It’s one of the usual reasons for getting involved with horses; Martha Suarez loved them dearly as a child and could not have a horse of her own. When she and her husband Charley moved to Florida in the 1980’s they chose a horse community called Plantation Acres and Martha was, at long last able to get a horse. Talk about your subtle beginnings.
In 1999 Martha Suarez attended her first Egyptian Event and thoroughly enjoyed herself. In 2002 she brought her Nabiel gelding, RF El Shaddai along to the show. Not one inclined to do things in a half-way fashion, Martha entered nine classes, both Halter and performance and won all of them, including the Supreme Champion Halter Gelding and Most Classic Arabian titles. It was a harbinger of things to come.
As a breeding farm, La Dulce Vida has been very successful right from the start. They began with top bloodstock, initially from breeder Karen Henwood, and were fortunate in obtaining a Shaikh Al Badi daughter and a daughter of The Egyptian Prince. They had especially good luck in their involvement with the Imperial Imdal son, Imtaarif. The Supreme Champion Stallion at the 2000 Egyptian Event, Imtaarif is the sire of several top, La Dulce Vida winners, first at the Egyptian Event and then, overseas in the Middle East.
“We’ve had some great moments at the Egyptian Event over the years but 2006 was a particularly wonderful show,” Martha laughs. “Impresionante LDV (Imtaarif x Amurah) won the 4-Year-Old Straight Egyptian Stallion class that year, unanimously. He was our first colt as breeders. You can imagine how Charley and I felt. Then Diamante LDV (Imtaarif x Mageenaa) won the 2-Year-Old World Class and was the Reserve Junior Champion Colt. Soon after that, Diamante’s older brother, Parys LDV (Imtaarif x Mageenaa), won the 3-Year Straight Egyptian Colts. All this happened at one show. What an incredible testament to our breeding program. We were ecstatic!” All three stallions went on to win in the show ring. Impresionante LDV was subsequently sold to NK Arabians in Jordan and was named both the 2010 Jordanian National Champion Stallion and the Middle Eastern International Champion Stallion.
A few more years have passed and the pace has not slowed at La Dulce Vida. Martha is expecting 10 or so foals this year. The farm is now promoting six stallions, including WS Thee Antar, EA Java, Gatsby CC, AF Cassidy, Sharif Emir PG and Ansata Suleyman. They are a stellar group of stallions, particularly as regards Arabian type and presence. At a time when extreme Arabian type is so sought after internationally, La Dulce Vida has put together an incomparable stallion collection, one definitely worthy of a flight to Florida.
In the last five or six years La Dulce Vida has grown into the largest Egyptian Arabian horse breeding operation in Southern Florida, exporting horses to France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Israel, the Cayman Islands, Santo Domingo and Mexico, as well as all over the United States and Canada. As a respected breeder they are now known internationally. One of their exports has been the European Egyptian Event Champion Mare and they have even partnered with the Salayel Stud in Saudi Arabia, the breeding farm of Sheikh Khalid Hassan Al Gahtani. All of this success has not changed Martha’s thoughts about the horses or what she feels is truly important about owning and raising Egyptian Arabians.
“The horses give back so much,” Martha muses. “Oh, they are a great deal of work and you do have to market them, though I would keep them all if I could. You have to sell, but you have to be very careful about where you sell and to whom as well. There are people who should not have horses. We are responsible for the horses. Recently we were able to get a wonderful and very valuable old *Jamilll daughter. We’re going to breed her via Embryo Transfer. My older mares have a home with me for the rest of their lives. I feed the horses myself and supervise everything on the farm. Having the horses has helped my family in so many personal ways. You have to do this for love, not for ribbons or recognition or ego. It’s really about love.”
To read the related story The 2012 Egyptian Event CLICK HERE.