I was doing a project for a client recently on a horse with three lines to RUMINAJA ALI, probably the most significant straight Egyptian sire of the latter part of the twentieth century. It occurred to me that many Arabian fans realize he is the grandsire of two World Champion Stallions, *GAZAL AL SHAQAB and *AL ADEED AL SHAQAB, but most will not remember he also sired a World Champion Stallion. Who was that horse and why is he largely forgotten now?

Focus Khemali's head was extreme even as a young horse

Focus Khemali when he was still dappled grey-a stunning young stallion

The stallion in question is FOCUS KHEMALI, a grey born in 1981. He was bred in the purple at Focus Farms, then in Missouri. Not only was he a son of U.S. Reserve National Champion Stallion RUMINAJA ALI, his dam MI-COYTINA was the daughter of two National Champions: U.S. and Canadian National Champion Stallion and Western Pleasure KHEMOSABI++++// and U.S. Reserve National Champion Western Pleasure and Top Ten Mare BAY-KINRA++. The nick of KHEMOSABI++++// on a daughter of U.S. National Champion Stallion BAY-ABI++ was one favored by the exceptional breeder Sheila Varian, whose foresight inspired her to be the first breeder to use KHEMOSABI++++// at stud. With her BAY-ABI++ daughters he sired BAY-SABHA (dam of National winners in halter and informal combination), Canadian Reserve National Champion Stallion KAIYOUM++ (whose daughter KAIYNDA SPECIAL is tied for the top champion producing mare of all time) and MOSKA, dam of 9 champions (2 of them National Champions in halter) and 8 National winner producers-one of whom, MOSQUERADE V, is tied with KAIYNDA SPECIAL as the all time leading Arabian dam of purebred champions.

FOCUS KHEMALI was a full brother to 1995 U.S. Top Ten English Sidesaddle and 1992 and 1995 U.S. Top Ten Show Hack FOCUS FLAME (sire of multiple National Champion Dressage CH BRUSHFIRE+//). He was also a maternal brother to FOCUS BADINA, dam of U.S. Reserve National Champion Country Pleasure JTR FOCUS BALIMA+/ (who was by a RUMINAJA ALI son). With such a heritage, the stage was set for FOCUS KHEMALI to achieve greatness as both a show horse and sire.

The Davidsons of Focus Farm were classic small breeders who showed for the most part only in local competition and sold their most promising horses to those who could afford to take them to national and international titles. Thus FOCUS KHEMALI became a halter champion and was shown under saddle to ribbons in hunt pleasure, show hack and western pleasure. He also went to the Egyptian Event in Kentucky as a two and three year old, and was named two year old Egyptian related champion futurity colt and three year old Egyptian related reserve champion futurity colt. While at Focus he sired 54 registered get, several of them halter champions.

Enter Riki Hoeve of Holland, who came to Focus on a visit and fell in love with FOCUS KHEMALI's beauty and charisma. Although the stallion was 13 years old he felt he could win anywhere in Europe. According to the Arabian Datasource, Riki became his owner on January 6, 1995. His first year in Europe he sired 5 registered get for Riki, who bred him almost exclusively to Russian mares. He was also named Wels International (Austria) Reserve Champion Stallion in his first year in Europe and was shown at a regional show in Germany under saddle.

Focus Khemali trotting in a paddock

Focus Khemali ridden at a regional show in Germany Betty Finke photo

FOCUS KHEMALI's main show campaign began in 1996 and FOCUS KHEMALI seemed to be unstoppable-he was named the "Triple Crown" winner of Europe with Champion Stallion at the European Championships, Nations Cup and World Championship Shows. He was also Best In Show at the European Championships and Nations Cup competitions. For all of these wins he was shown by Eric Dorssers of Blue Bell Arabians in Holland.

Focus Khemali at the 1996 Nations Cup Show where he was named Champion Stallion. Betty Finke photo

Focus Khemali in his stall at Bluebell Arabians in 1998 with his trainer Eric Dorssers Betty Finke photo

So why is FOCUS KHEMALI a largely forgotten horse? He was bred to be a wonderful example of the breed, he was a hugely successful show horse in Europe, and he came from a very strong dam line which should have made him an excellent sire. didn't. He was not able to pass on his own good traits. Bred in Europe largely to Russian mares owned by Riki Hoeve, his get looked more like their plainer dams. One notable example is RH MARAKESCH, who was shown under saddle in Europe with limited success. As you can see from his photo, he looked nothing like his sire. His dam was the straight Russian mare MENA, a daughter of *MENES, and she was linebred to ARAX and PRIBOJ. RH MARAKESCH was a halter champion as a foal and as a youngster but did not set the show world on fire. FOCUS KHEMALI is best remembered for several of his grandget in North America, all of whose parents were bred by Focus Farms. His grandson KURT ALI KHAN+// (by FOCUS ALI KHAN) is a National winner in Half-Arabian Sport Horse Under Saddle. His granddaughter LATIFA EL MASR+/ (by FOCUS SABLE) has three U.S. National titles in dressage. A grandson, FOCUS SHALIMORR+/ (out of FOCUS KHEMADOLL), also has three National wins in dressage. Another grandson FOCUS FALARREE (out of his daughter FOCUS KHEMADEARA, exported to Germany in 1996), is a National winner in dressage. His most successful descendant as a breeding horse is FOCUS INFATUATION (out of his daughter SHAMROCK KHEMARO), dam of Canadian Top Ten Futurity Filly VERACITY KSB and U.S. National Champion Working Cow Horse Futurity and Junior Horse AUDIE MURPHY KSB.

RH Marakesch, a Focus Khemali son, who had some success in European competition Betty Finke photo

Latifa El Masr+/, a Focus Khemali granddaughter, is a three time National winner in dressage

FOCUS KHEMALI's story is a lesson for all breeders-that a fine example of the breed from a strong pedigree will not necessarily be able to pass on its own best traits, and the quality may skip a generation or two.











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