Looking ahead to the 9th Annual ABWC Show
The 2015 Arabian Breeders World Cup - By Lisa Abraham
The Arabian Breeders World Cup is a spectacular show! 2015 marks the ninth anniversary for the global Arabian community to gather in Las Vegas at the South Point Hotel from April 16-19 to see some of the world's best horses compete. Christine Jamar, of Jadem Arabians (Belgium), one of the industry's most prestigious representatives, shared, "I love this show. I like the point system and that the horses trot--it's much different than they do in Scottsdale and the fact that every year the judge panel is different. I love the atmosphere and the quality. People and horses come from all over the world, making it very international. Also as a European, it is nice to see so many horses from America without having to travel. I have many clients who show here every year and whom I always support.”
As a journalist and photographer, I feel the ABWC is a standout show. However, as an excited fan, soaking in the glamour that a city like Las Vegas can provide certainly enhances the thrill of the world class competition. The organizers work very hard to keep the show fresh, each year trying new things to make the Vegas experience memorable--and it is! Personally, I find it admirable that they are able to "step outside the box" and try new things; they are able to move forward with those ideas that are successful; and with those ideas that are not--they seem willing to adjust--a rare trait, but one necessary for success.
Riyan Rivero leads the Public Relations effort of the ABWC. In the Arabian Horse World's 2014 pre coverage of the ABWC, she shared, "The single most important aspect of growth in any organization is diversity of thought. The AHBA Board of Directors are committed and fully open to positive change, be it small or large. Each year the voices of the exhibitors, breeders and spectators are heard, and contemplated, and are major factors in changes that help the show progress in a positive manner.”
Spending money on equine gifts of all types is always a special part of the Arabian Breeders World Cup--and this year will be no exception. The opportunity to shop is always being improved upon, and it’s a fair assumption that this year will be the best of all! Quite strategically, upon walking in the show entrance, guests are immediately funneled through a winding aisle of some of the best equine items and gifts in the world. Some of the 2015 featured artists/vendors will included: International Bronze Sculptor, J. Anne Butler, photographer and painter Judith Wagner and Nancy Gates of Heirloom Arabian Halters.
Also among the many familiar faces is always Lynne and Glen Chevallier of California Arabian Halters. Not only do their halters adorn horses from all over the world, but also Lynne and Glen are two of the nicest people in the business. Getting to spend time with them and seeing their newest creations is always a special opportunity. Lynne shared, "This has always been a successful show for us. Not only do we reconnect with friends, we get to meet people from all over as well. As vendors and spectators, the ABWC and horses have not disappointed us. 2014 in particular had been extra special as our booth had been positioned at the front entrance so we had the opportunity to meet many of the attendees--many of whom were international. We anxiously look forward to 2015!”
The stall experience in Vegas is special. As there are many important horses in attendance, there are many, many small intimate showings. Rudolfo Guzzo, for one, has always made good use of this opportunity. In 2014, he offered several opportunities to see the beautiful Ansata Shaamis son, Shael Dream Desert—as this stallion no longer resides in the US, the opportunity to see him in this setting was particularly special. Then on the last day, after the Championship Classes, several of us got to spend time with RH Triana as Rudolfo stood her while wearing her Championship Garlands--certainly an experience that will never be forgotten!
However, the highlight of 2014’s stall experience was getting a private showing of the European Triple Crown Champion Stallion, AJA Justified with Michael Byatt. Michael's stall set up is a favorite haunt as his entire staff is always eagerly accommodating. I had been observing AJA Justified in his stall when Michael himself asked if he could bring him out for me. Of course I replied “yes.” So as Michael’s staff prepared him, I gathered my travel companions, Rhonda Coleal, of Coleal Arabians, and her daughter Ashlyn.
Rhonda shared, "It was so gracious of Michael to present AJA Justified to us. We had just seen his individual presentation in the ring and were excited to learn more. Of all the trainers, Michael is one of the most hospitable. He is always very generous with the time he allows us with both him and his horses; and is willing to answer all of our questions. Spending that private time with Michael and Justified was one of the highlights of the Vegas show for us."
The Ambassador Award
Each year the Arabian Horse Breeders Alliance (AHBA) honors a member of our community who has made a significant contribution to the Arabian horse breed. This is often one of the most significant events of the show. The ABWC organizers never fail to create special moments that touch our emotions and that become lasting, treasured memories. For example, in 2009 the late Patrick Swayze was honored. Although he was too sick to attend, he was there with us over the telephone, which made for a very moving, very memorable experience. This was true once again in 2014—different circumstances, but with just as much heart and it was all a secret.
