ARABIANS HORSE DAYS 2010
Poland 2010 By Jeffrey Wintersteen Polish Nationals
For many of us north of the equator, August means lazy days by the pool or the seeking the perfect beach day. Children begin to count the days till their summer independence draws to an end with the sound of the first school bell. Fruit ripens on the trees and grain in the fields, the bounty of a harvest soon to be measured. For Arabian horse lovers, August is also the annual pilgrimage to Poland and the harvest of another kind as yearlings are assessed for the first time by visitors, and then the delight of getting reacquainted with past favorites. The national show, Pride of Poland Sale and breeding parades that encompass Arabian Horse Days have grown with Poland’s success over the years. The national show now spans over 3 days with both traditional outside and newer inside venues in the recently built equine facility, affectionately referred to as the “Trela Dome.” With all the bustling activity at Janow Podlaski during this time, one can’t help but be struck by the fact this event is really a “big deal,” even with those outside the breed. If, however, this progress leaves you a little nostalgic, fear not; a short walk through the towering oaks, past the grave markers of Czort, Bandola, Europa, and other pillars of the breed, you can still stand in the in Prywatne Stajnie, smell the straw bedding and listen to the quiet rustling of horses. You will find the dark expressive eyes of Albigowa, trying to draw you over for a scratch behind the ears. The truly intrepid can arrive with the early morning fog and follow Passionaria full sister to Pianissima to her daily gallop at the stud’s track. It warms the spirit to see that despite the glitzy sponsors, security and crowds, Poland is still... well, Poland. Let the Arabian Horse Days begin! The yearling and two year old colts entered the ring on Friday evening under the lights in the Trela Dome. It was an eagerly anticipated class, most notably from the buzz from the Bialka Spring Show a few months earlier and the unveiling the spectacular Junior Champion Colt by QR Marc and bred by Janow. Pogrom, out of Petla by Visbaden. He didn’t disappoint the crowd but received a tepid 89.67 from the judges and only enough for second place. It was his very typey Michalow counterpart, Empire (Enzo x Emira by Laheeb), that won the class and received the first 20 of the show for head and neck. The second section of yearling colts was won narrowly on a tiebreaker by the Janow El Nabila B colt Almanzor out of Alatina by Emigrant. The sensational dark bay Zimarc (QR Marc x Zeksterna by Ekstern) in second place was the first privately owned success, bred by Stanislaw Slawinski. There was just one section of two year old colts, and the wonderfully moving El Omari (Enzo x Embra by Monogramm) scored two 20’s, edging out the coal colored Chimeryk (Eryks x Chimera by Emigrant). Chimeryk, which means capricious” in Polish, proved he was well named as little could diminish his unbridled enthusiasm as he leapt, cavorted and snorted around the ring, learly enjoying his moment under the lights.
Shortly after the evening colt classes finished, the preview of the Pride of Poland sale horses was supposed to begin, giving potential buyers a look at this year’s offerings. As the horses were being prepped, a violent thunderstorm tore through the farm, toppling a tree and flattening one of the temporary barns used to house visiting horses, pinning them and their grooms inside. In the indoor arena VIP guests knew little of what was transpiring, but outside Janow’s Director Trela shouted orders, bringing order to the chaos, even diving into collapsed barns to free horses that had patiently waited for rescue. Amazingly all horses and humans escaped unscathed, but with the loss of power, and new lodgings needed for those horses from the destroyed barn, the preview was rescheduled for the next day. Except for those out in the driving rain trying to secure horses, this was mostly taken with a shrug from the guests. As one observer commented, “This is Poland. With all the wars these horses have survived, what is a little storm?” Indeed, the beautiful calm morning with azure skies made the previous evening seem like a dream, except for the ruins of the barn that still littered the temporary stalling area. No matter, it was nationals day in Poland and the stabling area was abuzz with grooms coaxing both nervous fillies and seasoned show horses into wash stalls and under hoses. The pre show favorite for Junior Filly Champion was Janow’s yearling Palatina by QR