D Angelo

Everybody loves an underdog story.

So, join us with D Angelo on his way to the 2020 World Championship in Paris. Step by step we will unfold the story of this fine stallion. It is also a story about the owner, Joost of Elizar Arabians, his hopes and aims – for D Angelo but also the show scene.


The Origin

D Angelo Was Bred By Stillwater Arabians, Usa, In 2014. A Look At The Stallion And His Pedigree Reveal The Genetic Power. D Angelo Is A Worthy Successor To His Exceptional Sire, Jj Bellagio; One Of Magnum Psyche’s Most Exotic Sons. The Maternal Side Of D Angelo’s Pedigree Is No Less Interesting. His Dam Ofw Dark Greena Is By Brazilian National Champion Stallion Rsd Dark Victory, Whose Daughters Have Been Known As Amazing Producing Mares. Her Dam Donna Gee Hcf Is A Rare, Top Producing Daughter Of The Celebrated Brazilian National Champion And Influential Sire, Af Don Giovani. Ofw Dark Geena’s Grand-dam, Fauzia Hcf, Is The Daughter Of Another Leading Sire And Brazilian National Champion, Lyphard, By The Great Padron.
for Sure, This Is A Lineage That Has Proven To Produce Consistently Balanced Bodies, Straight Legs, Shapely Necks, Typey Heads, And Fiery Trots.


The Junior Years

Trained And Successfully Shown By David Boggs Of Midwest. At The 2016 United States National Championships, D Angelo Was Adding To His 2015 Top Ten Yearling And 2016 Top Ten Two-year Old Awards By Being Named Top Ten Junior Stallion. A Rising Star That Did Not Go Unnoticed. Al Jood Stud From Qatar Secured This Promising Youngster For Its Breeding Program. As So Often, Things Turn Out Differently Than Expected.


Wait Mode

Shortly After D Angelo Arrived At Al Jood Stud, Near The Town Of Al Khor, Qatar, The Focus Of The Breeding Program Changed To Straight Egyptian Arabians. The Young, Powerful D Angelo Was Not Shown Or Used Much As A Sire; He Remained More Or Less In Wait Mode.
finally, A Decision Was Made By Sending D Angelo To Europe. Next Stop For The Meanwhile Five-years-old Was The Training Centre Of Bernat Tolrá In Spain. Bernat And His Staff Worked With The Bay Stallion And Showed Him Successfully To Galician Unanimous Golden Stallion.


An Offer

While in Spain, D Angelo was attracting interest from other breeders and was breeding some of their finest mares. One example is his daughter, Delfinaa GA, who is out of Belgian National Champion Mare, Claudiaa, bred and owned by Gemini Acres and now with Elizar Arabians. When Joost of Elizar Arabians was at the 2018 World Championship in Paris, Al Jood’s manager Ziggy Wellens contacted him offering D Angelo. As D Angelo was the sire of his lovely Delfinaa GA, Joost was interested. Anyhow, Ziggy and Joost didn’t come to an agreement.


A New Chance

Sometimes life gives us a second chance. Again, Joost travelled to Paris, again Ziggy Wellens came to him offering D Angelo. Ziggy wanted to give the horse a new chance in another stud farm and asked Joost to make an offer. In the end, they came to an agreement and Joost used the opportunity of buying an amazing horse. A new chance for D Angelo and Elizar Arabians. For a small breeder, it was an excellent opportunity to secure the breeding potential for his farm.


Bumby Start

The Circumstances Were Difficult Again. Due To The Pandemic, The D Angelo Was Only Able To Travel To Belgium At The End Of May. He Was Put In Training With Schoukens Training Center. D Angelo Is Blessed With Beauty And The Heart Of A Champion. Of Course, Everybody At Elizar Arabians Had Certain Expectations When The Stallion Made His Debut At The Bruges International Show The First Week Of September. The Idea Was Giving The Handler Glenn Schoukens Some Experience With Him And To See How He Reacts In A Show Arena, But They Ended Last Of His Class.



“my Plan Was – And Still Is! – To Bring D Angelo To Paris. I Still Believe In His Qualities And He Deserves This Chance. However, Bruges Was Not Such A Great Experience. Just One Week Later, One Of The Saudi Princes Leases A Top Stallion, Who Everyone Believes To Become The Next World Champion. I Asked Glenn To Show D Angelo At The World Championship And He Decided Not To Show Him In Paris. Besides That, I Received From Many People Some Messages With A Typical Content Saying ‘d Angelo Should Have Won, The Jury Was Corrupt’ Etc.”
now Joost Needed Some Good Advice.


