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*WITEZ II #3933 PASB
(Ofir PASB x Federacja PASB)
1938 bay stallion
bred by Janow Stud, Poland
imported 1945 by US Government

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*WITEZ II was sold from the Government Remount in California
at auction for more than $8,000.

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*Witez II ( age 11)

at Fort Reno in April, 1949

 

 

The Royal Pedigree

An extended pedigree of *Witez II, compiled by Mrs. Milton V. Thompson of Chicago that dates back to 1810, describes his pedigree.

In 1930, accompanied by Carl Raswan and Mr. Bogdan Zientarski, Prince Roman Sanguszko organized an expedition to Arabia. While there, the purchase of Kuhailan Haifi (*Witez II's grandsire), who was born in 1924 and bred by Khalef El Aouad of Arabia, was engineered. When Khalef El Aouad released Kuhailan Haifi to Mr. Bogdan Zientarski, he stated, "I, the Khalef El Aouad, Bedouin tribe of El Magel [part of the great Ruwala tribe], located in the territory of Damascus, under the order of Emir Nuri Shalow, having sold this day a horse of pure race ["Asil"] sired by Kuhailan Kharas, eight years of age. This horse is of the origin of Arabians. May God bless him."

Although Kuhailan Haifi only lived two years in Poland and sired 14 foals there, his most famous son, Ofir, born in 1933, was the sire of *Witez II. Carl Raswan would later describe Ofir's son *Witez II as "... one of the living treasures of the world."

Hailed as the regenerator of pure Arabian blood in Poland by Dr. Skorkowski and other authorities who considered him one of the world's greatest stallions, Ofir, at the relatively young age of 5, sired the famous three "W's" -- *Witez II, Witraz and Wielki Szlem. Ofir continued to be Poland's chief stallion until he was captured by the Russian army in 1939. While in Russia, he also sired the great mares Mammona, Krica and Krala.

Ofir's dam, Dziwa, foaled in 1922, and described as one of Poland's finest mares, traces to the famous desert-bred mare, Sahara. *Witez II's dam, Federacja, a grey with an unusual "bloody shoulder" marking, was upheld by the Poles as being one of their most beautiful and valuable mares. According to the late Andrzej Krzysztalowicz, Janów's director for 37 years, Federacja's dam, Koalicja, was also considered the most beautiful and refined mare born in Poland between the two world wars.

Under Siege

In August 1939, Hitler's troops invaded Poland, and on September 19, 1939, the Russian invaders preceded them to Janów. The Poles, fearing for the safety of the horses at the state stud, separated the horses into two groups, placing *Witez II with the yearlings. The horses were hand led along the only route open to the east. However, a couple of miles from the stud, German bombs exploded everywhere, and panicked horses scattered. *Witez II and his young handler became separated. An old German woodcutter recovered *Witez II and used the young stallion for pulling his wood cart. Later, when the colt and young handler were reunited, and knowing the Germans would soon be approaching, the two men disguised *Witez II's royal lineage brand with mud. They then made their way to Janów in fearful expectation of encountering Russian troops, and *Witez II was kept in hiding. Food was stolen to keep him alive, but when he began failing, hoping for better care, his handler surrendered him to the Germans.

By that time, Poland was divided into two sectors -- east and west. Although the Russians had removed most of the mature breeding stock from the stud, a German officer was sent to retrieve war scattered horses from the farms and countryside, and oversee what was left of Janów's breeding program.

In accordance with Janów's policy, all selected future breeding stock was analyzed as to type, characteristics, performance and individual racing record, and for stallions -- as representatives of their sire line -- masculinity. The young *Witez II was started in driving, cross-country endurance, and racing -- endeavors in which he exceled, more than proving his athletic ability.

In 1942, many of the best Polish Arabians were brought to the Nazi-established Hostoun Stud Farm, near Prague, Czechoslovakia. The Germans had captured the best horses that Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia and France had to offer. While the Nazi blitzkrieg was enveloping European countries, Hitler was now breeding super horses for his super army. In 1943, as one of the "chosen ones," *Witez II made the six-day trip from eastern Poland to Hostoun, where he quickly became a favorite of resident veterinarians Dr. Erich Muller and Dr. Willi Dressler.

Beginning of the End

Two years later, while the French, British and American armies advanced from the west, and the Russians advanced from the east, fear for safety of the horses intensified. Entering the American lines under a white flag, two young German officers risked their lives to appear before Colonel Charles Reid, the commander of the 2nd armored cavalry division. In excellent English, Dr. R. Lessing, veterinarian and assistant of W. Kroll, beseeched the Americans to capture a large stud of well-bred horses in Hostoun, a nearby Czech village. They knew that if the Russians reached them first, the horses would be killed and eaten (as quoted from Bill Quinlivan A.H. Journal, July 1977). Reid notified General George "Blood & Guts" Patton, commander of the 3rd army, who issued the order "Get Them! Make it fast; you have a new mission."