Marc and out of the Palmeta by Ecaho certainly packing the power of pedigree. But the Spring Show results did not stand up a few months later as she could only manage a 3rd in the first section, succumbing to the feminine charms of 2nd place finisher Primera (Eden C x Preia by Ararat), also from Janow. Michalow supplied the winner, who packed her own pedigree power, in the beautiful moving package of Zigi Zana out of US and World Champion Zagrobla, scoring 20’s across the board for movement. She was also by QR Marc, aptly demonstrating Poland’s success so far with this young sire. The delightful Placenza, also by QR Marc and out of the Emigrant daughter Primawera, won the second section of yearling fillies. Like Zigi Zana she also earned two 20’s for movement,proving the Polish tradition of wonderful moving mares is in good hands for the next generation. There were two sections of 2 year old fillies, though not quite as a deep. Wagira by Enzo and out of Scottsdale Top Ten Filly Wkra by Monogramm won section A and Mesalina (Ekstern x Mati Hari by Werbum) won section B, again with two 20’s for movement. Mesalina was the first class winner for a Polish born sire. From a show perspective, Ekstern is proving to be Monogramm’s heir apparent. The three year old filly class is generally smaller than the previous classes since a majority is off testing their stamina and courage at the track. Only Michalow had an entry from the State Studs with the remainder from private breeders. The class was the won by Chaos Perefona (Poganin x Ceres by Ganges) from the private stud Chrcynno Palac, who last year put forward the stunning duo of Psyches Kreuza and Psyches Victoria. As the mare classes began in earnest with the 4 to 6 year old mares, Janow turned up the heat on an already warm and humid day with class winner in the first section, Sefora (Ekstern x Sewantka by Pepton). The beautifully dappled gray mare is returning to championship form that netted a Junior Filly national title in 2006. With all due respect to Sefora, however, the next section of 4 to 6 year old mares was the deeper and the more anticipated class with Scottsdale Top Ten Filly Wkra (Gaza Al Shaqab x Wkra by Wyborna), 2007 Polish Jr. Champion Filly, 2007 World Top Ten Filly Ejrene (Gazal Al Shaqab x Emocja by Monogramm), and 2007 European Champion filly Pistoria (Gazal Al Shaqab x Palmira by Monogramm). Even with those mares included, the class really served as a welcome home party for Polish National Jr Champion Filly and Scottsdale Reserve Champion Mare Pinga from her US lease. The Gazal Al Shaqab daughter only had returned to native soil a few weeks prior. Perhaps even more significant it was 24hours before her dam Pilar (Fawor x Pipi by Banat) would be entering the Pride of Poland auction ring, a fact not lost on those in attendance.If there was anything that could make the moment more poignant, it was supplied by Pinga being reunited with her handler Jan Trela, Janow Podlaski Director Trela’s son,home from veterinary residency training in California. If there is ever a “How to Show a Horse” DVD, this would be required viewing. From Jan quieting the overly enthusiastic shakers to the complete look of pride and affection on his face for the mare at the end of his lead, the duo’s performance was simply stunning and vaulted Pinga to the class win,and earned Jan an emotional embrace from his proud father.After the emotion of Pinga’s class, the 7 to 10 year old mares had the unenviable task of providing a follow up performance. Janow struck again for the third straight time with the phenomenal moving Etnologia (Gazal Al Shaqab x Etalanta by Europejczyk) proving she was up to the task. Her final tally surpassed Pinga’s with a 94.00 including all 20’s on movement.The final and smallest mare class of the day was by no means the least competitive. Five mares took to the ring for the 11 years and older mare class, including 2000 World Champion Filly Emmona (Monogramm x Emilda by Pamir), 2002 Scandinavian champion Mare Olita (Ecaho x Orawa by Argo), 2001 World Champion Mare Emanda (Ecaho x Emanacja by Eukaliptus), dam of World Champion Galilea, Georgia (Monogramm x Gizela by Palas), and US, European and World Champion Mare Zagrobla (Monogramm x Zguba by Probat). Amazingly none of these mares, despite all of their accolades, had ever won the senior title on their native soil. As if foreshadowing the end result, Emmona entered the ring prematurely with her handler Mariusz liszkiewicz and needed to wait for the ring steward to call her forward. She used the time effectively, posing for the