UPDATE: Shortly after we went to press with this story, Mayaan Al Nadir SA was named U.S. National Top Ten Senior Stallion.
Mayaan Al Nadir SA (Ramses Mishaal Nadir x MB Maymaara) is Empire Egyptian’s senior sire. He has amassed an impressive show record:
Mayaan Al Nadir Show Record
• 2019 Region 12 Reserve Champion Straight Egyptian Stallions 4 and Over
• 2019 Egyptian Event Gold Champion Liberty
• 2021 Egyptian Event Champion Straight Egyptian Stallions 4 and Over
• 2021 Egyptian Event Straight Egyptian Senior Champion Stallion
• 2021 Egyptian Event Grand Champion Stallion
• 2021 Egyptian Event Most Classic Head
• 2022 Scottsdale Gold Champion Straight Egyptian Senior Stallion
• 2022 East Coast Top Five Stallions 3 and Over
“Arabians showed us that they were smart, kind, and talented. They were always safe for us to work around and ride as kids, which meant a lot to us.”
The 2007 gelding Abbas Al Jabhah (Hawkeye CC x EE Nasheeta), with Gianna Whitlow.
The 2018 mare EE Naias Paris (EE Hawkeyes Omari x LF Naia Bonita), with Ainslee Whitlow.
“Today I can’t even enumerate the endless ways in which the Arabian horse has enhanced our lives. They are what connects us and grounds us.“
Marlis Amato, showing her first Arabian, WW Nightshift (Bandstand x Khenadaa), a 1988 black Babson gelding.
Mayaan Al Nadir SA winning 2019 Egyptian Event Gold Champion Liberty.
Above and below, Mayaan Al Nadir SA and Mike Wilson pictured winning 2021 Egyptian Event Grand Champion Stallion.
“We are absolutely in love with him. He’s our everything.“
Empire Egyptian’s junior sire Yaman Aljassimya (*Al Ayal AA x *Yamama Al Rayyan), a 2019 colt.
LRB Bint Bint Aura (Mayaan Al Nadir SA x EE Bint Aura), a multi-champion 2020 filly owned by Jason and Carmen Harris.
The 2017 mare Anisette AR (Absinthe x LF Thee Makers Star), who produced the 2022 colt DS Dionysus by Mayaan Al Nadir SA, pictured below.
The two-year-old filly Meanttob Promise Kept (Mayaan Al Nadir SA x EE Farashas Rayne), is owned by the Faith Is Everlasting partnership. In 2021 she won Region 12 Reserve Champion Straight Egyptian Yearling Filly, Egyptian Event Top Five Straight Egyptian Filly, and East Coast Top Three Egyptian Classic Straight Egyptian Filly.
Mayaan Alsayibah (Mayaan Al Nadir SA x EE Ladyhawke), a 2022 filly.
EE Tayir Alfiniq (Mayaan Al Nadir SA x Tehanii), a 2022 grey filly.
Jillian Whitlow is looking forward to enjoying a show career with Mayaan. They are pictured at Mike Wilson’s farm in Florida.
Mayaan wearing his 2022 Scottsdale ribbons.
Mayaan Al Nadir SA.
By Denise Hearst
The foundation of Empire Arabians arrived 30 years ago in the form of a Babson gelding, WW Nightshift (Bandstand x Khenadaa), who made a convincing case for the breed for the late Marlis Amato. “We loved the heart of the Arabian, and even more specifically, the Egyptian Arabian,” says Marlis’s daughter, Jillian Whitlow. “Nightshift was the horse I learned to ride on when we lived in upstate New York. Many years later my daughters learned to ride on him, too. From May to October my mom and I would pack up our three Arabian geldings and show under saddle almost every weekend throughout the East Coast and Regions 15, 16 and 18. Those are some of my best memories. I did a lot of trail riding with my mom, and our Arabians showed us that they were smart, kind, and talented. They were always safe for us to work around and ride as kids, which meant a lot to us.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t really fit in,” continues Jillian. “I didn’t play regular organized sports, but I loved Arabian horses and always knew they were there for me, and they took me as I was. Today I can’t even enumerate the endless ways in which the Arabian horse has enhanced our lives. They are what connects us and grounds us.”
In 2018 Marlis passed away suddenly. “She left a huge legacy, and a hole in our family and hearts, but we take comfort in knowing that we still have the horses that connect us to mom,” says Jillian. “Mom passed away in her house surrounded by her dog and horses. When they took her away, the horses lined the driveway and followed the hearse out the long drive until they couldn’t see her anymore. What a connection they had with her, and what an amazing send-off.
“It’s been a huge adjustment. I not only lost my mom, but my business partner as well as the person who did everything with and for the horses. But we have found a way…time does have a way of healing.”
Today Empire Arabians is known as Empire Egyptians. The farm is now located in Person County, North Carolina, a small rural community just north of Raleigh, North Carolina. “We moved from upstate New York for more land and better weather,” says Jillian. “We have 52 acres and two barns: a foaling barn and a brand new 10-stall barn.
“Our mission is to preserve the Egyptian bloodlines as well as to breed our Egyptian lines into the Arabian population as a whole,” continues Jillian. “We only have straight Egyptians in our program, and we periodically breed outside of our herd so that they don’t get too closely bred. We ship semen out to all breeds. We have eight broodmares, with some new fillies coming up, and have 15 show horses, both performance and halter. We also manage horses for a dozen clients.”
