09 February, 2013

I went to Kuwait

I really did.

Me

A nobody, from a little seaside town in New Jersey, boarded two planes and traveled over 7,000 miles to get there, just like another New Jerseyan, "Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf" from Trenton, a great  hero of mine, who ironically, had died on my birthday, this past December. But unlike General Schwarzkopf, I went to Kuwait to see a horse.

THIS HORSE.

and all because of a picture. 

THIS PICTURE

I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have looked at this picture of the stallion, Aneesilnefous Ezzain. It's my favorite of him. Maybe 1,000 times? 2,500 times? 100,000 times?  I lost count. Let's just say that I looked at it a lot. When I was happy, when I was sad, when I was excited, when I was anxious...whenever I needed to look at the picture, for whatever reason, I looked at it. It brought me comfort...and joy--lots of joy.

There is just something special about this horse. Call it charisma, if you will. It oozes out of every pixel. There's a very positive energy transmitted by the photo. You look at the picture and you feel good...instantly. This energy, like a magnet, had a pull so strong, that I could no longer ignore it. 

I must go to Kuwait. 

I must meet this horse.

I must meet Aneesilnefous Ezzain. 

I must go to Kuwait...NOW!

For more than 16 hours, I thought of this horse. The photo, now burned in my memory, helped me to pass the time on the plane. The more I thought of him, the happier I became. And, I must admit, that I was not very happy. I was really sad. My beloved friend had died earlier in the day. It was surreal. My best friend had died and here I am, on a plane, that will take me to meet another horse. A horse I don't even know. Someone might say to me that I didn't even care about Rosie, if I could leave so soon after the tragedy.

Was I crazy? 

No, I was not crazy. If there ever was a time to leave, Rosie's death was the perfect reason to get away,

far
far
far 

from the scene of where it all went down. I didn't want to be there. Rosie's death was unexpected and of course, even after 19 years, I was not prepared to say goodbye. 

I didn't want to say goodbye. 

I didn't want to touch or feel or see all of the things that would remind me of her. 

There was no better time to escape from the place where my friend lived and died. It was all over and I was ready to turn the page and start a new chapter.

I was also afraid. 

I was afraid of being disappointed. Was he going to be every bit as beautiful, as the horse that I saw in the picture? 

What if he isn't? 

I hadn't thought of this and I wasn't really sure how I would deal with it. So, I took a deep breath and  continued to count down the hours, minutes and seconds...until I would come face-to-face with Aneesilnefous, the horse that I knew so well and yet, didn't know at all.
"An inborn love of the horse is instinctive, quite unreasoning, and one cannot recall any beginning of what seems to have always been there, together with a craving for perfection in the object of interest."-Lady Ann Blunt
Annesilnefous Ezzain, whose name means "the pleasure of the soul", is sired by NK Qaswarah out of one of the most important foundation mares and the foundress of the Saqlawi strain at Ezzain, NK Momtaza (Ibn Nedjy x Sanaya). Aneesilnefous is representative of the wise choices made by Mr. Usamah Zaid Alkazemi, in not only selecting the spectacular horses that he would combine in his breeding program but also, for the rigorous selection of individual horses, producing the qualities that come closest to meeting Usamah's personal vision of the ideal horse.  Usamah is a formidable breeder, as evidenced by the horse he has bred, Aneesilnefous Ezzain. That was a fact that I learned right away, not only because of Aneesilnefous but also, because this quality was consistent among the other horses at the farm.

The dam of NK Momtaza is Sanaya, who is out of a mare named Malaka, an Ansata Halim Shah daughter out of  Kis Mahiba. I am fascinated by the production record of the Ibn Galal daughter, Kis Mahiba, as she was a brilliant broodmare, producing high quality daughters like Maysouna, KEN Bint Bint Mahiba, KEN Malaka, KEN Muniba, Hallah, Mana and Maha.
"To me if an outcross individual proves to be prepotent for good qualities in its first generation, it seems a good sign of an influential ancestor who will stand up well in the line breeding for generations."-Joe Ferriss
I think it is important to emphasize the pedigree details, as one can understand better, how the influence of horses like Alaa el Din and Moniet el Nefous, when combined, resulted in a modern Arabian horse with a new level of refinement not seen previously.

