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TOM ARABIANS Arabians Horses Polish


 

 

 

Where to start... how to weave all the memories that come flooding back, covering 3 decades together? This truly now the end of an era - both of our good friends and mentors are gone: first Director Andrzej Krzysztalowicz who was Janów Podlaski State Stud, and now Director Ignacy Jaworowski, who was and always will be Michalów to us. Both men, true breeders and visionaries, who single-handedly rebuilt the Arabian horse breeding programs in Poland after the ravages of World War II.

photo by Eric van Lent
Ignacy Jaworowski with Estarda
photo by Eric van Lent

For Richard and me, the journey with Director Jaworowski and his charming and gracious wife Maria began in June of 1968 on our first trip to Poland. This would be followed by at least one trip annually for over 20 years in search of knowledge and breeding stock (the importation of over 100 horses) for Patterson Arabians in Sisters, Oregon. Dr. Edward Skorkowski, founder of both the Polish Arabian Horse Registry and the racing program, met us at the airport in Warsaw and acted as our personal guide for several weeks, immersing us in Polish history, culture, and taking us to the two State Stud farms breeding Arabians: Janów Podlaski and Michalów and a number of stallion stations, introducing us to extraordinary men and their horses.

Behind the Iron Curtain, the years faded as we took a trip back in time on the long, slow drive south to Michalów, winding our way in, out, and around horse-drawn carts, bicycles, and cows dragging picket chains, on unpaved roads. Hand and horse labor in the verdant, fertile farm land. Then - beautiful stone stables, with tile roofs, and a tall handsome, aristocratic man dressed in a blue Polish army uniform and hat (*), carrying a cane, met us at the office - Director Jaworowski, who soon became "Ignac" to us. The cane was used to point out horses, move them apart in the stables where each was tied beneath its name sign) or just to emphasize a point as we communicated in a cocktail of Polish, German, French and English.

photo from stud archives
Ignacy Jaworowski with Ekstaza - in a uniform
photo from stud archives

Our arrival in Poland propitiously coincided with a bi-annual inspection and evaluation of all the mares and foals by a group of breeding experts from the Horse Breeding Department of the Ministry of Agriculture. Ignacy introduced all the horses one by one. Richard took notes, while I took slides. There was lots of laughing as we stumbled over the names and pedigrees that we had already memorized, using English pronunciations. A good example (although, she belonged to Janów) would be Eunice - but in Polish, "Eh-ooh-neet-sa." The polish word for stallion is "ogiery", and I remember Ignacy doubling over in laughter when we asked if we could please see the next "ogórek", which was the Polish word for pickle.

photo by Johnny Johnston
Bask  (Witraz - Balalajka) - the sire of Negatraz
photo by Johnny Johnston

Ignacy & Maria were so kind to us, giving an open invitation to come and stay with them at Michalów any time we came to Poland. Many days were spent in their small, treasure-filled home which was close to the foaling barns. Maria is an excellent cook and around her table we spent a virtual condensed lifetime exploring recipes for breeding great horses. Ignacy immediately recognized that we were students with an insatiable thirst for learning about the old Polish horses, their pedigrees, and how to cross the various lines. He shared willingly from his great store of archive photos, books, and practical knowledge. He also spoke openly and honestly of his successes and failures with various bloodlines and specific horses - this often done over a snack of chocolate cookies and vodka. He introduced us to Roman Pankiewicz (breeder of *Bask+) and acted as interpreter, as Roman, spoke no English. He also introduced us to Zygmunt Braur, one of a few private breeders whose entire life and meager fortune was spent breeding Arabian horses.

photo by Zofia Raczkowska
Warmia  (Comet - Wadera)
photo by Zofia Raczkowska

Ignacy loved best beautiful gray Saklawi horses. Part of the magic of Michalów was walking into the stables and seeing rows of beautiful gray mares with huge black eyes looking your way, and then when turned loose, charging joyfully out to pasture with tails flagged.

Ignacy's program and phenotypic goals at Michalów were quite different from those of his good friend and competitor, Andrzej Krzysztalowicz. He did not really care for strong Kuhailan type horses (although he always used some in his program) and he would wrinkle up his nose and make a face when speaking of Muniqui pheontype and or the mention of any French blood. He had very definite opinions of what he liked and would tolerate in his breeding program - a quality necessary for any true breeder to produce consistency of type. Michalów has and hopefully will always be known for its beautiful white mares, the true legacy of a master breeder's vision.

photo from stud archives
Daszawa  (Nabor - Daribba)
photo from stud archives

Among the great horses we were blessed to see in 1968 at Michalów were mares:

and stallions:

photo from stud archives
Celebes  (Witraz - Canaria)
photo from stud archives

I list these horses to illustrate our first big lesson from Ignacy, which was the huge value of Amurath Sahib as a broodmare sire. Over 50% of the above mares and stallions carry his blood. The influence of Amurath Sahib in Polish breeding cannot be over emphasized. He must go down in Polish breeding history as the greatest broodmare sire of all time as far as genotypic influence on phenotype. The line (Bairactar d.b.) comes from the Babolna Stud in Hungary (**) and is intensely inbred to a stallion named Tajar, who from photos exhibits this same phenotype. Unfortunately, Aquinor and the Amurath Sahib daughters, Amneris, Darda, and Daribba, had already passed away, but Ignacy had photos.

photo from stud archives
Amurath Sahib  (Amurath II - Sahiba)
photo from stud archives

