Imagine, Strive, Rise with ISRA Arabians
When Kris Glover was mucking the stalls of polo ponies, he had no inkling that decades later he would find himself with a farm, covered arena, a dozen plus paddocks, on-site trainers and stalls full of Arabian horses. Not, even in his wildest imagination, that was not in the realm of possibilities.
Fast forward and it’s exactly where Kris and his wife, Ashley, have landed. They just didn’t take a traditional route getting there. While Kris’ sister, Morgan has always been an Arabian rider and enthusiast; both Kris and Ashley came to the game later in life. “When we were first married, we were very focused on building our family and careers,” says Kris. “As we’ve had success, the chaos of our lifestyle made it difficult for us to find ways to unwind. We have three amazing kiddos who have a lot of activities, and at least one of us is dealing with a heavy travel schedule. There was never time to slow down. Even moments of peace were filled with thoughts of the next ‘to do.’”
Both Kris and Ashley grew up experiencing the joy of a more rural lifestyle than what is the normal hustle and bustle of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. “For both of us, being in the country transported us back to your younger, simpler days,” says Kris. “Beautiful sunsets, starry nights, and the sounds of the country make for deep sleep and the opportunity to relax. We decided we needed our own getaway, something that was close enough to Dallas that we could spend weekends there.” After searching for several years, Kris and Ashley finally found the perfect place in Valley View, Texas, located an hour north of Dallas. The 115-acre property was perfect with its beautiful views, stocked lakes and seclusion. “Fortunately or unfortunately, it also came with three barns (totaling 40 stalls), a covered arena and 17 paddocks.”
Kris and Ashley didn’t own any horses at the time, and really didn’t intend for that to change. Enter Kris’ sister and brother-in-law, Morgan and Ryan Moore, MLM Arabians. “When we found the property, I called Morgan and Ryan and asked whether or not they would help us make use of the facilities if we bought the place. Fortunately, they said yes. They moved to the ranch, bringing with them Center Ring Show Horses, owned by Sterling and Melissa Bradley.”
As it often happens in the Arabian horse industry, it didn’t take long for Kris, Ashley and their children to catch the bug. “With all of these beautiful horses around the place, it was only a matter of time,” says Kris. “Our kid started taking lessons, and Ashley and I started looking to purchase a couple of halter horses.” With Morgan and Ryan as resources, Kris and Ashley were able to immerse themselves in the industry quickly. “When we were growing up, Morgan was learning to ride while I was mucking stalls,” Kris says. “She knew so many people and was able to introduce us to a lot of amazing owners and trainers. When we went to watch shows early on, I would sit next to her and ask dozens of questions.”
Besides relying on Morgan for help, Kris did his own research. “He began pouring over books, studying bloodlines,” says Morgan, “and really dedicating himself to having the kind of knowledge that would allow him to make a contribution to the breed.”
In addition to immediate family, the Sahara family has also been instrumental in the shaping of their purchases and program. “Their expertise, passion, and commitment are infectious,” shares Kris. “Andy, Greg, Nancy and Jeff have been really supportive of us, and we are very grateful.” Dr. Ben and Michelle Bassichis of Stella Bella Arabians have also played a big role in the Glover’s introduction to Arabian horses. As the couple researched, planned, attended shows and studied bloodlines, they also started thinking of names for the new family adventure. “Since the horses were going to be a family thing, we wanted the name to reflect our family – something that reflects our credo of always working to make each year better than the last.”
Collaborating with their three children, Kris and Ashley ultimately decided on three statements that would be the cornerstone of their vision for an Arabian breeding program. Imagine a better tomorrow, strive to make it happen, and rise in success. “We shortened that to Imagine, Strive, Rise. Ultimately, we thought ISRA Arabians flowed better than just ISR Arabians. We never thought we’d be explaining the name!”
As Kris and Ashley began searching for horses, Kris kept in mind some advice he was given some time ago. “I was told to buy a horse that spoke to me,” he says. Last September, he got the chance to do just that. “I took the kids down to Michael Byatt’s in Houston to look at horses. Michael made it such fun. He was gracious enough to show us many of his horses, including some not for sale. He brought out Barzan Al Shahania—that horse really spoke to us!” The visit to Michael Byatt Arabians would prove fruitful, with Kris and Ashley making their first purchase of the chestnut mare Bashayer Albidayer (S.M.A. Magic One x PA Penelope). Next the family headed to Santa Ynez to visit Om El Arab, then to Aljassimya Farm, where they acquired Marva Aljassimya (Monther Al Nasser x Jameelah Aljassimya).
The next stop was Gallun Farms, where Greg and Nancy showed them some horses, including the majestic RH Triana, and they were were hooked on Arabians all over again. A month later, the Glovers received a phone call from Greg that he had a filly they needed to see. “They brought out Aria Tresor (Conquest BR x RH Triana), and she was trotting around really full of herself. She was beautiful. We bought her a couple of days before her first show at the Arabian Breeder Finals.”
Additional purchases would follow, including riding horses for the children. John, 10, does reining with Al-Marah Scimitar; Autumn, 11, is riding western pleasure on RJO Jokours Are Wild; and Rivers, 13, is learning hunter pleasure on Pristyna. Two more broodmares came from Timberridge: TOA Shahqupwithme and Psyches Showcase.
Prior to the 2019 Marquise Auction in Scottsdale, Kris and Ashley did their homework. “We studied every horse in the auction and created a list of the ones we’d like to own, finally settling on our top three. The first one shot way past our price range, and my last bid for MD Athena was at the max. I remember thinking, ‘Nobody else bid, don’t bid!’ When the auctioneer declared she was ours, I think I was so shocked! I was mute for a few minutes. When we went to see her in the stalls, we realized she was even more beautiful than we initially thought.”
Both MD Athena and Aria Tresor recently proved the couple’s homework is paying off. In Las Vegas, at the recent Arabian Breeders World Cup, Aria Tresor with Andy Sellman, captured the Gold Champion Junior Filly title and MD Athena was named champion in the AHBA Auction Fillies class. Athena’s win was particularly special to Kris and Ashley due to Ryan showing her.
Going from owning zero horses to nine in less than a year is one thing. Having two of those nine capture such prestigious awards is another. “I think we’re still processing it,” says Kris. “I remember us discussing the possibility of one day winning a saddle—maybe in five to 10 years. That we’ve been able to get one this quickly has us giddy. I don’t think we’ll have another horse with this much success for a while, so it’s important to truly appreciate these moments.”
Kris and Ashley say Tresor is a sweet filly out of the ring. “Even if she’d gotten the gate, we’d still have been really proud of her. The wins are amazing, but the long-term joy is after the shows are over … when they come home; our contentment will come from watching them get to be horses running around the field, living long and happy lives.”
Besides enjoying the gift of being able to watch the horses grow in front of their eyes, Kris and Ashley are cherishing the new friendships they have developed. “What Morgan told me that I didn’t totally get at first, was that the best part of showing was having everyone under the same roof, and she was right. I spent so much time meeting people and talking about horses that I didn’t make it to the tables once!” There’s no doubt that with the solid foundation they’ve built, ISRA Arabians will do just what Kris and Ashley have set out to do …get better every year.