and the Białka bred daughter of Vitorio TO and Perfirka by Gazal Al Shaqab, Perforia (4th place), which the judges awarded with three top marks for this trait. The three year old fillies class (7 participants) had some other excellent trotters: the class winner from Michałów, Emandorissa (Abha Qatar – Emanda/Ecaho, 91,75, including a “20” for type and two “20s” for movement) and the second place holder, Janów’s Patria (Eden C – Palmeta/Ecaho, 91,38, including a “20” for movement).
The competition in the yearling and junior fillies classes hinted that this would be a show of very high quality – yet they only turned out to be a prelude to the later senior mares classes, which were a true feast for the eyes. Among the nine 4-6 year old mares the highest score was achieved by the afore mentioned Palatina, who received four “20s” from the judges for movement. Her score was 93,12, with one more “20” for type. This pretty chestnut, purchased a year ago at the auction by the Parys family, bested not only Michałów’s Emandilla (Om El Shahmaan – Espadrilla/Monogramm, 92,38), Białka’s Perfinka (Esparto – Perfirka/Gazal Al Shaqab, 92,25) and Janów’s Euzona (Om El Bellissimo – Euzetia/Etogram, 91,25), but also Polish National Champion from the week before, Piniata (Eden C – Pinga/Gazal Al Shaqab) from Janów Podlaski, who placed just 7th.
The top five mares of the 7 years old and above class looked almost ethereal during the decoration ceremony. Palanga, Emmona (Monogramm – Emilda/Pamir), Pieta (Gazal Al Shaqab – Pilar/Fawor) from Halsdon Arabians (GB), Ekspiracja (WH Justice – Eklezja/Monogramm), bred by Lech Błaszczyk and owned by Krzysztof Falba and Piękna Pani (Ekstern – Pasja/Wojsław), bred by Michałów and owned by Waldemar Bąk could easily all pose for a calendar with the most beautiful horses in the world. Extremely photogenic, they had their day at Nowe Wrońska, which was immortalized by the numerously gathered photographers.
Among the yearling colts of the A series the indisputable leader was hands down the graduate of Ajman Stud, AJ Azzam (AJ Mardan – Ysadora/Marwan Al Shaqab). He was the first to perform and did not give away the victory. His score, 92,66 (including two “20s” for head and neck) turned out to be unbeatable. AJ Azzam bested the newly crowned Polish National Junior Champion Paris (Kahil Al Shaqab – Palmeta/Ecaho, 91,88) and a visitor from Spain (Equus Arabians), a full brother to World Champion Excalibur EA, Zeus EA (Shanghai EA – Essence of Marwan/Marwan Al Shaqab, 91,12). And although his rival from the B series, Fuerte (Shanghai EA – Frymuszka/Ekstern), bred by Jan Dobrzyński and owned by Samy Ben Saad, received a slightly higher total score in class (92,75, including a “20” for type and “20” for movement), Frank Spoenle’s graduate did not let the champion title be taken away from him in the finals.
Victorious among the group of eight 2 year old colts was the Bełżyce bred Genetrix (Shanghai EA – Gwarka/Monogramm) of Agnieszka Wójtowicz, who has taken this show season by storm. His final score – 91,38, including a “20” for movement, reflects his excellent form. Left behind were such tough rivals as the exotic Shiraz de Lafon (Shanghai EA – Diacira de Lafon/Khidar, 91 pts), bred by Mas de Lafon (France) and owned by Jadem Arabians (Belgium) and the superbly performing Calateon (Vitorio TO – Calatea/Ekstern, 90,88, including a “20” for movement), bred and owned by Marek Kondrasiuk.
The winner in the three year old colts class was the only horse entered by the located nearby Chrcynno Palace stud – Psyche Ull (Forteynas Magic – Psyche Victoria/Ekstern). With a score of 92 pts he was a strong contender for the top title in the finals. However it was Genetrix who claimed the gold, much to the delight of the owners and breeders from Bełżyce.
