Difficult horses give us the most!
ZAGROBLA (Monogramm x Zguba / Enrilo)
For over 27 years of working at Michałów State Stud, I have created my own private ranking of horses that offered me the most. ZAGROBLA is one of them. Born in 1994, she belonged to the group of the Monogramm’s daughters. She was the second horse in the line at the same event, after Emmona (Monogramm x Emilda / Pamir), with whom I won the title of World Champion in Paris in 2000. She was one of the favorite mares of her breeder, Director Ignacy Jaworowski.
Such horses and such events are never forgotten. In 2000, the system in which the Arabian Horse World Championships were played was slightly different. First of all, gold, silver and bronze medals were not given, as it is nowadays. There were only the titles of Champion and Reserve Champion to win. Secondly, the horse presentation system was quite different. The horse was usually led more calmly to the show ring, presented in a standing-up position, shown at the walk, and then at the trot. The system was different and, in my opinion, much more difficult than nowadays, because it required the horse to change the pace of the showing suddenly. After the “standing-up ” presentation, it had to develop immediately into motion. ZAGROBLA was a mare who liked this system very well.
I can write one thing about ZAGROBLA! Probably I taught her less than she taught me. In the beginning, she was my “mentor and guide”. She had more experience. It was ZAGROBLA that shaped my view of training and showing horses. She taught me that you shouldn’t trust a horse in a show ring too much. She was one of the most difficult horses I have trained and shown in my career. I knew that I would not win with strength and a whip but with the way of presentation.
ZAGROBLA in her „mother stud”did everything she was asked for. She could change the direction of movement on the lunge at a click. She stood like a statue, focused on the presenter. She did her best. I had to be very careful not to overtrain her at home, because she was an extremely expressive mare with a huge amount of commitment to work. She cooperated perfectly, also on warming up ring. As if she had felt that this had not been the show ring.
It was extremely difficult to show ZAGROBLA in the ring. She didn’t want to give up to the coach completely. She always had something “hers” up her sleeve. Just because she was giving out all her energy it didn’t mean she gave up completely. The year 2000 made me realize that she needed a certain amount of freedom to present herself well. She showed herself fantastic in motion. I can consider her, with many of the horses I have trained, to be one of the best and at the same time the most difficult horse to present for a presenter, due to the sweep of her movement. She always had to be hold lightly. She reacted very strongly to everything that surrounded her. That is why it was necessary to look for her in the warming-up ring the most peaceful place, somewhere on the sidelines, in order to protect her as much as possible and let her calm down.
She didn’t like being left alone without the company of other horses. That is why it was so difficult to show her in the ring in classes, but easier in the championship, when she was standing with other horses. You had to keep her short when entering the show ring because on the long cord she started to snap and dance around the presenter, which was very effective but unfortunately it burned her out. Correct „standing-up”, surrounded by judges, spotlights and music, was extremely difficult to maintain. It was an absolute success to stand-up still for 3-4 seconds without with head, ears and neck in a good position. Those few seconds of maximum focus were all that could be brought out of her. Then she started tramping in place, swimming croup, putting her ears back. But she was so charismatic that those few seconds were enough to impress the judges, as it was in Paris in 2000 with me as presenter and at the 2003 US Championships with Michael Byatt. There was “something” about her. Winning the Arabian Horses World Championships in 2000, she had a perfect few seconds of “standing-up”, and then she “fired” like a firecracker. On that day in December, Emmona, ZAGROBLA and Ekstern won three World Champion titles.
ZAGROBLA is one of the few mares that won the title of World Champion but never managed to win the title of Polish National Champion. This shows how good was other competitiors in national arena and how difficult she was to present. It was an exceptional mare that taught me a lot. She liked to show up but you had to be careful not to let her “burn” herself. She had extremely flexible movement, perfect body, great neck, beautiful dark eye. In my opinion she was a typical mare in the Polish style. A very expressive horse. She always marked herself. On the one hand, she couldn’t be trusted completely, like a woman, but to get the effect she needed to be given a little freedom.
To this day, I have a photo in my home archive of her decorations in Paris. I still remember that experience. When we were in the ring a spotlight was directed at us. For her it was a huge stimulus, which made her tense all muscles and emphasized her Arabian bouquet. After the award ceremony and playing Polish anthem we left the ring wet, she – because of nerves and me – because of emotions and pride. The result was an excellent photo taken by Erwin Escher, who died in 2016, which was used on the cover of Araber Journal.
I remember her like that. Beautiful and untamed.
The main specialist of horse training and presentation
Michałów State Stud