Moderated by Dr. Mohammed Mashmoum, the panel gave longtime US breeder, Deborah Mihaloff the opening statement which held the tune for Session One. “We have to have our moral compass aimed correctly and aim high. I chose Arabians for their beauty, temperament and intelligence and this is what I try to perpetuate.” Mihaloff has developed a breeding program that looks to lines from horses that have proven Black Type race records. She keeps intricate records of foals weight, body and heart measurements and uses these to determine some of her repeat breeding.
Speaking of how he decides how to breed for his program, Longin Blachut representing Poland and Switzerland, said he follows a similar breeding style to the Polish breeding program that started 300 years ago with the workhorse breed. He looks for horses with characteristics of beauty, strength and character to work. “We race to breed, we do not breed to race in Poland,” he said. He looks to the mare lines for some traits, feeling that they contribute 47% of the qualities for speed and stamina. He looks to the stallion for a friendly temperament and wants Black Type wins as well in the racing line.
Faysal al Rahmani, an economist and small breeder in the UAE felt that patience in the breeding was important as it takes a few years to see progress.
Mondher Zoueiten from Tunisia stated similar ideas as the others on their choice for breeding, stating a competitive attitude as one of the traits he like to see.
French breeder, Dominique Akel, started breeding show horses. “We bought for beauty and movement…we found mares from Russia with a magnificent trot.” Akel still places beauty top on his list.
Khalid Al Naboodah from the UAE, said he had spent 20 years learning by doing and had been particularly challenged to get nutrition right and grazing issues in the sand and mineral deprived grounds of the UAE. “You must have the passion for the horse and racing. You must learn by watching what other successful breeders do.”
The issues of Artificial Insemination (AI) and Embryo transfer drew some agreements from the group that there were reasons for both of these due to convenience and health and travel concerns, but that there must be some rules followed in ET not to have overproduction in one season.
The afternoon session on Racing & Training, moderated by Redha Attia from Tunisia, focused on the steps top trainers will take to prepare the horses in their yard.
Gillian Duffield trains in the UAE and England and began training horses in 1987. “Arabians are very clever, but if you get it right they will give you everything, but its bad if you get it wrong.” Ideally she would start racing Arabians at 4 years of age and is confident many can race until age 9. Duffiield feels that times can differ on different tracks by as much as 5 seconds.
Eric Lemartinal works for the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and originally trained in France. He trained the 2008 Kahayla Classic winner, Mizzna (Akbar x Unchained Melody). Named one of the top Purebred Arabian horse trainers in Abu Dhabi for the 2010 racing season, Eric Lemartinel saddled 18 winners in 2011. He works his horses daily, building stamina.
Alban De Mieule, originally from France, works in Qatar. He agreed that slow training and correct nutrition made a big difference with race horses and the desert brings its own challenges for heat and nutrition.
Erwan Charpy also trains both TB and Arabians. His view is that preparing the jockey for ride is an important issue. “The jockey must have finesse and be capable to ride. You can’t just sit there. When you ask for more from an Arabian, there is still a lot of gas left in the tank.”
America’s Tracey Nunley started with the Thoroughbred and feels that the Arabian can hold up better in training. “There not as fragile.” Her method to train was a slow bump up in distance making certain that the horse remains sound and is eating well. Nunley believes in down time for the horses and feels it is important that the horse have time to graze and nibble outside of his stall.
Jean Pierre Totain said a lot had changed in the 20 years he has been training race horses. “It’s much more professional now.” He looks for winners in the 1st and 2nd generations of his breeding candidates.
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