audience, which erupted in cheers of gratitude. Little doubt it was Emmona’s day and her final tally confirmed with this an unbelievable 95.33 the highest score of the day with 20’s across the board for type,head & neck, and movement.With twilight descending on the outside show pavilion, the stallion classes began with the junior stallions, 4 to 6 years old. In contrast to previous years, it was the junior class that was the smaller of the two with only eight entries, and six taking to the field. This was due primary to restructuring of the age requirements with 6 years now being the cap for junior stallions as opposed to 8 years old in years past. Despite the small field, it was much anticipated with the stallion debut of Kabsztad by Poganin and son of legendary Kwestura. While Kabsztad posted a respectable 91.0, it only tied Bialka’s excellent Ekstern son Celsjusz (out of Carina by Pesal). Both were edged by Janow’s Alert (Piaff x Andaluzja by Sanadik El Shaklan) who has yet to lose at a show on Polish soil. A poignant side story of junior stallion class was the bay Metropolis NA son Boreas out of the Bomarc daughter Bombina, bred by Wojciech Kowalik who had just recently and unexpectedly passed away.A beloved member of the Polish Arabian community, Boreas was perhaps Wojciech’s greatest breeding success, but the moral support of those watching, and the efforts of Michalow’s premier handler Mariusz Liszkiewicz could not push Boreas higher than 5th The aged stallions put on a spectacle in the light of the setting sun. Drabant (Gazal Al Shaqab x Demona by Monogramm) demonstrated his trademark performance with motion scores of two 20’s and a 19. His paternal sibling Equifor (out of Eqviria by Pers) fresh from his lease to the United States, made the most of his debut at Polish Nationals with an equally fantastic performance. As can be the case with the points system, despite their crowd popularity, these two fell short of the top spot and ultimately finished in 4th and 5th respectively. Two other Janow stallions Eurykles (Emigrant x Eutona by Etogram) and Pegasus (Gazal Al Shaqab x Pepesza by Eukalitpus) were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Much to the pleasure of the crowd, it was beloved Salar (Ecaho x Saba by Etat) edging out Eurykles to win the class with two 20’s for head and neck. In the interim between sire duties, Salar spends time in riding demonstrations and competitions with young riders where his superb disposition is clearly evident. The next morning began under a cloudless sky with a full itinerary due to the Friday night storm. The Pride of Poland preview was now sandwiched between the championship classes and the Pride of Poland sale. The ceremony began with a somber moment of silence for Wojciech Kowalik, and then the championships began. The junior fillies were the first into the ring and it surprised no one that two fillies from the first section of yearlings were named champion (gold) and reserve champion (silver);Zigi Zana and Primera respectively, which marked the first championship for Michalow in this year’s show. The yearling filly Piacenza from the second section placed bronze. The junior colts gave guests more than enough lunchtime discussion as the judges were split between Enzo colt Empire of Michalow and El Omari, the two year old Enzo colt of Janow. Some of the judges’ preference for El Omari was due to Pogrom’s failure to win his class to Empire and could therefore not be named champion. Empire has a very impressive for ehand, but clearly does not demonstrate the movement and tail carriage of his Janow rival. Ultimately, it was decided that Empire was Polish National Champion Jr. Colt, Pogrom was reserve and El Omari was given the bronze. It marked the second straight championship for Michalow State Stud. As to Champion Mare, there was never really any doubt to those watching, Pinga was declared Champion Mare and ultimately Best in Show. Her acceptance of the roses provided a delightful display of the trust between he r and handler Jan Trela. Not once, but twice, the garland of roses tumbled onto her head as she was contently grazing, waiting for the remainder of awards to be presented. Pinga only showed a mild irritation at the interruption of her snack and stood patiently as Jan, to the delight of those watching, dutifully tried to untangle her and rearrange the garland. Emmona was crowned Reserve Champion Mare, and Sefora edged out Etnologia to receive the bronze.The stallion championship held none of the suspens e of the mare class as there was little doubt that Alert would triumph over