In memoriam – Brita Axelsson´s 85th Birthday

Brita Axelsson and Director Ignacy Jawarowski during a visit at Michalów Stud in 1980. Photo: Rolf Axelsson
Brita Axelsson and Director Ignacy Jawarowski during one of her and Rolf´s visit to Poland in 1980. Photo: Rolf Axelsson

Today is the Birthday of a wonderful woman that has been one of the most important people in my life – Brita Axelsson was my mentor, my friend and a great horse-woman. Unfortunately we lost her way too soon in 2008 and she will be forever missed. But today, on the 1st of May 2015, we celebrate what would have been Brita´s 85th Birthday.

Brita and Rolf Axelsson´s first Arabian mare Edessa (Pietuszok-Ellora/Witraz) and her first born foal at Wilkesbacka - Edjora by Exelsjor. Photo: private
Brita and Rolf Axelsson´s first Arabian mare Edessa (Pietuszok-Ellora/Witraz) and her first born foal at Wilkesbacka – Edjora by Exelsjor. Photo: private

Brita and her husband Rolf started to breed Arabian horses at Wilkesbacka Gård in Falun in 1967 and their first foal was born in 1968, a grey filly by Exelsjor (Aquinor-Eleonora) out of Edessa (Pietuszok-Ellora) who was named Edjora. Both Edjora and Edessa were sold to USA at the end of 1972 leaving Exessa (Exelsjor-Edessa) and Wiewiorka (Espartero-Edjora) left at Wilkesbacka. Edjora would turn out to be one of the most influential mares in the breed as the dam of 1982 US National Champion Mare Kajora and granddam of the great stallion Gazal Al Shaqab. Exessa would be one of the most important mares at Wilkesbacka and she left 16 offspring of which 6 of them were exported to USA – the stallions Elixir (re-named to DE Elixir) by Algier, Exeter and Essex both by Probat and the mares Skarpetka (re-named to Epona) by Erystawi, Exquisite by Aladdinn, Ex-Alome by Algomej. In 1982 Exessa was shown with her filly Piatka (by Cid Ben Afas) at side and she, her daughter Exalicja (by Erystawi) and granddaughter Sniezka (Grojor-Exalicja) was all three awarded with Gold-medals shown by Brita and Rolf´s son Mats, a great achievement for Wilkesbacka and their breeding program.

Brita and one of the famous Polish circus-stallions imported from Circus Knie in Switzerland by Erik Erlandsson. Photo: private
Brita and one of the famous Polish circus-stallions imported from Circus Knie in Switzerland by Erik Erlandsson – Erystawi (Witraz-Enorme). He was a horse that always stayed in Brita´s heart after the years he spent at Wilkesbacka. Photo: private

One of Brita´s favourite horses was the bay circus-stallion Erystawi (Witraz-Enorme), whom they leased in 1974-1976 from Erik Erlandsson and when he was sold to Egon Oppenheim in USA Brita was his groom on his trip over. Erystawi left a bay daughter at Wilkesbacka that was Brita´s favourite mare, the amazing Exalicja (out of Exessa).

Exalicja (Erystawi-Exessa/Exelsjor) Photo: T. Dearth
Exalicja (Erystawi-Exessa/Exelsjor) Photo: T. Dearth

I was lucky enough to grow up with Wilkesbacka as my neighbours and I spent all my time there since I was 12 years old, learning all about breeding and working with horses as well as learning all about pedigrees and the amazing history of the great Arabian horse. Brita was a great mentor and she was the one that gave me my first Studbook, the beginning of a lifetime obsession. I only wish that Brita would have seen the result of my breeding program, I know for sure that she would have been thrilled over that Ganges came for a short visit to Sweden which resulted for myself in two great foals last year – the filly Sharda (out of Salaterka/Elton) and the colt Savitri (out of Silencia/Ecaho). During our visit to Poland in 2000 Ganges was our huge favourite among the stallions.

Brita during our trip to Poland in 2000, looking at the Sale horses the day of the auction.
Brita during our trip to Poland in 2000, looking at the Sale horses the day of the auction.

Brita and Rolf travelled since the 70´s frequently to Poland and they made their last trip there in 1990 which resulted in the importation of the mares Znajda (Algomej-Zieba) and Erupcja (Armaniak-Elongacja). Brita and I always talked about that she would like to come with me to Poland for the National show and Auction and in 2000, the year she turned 70, we made up plans and we went there in August together. It was a great trip filled with great memories that we loved to talk about.

Thank you Brita for everything you meant for me and for so many other people. We will always miss your smile and your positive attitude. I am so thankful for all the cherised memories I have, I will always miss you!

 

 

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