Meet The Egyptian Arabian

 Written by: Trisha Dingle – Egyptian Rose Sport Horses Published: 23 September 2015

Average Height: 14-15.2 hands Colors: any solid color including bay, black, chestnut, & grey. May also exhibit “rabicano” characteristics (“roaning” appearance, white hairs throughout coat and/or predominantly in flank and girth areas, as well as tail).

Meet The Egyptian Arabian
WH Carolina Blu, a 14 year old SE Arab mare owned by Martha & David Lucas of Whitehaven Plantation and loved by Alyssa Fix of Statesville, NC. Photo by The Summer House

Ask your average person about the Arabian horse, and they’ll usually describe a beautiful, yet hot & spirited steed – pretty to watch, but not something they’d want to ride every day. Yet, ask your average Arabian owner and they’ll tell you stories of never-ending loyalty, a “do-anything” attitude, and above average intelligence and sensitivity. Once someone has been enchanted by the Arabian horse, they rarely want to ride another breed!

The Arabian horse is 100% “pure in blood”, as it is the only breed in which no out-cross is permitted, or has ever been permitted in history. The Arab is actually considered a distinct sub-species rather than just another breed due to this. Arabians have been used to create nearly all of our recognized light horse breeds, from Morgans, to Thoroughbreds, to Quarter Horses and even gaited horses.

Meet The Egyptian Arabian
Cinderella Story, a 16 year old SE Arab mare working cows with then owner Trisha Dingle. “Daisy” is now proudly owned by an 11-year old girl who does pony club with her. Photo courtesy of the owner

There are many “types” of Arabians in the world, but the Egyptian is the rarest and generally thought of as the most beautiful. They can trace their heritage back to the desert origins of the Arabian Peninsula, back to the mares and stallions of Viceroy Mohammed Ali and his grandson Abbas Pasha I. They are considered pure of strain, having come in unbroken lines from Bedouin tribes in the Arabian deserts, who could recite their horses’ pedigree from memory. If you follow the pedigree back far enough of today’s Egyptian Arabian, you will finally come to a line that simply says “Desert Bred”.

Meet The Egyptian Arabian
Tum-dressage – WH Marengo, a 12 year old SE Arab stallion owned and shown in second level dressage by Trisha Dingle of Hickory, NC. Photo by Judy Robichaux

When Abbas Pasha was assassinated in 1854 his fabled stud was disbanded and his horses scattered. Many were exported to England and became part of Crabbet stud, owned by Lady Anne Blunt (descendents of these horses now known as “Crabbet Arabians”). Others ended up in Poland (“Polish Arabians”) and still others in Russia (“Russian Arabians”). While descending from the original desert-breds, these other types were bred for various characteristics and not necessarily staying true to the original Bedouin ideals. The true original “desert bred Arabian” was in danger of extinction, until the Royal Agricultural Society (R.A.S) was formed in Egypt in 1908 to assure the preservation of what was surely an historic national treasure. The R.A.S is now known as the Egyptian Agricultural Organization (E.A.O).

Meet The Egyptian Arabian
Desert Sword, a 24 year old SE Arab gelding with breeders/owners Martha & David Lucas of Whitehaven Plantation in Bishopville, SC. Photo circa age 14 – Sword has been successful in halter, flat track racing, and is an endurance champion as well as having been David’s personal riding horse. Photo courtesy of the owner

As a desert horse, the Egyptian Arabian was bred for strength, heart, and stamina. They were prized by the tribes that bred them, so beauty was also an important characteristic, as was loyalty. It is said that in the case of a sand storm Bedouin chiefs would leave their wives and children outside while their prized broodmares were kept in the tent for safety. Ask anyone who rides an Egyptian nowadays, and they will tell you this heart and loyalty is still very much present.

In the United States, The Pyramid Society was organized to help preserve this incredible horse in America. Every year in June the Egyptian Event is held at the KY Horse Park in Lexington, as a way to showcase the breed in halter and performance classes. Educational seminars for breeders, trainers, and prospective owners are held all week, and it is a wonderful way to learn more about the breed and to connect with other admirers.

Meet The Egyptian Arabian
WH Marengo, a 12 year old SE Arab stallion, schooling cross country with owner Trisha Dingle of Hickory. Photo by The Summer House

Although known primarily for their exquisite beauty – a large dark eye, “dished” profile, pronounced forehead (known as a “jibbah”) and long arched neck – like other types of Arabians the Egyptian excels at more than just halter classes. Because of their strength and stamina they make incredible endurance horses. Their athleticism helps them perform in dressage and other sport horse disciplines (yes, even jumping!), and their beauty makes them appealing western pleasure horses. Thanks to their high level of intelligence, many Egyptian Arabs are used for cutting and working cow horse classes, as well as general ranch work. And despite being considered “spirited” by some, they, in fact, are fabulous youth and family horses – as long as you respect his intelligence the Egyptian Arabian will try it’s heart out for you!

