In 2002, Arabesque Arabians began as the fulfillment of a childhood dream of its founder, Alison O’Shanick. An avid horse-enthusiast since age 4, Alison became familiar with the Arabian horse while working for trainer Matt Thompson during her adolescent years in the Clearwater, Florida area. Fast forward almost 30 years later (after graduating from University of Florida and Vanderbilt University, developing an international reputation as a speech language pathologist focusing on treatment of traumatic brain injury, raising 5 active children, and managing her husband’s medical practice) when she experienced a severe neck injury requiring surgery in 2001. It was during her recovery from that surgery that she returned to horses and rediscovered the powerful therapeutic impact of the bond between the Arabian horse and human.

As a natural extension, this passion for horses, specifically the Arabian horse, grew into Arabesque Arabians with the love and support of her husband, Dr. Greg O’Shanick. Although he barely knew which end of the horse to feed, Greg recognized the positive therapeutic benefit when neurologically injured patients interacted with animals as evidenced by his wife’s motivation and recovery. Together, just as they established their neurorehabilitation program in Richmond, VA in 1991, they began to envision a unique Arabian equine facility: one that combined breeding, training, education and rehabilitation therapy to harness the unquestionable benefit of this union.

Since 2002, our herd has grown as we have purchased breeding mares with exemplary pedigrees for beauty, athleticism, movement and soundness of mind. We obtained 3 offspring of the West Coast Arabian Stallion, Aul Magic, and continued to expand our dressage and sporthorse portfolio. In 2004, we were fortunate to purchase one of the few Showkayce sons available on the East Coast to serve as the Foundation Stallion for our program. Kharisma has been a productive sire with several ghett demonstrating National Top Ten Sport Horse talents and the characteristic beauty that identifies the Arabian breed.

We also acquired several horses in need of rehabilitation and the farm opened its facilities, time, staff and finances to animal rescue efforts following Hurricane Katrina. While we did not bring any horses out of the devastated Mississippi area, our horses graciously shared their space with over 350 rescued dogs and cats over an 18 month period until these displaced animals were adopted and safe.

Our commitment to equine facilitated rehabilitation has continued to expand as well as we have become a NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) member facility. Through his international reputation in neuropsychiatry and neurorehabilitation and his appointment as the first National Medical Director of the Brain Injury Association of America, Greg continues to support the connection between Arabian horses and his patients as he addresses the comprehensive needs of those who have experienced neurological dysfunction. Numerous examples of the potent stimulus to recovery have been observed and further fuel our commitment to this breed and this patient population.

The O’Shanick’s 5 children have varying degrees of interest in the equine world. Beth, their oldest, was an exceptional rider who now resides in Northern Virginia and teaches elementary school. Peter, having graduated with a degree in theatre is heading west to attend stunt school (perhaps to include horses?). Van, a rising college junior, rides like the pony express riders of old. Alexis, a rising college freshman, has enjoyed success in both hunter and western pleasure competitions. Drew, starting his junior year in high school, is reigning 2007 Canadian National HA Western Pleasure JOTR (unanimous) Champion and JTR Champion.