As the years passed, the warm, intimate, relationship with our mentors matured. We grew, as did our breeding program from the synthesis of ideas and knowledge soaked up from the many hours of serious discussion. It was the mares - always the mares and their ability to produce consistent quality that came first and foremost. Ignacy was extremely competitive, proud, and covetous of his mares. Everyone knows that it is not difficult to pick out the most beautiful mares, or the best producers. It was very hard to buy a good mare from Ignacy - much harder than it was from Andrzej. We had to ask him year after year for the same mare, until he might finally relent and put her into the annual Polish Sale, so we could bid against others to buy her. Pretty smart marketing technique, as he knew that we were not about to be out-bid on a horse we wanted to add to our program.

photo by Stuart Vesty
Always the mares... - Emigracja and her daughters
photo by Stuart Vesty

Richard and I were driven to breed "Beautiful Polish Arabians" (the Patterson Arabians slogan for years of advertising). Ignacy realized, year by year, how well his students were doing and eventually treated us as breeders on totally equal ground. Each year we brought him an inventory list of our horses and asked him (knowing their pedigrees) how he would breed them. We would then do the same with the Michalów list. The brain-storming sessions were wonderful fun, and we always agreed that disagreement was OK. Foals born the following year would bear out the validity of the breeding decisions.

photo from stud archives
Comet  (Abu Afas - Carmen)
photo from stud archives

Patterson Arabians bought many great horses bred by Ignacy over the years, among them some fabulous Comet and Negatiw daughters. Perhaps his biggest surprise with one of our purchases was that of *Deficyt BS (Algomej - Dewiza, a special Negatiw daughter tracing back to Darda, dam of our Comet son *Dar). *Deficyt was on the track and sold in the 1983 Silent Sale at Janow in conjunction with the annual Polish Prestige Auction. An elegant bay stallion, we had been watching as he grew up, *Deficyt had a good race record and was poetry in motion unshod. Much excitement as Mike Nichols and David Murdock were among the bidders. The early Polish Silent Sales were truly silent. Progressive bids were never posted anywhere, so we and Leonard & Jean Skeggs, Locust Farms, Ohio (our partners for this horse only, who never saw *Deficyt until after he was purchased) didn't have a clue as to what anyone else was thinking - or even if we were bidding against ourselves!

photo from stud archives
Dar  (Comet - Darda)
photo from stud archives

The morning of the final day, we decided to bid our hotel room number, 603, that was $603,000. Looking back it seems incredible, but that was then. We had the winning bid, with David Murdock's bid an unbelievably close $600,000, followed by Mike Nichols with $500,000 as I recall. Ignacy was stunned. Now, one would think that the breeder of such a horse might want to repeat the breeding of a horse that brought so much money (a Polish record to date) to the stud farm. Not Ignacy! He did not especially like Algomej (a favorite of ours) because of the Pietuszok in his pedigree, and thought *Deficyt was just another "nice" young stallion. With this one exception, Ignacy continued to breed Dewiza to Saklawi stallions. Director Jaworowski at his finest - a man of principle, steadfast in his focus! We understood his reasoning.

photo from stud archives
Negatraz  (Bask - Negotka)
photo from stud archives

Just as we spent time in their home, Ignacy and Maria were guests in our home on a number of occasions throughout the years. He delighted in these times as he was personally able to see the magical results of some the influence of his mentorship. Ignacy loved Negatraz and thought him to be the best bay, pure Polish breeding son of *Bask+. It was always our dream to send Negatraz to Poland for 2 breeding seasons to return in a small way the great gift given us over the years by both Ignacy and Andrzej. Due to the difficulty of shipping a horse behind the Iron Curtain with the Solidarnosc movement picking up steam, it was an impossible dream.

However, in 1983, we purchased the "Queen" of Bob Stratmore's, Make Believe Farms, Russian breeding program, *Monogramma (Knippel - Monopolia), at the age of 18 for $250,000 cash to breed to Negatraz. The first born of 4 full siblings was Monogramm, an outrageously beautiful chestnut colt. He was sold at one year of age to the Bishop family, in California, who were looking for a world class colt. Ignacy saw him at Scottsdale a few years later with Iza Zawadzka and knew that he needed Monogramm at Michalów. Thanks to the generosity of Bill & Meredith Bishop, our fantasy was vicariously and prophetically fulfilled. Monogramm went to Poland on breeding loan to Michalów. Ignacy bred Monogramm to everything he could, and finally shared him a bit with Janow (***). Even after Monogramm's return to the USA, Ignacy had the foresight to continue to breed to him with shipped semen. The rest is history.

photo by Urszula Sawicka
Monogramm  (Negatraz - Monogramma)
photo by Urszula Sawicka

Monogramm daughters and sons bred by Director Ignacy Jaworowski have brought fame and fortune to Michalów State Stud since Poland's independence, winning championships in every country in which they have been shown, the world over. Both Ignacy and Andrzej told us many years ago that such a breeding stallion comes along perhaps once in every 50 years. My proudest moment as a breeder was returning to Poland and watching with my special friends, Ignacy & Maria Jaworowski, Andrzej Krzysztalowicz, Izabella Zawadzka and Roman Pankiewicz as 5 Monogramm daughters, all bred by Michalów took first through fifth place in the Two Year Old Filly Class at the 1997 Polish National Show. I do not recall ever having seen the get of one sire take all of the places in any given class at the Polish National Show. To be the breeder of such a sire is a special blessing. That day was a gift I shall never forget. I only wish that Richard had been there too.

photo by Zofia Raczkowska
Ignacy Jaworowski
photo by Zofia Raczkowska

Ignacy, we are so thankful that the knowledge you so patiently shared with us, came back around to you through Monogramm to bless Michalów and Poland at the end of your journey. We know that your legacy continues in the capable hands of your students, Jerzy and Urszula Bialobok. And... Maria, we love you, and realize what an important part you played in the story.

Kay Patterson-Sharpnack, December 2004
(Kay and Richard Patterson - formerly Patterson Arabians)

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