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Olivia Rae Vargas… Hope, inspiration, determination alongside an Arabian horse

September 12, 2019

Hope Inspiration Determination

That is what Make-A-Wish NJ has given me. My name is Olivia Rae Vargas. I am 11 years old, and I am a proud New Jersey Wish kid. At birth, I was diagnosed with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, which affects the development of my facial bones. Doctors informed my parents that my life expectancy is approximately the same as anyone else, but like anything else, every case is different. I am mostly known for my hearing impairment or my fashionable hearing aids, but what you don’t know is at sixteen months old, I was unresponsive and rushed to the hospital, where I was trached and put on life support for almost two months. Luckily, I pulled through, but my battle wasn’t over yet. Throughout the next year and a half, I received countless surgeries, hospitalization, treatments, and therapies in hopes to stabilize my airway so that I could breath and function normally. By the time I was three years old, one-third of my life had been spent inside of hospital walls. To date, I have received over 20+ surgeries and will continue throughout my adolescence.

Because of my critical condition as a toddler, and the uncertainty of my progression, my parents put in a referral to Make-A-Wish NJ for a wish of my choice to be granted. I was luckily granted my wish, and like any other three-year old princess, I chose to go to Disney World with my family on my third birthday.

My wish enabled me to dream bigger. As time went by, I grew much stronger, and found a new love – horses. As you know, every princess needs her horse. In October of 2016, I joined Desiderio, Ltd. where I learned to take care of horses as equine therapy. Shortly after, with great encouragement by owner and trainer Dana Desiderio, I began to ride. However, up until 2018, I wasn’t able to compete as much as I wanted to due to ongoing surgeries, but luckily I was able to qualifiy and attend youth nationals. For the next year, I trained really hard and was able to accomplish my dream, and I became the 2019 US National Champion in Arabian & Half Arabian Hunt Seat Equitation Not to Jump Walk Trot 10 and Under at Arabian Horse Association Youth Nationals, held in Oklahoma City, OK this past July.

Make-A-Wish NJ not only gave me a wish, they also gave me hope, inspiration, and determination. They allowed me to grow stronger and know that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. My Make-A-Wish family has been one of my biggest supporters, and that is why I am asking you to help me give back for this year’s Walk For Wishes. Please donate to my team, our goal is to raise $11,000, which is the average cost of one wish. Together we can grant more wishes. Another wish granted could mean another child’s dreams can come true.

Thanks to Bill Spadea and radio station NJ101.5, you can tune in on October 17, 2019 at 8:05am to hear my mom talk in detail about my personal impact of Make-A-Wish New Jersey, how they inspired me to became your 2019 Champion and why I chose to give back, alongside of training at Dana Desiderio Ltd.

Your 2019 US National Champion in Arabian & Half Arabian Hunt Seat Equitation Not to Jump Walk Trot 10 and Under

Olivia Rae Vargas


Click to Make-A-Wish Foundation to help support Olivia on her journey!

Rescue Arabian-Andalusian Little Black Dress’ Story Comes Full Circle

September 1, 2019

Lexington, Ky.—Sept. 1

Courtney Calnan had a lot of work to do when she first got her Arabian-Andalusian mare Little Black Dress (Carbonado MHF—Jayel Ariel) as a 6-year-old.

The horse was one of 50 that a breeder in Tennessee surrendered to the Arabian Rescue Mission in 2012 and was underfed. She was then adopted by Susie Lones, who sold her to local event trainer Erika Adams. “Harper” was backed at 3 and then received minimal training for Adams’ students before Calnan got her in 2015.

“She is the kindest horse I have ever been around in my entire life,” said Calnan. “We call her the black lab at our house. She loves everything, everyone—cats, dogs, people. My 2-year-old godson rode her in leadline when he was 18 months old as his first horse show, so she did that and did a training combined test at the same show. Her personality is great because she can go and do that kind of stuff.