Aneesilnefous looks a lot like his sire. There is no mistaking it. Of all the get NK Qawarah has sired at Ezzain, Aneesilnefous is the most like him.  He is like his sire in terms of his strength, with the same wonderful strong points in his muscling, in his substance, in the prominence of the bone. As Qaswarah is beautiful, so is Aneesilnefous but his beauty is at a more dramatic level than his sire. Aneesilnefous is a more refined version of Qaswarah, thanks to the influence of his dam. Aneesilnefous is extraordinary, and in those fine details, there is no question that he is an authentic son of the desert. He is so smooth-bodied, with a strong, level topline connecting a wide, muscled chest with a round, well-muscled hindquarter. His hocks are strong and elastic and his front legs have a longer, well-muscled forearm, contrasted with very short cannons. Annesilnefous is graceful, underscored by the flowing lines that create a classic silhouette of the perfect Arabian horse. His skin is heavily pigmented and has that translucence, that very thin quality which accentuates every tear bone and vein in his face. This quality of the skin is loyal to the desert, a direct result of life lived within a harsh environment. Nature is a skilled artist, in her wisdom, which no man or woman can rival. His muzzle is fine, not meaty or thick and his nostrils are elastic and of a beautiful shape. His ears are small, with a lovely shape to them, giving him a look of intelligent curiosity. His eye is large, round and luminous. His jowl, like Qaswarah's, is prominent and my fist fit comfortably in the space between the jowls. His neck is longer and  like Qaswarah, Aneesilnefous has a very nice mitbah, with a clean underline. His neck is so beautiful, I found myself stroking it over and over and over.
"...in terms of correctness, conformation and harmony, there is no comparison, at least this is my humble judgement."-Usamah Alkazemi
Something happened to me, while I was in Kuwait. I am not the same person. It's not possible to be the same person anymore.And it is all because of Aneesilnefous.

He has become the new standard for me, in evaluating correct Arabian Horse type. Now, because of Aneesilnefous Ezzain (and his extraordinary level of refinement) I see Arabian Horses in varying degrees of coarseness. He has revolutionized all that I knew and had held dear and sacred, as concerns the Egyptian Arabian horse. If Aneesilnefous means the pleasure of my soul, then the windows of my soul were opened wide in Kuwait, to let the fresh air in, so that stale thoughts, opinions and perspectives would be replaced, so that my soul can continue to marvel over the fierce beauty that my eyes witnessed, without second-guessing all that I had seen (it's just not possible).

Annesilnefous was definitely more horse than I could ever imagine him to be. My soul overflows with pleasure, over meeting a horse like this. Actually it is more appropriate to say that my soul dances with my heart in celebration, over meeting a beauty as fierce as the desert he lives in.  There is a great treasure in Kuwait and the name of the treasure is

Aneesilnefous Ezzain

Well done, Usamah, well done.

EnJOY,
Ralph


10 December, 2010

Rodania


The desert-bred mare, Rodania is an extremely vital mare in straight Egyptian breeding, maybe one of the most important horses in our community. Think of Egyptian horses like Alaa el Din, *Serenity Sonbolah, Al Adeed Al Shaqab, Imperial Imdal and Lancers Asmara, in order to understand how many of our most beloved horses carry the influence of Rodania in their pedigree. She is everywhere.

I found the above portrait, as painted by the wonderful artist and Arabian Horse authority, Peter Upton. Somehow, he managed to capture her beauty forever, so that people like me, would know how beautiful Rodania was. I am grateful for Peter Upton's talent, which has made it possible to pass great gifts, like the painting of Rodania, onto us. No matter what I am facing, within the course of a day, one look at this portrait and I am vividly reminded of the extraordinary beauty which does exist in our world. We just need to search for it..all the time.