To learn more, visit The Pyramid Society at



Sims Hill Farm

 Written by: The Carolinas Equestrian Published: 24 July 2016 A little history about Sims Hill FarmSims Hill opened in May 2012. The farm is owned by the Johnson Family. Built on almost 21 beautiful acres in Waxhaw, the farm is located just south of downtown Waxhaw. The land was originally owned by the Sims family (who raised 11 children in that 3 bedroom house!) many years ago, and also happens to be at the highest elevation south of Richmond. This is how the “Sims Hill Farm” name was established. Trainer, Mike Henaghan Mike brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and horsemanship to our program. He has trained many top winning equestrians, including 2 – time Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden, Allison Firestone, Ray Texel and Darren Graziano. He has had multiple students win the Medal, Maclay and USET Talent Search Finals, Pony Medal Finals, the USEF Pony Hunter Championship, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show, and Young Riders Championships. He is a five time national pony medal champion trainer. He has brought so much to our program and pays attention to every detail during every lesson and is an incredible horseman. Fond Showing MemoriesMike had the honor to show at the “Old Riders Championships” in Bern, Switzerland and Schruns, Austria making up the team with Bert and Diana Firestone, and winning the silver medal both times. If you could offer one piece of advice to a young rider, what would it be?“Stay determined to learn, knowledge is available, seek it. And don’t forget to sleep with your heels down!!!” What are some ideal traits you look for in your show horses?Temperament, jumping style and ability, movement and athleticism. What makes Sims Hill horses special?They are relaxed, happy in their work and training, and they have a more natural life. What traits do you look for in your riders?Desire to learn, strong work ethic, and talent. What’s the number one thing you think all riders should know how to do? Riders should understand the importance of proper flatwork. Correct flatwork increases the horse’s fitness and body conditioning and increases a rider’s ability to work more effectively over fences.” Can you talk about any of your horses in more detail?All of the horses at Sims Hill Farm are special in their own way. One that really stands out is Hennessey. He is coming 18 years old, has a heart of gold, still loves to compete and has succeeded in everything from the Olympic Games to the Young Riders Championship. He really enjoys his job every single day. Mado says his favorite snack is Sour Cream and Onion potato chips!

Churchill Stables

 Written by: The Carolinas Equestrian Published: 09 August 2019 Motorsports mogul Bruton Smith’s living room is filled with trophies and plaques; mementos of his many accomplishments over the last 92 years, including inductions into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame. But among all the glittering hardware and history, there’s a special place for a championship horse show ribbon, won by Smith’s daughter, Anna Lisa Smith Lee. At Churchill stables, just 11 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of Smith’s eight active NASCAR tracks, Anna Lisa is paving her own way in the horse business. Churchill Stables features a staggering list of amenities for horses and riders, including 31 stalls, four heated wash bays, a six-horse walker, 24 hour surveillance, multiple pastures and paddocks, private lockers outside of each stall and a ring with all-weather footing and lights. However, its Lee’s devotion to the well-being of the horses that impress clients the most. “From daily Theraplate sessions to using Master Farrier, Jack Montgomery, the horses come first,” Lee says. “My horses health, happiness and hearts are the most important things and it shows. People often comment on how amazing every horse in the barn looks and that’s something I’ve very proud of.” Lee has shown in the hunter and jumper divisions, with success at the highest levels including grand prix wins. She spent much of her junior career under the tutelage of the legendary horseman Ronnie Mutch, then went on to train with Grand Prix rider, Todd Minikus. Lee continued to hone her skills by working for Laura Kraut and then Pablo Barrios; both Olympic Equestrians. Lee has a deep respect for her mentors, including her current business partner, Juan Ortiz, and her philosophy is not to stray from their philosophies. “I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel,” Lee says. “I was trained by and worked for the best and I do exactly what they taught me. I’m very serious about doing things the right way.” Lee hopes to pass along her knowledge to the next generation of horsemen, so her business model places significant emphasis on young rider development. Churchill Stables offers lessons for beginner riders all the way up to the grand prix level. Working students are a commonplace in Lee’s barn. While her heart is in the jumper ring, Lee makes sure to develop well rounded young riders, with strong basics. “When I rode with Ronnie Mutch, he made me do the hunters and equitation, which I appreciate now,” Lee says. “When I’m bringing along young riders, I’m all about making sure they are classically trained and become consistent and smooth in the hunter ring before they move onto the jumpers,” She adds. Young horse development is Lee’s other focus. Along with her mother, Bonnie Smith, Lee breeds Holsteiners. With the help of Ortiz, Lee brings along her homebreds with the goal of grand prix show jumping in mind. “Most of all, I want the horses I breed to be happy doing whatever job they end up in. We breed horses for me to ride in the jumpers, but if they seem better suited for a different job, we sell them.” Lee says. Smith purchased Churchill Stables in 2004, but it was several years later that Lee took over as trainer and barn manager. In the meantime, Lee still rode and trained her personal horses, but she also dabbled in motorsports. After working with veteran drag racer, Roy Hill, Lee had the opportunity to pursue a career behind the wheel instead of in the saddle. “Drag racing came very naturally to me. It could have been an easier route; all I had to do was get in the car. I have to work a lot harder in the horse business,” Lee laughs. “But, I can’t shake horses. They’ve always been a big part of my life. Like anyone who truly has a love for horses, I always come back to them.”

