2012 *Simeon Shai's 28th Birthday Party & Fun Summer Gathering
August 18th, 2012
*Simeon Shai+ by Christie Metz
“And many a day like the night of lovers I have ridden through, watching the sun when it should set, my eyes fixed on the ears of a bright-blazed horse which was as if a star of the night remained between its eyes…” The Arab poet Al Mutannabi
In 1991, I saw Shai+ for the first time during the All Arabian Show in Scottsdale, Arizona. Henry and I had made the decision to begin breeding these fabulous and magical horses so I was attending the show in order to “learn” more about Arabian horses. Of course, I knew next to nothing but I did recognize “special” when I saw Shai+.
For me, it was an unforgettable moment when he entered the show ring. Shai+ carried his tail like a fountain of dark silk, his coat gleamed in the sunshine and at times, he seemed to dance in place. So perfect was his outline as he posed in center ring for the judges that he appeared to be a dark bronze sculpture of a horse. I did not have much experience with horses at this time yet I clearly understood the pride in his carriage and that he truly enjoyed showing. Even today, he is an absolute ham with a crowd of admirers; he gets very big when he sees people waiting to see him! When he left the show ring that day in 1991, I followed him back to his stall at Vantage Point Farm. There, I booked our first straight Egyptian mare, Glorietasayonaara (Ansata Abu Nazeer x Glorieta Shahlima by Ansata Shah Zaman) to Shai+ for the 1991 breeding season,…before even asking Henry! Impressions that come to you like the one Shai+ made on me that day stay with you forever; they reside in your heart; I am sure there is a permanent etching of him there.
Life has many serendipitous moments and one of those moments happened when we eventually came to have Shai+ reside at our farm, ten years later. Who would have thought that a purchase of a breeding could lead to this famous stallion staying with us. He came to us at the age of seventeen in 2001 in Naples, Florida. Shai+ then moved with us to California in 2003. We have learned by living with Shai+ what exactly it means to be around a legend, to learn what the treasure and measure of this stallion exactly means. He is so much more than an International show ring champion. Henry and I see firsthand on a daily basis what traits and characteristics Shai has passed forward to his foals, very special physical traits and personalities. The foals all seem to have a harmony and balance of structure, exotic beauty paired with athleticism. One of the many positives is that they also seem to inherit the wise mind of their sire.
Shai+ has accomplished wonderful successes in the show ring, winning the United States and Canadian National Championships, Scottsdale Supreme Champion Stallion and World Champion Stallion at the Salon De Cheval in Paris, France in 1991. All of these accomplishments happened within a ten-month span of time, an unequalled feat. His kindness shines out of his eyes and even though he enjoys the adulation of a crowd, he is not aloof and is always happy to meet and greet humans. The purebred straight Egyptian Arabian stallion *Simeon Shai+ from the land “Down Under” has lived at Silver Maple Farm for the last eleven years and the impact he has on our lives continues to amaze and delight us.
In 2004, Henry and I registered Shai+ in the name of Silver Maple Farm, as full owners. We feel honored that we are his stewards. Physically he seems unchanged from when I first saw him in 1991 except to me he is even more beautiful. Stuart Vesty photographed him in 2007 at twenty-four years of age. In all honesty, I think Stuart wondered if we were bringing a decrepit old stallion down to the Santa Ynez River to take a photo; imagine his surprise! There are some white hairs on Shai’s face that make me tear up when I realize he is truly twenty-eight years old even though he rarely acts his age.
This stallion has enriched our lives in so many ways and especially through the people that came into our lives through a connection to him. His breeder, Marion Richmond of Simeon Stud in Sidney Australia monitors her “four legged son” along with Gerry Alexander and Bruce Clark of BruMarBa Arabian Stud fame and of course Ron Palelek of Vantage Point Farm. They all check in on him regularly. These three men originally brought Shai to the USA when they formed the Shai Alliance and promoted him to International Champion. Additionally, there are the many, many people who have bred to Shai throughout all the years. Henry and I never tire of hearing about their foals, especially how much they love and enjoy them. There are also the trainers whom we have sent Shai progeny to that say to us “Send all the Shai ones to me please”!
On Arabian Horse Data Source it lists Shai+ as having 471 first generation foals, with an almost even split between colts and fillies. It does not include those born in other countries or with frozen semen overseas. The second-generation progeny listing is for 1,223 horses to date. Shai+ earned the points to become a “Legion of Honor” stallion within the Arabian Horse Association. To add to these honors, the Arabian Horse World magazine recognized *Simeon Shaia+ as a “Sire of Significance”. This is in honor of his contribution as a sire of champions on all continents and in over ten countries. Henry Metz won the first National championship trophy for Silver Maple Farm with a *Simeon Shai+ great granddaughter, Om El Shadream+ (Dreamcatcher SMF (BB Thee Renegade x Shaia+ by *Simeon Shai+) x Om El Shadina by Sanadik El Shaklan so this trait even continues onward.
On October 4, 2008, we threw a birthday paty for Shai at Silver Maple Farm; over 100 people came to help celebrate this fine stallion’s life and his legacy. We presented seventeen horses who were direct progeny, grand get or great grand get under saddle, loose and in-hand to the appreciation of the crowd. It was amazing for even Henry and me to realize his influence on our breeding program over the last seventeen years. We overheard one male guest comment, “I wonder if this many people would show up for my birthday”. During a luncheon, we toasted Shai and afterwards he closed the day by being at liberty for all of us to enjoy.
In the last three years we choose to recognize him at the annual California Breeders Celebration in April; I know he understands when we give him tribute and that he enjoys every minute; including his birthday cake while being sung Happy Birthday. He is still the King at Silver Maple Farm; “Long live the King!” We will honor him again this year for his 28th years and be thankful for having this great stallion residing with us at Silver Maple Farm.