"The ideal Arabian type is recognizable at sight to the experienced horseman and novice alike. It falls short of the ideal if it reminds one of another horse or breed. It falls short of the ideal if it is so plain and uncertain of type as to require a sign: 'This is an Arabian horse.'  It falls short of the ideal if it is so coarse and masculine as to remind one of a small Percheron, at one extreme, or so highly animated and elf-like as to remind one of a gazelle at the other extreme. The ideal type stands out alone. You know it immediately when you see it."-Ben Hur, from his 1951 Western Horseman article, Type in the Arab
Rodania is a Kuhaylah Rodaniyah, bred by the Ruala tribe of the Anazeh Bedouins.  Rodania was captured by Tais Ibn Sharban of the Saba'ah tribe, from Sheikh Sattam Ibn Shalan in 1880. Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt eventually purchased the mare from Tais Ibn Sharban and imported Rodania to their Crabbet Park Stud in England, circa 1881. Rodania is present in Egyptian breeding primarily through the family that her daughter Rose of Sharon founded. Rose of Sharon was a daughter of the desert-bred stallion, Hadban. She in turn, was bred to the Ali Pasha Sherif stallion, Merzuk and produced the mare Ridaa. When Ridaa was bred to the Ali Pasha Sherif stallion named Mesaoud, she produced the mare Risala. Risala's daughter by Ibn Yashmak, Bint Risala (a great-great grand-daughter of Rodania) is one of the two Rodania descendants incorporated into the RAS breeding program, which eventually became the EAO, as we know it today. The other Rodania descendant was Bint Riyala, a daughter of the Mesaoud son, Nadir and Riyala, a Ridaa daughter by *Astraled, who is an interesting horse, as his dam, Queen of Sheba, like Rodania, was a coveted mare in the desert and was also a prize of war. Rodania underscores the significance that the Blunts would ultimately have upon modern Arabian Horse breeding,

forever.

It is their sacrifices, their diligence, their dedication which makes any of this possible, so many years after they lived on earth.  Would we even be talking about these beautiful horses, if the Blunts did not exist? In this one instance of Rodania, Egyptian breeding would be far different without her.

EnJoy your horses,
Ralph

08 June, 2010

A Red Ballerina

Alaa El Din was a chestnut son of Nazeer, foaled in 1956, out of the Shaloul daughter, Kateefa. To develop a complete understanding of a foundation Egyptian Arabian Horse like Alaa el Din, will require that we pay careful attention to the words used by the people who knew the horse, when he was alive. The late Marshall Partlow visited the EAO and wrote about his visit, which included Alaa el Din, in the article titled "A Trip To El Zahraa":

"Then, the horse of my dreams. Could such a horse exist? His dark chestnut coat, gleaming in the sun, gave off a purple cast. Moving like a ballerina, his extreme long neck bowed, tail high and arched like a banner. He stopped, posed like the royally bred king he was. Majestic, proud and elegant he stood. This was the fantastic ALAA EL DIN. To see this stallion would have made my trip worthwhile even if I had not seen any other horses."
Ballerina, you might ask?

General Pettko Von Szandtner, a former cavalry officer, liked the young colt so much, that he had selected Alaa El Din as a future sire (he started his breeding career in 1961) for the EAO breeding program. In a letter to Richard Pritzlaff, the General explained:

"I had to put the two-and-a-half-year-old chestnut stud foal, candidate as a leading stallion, into the stallion barn and work him because he was too strong toward his comrades and often broke out of the paddock."
In Egypt, Alaa El Din was a successful race horse and a sire of race winners. Alaa el Din ran a total of 6 races, winning 1 race, placing 2nd in another, 3rd in only 1 race and placing 4th in the balance of races. The following picture was taken of Alaa El Din, the fit race-horse, at 7 years old. His sons *Farazdac (x Farasha) won 3 races out of 16 and Kased Kheir (x Sherifa) won 3 races out of 8. His daughter, Fayrooz (x Mouna) raced 5 times, winning 1 of those races. *Farazdac's full brother, *Faleh (a Legion of Merit winner, winning two National Championships in Native Costume and participating in a 100 mile endurance race), sired the extremely successful racehorse: Asjah Ibn Faleh (x*Dawlat), an IAHA Racing Colt of the Year(1977) and Race Horse of the Year (1980), in addition to wins in the show ring in English Pleasure, Native Costume and Halter. Asjah Ibn Faleh raced a total of 30 races, winning almost half of these, including the 1977 IAHA Derby. He, in turn also sired race horses, Asjahs Black Jewel and Asjahs Dominion, both out of the Ansata Halima Son daughter, Ansata Jumana. In Germany, the Alaa El Din sons: Sarwat and Sawlagan were talented, athletic horses, participating in demanding, athletic competitions at an age when most horses have been retired and no longer ridden. Alaa El Din was so successful in passing his athletic ability to his children, that the breeders in Poland expressed a very strong desire in purchasing him, for use in their breeding program.
Hansi Heck-Melnyk, of the world famous Serenity Farm in Citra, Florida remembers:

