In the blink of an eye, something completely unexpected can occur that will alter the future in unpredictable ways. On a late spring evening in 1992, Manny Lawrence was having dinner with his close friends Don and Elizabeth Filpot, who were keenly interested in Arabian horses. Not being a horseman himself, Manny was amused to hear his friends discussing their excitement over their plans to attend the 25th birthday party of the Arabian stallion Khemosabi++++// (Amerigo x Jurneeka, by Fadjur). Although Manny wasn’t quite able to comprehend how going to a birthday party for a horse could generate such excitement, before he knew it he had agreed to join his friends on their weekend excursion. By the time Manny and the Filpots arrived in the Santa Ynez Valley, a crowd of fans had already gathered at Delongpré Arabians to pay homage to their hero. Little did Manny know, that he was about to experience the awakening of his inner horseman! He describes joining the adoring group gathered along the fence line, “Khemo was entertaining everyone, and then he stopped in front of me, and I could have sworn that he introduced himself. He was one of the most charismatic living creatures I had ever encountered. It was within the next 48 hours that I purchased the first of my many Arabian horses.”
Not long after that, Manny satisfied his desire to include the blood of Khemosabi ++++// in his growing collection by purchasing the Khemo son Gabriels Fyre+ (x April Honey, by SX Saladin), from the Filpots. Gabriels Fyre+ was a special horse that still holds a piece of Manny’s heart. He was very successful in the show ring, garnering a U.S. National reserve championship in western side saddle under Wendy Potts, and brought great joy to his owner, who began to breed him enthusiastically with admittedly, no specific direction in mind. While the results were mildly successful, it was mainly due to the overall high quality of the horses involved, not necessarily through strategic decisions. Manny was spurred on to learn more about the magic and alchemy of horse breeding. He wanted to blend the surety of genetically proven bloodlines with the intuition and creative spirit of a lover of the breed.
THE EARLY YEARS
When Arabian horses first captivated Manny Lawrence, he made plans to secure a location to showcase them. Later that year, Manny purchased an historic 10-acre property in the Corral de Tierra Valley in California’s Monterey County. Author John Steinbeck wrote an entire series of short stories centered on the “Pastures of Heaven,” the name given to the valley by the character that “discovers” it in the stories. Manny also wanted to tie the name of his new ranch to the land itself in some way. Watson Creek wanders through the property, but “Watson Creek Ranch” didn’t resonate with him. Instead, he substituted his favorite color, green, into the name by calling it Jade Creek Arabians (JCA). Eight years later, in August of 2000, Jade Creek Arabians relocated to the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley in California, returning full circle to the place where Manny first felt the power of the Arabian horse (or more accurately, Khemo power!). The new location, before the farms’ most recent move to Sisters, Oregon in 2016, enabled the farm to be in the pulse of the Arabian horse heartland. It was surrounded by some of the most reputable and accomplished breeders in the world. Nearby, Day Dream Arabians owner, Carol Steppe, is a dear friend of Manny’s whom he considers to be one of the finest breeders in the United States, and on the “must see” list for any visit to Santa Ynez. Om El Arab, where Janina Merz continue to breed wonderful horses with beautiful faces and sound structure, is just down the street. Manny recalls, “A few years ago I asked Janina to show a mare for me at the Las Vegas World Cup and she very politely informed me that she only shows her own horses. She did ask who the mare was, and I explained that it was Fellada JCA (Jake Jamaal JCA x Fallada). Learning this, she quickly made an exception for me. Fellada and Janina went on to win the mare championship in the amateur to handle class. It was the following year that Janina gave us a breeding to Om El Al Azeem (Al Lahab x Om El Beneera) and we now have a gorgeous filly, Taormina JCA. This is the kind of special relationship we have in the Santa Ynez Valley.” Down the road just a bit further is Varian Arabians, and its incomparable owner Sheila Varian, an unquestioned leader in the breeding of Arabian horses. Sheila’s longevity and impact on the breed are unparalleled. She always has the time to share her knowledge and has been a huge inspiration to Manny. He appreciates the invaluable contribution her bloodlines have made to the Jade Creek program. Manny also values the exciting infusion of new energy that Aljassimya Farms’ Bart Van Buggenhout has brought, such as founding the local Foal Fest Futurity.“This man is relentless, with new and wonderful ideas to promote the Arabian horse. I am also proud to say that Bart purchased the Brandon Bey JCA 2015 Scottsdale Auction Breeding, and used it on their mare RP Miss Surprise (WH Justice x Nefertarji) and we are very anxious to see the results.”
