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Palmetto Arabians' pride and joy, Sundance Kid V featured in the Arabian Horse Times

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  • Desperado V x Sweet Shalimar V by Ali Jamaal

    Zefyr+// May Dancer V Melodie V Sunsational Kid

  • by ANNE STRATTON

    It was one of the most memorable scenes at the 2014 U.S. Nationals: the victory pass in the western pleasure championship, when the black stallions Zefyr and Onyx A, champion and reserve champion, jogged out of the ring togetherin harmony, at ease and moving fluidly, like charcoal shadows of each other. Or more accurately, like shadows of their sire, the remarkable Sundance Kid V.

    Not all of the sons and daughters of Sundance Kid V are movie star black, and not all go one-two for a major trophy at the national levelbut a high percentage of them, regardless of color, are very successful at what they do. At last years U.S. Nationals, the stallion practically wrote the book in western competition alone, siring not only Zefyr

    and Onyx A, but two others in the top ten, which translates to nearly half of the class. Then there

    was the U.S. National Champion in Hunter Pleasure, and the champions in Hunter Pleasure Select, the

    Western Pleasure Maturity and English Trail AAOTR. Not to mention, a long list of top tens.

    By the time the awards were tabulated and leading sires at the 2014 U.S. and Canadian Nationals were ranked by Arabian Horse Times, Sundance Kid V had scored in three

    significant categories for performance sires. For purebreds, he was reserve by number

    of points and third in number of winners; in both purebreds and Half-Arabians, he was third in number of winners; and for Half-Arabians, he was sixth in number of winners.

    Is he going to start a dynasty here? inquired one observer. Do you

    think he could become the next dominant sire?

    Trainer Rob Bick, who knows the stallion well and has trained his get, replied bluntly,

    He already is in western pleasure.

    Frank and Sara Chisholm, of Palmetto Arabians in Timmonsville, S.C., own Sundance Kid V. He had a good show in 2013, but in 2014, he knocked it out of the

    park, Frank says, still a little stunned at the statistics. We were hoping and we thought he might have a good

    one, but we didnt know he would be this great.

    The Stallion With So Much To OfferSundance Kid V, bred by Sheila Varian, welcomed his first foal

    crop in 1998, and the Chisholms began using him in their program three years later. By that time, they already owned a full sister and a

    Palmetto Arabians And The Sundance Kid V Phenomenon

  • few of his daughters, so by the time they purchased him in 2003, they knew what they wanted and why.

    One reason that Sundance Kid V is so easy to like is that his contributions as a sire are reliable and clearly discernible: he bestows size and good looks (usually enough beauty and type to see his offspring through halter ribbons at many stages of competition), and he is known for siring a graceful, curvy neck that Bick says makes performance easy for his get. That makes a trainers job easy, he grins. Sometimes the more physically talented a horse is, the smarter it seems.

    Bick, who has long served as a source of counsel for Frank Chisholm on pedigrees, trains and sells many of Palmettos Sundance Kid V offspring. Theyre sweet horses and easy going, he reports. They dont want to be macho; you dont have to fight with them. You show them what you want and theyre very willing.

    Notably, even with the beauty, conformation and talent that are cited by nearly everyone who has Sundance Kid V horses, it is that signature attitude they talk about most. In todays culture of training, the horses that really step forward are the ones that train the best and are physically able, says Ted Carson, who has observed the stallion since he arrived in the Carolinas 12 years ago, and has shown some of his get. I think that what a lot of trainers like about the Sundance Kid horses is that they are mentally and physically very trainable horses. On the basis of his own experience, Carson breeds mares to the stallion.

    Josh Quintus, who trains the Sundance Kid V sons Onyx A and Diesel Smoke CBA, endorses their sire as well. I do like these horses, he says. Theyre very gifted off their feet, and theyre ones who can concentrate a long time. People dont realize how they have to concentrate to hold the frame and pay attention to whats going on, particularly the studs.

    The other thing about him is that the percentage of show horses he puts on the ground is amazing, adds Bick, who has advised clients to breed to Sundance Kid V. Its not like, say, he puts 10 or 12 on the ground and four or five are show-able. The whole group is show-able. We rarely get one that isnt a show horse, and

    its the same thing with the outside people who breed to him; they all get show horses. Its just a consistent quality about him. Ive never sent anyone to breed to that horse

    that was disappointed in what they got.