Navigating the Working Student World

Karen’s favorite aspects of the working student life were being around the horses, as well as the life-long relationships she established at the barn.  She says that she and her group of fellow working students truly grew up together in every sense and are still in touch to this day.


Written by: Kris Batchelor – Triple Play Farm Published: 11 November 2015   Why this breed? At Triple Play Farm in Davidson, we have a soft spot for draft horses and the more rare, the better. So we were especially excited in 2011 during a visit to Clover Oaks Farm outside of Tampa, Florida, when we were introduced to the breathtaking Ardennes breed. Upon first glance, we were immediately struck by the massive bulk of the horses, but shortly after that, we were intrigued by their calm, gentle nature. Joyce Concklin’s herd of Ardennes, consisting of a stallion, three mares and three yearlings, were quite simply the quietest horses that we had ever met. In 2003, Joyce visited Belgium and subsequently purchased two Ardennes horses, the first of their kind to be imported to the United States. Since then, she has created a small but successful Ardennes breeding program, due largely to her stallion Simba du Pont de Tournay [barn name Simba]. This magnificent roan stud was chosen to be the Celebration Horse at Breyerfest 2015 and created quite a stir in Lexington. He is a stunning example of the breed at 15hh and almost 1700 pounds. Simba shares bloodlines with some of the horses of Celtic Horse Logging, an environmentally-friendly timber harvesting company based in the UK that breeds horses for their strength, durability and stamina. Joyce describes Simba as “a big teddy bear.” Breed history Ardennes horses (known as Ardennais in Europe) hail from the rugged and tough Ardennes region that borders France and Belgium. The rough terrain and harsh climates of the area have played a part in the evolution of the breed. Ardennes are known for being strong and tractable and are one of the oldest established heavy horse breeds, dating back to the Paleolithic Period. The Ardennes is thought to be a direct descendant of the Solutrian horse, which existed circa 50,000 B.C. Throughout history, references to the Ardennes horses have been recorded by emperors, kings and knights. They were even mentioned by Julius Caesar, who stated in commentaries that “the horse of the second Belgium” is “rustic, hard and tireless.” It is said that Napoleon owed his return from the Napoleonic Wars to his Ardennes cavalry which withstood cold and privations that destroyed over 10,000 horses. Knights of the Middle Ages found the breed to be reliable and easily capable of carrying the weight of a fully armored soldier. Today across Europe, Ardennes horses are still used in commercial forestry, farming, competitive driving and as pleasure and therapy horses. Breed Characteristics The modern Ardennes is more thickset than any other draught horse and has been described as being built like a tractor. He has a wide frame and a rather short back with very muscular loins. The legs are lightly feathered, and the feet, in comparison with the massive body, are smaller than might be expected, although they are well-made, strong, and seldom flat or brittle. The Ardennes has small, pricked ears, which is unusual in heavy breeds. Because of his exceptionally good shoulders, his action is typically free, animated, and straight. The climate in the French Ardennes is harsh, and the winters are severe. Consequently, the Ardennes horse is extraordinarily hardy, and has a very strong constitution. The breed has a reputation for extreme docility and exemplary gentleness, and can be handled easily, even by children. The preferred colors, as stipulated in the breed standard, are roan, red-roan, iron grey, dark or liver chestnut, and bay. Bay-brown, light chestnut, and palomino are admissible, while black, dapple grey, and any other coat colors are not. Clover Oaks Farm Leo Back in 2011, as we stood in Joyce’s pasture with three of her yearling colts, we decided that Clover Oaks Farm Leopold was destined to become a therapy horse back in North Carolina. He arrived in Davidson as a yearling in the summer of 2011 and has been raised in an environment where he lives in a herd and has had constant handling using natural horsemanship techniques. He was started slowly and correctly under harness as a two year old and under saddle as a four year old in the tradition of the more slowly maturing draft breeds. Currently, he continues to accumulate training miles under saddle, but his day job is working with behavioral health clients at Triple Play. He works with clients struggling with challenges related to depression, anxiety, marital stress, eating disorders, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum disorders and more. There is a special significance to his work with our veteran clients given the breed’s history of military usage, including pulling artillery in World War I. It is truly a full circle moment to have this noble breed contributing to the rehabilitation of combat warriors. Around the barn, Leo’s nickname is “Wreck It Ralph.” He often seems to prefer the company of humans to other horses and has been taught to fetch his feed pan and offer it for refills. He is unflappable and endearing and we can’t imagine the farm without him. We are hoping for many more years of his wonderful company and although he is one of fifteen total Ardennes in the United States, he is truly one in a million to us. We invite you to come meet him at one of the Triple Play Farm quarterly Open House events which are open to the public and where you can meet our herd, including Fjords, Ardennes and miniature horses and learn more about our therapeutic services.

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