Living in a place so richly endowed with fantastic breeding farms can be the key to opening doors to collaborative ventures that benefit both parties. One day during a casual visit, Lenita Perroy suggested that Manny breed Hushahby Bey (Bey Shah x JJ Annies Song) to Jullyen El Jamaal, her Ali Jamaal son who was standing at Gallún Farms. Lenita guaranteed satisfaction. When Jacline Jamaal JCA arrived the next year, she was just as incredible as Lenita had promised. Manny bred two other mares to Jullyen that year, both of whom produced splendid foals, Jake Jamaal JCA out of Von Herte Only One (Von Herte Katssuo x Von Herte Hstina), and Jullye Jones JCA out of Amanda Jones+ (Desperado V x My Ambrosia). It was after seeing such uniformly splendid results that Manny began to figure out “what to do in the breeding barn.” He now had a tangible example of the science of breeding to combine with the intangible magic of intuition.
THE POWER OF 13
Brilliant and creative people often come with their own special quirks, and Manny is no exception. His fascination for the number “13” is so potent that he will only buy or sell a horse if the digits in the price equal 13 when added together. It was the summer of 1995 when Manny’s stepdaughter Joelle spotted a black yearling colt named Sundance Kid V, and he was beautiful. “I inquired as to his availability and was told that he was not for sale,” Manny stated wryly. “Being a bit stubborn, I wrote a check that afternoon for $166,000 and mailed it to owner Sheila Varian. Much to my surprise, Sheila sent the check back, with a message that he still wasn’t for sale. I guess it worked out OK, because eventual owner Frank Chisholm has done a wonderful job with Sundance Kid V.”
Another time, Manny received a call from Brazil in the middle of the night. It was Steve Heathcott, urging him to buy a mare, sight unseen for $67,000. Although he admits to having a bit of buyer’s remorse when he awoke the next day, the mare captivated him upon her arrival a few weeks later. It was Von Herte Only One, who later produced the “King of Jade Creek,” Jake Jamaal JCA.
And one year at Santa Barbara, the entire showground was abuzz about a Bey Shah daughter that had won the Cal Bred futurity filly championship. Although he didn’t see the class, when Jim Lowe took Manny back to the barn and Hushahby Bey stuck her head out of the stall, Manny was smitten. He knew instantly that he had to have her. When told that there was a current offer of $60,000 on the table, he responded with a new “13” offer of $85,000 and the sale was made, bringing a future foundation dam to the fold.
In a similar move, Manny paid $500 more than the asking price in order to buy FS Carose (Padrons Psyche x WN By Design) for $35,500, another 13. This time, the result was bittersweet. FS Carose went on to place third in four national mare finals that year; at the Canadian Nationals in both the open and amateur mare championships, and the same thing at U.S. Nationals. As Manny puts it, “Third! I hate third! It was 2003, the year that *Kwestura (Monogramm x Kwesta) was national champion mare. I remember we were in the skyboxes in Louisville and I was sitting with Mike Nichols and Diane Sawyer who had *Kwestura on lease from Poland. When the class started, my mare FS Carose made a huge entrance and Mike lamented that ‘there is always one better than mine!’ Well, as it turned out, he didn’t have to worry,*Kwestura was the queen that night.”
Breeding and showing horses on a global scale is a tremendous undertaking, made easier by the generosity and willingness of professionals to share their knowledge. Many wonderful, talented trainers have helped Jade Creek Arabians reach its goals. Manny considers both Steve Heathcott and Greg Gallún to be dear friends and among the most talented trainers in the business. He likes Steve’s feel for the mind of the Arabian horse and his ability to communicate. He thinks Greg is the ultimate technician; his horses always turned out beautifully and trained to perfection. These two men are responsible for most of Jade Creek’s major show success, especially in the promotion of the stallions Jake Jamaal JCA and Brandon Bey JCA.
After an early concentration on halter, Manny realized that by aligning with performance trainer Cynthia Burkman, the horses of Jade Creek could begin making their mark under saddle. Manny has high praise for Burkman as a complete horsewoman, who rode Jake to national honors. “Cynthia is, in my estimation, the hands down best all around trainer in the Arabian industry. She is a relentless worker and her attention to detail and the love of her horses is unequalled. I will always be indebted to Cynthia for the success of Jake and his many offspring that have been through her barn.”