Reflective Phase

“my Plan Was And Is To Bring D Angelo To Paris Having A Nice Result At The World Championship. Again, I Have Got A Lot Of Comments Like ‘don’t Go, Paris Is For The Middle Eastern Farms. Jury Must Be Bought; You Will Need Hundreds Of Thousands Of Advertisements Etc.” Joost Faded Out The Negative Contributions. Why? “because If They Are True This Means The End Of Us As Small Breeders Who Love Their Horses And Who Also Can Have A Chance To Win At The World Championship”, Explains Joost. “i Don’t Want To Believe That!”


Different Horse

When D Angelo Was At Elizar Arabians The Whole Team Enjoyed His Company. And The Stallion Enjoyed His Leisure Time In The Green Pastures. People Stopped At The Stallion’s Pasture. Just For Fun, D Angelo Started Trotting With Ground Covering Movements. It Was Obvious, He Has The Potential To Show More. But How Can One Support Him To Show His Full Potential In The Right Moment At The Show? Due To Being Over Excited He Was Not Able Showing His Wonderful Trot At A Show. One Thing Was Clear: Something Needed To Change.


From A Small Breeders Perspective

Before we continue with D Angelo’s story let talk about champion horses from a small breeder’s perspective. How is the situation nowadays regarding the World Championship? “Big money” farms respectively their agents observing the market and buy everything looking like a sure winner. Small breeders are hard-pressed to keep pace. An alternative option is buying an underestimated horse, recognizing the potential, giving it a chance and creating a World Champion. This is, more or less, what Elizar Arabians is trying with D Angelo. Still, it is not easy to compete with global players and their unlimited possibilities.The highest level, of course, is breeding a World Champion. So far, Elizar Arabians have no experience on this level but who knows. Probably, regardless of the results in Paris, D Anglo might sire a future World Champion. This is what small breeders keep going.


Power Trip

As A Reflected Person Capable Of Criticism, Joost Started Studying The Video Of The Bruges Show And The Points Given To D Angelo By The Jury. “i Have To Admit The Points Given Are Correct”, He Says. Again, It Was Time To Change Something. D Angelo Was Brought Home To Start Working On Those Aspects Where He Was Losing Points: Movement, Body, And Topline.
but Instead Of Going To The Traditional Arabian Horse Trainers, Elizar Arabians Built A Team Around Him Of Experts But All In Different Fields. To Show His Nice Movements D Angelo Had To Be Calmer In The Head And To Have A Better Topline He Had To Use His Hindquarters.
a Kind Of Power Trip, A Special Training Program Was Created. D Angelo Receives A Daily Training With A Classic Dressage Rider. For Treating Tension And Blockage In The Back A Physiotherapist And Kinesiotherapist Have Been Working With D Angelo.


First Lesson

D Angelo receives a daily training with Else Boriau, a classic dressage rider. As a teenager, Else took care of the horses at Canasta Arabians and trained the stallions under saddle. Since then, she is training Warmbloods at a high level. Living just 5 minutes away from Elizar Arabians, Joost drove with D Angelo to this experienced trainer. The stallion arrived at Else’s place one week after Bruges. His first lesson seemed to be easy: to walk in a relaxed manner next to Else. It was more complicated than one would have thought. “The first time D’Angelo came to my stable he made a big impression,” says Else. “You heard him coming from far away, he whinnied and jumped around everyone. Maybe I can best describe him as a ticking time bomb. He was so tense and angry at everything. Yet his eyes remained soft. He certainly had no intention of hurting anyone. He just didn’t know how to behave and he bit off literally and figuratively. Luckily, I have a lot of patience. I am not easily impressed and I took him over from the groom. It took 50 minutes before he wanted to walk next to me normally and found peace. I think he then made a click that he could feel safe with me and that I wasn’t there to punish him.” Obviously, Else and D Angelo needed to work on his concentration ability. From that day, D Angelo goes to Else’s training facilities every day.


