This years US National championships held on
October 19th to the 28th in Albuquerque New Mexico, were full
of good old patriotic emotion and scandal. It seemed that
everyone had US flags attached to their stalls, golf carts
and themselves. I even saw horses sporting rugs of the National
Well, the scandal was that for the first time
in history a judge was fired for biased and political judging
!! How did the powers that be discover it you might
well say ? This judge was placing two certain trainers high
regardless of how their horses went, I'm talking here about
performance. After a number of complaints the judging commissioner
looked into it, and monitored the judge's placings when the
two trainers were not in the classes . It appeared then that
his judging was consistent with the other two judges . A video
was also taken. I believe the final straw was during a driving
class when one of the two trainers horses did something fairly
drastic, and still ended up in first place on that judges
card, while nowhere on the other two judges cards. An amateur
rider was also discovered with a radio device on her, being
coached in the ring by her trainer, which is illegal, so she
There were about 2000 horses entered and the
crowds of spectators seemed bigger than in previous years.
This year the number of judges had been reduced to three in
each section. In my opinion, there seemed to be less politics
in the judging, with more lesser known faces in the ribbons.
However, I wish I could say the same about the halter judging.
In the yearling colt class, the winner was first on two cards
and unplaced on the third. I believe that I'm not the only
one confused as to what some judges are looking for. The Saddlebred
look is unfortunately still very evident.
A very interesting fact is that among the Champions
was the Prix Saint George National dressage Champion and Reserve
fourth level Champion. This was the 12 year old stallion Taez
by *Ralvon Elijah out of a *Serafix daughter Serenado ridden
by Chelsey Sibley. It was his first Nationals ever.
There were some lovely halter horses, unfortunately
not enough of them made top ten. The yearling Sweepstakes
classes were huge as usual. I did not see the first cuts of
these classes, but the top ten colts were a fairly even bunch,
better I think than the fillies, but then they had a different
set of judges officiating. Capturing the Colt and gelding
Championship was the attractive TF Psymreekhe (Psymadre xLappes
Mreekhie). Reserve was Major Debut (DS Major Afire x Ames
Valerie) a pretty colt, but neither of them were my type of
horse. The yearling fillies were a very mixed group with far
too many plain heads in my opinion. It was one of these who
eventually won the Championship. She also won in Scottsdale
this yearAmes Jasmine (DS Major Afire x G Kallora).
Reserve was Felisha BHF (Falcon BHF x Tevkah) a very pretty
filly with a lovely head.
The futurity classes for three year olds were
well filled with some lovely horses, but again not all the
good ones went on to become a top ten. The filly winner was
the Scottsdale and Canadian Champion S Justadream(Justafire
DGL x Acquaintance) a filly with a long neck, reserve to her
was the gorgeous, typey and good moving filly who should have
been champion in my opinion. This was Shalina El Jamaal (Parys
El Jamaal x Shalina), I felt that she could win anywhere in
The futurity colt class was fairly mixed, and
I think all but two or three had club feet visible from the
ringside !! The Champion EA Echstravagant (Echo Magniffico
x Mariaah) was correct enough and quite typey, however my
choice by far was the Reserve Champion Besson Carol (Parys
El Jamaal x Classic Crystal). He was very typey, correct and
moved well, he would also make a lovely riding horse, both
horses had good feet and legs as far as I could see.
By the time the Mare Championship was due to
be held on Friday, the showground was buzzing with the news
of the fired judge, as the reserve judge had stepped into
his place that morning. The evening opening ceremonies began
with two horses bringing in the Canadian and IAHA flags followed
by the Park Horse Matoi entering with US flag to a tumultuous
applause, and the singing the anthems with the audience enthusiastically
joining in. The ten mares were disappointing to say the least
with too many plain heads.
Predictably the Scottsdale and Canadian Champion
S Justadream added another title to her name, as she had already
won the Futurity title the day before. She gave a rather sour
show, which is not surprising considering how much she has
been shown. Reserve to her was a pretty mare with a good topline,
this was Ptasha(Sshameless x GWB Ptara). One has to speculate
how the result would have been if the original judge has still
The commercial exhibits felt the pinch I think,
although the British contingents of the Arabian Saddle Company
and J. Anne Butler had good shows with plenty of customers.
Anne had done the most beautiful small bronze of Khemosabi,
of which she sold six editions at the show.
The speculation during the last day was naturallywho
was going to win the Stallion Championship ? There was a good
crowd for the final performance, the arena shavings were green
as for the night before and the opening ceremonies were repeated.
The ten stallions bounced into the ring, putting on a good
show and moving with more freedom and better action than usual.
I couldn't take my eyes off Dakar El Jamaal (*Ali Jamaal x
*Sonoma Lady), he trotted in with great style and presence.
He was obviously a favourite for the title. Another ethereal
horse was the Monogramm son Consensus, who brought the house
down with his Park action. After each horse has been presented
to the judges, the horses lined up one behind the other each
side of the arena.
Finally the Reserve Champion was announced
as Dakar El Jamaal. That result made me realize that the winner
was probably going to be the Scottsdale and Canadian Champion
Millennium LOA (Bucharest V x Barbary Rose VF). And so it
was to be. I do find it difficult to understand the passion
for Arabians that look like Saddlebreds . In my opinion it
does not seem to be judging to the breed standard as laid
out by the Associations. Even the hunter horses are now going
with padded shoes to give them more knee action.
At the moment there is much turmoil within
the organizations here. Whether to have a separate Sport Horse
Nationals, or split Purebreds from Half Arabs or Halter from
Performance. There are too many classes at the moment to include
the growing and popular Sport Horse classes or expand the
Dressage at Nationals. Exhibitors are turning more and more
to these divisions as they are rightly perceived as being
fairer and more objective. Who knows what will happen in the
future, as IAHA are now talking about forming their own Purebred
Turbulent times all round, but nothing seems
to take away the love of the Arabian Horse, which often helps
us in times of trouble. I look forward to seeing many of you