“We also had some very talented in-house trainers who helped to get the ball rolling including Alexa Morgan, who actually started Jake. Ali Brady was—and still is—one of the hardest working and most honest people I know. We currently have Greg Harris, who can fix any problem, and Dani Stock, an up and coming performance trainer. Two better horsemen you will not find.Troy White is expert at starting and training a halter horse and is a joy to be around; always a smile on his face. He trained all of our amateur horses for the past few years and always did a great job. He was also on the lead for perhaps the best entrance I have ever seen when Fellada JCA won the unanimous 5 & over mares championship at the Scottsdale Breeder Finals. Troy and Fellada JCA had the entire arena buzzing.”
Every horse at Jade Creek receives expert attention from some of the most capable professionals available. Manny credits the farm staff with providing a good foundation for the horses and clients. “I would like to thank the families of Porfirio and Alma Sevilla, Manuel Luquin,
Geno Bernal, and Gil and Laura Luquin for their friendship, loyalty, and dedication to JCA and its many horses and clients. The works of these men and their families have made JCA the wonderful place that it is. All of these people have been with JCA since 1999 and are responsible for the care of the entire farm and its many Arabians. Very special thanks go to my dear friend Jennifer Trickey, for all her hard work in the promotion of JCA for the last 20 years, and a hug to Amber St. Lawrence. Jenn is the one that makes it all happen, and Amber is the glue that keeps it all together.”
Khemosabi++++//’s influence continued to be seen in Manny’s selections for JCA. He and his friend Gerard were discussing special show horses when Manny named GA Honisuckl Rose (Khemosabi x NV Rose Ella) as his favorite show horse. Gerard said he had a half- sister in his barn, and when Fforever Rose emerged, it was love at first sight. Manny purchased Rosie that afternoon for $19,300. He eagerly called Greg Gallún to see if he would be willing to show her. When Greg learned that she was by Khemosabi++++//, he was less than thrilled. The Khemo Era was over, he said, and he didn’t think much of her chances in the show ring. Not to be deterred, Manny sent Rosie off to another trainer, who helped prepare her and Manny’s stepdaughter Joelle, for the AAOTH class at Scottsdale. In a spectacular performance, Joelle and Rosie were named reserve champion in a class of 19, which included some mares with national honors.With humor, Manny recalls, “During the class I was standing on the rail watching, and Greg walked up and asked who the mare was that Joelle was showing. When I responded that she was the Khemosabi++++// daughter I had talked to him about, no more needed to be said. Greg guaranteed us a national win! He delivered in 1997 with a Canadian National AOTH championship, which was a great thrill. Rosie also won Region 3 open mares that year with Greg on the lead. She was then retired to the breeding shed where she has produced numerous champion foals, most notably the home runs that she and Brandon Bey JCA hit out of the park; Olivia Rose JCA, now owned by Al Shaqab and Lyla Rose JCA, now owned by the Jones family of the United Kingdom. At 30 years young, Rosie is still the “Queen Bee” at JCA, and she knows it.”
Being a modern breeder means traveling all over the world and discovering new places. Poland came alive for Manny during his first visit. He wasn’t expecting the beauty of the countryside with teams of oxen or horse-drawn plows on one farm and a new John Deere at the farm next door. During that trip, Manny states, “I was witness to the unveiling of a filly who most consider to be the best of all time, the incomparable Pianissima (Gazal Al Shaqab x Pianosa). Again with the help of Greg, I was able to lease two beautiful Polish-bred Monogramm daughters, *Fallada (x Fanaberia) and *Egzonera (x Egzotyka). The mares were very successful in both the show ring and in the breeding barn. The year we took *Fallada to the Canadian Nationals, Steve Heathcott was schooling her the day before the class. Most of our competitors were watching her with great admiration. The next day, Steve and *Fallada were the only entry to show up! All of the others mysteriously became ill and scratched. We took the championship home and were very proud of it. It might have been the best one-horse class ever!”
ARRIVING AT “THE ONE”
Manny is a hands-on owner/breeder who enjoys participating in all aspects of the business. He particularly loves assisting the mares during foaling. In fact, Manny has been present for the birth of every one of Jade Creek’s foals . . . all except for one very special colt, Jake Jamaal JCA++// (Jullyen El Jamaal x Von Herte Only One). Born while he was away on business, the future herd sire impressed Manny immediately. “Jake was all boy from the beginning; cocky, arrogant, and oh, so, full of himself,” Manny remembers. “He soon became king of the hill at Jade Creek and has never relinquished the title. Jake’s accomplishments include multiple national championships, which are too numerous to mention here. However, some of the most memorable times were with some very talented young amateur women who showed Jake to wins in western pleasure. In 2011, Jake carried two different riders to major wins; Kayli Fortun rode Jake to a unanimous Region 2 win in ATR, and Natalie Dixon won the 2011 Youth National championship in western pleasure JTR 13 & under. In 2012, George Wiley rode Jake to the Scottsdale championship in western pleasure ATR in a class of 54 entries. But one of my fondest show ring memories is the 2001 Cal Bred Futurity, which in those days was a huge show with great prize money. Jake was a yearling with a fantastic entrance and a “look- at-me” attitude. I remember Steve Heathcott, with this huge grin as he walked over to the rail with Jake after the class. He looked at me and said, ‘FFF.’ I did not know what that meant, but he told me later it meant ‘First, First, First,’ and he was right. Jake was the Unanimous Cal Bred Champion Yearling Colt. Jake was and is, a horse of a lifetime. This year he will have sired 100 foals, many of which have gone on to be quite successful in the performance and halter arenas. He is now 15 and retired to breeding, eating grass, and letting everyone within earshot know that he is the KING of Jade Creek Arabians!”
