Milestone Arabians: Enjoying Homegrown Success
by THERESA CARDAMONE
When their homebred Harjeet MA (Hariry Al Shaqab x Alia Psyche IA) was named the 2019 United States National Champion Junior Stallion, Darla and Steve Miles were flooded with myriad emotions. Not only were they thrilled that their horse had won, they also had the great satisfaction of knowing he was a product of their own breeding program. From their early beginnings with cattle and Quarter Horses, the Miles family has developed Milestone Arabians with the love of the breed firmly in focus.
Darla and Steve have set a very high bar for the stallions they use in their program. Most have been world champions or world-champion producers such as Hariry Al Shaqab and QR Marc, selected for their suitability to breed to the core group of magnificent Milestone mares. “We’re just now getting to where we have our own breeding choices coming into play,” Darla explains. “Of all the colts we’ve bred, we decided Harjeet was ‘The One’ to keep and incorporate into our future plans. He has been a stand-out from birth and now his first foals are exceptional.”
She pauses before adding, “Breeding a national champion stallion is one of the biggest accomplishments we can ever hope for. The fact that we didn’t purchase Harjeet, we bred him, made his win more exciting than we could have imagined. Steve and I both feel it’s a very big compliment to win with a homebred at the national level. We appreciate the confidence it shows in our program.”
Steve and Darla value the wisdom they’ve gathered from friends and mentors in the Arabian industry and plan to continue applying it to their efforts in the future. “We’ve had great success because we’ve had great mentors,” Darla avers. “People like David Boggs, and other folks we’ve met along the way, share both their good and bad experiences. If you take the time to listen and to talk to people, you’ll learn a lot. We’ve made some great friends, and they’ve helped us develop our knowledge and breeding philosophy.”
The discerning eye with which the Miles’ assess their colts each year is another indication of how well-informed they have become. It has also resulted in an abundance of truly great geldings that are excellent ambassadors for Milestone, some of whom number among their earliest national winners. With just 60 foals registered to date, the Milestone Arabians program has already produced the winners of three U.S. National Championships, two Canadian National Championships, and eight more U.S. Top Ten awards. It should not be overlooked that Darla and Steve Miles bred not one but two 2019 U.S. National Champions, with Markku Magnum MA (QR Marc x Maleeka Magnum) winning the Yearling Gelding AAOTH title as a complement to Harjeet MA’s Junior Stallion victory.
The first national championships won by horses carrying the Milestone Arabians “MA” suffix were in 2017 when Vannah MA (Van Gogh AM x Sweet Tease) was crowned the Canadian National Champion ABS Yearling Filly and Valdyss MA (Valerio x Satin Chall LL) won the U.S. National Champion ABS Yearling Gelding title, an accomplishment he followed the next year with Canadian National Champion Jackpot Two-Year-Old Gelding honors.
The Miles family has enjoyed a great deal of National success in the past with horses they have either purchased or raised from birth. One sterling example is the superior show horse Valldez++++//, for whom they are the breeder of record. He was the first foal ever born on the farm and was among the first of their Arabian horses shown by Whitney Miles in 2013. She shares her parents’ love for the breed and commitment to excellence. The dam of Valldez++++//, the outstanding producer and three-time U.S. Reserve National Champion AW Fortune NGold, is among the dozen or so cherished broodmares upon which the Milestone Arabians breeding program has built its foundation.
In addition to Valldez++++//, a 12-time national halter champion or reserve with seven top ten titles in the Western Pleasure, amateur Hunter Pleasure, and Ladies Side Saddle divisions, Fortune NGold has produced U.S. National Top Ten Two-Year-Old Filly Marnique MA (by QR Marc) and 2-time Top Ten Gelding Conn MA (by Conquest BR), as well as two regional reserve champions for Milestone. For a prior owner, she gave Kaynin Z (by Odyssey SC), the 2019 U.S. National Champion ABS Hunter Pleasure AAOTR Jackpot and U.S. Reserve National Champion Hunter Pleasure AAOTR 19-35 winner. Her outstanding production record qualifies AW Fortune NGold to AHT’s Dam of Excellence program. She is just one example of the high quality of Milestone mares.
“It’s not easy being a breeder, but it’s worth the struggles that you might go through,” Darla says thoughtfully. “We are constantly learning and trying to improve. It pays off in the end. And, it’s going to be a lot of fun for us over the next few years to see if we really do know what we’re doing here!”