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Alesia ENB

Rae-Dawn: Forward Momentum With Bountiful Rewards

It was a crisp, sunny winter’s Scottsdale morning back in January of 2021 when Murray and Shirley Popplewell, along with resident trainer Alcides Rodrigues, visited Sandro Pinha’s Arabians International in Cave Creek, Arizona — a short 20-minute drive from the Rae-Dawn farm on Arabian Park Drive in Scottsdale.


“We’ve spent 25 years building the Rae-Dawn collection,” says Murray Popplewell, “and when the opportunity arose to view horses at Sandro’s that morning, we jumped because we had heard he had a very special filly.” Murray, Shirley and Alcides have always kept the best interests of the farm at the forefront with an eye always looking to the future should a special horse attract their attention with respect to moving the farm forward on the world stage, and many, if not all acquisitions have proven exceptional results.


“January is the perfect time to see horses here in Scottsdale, as most are in their final preparations for February’s Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and looking their absolute best,” remarks Murray. “Of course, when Sandro brought out Alesia for us, I knew instantly we had to have her,” he says. “I still remember like it was yesterday. She literally danced on the spot, a perfectly plume tail, neck rolled back so beautifully, a gorgeous face—she sparkled.”


And here enters the story’s mainstay, the exquisite Alesia ENB, who represents a pedigree blending many admirable breeding programs influencing the world over for five and six decades, including the likes of Om El Arab, PCF Arabians, Psynergy, and Dolorosa Arabians to name but a few. “We’ve always believed that the breeders are the foundation of the industry,” notes Murray, “and without question, Alesia ENB is the blending of many of these breeders visions who we respect very, very much.”


Of course, when it comes to Alesia ENB’s pedigree, the Popplewells are no strangers to understanding the prepotency, or the value, as a select few of their most notable show and breeding horses descend from the similar mother line which traces to the incomparable producing MCA Afire Beylee, daughter of the great Afire Bey V and to the Padrons Psyche daughter Rohara Whispers, who herself is out of Magnifficaa, by Echo Magnifficoo. The revered Giana Leah PCF, a multi-U.S. National and Scottsdale Champion, is out of Alesia’s dam Aliyah Vision PCF (ex. Maria PCF, to MCA Afire Beylee), a maternal half-sister to Natalia PCF; this year’s 2023 Scottsdale Champion Senior Mare AOTH who recently added two more sets of roses in the open and amateur mare division at Canada’s 2023 National Arabian Championships. Of course, last but certainly not least, is RD Quianna (ex. PCF Crystal Vision, to MCA Afire Beylee) who is proving to be an invaluable asset to the Rae-Dawn Arabians breeding program being the dam of RD Rajan who is this year’s 2023 All Nations Cup & Menton Silver Junior Champion Colt for owners Hanaya Stud of Switzerland.


Bred by Michael Weinstein’s Psynergy Enterprise Developments out of California, Alesia ENB hails from perhaps one of the most elegant pedigrees of 21st century Arabian horse breeding. Her sire, Atticus ENB, is sired by Brazilian and U.S. National Champion El Nabila B and out of the ethereal snow white beauty Om El Benedine, who comes from the globally acclaimed Om El Arab breeding program in Santa Ynez, California. “Atticus is an interesting horse,” comments Murray. “He himself is homegrown right here in North America and brings a whole new dimension to breeders as a complete outcross for the more modern pedigrees of today. He continues, “You have to understand that it is most oftentimes a losing proposition to breed, promote, and stand your own breeding stallion, and so we’re extremely grateful to a breeder like Michael for sharing this beautiful stallion with the industry.” Distinguishing himself as a formidable breeding stallion having already amassed a flawless show record, Atticus ENB has contributed immensely not only to the uniqueness of Alesia ENB, but the stallion’s influence is felt through other parts of the Rae-Dawn breeding program including the recently crowned Gold Champion Yearling Colt RD Atlantis (ex. Giana Leah PCF) at the West Coast Cup in Belgium for new owner Kallisté Arabians of France, as well as the recently acquired full sister to Alesia ENB, Amethyst ENB, a 2022 version who joins her older sister at the Rae-Dawn farm in Scottsdale.


Of course, in all of Alesia’s goodness, one can’t overlook the immense contribution of Aliyah Vision PCF and the PCF Arabians breeding program; a program that has stood the test of time, and which has revolutionized the modern day breeding of Arabian horses. “We respect the PCF Arabians breeding program very much,” say Murray. “The PCF horses have a unique look, and of course, that credit goes to Sam Peacemaker for having such a vision.” Aliyah Vision PCF is a perfect representation of a breeder’s vision coming to fruition representing three generations of homebred horses. Her sire, PCF Vision, is by World Champion Marwan Al Shaqab and out of the extraordinary Versace daughter Veronica GA. “Anyone that has been witness to the beauty of Veronica GA knows how good it is to have her in the pedigree,” says Alcides. Aliyah Vision has two crosses to Versace—one through her sire and another through her dam Maria PCF, who is a direct daughter of the great DA Valentino. “It’s not often you have the opportunity to infuse or acquire such “proprietary” pedigrees such as those from Sam’s breeding program, and so we are very grateful to him,” remarks Murray.


With a pedigree only befitting of a queen, there is no question Alesia ENB’s aristocratic heritage has provided her a glorious path filled with ribbons and roses. As a young filly she stole the show at the 2021 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show capturing a reserve championship in the coveted Junior Yearling Filly class besting the top fillies in the world. To further that success, Alesia danced into the record books with the highest scores for movement and her subsequent Silver World Cup Championship Junior Filly win. If the momentum couldn’t be any more persuasive, she won unanimously the Region VII 2-Year-Old Filly Championship in April of 2022 and then dazzled the crowd later that October as 2022 United States National Champion 2-Year-Old Filly with Alcides Rodrigues. What lay ahead only those above could have predicted, but perhaps her crowning moment to date as a mare was this year’s 2023 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show where Alesia ENB was declared the show’s Grand Champion Senior Mare, at three years of age no less. “We still cannot believe it,” comments Murray, “it’s the most coveted title in all the world to win at Scottsdale and Alesia won it! he concurs. “It’s one of the moments I will never ever forget,” Alcides says, beaming with pride when talking about that special February afternoon. “One minute it was music and cheers, and the next all I could hear was my heart pounding as if life stood still when they called Alesia as champion.”


With the Scottsdale rose garland hanging proudly at Rae-Dawn Arabians for all to appreciate, Murray is the first to note that the pressure is on to maintain this wonderful momentum going to the United States Nationals. “We are excited to bring Alesia back to the U.S. National arena,” he says, “and can’t wait for the spotlight to shine down on her in the Futurity Filly class.” You can hear in Murray’s voice the sheer joy as he too reflects back on that cold February day. “Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think we’d own a Scottsdale Grand Champion Mare. For us to be celebrating 25 years loving the Arabian horse, well, it just doesn’t get any better!”


And so, the journey continues for Murray and Shirley Popplewell and the Rae-Dawn Arabians team of Saskatoon and Scottsdale, which celebrates their 25th Silver Anniversary. A journey of kindness, of giving back, and most of all, loving the Arabian horse.



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