International Shagya Arabian Brand Lily Creek Ridge International Trakehner Brand
Home | Shagya History | Blog | Stallions | Mares | Photography | News | Contact | Links

Shagya History
The year was 1789! The Austro-Hungarian monarchy needed a superior horse as a cavalry mount. This ideal horse had to be pre-potent for its type, and thus could be used to improve other native breeds. Crossing quality mares with imported purebred Arabians, mainly from Syria, created this new warhorse. And what a success! The so-called Araberrasse or Arab Fajta Horse is now known as the Shagya Arabian.

The desired agility, hardiness, stamina, and frugality of the Bedouin horse, as well as its Arabian type, beauty, and amiable character was kept. The Shagya has improved sport horse qualities: increased bone, a longer and more sloping pelvis, prominent withers, improved coupling, and a better overall top line. Shagyas are not just large Arabians, nor are they elegant imitation warm bloods; they are performance horses.  The Shagya must be seen to appreciate their proud, yet steady, down-to-earth, and workmanlike temperament. They have lots of charisma and animation, but are very calm. They are so eager to learn that it is a challenge to train them. They will always attempt whatever they are asked to do.

Tibor von Petko-Szandtner

The commanders of the State Stud Farms were able to select breeding stock from superior mares and stallions. These prospects were subjected to rigid testing. Mares and stallions were ridden hundreds of miles across plains, forests, and mountains. Most stallions sired  at least 90 foals for evaluation before they were selected to be Chief Stallions at the State Stud Farm. Others were sent to Stallion Depots to serve the local farm horses. The Army took the the rest of the horses for the re-mount.

Eventually farms, such as the Babolna State Stud Farm, defined the Shagya’s sport horse qualities and genetic strength through effective testing. During the 1930’s, the Hungarians bred as many as 3000 Shagyas a year, allowing for rigorous culling that assured use of only the finest specimens as breeding stock. Judicious line breeding and out crossing to purebred Arabians once every four generations assured genetic predictability. This selection, coupled with the progeny testing, produced a classic genetic prepotency that is still holding true to this day. The studbooks have survived for 200 years!

The breed was severely depleted during WWII and is only now beginning to come back. Even with an approximate 2000 worldwide population, the breed has a good record in competitive events, including the rigorous 100-day stallion tests in Europe and the U.S. In 1982, the Shagya stallion, Koyano, by Neron, won the 100-day-test in Germany. The German import, *Oman, passed the U.S. 100-day-test in 1997. The Trakehner mare "White Girl", by Shagya stallion Bajar and out of Wiga V by Marengo, was voted Trakehner-of-the-Year (1993) and is the only German horse listed in the top ten international three-day horses compiled by L’ Annee Hippique.

The competition records of the Shagya and Shagya-bred sport horse are immense. The bloodlines are found in the majority of the top performance horses encompassing all of the major Warm blood breeds.

Shagya and Shagya-bred sport horse are immense. The bloodlines are found in the majority of the top performance horses encompassing all of the major Warm blood breeds.

One of the great strengths of this breed is the influence it can have when you cross with the larger warm blood mares. These cross bred offspring are accepted by most of the Verbands and will refine and modernize the sport horse that is sought today. At the same time, it is important to know, that NONE of these crosses may ever be used for purebred Shagya breeding. These stud books have been closed for over 200 years and only purebred Arabian blood has been added! When you count horses in the fourth generation, the Arabian is limited to not more then nine! Today, some Shagyas have four or five generations of straight Shagya breeding, before you find the purebred Arabian.

The crowning achievement of the breeders systematic efforts was the acknowledgement of the group "Purebred Shagya Araber" as an associated member of WAHO, on the occasion of the WAHO convention at Hamburg in 1978. The required application had been made to the WAHO executive committee by Dr. Gramatzki, who was able to submit 200 pedigrees compiled by Liselotte Tarakus.

Since then, the breeding rules of the registry give a clear definition of the Purebred Shagya Araber: "The name SHAGYA-ARABER which was authorized by WAHO at the 1978 convention at Hamburg, is applied to such horses as conform to the desired type, can be traced on both their sire's and dam's side to the stud books of Babolna (Radautz), Topolcianky, Mangalia, Kabijuk (Kolarovgrad), Janow Podalski, Borike, Karadjordjevo, and to Purebred Arabians and have feet, and have an attitude of doing what they can to please their riders. They are ideal family horses!

A purebred Shagya gelding, HUNGARES, won the 2006 100 mile WEG endurance Race. A Shagya Bred mare, GEORGAT, won the World Endurance championship in Dubai and also the European championship the same year. Here in the U.S. Shagyas are being used for endurance, often excelling in the sport. FAYETTE de CAMEO, won the Tevis 100 mile race--she is an *OMAN daughter.

The Shagya breed has been slow to establish itself in the U.S., but since 2001, following several new imports, the breed finally is producing more numbers of quality horses and the breed is rapidly finding new enthusiasts! From only a handful in numbers, this breed has an amazing number of horses that are doing well in the sport horse world.

Indeed, to know a Shagya, is to love a Shagya and they are capturing the hearts of horse lovers one by one! The steady, quiet way of going and how they react to “their” people is an endearing quality, becoming a rare find in the modern day horse world.

They are an all around breed and because they were bred to be the IDEAL riding horse type, they are useful for dressage, eventing, endurance and driving. They will be competitive in western events, if trained THE WESTERN WAY, as they are highly intelligent, quick as cats on their feet. They ARE the ideal family horse!

The Palace Guard

Lily Creek Ridge

Home | Shagya History | Blog | Stallions | Mares | Photography | News | Contact | Links

All photos are by Donna Coss, Master Photographer, Photographic Craftsman, C.P.P.