3 Shows, 3 Countries, 3 Weeks.
After the Menton show in France this past June, I returned home to Houston and to my family knowing I would have the remainder of the month, July, plus most of August to be in the United States. It was great to know that although I still had travel on my schedule, it would be close to home. Region 5 in Seattle was on the calendar in addition to a side trip to Las Vegas. Las Vegas was not for a horse show, just a destination where Ann and our youngest daughter and I would spend a few days enjoying shows and the sights of a place I get to go every year to enjoy the World Cup show.
While I was enjoying being at home, I knew that a very interesting 3 weeks awaited in late August. I call it “3 shows in 3 countries in 3 weeks” – that should get you interested! Starting in Brasil, I judged a show in Araxa with Murilo Kammer of Brasil and Urszula Leczycka of Poland. Araxa is in the interior of the country and the topography, whether man made or not, reminded me somewhat of the vast lands of South Africa. Although the show was not large in numbers, my thought during the championships was that each horse in the front line had something good to offer; in some cases, it was something great. It is such a joy to look at horses, not to mention being an honor to be asked to voice your opinion. I will say, and never stop saying, the ginger and stress is so unnecessary. Thinking back to our champions, there was not one that would not have won had it been presented without ginger (and shanking). I want to encourage owners to stop this practice. That was the only dark spot in an otherwise wonderful weekend of showing.
After the show a few of us headed out early Sunday morning for a showing at Murilo Kammer’s Haras Aratinga. I enjoyed the showing so much. The horses were beautiful, the place wonderful, and our host Murilo was in great humor and very entertaining! (And not a single horse was gingered!) Twenty years of breeding has really produced some wonderful horses. In addition Murilo himself has been such a great student of the breed; he really knows. Before catching my evening flight to Houston, I made a quick stop off at Guzzo Training Center – he has a great collection of horses. Several of his young horses will be winning big, very soon!
Next stop the United Kingdom. A little more than an hour outside the city of London, the village of Towerlands hosts an annual show that attracts some of the best horses in Europe and the Middle East. I was pleased to present horses for the prestigious Al Khalediah Farm from Saudi Arabia. Teamed up with my good friend, Giacomo Capacci, we arrived with our string in great order. Giacomo, showing the yearling Marwan daughter, Mystic Indiah for Mystica Arabians of Perth, Australia won the yearling class and went on to be the Champion Filly. I showed, for Al Khalediah, Jamilla Al Zobair and Marquis. Both won their classes with great scores of 94.0 points. Happily, both went on to claim the titles of Champion Mare and Champion Stallion.
From London I took the Chunnel over to Paris where I met with a company to try and finalize the lease of a facility where Giacomo and I will keep our horses in preparation for the December Salon Du Cheval. The facility was amazing, close to Paris, and will be ideal to house our horses. We will also plan to do presentations of interesting stallions and some sale horses through November and December. Look for other announcements regarding this.
I left London for Prague; this time to be a tourist first, then to take in the show. The first ever International Arabian horse show in Prague was to be held on the weekend, but I went on Wednesday to leisurely look through the sights without a schedule. The problem with Prague is in its greatness; there is no leisurely doing anything, if you only have a few days to do it. There is so much to this city. It is beautiful, historical, impressive, and jammed with places to visit. I encourage anyone to visit this city; before doing so read up a bit on the history and have an idea of what you want to see – there is a lot if you are not prepared.
The show was great fun. Many locals showed up out of curiosity and lined the top tiers of the arena with vocal support of their favorite horses. Several side bar entertainment events were added to the program to ensure, in addition to the horses, that there was a lot to enjoy. My favorite was the amazing falcon, he was extraordinary – such majesty.
As is so often the case, I head home thinking what an extraordinary life I have had the opportunity to lead. Horses are oxygen to me. Be it in Brasil, England, the Czech Republic, or in my own backyard, horses are a perfect addition to my life. I consider attending any event that has a horse present to be a privilege, and I want to leave everyone with this thought. Next time we are inclined to complain while at a horse show, about judging (or anything for that matter), take a moment to reflect. Although the stake’s might be high, as we all have a lot invested in this, but in the grander scale of things is it really critical who got an 18 when it should have been a 20 (subjective opinion after all)? Or how the VIP tables do not offer snacks? Remember what an incredible privilege it is to even be there. We could be in Darfur, in a war zone, working 16 hours a day to feed our children. Rejoice in where and what we are doing…being at a horse show!