Salar, despite the obvious affections for the snow white Ecaho son. It also marked the first National Title for handler American Gerald Paty, now employed as head trainer for Janow Podlaski, and evidenced by his smile, one he thoroughly enjoyed. Kabstzad had to settle for the Reserve Championship, though clearly his day will come soon as he is endowed with the type and charisma to win at a later date. Salar received the bronze, marking a sweep for Janow Podlaski of the Championship Mare, Championship Stallion, and Best In Show. One of the more charming awards of the show is best handler, this year awarded to Mariusz Liszkiewicz of Michalow. He walked to center ring with a shy grin, without a horse for the first time in three days. As is tradition, Mariusz was soon joined by all the other handlers of the show and was thrown into the air. It is a good natured and fun display of sportsmanship. As for best trainer of the show, it was Gerad Paty who received the honors. Doug Dahmen, judge from the United states, was refreshingly candid with his comments after the show. “ The difference in the way of showing the horses in Europe is in general, farmore sensitive and aesthetically pleasing to see thanwhat is seen, in most instances,here in the US.That said, there are a few trainers who have been to Europe and shown horse there who have experienced an epiphany in the training and showing of their horses.Nevertheless, our American halter ring remains a rather disgraceful affair despite the efforts to change it. Why don't we get it?” Mr. Dahmen continues, “The handling of the horses in the ring at the show in Poland was something else again. The happy, joyous,horses trotting on a long loose line, the quiet yet expressive tand ups, and the affectionate relationship between the horses and handlers was obvious. As a breeder,and as a judge, I am always looking for those horses that ‘blow me away’.These are rare moments, but the Champion Mare, and Best inShow provided me with what always be one of the most special experiences I have had.Pinga, and her presentation by Jan Trela, literally took my breath away.”Pride of Poland:The Pride of Poland is one of the most notable auctions in the Arabian breed. Consequently, it is a barometer of worldwide prices for the Arabian horse. The sale this year was under additional scrutiny given the current global economic recession, especially with the Greek solvency scare in Europe. After four years of record totals,peaking in 2008, what would this year’s sale bring? Could it still continue higher? Would the market collapse? The answer is neither, but to borrow a phrase from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan coined at the burst of the dot com mania in the US, “the irrational exuberance is over.” Prices returned to earth, but far from a collapse, good horseflesh still demanded a fair price.To put this year’s sale in perspective, it is useful to look at the last ten years of the Pride of Poland. The total of €1,172,700 is 6th highest total. By all other useful measures such as number sold and average price per horse, the results are also similar. Another factor affecting the sale is the quality of horses the studs are willing to part with. “ You can’t always sell Kwestura," stated Anna Stojanowska from the Agricultural Property Agency,which oversees the State Studs. She was referring, of course, to the chestnut mare’s €1,125,000 price tag in 2008. Indeed there is only one Kwestura. Overall the sale exceeded expectations. “With the economic conditions, and the number of registered bidders,” continues Anna, “ we expected quite a bit less then this total. In the end, we are quite pleased with the results.”For 2010, the sale headliner was Pilar (Fawor x Pipi by Banat). Economic conditions not withstanding, it could not have been better year to offer this extremely productive mare with her daughter Pinga having been named National Champion Mare and Best in Show only a few hours before. Pilar was also the dam of 2009 Pride of Poland top price horse Pinta by Ekstern, who sold for€500,000. After a somewhat slow start, Pilar’s price steadily rose and ultimately sold for €240,000 to the delighted new owner Al Shaqab of Qatar. If the timing was appropriate, the buyer was equally appropriate since Al Shaqab is the home of Pinga’s sire, World Champion Gazal Al Shaqab. This left little guessing in Pilar’s next choice of sire. Other horses headed to Qatar are Ariadne (Laheeb x Argentyna by Partner) for €60,000 and Galatea (Angor x Gehenna by Monogramm) for €27,000.The second highest seller was the chestnut Ermina (Galba x Echidna by Ararat) for Monika Luft, a private breeder in Poland. Sold in utero from Michalow State Stud, she was purchased by Ms. Luft as a young filly and then sold to an undisclosed buyer in the Pride of Poland for €90,000. “I was delighted with the sale of Ermina!” commented Ms.Luft, “I was absolutely convinced of her value but at the same time I was aware of the world financial crisis. Everybody knew that the buyers were not as numerous this year as in the previous years. And that the prices, after growing, have to drop. So offering her at the sale was risky... I believed she would achieve a good price but I was also anxious. So the final result made me very happy.” Wilga (Ekstern x Wenessa by by Egon) was the third highest seller for €82,000 to a buyer in Belgium. Wilga was the Reserve Champion Filly at the 2001 Bialka Show and one of Ekstern’s first stars in the show ring. Certainly the most active bidder and biggest buyer (in terms of number horses) was Joseph Geenen of France. Al l told he purchased 8 horses for €245,000, which makes him the second leading buyer behind Al Shaqab in total spent. Some of his key purchases were Lot 1. Ebla (Gazal Al Shaqab x Eberia by Ecaho) for €35,000, the privately bred 2year old filly Gadnes (Psytadel x Eracea by Etogram) for €48,000, the beautiful Ekstern daughter Pustynna Tecza out of Pustynna Tarcza by Pamir for €30,000, and in the Selection Sale the Gazal Al Shaqab son El Azem , who was Polish National Champion Colt in 2005.Perennial buyer Shirley Watts of Halsdon Stud in Great Britain was delighted to make a few shrewd purchases in the form of the classically beautiful Hekla (Primo x Harpia by Ernal) for €40,000 and Agusta (Piaff x Albigowa by Fawor) for €40,000. From a pedigree standpoint, Agusta is Granddaughter of Janow’s broodmatron supreme Algeria. Mrs. Watts also purchased the more modern pedigreed Pampa (Gazal Al Shaqab x Palestyna by Monogramm) for €45,000. In the Selection Sale, Mrs. Watts added the privately bred Pernacja (Ekstern x Perturbacja by Eukaliptus) €20,000 to the Halsdon collection, a collection that certainly would rival any mare band in the world. The sole American buyer at this year’s sale was Dick Reed who owns Toskhara Arabians with his wife Christine. As Dick explains, “It was always been our approach to try to find value in the auction and not try to buy the stars. When Emigra’s (full sister to Polish super stars Emigrantka, Emanacja and Erlanda) bidding started at€10,000 and was stuck there, I thought ‘why not’ and bid €12,000. I really didn't expect to get her but was thrilled when nobody bid higher.” Altea (Eukaliptus x Algora by Probat) was more of a sentimental purchase . The Reed’s recently lost two Polish imports Gloria and Algira. As Dick relates, “Altea was a one for two replacement for these mares... Altea was the last Eukaliptus foal; she had been presented in 2001 at the tribute to Eukaliptus following his death earlier that year. I thought there was no chance that she would go at a price I was prepared to pay. I was wrong, we bought her for €22,000.” Dick also added Bajgora (Pamir x Bajeczka by Bandos) –full sister to Polish National Champion and Race Horse of the Year Batyskaf to compliment their growing racing program.Domestic buyers in Poland took advantage of the economic climate with the purchases of Wyborna (Monogramm x Wybranka by Piechur), Emetyna (Ekstern x Esina by Sinus),and Percepcja (Laheeb x Perturbacja by Eukaliptus). The total of €60,000 surpassed the American contribution to the sale. This year’s Selection Sale total was the 2nd highest in the ten year history. The Selection Sale is run directly after the main auction for horses that generally command a smaller price tag. This by no means connotes lesser quality as Kordelas, Debowiec, El Ghazi and Wiking all graduated from the Selection Sale in previous years. There was demand for horses, but economic conditions forced buyers to shop in places other than the main auction.Breeding parades:After the excitement and drama of nationals and the sale, the next morning’s breeding parade at Janow Podlaski was a welcome respite. In the shade of a grove of oaks just south of the stallion barn and with the music of Chopin drifting in the background,uniformed grooms presented a line up of sires, then broodmares and their descendants.The setting was enhanced by the narration of Director Trela himself, whose dry humor, wonderful anecdotes, and obvious emotion for the animals he described was moving. Early in the sire presentation, Piaff (Eldon x Pipi by Banat) was flanked by his sons