Judy Sirbasku, and her late husband Jim Sirbasku, of Rock Creek Arabians have been strong supporters of the Arabian horse for more than 40 years. They owned the internationally acclaimed straight Egyptian stallion, Thee Desperado (The Minstril x AK Amiri Asmarr), who passed away in 2013. The AHBA scheduled time to honor Thee Desperado with a very touching video created by the talented Darryl Larson. After the film, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Just as the emotional video ended, it was announced that both Shawn Crews, the Breeding Manager at Arabians LTD, and Judy Sirbasku were to receive the AHBA Ambassadors Award—to their complete and obvious surprise—they had no idea they were being honored. Shawn shared, "The Desperado tribute was amazing. As it ended, and while we still had tears in our eyes, Bobby Boggs grabbed Judy and me, one on each arm and said, ’Let’s go to the bar, I am buying you two a drink.' So we got up and went with Bobby. However, to our surprise (and wonder) he walked us past the bar and straight down into the arena where they announced we were to receive The Ambassadors Award. It was a complete surprise--Judy and I knew nothing about it. Needless to say, this was one of life's most special moments--for both of us."
The trophy offerings at the ABWC are magnificent and worthy of recognition! Sincere gratitude goes to Hara De Bouznika and His Majesty Mohammed VI for generously donating the spectacular awards given to the Supreme Champions. As a photographer, my personal appreciation is particularly enhanced by what awards of this quality add to photos. At the beginning of the show, the trophies are beautifully displayed in the vendor area. They look less like prizes at a horse show and more like a treasure trove of museum quality. Not only does this display meet the standard of what one would expect to see in a city like Vegas, but may in fact even surpass it.
For her enormous role regarding the awards, Sonya Bickford also deserves special mention. Sonya is known for her garlands all over the world. Not only does she make all the garlands for the AWBC, but also for many of the Middle Eastern shows and Aachen as well. Additionally, she helped create and maintain the beautiful display of awards throughout the show. Sonya shared, "I am very proud to have been a part of the AWBC since the very beginning. The ABWC goes over the top as they really do try to provide quality awards. The Bronzes are Judy Norquist's and the Saddles awarded to the Supreme Champions were donated by the King of Morocco. But I especially love the Stirrups awarded to the Bronze Supreme Champions. I certainly look forward to the future AWBC shows."
The ABWC has always had an international flair, drawing attendees, handlers and horses from all over the world. In 2013, Pawel Kozikowski of Janow Podalski Stud, Poland, was in attendance to present the stallion Pogrom to his ABWC Championship win. In 2014 it was Giacomo Capacci of Italy, Raphael Curti and Philippe Hosay, both from Belgium--all in attendance and showing. Philippe Hosay, who, previous to this mid-April competition, already had seven shows under his belt, came to show Klassical Dream MI for his client, HRH Prince Khaled Bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz al Saud. Personally, I have always been impressed with Philippe’s "in the ring" presentation, both of himself and of his horses. To me, he is a gentleman who epitomizes class and kindness. Philippe shared, "For sure Vegas is more like a European show--especially with the point system. I like this facility and feel this show is a great thing for this part of the world."
In 2014 Irina Stigler represented Russia as one of ABWC International Judges. Over the past several years, Irina has made a name for herself as she has judged an impressive amount of shows touching on nearly all continents. Most recently, Irina has been honored as the 2015 recipient of the Arabian Horse Times “Favorite Judge of the Year” Award—a most prestigious accomplishment!
Irina shared, “To me, judging Vegas was special because it is very similar to the style of European shows. The arena is just the right size and it is nicely decorated with flowers surrounded by a generous VIP section. But most important, the style of showing is European with good moving horses! The American trainers ran fast and worked hard to show the movement of their horses. Also, I really appreciated the Board of Directors who took diligent care to make sure everything was perfect—right down to the last detail. As for the panel of judges, of which I was honored to be one of, it was obvious that each of us was carefully chosen based on both our professionalism and reputations. Up till now, judging Vegas has been one of the highlights of my career and it was the most emotional show I have ever judged. I enjoyed the show so much as a Judge that I will be attending the 2015 show as a spectator. I look forward to seeing all of my International friends as well as my American friends—and of course, the wonderful horses as well!”
The Arabian Horse Breeders Alliance looks forward to warmly welcoming visitors from around the world to the ninth annual 2015 Arabian Breeders World Cup in Las Vegas. The esteemed panel of judges for this year’s ABWC includes: Cedes Bakker (Netherlands), Connie Cole O’Brien (USA) Reinaldo Da Rocha Leao (Brazil), Richard Petty (USA), Coleen Rutherford (Australia) and Karl-Heinz Stockle (Germany). For information about how to become a sponsor of the event and other important details, please visit the website at www.arabianbreedersworldcup.com
Lisa Abraham is an International Journalist and Photographer from the United States. Although she does free lance for various media, her primary dedication is to Arabhorse.com as a Premier contributor and representative. She is also a breeder of Straight Egyptian Arabians.