Dries Arabian Run
Newfield, New Jersey
by Janet Schoeler
Imagine you've taken a few days off and are on a fishing trip, but one afternoon becomes a bit too long. Instead, you decide to take a leisurely drive - and end up buying your first horse, a chestnut Arabian! Fast forward three years and you find yourself walking down to the barn of your breeding farm to check on one of your 31 Arabian horses, where nine foal were born this year.
This movie-like story is no fantasy - this is how Joseph "Joe" Dries, Jr. began his farm, Dries Arabian Run, in Newfield, a part of southern New Jersey located between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Reflecting on that historical fishing trip, Joe wryly comments, "It's the only thing I caught." More likely, however, it was the Arabian that "hooked" him! As he tells it, "I just kept buying and buying" Arabian horses.
|He admits to a life-long attachment to The Black Stallion series, and who, he questions, could resist buying a daughter the horse used for The Black Stallion movie? This was his second equine purchase, which especially appealed to him because of the horse's black coloring, rather than the more common gray color of the Arabian. It was only a few weeks later, he recalls, when heard of two other black Arabians for sale and decided these would make nice additions to his growing string. At this point, he said he had to convince his wife he was not losing his mind. Bribery worked great! He offered to take her on a trip to Europe in exchange for overlooking the ever increasing number of horses. The deal was struck - off they went for a great trip to Paris and more horse shopping upon their return home!|
Joe hasn't an equine background and has learned the business from the ground up. "We're a breeding farm," he proudly says. The farm has a 30-stall barn which houses 15 broodmares and seven stallions. The focus of the breeding program is primarily that of Polish Arabian bloodlines. The offspring vary in color and share people-friendly attitudes.
A high-energy person, Joe loves his farm but finds he must spend most of his time at his other business, a computer store called Computer Run. "I see the horses in the mornings and on weekends," he says. Thre full-time employees run the farm, and Joe's analytical talents are successfully applied in the selection of breeding stock and planning phases. He's intrigued by the genetics involved, saying, "You create what you want to see."
Joe will tell you, "We have Arabians of color," as opposed to only gray. Color is very much a part of what Joe wants to see in his horses. He favors producing black Arabians and says the biggest problem facing breeders of black Arabians in producing a quality, well-bred horse.
Disposition shares an equal emphasis. Joe emphasizes, "These are people horses. You can go from stall to stall and each one is friendly and a nice horse." The breeding stock was selected with these attributes in mind. "We have assembled some of the finest broodmares available with some of the best stallions you can buy. It's a very fine collection of horses."
Among the band of mares is Baskhegina (Bask Clasix x Khemogina by Khemosabi), a bay mare that won the title of Western Performance Champion, trained by Joel Keisner. She was selected as the cover horse for Jean Blackstone's Onyx Arabians marketing and sales booklet. The farm's other broodmares include Eylite Fire (Fire Alert x Eylite by Bask), a double Bask bay mare, and Khaitlin Bey (Kharbon Bey V x CMF Solar Wind) by Sun Streaker (Khemosabi).
One of his stallions, HL Ali Bi, a half-Egyptian bred and out of a Polish bred (Ruminaja Ali x Jabaskina by GG Jabask), is described by Joe as "an exquisite horse, evrything you'd want in an Arab, a perfect Arab." Black bey in color and eight years of age, HL Ali Bi is Breeders Sweepstakes nominated and "a very flashy halter horse." He has succeeded in carrying the farm's purpose forward by producing several black Arabian foals.
Three other black stallions standing at Dries Arabian Run are BG Shah Bask (Bey Shah x Bavaria by Bask), Dar Khemotion (Promotion x Baskhegina by Bask Clasix), and Dar Lazarus (FF Dandelion Wine x Ashbury Jam by Azja Amirazon). His bay stallions include Dar Zaehring Bey (Off Broadway x Khaitlin Bey by Kharbon Bey).
Joe began his breeding program by outcrossing to other Arabian stallions such as Dandelion Wine, Kaiyoum, Windstorm V, Al Bey Batal, Bask Knight, Off Broadway, G.G. Jabask, Silverado Bey and others to increase his farm's gene pool before breeding to his own stallions. He reasons, "I selected stallions that typified what I wanted in the mix."
This year's foal crop is the first in which his mares were bred to his own stallions. Like a proud father, he says these foals are "the best of the lot." He looks ahead eagerly, "Next year will be the first year we've bred ones we've put on the ground. It will be very exciting."
It will also be a year with more focus on leasing mares for breeding, where people can lease a mare for $50 and up, plus board and veterinary and farrier costs, for 15 months, in exchange for the mare's foal. Other plans for the farm next year include shipping stallion semen and perhaps some showing, though Joe acknowledges his emphasis doesn't lie in the show ring.
He is, however, big on producing "excellent, people-friendly horses for sale" - sounds like something you can really enjoy and relax with, much like fishing.
If you are interested in the broodmare leasing program at Dries Arabian Run, call Joe at 609-569-4477. A fine selection of young Arabian colts, fillies, geldings and weanlings are also available for sale.
Article from Northeast EQUINE Journal December 1996 Vol.9 No.7