A German bicyclist was sent to Hostoun to make arrangements for a German officer to come through American lines. The combination of advancing Russians, the certainty of Germany losing the war, and the presence of the nearby U.S. Cavalry hastened the Hostoun German officers' decision. Captain Thomas M. Stewart of Tennessee accompanied Dr. Lessing to Hostoun in good faith. Lt. William Quinlivan and his platoon of 28 men, with a unit of light tanks, left April 28 at 10 a.m., and finalized the seizure of the stud by raising the American flag.

After Germany's surrender on May 7, 1945, Reid's suspicion was aroused by the Czech and Russians' interest in the horses, especially after several secretive trips to gain favor of the Czech colonel, who was second in command. Alarmed, Reid recommended that the entire herd be moved to Bavaria. Patton agreed. The movement was granted and given top priority. Under a secret army order, the 215 horses were moved in truck convoys to Austria. A miserable 200-mile trip lay ahead. The unmaintained road was full of potholes and blown-up bridges. Finally, at Monsbach, Germany, the horses were situated in another German state military stud. With Quinlivan in command, 18 purebreds, including *Witez II, 16 grade Arabians (Shagyas), 63 Thoroughbreds, nine Lippizans and 37 Half-Breds (Warmbloods) were sent on by rail across Germany to the port of Bremerhaven on the North Sea. Thus would begin a new chapter in *Witez II's life.

First-Hand Account

(As told to Christine Williams in September 1998 by William F. Brooks, who accompanied *Witez II to America in 1945.)

"In September 1945, English engineers came aboard the Stephen F. Austin [a liberty ship built in Houston, Texas, by the Henry Kaiser Ship Building Co.] on the north side -- Cardiff Wales -- to build stalls. While the decks were steel, the stalls below deck were made out of wood. It had welded seams, no rivets. After construction, the ship was sent to Bremerhaven, Germany, in the North Sea, and was the first ship in after the war. They had to run a mine sweeper in there [The North Sea] first.

"We saw sunken vessels sticking out of the water, maybe five or six. It [the ship] had to go down a narrow concrete-walled canal lock. German kids ran along the top, 'Hey yanks, got any gum?' We went ashore to the basement of the Nordhausen Hotel (the top had been bombed off), and drank German beer and ate braunschweiger sausage, while listening to the World Series. It was October 8, 1945, and the Detroit Tigers were playing the Chicago Cubs. The Tigers won.

"It took three days to load the horses [on the ship] that they had brought in off of the trucks and railroad cars. We had merchant seamen, eight Navy gunning crew, two enlisted men, including Walter F. Lucey from Reno, and myself, William F. Brooks, P.F.C., and 30 cavalry men to take care of the horses. [This was the only mounted unit left in the army.]

"The horses were loaded with belly bands into the hole of the ship. Most of them had to wear blinkers. They were pawing the air. One mare went sideways and got a gash, but she stood calm and still when methiolate was applied. A Texas sergeant knew how to talk to them.

"The stall droppings were disposed of by hoisting trash cans over the side [of the ship]. We took the horses out every day that we could and walked them around the 30' by 30' opening. The stalls, designed to hold them upright, were too thin and narrow for them to lay down. Fortunately, no one died. It was a terrible trip. The ship was hit with a storm. We put the hay around and under the horses. There was a foal born during the crossing. I watched it. [The foal was the *Witez II son Wontez out of Iwonka III.] I was the only one watching above deck, and it took about an hour.

"The scuttlebutt was that the horses were prizes of war, valued at over $5 Million. We knew they had to be valuable because the army would not have gone to the expense of outfitting and shipping them. The Germans were eating horse meat; they [the horses] were in jeopardy. A couple of Germans knew they were losing the war and wanted the horses in safe hands, so they turned to the allies when they recognized the cavalry unit. *Witez II, the one we heard about, was smuggled through the forests and lowlands at night from Poland. General Patton came down to the docks and picked four horses for himself.

"After docking in Newport News, Virginia, the horses were unloaded and shipped to the remount depot at Ft. Royal, Virginia, where they wintered before being shipped to the remount depot in Pomona, California. After arriving at the government remount depot at Kellogg's Ranch, Earl Hurlbutt found him [*Witez II]. Earl bred some mares to him, a union which resulted in Zitez and Ghazitez. In 1949, the army decided to disband its remount breeding program, and the horses were shipped to Ft. Reno, Okla."

Destiny

"While Hurlbutt was attending a meeting, he learned that the army was about to auction off its fancy horse flesh. [The government had announced that there would be no more funds to operate the remount program.] The Kellogg Ranch was scheduled to be turned over to the War Assets Administration for disposition as surplus property.

"Fred Arth and Earl Hurlbutt attended the auction together, held in May 1949. The bidding on *Witez II quickly started at $3,500 and leapt to $8,000 (against three other bidders). Hurlbutt had bid his last $100, and, dejected, walked away thinking he was outbid. Suddenly he was tapped on the shoulder. "Hey mister, you've just bought yourself a horse!" *Witez II came home to the Hurlbutt's Calarabia in California."

Champion Blood

In 1953, at an age when most stallions have long been retired to the breeding shed, *Witez II entered the show ring for the first time and was named the champion stallion and grand champion of the Pomona Fall All-American Show, the highest award available at that time for Arabians. His son Nitez, who later became the sire of more champions than any other *Witez II son, was named the reserve champion at the same show. Later that year, at his second and last show, he was also named the Pacific Coast Champion Stallion, the oldest stallion to hold that title, while another son, Zitez, was named the reserve champion stallion at that show.

