By Liane Crossley
Kakadu (Tizway) was remarkably unremarkable until January 3, 2017, when she made headlines in the Thoroughbred world. Early that morning, she produced the first reported foal by American Pharoah. The colt is appropriately named First Pharoah and has not yet started.
With her accomplishment and rich bloodlines, Kakadu seemed like a natural broodmare but because of subsequent reproductive problems that was not to be her calling. Owner-breeder Oussama Aboughazale (of International Equities Holdings and Sumaya U.S. Stable) opted to channel her youthful beauty in another direction. The 6-year-old mare found her true destiny in the show ring at the New Vocations All-Thoroughbred Charity Horse Show Sept. 6-8 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. She was eighth of 46 in a special hunter division judged on jumping form and collected ribbons in other categories.
Kakadu’s transition from pampered broodmare to specialized pleasure mount was seamless according to Brooke Schafer, who handles the ground work while Taylor Wienold does the riding.
“When we restarted her, we decided to treat her like any young, unbroken horse by going very slowly and starting from scratch,” Schafer said. “We started by lunging her and to our surprise, she lunged beautifully–even better than some seasoned horses.”
The women decided within a few minutes to bridle her and Kakadu eagerly opened her mouth for the bit. The saddle followed and Wienold soon was in the tack cantering quietly around.
“She seemed very willing about the prospect of a new job,” Schafer said. “She has been nothing but a pleasure since the very first day.”
Wienold fine-tuned the confident and willing mare to follow the rider’s leg commands and to balance herself for the show ring. Kakadu thrives on the horse show’s activity and the attention she receives.
“She has been unfazed by each new place and is always open to new questions and challenges,” Schafer said. “She has no vices and is happy inside the stall or outside.”
Kakadu first came to Wienold’s and Schafer’s attention via a friend who had been contacted by her owner. Schafer liked her photo so she sent her expert-eyed mother to see her in the flesh at a Central Kentucky farm this past spring. Her mother deemed Kakadu worthy and the next day she was shipped to Schafer and Wienold in Lexington.
Kakadu is out of the unplaced A.P. Indy mare Alpha Spirit, who also produced multiple graded stakes winner and near-millionaire Protonico (Giant’s Causeway). Their second dam is Wild Spirit (Chi) (Hussonet), a Grade I winner in North America and Horse of the Year in her native Chile. Kakadu was a lackluster ninth at Gulfstream Park West as a 2-year-old in her lone career start.
Despite her shortcomings on track and in the broodmare band, Kakadu stands as a sterling example of repurposing any Thoroughbred mare for other endeavors.
“I have found that many former broodmares enjoy having a job so I don’t think anyone should rule them out,” Wienold said. “The trick is to take everything one step at a time and stay in tune to how they handle what is asked of them. Every horse is unique with a different personality. Some will take more time than others.”