Continuing with memories from the British National Championships in this Centenary year for the Arab Horse Society, we feature our next British National Champion. Today’s post celebrates an Arabian horse bred in Australia and who ended his days in the United States.
Ralvon Elijah – by Liz Salmon
The first time I saw Ralvon Elijah was when he won his second British National Championship in 1985. To put it mildly, he simply blew me away with his type, movement and presence. I hadn’t seen him win the previous year – I was at the Los Angeles Olympics instead. But I had read about Elijah and his other show successes at the All Nations Cup.
Elijah was born at the famous Ralvon Stud in New South Wales, Australia. Michael Pitt-Rivers bought him as a yearling and brought him back to the UK. He wasn’t shown until he was a mature horse as he grew in spurts and didn’t fill out until he was five. His sire, Ralvon Nazarene, was a very successful stallion, not only in the show ring, where he won the Australian National Championship, but also as a sire. His dam, Trix Silver, was by Ralvon Pilgrim, the legendary stallion who travelled to the other side of the world in 1977 to win the first World Championship, held at the British Nationals at Ascot.
In 1986, I heard that Elijah was for sale and I decided that I would put a partnership together to purchase this wonderful horse, resulting in The Elijah Enterprise, which had eight partners. I was one of two managing partners, dealing with PR and stud management, and Paul Adams was the business managing partner.
Elijah arrived in the USA in the autumn of 1986 where he was quarantined for three months to test him for any CEM infections before he was released to us in time for the 1987 breeding season.
Elijah’s first stud season was with the trainer Kim Potts, who was preparing him for halter classes. In the autumn of 1987 he soon started to win and was Champion at two class A shows, qualifying for the 1988 Region IX Championships in Texas. The goal was to show him at the US Nationals in 1988, but he had to go Top Five at Regionals and get his performance point.
As he had already been broken in by Caroline Nelson, we knew he was rideable. When I took over managing him for his second breeding season in February 1988, I started him in dressage, as we thought that would be the easiest performance division. Six weeks later, we competed in Oklahoma and won two fourths in dressage, qualifying him for Nationals.
Sad to say, due to the structure and politics of the US show-ring at that time, Elijah did not even make the cut at the Nationals, much to the blank amazement of so many people.
Little did I know when I first saw him, that I would get to know this horse so well. He would bang his door if I didn’t greet him first when I arrived at the stables! He was a joy to ride and handle for breeding, although as he was not being used to being collected for AI, we had to let him jump a mare while the vet hid behind a tree to catch him! He sired some outstanding foals in the US, one of which is now a National Dressage Champion, and others who have excelled in Reining and the Working Cow divisions.
The Elijah Enterprise broke up in 1991, with partners Don and Joann Holson buying out the rest of us. I was very sad to see him go, as he had been my close friend for five years. He died in 2002 at the age of 23. What a great horse!
Want to read more articles like these? Subscribe to The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine.
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.