Albedo (out of Albigowa by Fawor) and newly crowned Polish National Champion Alert. It was a succinct snap shot of this sire line and the improvement Janow had made in one generation. An especially poignant moment came when Pilot (Fawor x Pipi by Banat) was presented, on lease from Haldson Stud, though home at his maternal stud. The 23year -old stallion snorted, danced, and reared like a horse 10 years his junior, prompting Director Trela to prono unce, “This is why we breed Arabians.”The mares gave yet another opportunity to see lovely Olita, and get reacquainted with Andaluzja (Sanadik El Shaklan x Antwerpia by Eternit) dam of previously presented Alert, Eula (Arbil x Eutrepe by Probat), along with her sister Eutona by Etogram, and many others. Director Trela was masterfully leading the guests to a perfectly constructed conclusion, announcing a “very special mare” Sarmacja (Gil x Saszetka by Egano) at 24 years young. Sarmacja represents the 5th in an unbroken Derby winning dam line, along with her daughter Salsa (by Wojslaw) who could “only” capture the Oaks. Next came the stunning splendor of Sefora by Ekstern and out of Sarmacja’s maternal sister Sawantka by Pepton –proof the family of Mlecha is both beauty and athleticism. For the finale, he called the guests attention to a special treat, artfully housed in a small tent towards the barn, an original painting by Julisz Kossak of Mlecha –foundress of this family and imported from the desert to Poland in 1845. On cue, a uniformed groom appeared with snow white, and ethereal Hekla also from the family of Mlecha, framed in the arching doorway of the white washed barn behind her. “Is she not a Mlecha from the painiting?”asked Director Trela with sly smile, already knowing the answer. It was one of those lump in the throat moments that only Poland can provide.This was just the beginning of the day. The Bialka breeding parade was in the afternoon and with reluctance guests said their goodbyes to Janow. Truth is no one ever says “goodbye” at Janow, but rather “till next time”.
The Bialka breeding parade was not as well attended as those at Janow and Michalow. For those fortunate few who make the trip that is just as well, keeping it an intimate affair in one the most stunning settings in the Arabian breed. Tucked into the southeast corner of Poland, brushing against the Ukrainian border, the rolling rural landscape of Bialka is the most beautiful in Europe. The stud itself, originally established as a stallion depot, consists of four main barns lining three sides of a spacious grass paddock that hosts the annual Spring Show. The fourth side is awash with chestnuts, oak, and willow; creating a background that makes “Vesty type” photographers of all that try. Beyond the visual beauty, there is a peaceful quiet that is all encompassing; the sound of snorting horses arrives long before they come into view. And it is not just the scene in front that is so captivating; gathered on either side of the grass paddock, grooms, mares and foals wait their turn to be presented against the backdrop of turn of the century limestone barns, creating unforgettable images. It is no secret that Bialka is struggling to keep up with the success of Janow and Michalow. But rather than wilting in the shadows of the bigger studs, as this year’s breeding parade clearly showed, it is a flower blooming for those that take the time to notice. It was manifested in the horses presented, a proud and dignified celebration, as if to say, “We are Bialka!” As visitors found their seats, 2007 Polish Junior Champion Colt Celsjusz stood motionless in the barn entrance as a dappled gray sculpture of equine beauty. The Bialka bred Ekstern son began the breeding parade, and is out of the Carina by Pesal, a direct dam line descendant of Carmen, dam of Comet and the same dam line of Kawalkalda and Kwestura. After two young stallion prospects were shown, out came examples of each dam line represented at stud. The most interesting was the dam line of Bent El Arab,imported to Babolna in 1880 and only represented at Bialka. One mediocre mare had represented the family in Poland only a relatively short time ago. Three very nice young mares demonstrated the revitalization of this dam line in a surprising short generational time span. That this family had not been allowed to vanish into history is a reminder of Poland’s commitment as stewards of the Arabian breed. Other highlights were the sole Milordka representative Euspira (Gazal Al Shaqab xEuskara by Ararat) who was clearly very proud of herself. The Ekstern daughter Herlina (out of Heroldia