Arabian Horse Times

Magazine Cover Stories

Jasminia AS: A Rose City Arabian

Cover Story - Vol. 52, No.1, issue 4

Cover Story: Jasminia AS: A Rose City Arabian


Joe and Kim Orr squeezed each other’s hands, nervously anticipating the results of the judges’ deliberations. In a European-like setting of emerald grass rimmed with picturesque VIP tents, the 2021 Arabian Breeders World Cup Supreme Senior Mare Championship winner was about to be named. Their dark bay beauty, Jasminia AS (Soul Of Marwan AS x Jasmine Love), a product of the Arabian Soul breeding program in Mexico, had won the championship for her age group but was the youngest of the senior contenders. The caliber of mares was exceptional, with the title completely up for grabs.


“We were expecting and hoping to get the Bronze,” Joe confides. “When they didn’t call her name we thought, ‘uh-oh.’ It was a sinking feeling as the Silver, too, went to another horse. Then, when she was called out for the Gold, we were elated! It was thrilling to win against such exceptional mares!” Those present saw Joe and Kim leap to their feet, their joy evident and infectious. As Supreme Champion, Jasminia earned the coveted silk saddle donated by the King of Morocco and a spectacular bronze by cherished friend Carol Fensholt Nierenberg that Joe treasures even more.


“The World Cup show committee deserves praise for pulling off this event in such a short time,” Joe continues. “COVID forced the change from Las Vegas to the outside setting at the Polo Field in Scottsdale, and it was perfection. That, and the incredible trophies offered separate the World Cup from other shows.” Having originally selected Jasminia as the entry into the Arabian world for a friend (for whom she won two Scottsdale championships), Joe and Kim consider themselves lucky to reap the rewards of her ownership.


They were staggered by over 300 messages of congratulations from all over the world, celebrating Jasminia and the talents of her handler, renowned horseman Rodolfo Guzzo. “He believed in Jasminia as a young filly and saw her potential when other trainers didn’t,” says Joe. As the only trainer in her undefeated career, Guzzo deeply appreciates Jasminia’s outstanding qualities. “She is a special horse,” he explains. “Very lovely, and very kind. She is super-feminine and elegant, and her movement! Always, when she comes into the arena, she is charismatic and full of trot, that is really the charm. She has a clean throat, pretty face, a super length of neck, great body, and upright tail, and that fantastic movement. Plus, her dark bay color makes a difference. In my opinion, the whole package is incredible.”


When Jasminia first arrived in his care three years earlier, Guzzo assigned his son the job of conditioning the filly. The victim of an accident that robbed him of all but 25% vision in one eye, Rodolphino has a special way of communicating with horses through touch and an open-hearted attention that is fully reciprocated. “There is no filter there,” says Guzzo. “It’s the most authentic love and passion, and for him, Jasminia is ‘The Horse.’ To see my son’s happiness and emotion when she won was worth everything. Joe and Kim respect what he has done for her. I really appreciate that.”


For now, Jasminia will take a hiatus from the show ring to spend time in the Orrs pastures in Washington. “Three people have already purchased embryos from her, and we have bred her to Aria Rakeem,” Joe explains. “Kim and I love the lifestyle and the grounding from the animals. We are in this for the fun of it, and Jasminia will be having some spa years at the ranch before returning to competition. We can’t wait to bring her home. She is, simply, a Rose City Arabian.”

Magazine Cover Stories

*RFI Sophie AlMaktub: The Brazilian Queen Comes To The United States

Cover Story - Vol. 51, No.7, issue 3

COVER STORY: *RFI Sophie AlMaktub: The Brazilian Queen Comes To The United States


They say that some things are worth the wait. That’s definitely the case with RFI Sophie AlMaktub (RFI Maktub x RFI Sophia Al Neschi, by Neschnij), the 2010 bay mare from Brazil.


The first time Stuart and Carol Nierenberg, Silver Box Southwest, saw Sophie was at the 2018 Brazilian Nationals, the day before her appearance in the Senior Mares class. It was love at first sight. “I wasn’t aware at the time of Sophie’s global renown, but Cindy McGown and Mark Davis of Royal Arabians, apparently knew her well,” recalls Carol. “Together, we immediately tried to buy her, but we were told she was not for sale, at any price.”


The following night, after watching her in Senior Mares, the foursome became even more interested in obtaining Sophie. “Ringside, I watched, spellbound – frankly, with fingers crossed that she wouldn’t do well, and hence that owner Rodrigo Foz Forte (RFI Arabians) might change his mind and decide to sell her,” Carol says with a laugh. “Alas, Sophie owned the ring that night, electrifying the crowd with her perfection and her presence, and was crowned National Champion Senior Mare of Brazil.”


Despite subsequent repeated partnership attempts to purchase Sophie, Rodrigo continued to hold the line – the mare was not for sale. Recalls Travis Rice, sales manager for Royal Arabians: “We kept getting the same answer – no, no, no, and for emphasis – no.”


But at last, some two years later, Forte did put a price tag on Sophie. Without hesitation, the four partners agreed to it.


In a sense, the mare was coming home: Rodolfo Guzzo, the halter trainer for Royal Arabians, Silver Box Southwest and the foursome’s partnership entity, Royal/Silver Box, had been the first to show Sophie, in Brazil as a yearling, leading her to her first national championship title. Now he would be preparing and showing her again.


Arriving on U.S. soil at the end of 2020, Sophie proved to be everything her admirers had perceived at their first meeting in Brazil.


Carol describes her as the “Katharine Hepburn of Arabian mares. Like Hepburn, Sophie AlMaktub possesses an elegance, the epitome of class, refinement and presence that are unique to her – breathtaking, utterly singular, unmistakable and unforgettable,” she says.


Travis, who was with the four partners when they first became interested in purchasing the mare, says Sophie is “perfection. She just makes anyone stop and ask, ‘Who is THAT?’”


Beyond her presence, correctness, uniqueness and show-stopping beauty, Sophie has also proven her value as a broodmare. Her get include well-decorated and highly admired progeny from a variety of sires.


There’s Pharaoh HBV (by Psyche HBV), the 2016 All Nations Cup Silver Champion and 2017 Dubai Silver Champion Colt; RFI Sawari (by Excalibur EA), 2017 Brazilian National Gold Champion Junior Filly; and RFI Splendor (by El Tino), the 2018 Brazilian National Silver Champion Colt.


Guzzo will present Sophie on U.S. soil for the first time at the April Arabian Breeders World Cup on the polo grounds in Scottsdale. He is “ecstatic” to be able to partner with the mare again, and show her to Arabian enthusiasts in the U.S.


“There’s no person that sees Sophie who doesn’t fall in love with her,” he says. “She has gotten better and more beautiful over the years. I am excited to run into the arena with her as she makes her debut in America. Even more people will fall in love with Sophie.”


The Royal/Silver Box partnership, too, is looking forward to her U.S. show ring debut –and to many years of cherishing Sophie Almaktub. Says Carol: “Rodrigo Forte graciously permitted Royal/Silver Box custody of The Queen. She is now our greatest treasure. But in truth, she belongs to the whole Arabian world. Her genetic contributions have been, and will continue to be, immense. Sophie is, quite simply, a singular sensation. She is an icon of the Arabian breed. We are grateful every day for the privilege of being in her presence.”