Lu and Burr Betts of Betts Circle Two Ranch, Denver, Colo., later leased *Witez II and purchased 24 mares and foals from the Hurlbutts. *Witez returned to Calarabia in June 1964, and one short year later, on June 9, 1965, passed away.

The American Stud Book shows that *Witez II sired 215 foals in the United States -- 112 bays, 63 chestnuts, 35 greys and five blacks. Outside of the U.S., he sired 10 foals. He also had get exported to South America.

Gone, But Not Forgotten

*Witez II may have been born in Poland, but his adopted country embraced him with fervor. He had fan clubs, fan mail and a steady stream of visitors. Poland issued a *Witez II stamp in his honor, and Gladys Brown Edwards immortalized him in a painting while Frances Hurlbutt painstakingly compiled a huge scrapbook of his accomplishments. Oblivious to all the fanfare surrounding him, the Polish prince calmly went about his business of siring beautiful, athletic babies and receiving his admirers with an air of dignity befitting an aristocrat. To his caretakers, Earl and Frances Hurlbutt, he wasn't a prince -- he was every inch a king.

 

*Witez II Breeders Ensure
the "Look of Eagles"

by Faye Ahneman-Rudsenske

Although *Witez II (Ofir x Fereracha) has been dead for more than three decades, he has not been forgotten. Many of today's national show winners, as well as thousands of other Arabian horses, can trace their roots to the beautiful bay stallion who triumphed over adverse conditions to win the hearts and loyalty of all those with whom he came in contact.

Eleanor's Arabian Farm
Eleanor Hamilton
Rogers, Minn.

When Eleanor Hamilton of Eleanor's Arabian Farm, Rogers, Minn., decided to purchase a stallion for her reining breeding program, she wasn't looking for a particular bloodline. However, she was interested in a stallion that would cross well with her mares and sire the ultimate athlete with good minds and Arabian type.

"We decided if we were going to breed the kind of horses we wanted," says Hamilton, "we better do it right and buy a horse that could take me to top tens or better on a national level."

While his pedigree was a bonus, she obtained that goal with the stallion Hesa Zee (Xenophonn x Somthing Special, by Gai Apollo), who was purchased on his own merits. A great grandson of *Witez II, Hesa Zee traces his heritage through his sire Xenophonn, a Bolero son, who was by the great *Witez II.

"Shortly after we purchased Hesa Zee from Russ Brown," says Hamilton, "Russ took him to a Canadian Reserve National Championship in reining and a top ten at the U.S. Nationals. He had also won two other national top tens in the open division, two regional championships, the 1993 IAHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Stock Horse Championship, as well as the 1994 IAHA Snaffle Bit Maturity Reining Championship with Russ before we bought him."

Although Hamilton has only shown Hesa Zee two seasons (due to an injury on his part one year, and Hamilton unable to compete this year), he has still managed to get his Legion of Honor and garner both a Canadian and U.S. National Top Ten with Hamilton in amateur reining.

In the breeding shed, Hesa Zee shares stallion roster duty with stable mate Crown Musc (*Muscat x Crown Juel), and Hamilton crosses their daughters on each other. She is eagerly anticipating 11 foals in the spring, up from the normal five or six she usually breeds. Although Hesa Zee was the first *Witez II bred horse she has owned, she bought four more Xenophonn daughters based specifically on their bloodlines.

"The *Witez II bloodlines were obviously a performing, working bloodline," she recounts, "and these mares should incorporate well with my breeding program. One mare was already a twice national reserve champion in cutting, and we plan to make a reiner out of her after the foal is weaned next year."

Hamilton owns 12 to 15 mares and has also crossed Hesa Zee on some of her super Quarter Horse mares. She indicates that one of her Half-Arabian/Quarter Horses, a Palomino gelding, is "just dynamite."

Freeman Arabians
Ed and Anna Freeman
Meeker, Colo.

"Our breeding program began with CMK mares bred to *Witez II stallions," says Anna Freeman of Freeman Arabians, Meeker, Colo. "We now have two groups of mares, the original CMK mares and four *Witez II preservation mares, as well as a *Witez II preservation gelding. Our black stallion, LR Kailai Witez, is 16.4 percent *Witez II blood with five crosses."

In 1973, Anna Freeman purchased her first purebred Arabian, the weanling Miss Bay Bee (Pico Bay Bee x Mincy), who is now 25 years old and became one of their foundation mares. "Her first foal was sired by Rondo," explains Anna, "and the colt was so good, I knew then that I wanted more *Witez II breeding."

Her second foal, sired by a different bloodline, did not produce the expected results, so Freeman went back to her original plan, and Miss Bay Bee's third colt was by Count Niga (Niga x Kal-A-Tez). The subsequent purchase of the *Bask granddaughter, Bassandra, also in foal to Count Niga, and bred back after foaling, produced their first *Witez II foundation mares, the full sisters Ofir, Mistala and Azrahami Free. By 1987, the Freeman's decided it was prudent to acquire a stallion to accommodate their growing mare herd. They subsequently purchased LR Kailai Witez, a 4-month-old weanling, and BF Triumph (Gai Parada x Gaffi).

