*Lech featured in new
Arabian Horse Association Ad Campaign
Scottsdale Arabian Show Chooses *Lech for Ad Campaign
February, 2004 ~ Scottsdale, AZ
This year the Arabian Horse Association
of Arizona, in search of “The most breathtaking image of an
Arabian Horse” chose a recent portrait of Ryan Arabian’s own
*Lech PASB. The skillful lens of Suzanne Sturgill captured this
inspiring photo of the pure Polish Arabian stallion as he romped
in the pasture. Sturgill is also credited with the creative
graphic artwork in the print advertisement.
The color full-page ad was featured in Cowboys & Indians Magazine,
Horse Illustrated and America West Magazine. It also appeared
on illuminated billboards in terminals throughout the Phoenix
airport and in daily newspapers in Arizona.
*Lech PASB was bred at the Michalow stud and named after Polish
President, solidarity leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech
Walesa. By coincidence *Lech began his brief yet promising show
career in Arizona, taking the Junior Colt Championship at the
Southern Arizona All Arabian Charity show in Tucson his first
time out as a 2-year-old. *Lech went on to sire dozens of foals
before a complicated custody battle left him without proper
registration. Injury and hard luck followed him for more than
a decade, and chased him into starvation and eventually to the
brink of death.
By a strange twist of fate, *Lech PASB was discovered in Florida
and taken in by Nancy and Alan Ryan of Wesley Chapel, Florida.
Tough detective work and the passionate aid of leaders and experts
in the Arabian Horse Industry helped determined *Lech’s true
identity. Luck and incredible timing reunited him with his rightful
Officials with the Scottsdale show selected the stunning Suzanne
Sturgill image of *Lech because it aptly illustrates the incredible
beauty, strength and stamina of the purebred Arabian horse.
|Rescue of an
|July, 2002 ~
Tampa Tribune, Bay Life ~ Susan H. Thompson
Last summer, a stallion named *LECH
was wasting away in a Pasco County field. Now, thanks to a guardian
angel, he is the picture of health and has resumed his place
in a famous bloodline.
WESLEY CHAPEL - In 1985, a yearling Arabian horse named *LECH
sold for $250,000, the top price at an auction held in Kentucky.
By last summer, *LECH was anything but prized.
Starving in a Pasco County field, the skinny gray stallion was
so malnourished that every one of his ribs showed.
His underbelly was shrunken. The tail that was supposed to be
long and silky was coarse and matted.
*LECH, who lived at a boarding barn, had been abandoned by a
Nearly 20 years ago, Arabian horses were trendy in America,
coveted by celebrities. Singer Wayne Newton was the auction's
master of ceremonies when *LECH was sold. Movie director Mike
Nichols had been among the bidders.
When the bottom later fell out of the Arabian horse market,
it meant losses for investors.
For the horses whose owners skimped on veterinary care, feed
and boarding fees, it often meant worse.
Unlucky *LECH - imported from Poland, where he had been bred
at a famed Arabian horse farm and named for Polish Solidarity
leader Lech Walesa - had trouble on top of misery.
Not the least of which was that his registration papers were
With papers, he was a purebred stallion who brought in top stud
fees. Without them, he was 1,000 pounds of grey horseflesh.
A Skinny Landmark
Nancy Ryan, an amateur horsewoman in Wesley Chapel, saw *LECH
for the first time last summer. It was a chance encounter. She
was tracking down some information about her new, pregnant mare,
which led her to the place where *LECH lived.
*LECH was cited as a landmark when she got directions to the
stable. Ryan was told "when you see the skinny, grey horse,
that's our place."
"I just felt bad for him," Ryan said about the first time she
Ryan mentioned to the stable owner that *LECH looked like he
was once a nice horse. She was told the sketchy story: imported,
no papers, abandoned.
A few months later, Ryan's phone rang late at night. It was
the woman who boarded *LECH.
"That horse you saw?" she said. "I can't afford to feed him.
Do you know anyone who might want him?"
The stable owner told Ryan that *LECH had a famous father, a
Polish stallion named Palas. In a human analogy of famed bloodlines,
it was like saying, "This is Caroline; her mother was Princess
Grace." But Ryan didn't recognize the name.
Still, she promised to make some calls to find *LECH a new home.
He wasn't broken to ride and had a bad leg. *LECH would be hard
His plight nagged Ryan. She had been rescuing animals since
her Connecticut childhood, taking in injured birds, adopting
But she knew that taking in *LECH would be crazy. The Ryan household
included three boys, four horses, an elderly father and two
working spouses. Time was limited. So was money.