A huge year for Jade Creek was 2003, with the futurities at stake for both Jake and Jacline. In May, Jade Creek became the first owner/breeder in its 32-year history to sweep the Cal Breds. When Jake and Jackie each were named champion, the show became known as the Jake and Jackie Show. Then in October, Jake was named U.S. National Reserve Champion Futurity Colt under the expert handling of Greg Gallún. Manny recalls, “In a huge, beautiful class, it was Jake’s night. Jake and Greg put on a hell of a show! I was so proud of them.
Jake’s dam, Von Herte Only One, also produced Audrey H JCA, an Australian Grand Champion Mare for the Dertels down under. We lost Only One at the very young age of 14, and we still miss her terribly.”
If Jake is king of JCA, then the title of prince must fall on Brandon Bey JCA (Versace x Hushahby Bey). Brandon’s birth was also out of the ordinary. That year, Versace was found to be a SCID carrier and like other breeders, Manny was on pins and needles as he waited to test the resulting foal. As he puts it, “Believe me, I was drawing blood before he got on his feet, and we were so fortunate he was clear. Brandon was tall and refined as a baby, with a beautiful face, long, slender legs, big eyes, and a beautifully shaped neck. 2005 was the best year ever. I got to show Brandon to the title of Unanimous Canadian National Champion Stallion AAOTH and U.S. National Champion Stallion AAOTH, placing first on two cards and second on the third. It was pretty cool to breed, own, and show Brandon to those national championships! He is an incredible sire passing on his temperament, type, and presence.”
CONNECTIONS OLD AND NEW
Brandon is the favorite of Manny’s girlfriend, Lori Morss—the two are quite connected. When he hears her voice, Brandon nickers to her. Manny got the message early on not to even think about selling him. No chance of that! Lori is the love of Manny’s life; he appreciates all of the love and support he receives from her and would never disappoint her in that way. He already has to manage the unforeseen drama caused by prior horse sales. He explains, “Some people know that many of my horses were named after grandchildren. At the time, it was really fun, but I never considered the consequences of selling one of them! It was very traumatic when I sold Dominic JCA, Lexi Bey JCA, Kenzie Key JCA, and Sophia Lorens JCA. At least the grandsons named Jake and Brandon never had to worry about that! Jade Creek also has two newcomers, Pagani JCA (FA El Rasheem x Fellada JCA) and Jimmy Choo JCA (Jake Jamaal JCA x Brianon Bey JCA). Jimmy is our first Jake on a Brandon daughter, and we will do our first Brandon on a Jake daughter, Jady JCA, this year.”
Manny’s rich list of memories brings the past alive. “I have had many wonderful times with the magnificent Arabian horse, and I sometimes wish we could somehow turn the clock back on many things. I miss the crappy hotel in Louisville where we all gathered after the night classes and spun many stories and drank ourselves silly, but never missed the first class the following morning! We entertained and made new friends in the skyboxes in Freedom Hall and I remember trying to smuggle in our own booze because it was half the cost of the vendors, but we generally got caught!” He continues, “On finals night you needed a search warrant to find a seat. All the women were dressed to the nines with all the jewels and mink coats. The men even cleaned up. And what a sight to see all the performance people lining the arena to watch the mare and stallion finals. Then the next night you would see all the halter people lining the arena to see the western and English finals. We need this to happen again!”
Manny knows the relationships built amongst fellow Arabian enthusiasts are the lifeblood of the industry. Whether reminiscing about the past, enjoying the present, or planning for the future, Manny will be relishing every moment of his continuing adventures with the Jade Creek Arabians team. Had it not been for meeting Khemosabi++++// and falling under his spell, Manny says, “I would probably be retired, with a whole lot more money; and while that may be true, I would have never met lifelong friends and enjoyed a wonderful lifestyle.