LR Kailai Witez was campaigned as a cutting horse in Arabian and all breed shows for three years. His honors include Scottsdale Reserve Champion Maturity Horse, Region VIII Reserve Champion and IAHA Snaffle Bit Maturity Champion. The Freeman's are especially proud that he was the Rocky Mountain Cutting Horse High-Point Champion three out of four years and Reserve the other year, in competition against Quarter Horses. Kailai has also finished in the top money at several National Cutting Horse Association shows.

"In 1995, we were fortunate to acquire two *Witez II preservation mares," says Anna. "Sirref Witezza (Tryez x Serya Odessa), who is 34.5 percent *Witez II blood and Witeza Quatra Croce (Prince Bolero x Bay Lu), a quadruple great granddaughter and 50 percent *Witez II by blood. Both mares have produced fillies by Kailai, and Witeza Quatra Croce also has a son sired by Niga Free (LR Kailai Witez x Ofir Mistala)."

"As a group," says Freeman, "the *Witez II horses are unequaled in disposition. They are very much 'people horses.' They are a joy to have and be around and are the consummate equine athletes. Hardiness, longevity, intelligent and versatile with some of the best legs and feet in the Arabian breed round out the equation."

Gypsy Hollow Arabians
Maureen Becraft
Montello, Wis.

"*Witez II horses are people horses," says Maureen Becraft of Gypsy Hollow Arabians, Montello, Wis. "They are easy to handle and train and make good all-around horses -- a family horse supreme. They are not only good trail horses, but I have shown them at halter and in performance as well."

Although Becraft currently owns 12 horses, she has previously owned more than 50 purebreds who carried the *Witez II bloodline. "Most were sold as weanlings," she says.

Her 2-year-old and IAHA Sweepstakes nominated junior stallion, GHA Black Raven (Serr Ebony Star x GHA Cherie), carries two lines to *Witez II through his dam. Becraft's herd includes five purebred mares, two weanling fillies and two stallions, who, with the exception of one stallion, all carry two lines to *Witez II. She also owns two Half-Arabian Palomino mares and one Half-Arabian Appaloosa mare. She breeds four to five purebred foals a year, and indicates that marketing both the purebreds and Half-Arabians is relatively easy.

"Not only are they eye-catching," she says, "but their temperaments and athletic ability offer an attractive package. Once people see them, the Witez horses sell themselves."

Hinton Arabians
Betty and Merold Hinton
Fisher, Ill.

Having spent their life farming, Betty and Merold (Frog) Hinton, of Champaign, Ill., are now semi-retired and devoting their time to developing a full-service facility, as well as caring for the more than 25 horses that call Hinton Arabians their home.

"Our breeding program has seen some dramatic changes in the last few years," says Hinton Arabians' spokesperson Trish Piper. "Like most breeders, we needed to create our own unique niche and have been very fortunate in obtaining some rare bloodlines. The big change in our program came with the acquisition of Eds Witez (Niga x Mona Witez), the only known 50 percent *Witez II grandson. While being black was a plus, he definitely has the 'look,' and possesses the qualities we were seeking. As a 3-year-old, Eds Witez went Region XI Top Five in Western Pleasure with Jody Strand.

"Ed Strand, a great breeder of our times, deserves the highest accolades for his contributions to the Arabian, especially *Witez II. Eds Witez (named for him) and Manda de Eloueena (G-Amigo x Eloueena) were the results of the Strand and Gainey bloodlines. Bred to Ed's Witez, Manda and Fantasy Dream (Feramigo) produced foals that were the image of their grandsire Niga.

"Winmills G-Ameron (G-Amigo x Waraq) was also shown by Jody Strand to a Canadian National Top Ten in halter, and has won numerous Top Five's and championships in halter and English pleasure. Other cherished additions include his 2-year-old son Amerons Natez (Winmills G-Ameron x NZ Molly, by Natez), who will be starting his show career in 1999, as well as expecting his first foal in March out of Just Enchantress (Chief Justice x HL Jabasks Serala, by GG Jabask), and HA Sir Ibn Witez (Eds Witez x Manda de Eloueena), who shows a promising future as a herd sire.

"Thanks to Randy Sullivan of Sullivan's Training Center and his crew, our mare HA Sommer Nite (Designs CopiCat x Manda de Eloueena) is competing at the U.S. Nationals in the Half-Arabian Western Pleasure Futurity.

"Our broodmares are daughters and granddaughters of *Witez II, Black Magic, Sir Hope, GG Jabask, The Chief Justice, Hal Gazel, *Karadjordje, and Zodiac Matador (descendants of *Witez II and Witraz, and sires of the most influential bloodlines known today). We are also introducing the bloodlines of Al Malik, Bentlee, Bey Shah and Statistic, and are dedicated to establishing a solid, consistent breeding program."

