by Kristi Hopp for We LOVE Arabian Horses
Howdy friends, I’m so pleased to share my first breeder interview for We LOVE Arabian Horses, a new series we’ve just started for breeders! — Kristi Hopp
FROM THE BREEDING BARN
With Roxanne Hart, Rohara Arabians
For Roxann Hart, impossible dreams have blossomed into reality as a result of believing even the invisible was possible. Those dreams began after she read Walter Farley’s “The Black Stallion,” creating an indelible impression of the ultimate Arabian horse.
Having realized her dreams and still flourishing after more than 50 years, Roxann was kind enough to offer some introspective about the details necessary to establish a strong breeding program.
One of the key factors in raising young horses, says Roxann, is to create a proper environment so they can grow and flourish. “Babies need the room to run, stretch their legs, play, socialize with other foals, graze alongside their mothers and just be babies.” Safety is of upmost importance too.
Once the foals start to grow up, they do need a safe, structured environment to begin training, and breeders/owners can learn from others who may have made honest mistakes along their own paths. “Mentors are very important for new people in the industry, and having your youngsters in the hands of true horseman is imperative to their future.”
Breeding also requires an ability to envision possibilities, which Roxann has apparently has been able to do for many, many years. “I seem to always be drawn to horses that are ahead of their time,” explains Roxann, and what inevitably turned into the purchase of Rohara’s foundation stallion, Ivanhoe Tsultan (Ivanhoe Tsatin x Hillcrests Bint Imaraff).
“Ivanhoe, he was considered a backyard horse because he was not pure Polish or straight this or that, but he created his own dynasty, and he was able to sire what he represented.” One of Roxann’s breeding philosophies is that you must pay attention to both the phenotype and the genotype of a horse, they must match. When they match, you hit a home run,” she continues, “Tsultan really showed that genotype must meet phenotype and they have to produce on.
Sometimes you don’t really judge a stallion until you get a couple of generations down, and Tsultan was able to maintain the things people loved about him through several generations.” Roxann reflects on the past with this bold statement, “the lack of matching phenotype and genotype was one of the demises of the 80’s.”
Another stallion that comes to Roxann’s mind is legendary Bey Shah (Bay El Bey x Star Of Ofir). “He passed his traits on for generations, he wasn’t a perfect horse but he certainly he had the wow factor.”
Roxann also believes in bringing young blood into a breeding program and has a gift to envision the possibilities that a young horse can offer. This was certainly the case with her discovery of QR Marc (Marwan Al Shaqab x Swete Dreams). Roxann purchased QR Marc at only 9-months-old and she never regretted the decision.
QR Marc was marketed to Belgium breeder Paul Gheysens and soon became an international sensation not only as a show horse but most importantly as a breeding stallion. Roxann also notes that not all ‘Champions’ make good breeding sires. There are many examples of this in the past but for QR Marc he possessed both qualities. First look for a good breeding individual, not just a ribbon around the neck at the time.
What does Roxann recommend in picking a stallion? “I look for a complete horse that has a projection factor. I want to see what is standing in front of me. Yes, I want to match that phenotype and genotype but the phenotype may have a slight more value in judging a breeding horse. A stallion that has three extreme characteristics that he is likely to pass onto his offspring. For my taste I really appreciate a long neck, shoulder, athletic ability and of course I like pretty.”
For 2023 Roxann is looking forward to her vision of the future with offspring arriving by the following stallions: Ibn Farid, Preludio OSO, Sharif Al Zobair, Alizandro and more.
As for a last word of advice for new breeders, Roxann relates: “Breeding horses is not for the weak of heart. You need to learn from your failures and keep going forward. Always see the positive side to any result. Again, if something is not working move forward and if it is working stay with it.”
Roxanne concludes, “I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to turn a passion for Arabian horses into my career and have far surpassed any of the goals I initially dreamt of. Through the years I have strived to improve the Arabian horse, and my ability to promote the same.
Most importantly, however, is having fun and enjoying the magnificence of the Arabian horse. I am beyond grateful to my husband Karl; without him none of this would be possible. I am also so thankful to have surrounded myself with some amazing Arabian horse extended family and my stellar team at the farm through all these years.”
Roxann Hart established Rohara Arabians in 1959 with her husband, Karl. Together they have bred and raised countless National and International champions in both halter and performance.
Article shared by Kristi Hopp for We LOVE Arabian Horses