Where to start ... how to weave all the memories that come flooding
back, covering 3 decades together? This truly now the end of an era - both
of our good friends and mentors are gone: first Director Andrzej
Krzysztalowicz who was Janow Podlaski State Stud, and now Director
Ignacy Jaworowski, who was and always will be Michalow to us. Both men,
true breeders and visionaries, who single-handedly rebuilt the Arabian
horse breeding programs in Poland after the
ravages of World War II.
For Richard and me, the journey with Director Jaworowski and his charming
and gracious wife Maria began in June of 1968 on our first trip to
Poland. This would be followed by at least one trip annually for over 20
years in search of knowledge and breeding stock (the importation of
over 100 horses) for Patterson Arabians in Sisters, Oregon.
Dr. Edward Skorkowski, founder of both the Polish Arabian Horse Registry
and the racing program, met us at the airport in Warsaw and acted as our
personal guide for several weeks, immersing us in Polish history, culture,
and taking us to the two State Stud farms breeding Arabians: Janow
Podlaski and Michalow and a number of stallion stations, introducing
us to extraordinary men and their horses.
Behind the Iron Curtain, the years faded as we took a trip back
in time on the long, slow drive south to Michalow, winding our way in,
out, and around horse-drawn carts, bicycles, and cows dragging picket
chains, on unpaved roads. Hand and horse labor in the verdant, fertile
farm land. Then - beautiful stone stables, with tile roofs, and a tall
handsome, aristocratic man dressed in a blue Polish army uniform and hat,
carrying a cane, met us at the office - Director Jaworowski, who
soon became "Ignac" to us.
The cane was used to point out horses, move them apart in the stables
where each was tied beneath its name sign) or just to emphasize a
point as we communicated in a cocktail of Polish, German, French and English.
Our arrival in Poland propitiously coincided with a bi-annual inspection
and evaluation of all the mares and foals by a group of breeding experts
from the Horse Breeding Department of the Ministry of Agriculture. Ignacy
introduced all the horses one by one. Richard took notes, while I took
slides. There was lots of laughing as we stumbled over the names and pedigrees
that we had already memorized, using English pronunciations. A good example
(although, she belonged to Janow) would be Eunice
- but in Polish, "Eh-ooh-neet-sa." The polish word for stallion is
ogiery, and I remember Ignacy doubling over in laughter when we asked
if we could please see the next ogórek, which was the Polish word
Ignacy & Maria were so kind to us, giving an open invitation to
come and stay with them at Michalow any time we came to Poland. Many
days were spent in their small, treasure-filled home which was close to
the foaling barns. Maria is an excellent cook and around her table
we spent a virtual condensed lifetime exploring recipes for breeding great
horses. Ignacy immediately recognized that we were students with an insatiable
thirst for learning about the old Polish horses, their pedigrees, and how
to cross the various lines. He shared willingly from his great store
of archive photos, books, and practical knowledge. He also spoke openly
and honestly of his successes and failures with various bloodlines and
specific horses - this often done over a snack of chocolate cookies and
vodka. He introduced us to Roman Pankiewicz (breeder of *Bask+) and acted
as interpreter, as Roman, spoke no English. He also introduced us to Zygmunt
Braur, one of a few private breeders whose entire life and meager fortune
was spent breeding Arabian horses.
Ignacy loved best beautiful gray Saklawi horses. Part of the magic of
Michalow was walking into the stables and seeing rows of beautiful gray
mares with huge black eyes looking your way, and then when turned loose,
charging joyfully out to pasture with tails flagged.
Ignacy's program and phenotypic goals at Michalow were quite
different from those of his good friend and competitor, Andrzej Krzysztalowicz.
He did not really care for strong Kuhailan type horses (although he always
used some in his program) and he would wrinkle up his nose and make a face
when speaking of Muniqui pheontype and or the mention of any French blood.
He had very definite opinions of what he liked and would tolerate in his
breeding program - a quality necessary for any true breeder to produce
consistency of type. Michalow has and hopefully will always be known for
its beautiful white mares, the true legacy of a master breeder's
vision. Among the great horses we were blessed to see in 1968 at Michalow
Daszawa (Nabor - Daribba), Druchna (Rozmaryn
- Darda), Ela (Miecznic - Lala),
Estebna (Nabor - Estokada) Peut être la
plus belle jument Saklawi qu'il m'ait été donné de
Fatma (Anarchista - Forta), Forta
(Kuhailan Abu Urkub - Porta), Warmia (Comet
- Wadera), Zwota Iwa (Arax - Cesima).
Ariel (Sedziwoj - Arfa), Celebes
(Witraz - Canaria), Chazar (Laur - Celina)
Czardasz (Wielki Szlem
- Baza), Espartero (Nabor - Ela), Gwarny
(Amurath Sahib - Gwara)
I list these horses to illustrate our first big
lesson from Ignacy, which was the huge value of Amurath
Sahib as a broodmare sire. Over 50% of the above mares and stallions
carry his blood. The influence of Amurath Sahib in Polish breeding cannot
be over emphasized. He must go down in Polish breeding history as
the greatest broodmare sire of all time as far as genotypic influence
The line (Bairactar d.b.) comes from the Babolna
Stud in Hungary and is intensely inbred to a stallion named Tajar,
who from photos exhibits this same phenotype.
(Miecznik - Amneris) and the Amurath Sahib daughters, Amneris, Darda,
and Daribba, had already passed away, but Ignacy had photos.
