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*Witez II


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#1 Arlene Magid

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 01:04 AM

*Witez II

By Arlene Magid

*Witez II’s name means “chieftain, knight, hero, prince” in old Polish. He was all of these things- a hero because he survived World War II, a prince because of his superb ancestry, and a chieftain because of the tribe of excellent horses he sired in his years at stud, making his descendants sought after for their beauty and athleticism.

*Witez II was born in troubled times. Foaled in 1938, when Europe was becoming unstable due to the ###### threat, he was sired by the great progenitor Ofir, also sire of Polish chief sires Witraz (sire of U.S. National Champion Stallion *Bask++) and Wielki Szlem (a 3//4 brother to *Witez II and sire of U.S. National Champion Park *El Mudir). Ofir also sired Mammona, who founded a dynasty in Russia including U.S. National Champion Stallions *Muscat and *Marsianin, both of whom are her grandsons. *Witez II’s dam Federacja is a maternal sister to Miecznik, sire of Aquinor (sire of U.S. National Champion Stallion *Elkin++ and U.S. National Champion Mare *Elkana++). Miecznik also sired Lafirynda, ( the maternal granddam of U.S. National Champion Stallion *Aladdinn) and Doktryner (sire of U.S. National Champion English Pleasure *Muzulmanin++).

*Witez II’s happy life as a yearling in pasture changed with the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. The managers of the Janow Podlawski Stud tried to hide the herd throughout the countryside. *Witez II was covered with mud to disguise his beauty, but unfortunately his brand (ironically in the shape of a royal crown) revealed him to the German soldiers hunting for the Janow horses. He was returned to the stud which was then controlled by the occupying army, and in 1943 was shipped to a special stud in Hostau (on the German-Czechoslovakian border) to be used at stud with the goal of producing elite superhorses for the elite German “super” race. By the spring of 1945 it was obvious that Germany was losing the war, and the horsemen who ran the stud feared that the advancing Russian army might use the horses there for food. They begged an American colonel nearby to free the horses at the farm, knowing the Americans would allow the horses to live. When the rescue operation began, thanks to General George S Patton, more than 200 horses of various breeds were taken across the border into Bavaria’s Monsbach Stud. They were later sent to America for use in the U.S. Army’s remount breeding program.

*Witez II arrived in the United States late in 1945, and was shipped in early 1946 to the Army’s Remount Depot at the former Kellogg Ranch in California. There, he was seen at a special presentation by Earle Hurlbutt, the first president of the International Arabian Horse Association. Hurlbutt was told *Witez II was not for sale, so he bred two mares to him instead. By 1948, the Army Remount had been disbanded and the horses owned by it transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the decision was made to sell off all the horses as there would be no need for them in the era of mechanization. Many former Remount horses were shipped to Fort Reno in Oklahoma. When Earle Hurlbutt heard that Fort Reno was to be closed and its horses auctioned off, he went there to try to buy *Witez II, which he did, for the substantial price of $8,100.

Hurlbutt did not plan to show *Witez II, who was then 13 years old, but was persuaded to do so, with excellent results-he was undefeated and his final title was 1953 Pacific Coast Champion Stallion at age 15. Significantly, three of his sons were at that show with him-Zitez, who was named Pacific Coast Reserve Champion Stallion, Nitez, who was reserve champion stallion at the show preceding the regional competition, and Natez, who won the two year old colt class (he would go on to be twice Pacific Slope Champion Stallion and a U.S. Top Ten Stallion).

*Witez I went on to sire 223 registered purebred get. Of these, 16 became National winners. 18 of his sons sired a total of 41 National winners and 16 of his daughters produced a total of 19 National winners. Among his best known sons are Witezar++, named 1965 AHSA Horse of the Year over all breeds, as well as a Canadian Reserve National Champion Stallion and U.S. Top Ten Stallion. Witezar++ sired Witezarif, a remarkable gelding who won the Tevis Cup endurance ride four times, and AHSA Horse of the Year Burrtez++.

One of *Witez II’s best nicks was with daughters and granddaughters of *Raseyn. His son Ofir (named for *Witez II’s sire) set records for 2 ½ mile races. Another son, Yatez, was a U.S. Top Ten Stallion and sired 10 National winners, including U.S. National Champion English Pleasure Elna. *Witez II’s best nick was with the *Raseyn daughter Nafa and her daughter Nafalla. With Nafa he sired Canadian Reserve National Champion Stallion Black Magic and halter champion Nitez, founder of a highly successful sire line. With Nafalla *Witez II sired four National winners, including Natez (sire of U.S. National Champion Mare Indian Genii) and U.S. Reserve National Champion Stallion Bolero++ (sire of U.S. National Champion Stallion Zarabo++ and multi-National Champion in cutting Xenophonn, arguably the breed’s best sire of working western horses).

*Witez II’s most famous daughter was the history-making Ronteza, who with a young Sheila Varian aboard became the first Arabian and the first female rider to win the Cow Palace’s reined cow horse championship against all breeds. Ronteza was out of a *Raseyn granddaughter and produced multi-National Champion Stock Horse Bay Event and U.S. Top Ten Western Pleasure Bay-Teza++ (dam of U.S.and Canadian National Champion Reining SC Buckaroo Bay+/).