Mountain Pass Pintos
Mike and Kathy Judson
DeSmet, Idaho

Kathy Judson grew up in Minnesota and was introduced to several *Witez II bred horses including R-Witez, G-Amigo, Garis, Gamaar, G-Amaka, Nizaun, Ibn Niga, and Sahara Sungold, to name a few. The ability to pass on their versatility, intelligence, beauty, balance, athletic ability and gentle temperament influenced her decision to breed Arabians. In 1979, Kathy purchased Santiaago (Suntar x Bannet) and JA Jaliya (Ben Aram x Daydream Vin Rose) from Strand's Minnesota Arabians.

The Judson's now live in Idaho on a 180-acre ranch, and the horses are a family affair. They own nine purebred mares, five Half-Arabian Pintos, five Half-Arabian/Shetland cross Pinto ponies and five purebred Shetlands, averaging six foals a year, with *Witez II bloodlines a main influence.

The individual horses who influenced Judson's decision to breed the *Witez II bloodlines is still apparent in their stock today, as is the breeder from whom she initially purchased her first Arabian. The Judson's still own JA Jaliya and have retained her daughter Justy Karliya (by R-Witez), as well as R-Little Bit (Scooter Bey Musc x Little Bit Ritzie, by R-Witez), G-Anett (G-Amigo x Harbonet, by Harbit), and MN Delilah (De Caj Har x Bint Nizetta), whom they are purchasing from Strand's Minnesota Arabians.

Although the family mainly enjoys pleasure riding, their stallions, mares and offspring have done well in open and Class A shows including futurity wins in Half-Arabian halter, Western pleasure, endurance and O-Mok-See.

"*Witez II horses are foundation stock," advocates Judson. "You can count on classic Arabian type and athletic ability, generation after generation. They are truly an irreplaceable asset to the Arabian industry."

Junelle Pearson
LaQuinta, Calif.

"Black, beautiful and multichampion Schon Nizonez, an IAHA Breeders Sweepstakes nominated sire, possesses both talent and intelligence," says his owner Junelle Pearson of LaQuinta, Calif. "His versatility and athletic ability is no coincidence, as his distinguished pedigree will immediately indicate by the strong *Witez II and Ferzon, Phantom and Azraff outcross. Over the years, breeding from these outstanding stallions have been the foundation for countless champions. The inherent trainability and wonderful disposition is reflected in 'Nizon' from the 40 years of domestic breeding by his breeder Milt Strand of Strands Minnesota Arabians.

"Schon Nizonez's talent and performance, through *Witez II, comes to him from both the sire and dam line of Nizaun, Niga and Nitez, who also carry the black gene. These sires were then crossed with Ferzon and Phantom mares to enhance their classic beauty. Schon Nizonez's dam, R-Lynntez, by R-Witez, (a *Witez II grandson) and out of Nilynn, generated to Schon Nizonez the classic beauty of her sire, G-Amigo, a top twenty winner at the U.S. Nationals in halter and most classic champion in the Midwest for many years. G-Amigo is out of the Ferzon daughter Ga-Rageyma, a Canadian National Champion and U.S. Top Ten Halter winner.

"Living up to his pedigree, Schon Nizonez earned the 1996 Region I and II Horse of the Year third place award, as well as another championship and multiple first place awards in Western pleasure. In 1997, under the expert training and handling of Gary Ferguson, Schon Nizonez won the Western Pleasure Championship and first place open at the Southern California Half-Arabian Association at Pomona Fairplex, and the Western Pleasure Reserve Championship and first place in stallions and mares at the Los Angeles Arabian Horse Association's annual show.

"He was initially trained and successfully shown in dressage to first place for three years by international and national champion dressage trainer Kristine Morris.

"Shown successfully in halter as a weanling and yearling, I also showed him to first place in purebred stallions AOTH at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

"Rounding out his talents, he has been recently started in hunt seat and has placed well in hunter competition. Thus, with the combination of a top notch pedigree and trainers, Schon Nizonez brings talent, breeding and intelligence full circle."

Rockin H Ranch
Judy Hutchings
Cave Creek, Ariz.

Judy Hutchings recently built a new home and horse facility on five acres in Maricopa County, just outside Scottsdale. She is delighted to be only 20 minutes from Westworld and all the big shows.

"We have a small breeding operation," she explains. "My daughter, Cindy, helps me and shows the horses in AOTR."

Hutchings owns the Huckleberry Bey son, Tezmar Bey (x Big Sky Tezmara), who stands at Nelson Farms in Tucson. He is headed for Scottsdale in the spring after having recently won the open Hunter pleasure class with Trish Nelson at the SAAHA Show in Tucson, under Bill Melendez.

"We have had one foal each the last two years since I've owned him," says Hutchings. "In 1997, we had a flashy overo Half-Arabian Pinto colt, and this year we got a bay colt out of Nagatifa, a black Comar Regal granddaughter. Both boys have their father's good looks and super dispositions. Tezmar Bey and his get are the only *Witez II descendants that I presently own. It is the good looks, athleticism and super dispositions that make these horses so valuable."

