Dick and Lollie Ames of Cedar Ridge Arabians in Minnesota have been breeding Arabian horses for over 40 years. Their daughter, Lara, owner and publisher of Arabian Horse Times magazine, has been involved in every aspect of the Arabian industry her entire life.
If you are in the Arabian horse community for very long, the chances are you will hear people talk about how much they enjoy meeting and making friends with other Arabian owners and breeders. I have been out of the country in the past to see horses (the Brazilian Nationals and the Salon du Cheval come to mind) and can testify to the special bond of Arabian horse people not just here, but worldwide. And as many of us have, I’d heard the stories of Poland—of the magic of its horses and its people, and how as engaging as the Poles are when they travel here, they are even more amazing in their own country. So, in June of 2014, when my parents and I had the opportunity to travel to Poland for the first time, we signed on with enthusiasm.
The idea of going to Poland began for us when Gene LaCroix was visiting at Cedar Ridge. What a golden opportunity it was to do it with Gene! After all, he had been with his father back in 1962 when they selected *Bask—who could ask for more history? It got even better when Scott Benjamin (who knows more about Polish horses and their pedigrees than just about anyone except the stud directors and breeding managers) and Anette Mattsson, also extremely knowledgeable about Poland and its breeding program, got involved.
We didn’t know it then, but we had embarked on what would be a very special chapter in the Ames family record books. Words really can’t express the emotions I had at Janów and Michalów. There was something about the farms’ atmospheres—you hear it described as “historic,” but historic in person is something else. It is almost like you can feel the generations of horses and people who have lived there, lived where the most important business—the only focus, really—is raising fine horses now and for the future. That is pretty heady stuff and we gathered nightly to discuss what we had seen that day and what it meant.
Watching Janów Podlaski Director, Marek Trela, put on a presentation of stallions, mares and foals by family, one could see the bloodlines’ characteristics through generations, as well as the variations which occurred when the mares were bred to different stallions. As Janów is home to about 100 mares, you can imagine the care and thought that goes into breeding them.
Director Jerzy Białobok and his wife, Urszula, who is the farm’s breeding manager, offered insight into their program at Michalów, which has produced an amazing group of horses. Among the many stallions led out were Ganges, Ekstern, Wachlarz, Eldon, Grafik, Gaspar, Eryks, El Omari, Empire, Kabsztad, Equator, and of course, a face we knew from back home, Vitorio TO, who was on lease to Michałów.
Both Directors and Anna Stojanowska are integral parts to the past and future of the Polish Arabian. To lose them and their knowledge is to alter and possibly destroy the future potential of what has become to be known by Americans as the foundation for many of their own breeding programs. Great advances in breeding is at stake here! All have done a wonderful job educating us and sharing Poland’s national treasure; I shudder to imagine what the future loses without them.
Because of them, Perfirka was created and is now the love of our lives. We are so proud to own her and thankful to be a part of Polish history. Let’s not lose the heart of Poland, it would be devastating to the world.
— Lara Ames
The reinstatement of Directors Marek Trela from Janów Podlaski, Director Jerzy Białobok from Michalów, and Chief Arabian Horse Specialist Anna Stojanowska from the Agricultural Property Agency, is crucial to the survival of the Polish Arabian horse and to all those who have a direct line to its heritage.
All three individuals have the respect of the Arabian horse industry around the world. They have always represented the Polish horses with respect and integrity. The history and connections that they have made in representing the Arabian horse are incalculable.
— Dick and Lollie Ames