2024 Classic Egyptian Championships


By Allison Mehta

As featured in the Summer 2024 issue of Arabian Horse World

There is an old adage:  “Success is 5% inspiration—and 95% perspiration.” While often true, this year at the Region 12 Classic Egyptian Championships, we actually saw the results of “50% inspiration and 50% perspiration.”


Why?  Because for almost nine years now, our Board of Directors has been refining, expanding, and reinventing portions of our show.  All such changes were inspired by something this Board felt would enhance the show.  Thus, we’ve had constant inspiration leading up to our 2024 show.


And, this year, it all came together.  What we had dreamed about was not, in the end, actually a horse show centered around the Straight Egyptian horse—but a celebration of those horses AND those who love them.


We first realized something was happening in early January when previous sponsors started contacting us inquiring about sponsorship forms 2024—but I don’t think anyone was prepared for what transpired during Region 12 this year.


A determined Mary Drysdale has the winning bid on Thee Desperado Bronze donated by Marc Arnold.

From day one, we realized that the Classic Egyptian Championships (CEC) had taken on a life of its own.  No longer just a horse show, it has become an almost week-long celebration of the Straight Egyptian horse (and Arabian horses overall)—with tremendous camaraderie among attendees and exhibitors. The “Egyptian Breeders Hospitality Tent” was in use from the moment we set it up on Tuesday afternoon. The Egyptian Championships tables at the Spotlight Auction event were full, with folks partying and bidding on stallions for 2025 foals. Our Sponsors/Exhibitors party on Friday night was terrific, with a vast crowd attending—including many Region 12 breeders and supporters who have not previously been that appreciative of Straight Egyptian horses. Shawn Crews (with the kind assistance of Greg Knowles) headed up an exciting auction of a Thee Desperado bronze donated by Marc Arnold in memory of his late husband, Steve Arnold (the proceeds dedicated to underwrite an annual trophy in Steve’s name).  In a brilliant moment, Missy Head, a CEC Board member, arranged for an entertainer. This was such a success that a group of partygoers were still there urging her to sing “just one more” long after the bars were closed, the food gone, and the lights turned out.

The show on Saturday turned out to be the culmination of our mutual dreams of an event showcasing Straight Egyptian and Egyptian-related horses. Almost 70 horses showed, not only from Region 12 but from farms all across the country (even as far away as California and Washington state). The overall quality of the horses was very high, and their presentation in center ring was so pleasant to watch. Egyptian breeders have always been concerned about the humane handling of their horses—and the Board wishes to thank all the trainers and amateur handlers this year for bringing such beautiful—unintimidated horses to our show.  It was gratifying to see horse after horse trot freely and happily into the ring, ears forward with a gaily flagged tail—and pose without stress for their stand-up.


The arena we use at Region 12 is good-sized but also intimate. While waiting to be presented in the center ring, horses and their handlers are only a fence rail away from onlookers. So, all through the classes, people were loving on their horses and chatting with the handlers along the rail.

In addition, our judge, Allan Preston from Australia, we cannot say enough good things about him.  Not only did he contribute class and wisdom, but he personally congratulated winners and stood in all the photo shoots (often holding the big check). In addition, he spent way over an hour at our “after show” party, talking with exhibitors and critiquing their horses. Allan has a fantastic memory of the horses he judges and gave positive reinforcement to several owners who were somewhat disappointed about how their horse had done. I don’t think anyone realizes how important that is to a breeder…. to have a judge explain why they made their decision and give encouragement about the future of your horse.

Judge, Allan Preston.
Champion Straight Egyptian Stallion Kareem Alfala (PVA Kariim x Ansata Nile Nefertiti). Owned by Doubling Gap Ranch LLC.

And finally, for quite a few years now, our CEC Board has been emphasizing the need to develop a new SE horse here in the US—one that has some hybrid vigor through outcrossing and blending all available SE bloodlines. We thought it would take quite a few years for us to see any results. However, some breeders have apparently been listening— in reviewing the SE horses exhibited in 2024, we realized that we’re already starting to see some exciting developments. First, structurally, most of the horses had excellent conformation, free movement, and size! They had beautiful heads, not extreme “pony” faces, and good feet and legs. Plus, some of the pedigrees amazed us! The Grand Champion Straight Egyptian mare Nar Al Riyyah’s sire was Scapa (by Mishaal HP) out of a Thee Infidel daughter. The Grand Champion SE stallion, Kareem Alfala (owned by Doubling Gap Ranch), is by PVA Kariim out of Ansata Nile Nefertiti (conceived using frozen semen and ICSI). The Grand Champion Yearling Filly,  Amani Al Hawa, is by Aria Bakare out of a Thee Asil daughter out of a Shahir IASB daughter—and the Reserve Champion Yearling (also SE), DGR Kalifa Naseem is by Naseem al Rashediah out of a Justynn daughter. What an exciting mélange of excellent Straight Egyptian bloodlines… producing beautiful useful horses with “go forward” pedigrees!

Champion Spotlight Egyptian Stallion Legacy Yearling Maes Sofia Magidaa DB (Aria Bakare x Miss Magidaa Mae DB). Owned and bred by Dreamco Breeders LLC.
Champion Straight Egyptian Mare Nar Al Riyyah (Scapa x LPS Thunderstruck). Owned by Marion Daniel Head.

None of what happened at the CEC in Ocala this year could have transpired without these factors: an absolutely WONDERFUL hard-working Board of Directors (Missy Head, Bridgette Orwig, Valerie Clinkenbeard, Jinksie Harris, Robyn Thomas, Gwen and Warren Soong, Shawn Crews, Mike Wilson, Tom Chasteen and John Dolphy),  amazing volunteers (Sharon Redman, Vicky Munn, and Kent Wolkenhauer), the most generous and supportive sponsors (our show is totally funded by sponsorships), and the continued support from Region 12.


And, the best part? No wind storm this year, so all our red tents have lived to return in 2025! We hope to see you then!

Reserve Champion Straight Egyptian Stallion Jassur LSA (Patriot LSA x Desha Bint Maysama). Owned and bred by Lone Star Arabians LLC.
Reserve Champion Straight Egyptian Mare Lanaken RCA (Thee Desperado x Mishaals Kiss RCA). Owned by Kestrel Arabians.
Grand Champion Yearling Colt/Filly Amani Al Hawa (Aria Bakare x Bint Al Riyahh). Owned and bred by Marion Daniel Head.
Grand Champion Egyptian Heritage MD Gahdeer (Botswana x AJ Ssangria). Owned by Lee Melchi.
Grand Champion World Class Mare Chaka Rhan (Rhan Al Shahania x Stivalla RA). Owned by Tracy Webster.
Grand Champion Gelding Elle Santal (Pilatus PCF x Elle Alaina). Owned by DC Horse Barn LLC.