"We decided to just go get him. ... We just felt bad for him,"
When the Ryan family pulled up to put *LECH into their horse
trailer, everyone began to cry.
"When I first saw him, I just said, "Oh, my gosh,' " recalled
Ryan's 9-year-old son, Geoff. "I started crying. I thought,
"How could anyone let a horse get like that?' "
Once home, they called veterinarian Jim Yanchunis.
"He was a bag of bones," said Yanchunis, who has an office in
Dade City. "It reminded you of a child in Africa who was starving
to death. That's how bad he was."
*LECH's teeth needed to be filed, an important part of routine
horse care. Misaligned teeth prevent a horse from digesting
food. *LECH's leg injury also needed attention.
And where the sound of a healthy stallion can make bystanders
cover their ears, he was barely able to manage a whinny.
Yanchunis was familiar with neglected horses. Some people buy
a horse, he said, not realizing that the animal requires dedicated
and expensive care. They become irresponsible owners. The horse
"But every once in a while, a horse's guardian angel will come
along who's going to take up that mantle and the responsibility,"
"*LECH got lucky."
Three Meals A Day
At the Ryans' modest, open-air barn, *LECH's new feeding schedule
included three meals a day of alfalfa hay, fortified horse pellets
and flaxseed. He got daily doses of glucosamine, a supplement
for joint pain.
Underweight by 300 pounds, *LECH needed to gain at least 100
back to be on the road to recovery.
"It took four weeks before I really felt that things were turning
around," said Ryan.
In the meantime, she became curious about *LECH's identity.
Ryan, who works in public relations at University Community
Hospital, is a former television news producer. She's good at
digging for clues.
"The only motivation I had was that it was a mystery for me,"
she said. "I love a good mystery."
Her first calls included the Arabian Horse Registry of America.
Its investigative team agreed to help.
"If someone called up and just said, "I came across this grey
horse. Could you tell us who it is?' we'd probably say no,"
said investigator Jim Benedict.
But Ryan had a starting point, the possible names of *LECH's
sire and dam (father and mother).
Benedict was able to find papers. But he needed more.
Arabians have permanent pink markings on their skin, which are
as distinctive as a human fingerprint. The markings are included
in registry information.
To see if *LECH's matched, Ryan had to shave his forehead and
leg. She sent pictures to the investigators.
"He had been blood-typed as part of his registration requirements,
so we had his blood type on record," said Benedict. "If we had
problems with the markings, we could have asked her to draw
a blood sample."
But with the photographs, "we were very convinced that this
was the right horse," he said.
Ryan learned that *LECH had sired 30 sons and daughters during
his first five years in the United States, after which records
of offspring abruptly stopped.
From the Arabian Horse Registry, Ryan found out who had imported
*LECH. She tracked him down in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he owns
an art gallery.
"I left a message: "Are you looking for this horse? Do you want
him?' I never heard from him," said Ryan.
Staying persistent, she made more calls. One day, the owner
They talked. He told Ryan his part of *LECH's story. He had
an agreement to sell the horse and made a delivery to a buyer,
but the deal wasn't completed because the price wasn't paid
in full. The horse was never returned but was worthless without
the papers that traced his bloodline.
Ryan related the other part, the tragic part.
"I told him I don't want to make money off this horse; I just
want his name back," she said.
"He said, "I don't care. Make all the money you want.' "
A new certificate of registration was issued on the basis of
the owner's original documents. It outlines his lineage to 1921
and states his new recorded owner: Nancy C. Ryan.
After more than a decade, *LECH was in limbo no more.
Magazine Tells Tale
In June, *LECH's story appeared in Arabian Horse World.
Like the monthly fashion tome Vogue, the thick magazine for
horse enthusiasts is full of leggy beauties. Its supermodels
are the world's most stunning Arabians.
"*LECH: Return of a Royal Son" attracted e-mails and telephone
calls from people who had details about his mysterious life.
Ryan learned about the auction where *LECH was sold. She received
a photograph, taken when he was 4, and pictures of his offspring.
But the period when *LECH fell on hard times still was unclear.
Ryan doesn't know the succession of owners or what happened.
She only knows he deserves better.
A horse's life expectancy can reach into its 30s, said Yanchunis,
and *LECH is 18.
"In the time he was mistreated, he aged," said the veterinarian.
"But he still has a lot of years left in him.
"He's in very good health."
The Ryans want a new home for *LECH.
"We want this horse to have a good life. He's had kind of a
rotten life until now," said Ryan's husband, Alan.
"He needs to be in a place where he can contribute to his breed.
