Top breeders converge on Polish Arabian horse fair

Mon Aug 9, 2010 10:00am EDT
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By Gabriela Baczynska

JANOW PODLASKI, Poland (Reuters Life!) - True divas among Arabian mares and stallions with centuries-old pedigrees lured some of the world's top breeders to eastern Poland for one of the most exclusive horse fairs on the planet.

This year's favorite horse, a 14-year-old grey mare named Pilar, sold for 240,000 euros ($318,700) to Qatar at the three-day equine spree in the eastern Polish town of Janow Podlaski, near the border with Belarus.

"It's like when a man chooses his woman and fights for her. She is my lady," buyer Mohamed M. Al Sulaiti of the Qatari Al Shaqab Arabian horses stud told Reuters. "I think the price was actually low. I was ready to pay real money for her."

Pilar will now travel for several days by car and plane to her new home, as will the other horses bought by investors from the United States, Great Britain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Belgium and Germany, among others, who came for the three-day fair.

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts visits annually with his wife Shirley, who is a keen buyer.

"I've been coming here for 20 years," Shirley Watts, who already owns 250 horses, told Reuters. "It's a special obsession for a certain group of people. These horses are the best in the world. I'm very pleased with the ones I bought here so far."

Janow's appeal stems from its long tradition and preserving horse lines unbroken for centuries.

"For me it's not about the investment," Al Sulaiti added. "I want to rebuild the best of the Arabian race in Arab states. Pilar will be a star in our stables and will produce fantastic offspring. We are grateful to Poland for preserving the purest lines and giving us magnificent horses."   Continued...