Located in the picturesque town of Balen, Belgium, Jadem Arabians was founded in 1978, when shortly before their marriage Guy and Christine Jamar purchased their first Arabian mares. From this humble beginning Christine built Jadem to a global brand in the Arabian industry. “In total, I have been breeding Arabians for 40 years. I don’t think I have done so badly,” Christine says with a laugh, “especially because we didn’t start with the perfect horses. We had some nice mares, but not the top.”
Jadem Arabians’ original breeding program was comprised of Russian, Crabbet, and other bloodlines, but a trip to Poland in 1982 had a profound impact on Christine and on the direction of the Jadem program. “On my first trip to Poland, I wasn’t breeding Polish horses. I visited Spain, Russia, and Egypt the following years. But in Poland, seventy percent or more of the horses I really liked; especially the horses of Michałów Stud, I loved them. I really fell in love with those flea-bitten mares: very feminine and of Saklawi type,” she says. “I don’t remember the names of those mares, just that they were flea-bitten, and that I was like a child in a candy store to see such beauties. Guy and I had just gotten married at the time, but I promised myself as soon as I had the money, that is what I want to breed.”
A downturn in the Arabian market in the U.S. was used to Christine’s advantage in 1990. “Finally I bought some good blood, maybe not the best, but good Polish bloodlines in California.” Changes in the tax code in the United States “forced many people to put their horses on the market for a very good price,” Christine says. She bought 11 mares and one stallion; the stallion was Pyrrus (Bandos x Pascha by El Paso) and among the mares were Morning Light VF (Bandos x First Light by Dar) and Akcja (Bandos x Arba by Comet), full sister to Polish National Champion Mare and Triple Crown Winner Arra.
Some of those early purchases still resonate today at Jadem. Christine kept Morning Light and Akcja. “These were mare lines that I really like. Together they had eight beautiful foals for me,” she says. Christine continued to improve the quality of her broodmare band and has become a fixture at the Polish Nationals and Pride of Poland Sale. After the initial purchases of Polish blood in California and one filly at auction in Denmark, all her subsequent purchases have come from Poland.
In 1999, another visit to Poland had yet another dramatic influence on Jadem, and an enormous influence on the breed. This came in the form of a compact, dappled grey stallion named Ekstern, one of the greatest show horses ever to grace the ring in Europe. “I remember the first time I saw Ekstern very well,” says Christine with a warm smile. “I went to Michałów in 1999 to buy a stallion with Jörgen Frederiksen. I saw a few stallions I didn’t care for and then I saw Ekstern! The ground was frozen because it was very cold, and Ekstern was furry like a teddy bear, but he was trotting, his hair was flying and those eyes! I fell in love with him immediately. Former Director Jaworowski and current Director Białobok and his wife Urszula were there. Urszula saw that I liked that horse and she took me by the arm to the office. She showed me all the pictures of his pedigree and particularly the white mares of the Estebna line. I knew Ekstern could be a breeding horse and I said, ‘Yes, I would like to have this stallion,’ but Ekstern was not for lease! I called my husband and said, ‘We have to come back next week and offer them double the normal lease price because I want this stallion.’ And that is what happened!”
What came next surprised even Ekstern’s most ardent supporters when he stepped into the European showring. It would forever tie Ekstern and Christine together. “Everyone was surprised — Białobok, I think even Director Trela of Janów — as to what a super show horse Ekstern was,” Christine says. Super is perhaps an understatement. In addition to some regional shows in Europe, Ekstern won Aachen, European, and World Championships, completing the Arabian Triple Crown. He even popped back over to Poland to claim Polish National Champion Stallion while still on lease. Ekstern proved himself the consummate show horse and was undefeated in his lifetime! It is a truly remarkable accomplishment that has irrevocably etched his name in the record books of Europe.
But Ekstern’s abilities were not just as a show horse; the same could be said for his ability as a sire. “His foals were the same as him,” Christine says, “especially out of Eukaliptus and Bandos daughters, which were the type of mares I was purchasing in Poland. The combination was perfect!” So Christine negotiated one more lease in 2003.
That year, a unique show was organized, the Mercedes Diamond Cup Championship in Borgloon, Belgium, where only World Champions could participate. Erik Dorssers, who was Ekstern’s regular handler during his earlier lease to Christine, took the lead also in Borgloon. “Erik and Ekstern were always perfect for each other. Especially so at this show, they were just playing. It was a joy to see,” remembers Christine. Ekstern was unanimous Champion, retiring from the ring with his undefeated record intact.
