Our look into the British National Championships continues with a lovely Anglo Arab who took the title as a yearling.
Scindian Sirdar – by Elizabeth Lester
Scindian Sirdar arrived at Mill Farm in 1989 as a foal at foot. Owned by Noel Hardcastle, he was by Scindian Sultan and out of the Anglo Arab mare, Astarte (Shifari x Vivat Regina) – Sirdar was to be her last foal.
There was always something special about this colt. Standing in his stable, he just looked like a good horse but put him in the show-ring and he became a showman, head out in his bridle; he had such presence, combined with powerful paces and elegant carriage, that without actively showing off, everything about him said “look at me”.
Walking into the collecting ring, his ears pricked and his eyes were bright with the excitement of the occasion and I was aware of heads turning to watch this little horse.
Sidar was Reserve Champion at his first show (Suffolk County) and many more wins were to come. One show I remember with particular satisfaction was the Essex County where he won all three classes he entered – the Anglo Arab, Arab first cross and the hunter youngstock. I didn’t think that he would do very well in the company of a lot of hefty hunter youngsters but we came in mid-line. After the trot out, we moved up to first place. The judge’s comments were particularly memorable. “What a lovely horse. I dismissed you at first as he looked all Araby but doesn’t he move!” I smiled sweetly, hoping that she would give me the rosette before asking his breeding (75% Arab!).
Sirdar survived a horrible accident on the journey home from a show when the trailer got into a swing and ended up upside down beside the car. Both vehicles were written off and, amazing, Sidar escaped with cuts needing stitches – miraculous considering the smashed-up remains of the trailer. We used a lorry thereafter and as a testament to his temperament and courage, Sidar loaded and travelled with no problem.
At the 1990 British National Show, my mother and I took four Anglos under judge Kieron Guinness: Scindian Cynosure, Sidar, Molly Malone and Thomas O’Malley. All four were in the championships. Sidar won his class, the Junior Male Championship and then the Overall Anglo Championship. He then took the Reserve Supreme (Roy Creber) of the Show under Mrs Mills. I believe he is the only yearling ever to have achieved this.
Despite my and my mother’s belief that he should remain entire and stand at Mill Farm with his sire, having lost his grandsire, Scindian Magic in 1990, Noel decided to have him gelded and sell him. Tragically, the injection to put him out for the operation killed him; an operation which patently was never meant to happen.
Sidar is still missed and I can’t help but wonder what heights he would have gone on to achieve.
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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.