*Witez II lived out his life in the Hurlbutts’ ownership (he was leased to IAHA President Burr Betts in Colorado from 1960-1964). Along the way he had his own fan club, was the model for the Breyer Proud Arabian Stallion model, had a book, And Miles To Go, written about him, and was used as an example of the ideal Arabian by Marguerite Henry in her book All About Horses. Many of the stars of the show ring trace to *Witez II, including U.S. National Champion English Pleasure Bint Miss Fire+, U.S. National Champion Mare Bask Calonett (who is linebred to *Witez II), World Champion Stallion Kaborr+++, U.S. National Champion Stallions First Cyte+,(who has multiple lines to *Witez II), Echo Magnifficoo and Fame VF+, and five times National Champion DA Valentino, who has two lines to *Witez II.

*Witez II died on June 9, 1965 at the age of 27.
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#2 Cyclone

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 01:18 AM

Oh, Arlene, as a rabid Polish bloodlines fan, I do thank you from the depths of my heart for this historical rundown of one of my all-time heroes, *Witez II!! It is greatly appreciated and most thoroughly absorbed!


Cyclone
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Pure Polish working western and sport horse prospects

Home of Pure Polish stallion, Vezanka (*Veza X *Suzanka)

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#3 Arlene Magid

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 02:51 AM

Oh, Arlene, as a rabid Polish bloodlines fan, I do thank you from the depths of my heart for this historical rundown of one of my all-time heroes, *Witez II!! It is greatly appreciated and most thoroughly absorbed!


Cyclone


You're very welcome, Cyclone. He is one of the horses who deserves a book of his own, not just a short article. Sadly there seems little interest in publishing Arabian horse history books these days or I'd be writing them.

Arlene
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#4 Janek

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 03:57 AM

Many thanks for the article. I'm almost sure many readers would be interested in arabian history books. There are not many books about it in the bookstores and old ones are sold out.

"The horse, who is too precious and too beautiful to be ridden, is neither precious nor beautiful. It's simply called an impaired horse by merciful Allah."

old Bedouin proverb


#5 jettanna

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 05:54 AM

Thanks Arlene ,I always enjoy your articles .
Kathy
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#6 Janek

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 07:03 AM

May I ask if General Patton's mission was really only a rescue mission? Why arabians didn't come back to Janow Stud after the war was finished? Why didn't Russian Army haven't eaten their pure arabians at Tersk Stud? Sorry for my silly questions but I'm very unexperienced as far as history is concerned.

"The horse, who is too precious and too beautiful to be ridden, is neither precious nor beautiful. It's simply called an impaired horse by merciful Allah."

old Bedouin proverb


#7 Comstock Lode

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 08:23 AM

*Witez II’s most famous daughter was the history-making Ronteza, who with a young Sheila Varian aboard became the first Arabian and the first female rider to win the Cow Palace’s reined cow horse championship against all breeds. Ronteza was out of a *Raseyn granddaughter and produced multi-National Champion Stock Horse Bay Event and U.S. Top Ten Western Pleasure Bay-Teza++ (dam of U.S.and Canadian National Champion Reining SC Buckaroo Bay+/).


Thanks so much Arlene !

There are two of us here who are lucky enough to own SC Buckaroo Bay daughters . He was a really nice horse and if I'd had any sense I'd have bred to him more than once . After my filly was born I was thinking about sending my mare back to him the next spring but he died that Fall ( frozen wasn't an option for my mare )

#8 Arlene Magid

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 01:19 PM

May I ask if General Patton's mission was really only a rescue mission? Why arabians didn't come back to Janow Stud after the war was finished? Why didn't Russian Army haven't eaten their pure arabians at Tersk Stud? Sorry for my silly questions but I'm very unexperienced as far as history is concerned.



General Patton did not rescue the horses, he oversaw liaising with the top level govt officials to get permission to take them. The actual man who the Germans at Hostau contacted was a Colonel Charles Reed of the Second Armored American Cavalry. He then contacted Patton of the U.S. Third Army to get permission. He knew Patton was a horseman himself and a lover of fine horseflesh, and Patton had to be involved as upper level permission had to be lost.

Some Arabians DID come back to Janow at the war's end-but not the ones the Germans had taken out of Poland completely. The ones sent to Hostau were there to breed from and were considered the best of the horses stolen from the Poles.

The Russians about to invade Eastern Europe were far from home and they didn't care what they ate as long as they ate...so the horses at Hostau were convenient and well fleshed...and a potential target. Armies far from home are dependent on local produce and meat to survive...armies in their native country don't have to worry about finding food. One of the reasons Napoleon's invasion of Russia failed was the citizenry there burned their fields and killed their animals so the French soldiers starved....(gee, I finally get to use my Master's degree in history for a change LOL).
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#9 Janek

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 01:29 PM

Many thanks for the explanation. I really appreciate it. Can't wait for the book!

"The horse, who is too precious and too beautiful to be ridden, is neither precious nor beautiful. It's simply called an impaired horse by merciful Allah."

old Bedouin proverb


#10 Arlene Magid

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 01:47 PM

Many thanks for the explanation. I really appreciate it. Can't wait for the book!



Actually Janek there is more about *Witez II in the book Arabian Legends, which I researched and edited...officially it's credited to Marian Carpenter. It's published by Western Horseman-see their website for ordering if you like.

I know a lot of the best old books are out of print, but I am reluctant to invest in self publishing a book on my own...
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