Show accolades aside, Ekstern’s influence on the Jadem breeding program is still felt today. “Ekstern made horses more correct, both legs and body,” Christine explains. “Of course, he also gave them very pretty faces and a show attitude.”
After Ekstern returned to Poland, Christine began looking for “that next step” for her breeding program. It has come in the form of homebred stallions, Extreme (Arrarat x Elegantkah) and Emerald J. In 2009, Christine purchased an embryo from the Michałów-bred World Champion Emandoria (Gazal Al Shaqab x Emanda by Ecaho) to breed to QR Marc. “It was quite expensive and I never told my husband,” she says with a laugh. “Honest to God, he found out a few weeks before the foal was born.”
The recipient mare was sent to Sigi Siller and Janina Merz at Om El Arab in Santa Ynez, California. “I wanted the foal to be born on a farm of breeders, not in a hospital or clinic. That worked very well and Sigi took very good care of the foal,” Christine says. “I was hoping for a filly, but, of course, it was a colt! Sigi said he was cute, but not spectacular. I went to see him after the Vegas show, so about three months after he was born. I thought he was a nice colt, not special, but a nice colt.” But this “not special” bay colt started to change as he grew, becoming more and more typey: Emerald J grew into what Christine had been looking for.
“It is also the case with his foals,” explains Christine, “they get more and more typey. Especially from one year to 18 months, they change a lot, thank God! They can look a little funny when they are weaned, but they get it all back as they grow into yearlings. Sometimes with Eksterns, we need to be careful with the neck as they can be a little thick, but Emerald makes the neck cleaner. He is the perfect cross for me. So in the end I was very happy it was a colt,” she says. Al Muawd Stud of Saudi Arabia now owns Emerald J, but Christine has retained enough breedings for Emerald J to exert his influence in her program.
Emerald J’s best proof of his merit on Christine’s Ekstern daughters would be Gallardo J (out of Gomera J). “He is fantastic,” says Christine, “a son of an Ekstern daughter and back out of a Eukaliptus daughter which has been the foundation of my breeding program.” Earlier this year, Gallardo J and his sire Emerald J both won their respective championships in the prestigious Dubai International. “It was the first time that I had seen Emerald J showing since he had been purchased by Al Muawd Stud. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him in the ring. My God, he was in super condition. The whole experience of father and son winning was perfect, once in a lifetime.” Emerald J was named Gold Champion Senior Stallion and Gallardo J was Gold Champion Junior Colt. As the Emerald J daughters start to take their place at Jadem, the next task is to continue to find a good stallion to cross with them.
At present, Jadem has about 22 to 23 foals a year, which makes it one of the largest breeding farms in Europe outside of Poland. In total, 65 horses make up the breeding population, including youngsters and foals. In addition, Jadem also has horses in show training with the talented Frederik Van Sas. They prefer to keep the number of horses in training below 30 so as to deliver the individual attention required.
Another aspect of the Jadem operation that has garnered international acclaim is the Stallion Center. “In 1990 I began my artificial insemination center and started to collect semen. I was one of the first in Belgium, perhaps even in Europe to do so. Shortly after that I received a black stallion from the King of Morocco, Imperial Mashar, to collect and promote. I really liked this aspect of the business. So I then applied for international status so I could ship all over the world. Because of the quarantine requirements, I needed new buildings, which were built about nine years ago,” Christine says.
What has grown out of these beginnings is a superior stallion management program, which on average handles six to seven outside stallions. “The stallion operation is one of those things that I love very much,” Christine explains. “We prefer to limit the number we manage to provide the individual attention with the ones we have.” When a stallion arrives at Jadem, it is not just for semen collection, but to provide the stallion owner with a comprehensive management of all aspects of promotion, along with the technical aspects of breeding.
“I like to promote stallions,” Christine says. “We generally start them out at smaller shows, then on to the major shows in Europe. We also handle all the publicity including print and e-blasts. And of course, we can ship semen all over the world. Another important aspect is presentations to the public — we do this two times a year: at the beginning of March and at the end of September to coordinate with Aachen. March is in the start of breeding season and September is good because people can see the foals from the stallions. It is important since Europeans like to see the stallion in person; they don’t breed to a stallion they haven’t seen.”
One is left with little doubt that Jadem will continue to be a leader in the Arabian industry, not only as a breeder, but also as a the premier stallion center in Europe. Christine Jamar’s passion for the Arabian horse is the driving influence in this success, built upon her experience and exacting standards of excellence.”
Written by Jeffrey Wintersteen
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