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by Betty Finke


Belgium is a good place to start, and not for alphabetical reasons, and it is far more important than you might think. The reason for this was a man called Jozef Peeters, whose main business was ice cream. He was also the very first Arabian breeder in Belgium, the founder of the Belgian Arab Horse Society and its first president, and organised the first Arabian show in Belgium.

Mr Peeters imported four stallions and 12 mares from England during the early 1970s, including the following:

This is not a complete list of the Peeters imports, only of those horses you are likely to still find in pedigrees today. Jozef didn’t set out to breed straight Crabbet or Old English (OE), although this occasionally happened. He also imported Russian horses, and eventually the Russian horses almost completely supplanted the British ones. Nevertheless, these English horses became very influential, not only in Belgium.

Ghibli Gr. 1966 (Ludo x Yasmina)

Photo Credit: Betty Finke

Of the stallions, Ghibli sired at least seven daughters that have descendants today, and some of them were very successful at the shows in their time.

Ummi Ghadan 1978 (Ghibli x Prisca)

Photo Credit: Betty Finke

One mare in particular, Ummi Ghadan, is probably the Ghibli daughter with the biggest family. She is ¾ Crabbet/OE, as is her dam, by the Russian stallion Tamerlan (Arax x Trapecia), and out of the Crabbet mare Sonata (Indian King x Dancing Sunlight). Although not as successful in the show ring as some of her half-sisters, Ummi Ghadan was a very prolific broodmare at the Moirmonay Stud in Belgium that specialises in performance horses, especially endurance, and has a large number of descendants there.

Pedro Ch. 1974 (Delilah x Ghibli)

Photo Credit: Betty Finke

There was only one Ghibli son of note, that happened to be straight Crabbet/OE; Pedro, foaled in 1974, out of the pure Crabbet mare Delilah (Blue Diamond x Laelia). Pedro was sold to Germany, where he was very successfully shown under saddle. He was Reserve German National Champion in 1982, the only year where the win was awarded according to the combined results of in-hand and ridden classes.

Since British horses were never much in demand in Germany, he was not used a great deal, mostly just by his owner, and had very few offspring, which makes the results all the more remarkable. From the thoroughbred mare Flawless (Jefferson x My Sapphire), Pedro sired the Anglo-Arab mare, Mona, who in turn was bred to the Anglo-Arab Le Tigre (Akbar x La Singla).

Marek Ch. 1995 (Le Tigre x Mona)

Photo Credit: Betty Finke

The result was the Anglo-Arab stallion Marek, an Elite stallion of the German AHS and the single most successful living Anglo-Arab stallion in Germany, both in sports and as a sire. He has competed successfully in show jumping and especially excels in cross-country and eventing, and he is the sire of two licensed Anglo stallions and several premium mares.

Pedro only sired one pure-bred son that was ever used for breeding, El Zahim, out of the English mare Zhindi (Wasel Gerwazy x Sparkling Gold), herself 75% Crabbet/OE. El Zahim, again a horse used only by his owner, has a licensed pure-bred son, Zid Ibn El Zahim, out of Orena (Nicodar x Olivia).

Zid Ibn El Zahim. 1997 (El Zahim x Orena)

Photo Credit: Betty Finke

Zid is a successful western pleasure and reining horse with his owner, Dr Martin Pauli. He was European Champion Western Pleasure Horse in 2004, 2005 and 2006, European Reining Champion in 2008 and 2009, and the German WAHO Trophy winner in 2012. His dam, bred in Sweden, is herself half Crabbet/OE, giving him a Crabbet/OE percentage of 75%, the highest of any breeding stallion in Germany at the present time.

Padrons Psyche Ch. 1988 (Padron x Kilika)

Photo Credit: Betty Finke

Both Padron and Padrons Psyche are usually summed up under “Russian”, forgetting the fact that Padron’s dam was a Crabbet mare! Two generations on we have WH Justice (Magnum Psyche x Vona Sher-Renea), who is one of today’s leading sires and the chief source of this line in Europe. If you work out his Crabbet percentage, it is hardly less than Padron’s, well over 50%, and he also traces in tail female line to the 1875 Crabbet foundation mare Basilisk.

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