*Estopa was 27 years old when she gave birth to her last foal, the little miracle filly we named Om El Beneera. Beneera is a broodmare supreme, she consistently produces one outstanding foal after another. The most recent accolade bestowed on her is by her son, Om El Al Azeem, as he was named 2010 US Reserve National Champion Stallion. Beneera has the most beautiful eyes. They are set low in an exceptionally sculpted face. Her strong temperament sets her "family" apart from others here at Om El Arab. We think that being a "miracle" foal gave her a sense of entitlement and it seems that she passes that entitlement down to her ancestors. This attribute makes Beneera family members fantastic show horses.
Om El Beneera featured in The Arabian Magaine's December 2013 "Mares of Note" series.
Om El Arab’s foundation mare is the legendary Spanish import *Estopa (Tabal x Uyaima). She is best known to most people as the dam of El Shaklan, specifically because of that stallion’s impact on the Arabian breed. At Om El Arab, Estopa left behind three incredible daughters, and one son, that comprise three of the five damlines that still exist on the farm. In this article, we will focus on her youngest daughter and the impact that she has had on not only the Om El Arab breeding programme, but beyond.
Om El Beneera was a miracle child from the moment she was conceived. She was born in 1992 to her 27-year-old dam Estopa, who had not had a foal in three years. Actually, Estopa had shut down reproductively for the previous three seasons until, one sunny summer day, she met the handsome unanimous Scottsdale Champion Stallion, *Sharem El Sheikh (El Shaklan x Samanna). He was walking on the road by Estopa’s pasture and it was love at first sight. At Om El Arab, the story has it that Sharem El Sheikh reminded Estopa of the love of her life, another chestnut stallion and the sire of *El Shaklan, Shaker El Masri (Morafic x Zebeda), who had passed away almost 20 years before. After a reproductive exam, it was confirmed that *Estopa was cycling and she was bred to Sharem El Sheikh. Miraculously, the 26 year-old mare conceived and carried the foal to term.
Estopa foaled one warm July evening in her favourite grass pasture surrounded by her sisters and friends. Sigi and her husband had pitched a tent in the very same pasture so as to not miss the exciting moment, and to assist if necessary. Estopa’s delivery was uncomplicated, and it seemed as if becoming a mother again took years off of her life. She was a little arthritic, which can be expected at the proud age of 27, but after her filly’s birth, she rejuvenated for some time. Estopa had always been an exceptional mother and has passed this trait on through the many generations that have come from her; she took her role as mother very seriously. The little filly born that magical night was named Om El Beneera, after Sigi’s son Benjamin.
Beneera was a tiny foal with the most extreme little face. She had incredibly large eyes and a very pronounced jibaah. She was doted on from the beginning by everyone on the farm and was never really weaned from her mother. She stayed by Estopa’s side until her death the following next year. Sigi and I have always joked that Beneera’s strong personality must have developed because she was spoiled from the moment she was born. Oddly, all of her children have the same strong character. Even today at the proud age of 21, Beneera has her own rules and everyone on the farm happily obliges.
It is wonderful to still have mares at Om El Arab that are only one generation removed from the great Estopa, the founder of it all. Om El Beneera’s influence at the farm is widespread due to the fact that she has blessed Om El Arab with 15 foals, of which five daughters remain on the farm as broodmares. Likewise, two of the junior stallions at stud are from the Om El Beneera family. The blood of the fiery, strong-willed and determined Beneera runs through much of the farm.
Om El Beneera’s first foal, the mare Om El Benedict by *Sanadik El Shaklan (El Shaklan x Mohena), has created the most far-reaching impact through her son. She is the dam of Om El Bellissimo, by Om El Shahmaan (Sanadik El Shaklan x Om El Shaina). Bellissimo, a junior breeding stallion at Om El Arab, was recently on lease to Janów Podlaski for two breeding seasons. Sigi and I strongly believe in Bellissimo as a sire as he embodies our ideal in a breeding stallion. He has an incredibly beautiful face that is wide between the eyes and is very short and dished. He has, perhaps, the best neck to come from the Om El Arab breeding programme, which can be credited to Estopa’s second love, Sharem El Sheikh, Bellissimo’s great-grand sire.
In 2010, Marek Trela, Director of the world famous Polish State Stud Janów Podlaski, negotiated a two-year lease of Om El Bellissimo. At the time, Bellissimo was only two-and-a-half years old. It was the first time that an Om El Arab stallion would actually set foot in Poland. Bellissimo’s sire and grand-sire, Om El Shahmaan and Sanadik El Shaklan, both bred in Poland, albeit only with frozen semen. It was exciting to anticipate the foals that would be born in Poland, and they have not been disappointing. Om El Bellissimo’s son Barok (ex Baida) was named Gold Junior Champion at the 2013 Polish Nationals, and his daughter Euzona (ex Euzetia) was Best in Show at the 2013 Bialka Spring Show as well as Silver European Champion Yearling Filly.