An incredibly tough competition was noticeable among the senior stallions, even though the entered Ekstern did not arrive at the show grounds. The 4-6 year old category saw a battle of Mahder Al Jamal (Nader Al Jamal – Mahity El Jamal/Dakar El Jamal), bred and owned by Jean Mattens (Belgium), Janów’s Barok (Om El Bellissimo – Baida/Balon), Michałów’s Empire (Enzo – Emira/Laheeb) and the newest Polish National Senior Champion, the Białka bred Cefir (Eryks – Celina/Metropolis NA). The latter had to unfortunately settle for 5th place. The undisputed winner was Mahder Al Jamal, with a large advantage over the second in class Barok (92,12 : 91,38). Each of them earned a “20” for movement, but Mahder got better marks for all other traits except the legs.
A strong class of the 4-6 year olds did not mean that the older males (9 contestants) would be boring to watch. On the contrary! The winner from Janów Podlaski, Palatino (Pesal – Palmeta/Ecaho), received a score of 92,75 (including a “20” for type and two “20s” for movement). The second spot holder, Aja Justified (WH Justice – Aja Beneja/FS Bengali), bred by Aja Arabians (GB) and owned by Ronen Braver, had the most top marks (also for head and neck), but lower for the body and legs (92,38). Third came Girlan-Bey, moving like a machine, which was reflected in his marks: four “20s” for movement! He had the same final score as Aja Justified, but lower marks for type kept him out of the finals.
In the final face-off the favorite Bambina bested El Larinera, leaving room on the podium also for Pontia. Al Jazeera triumphed over Emandorissa and Patria, Palanga over Palatina and Emmona, AJ Azzam over Fuerte and Paris, Genetrix over Psyche Ull and Shiraz de Lafon, while Mahder Al Jamal over Palatino and Aja Justified. The judges were unanimous only in one case – everyone pointed to AJ Azzam as the gold medalist. The other horses won due to a majority of votes, even the later Best in Show horse, Palanga. Interestingly the entire lot of six gold medalists remain the property of their breeders.
Another attraction at Nowe Wrońska was the Friday evening party accompanied by music. While on Sunday the guests gathered at Warsaw’s Służewiec track, where the race for the Al Khalediah Poland Trophy was held (cat. A, 1,600 m). The winner from last year, Aziz, this time came only fourth. Before him placed this year’s second in the Derby Mufid (Akbars – Mukata Fata/KA Czubuthan) and Wasilew (Ontario HF – Warta/Wermut). All had to yield to Muzahim (Nougatin – Małmazja/Wermut) with the young Aslan Kardanov in the irons, who set a deadly pace
and won from wire to wire. “We prepared Muzahim especially for this race, which is a great sport accent of the Al Khalediah European Festival at Nowe Wrońska, inaugurated last year by Polska AKF”, told us the owner of the breeding and training center in Nowa Mała Wieś and at the same time Muzahim’s trainer, Jan Głowacki. The horse is bred by Andrzej Mroczek.
At the end of the day the organizer of the Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival – Polska AKF – received an award in the form of a beautiful victory by their home-bred colt Kasir Al Khalediah (Tiwaiq – Katch Me/Dormane) in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship IFAHR race series. The horse, trained by Andrzej Laskowski and guided to victory by Canadian Brandod Duchaine, won by 5 lengths in good time over 1,600 m – 1’50’2.
In accordance with Saudi tradition, the Polish Festival celebrated both the beauty and stamina of Arabian horses. The public at both Nowe Wrońska and Warsaw’s Służewiec track had great fun. We can only hope that in the years to come the owner of Al Khalediah Poland will continue to support the Festival. “The stud’s owner gave us a green light to do more visible changes”, confirms Director Hubert Kulesza. “We are planning on enlarging the infrastructure for exhibitors and building parking lots for horse trailers. We want the people who create the show to be as comfortable as possible. The long term plan is to build a real show center. We would like to substitute temporary solutions with permanent ones. Over the next couple of years we are planning to build a VIP tribune and tribunes for other viewers”. Are the organizers satisfied? “I am very happy”, says Director Kulesza. “Because my happiness stems from the happiness of the event’s participants”.
Author: Monika Luft
Photos: Ewa Imielska-Hebda