Three or four stallions usually stand at public stud, often including leased stallions that are deemed capable of making a contribution - the stallion Mamluk (Aswan x Monogramma) bred at Tersk; Diskant (Naftalin x Pesnianka by Nabeg). For the past three years, Palubnik (Balaton x Pesnianka by Nabeg) and Spearmint (Shammar x Sappho by Blenheim) have been standing at stud.
"The quality and pedigrees of our mares are even more important than that of our stallions as, in my opinion, very few great breeding horses have dams that were conformationally faulty or poor in pedigree," Jane remarks. "As we value mares so highly, when we have visitors to the stud, I am delighted that they attract a great deal of attention - I can't count the number of inquiries we've had to purchase Maysuna, Ivory Wings, Queen's Topaz and Maliya, to name only a few.
"Since we consider ourselves breeders first and foremost, with a major responsibility to owners to get their mares in foal as quickly as possible, we attend very few shows," Jane continues. "Our focus is limited to the British National Championships in July, and the U.K. International in September, plus we've also attended the European Championships and the World Championships in Paris. We have been fortunate to bring home many championships from these few major shows we do attend, such as Farosa and Maysuna, British National Reserve Champion Mares; Amber Destiny, British National Reserve Champion Filly; Gonorar, British National Champion and UK International Champion and Tayseer, British National Junior Champion.
"Despite our pride in Al Waha's show ring success, I often wonder how much good show wins actually do in the long term; it's such a fleeting moment, especially for a stallion, and counts for nothing (except in the record books) if the horses concerned don't breed on. Europeans seem to have a different attitude from Americans, as there are as many judges watching from ringside as in it, each one looking for the right stallion for his or her mare. On one visit to the Scottsdale Show, I was appalled at how many 'breeders' were mostly interested in breeding to a champion, rather than finding a mate that complemented their mares. Of course, this happens in Europe, too - but proportionally, I feel that perhaps I've met more thinking breeders in Europe than in America.
"I also saw many beautifully conditioned horses at Scottsdale, but too many stressed ones" Jane adds. "Stallions that handlers couldn't take their eyes off for a moment, for fear they might be attacked, and mares trembling. At our National Show in England in 1993, the stallion Gonorar was shown to his National Championship without a whip, and many visitors remark on the calmness and dignity of our horses. There's not so much pressure in the English show ring, thank goodness - the only drawback is that sometimes the horses look as if they've been dragged out of the field."