“Very smart, she definitely has that part of the Arabian,” she continued. “Thinks through everything. There’s not anything that I’ve ever asked her to do that she’s been like ‘I don’t want to do this.’ ”

But it took a while to get there. Harper had a lot of anxiety to work through after being passed around so frequently at a young age. But a pasture accident the following January that left Harper with an injury to a hind deep digital flexor tendon that required a year-long rehab turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“She couldn’t be on stall rest, so I had to do a little bit of alternative type rehab with her—lots of supervised turnout and lots of hacks and handwalking and that sort of thing,” she said. “I just really took my time and that has helped our bond and helped her be good in these situations or different types of things just because I took all my time, and she trusts me. I spent so much time with her.”

During Harper’s year off, Calnan would take her along when she went to teach a group of U.S. Pony Club horsemasters, teaching from the mare’s back or tying her to the trailer to give her the experience.

“She always wants everyone’s approval,” said Calnan. “People make fun of me when I’m on cross-country because I’m yelling so loud: ‘Good girl!’ But as soon as I do, her ears go forward and just gallops on. She gains a ton of confidence from. It. She’s not one that you could pressure into anything, lots of praise.”

Another unintended benefit of Harper’s year rehabbing is that Calnan spent that time working on dressage, and as a result she started working towards her USDF bronze medal, which they earned earlier this year.

“This weekend is actually the four-year anniversary from when I got her, and she did her first show here at [Jump Start Horse Trials (Kentucky)]. We got our bronze in May here at the Horse Park—we got to do it in the Rolex Stadium to get our bronze, so it’s really cool.”

Harper had a big fan club on hand to watch her compete in the novice rider division at the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships. Terry Figueroa, who took her in at the Arabian Rescue Mission, was in town for an Egyptian Arabian show also taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park, so she caught the pair’s dressage test. Calnan’s dressage trainer Linda Strine stopped by to watch Harper go cross-country, as did Adams, who is competing this weekend herself. The only significant member in Harper’s journey not on hand was Lillian Heard, who is competing at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (England) next week.

“Lillian Heard has been a game changer for me,” said Calnan. “I didn’t really know anything about her when I got her number from a friend. I was heading to Aiken [South Carolina] with a group for a mini vacation and wanted to take a lesson with someone while I was there but didn’t feel that I was up to the level of the rest of the group. Richard Pickens gave Lillian’s number to a friend and said to call her. I’m so thankful she decided to take a call from a random girl from Kentucky.

“I scheduled one lesson with her and thought that’s all I’d take. I ended up going back every day the rest of the trip. She just clicked with my learning style and didn’t mind that I showed up with a somewhat rogue young horse who didn’t really even know her leads and was a ‘hot mess express.’ She has been perfect for the adult ammys in the area because not only is she is a very positive instructor but has been very open and honest about how every rider struggles with their mental game. She has given us tools to work through it and not let it be the barrier that holds us back.”

All of their support paid off when the pair finished ninth in their division and was the top-placing Arabian. Her team Crazy8 also won the novice Adult Team Challenge.

For all that Calnan has done to help Harper overcome her anxiety, Calnan says the mare has done just as much for her. Not too long before, Calnan retired her partner of 11 years and tried to start again with an off-the-track Thoroughbred, but their personalities didn’t click.

“In the summer of 2015 I decided it was time for him to find someone he was better suited for,” she said. “Around that same time I parted ways with my trainer. This series of events left me discouraged and ready to walk away from eventing and riding completely. As fate would have it, I had entered the Thoroughbred in Champagne Run Horse Trials [Kentucky] before he sold and couldn’t get my entry back. My saddle fitter, Kate Wooten, offered to send her pony up for me to ride in starter. I hadn’t sat on the pony until dressage warm-up and had never jumped her until show jumping warm-up. No one told me that this particular mare didn’t do water, so without knowing I kicked her around cross-country, and we ended up winning!