Different Path

It paid off to tread a different path. After two weeks everybody at Elizar Arabian saw D Angelo changing. “We measured him and found out he is more compact than most top stallions. This is a good point although he was seen as not compact at all due to his posture”, Joost says. And the training continues. Also, every week D Angelo is videoed and measured again to have an objective track record of his changes. “So, combining horsemanship and objective recording will lead us to his maximum”, Joost is convinced


Scientific Approach

Looking at photos of D Angelo before his special training program started and looking at the stallion now – the difference is huge! Thanks to a new approach, D Angelo changed for the better. He built up muscles, his topline and hindquarters changed. The physiotherapist and kinesiotherapist found and resolved the stallion’s blockades enabling him to use his back and hindquarters in the right way. Besides, an experienced dressage rider works with him. The lunging helps D Angelo easily and effectively training the back and neck musculature.


Major Result

D Angelo not only changed body wise. Within a short period, he became a relaxed and much happier horse. Else worked with him on his concentration abilities. The two are working in a large riding hall filled with other stallions, dressage and jumping horses. Gone are the days when D Angelo behaved weird. Today he is walking next to Else or his proud owner just without a lead while other riders are working with their horses. “He is such a sweet character, we could sit on a couch watching TV together,” says Joost with a big smile.


About Else

The Arabian horse scene is not an entirely strange world for Else. She not only worked for Canasta Arabians but participated with the stallion Azal’S at a youth/amateur show, went a couple of times to the stallion show as a groom. Anyhow, Else is fully aware that the scene changed a lot in the last 20 years. Her new challenge with D Angelo has a different priority: “For me, the big difference is that I don’t have to ride with him but that he shows himself at his very best in the ring. D’Angelo knows perfectly how to show himself at his best. He learned that from the best trainers in the world. Here I have to catch up myself. And that is what we are working on. Also, the training is the same as every horse should get. Bring rest in their heads, obedience, get balance, build condition and develop the right muscles. But most of all having fun when they work.”


Else about D Angelo

“D Angelo has a very good character. He always wants to please you, so sometimes he’s too enthusiastic and gets himself into trouble. But if you give him the right guidance he will understand immediately and feels guilty when he makes mistakes.  He is very workable and smart, you explain a new exercise to him and he does his best to do what you expect of him. Besides that, he really enjoys the attention (yes he knows he is handsome) and he loves cuddles and sweets.”Though Else is an experienced trainer she learned something from D Angelo, too. “Recently we were training D Angelo to stand up correctly. Because I am the rookie in this point and he is my teacher we had a funny moment. I did the exercise and I made a mistake. D Angelo left a deep sigh as if he wanted to say: “Don’t you get it yet?!” – I think our conversations for an outsider are sometimes hilarious.”


Anchor Point

Becoming an anchor point for the stallion – a person to trust, Joost decided to let Else show D Angelo in Paris. “It is an easy decision: she is the one who does all the training with him; it is important that he has somebody to trust in the showring. D Angelo will need this anchor point when he is back in the show arena to avoid that he turns back to the overexcited horse he was in Bruges.” Else is absolutely clear about the situation: “I had some doubts, it’s not my world and I know this is a separate discipline. For me this is a world apart so what could I do there. I certainly don’t want to ruin D’Angelo’s qualities because I miss the experience. I had watched the movie of the show last year and the level is very high. Not only the horses are top quality, but also the best trainers come together. But you will get there with hard work. And I am eager to learn. So I agreed with Joost that he will give me a good coach to prepare me for Paris.”


Let’s Enjoy The Moment

For sure, the 40th edition World Championship will be different from the ones before. Nevertheless, the quality level will be very high. Else expects a lot of glitter, glamour, and ambience in the ring. “It may go so well at home,” she says. “However, in the ring, we will have to prove ourselves and not making any mistakes. How it will be behind the scenes/stables? I can’t really imagine but I hope there is a good atmosphere and that everyone is friendly. We are going to do our best and for me, it is important that D’Angelo enjoys it!” Regardless of the result – Joost would like to encourage other small breeders with D Angelo’s story. “Do not lose hope, let’s work together to change something to the better for the small breeders as we are the backbone of the Arabian horse scene! I would like to invite everybody, share our story, cheer for us on Social Media, in Paris. Last but not least, I would like to address heartfelt thanks to all involved in this change starting with the judges, the organisation team of the Paris show, the trainer, our trainer of the handler,  physiotherapist, kinesiotherapist, the vet, and D Angelo`s personal groom here at Elizar Arabians, Mr Wagner. Let’s enjoy Paris, let’s enjoy the moment!”

To be continued