Starburst Arabians
Karen Howe
Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Karen Howe's breeding program at Starburst Arabians in Sherman Oaks, Calif., is centered around her 13-year-old stallion, Khlasse, who is sired by Khechise, a leading Khemosabi son, and out of Katezas Miss C, an Iwonkatez (x *Witez II) daughter.

"When I was searching for a stallion with Khemosabi blood," says Howe, "I found Khlasse, who was just 2-months-old. He was chosen from a large group of weanlings and yearlings for his strong, athletic ability, which comes from *Witez II through Iwonkatez. Khlasse is a winning country English pleasure horse who has also won at halter, and has met my breeding goals by siring beautiful foals that are winning in both halter and performance as well.

"I currently own six purebred Arabians and one NSH with two foals by Khlasse due in January. All but three are *Witez II descendants.

"His daughter Fire Khlassix (x Rai Fire Princess) is a halter winner and has just started her performance career in English pleasure. She was an English pleasure reserve champion at her first show. I will show her next year at Region I and II in English pleasure AAOTR, and Kelly Elm will show her in the open English pleasure classes.

"The Khlasse son Amere Khlass (x Sweet Harmony) won two regional championships in hunter pleasure this year and will be shown next year in both Western pleasure and hunter pleasure by the McDaniel Training Center near Reading, Calif.

"Khlasse's full sister, Jamokha has won several endurance rides and has also received the 'Best Condition' award.

"The *Witez II horses are special due to their athletic ability, endurance, correctness, smooth bodies and willing disposition. All of these characteristics consistently come through in each foal. *Witez II's impact on the Arabian industry is immeasurable, as so many of today's great horses trace to him."

Zamahami Arabians
Marge Moelhman
Greenville, Texas

"Cherish and love him," someone once told Marge Moelhman of Zamahami Arabians, Greenville, Texas, about her stallion Zarabo (Bolero x Rizara), "because God only puts one in your lap in a lifetime." Moehlman did just that, and for 30 years, she had the privilege of sharing Zarabo's life. After all, he was practically born in her lap.

"His dam would never foal unless I was there," says Moehlman, and today, six years after Zarabo's death, she is still emotional when she talks about him.

"He was my friend," she says simply of the powerful 15.2 hand bay stallion. "He was always there for me, especially when I was feeling blue and cried on his shoulder. It was like he understood because he would ever so gently nibble at my ear as if to console me. He was, however, one of the most conceited and macho stallions I have ever seen. When he stepped into the show ring, he wanted everyone to know just how handsome he really was.

"In the past we have competed in practically all events and have won major championships. The *Witez II bloodlines impressed us with their athletic ability, correct conformation, super intelligence and common sense -- all without losing Arabian type.

"Topping the list, of course, a few of the outstanding *Witez II descendants we have owned is Zarabo (Bolero x Rizara), whom we bred, trained and showed to all of his championships and the Legion of Supreme Merit. Most of our Zarabo sons and daughters have multiple crosses to *Witez II, and he has sired many performance champions in park, formal driving, jumping, dressage, racing, competitive trail, endurance, English pleasure, Western pleasure and pleasure driving.

"Harabo (x Hakim Soltaneh), a national champion Roadster to Bike, was also shown in open shows against Standardbreds, Saddlebreds, Morgans, etc., and was never out of the ribbons. For his last hurrah, at the age of 24, he won the Roadster to Bike Championship in Scottsdale. That boy could really turn it on!

"Several other Zarabo offspring include Zarabianne, a Canadian National Champion Breeders Mare; Zadorable (x Regalia), a Triple Crown Cal-Bred Futurity Champion; Za Ra Zamir (x Rafabiyez), a champion in halter, most classic, pleasure driving and formal driving is also the sire of many champions himself; and Sur Damion (x Sura Gayla), a U.S. National Champion Futurity Stallion, who began his career as a junior and grand champion stallion at the age of 2.

"Three other outstanding Zarabo get, owned by clients and trained here, include National Champion Half-Arabian mare Mistala (x Qiana); Starzara (x Shenandoah), who won 46 Legion of Merit points in one Class A show and was named the U.S. National Top Ten Half-Arabian Mare -- only one point from Reserve; and Zamigo (x Neysinkaha), who captured a U.S. National Top Ten in Dressage at the age of 20. I call Zamigo my French Arabian because he always has to 'kiss' me directly on the mouth. If anyone else tries it, he bites them!

"The *Witez II bred horses are highly tractable, intelligent and loyal to the person they love and respect. They exemplify a combination of all the best qualities with their ethereal beauty, hardiness and gutsy attitude towards all obstacles."

The *Witez II Breeders Alliance

The *Witez II Breeders Alliance was founded by Christine Williams and Anna Freeman in 1997, and is comprised of current or previous owners and breeders of purebred Arabians that carry at least one line to *Witez II, with a minimum of 25 percent *Witez II breeding required for preservation status. The Alliance plans to promote the bloodline through education and information about *Witez II's influence on the Arabian breed, as well as help provide a viable marketing program for breeders through enhanced visibility.

Another marketing tool involves the group's quarterly newsletter, produced by Anna Freeman. The newsletter provides updates on upcoming events, historical data, and related newsworthy items.

