Memories of the British Nationals: Ali Khan

Continuing with memories from the British National Championships in this Centenary year for the Arab Horse Society, we feature our next British National Champion. This hugely charismatic bay was a hugely popular show horse.

Ali Khan

Ali Khan – by Jackie Keen
My quest was to write about my favourite British National Champion – but where do I start? I have so many that I like – Final Shadow (Psytadel x AS Shahwan), Forever Besson (Besson Carol x Forever Bint Czar), Windella Silver Sensation (SK Shakla Khan x Windella Silver Fascination), Haniyyah (Psytadel x Hanina) and Aazari (Arazi x Mareesah) to name but a few. With a list that could go on and on, there was one horse that really made an impression on me when I first met him up in the Welsh hills and he will always be the one British National Champion I will remember the most.

His name is Ali Khan. This super horse is by Al Hakkim (Ansata Halim Shah x Simeon Sasson) out of Sharene (Khan Shadow x Nareena) and was bred by the Jones family of Bychan Arabians.

Ali Khan has a classic head with eyes the size of pools that draw you into them and he has a calm and kind temperament that is second to none. Ali Khan is famed for his very big and stunning movement and he was one of only three horses that scored 20 for movement at the International Arabian Show at Lingfield.

It was in 2003 that Ali Khan won the British National Championship Male title with Rhodri Jones showing him. These two forged a formidable partnership over the years and even though there was a long gap in their showing career, they always picked up where they left off.

The day Ali Khan won dawned bright and dry and after the lunch break, the stallion classes commenced. When Ali Khan came in for his class, the crowd was completely behind him and cheered his movement all the way around the ring – he responded by strutting his stuff in typical Ali Khan style and went on to win the class. It was one of those rare occasions when the sun actually shone for the last day of the Nationals, including when the stallions lined up for the championship. When Ali Khan was pulled forward as Senior Male British National Champion, the crowd erupted with appreciation for this lovely horse.

From there, Rhodri and Ali Khan went to Europe, winning and going Top Five at the All Nations’ Cup and then taking third place at the World Championships in Paris.

In 2005, Ali Khan went to Lashar Arabians in Switzerland to stand at stud where he had a harem of mares awaiting his arrival and the resulting foals were eagerly anticipated; they didn’t disappoint. His stock went on to represent Ali Khan both in the UK and European shows with success. While with Lashar Arabians, Ali Khan went to the European Championships in Verona and took the Reserve European Male Championship title.

Ali Khan returned to Wales and was all set to return to the British National Championships with Rhodri in 2007, but we all know that rain stopped play last year. Ali Khan’s owners, Mr Poulter and Louise McDonald, arranged for him to go back to Switzerland to continue his stud duties, which is where he is today.

I will always remember Ali Khan with affection and I am very pleased that I got to know him.

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This post comes from a series we first ran in The Arabian Magazine in 2005. Called Malvern Calling, the series celebrated British National Champions from Malvern, Ascot and even Kempton Park, and different readers shared their favourite memory from the British Nationals. There is always something special about watching the moment a horse is crowned British National Champion, so please enjoy the memories that will be shared here over the coming month.

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