by Eukaliptus) was an outstanding representative of the “H” family of Mlecha, transplanted from Kurzoweki when that stud closed in 1999. The family is flourishing in its new home. The foundation of Bialka, however, rests soundly on the “P” family of Szamrajowka via the Janow bred Bandos daughter Pentoda. The family is in good hands with the current queen of Bialka Perfirka (GazalAl Shaqab x Perforacja by Ernal). This 7 year old mare understands the lofty station she holds at her maternal stud and delights in showing her feminine charms, not least of which are blow and supple neck that defies adequate description. Another of theinterests of the Bialka presentation was the foals of Esparto (Ekstern x Ekspozycja by Eukaliptus). He covered a majority of mares last spring and a number of his foals were on display. A collection of gaspsgreeted the most exotic, a filly out of the mare Fabryszka (Gazal Al Shaqab x Fula by Partner), the sole representative of the Ukrainka dam line via Forta.
At the end of the presentation, most of those in attendance made their way to the medieval city of Zamosc, a mere 30 minutes away. Its close proximity to Bialka only adds to the delights of the stud, the excuse to spend a candlelit evening in the town square, reminiscing about the horses of the day.The Michalow breeding parade was a fitting conclusion of the Arabian Horse Days for 2010. Where Janow is steeped in history, and Bialka exhibits the charm of rural Poland, Michalow is the spit and polish of a champion producing machine, and it is on display from the moment you enter the front gate. The foyer of the front office is crowded with so many World Championship saddles from Salon du Cheval, you would think there is a saddle maker in Krakow making knock offs until you start counting them off in your head. The success in the show ring has translated to success in the sale ring, and those financial gains have been dutifully reinvested in the stud. Like Janow, Michalow now has their own modern and beautifully appointed indoor arena that replaced the outdoor showing area, which can no longer handle the increasing crowds. Sitting just to the west of the arena is the reproduction center with state of the art stallion and mare management. And if like in Janow, the newer area of the stud makes you yearn for “old Michalow”, rest assured it is still there. On the path past the director’s house still sit the original limestone barns, and inside the line up of snow white mares, the ethereal beauty that has been the stud’s trademark for decades. No matter from which angle you approach it, the accomplishments of Michalow State Stud are staggering, and the breeding parade merely overwhelms you with champion after champion. Even in the comparatively sterile environment of the arena, Zagrobla’s, Emanda’s, El Dorada’s, and Emandoria’s soft white, porcelain skin a desert dryness that defines the breed, silenced the awestruck visitors. And in stark contrast to these visions of white, Drabant (Gazal Al Shaqab x Demona by Monogramm) and Ganges (Monogramm x Garonna by Fanatyk) showed that Michalow does masculine well, as these bay war horses demonstrated movement that can only be described by such adjectives as powerful and commanding. As mares and foals were presented, it was easy to forget your old favorite in lieu the new one in front of you, only to repeat the process with the next mare. The finale of the breeding parade was a line up of five yearling QRMarc fillies that gave a unique opportunity for comparison. Whether he can be the next outcross sire for Michalow, like Monogramm or Gazal Al Shaqab has been remains to be seen, but every spectator se emed willing to return in the future to see for him or herself. Every August is a pilgrimage of the faithful to a special place for the Arabian breed. And every year, there are new converts to Poland and her Arabian horses. American judge and first time visitor Doug Dahmen summed it up best. “ During my 41 years with Arabian horses, I have loved the Polish horses, their history in Poland, and the incredible devotion the people have for them. I have wanted to go to Poland for so long, and despite the fact that I have judged their horses in Paris, Aachen, and other shows many times, I have felt that there was a large gap in my experience. The show, the horses, the wonderful people, and the visit to the breeding farms more than fulfilled my expectations. It is a dazzling, yet in a way, a very sobering experience. It is like spending time in the Louvre. I will never get over it, and of course I have to return, hopefully many times.”