Although *Witez II has been dead for more than 33 years, as a prepotent sire, he has passed on his easily recognized characteristics. "Finding *Witez II in present day show pedigrees is relatively easy," says Freeman. "Getting people to believe it, is not! The *Witez II Breeders Alliance intends to change that. Working alone is tough. As a group, we are a positive voice for *Witez II preservation. We will educate and inform people of the enormous influence that *Witez II still has on the modern Arabian horse."

Between Williams and Freeman, the two have been breeding *Witez II bred horses for more than 50 years. They came together in a common quest to unite and give a voice to Arabian horse owners who wish to draw attention to and perpetuate the old Polish bloodline.

Williams was born in England near the end of World War II. Ironically, her father served in General Patton's Third Army, the general who issued the orders to rescue *Witez II. While living in England and Germany, Williams remembers being enamored with horses as a child, but it wasn't until 1969 that she met, fell in love with and owned Prince Bolero (x Bolero, by *Witez II). Over the years, she has shown several *Witez II descendants to championships.

Freeman has been breeding *Witez II horses for more than 20 years, and says she has been fascinated by his story since the first time she read about him. She counts five preservation mares among her precious collection of *Witez II bred horses.

Both Williams and Freeman cite the prepotent athletic ability, disposition, beauty and longevity as major factors in perpetuating the bloodlines.

 

*WITEZ II: The Look Of Eagles

 

*Witez II
*Witez II (Ofir x Federacja)

Before dawn on April 1, 1938, a glorious black-bay colt entered the world, destined to fulfill the prophecy that his name implied: Witez II, the prince. The celebrated ancestry of this colt contained the blood of his sire Ofir, the best son of the desertbred Kuhailan Haifi (imported from Arabia by Count Roman Sanguszko in 1931) and his famous broodmare dam, Federacja, of the Janow Podlaski State Stud of Poland. All went well for the young colt that first summer until he was kicked in play by a yearling pasture mate. His young twin handlers, a boy and a girl, found him on the ground in serious condition. They immediately summoned the stud veterinarian who diagnosed the condition as very serious and requiring surgery. To the benefit of the entire Arabian world, the colt’s surgery was successful and he was quickly on the mend.

Summer and winter passed, giving the youngster a chance to heal and the strength to face up to his next ordeal. On September 1, 1939, Hitler’s troops invaded Poland. The brave Poles knew they had to move their cherished horses and the only route open was to the east. For easier management, the horses were divided into groups with Witez II in a group of yearlings. The noble band had only traveled a few miles when the sky became filled with German bombers. Bombs dropped everywhere and the horses ran in panic. It was soon over, but Witez II and his handler had become separated from the main group. Witez II and his handler had no chance to rejoin the band and proceeded on their own. They took refuge with an old woodcutter who broke the horse to drive and used him to haul lumber. After a while, the faithful handler knew he had to move on because the Germans would soon be coming. The woodcutter and the handler disguised the horse with mud so the handler and Witez II could make their way to Janow, despite the fact that they could have encountered Russian troops. At Janow they would be at familiar surroundings and feed would be available.

 

*Witez II at play
*Witez II at play.
Photo courtesy of Karen Bragg,
equine consultant.

When they reached Janow, they went into hiding as it was now occupied by the Germans. Each night the handler would sneak into the stud and steal feed for his precious charge knowing full well what would happen if he was caught. After a time, Witez II began to fail and he knew the horse would not last at the rate they were going. In the end, the handler surrendered the horse to the Germans in hopes that he would be properly cared for. The Germans, knowing a great horse when they saw one, used Witez II at stud for themselves both in Poland and Germany.

As the Americans began to advance on the German front, the Germans decided to move their best horses to Hostau in Czechoslovakia. This stud, Hitler’s super stud, contained 1500 horses of various breeds. There were Thoroughbreds, Trakheners, Lipizzaners and Arabians all designed to create the super horse for Hitler’s "super men." Soon the Americans were advancing again, but now the Russians were also closing in. At that time, a momentous decision was made by the German veterinarian, Dr. R. Lessing, and his assistant, Dr. W. Kroll, who were in charge of the horses. Fearing that if the horses were captured by the Russians they would be used as food for hungry Russian troops, and torn by loyalty to their country, they decided to seek help from the Americans. Under a flag of truce they traveled through enemy lines to beg for help from the Americans. From a German-English dictionary they had learned to speak fair English. "Wonder horses... Super horses... All the good horses," they said. Col. Reid accepted their appeal and then called General George Patton, Jr., who gave Reid permission to negotiate for the surrender of the stud.

 

Ofir
Ofir, the sire of *Witez II, *Wielki Szlem & Witraz.
Photo courtesy of the author.

Unfortunately, all attempts to negotiate with the enemy peaceably failed and finally the decision was made to go in after them. The word came from General Patton: "Get them." In April of 1945, units of the 12th Corps of Patton’s Third Army began to advance across Germany to the rendezvous point with the Russians. The area that the horses were in was to become Russian territory. First Lieutenant William D. Quinlivan was ordered to take two platoons of Troop A, 42 Squadron and liberate the horses and prisoners of war before the Russians arrived. Lieutenant Quinlivan secured Hostau but was cut off from American forces. They had enough food for three or four days but were running low on ammunition. These gallant Americans were determined to make the maneuver a success, hanging on until reinforcements arrived.