"I saw Alaa El Din in the flesh. Alaa El din was NOT narrow chested. He was a rectangular horse, well proportioned all over. He was also, what I call, a typical 'Kuhaylan'Ajuz Rodan.' I saw him walking towards me and away from me, led by his groom, and that quite correctly. I liked the horse. The horse then was aged already, and had gone, as all others,through rough times in the late sixties on forward.I have never given that much credit in production to him, but rather to the mares and their female tail lines, he bred to create his offspring."
Hans Joachim Nagel, founder of the legendary stud farm bearing the name of Katharinenhof, authored a landmark book titled Hanan: The Story of an Arabian Mare and of the Arabian Breed. Within this book, Dr. Nagel shares much with the reader, that is, the impact that Alaa El Din has had on his vision of the ideal Arabian Horse and the breeding program founded primarily with the Alaa El Din daughter, Hanan:

"Kateefa herself, when bred to Nazeer, produced a real gem: Alaa El Din. He was Dr. Ameen Zaher's favorite. This stallion, who could sire mares with the loveliest and gentlest of faces, was a highly elegant liver chestnut with no white markings except a stripe. His smal dry head with round, black medium sized eyes and small ears made him look typey and expressive. A finely curved neck of medium length, good withers, a slightly too long back and firm, broad croup combined to form a harmonious whole that stood on fine but correct legs."
Celebrated author, historian, researcher and founder of Ansata Arabian Stud, Judith Forbis, shares her impression of Alaa El Din in Authentic Arabian Bloodstock II:

"A tall horse at maturity, very elegant and refined, beautiful head but not large enough eyes, which he tended to transmit. Good length of neck and well shaped. He was well-balanced but tied in at the elbows, narrow in front, had rather small but good dark hooves."
In the 1980's, the Director of the EAO was Dr. Ibrahim Zaghloul. In an interview with Arabian Horse World, he was asked to name which mares, living or dead, had the strongest influence on the EAO breeding program? In his answer, Dr. Zaghloul named 5 mares, one of which was the Alaa El Din daughter, Safinaz (x Ramza):

"A chestnut mare foaled on February 1, 1970, has one of the prettiest heads you'll ever see along with all the other qualities that make you take a second look. She is extremely elegant with a chiseled, tapered face and a teacup muzzle. She is one of the noblest mares in the herd, with the dry, typey, look of the true Bedouin mare."
Dr. Zaghloul caught my attention when he named an Alaa El Din daughter influential, as influential as our perennial QUEEN OF EGYPT, Moniet el Nefous. I believe that Alaa El Din has been more significant as a sire through the female side of the pedigree. I have observed personally more of an impact through his daughters, rather than through his sons. This observation led me to pay attention to the female side of Alaa El Din's pedigree, namely, the mare Kateefa. One of the most powerful families in Egyptian breeding (as well as in Crabbet breeding, from where the family originates) has been the Kuhaylan Rodan family. Is the siring influence of Alaa El Din the continued influence of the Kuhaylan Rodan family, as brought forward through Kateefa? Would you agree? Kateefa was a daughter of Bint Rissala (Ibn Yashmak x Risala). Through her tail female line, Kateefa traces through Ridaa to Rose of Sharon, a Rodania daughter. In looking through Dr. Nagel's Hanan book (pages 224-225) he presents a very interesting photo study of not only Kateefa but her dam Bint Rissala and Risala (the dam of Bint Risala), as well as Ridaa (the dam of Risala) and Rose of Sharon (the dam of Ridaa). It is a fascinating study, photographically. Dr. Nagel also presents a very thoughtful observation and I would like to submit the following quotation for your consideration:

"The Rodania family was highly appreciated by Lady Anne Blunt and her daughter, Lady Wentworth. White markings and good necks frequently appears but also some heavy heads with straight profiles and high withers. In addition a long back and a short croup are a recurring feature. In spite of these characteristics this family developed to be of high breeding value in different ways; bred to the right sires, the Rodania family produced horses with both type and beauty, plus racing power and athletic ability."
Oliver Wibihal, Egyptian Arabian Horse enthusiast, publisher and founder of straightegyptians.com had the following perspective on Alaa El Din's influence:

It is true that Alaa El Din's daughters gained more influence than his sons. In Egypt, Germany and in the US, many of his daughters founded their own dynasty. The full sisters Mahiba and Moneera (Alaa El Din x Mouna/Mona by Nazeer) were very influential in Europe and horses like Maysoun, Sherif Pasha (the first SE World Champion) and Ibn El Moniet come from this line.
Dr. Nagel refers to the Alaa El Din daughters as "the most beautiful flowers" of Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding. Have you walked among this garden and smelled the flowers? Are you familiar with their bright colors? Do you know the daughters of Alaa El Din?