We were also able to bring home to Om El Arab a Janów- bred filly by Om El Bellissimo. Sigi went to Poland on three different occasions and carefully selected a filly named Alamina, out of the Wachlarz daughter Alameda. She embodies everything that one would expect when blending the two programmes. She has her sire’s length of leg and type, and her dam’s incredible Polish motion and structure. This is the first time in 20 years that a new dam-line has been added to the Om El Arab breeding programme, and this is something that we are very excited about.
Shortly before Bellissimo went to Poland, he bred two mares at Om El Arab. A colt and filly were born from these first matings. The colt is Om El Exceed, out of the incredible, Om El Excella (Al Lahab x Om El Bint Shaina), who is owned by Stephan Westhuizen of Namibia. Bellissimo’s daughter, Om El Soraya, is out of the Al Lahab daughter, Om El Sariyana (ex Om El Saari), and was crowned Silver Junior Champion in Scottsdale at the International Show this year and Bronze Junior Champion at the 2013 Arabian Breeder’s World Cup. Soraya is owned by Aljassimya Farm of Qatar. Om El Bellissimo bred many wonderful mares upon his return to the US, and it will be a pleasure to watch the offspring compete in the show-ring. Both Sigi and I are extremely proud of our young stallion.
Om El Benedict is also the dam of World Cup Champion four-year-old mare, Om El Beladeena by *Al Lahab. She, in turn, is the dam of World Cup Bronze Junior Champion, Titan SA, sired by El Nabila B (Kubinec x 218 Elg Layla Walayla B). Titan will hit the show-ring with full force in 2014. He is an exceptional young stallion with incredible potential, and is proudly owned by Arabian Soul Partners.
Continuing Om El Beneera’s story, she is the dam of US Reserve National Champion Junior Stallion and Scottsdale Gold Champion Stallion, Om El Al Azeem (by Al Lahab). He is a junior breeding stallion at Om El Arab, and has been a star in the show-ring, receiving 20s for movement at the 2013 Scottsdale Show. He is a well-balanced stallion, has a great laid back shoulder, incredible movement, a beautiful face and kind eyes. His foals have started to show and his son Om El Shadaii (ex Om El Shadiva by Sanadik El Shaklan) was crowned Bronze Junior Champion at Scottsdale this year, earning a 20 in head from judge Claudia Darius. Al Azeem’s daughter, Om El Jeania, out of double US Reserve National Champion Senior Mare, Om El Jimala (Sanadik El Shaklan x Om El Jazira), was crowned Gold Junior Champion Mare at the Salon du Cheval in Jeddidah Morocco two years ago, and Silver Champion Mare at the same show this year. Al Azeem is best know for the confident, great moving show horses that he is siring. Both Sigi and I strongly believe in this stallion as a sire. He also most fervently resembles his dam, Beneera, in character.
Several of Om El Beneera’s offspring have been exported overseas. Om El Bediya (by Dreamcatcher SMF) is a beautiful black mare owned by Sandra Menzel of Germany. Bediya is a cornerstone of her breeding programme and is the dam of her Al Lahab daughter, Bellana Estopa SLM, who was named Silver Champion Mare at the German Nationals this year. Om El Magic (by Magic Dream CAHR), a bold moving stallion, was sold as a yearling to a breeder in Denmark. Om El Bendigo (by Sanadik El Shaklan), is owned by the Roccino Family in Italy. He was twice named Italian National Champion Stallion and Best in Show, winning the honour again this year. Bendigo is a gorgeous stallion that very much resembles his beautiful dam, Beneera.
Om El Arab co-owns Om El Belinda Estopa, by Om El Shahmaan, together with Mindy Peters. This beautiful chestnut mare is the dam of Bettina MP (by WH Justice) who was Supreme Bronze Champion Yearling Filly at the World Cup and is now owned by the Linjawi Family from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Om El Arab is proud to have five Om El Beneera daughters for their breeding programme. They are Om El Berenice (by Dreamcatcher SMF), Om El Benedine (by Sanadik El Shaklan), Om El Bellona (by Om El Shahmaan), Om El Bedelia (by Alfabia Ajib), and Om El Bint Beneera (by Om El Shahlimar). Beneera had a beautiful colt in 2013 by WH Justice that we also wish to retain for our breeding programme, named Om El Beneditto.
Om El Beneera, at the delightful age of 21, is, in the same likeness as her dam Estopa, in foal again. She has been bred once more to the beautiful Sanadik El Shaklan son, Om El Shahlimar, with whom she has already had one exceptional filly.
Om El Beneera has the largest family at Om El Arab due to the fact that she has not only produced incredible daughters but also two breeding stallions for the programme. Both Sigi and I don’t just love this mare for the huge impact that she has made on our breeding programme; we also love her intensely for her wonderful personality and for her beauty. It is a pleasure to be able to honour Om El Beneera in these pages, and we hope to spend many more years enjoying both this fabulous mare and her wonderful family.