By Arabian Horse World
Never satisfied with resting on laurels and past achievements, Sahara Scottsdale is an Arabian horse breeding, showing, and brokering organization in motion. Home to “The Aria Collection” of Arabians, this famed program has been graced with some of the most famous and respected Arabian horses the breed has known. Yet, the ownership team of Jamie Jacob, Norm Pappas, and Jeff Sloan, along with manager Ally Nelson, continuously strive to improve their storied program in every way, all while focusing on contributing to the overall good of the breed.
And now, a new focus in the trajectory of the program has emerged, which puts more emphasis on the art of breeding as a complement to the program’s historical emphasis on showing and winning at the highest levels across the globe. Having won countless championships in halter competition from Scottsdale to US Nationals, to World Cup, and even at the World Championships in Paris, the Aria horses have made a significant impact in Arabian halter competition globally. Yet, with more to achieve and more to contribute to the overall breed, Jeff Sloan and Ally Nelson have been quietly searching the world over to acquire some of the finest foundation breeding mares to become the cornerstone of a breeding program that not only continues to produce halter winners in competition but which also puts more emphasis on breeding a more classic Arabian horse. Over the last couple of years, select mares have been purchased and imported from Poland, Sweden, Brazil, Israel, Germany, and Spain to achieve this goal.
While success in the show ring can be no doubt thrilling, there is no denying that at this phase of my lifelong commitment to the breed, I find that the ultimate measure of success is to breed Arabians that most typify the Gladys Brown Edwards standard – Arabians that possess the phenotypical characteristics that are most true to the breed – the essential characteristics which throughout history have made the Arabian breed so unique and cherished. And so today, we are highly focused on establishing our breeding program as one which produces the most classic Arabians with the goal of contributing to the overall quality of the breed.
- Jeff Sloan
Today, the Sahara pastures now include the likes of Cetoria, a Polish import sired by Ajman Moniscione and out of an El Nabila B daughter, Roxxan GK, an Israeli import sired by Exxalt and out of a Solaz J daughter, Forella, bred in Poland and imported from Israel is sired by Shanghai EA, and the beautiful Swedish import JL Beverlie sired by Magic Magnifique.
In addition to acquiring the foundation mares, two new powerhouse stallions were acquired – D Shakhat and Barjass Al Zobair. These two stallions are not only phenotypically beautiful but are also genotypically, particularly in their tail female lines, specifically the blood that Sahara is looking to add to the breeding program.
In early 2021, Jeff Sloan was given the opportunity to purchase D Shakhat due to a tip by Muteb Saab and Montana Henke. Given Jeff’s close friendship with the leadership at Dubai Stud, the acquisition of this promising young stallion was made with a requirement to continue to provide Dubai with future breeding rights to be used in its esteemed breeding program.
In the spring of 2021, Shakhat made his way to America while his first foals were hitting the ground at Dubai Stud, and the D Shakhat era began. It was clear from this first foal crop that D Shakhat was passing along the characteristics that the Sahara program and breeders worldwide covet. The colts and fillies from that foal crop at Dubai Stud have garnered 11 medals throughout Europe and the Middle East at some of the most elite shows – Menton, Katara, and Dubai, to name a few.
D Shakhat is out of D Shireen, a daughter of Kahil Al Shaqab, but most importantly, it was D Shakhat’s granddam Magic Mon Amour and grand-granddam Al Amrya that got their attention. These two mares are magnificent and charismatic. The first two foal crops Sahara has sired by D Shakhat, appear that he is passing along the traits reflective of the beauty in his pedigree.
Barjass Al Zobair
In 2022, Ally visited Cape Town to see Barjaas Al Zobair and his progeny at Elkasun Arabians. Upon inspection of his foals, it was clear that Barjass is pre-potent in passing on the classic type that The Aria breeding program is pursuing today. Like D Shakhat, Barjass Al Zobair’s pedigree was highly appealing to the team at Sahara. He is out of FM Gloriaa, who many would say is one of the most beautiful Arabian mares of all time. Looking deeper into Barjass’s pedigree, you will find four lines to the iconic World Champion Saskia RJ. Barjass just arrived in America and now stands at his forever home of Sahara Scottsdale. Looking forward to the 2024 breeding season, the Sahara team already envisions the many mares that will have the honor of carrying a foal by Barjass. Some of these mares include Honeys Delight RB, MD Hibat Allah, Falcons Marbella & Princess Amora S.
We spent much time researching the pedigrees and production records of mares we believed could help us achieve the new goals of our breeding program. We then proceeded to search the globe to find and acquire what we felt were the most important individuals to achieve our new breeding goals. It was a thrilling process, and now, not only with our new mares but with Barjass and Shakhat as well, I could not be more excited about our new direction and the significance to the breed as a whole that The Aria Collection breeding program represents.
- Ally Nelson
With clear goals now in place for the breeding program, as well as the foundational horses to make it happen, showing the Sahara horses in halter competition will continue to be a way to showcase the breeding program’s progeny.
And it is with great excitement that Sahara has announced that Austin Colangelo has joined the team to lead the conditioning and showing of the Aria horses. Austin brings many years of experience to the Sahara team. His family has bred and shown Arabian horses since 1999. He started showing horses at 13 and won his first National Championship in 2011 with a family-owned stallion, Legend of Khouraj. Since then, he has worked with many top professionals in the industry, including Rodolfo Guzzo and Michael Byatt. To date, Austin and his amateurs have won nearly 20 National titles. He plans to continue this great trajectory with his new position as Head Trainer of Sahara Scottsdale.
As I’ve grown up in the breed, I’ve always taken notice of the high degree of quality which The Aria Collection of horses seem to always possess in the show ring. Certainly, the track record of the program speaks for itself. I always felt that you had to get past any Aria horses entered in a given class to win! To have the honor to prepare and show the horses of this program is more than a dream come true
- Austin Colangelo
In addition to adding Austin, Ethan Hupp has joined the team as Assistant Trainer. Like Austin, Ethan comes from a family passionate about the Arabian horse. He grew up showing halter and performance horses. His talents bring much to the team as he will not only condition and train the halter horses alongside Austin but also bring an ability to break the program’s horses to ride.
Rounding out new additions to the Sahara team is Breeding Manager Leticia Colangelo, MV. Leticia, a licensed veterinarian in Brazil and soon to be licensed in the United States, will manage the care and breeding of the beloved broodmares. She has an extensive background in breeding management and a deep-rooted passion for reproduction. Leticia will work closely with Michaelle Garden, who manages Sahara’s breeding farm location in Buckeye, Arizona.
From L to R: Ethan Hupp, Assistant Trainer, Clio Cerise, Ally Nelson, Farm Manager, Roxxan GK, Austin Colangelo, JL Beverlie, and Leticia Colangelo, MV.
And so it is that the next chapter of the Sahara program is unfolding with great promise and an immense amount of pride.
Jeff Sloan concludes, “We’ve always operated with a deep love and respect for the Arabian breed. Staying true to the essence of what makes our breed so appreciated and valued throughout history, balanced by a natural desire to innovate and lead, is a delicate yet critical role we believe our program and those of us behind holds. And while we are indeed excited about the changes and enhancements made to our program, we know that the best is yet to come….”