Set Abouhom (*Noha)
Aziza (Galila)
*Hoda (Fathia)
Madeeha (Rahma)
Hodhoda (Ithad)
Basima (Sherifa)
*Magidaa (Maysa)
Fayrooz (Mouna)
Rawayeh (Rahma)
Manar (Moniet El Nefous)
Manaya (Moniet El Nefous)
Mahiba (Mouna)
*Omnia (Ameena)
Lotfeia(Kamla)
Hanan (Mona)
Om El Arab (Tifla)
*Shiaa (*Berlanty)
Hanadi (Rahma)
Moneera (Mouna)
Nazeema (Bint Kamla)
Sabrah (El Ameera)
*Bint Alaa El Din (*Serenity Sabra)
*Ramses Amal (Manal)
Alifa (Zebeda)
*Daad (Enayat)
Mahlaha (Mouna)
Reem (Farfoura)
Safinaz (Ramza)
*Hegrah (Hagir)
AK Karama (Tanta)
Rabab (Horeja)
Hend (Maysoura)


While Alaa El Din remains a critically important horse in Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding, we must never forget the inspirational and encouraging power that these horses have on people's lives.

May the horse continue to inspire you.
Ralph

22 January, 2009

The Straight Babson Egyptian Arabian Horse

What does the term straight Babson Egyptian mean? Have you heard someone say this before and wondered over the answer? Babson Horses are one of the longest running, closed-herd breeding groups in the entire Arabian Community. A Straight Babson Egyptian Arabian horse (SBE) would be a horse that traces, in all of its bloodlines, to a combination of the 6 horses imported from Egypt by Henry Babson in 1932 (notice that I have emphasized the words "from Egypt" which is critical in understanding Babson breeding, as Henry Babson also imported horses of Polish, Crabbet and Desert breeding, which are NOT Egyptian).
IMPORTANT: For a horse to be considered STRAIGHT BABSON EGYPTIAN, the horse must trace ONLY to the horses that Henry Babson imported in 1932, from Egypt:
MARES:
1) *Maaroufa (Ibn Rabdan x Mahroussa)-produced 15 Egyptian foals
2) *Bint Bint Sabbah (Bayyad x Bint Sabbah)-produced 13 Egyptian foals
3) *Bint Serra (Sotamm x Serra)-produced 10 Egyptian foals
4) *Bint Saada (Ibn Samhan x Saada)-produced 3 Egyptian foals
5) *Bint Bint Durra (Ibn Rabdan x Bint Durra)-produced 5 Egyptian foals
STALLION:
1) *Fadl (Ibn Rabdan x Mahroussa)-sired 34 straight Egyptian foals
There was an additional horse that was imported, *Metsur, a chestnut colt out of *Bint Serra (sired by Rustem) but he died shortly after importation and was never used at stud.
Henry Babson did try, many times, to incorporate the blood of other Arabian Horses into his breeding program. He was very open-minded, he had vision, and he recognized and appreciated Arabian Horses, from all countries, from all bloodlines. For example, from Poland, he imported 4 mares and 2 stallions:
*Azja IV (Landsnecht x Asra)
*Rybitwa (Almanzar x *Jasolka II)
*Kostrewza (Koheilan I x Dziewanna)
*Kasztelanka (Koheilan I x Bialogrodka)
*Sulejman (Fetyz x Fasila)
*Warsaw (Ofir x *Kasztelanka) imported in utero
*Kasztelanka, when bred to *Fadl, produced Fadheilan, the sire of Fadjur. And we can’t forget the Khemosabi connection in this story. Khemo's dam was Jurneeka who was by Fadjur (Fadheilan x Bint Sahara) and out of Fadneeka (Fadheilan x Raneeka). Khemosabi was almost 45% Egyptian in blood.
The mare, *Turfa, was bred by King Ibn Saoud of Arabia and was presented to King George VI of England as a coronation gift. In 1941, Henry Babson purchased her and used *Turfa at the farm, breeding her to the great Egyptian stallion, *Fadl with a lot of success. The progeny of *Fadl/*Turfa were kept within the Babson breeding program. One of the most famous (because he was the one that was used a lot) was the stallion, Ibn Fadl. The horses that were produced in the Babson/Turfa program were high percentage Egyptian but NOT straight Egyptian, since *Turfa herself was not a straight Egyptian horse. Like all the other non-Egyptian bloodlines that were introduced at the Babson Farm, the *Turfa program was dispersed, in favor of the straight Egyptian blood. In later years, Homer Watson would share his regret over the *Turfa horses. He liked the *Turfa horses and felt they were exceptional and felt that the *Turfa breeding program should have continued. From all that I have ever read and been told, this mare was an exciting horse, with one of the most exceptional trots seen in Arabian Horses in the 1940's. Since the *Turfa blood has been diluted by the Babson blood, it is hard to really see a real physical difference in the Babson *Turfas from the straight Babson Egyptians. However, sometimes, you see a Babson *Turfa horse move in this BIG trot and then you know, *TURFA!!!