We don't have the facilities or the time" to manage a top stallion.
They have had some calls from people who want him, but the Ryans
are wary because of fears that he might again be victimized.
An editor at Arabian Horse World had another idea: Send him
home to Poland.
"I think that would be totally fitting," said magazine editor
Mary Jane Parkinson.
"He was imported in utero, so the Polish breeders haven't seen
him. But we're hoping through some contacts to bring that about."
With a tradition of breeding Arabians that dates back centuries,
Poland once produced the finest horses for European cavalries.
*LECH was bred at the Michalow State Stud Farm in Poland, where
in addition to getting meticulous care, horses roam through
interconnecting paddocks. Noted for world-class champions, Michalow
was formed after World War II, when its founder retrieved Polish
Arabians stolen by the Germans.
Ryan is hoping that *LECH's famed father is enough to win him
favor in Poland.
Meanwhile, in Wesley Chapel, *LECH likes to get carrots, sugar
and gum massages.
"He's a beautiful animal," said Alan Ryan. "We're attached to
Reprinted courtesy of the Tampa Tribune
|March, 2003 ~
Tampa Tribune, Bay Life ~ Susan H. Thompson
*LECH's rescue from abuse and return to breeding restore the
dignity of a princely stallion.
TAMPA - When we last left *LECH the stallion, his body had
been freshly nourished to health but he was in need of a new place to call
Readers may remember the tale of the white Arabian who sold
for $250,000 in the 1980s, only to be found starving in a Pasco County
field nearly two decades later.
Imported from Poland, *LECH is the son of one of the world's
most famous Arabians.
When amateur breeder Nancy Ryan stumbled upon him at a Pasco
boarding facility in 2001, he was just a badly neglected gray horse,
abandoned by a bill-skipping owner.
Those who read the story in July about his rescue and how Ryan
uncovered *LECH's famous lineage responded with e-mails and phone
calls from as far away as Kentucky.
Ryan, who kept an e-mail message list of everyone who was
interested in *LECH, announced to the group a few weeks ago that he
has a new home.
Last month, Ryan, along with her husband, Alan, and son Chris,
loaded *LECH into a horse trailer for the drive across the state to
The horse farm in Port Orange near Daytona has a reputation as one
of Florida's best.
There, at age 19, *LECH will once again be a breeding
"We really wanted him to be able to contribute to his breed," says
Ryan, who is proud of *LECH's lineage.
To make his potential offspring more valuable, the Ryans paid for
DNA testing and other registration costs. In a glossy advertisement in
Arabian Horse World magazine, the horse whose ribs once protruded
through his side because of starvation is being portrayed as a valued
He'll Help Other Neglected Horses
Ryan also hopes that *LECH's stud fees can help other horses
in desperate situations.
She plans to donate $200 of every fee earned by *LECH to a
horse rescue charity in California. Called True Innocents Equine Rescue,
or T.I.E.R., the charity saves horses that are abused and neglected, then
finds new owners.
"It's unfortunate but that type of thing does happen. ... Horses
are a total luxury for people, and they stop taking care of them," says
John Brown, co-owner of Rojo Arabians, where *LECH lives.
One of the country's top breeding farms, Rojo Arabians
started as a hobby with two horses in 1982. It is the home of Versace, a
well-known Arabian stallion who produces national and international
Ryan describes Rojo Arabians as "a fantastic farm where all
the horses are treated like family."
The stable is thrilled to have the stallion under its roof, Brown
"That's a cool horse, and he's got this incredible pedigree," Brown
says. *LECH's troubles began years ago when his registration papers
were lost because of a bad business deal.
Keeping Up The Lineage
In his early years, he produced 30 registered offspring, but then
the paper trail abruptly stopped. Without documents, *LECH was
worthless as a breeding stallion.
But Ryan was determined to get back his name. The owner of the
Pasco barn where he was boarded told her *LECH's father was a famous
Polish stallion named Palas.
Ryan enlisted investigators at the Arabian Horse Registry
and was able to uncover *LECH's distinctive markings. The story the
barn owner told turned out to be true.
She eventually found his original owner, who lived in Arizona. He
still held *LECH's registration papers and gave them to Ryan.
Ryan had noticed during her research that the recording of
offspring had stopped. That gave her a clue about when *LECH's exile
But any day now, the time of his rescue also will be noted in birth
records. His exile has ended.
A new foal, fathered by *LECH, is expected soon at the Ryans'
barn in Wesley Chapel. The birth will be recorded in the Arabian
Reprinted courtesy of the Tampa Tribune