“The lady who had Harper at the time knew Kate’s pony well and together they decided that Harper needed to be mine,” she said. “The two mares are similarly quirky and need someone who understands them get the best from them. I honestly think I would have walked away from riding if it hadn’t been for Harper, fate and the wonderful ladies who brought us together.”

The Chronicle is on-site at the USEA American Eventing Championships bringing you coverage and beautiful photos from the competition.


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Mozambique V++++//, the Arabian horse ambassador!

August 28, 2019

A shout out to the Canaday’s – Debbie & Dayton Canaday of Juneau, Alaska – and their prized Arabian gelding Mozambique V++++// who continues his world tour around North America showcasing exactly what needs to be celebrated within the Arabian breed. An Arabian gelding beautiful, athletic, and tractable taking care of his owner every step of the way. Bred by Varian Arabians, Mozambique V is sired by leading Straight Egyptian stallion BOTSWANA, a son of Thee Desperado, and out of the famed Misti Morn V, by Audacious PS out of Misti V, by Bravado Bey V. A pedigree combining the very best of both sire and dam, it is no surprise the achievements of Mozambique V. 

Some of his wins, to name but a few:

• 2019 Canadian Reserve National Champion English Trail

• 2018 Sport Horse National Reserve Champion
Arabian Sport Horse Geldings In-Hand Dressage Type AT

• 2018 Sport Horse National Top Ten Arabian Dressage Training Level Junior Horse

Mozambique V++++// is the quintessential Arabian horse ambassador amassing National &  Regional Championships in main ring Halter, Hunter Pleasure, Dressage, Western Dressage, Sport Horse In Hand and Sport Horse Under Saddle!

We’re thrilled for all your success and wish you safe travels as your Arabian horse journey together continues.

Proudly owned by Debbie & Dayton Canaday of Juneau, Alaska

Beautiful Arabian gelding wins 2019 Tevis Cup!

August 26, 2019

Sanoma Blakeley and RA Ares Bay Win 2019 Tevis Cup

The 18-year-old, riding an Arabian gelding found for free in a Craigslist ad, edged out three-time winner Jeremy Reynolds in a race to the finish.

Eighteen-year-old Sanoma Blakeley of Terrebonne, Oregon, and 10-year-old dark bay Arabian gelding, RA Ares Bay, crossed the 2019 Tevis finish line at 9:27 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, in Auburn, California. They were just feet ahead of three-time Tevis winner Jeremy Reynolds to claim the Tevis Cup.

Both RA Ares Bay, aka “Goober,” and Reynold’s mount, bay mare RTR Rimfires Etta, pulsed down quickly (heart rates recovered) and vetted out sound after the 100-mile journey, which Blakeley said involved some intense racing during the last several miles.

“I left Lower Quarry (six miles from the finish line) first, but Jeremy and I leapfrogged a couple of times before the finish,” said Blakeley.

Endurance is a family affair for the Blakeleys. This year Sanoma’s mother, Gabriela (who has six Tevis completions under her belt) crewed for her husband, Wasch, (five Tevis completions) and son, Barrak (four completions), in addition to Sanoma. In 2014, at the age of 15, Barrak won the Haggin Cup, awarded to the horse finishing within the top ten deemed to be in the most superior condition.

Goober, acquired as a 2-year-old through a Craigslist ad offering a free horse, earned his name honestly with his antics. “He would open gates,” said Sanoma. “He would grab our other horses by their halters and lead them around. He was such a goober.”

“Technically Goober is my dad’s horse, but he thought we might do really well together,” she added.

He predicted well. Sanoma said she knew the pair had a shot early in the race, and the trend continued. “Even 90 miles in, Goober didn’t seem tired,” she said. “He was shying at stumps and getting bored and I decided to go for it.

“I thank my dad for letting me ride his horse,” Sanoma added. “I have the greatest parents in the world. And the greatest horse.”