    Bill Buglass, who with his wife, Tracy, owns Windy Gap Arabians in Deerfield, Wis., would agree. Our belief is that the Arabian horse needs to be beautifulneeds to look like an Arabianand be athletic, he says. When we got started breeding, thats what we saw in Sundance Kid V.

    And that is what Sundance Kid delivered for them. I think every baby weve had by him has gone on to be top ten or better at U.S. Nationals and other places, as either a hunt horse or a western horse, Buglass reports. WGA Rose Dancer, 2014 Canadian National Champion in Hunter Pleasure Junior Horse and U.S. National Reserve Champion

    in the Hunter Pleasure Maturity the year before, and Coldplay Kid, who won two U.S. National Reserve Championships and a host of top tens, come to mind readilyand recently, WGA Very Sunny, U.S. National Top Ten in the 2014 Western Pleasure Futurity. There have been others as well, including their first Sundance foal, a mare they retained as a broodmare. She consistently produces youngsters that sell well and go on to successful show careers.

    Weve been very fortunate, Buglass says. Frank and Sara and Melissa are a pleasure to deal with, and we happen to think alike in what we like in horses.

    Palmetto Arabians And The Sundance Kid V Phenomenon Champion and Reserve Honors for Sundance Kid V

    sons, Zefyr and Onyx A, in the 2014 U.S. National Western Pleasure Championships.

    Two additional Top Tenhonors went to MaleahMaria and Sunstormm,leaving Sundance theproud sire of almost half of the Top Ten.

    ~ Ted Carson

    ~ Rob Bick

    In todays culture of training, the horses that really step forward are the ones that train the best and are physically able.

    the percentage of show horses he puts on the ground is amazing. Its not like, say, he puts 10 or 12 on the ground and four or five are show-able.

    The whole group is show-able.

  • What WorksThe HeritageSundance Kid V did not rise to prominence on his own. What is being seen today is a combination of two factors: the depth and quality of his pedigree, which was designed by Sheila Varian and resulted in an individual with all the attributes to breed on, and the careful career guidance of Frank and Sara Chisholm.

    The pedigree comes first. In his sire line, Sundance Kid V traces to Varians first great stallion Bay-Abi, and in his tail female to one of the programs foundation mares, *Bachantka. In between are some of Varians most legendary names: Bay El Bey, Huckleberry Bey, Desperado V, Baychatka, Moska, Spinning Song, and Sweet Inspiration V, among othersall proven contributors. There is almost no one in the framework of bloodlines that has not produced at the highest level, usually time after time, and the introduction of Ali Jamaal as a broodmare sire adds a dash of the exotic.

    Rob has pounded into us over the years that there are certain lines that are pretty predictable, Frank Chisholm chuckles when explaining their attraction to the pedigree. There are certain lines, certain ways to breed that give you athletic, good minded horses.

    So, why would Varian sell a young sire with all that potential? Because, as Frank argued when he made an offer, Sundance Kid V so thoroughly represented her lines, wasnt she limited in who she could breed him to among her mares? Sheila, who did not really want to part with the black stallion, could see the reasoning. And, she would add, the Chisholms themselves factored into her decision as well. Over the years that they had purchased horses from her, she had come to know them and seen them grow as breeders; she was comfortable with what they wanted to do, and felt she

    could trust them with Sundance Kid V. He came to Palmetto in 2003 and

    has been building his reputation ever since.

    Rob Bick notes that the stallion, in the tradition of the sires in his line, has used all the qualities he inherited but defined them his own way. Sundance is unique, he says, and he stamps the babies we get with

    his own look.

    He tries to explain the evolution of individuality in the line. Sundance Kids grandsire, Huckleberry Bey, was a great horse and in his time had one of the higher-set necks we saw in the breed, he says. He was a saddle seat style horse, and he went on to sire that through Afire Bey V in the English division. This horse is a little different. The Huck influence, as you see it in Desperado V, puts on more of a western style body (and so do some of the Polish horses, like Dar, that you see in his pedigree). So, even though hes just turned out every day, not worked, Sundance has muscles in his rear

    end that look like a Quarter Horse that has been working every day. Thats just how hes built.

    Bick finally just shrugs to express his appreciation for the stallion. Caralyn and I are extremely grateful to