AHT's October Leader Of The Times
Leaders Of The Times: Affliction
by MARY KIRKMAN
Affliction can’t help attracting attention. For one thing, he’s coal black in that take-no-prisoners style that doesn’t admit a whiff of dark bay or seal brown. For another, he’s so tall that he easily accommodates his six-foot-plus trainer, Jim Lowe. And he doesn’t stand around like a cart horse after a day’s work: his neck comes up out of his shoulder like a skyscraper, giving him a look of alert pride, a declaration of here I am, even when he’s just killing time conversing with a barn cat. As he nears his debut in the show ring—slated for either the AEPA class at U.S. Nationals in October or Scottsdale 2018—there is a quiet delight among his human connections. He’s going to draw the judges’ eyes, so thank heavens, he has the talent to deserve it.
None of that is surprising to Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, whose Amazing Horsewoman LLC purchased Affliction from Lowe, who bred him, last year. O’Reilly was attracted by more than the stallion’s presence, however. She was familiar with his sire, Mamage; a client of Chrishan Park, which developed the multi-national champion English Pleasure stallion during much of his show career, and Lowe Show Horse Centre, where he now stands, she had seen plenty of his foals, so she knew what Affliction represented.
And Affliction himself had even more attractions. “He’s really easy to train,” Lowe reports. The young stallion’s conformation makes it natural for him to do what is expected of an English horse, and his responsive mind is a bonus often found in Mamage horses.
That Affliction will compete in the English division is in his DNA. Mamage won nine U.S., Canadian and Youth National Championships in a career that spanned more than a decade, and he, in turn, is a son of three-time national champion Zodiac Matador, one of the most famous park stallions of all time.
Affliction’s dam, PSI Love U, is a daughter of six-time national champion (English pleasure, park and formal driving) Allience, and 1984 Canadian National English Pleasure Champion Provocatiw, a daughter of park national champion Pro-Fire. Pro-Fire’s pedigree is gilt-engraved for English: he represents the cross of *Bask and *Prowizja, both national champions, *Bask in park and the mare *Prowizja in English Pleasure. That’s 22 national championships—24 if you want to throw in *Aladdinn (U.S. National Champion Stallion) and *Elkana (U.S. National Champion Mare), two of the most celebrated halter luminaries of their era. That’s another thing about Affliction; he’s beautiful, with a handsome masculine charisma.
“He’s linebred like Mamage,” Lowe points out, and notes that that stallion, senior sire at Lowe Show Horse Centre, is still serving mares at age 29. Part of that is that he, like his son, includes no Huckleberry Bey blood in his lineage; that makes them especially attractive for the many Afire Bey V line daughters that populate English breeding programs. Add to that, PSI Love U offers the impressive Allience influence. Altogether, Affliction’s pedigree reflects four crosses to *Bask in its first four generations, a benefit that performance trainers look for even now, 37 years after the celebrated stallion’s death.
That his pedigree combination works has been proven by his full sister, Vendettaa, who at age 8 already owns a Canadian National Championship in Country Pleasure Driving ATD (earned with her owner, and Mamage’s, Beth Jupp), and three national reserve championships, two in open country pleasure driving and one in junior English pleasure.
O’Reilly may be relatively new to the business, and she is the first to say that she is no expert, but she tries to make the right moves, and that is an asset for both Affliction and his counterpart, Life Inthe Fazt Lane, who is by one year the senior of Amazing Horsewoman LLC’s two stallions. Once established in the English division, O’Reilly sought advice and purchased horses with credible English pedigrees, so that now, as she develops her own breeding program, she already has a fledgling broodmare band and more candidates growing up.
Many of the mares have a Chrishan Park background, and will be easily understood in the context of O’Reilly’s program. She does not have to reinvent the wheel to begin, and both of her advisors, Lowe and Wilson, know her bloodlines well. The Mamage daughters CSP Martini and CSP Miss Sitika will reinforce the influence of their sire. Other mares, such as three Vegaz daughters that O’Reilly owns with Chris Wilson, might either nick with Affliction or be bred to an outside stallion whose influence would be valuable in the program. A next step might then be to return any fillies that result from those matings to an O’Reilly stallion. Still others, such as the yearling Social Heir AHW, also can introduce other lines when the time comes to breed her (an Afires Heir daughter, she is a granddaughter of U.S. National English Pleasure Champion Starr Llight).
Any way you look at it, O’Reilly has a lot to work with even at this early stage, and that’s before you count in the Half-Arabians that will be bred, purchased or, as is the case this year, leased. The first mare checked in foal to Affliction this spring was a Saddlebred World’s Champion on lease from Misdee Wrigley Miller.
That is what Affliction brings to the table as his career is launched. Nancy O’Reilly’s longtime approach has been to improve the world around her—both in her personal life, where she is a licensed clinical psychologist, author and motivational speaker—and in the Arabian community. Both of her trainers agree that her energy and enthusiasm are important in today’s Arabian industry, not just because she is intent on fielding good horses, but also because she cares about Arabians and their people. Already, she is considering ways to bring new faces into the breed and make it possible for more owners to breed and show horses. The basis of her outreach? Sharing the joy she’s known in her experiences.
“She’s a great person with a great spirit,” notes Chris Wilson, “and she’s determined to do the right thing.”
Jim Lowe agrees. “She’s enriched my family’s life in a lot of ways,” he observes. “What she’s done for people, when she doesn’t have to do anything! She’s a very special person.”