World Equestrian Center Ocala 2020

June 27, 2019

In 2021, the World Equestrian Center will debut a brand-new location in Ocala, Florida, providing world-class equestrian competition and equestrian-inspired country club living adjacent to the stunning Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. Dedicated to offering great sport and good fun in a family friendly environment, the World Equestrian Center promises their exhibitors an experience built on three core values: Quality. Class. Distinction. …read more

Remembering Bruno Guiraldelli

May 26, 2019

Full of life, a smile that could light up any room – and a heart as big as the life he lived. We will all remember our friend Bruno Guiraldelli taken from us far too soon. Our world will never be the same, …read more

Remembering Bravado Bey V

December 27, 2018

Remembering Bravado Bey V of Varian Arabians
1/11/92 – 12/23/18

Bravado Bey V, sired by Huckleberry Bey V and out of Bachista V by Ariston to the great Bachantka+ was the grey gentleman with the big, liquid eyes and bold trot that stole hearts in every distinct chapter of his life. Bravado began his legacy as one of the top English pleasure horses in the country, carrying the torch of his famous father, Huckleberry Bey V.

…read more

Rae-Dawn Arabians hosts Breyer Collector Club

December 6, 2018

A national event in which the famed Breyer Toy Horse company welcomed 200 of their clients to beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona where the group toured Rae-Dawn Arabians on Saturday, November 17th. Two groups of guests were treated to a private tour of the farm that included open barns, a multi-horse presentation where visitors were …read more

Boisvert Farms 2018 U.S. Nationals Success

November 19, 2018

Consistency is key 💥 It takes an eye to the future and an unwavering amount of dedication to develop a breeding program that yeilds the results like those acheived by Boisvert Farms at this year’s 2018 United States National Championships. Bred by, owned by, and trained by are three words very rarely heard consecutively.  Those involved with the Arabian horse are very familiar with the dreams and passion that can engulf one’s self which ultimately becomes the driving force as the journey with friends & family travel the path to breeding the finest Arabian horses in the country, and the world, for that matter. …read more

A Saturday at Palmetto Arabians

May 20, 2018

If you were in Timmonsville, South Carolina this past Saturday at Palmetto Arabians’ Open House, then you were treated to an outstanding day filled with beautiful horses, educational enlightenment, delicious food, and enjoyment one would only come to expect from Frank & Sara Chisholm.

Whatever your Arabian horse passion fancies, all senses were triggered throughout the day as the Palmetto team proudly showcased the “PA” breeding program for all guests to enjoy. The collection of mares and foals (many of whom are now representing 3 & 4 generations of the Chisholm’s thoughtful breeding choices) were presented. …read more

2018 Palmetto Arabians Open House

March 3, 2018

A day to celebrate the legacy of Sundance Kid V and Palmetto Arabians in Timmonsville, South Carolina. Breeders of National Champion Arabian horses and home to one of the finest collections of Arabian stallions, mares, foals, and sale horses. Join Palmetto Arabians May 19th for their Open House Celebration following the Region 12 Championships. Palmetto is proud to welcome the talented Abe Cotton, Rory O’Neil, and 2017 APAHA Horseman and Western Pleasure Trainer of the Year, Rob Bick. Celebrate with us, Sundance Kid V’s incredible honor of 2017 Overall Sire of the Year and enjoy our Stallions up close and personal with their foals!

Click here to RSVP via Facebook:

2018 China Arabian Arabian Horse Show

March 3, 2018

Stories of beautiful Arabian horses have been shared throughout time worldwide, as the beauty and passion for the Arabian horse are the same in any language, in any country, and in any part of the world. Are you coming to Beijing, China, one of the world’s fastest rising cosmopolitan cities and a world-famous imperial capital which has a history of 3000 years with more than 860 years as the capital of China?

This show will take you to the capital of an ancient empire, steeped in thousands of years of culture. A city bursting with life and opportunity. A people celebrating their past while embracing the future. A place to inspire and a journey to experience. …read more

VJ Royal Heir sires two National Champions!