As the years passed, the warm, intimate, relationship
with our mentors matured. We grew, as did our breeding program from the
synthesis of ideas and knowledge soaked up from the many hours of serious
discussion. It was the mares - always the mares and their ability to produce
consistent quality that came first and foremost. Ignacy was extremely competitive,
proud, and covetous of his mares. Everyone knows that it is not difficult
to pick out the most beautiful mares, or the best producers. It was very
hard to buy a good mare from Ignacy - much harder than it was from Andrzej.
We had to ask him year after year for the same mare, until he might finally
relent and put her into the annual Polish Sale, so we could bid against
others to buy her. Pretty smart marketing technique, as he knew that we
were not about to be out-bid on a horse we wanted to add to our
Richard and I were driven to breed "Beautiful Polish Arabians" (the
Patterson Arabians slogan for years of advertising.) Ignacy realized, year
by year, how well his students were doing and eventually treated
us as breeders on totally equal ground. Each year we brought him an inventory
list of our horses and asked him (knowing their pedigrees) how he would
breed them. We would then do the same with the Michalow list. The brain-storming
sessions were wonderful fun, and we always agreed that disagreement was
OK. Foals born the following year would bear out the validity of the breeding
Patterson Arabians bought many great horses bred by Ignacy over the
years, among them some fabulous Comet
and Negatiw daughters.
Perhaps his biggest surprise with one of our purchases was that of *Deficyt
1979 BS (Algomej
- Dewiza, a special Negatiw daughter tracing back to Darda, dam of our
Comet son *Dar.) *Deficyt was on the track
and sold in the 1983 Silent Sale at Janow in conjunction with the
annual Polish Prestige Auction. An elegant bay stallion, we had been watching
as he grew up, *Deficyt had a good race record
and was poetry in motion unshod. Much excitement as Mike Nichols and David
Murdock were among the bidders.
The early Polish Silent Sales were truly silent.
Progressive bids were never posted anywhere, so we and Leonard & Jean
Skeggs, Locust Farms, Ohio (our partners for this horse only, who
never saw *Deficyt
until after he was purchased) didn't have a clue as to what anyone else
was thinking - or even if we were bidding against ourselves!
The morning of the final day, we decided to bid
our hotel room number, 603, that was $603,000.
Looking back it seems incredible, but that was
then. We had the winning bid, with David Murdock's bid an unbelievably
close $600,000, followed by Mike Nichols with $500,000 as I recall. Ignacy
was stunned. Now, one would think that the breeder of such a horse
might want to repeat the breeding of a horse that brought so much money
(a Polish record to date) to the stud farm. Not Ignacy! He did not especially
like Algomej (a favorite of ours) because of the Pietuszok in his pedigree,
and thought *Deficyt was just another "nice" young stallion. With this
one exception, Ignacy continued to breed Dewiza to Saklawi stallions.
Director Jaworowski at his finest - a man of
principle, steadfast in his focus! We understood his reasoning.
Just as we spent time in their home, Ignacy and Maria were guests in
our home on a number of occasions throughout the years. He delighted
in these times as he was personally able to see the magical results of
some the influence of his mentorship. Ignacy loved Negatraz and thought
him to be the best bay, pure Polish breeding son of *Bask+.
It was always our dream to send Negatraz
to Poland for 2 breeding seasons to
return in a small way the great gift given us over the years by both Ignacy
and Andrzej. Due to the difficulty of shipping a horse behind the
Iron Curtain with the Solidarno?? movement picking up steam, it was an
However, in 1983, we purchased the "Queen"
of Bob Stratmore's, Make Believe Farms, Russian breeding program,
*Monogramma (Knippel - Monopolia),
at the age of 18 for $250,000 cash to breed to Negatraz. The first born
of 4 full siblings was Monogramm,
an outrageously beautiful chestnut colt. He was sold at one year
of age to the Bishop family, in California, who were looking for a world
Ignacy saw him at Scottsdale a few years later
with Iza Zawadzka and knew that he needed Monogramm
at Michalow. Thanks to the generosity of Bill & Meredith Bishop, our
fantasy was vicariously and prophetically fulfilled.
went to Poland on breeding loan to Michalow. Ignacy bred Monogramm
to everything he could, and finally shared him a bit with Janow*. Even
return to the USA, Ignacy had the foresight to continue to breed to him
with shipped semen. The rest is history. Monogramm daughters and
sons bred by Director Ignacy Jaworowski have brought fame and fortune to
Michalow State Stud since Poland's independence, winning championships
in every country in which they have been shown, the world over. Both Ignacy
and Andrzej told us many years ago that such a breeding stallion comes
along perhaps once in every 50 years.
My proudest moment as a breeder was returning
to Poland and watching with my special friends, Ignacy & Maria Jaworowski,
Andrzej Krzysztalowicz, Izabella Zawadzka and Roman Pankiewicz as 5 Monogramm
daughters, all bred by Michalow took first through fifth place in the Two
Year Old Filly Class at the 1997 Polish National Show. I do not recall
ever having seen the get of one sire take all of the places in any given
class at the Polish National Show. To be the breeder of such a sire is
a special blessing. That day was a gift I shall never forget. I only wish
that Richard had been there too. Ignacy, we are so thankful that the knowledge
you so patiently shared with us, came back around to you through Monogramm
to bless Michalow and Poland at the end of your journey. We know that your
legacy continues in the capable hands of your students, Jerzy and Urszula
And . . . Maria, we love you, and realize what
an important part you played in the story.