• P.O. Box 110, Orange Lake, Florida 32681
    office: +1 352.591.4661 • rohara@windstream.net
  • The Farm

    Sitting outside on the veranda, listening to the birds singing in the trees and watching the squirrels run past, we both stop for a moment to just enjoy the serenity of nature. “I think the key thing about Rohara, the thing that makes it so very special, is that we have a very small nucleus of horses that can compete all over the world,” says Roxann.  I am very proud of the success Rohara has achieved globally. That said, I always say ‘don’t overlook the little brown, round horse’. Just because you are winning big in the show-ring does not automatically make your horse a producer; I guess that is my next piece of advice for young breeders.”

    Our talk turns to the horses that have been at the heart of Rohara Arabians, with Roxann telling me that some of her best mares have produced National Champion and Reserve National Champion mares and fillies. “I think there have probably been four or five mares that have been the real contributors to Rohara and its success,” she says. The first of these is the 1970 mare Emenee (Aramus x Diamondita by Royal Diamond out of Al-Marah Ralee), a grey mare included on the World Aristocrat List. “One of Emenee’s last daughters is still here on the farm today,” says Roxann. “She lives in the geriatric paddock, where you have to be aged 21 or over to be eligible to get in!” The next mare is S Justatinkerbell, a 1998 mare with a wonderful pedigree. Her sire is Justafire DGL by top performance stallion Afire Bey V (Huckleberry Bey x Autumn Fire by Bask out of Sparkling Burgundy) while her dam is the delightful Gainey mare Gai Serena (Gai Parada x Shantazone by Comar Raffdazon out of Hi Lin Shantaza). Also on the World Aristocrat List, S Justatinkerbell has given Rohara more than four champions including Brazilian and Uruguay National Champion. Next on Roxann’s list is Farrah Diba, whom she describes as one of her “very first great purchases”. Born in 1985, the Egyptian Farrah Diba is by Ruminaja Bahjat (Shaikh Al Badi x Bint Magidaa by Khofo out of Magidaa) and out of Talyla (Ansata Shah Zaman x Talya by Talal out of Hoda). The next mare on Roxann’s list is Bint Jadi (Jon-San Blazer x Jadi Tsatha by Tsatyr out of Naritha), whom she describes as one of her best-producing mares. Foaled in 1976, her daughters have competed the world over.

    The final mare Roxan lists is the 1989 Spanish mare Viviana (Valeroso x Leonna by El Intenso Leon out of Rabdana of Windsong). “I bred her to Padrons Psyche and showed her daughter myself to US National Champion Amateur Mare. Viviana is one of my finest mares and she now lives in the geriatric paddock.” We pause in our conversation, as the feed cart goes past in the neighbouring paddock – swiftly followed by five young mares, all racing to get their tea. “One of my pet peeves in the industry is seeing broodmares not kept in good condition,” says Roxann as she watches her horses feed. “You should keep your mares in the very best condition that you can as they are going to produce your future.

    “Horses really thrive on attention. I, and my team, spend a lot of time with the horses here. I treat every horse as an individual, from feeding to care, and everything in between. “As a group, we will regularly take our show horses out and evaluate their condition – which one needs more feed, which less, which more exercise, which is just right… When Rohara horses go into the show-ring, I know that they will be among the best conditioned horses there, and I am proud that is something that we are known for.”

    Returning back to the topic of breeding, Roxann says that she hopes the current economic climate does not continue to limit breeders. “The number of Arabian foals, pure and half-Arabians, being bred has fallen precipitously. At some point, things will come full circle and it will come back to the breeders as they will be the only ones with any supply.” Roxann tells me that she is surprised that there are hardly any amateur classes in Europe, saying that is a market that this continent is missing. “In Central and South America, they are doing more amateur classes these days and that has added another dimension by doing so. “We have to make sure that horse showing does not belong to such an elitist group. We need to encourage participation in this great breed. The horses that we have here can be shown in so many different arenas.”

    Roxann tells me that she used to do a lot of amateur halter classes and has won two National Championships, three or four reserves and also seven championships at Scottsdale. In addition, she was named the Arabian Professional and Amateur Horseman Association’s Amateur Halter Horsewoman of the Year in 2003. “I haven’t done a lot of showing lately, but I have the two-year-old filly, Rohara Via Donna, and I plan to show her next year in Scottsdale.”

    Our conversation moves onto performance, starting with Roxann explaining that her logo is a swan because they have long, high-set necks. “One of the reasons I went with the swan is that I grew up as a rider, not a halter person, and I knew what I needed for the horse to wear a bridle properly. “Performance is very important to me. I hurt my back and quit riding around 1983/1984. That was when Bay El Bey and Ivanhoe Tsultan where here and I spent all my time teasing horses and breeding. But performance remains something that is very important to me, and the horses that I breed have to have form to function; that is, they have to be able to be ridden, driven and so on, and have the body and limbs to back up this ability. The horses that are here are, and have proven to be, poised to go on and do something.

    “At the 1999 US Nationals, there were 2,000 horses forward. Rohara Reflection (Afire Bey V x Fire Serenity by Fire Alert out of CR Mirandy) won in halter and performance and she was the only horse on the entire showground to do that. I think that is pretty sad, really. Our horses will show in halter and go under saddle at the same show – and I think it is important that we don’t lose that. “It is also important that they are pretty. I don’t care if I’m breeding pink and purple polka dot horses – I want it to be pretty when its laying down, driving, showing in halter, or just grazing in a paddock. For me, a horse should be aesthetically pretty with great conformation and quality – that is the key for me.