November 4, 2017

An amazing feat for the young VJ Royal Heir who sired two United States National Champions in Tulsa. …read more

Rae-Dawn farm video released… A journey of passion!

October 19, 2017

Murray & Shirley Popplewell have dedicated themselves for over twenty years to the Arabian horse breed. Their breeding program has influenced Canada, the United States, all over Europe and the Middle East. …read more

2nd Annual Arabian Oaks Breeders Jamboree

August 12, 2017

The 2nd Annual Arabian Oaks Breeders Jamboree will take place Sunday, September 10th, 2017 at 10am at Arabian Oaks in beautiful Santa Ynez, California. Come and enjoy a beautiful day of young Arabian horses with those who bred them! Adjudicated by Mr. Steve Heathcott of Dallas, Texas, show entries are due August 23, 2017.

More information can be had by contacting Tiffany Schmidt at 805.245.4599. …read more

North Arabians’ Open House

May 22, 2017

A wonderful time was had by all who attended the open house at North Arabians on May 19th. Guests were greeted by owners Robert & Dixie North at their farm in Ramona, California.

Changes at the Canadian Arabian Horse Registry

March 6, 2017

In February 2017, a letter was sent out to all Canadian Arabian Horse Registry members detailing the upcoming changes to the Registry and reasons for the changes. The letter is posted here in PDF form, along with a list of updated FAQs, and minutes from the Board of Directors’ last Annual General Meeting.


As of this posting, all forms have been updated with Arabian Horse Association’s address and contact information and are ready for download and use. The information on the contact page has been updated as well.

The life of a living legend… Padrons Psyche

June 8, 2016

It is with indescribable joy – that Dixie and Robert North of North Arabians announce the completion of 2-year project – a labor of love – a tribute to the great stallion and leading sire of the breed, Padrons Psyche! This heartfelt tribute is an exquisite, artistic, coffee-table book that features never before images of Padrons Psyche as he was captured through the lens of the most talented equine photographers in the Arabian community and beyond. The magnificent imagery was paired with text that takes the reader from the origins of the Arabian horse, through Psyche’s aristocratic ancestors, his early years, to his life at North Arabians. It maps out Psyche’s rise to becoming a leading sire of the breed and one of the most beloved stallions of this generation and showcases many of his most prominent offspring. This book is sure to be a collectors item that will be cherished for generations to come. …read more

Springtime at Stella Bella Arabians

April 12, 2016

Stella Bella Arabians and the Bassichis family is proud to be welcoming a very exciting and elite group of foals this 2016 foaling season. Many babies have already begun arriving at our farm sired by internationally notable stallions including champion producing EKS Alihandro, Nofal NK, and Baha AA, to name but a few. Click here to view our complete foaling list as well as photos of foals already born. We are very excited to share these foals with you and welcome your visit to our farm located just outside, Dallas, Texas!

Serenata El Jamaal… a world’s mare!

September 16, 2015

The soft nicker of a mare nuzzling her foal for the first time floats through the cool spring evening. In the darkness, you can hear the sound of the other horses stirring at the recognition of the new arrival. This annual event continues to ignite the passion of Ron and Laura Armstrong of Armstrong Arabians. “In the world we live in today, the Arabian horse is able to bring us down from the crazy speed of business and life, to experience the simple enjoyment of one of God’s greatest creations,” Ron says. “Being in the barn at the time of birth, hearing the other horses, …read more

North Arabians… a visit to remember!

August 3, 2015

Another stop on my 2015 World Tour was traveling to Ramona, California – about an hour outside of San Diego, to the famed North Arabians. What a way to top off an already super week spent in California than a drive down south to Ramona. My thanks to Robert & Dixie for a very special visit to their North Arabians just outside of San Diego. Robert & Dixie have built an incredible breeding program and is home to one of the most elite band of breeding mares found anywhere in the world.

…read more

Presenting the personalities… Braden Davidson

August 1, 2015

Thanks to the Arabian Horse Times, Jeff Wallace, and Lara Ames for publishing this beautiful piece in the June issue of the Arabian Horse Times Magazine.

