Aug. 3, 2013 — If he were a man, Al-Marah Good Oldboy would be up on the stage at the Academy Awards marking history with five of his offspring, all pumping the air with their own Oscars. Like father, like sons and daughter. Think Coppolas of the equine world. But this is no two-legged talent.
“Good Oldboy is the first sire in the history of the breed to produce five Legion of Masters horses,” says Mark Miller, owner of the world-famous Al-Marah Arabians established by his mother, the late Bazy Tankersley. The liver chestnut stallion raised that bar in June, when son Al-Marah Feisty Star and daughter Al-Marah HeyYouStar landed their points to become his fourth and fifth offspring to achieve the honor, according to Miller. (The pinnacle of the Arabian Horse Association’s competition achievement program, Legion of Masters horses are designated by four ++++ character symbols.) “This is something that Al-Marah’s general manager Jerry Hamilton was trying to do for Mother before she died,” he reflects. “It’s another validation of her breeding program being one of the finest in the world. It was the completion of one task and the beginning of the next chapter for the herd.”
True to form, Good Oldboy didn’t simply rest on his laurels as a patriarch. He left the farm in Tucson for Miller’s Orlando Arabian Nights dinner attraction, to reinvent his career yet again. “He’s the kind of horse who always wants a job,” notes Miller, who had no hesitations about introducing the senior Al-Marah sire (who will continue breeding) into one of the signature acts at Arabian Nights. Certain the talents that made Good Oldboy a multiple-time U.S. Nationals Reserve Champion Reining horse were ideal for the show’s spine-tingling Native American Tribute act, Miller wasn’t disappointed.
Just like when he leaped from hunter mode (a Top Ten career he started at 17 under the tutelage of veteran Grand Prix rider/trainer Dianne Grod) to perform a reining exhibition at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Good Oldboy took to show biz and special effects from his first rehearsal last month. “We put him in the spotlight, dimmed the lights, and then added the fog. He was absolutely solid,” describes Miller. “At 21, he’s still a world-calibre reining horse.”
A crowd favorite already as a solo act, Good Oldboy will soon turn the Native act into a reining duet with his half-brother Al-Marah Horatio in Arabian Nights’ new show The Royal Celebration, which debuted June 30, 2013.
“Never has a horse fit his name better than Good Oldboy. He’s earned his name every day of his life,” says Miller. “Mother really liked him as a foal. He was friendly. He didn’t nip. Bazy gave him the name because that’s how he was.” So much, she made exception to her own “keyword” system of naming Al-Marah horses, ignoring the “sea” or “nautical link” to his famous sire, Al-Marah Sea Captain. “If a horse is born and we feel he’s got a great chance at being a sire in the future, we throw the naming key out. In his case, Bazy abandoned the key, explains Miller.
With 121 registered offspring to date, not counting this year’s foals, the potential for added benchmarks is as potent as their sire. Good Oldboy and his five Legion of Masters progeny have done their part in helping Al-Marah earn a whopping 20 % of all Masters winners to date by Miller’s estimate (11 of 55 awarded). “You talk about a horse you can go to war on. He’s probably the most honest horse I’ve ever been on,” Miller remarks. “The last thing Mother told me before she died was, ‘Don’t forget Good Oldboy.’”