THE *RAFFLES CONNECTION
To the Phara Horses
As told by author Gaye Myers.
Their eyes met across the crowded space, his dark and liquid hot. He was young with a serene, regal air that hinted at royalty. The sunlight illuminated his golden hair and outlines the sculptured, aristocratic features of his face. His sleek, smooth body was not quite fully mature, but handsome, nevertheless, with a promise of impressive maturity.
She was breathless; her heart pounding with anticipation. He was exactly what she had been looking for. If he looked as good close up as he did from this distance, and if his personality matched his exquisite looks, she pledged to devote the rest of her life to him. He did - match up - that is, and her passion still burns brightly 45 years (now 57 years, as of 2020) later.
Sound like something out of a romance novel? Not exactly, but if you think this is a love story - you're right. It's the story of Annette Weber of Phara Farm, located in Wallace, Calif., and the Arabian stallion Lewisfield Sun God (Aaraf x Aarafa), the "golden" horse that started it all.
The Inspiration: Lewisfield Sun God
Lewisfield Sun God (Aaraf x Aarafa) - the inspiration for the Phara Arabian
LEWISFIELD SUN GOD
The year was 1963; the place - Dallas, Texas. The national show was being held in conjunction with the Texas State Fair Show, and Annette and Tom Patti were waiting to show their stallion. A small yearling colt in the show ring that didn't quite "fit" in his respective class with the other big showy yearlings caught their eye. He didn't win or even place, but Annette was entranced.
"He was breathtakingly beautiful; we couldn't take our eyes off him," she said later. "He had smooth, ultra-refined conformation and a gorgeous head. He was totally unconcerned with the excitement and the antics of the other colts and their handlers. We had to see him close up."
Closer inspection didn't disappoint, but attempts to purchase him did. His multi-millionaire breeder and owner James F. Lewis Jr., of Lewisfield Farm in Charlottesville, Va., knew exactly what he had.
Fast forward 12 months later to the same location. Again, Annette watched in awe while the 2-year-old Sun God won the large Most Classic class and was named Reserve Champion Junior Stallion.
"He stood quietly," she later write in a 1995 Arabian Vision's article, "his brilliance shining amidst the antics of the other hyper, excited colts in the class. He didn't need a slick handler to 'hide' faults. He was quite simply classic with the most extreme head we had ever seen with proportioned features only an artist would dream up and his overall structure was reminiscent of the early G.B.E. trophy model. His quiet, gentle attitude was intriguing. This colt gave us renewed hope for the future of this breed. We imagined that if we could breed horses with his look, we could continue in the Arabian business for many years to come. Regardless of fads that come and go, there would always be a market for a horse like that."
She had no idea how prophetic her words would become.
Sun God matured into a dazzling specimen considered by many to be the epitome of Arabian type. In 1965, he swept five consecutive, most prestigious shows of that era in huge classes under some of the most noteworthy judges of all time with championships and reserves in halter. He became known as "the unbeatable Lewisfield Sun God." Destined for greatness and perhaps the national stallion championship title that year, tragedy struck, and he foundered at the age of 3. With his brilliant show career ending too soon, Sun God would sire only 24 foals before being euthanized in 1969. The golden stallion was Lewisfield Farm and James Lewis was so devastated that he disbanded the remainder of his herd shortly thereafter.
Fortunately, Annette was ready to pick up the reins - the torch had been passed.