Of all your international travels with the Arabian industry, which destination is your favorite? Why? Out of all my international travels, the beautiful country of Jordan still remains at the top of my list of favorite places. Many factors play a part in this, the first; it is home to my dearest friends Nofal and Muntaha Kahook, two very special people who have been instrumental in my international involvement within the Arabian horse breed. …read more

2015 World Tour Part One

May 30, 2015

The month of May was a whirl-wind to say the least. With the breeding season in full swing and many new website projects in the works — makes for a very hectic time with my mobile office when I’m on the road. At the beginning of May, I found myself at Manny Lawrence’s Jade Creek Arabians in Santa Ynez, California. Manny had called just before the Las Vegas Show and told me he had the Arabian Horse Times June 2015 Cover and needed some help – of course there was no hesitation on my end and a few days later and a plane ride over to the Santa Ynez Valley, and the rest they say is history. An incredibly successful shoot of Multi-National Champion Brandon Bey JCA+ along with some other JCA bred and owned horses and it was a magical several days soaking in the beautiful California sun and of course witnessing beautiful horses. …read more

Alovely Afire and Braden Davidson Scottsdale 2015

January 28, 2015

Attitude and elegance… the electric Alovely Afire will grace Wendell Arena with Braden Davidson in a few weeks at Scottsdale in the Amateur Mare Halter division. A beautiful daughter of leading producing sire Afire Bey V and out of the Brazilian National Champion Mare *Apollonia HCF, herself a full sister to International Champion *Ynazia HCF ( a dam of many champions including the international sensation *Van Gogh AM (by *Magnum Psyche) …read more

Rodrigues Training relocates to Battaglia Farms

December 3, 2014

Rodrigues Training Center is excited to announce their relocation to the Battaglia Farms in North Scottsdale, Arizona. The farm boasts a meticulously groomed and well designed facility. Join Rodrigues Training Center during the Scottsdale Farm Tours on January 3rd, 2015 from 4pm-6pm for a beautiful presentation of horses. Enjoy delicious snacks and drinks and the company of friends. …read more

$3 Million donated to Colorado State University

May 9, 2014

The Colorado State University Equine Reproduction Laboratory has received a $3 million donation from Bud and Jo Adams, a notable couple within the Arabian horse industry. The money will be used to support clinical research used to foster the world’s best equine genetics, in addition to training a new generation of equine professionals, a CSU news release said on Thursday.

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The Arabian Foal Festival in Santa Ynez

May 9, 2014

I worked for 13 years as the manager for Al Rayyan Farm in Qatar, one of the leading stud farms of straight Egyptian Arabian horses. When I decided to leave Qatar about two years ago, I changed my position to become the manager of Aljassimya Farm. I was intrigued by Sheikh Jassim bin Khalifa Al Thani’s commitment to breed his own show horses; a commitment that has serious long term responsibilities.

Two big steps had to be taken: finding the right horses and finding the right place to start such a program. …read more

2012 U.S. National Championships Recap

May 9, 2014

I’ve just returned home from our U.S. National Championship Show in Tulsa — I have a few things I’d like to say.

First things first — The performance aspect of U.S. Nationals was absolutely unbelievable. The quality and calibre of our performance horses were nothing short of spectacular. The quality has gotten so high, in both the open and amateur divisions, that I really don’t know how some of the judges were able to adjudicate — all of the performance divisions were immaculate in turnout and high quality. The AEPA classes were amazing. Just overall, the performance aspect of the Arabian horse industry is humming along. Big congratulations to all the exhibitors! …read more

2011 Paris World Championships Recap

May 9, 2014

Things are starting to heat up as we inch closer to the 2012 World Championships in Paris, France December 7-9.

Here’s a recap of the 2011 World Champion winners:

Gold Champion Senior Stallion
*Marquis CAHR
(*Marwan Al Shaqab x Rohara Magnifica) …read more