Among the many attributes of the Egyptian Arabian, Jillian treasures their power and charisma. “When we set foot out our door every day and have a chance to stop and watch the herds of horses just doing their thing outside, it gives me chills. They can turn on the power but then allow themselves to be led by my two young girls, Gianna, 12, and Ainslee, 7.”
The Empire Egyptian breeding program includes two stallions, both standing with Mike Wilson in Florida. In 2021 Jillian acquired the young straight Egyptian, Yaman Aljassimya, a 2019 colt by *Al Ayal AA and out of *Yamama Al Rayyan. Jillian believes that Yaman’s stretchiness and elegance will offer a complement to daughters of senior sire Mayaan Al Nadir SA (Ramses Mishaal Nadir x MB Maymaara) – the result of Marlis’s years long search for the grey stallion.
“Our motto has always been ‘Bringing History Back to the Future,’” says Jillian. “We did not have any grey mares in our program until Mayaan came along. We’ve produced a lot of blacks and chestnuts, but we always felt that grey horses signify the Egyptian Arabian. They have a different look about them as far as their face structure and type. Our goal was to find a typey grey stallion that had very good structure, body, and athleticism. We came from the performance world so that meant a lot to us.” In 2018 Jillian’s husband Paul and Marlis travelled to Melinda and Bryan Jeffries’s Lyday Farms in Texas for a conference. “When they saw Mayaan there they both fell in love. His head is extremely typey and his movement is unmatchable.
He was showy and confident, but gentle, with a quiet eye,” says Jillian. ”His charisma, bold body and great topline, plus his outcross pedigree, made him perfect for our many Thee Desperado and Hawkeye CC (Imperial Imdal x SES Khebria) daughters.”
And then there are the intangibles. “He has the ‘IT’ factor, he’s statuesque, he loves to show, and he loves the attention,” says Jillian. “Mayaan gets to the end of that leadline and looks for the crowd, and when he hears people cheering for him, he turns it up to the next level. He is the perfect balance of sensitive and sweet, spice and fire. He passes all those qualities on to every single foal. They are winning in the show ring for us and our clients, but most importantly they have the best personalities on top of being top quality.”
Mayaan, bred by Susan Gilbert of Texas, has collected impressive show titles, including 2022 Scottsdale Gold Champion Straight Egyptian Senior Stallion, 2021 Egyptian Event Grand Champion Stallion, and 2021 Egyptian Event Most Classic Head.
Jillian has bred four Mayaan foals – two colts and two fillies, and he has sired 13 foals from outside mares. “We stand behind Mayaan 110%,” says Jillian. “We haven’t found a cross that doesn’t do well with him, and a lot of people choose him because of his body style, incredible movement and his typey head.”
One of Mayaan’s winning daughters is LRB Bint Bint Aura out of a black mare bred by Marlis, EE Bint Aura (Thee Black Majic x The Aura by The Minstril). The mare was sold to Jason and Carmen Harris. “She is a full sister to a mare that was sold to the King of Morocco several years ago through Steve Dady,” says Jillian. “Her 2020 filly, LRB Bint Bint Aura, is a miracle. She was delivered very early, and because of a malpresentation delivery, she came out upside down. Thankfully, I was there to try everything I knew to be able to deliver the foal and save the dam’s life. We have never seen such a beautiful newborn. She was doing well, but then at 36 hours she contracted clostridium, a deadly bacterium that kills the intestines rapidly. We got her to NC State where she was given a 10 percent chance of survival. Such a strong filly – she had everything going against her and she beat the odds.”
When LRB Bint Bint Aura was eight months old, she was sent to Mike Wilson for training, and later went on to win 2021 Region 12 Champion Straight Egyptian Yearling Filly, 2021 Region 12 Grand Champion Yearling Filly/Colt, 2021 Egyptian Event Champion Straight Egyptian Fillies, 2021 East Coast Egyptian Classic Straight Egyptian Fillies of 2020, and 2021 East Coast Reserve Grand Champion Yearling Filly/Colt.
In October, Mayaan is headed to U.S. Nationals and will take a run at the Straight Egyptian High Point. Then he’ll go to the Holiday Show at WEC Ocala in November under saddle for the first time.
“We’ve been so focused on his halter career that Mike Wilson just started him under saddle about eight months ago and he has done great,” says Jillian. “The first time with a saddle or girth, he didn’t balk or buck, he took no exception. He goes best in hunter, but we are looking at next spring doing dressage, costume and hunter with him. I have been riding and showing since I was five, but I’ve just started taking dressage lessons with a trainer in my area who has an impressive career, Helen Ingersoll. So my hope is that I can learn and grow while Mayaan is learning and growing in Florida. I am looking forward to enjoying a show career with him. The first time I rode him was April 9, 2022 – the fourth anniversary of my mother’s death. Mayaan and I have a special connection…perhaps it’s because my mom lives on in him.
“He has the best temperament,” continues Jillian. “He trailers with mares, foals, and right next to another stallion – there are not many stallions that have the fire and presence that Mayaan does, that are also easy to be around. He is so sensitive; he doesn’t like to disappoint you. I love that Mike Wilson knows exactly who Mayaan is and how his brain works, he gets the absolute best out of him, without ruining his mind.”
Mayaan keeps Jillian looking forward – her greatest wish is for him to leave a legacy that lives on in the history of the breed. As she says, “We are absolutely in love with him. He’s our everything.”