On April 28, 1945, Witez II and the other horses were ridden out of Hostau and into Bavaria by Americans. Not one single animal was lost, but the 200-mile ride under fire made many a bit lame as they were unshod. The horses summered at the Monsback Stud where General Patton sent his best horseman, Colonel Hamilton, to care for them and make arrangements for them to be transported to the United States. Hamilton took great care in checking pedigrees and tracing lineage. Among the Polish Arabians chosen for transport to the U.S. were the stallions *Witez II and *Lotnik, and the mares *Chloe, *Iwonka III, *Litvania, *Tarnina and *Wierna along with those foaled at Hostau: the stallions, *Wisok, son of *Witez II and Sokora, young mares *Zalma, *Stola, *Werra, and *Wierka. In the fall, *Witez II and the others were transported by truck and then by train to Bremerhaven to be loaded on a freighter heading for Front Royal, Virginia.

 

Dziwa
Dziwa (Abu Mlech x Zulejma), the dam of Ofir and grandam of *Witez II.
Photo courtesy of the author.

With the threat of war past, now a new threat had to be faced. The freighter could only carry so much hay and had to cross the North Atlantic in the dead of winter, the worst time for a crossing. Heavy seas delayed the passage and the stores of hay became moldy. Many of the horses developed colic, but when the shipped docked, *Witez II was in pretty good condition. *Witez II also became a new father on this voyage when one of the mares, *Iwonka III, thought to be colicking, foaled the stud colt *Wontez. After a brief stay in Virginia, *Witez II was sent to the Kellogg ranch, which was then a division of the Army Remount Service. While standing at stud at the Kellogg ranch, *Witez II met Mr. Earle Hurlbutt for the first time. Mr. Hurlbutt noted that if the opportunity ever arose to purchase *Witez II, he would be the one to do it.

The government dropped the Remount Service in 1949 when mechanization made the horse obsolete as a war vehicle. Some horses were auctioned off at the Kellogg ranch and others were sent to Fort Robinson, Nebraska. Mr. Hurlbutt heard that *Witez II was one of those to be sold only two days before the auction. Even though he didn’t like flying, he realized he had no choice if he was to get there in time. Thinking he might need a partner to purchase the horse, he enlisted Fred Arth. Together, they made it to the auction and purchased *Witez II for $8,100, a tidy sum of money in those days. (Three other bidders were also after the stallion, and every time Mr. Hurlbutt would bid $100 they would up it $400.) Hurlbutt eventually bought out Arth’s interest.

 

Kuhailan Haifi
Kuhailan Haifi, a desertbred bay stallion foaled in 1926, the sire of Ofir.
Photo courtesy of the author.

*Witez II returned to California to the Hurlbutt’s Calarabia ranch and remained there until 1960 when he was leased by Burr and Lu Betts of Betts Circle Two Ranch in Denver. Many people traveled to Colorado to see for themselves "the look of eagles" that *Witez II possessed. He was a legend, thanks to his earlier adventures and travels and his very successful run as a stud.

Due to his advancing years, *Witez II returned to Calarabia in June 1964. The two old friends, *Witez II and Mr. Hurlbutt, were reunited. In January 1966, *Witez II was honored with a 27th birthday party hosted by the Hurlbutts. A large crowd was in attendance to wish the grand old gentleman well and watch him enjoy his special carrot cake. One June morning in 1966, *Witez II seemed to enjoy his customary carrots offered by his old friend, Mr. Hurlbutt. The following morning, as Mr. Hurlbutt looked out the window to enjoy the familiar sight of *Witez II, he noticed the old horse lay still -- he had passed away during the night.

Although he is gone, the look of eagles has continued on through *Witez II's offspring. The American stud book shows that *Witez II sired a total of 215 foals in the U.S.: 118 stallions or geldings and 97 mares. One hundred and twelve were bay, 63 were chestnut, 35 were grey and five were the ellusive black color. Outside the United States, he sired another nine foals to give him a lifetime total of 224 purebred offspring.

*Witez II
Possibly the most famous photograph ever taken of *Witez II.

By 1964, the *Witez II dynasty included over 30 halter champions with four Pacific Coast Champions and four Reserves Champions, 16 U.S. and Canadian National Top Ten awards and two Reserve National Championships. The champion list includes such notables as Black Magic, Tango, Natez, Nitez, Bolero, Nafez, Miss Nafa, Bint Witez, Niteza, Nafason, Rondo, My Witez, Omega Witez, Hirzan, Witezar, Mitez, and Yatez. *Witez II offspring in specialized disciplines include: Ronteza, World Champion Reined Cow Horse (a title she won after beating all other breeds); Ofir, winning Arabian racehorse; Nikitez, a champion cutting horse; and Gallaher, champion hunter/jumper.

*Witez II himself had been featured in the Los Angeles Times, was the subject of two books, and was honored by the Polish government with his likeness on a postage stamp, proving that *Witez II was truly "a legend come to life." And the legend lives on.