Babson also imported the stallion,*Aldebar (Dwarka x Amida) who was bred by the Prince of Wales and the stallion, *Nimrod (Champurrado x Nautch Girl) an Irex grandson, bred by Musgrave Clark.
There were other Egyptian Horses, of newer bloodlines, used in the program as well. For example, Ansata Abbas Pasha (he was actually owned by the Babson Farm) and *Ibn Moniet El Nefous. I personally believe it was a major feat that Henry Babson was able to use Sirecho in his program, given the difficulties that people experienced, developing a relationship with the Otts. Sirecho was a significant horse, a son of *Nasr, who contributes another source of Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik breeding, which is already present through*Fadl and *Maaroufa. Current research suggests that the dam of Sirecho, *Exochorda, was bred by Prince Kemal el Dine. I find it especially fascinating that in one horse, we have a combination of the breeding programs of two Princes, from a time period which was like a renaissance in Egyptian Arabian Horse history. Other than the Brown Arabian Horses, I can not think of a horse who was better suited for the Babson program than Sirecho. However, like the Arabians from other bloodline programs, the progeny of these horses did not remain in the program, much to my regret, as many of these horses added a little something that could not be found in straight Babson horses. In the twilight years of the farm, newer Egyptian blood was tried again, for example, a son of *Asadd, the lion of Egypt, by the name of Sahadi Shikari (out of the mare *Kameela, who traces to the Kuhaylah Rodaniyah mare, Bint Bint Riyala through Malaka in both tail female lines) was used. But again, in order for a horse to be considered straight Babson Egyptian, the horse must trace in all lines of its pedigree to only the 6 Egyptian horses imported in 1932 and not the newer Egyptian bloodlines. The horse is straight Egyptian but not straight Babson.
All of the above horses were added to the Babson breeding program and then, were dispersed, as Henry Babson kept returning to the bloodlines of the Egyptian horses he imported in 1932. There was no incentive at the time to do this. There was no straight Egyptian breeding concept, there was no Al Khamsa, there was no Pyramid Society. What was it about the horses he imported from Egypt in 1932, that captivated him, to the exclusion of everything else from his program? It's a question that I have always wanted to ask him, if he were still alive. I believe Henry Babson was "a true pioneer", as he really was a straight Egyptian breeder, at a period of time when this philosophy did not exist.
Preferences are just that, some people are going to like the straight Babson horses for what they are (and what they are not) and some people are going to like a diluted Babson horse. For example, the stallion FABAH (*Fadl x *Bint Bint Sabbah) sired 67 horses and this sire line is so appreciated that those 67 horses produced over 700 horses. Like the diversity we find in all Arabian Horses, so too, you will find this diversity (in a more concentrated form) in the Babsons. Since the numbers are smaller for this breeding group, a problem seen in a few horses will give the illusion that the whole group is affected, when it is only a smaller percentage of the already small number of the Babson group. I can't think of a better-tempered horse. At Princeton Arabians, you could go out in the field and walk around in a group of 20 or more mares and not fear for your life (just fear being licked, smelled and sniffed to death). Babsons, on the whole have PHENOMENAL minds. They are sane horses, focused, willing, devoted horses. When you work with horses, one-on-one, this is crucially important and very much appreciated. If you ever come across a bad-tempered Babson horse, then look closely at the owner or the owner's trainer, as these horses are not naturally this way. If you have an angular looking horse, then try Babson breeding, to bring the "curves" back into your program. No doubt about it, Babson horses are three-circle horses (a term that Carl Raswan used frequently). Fadl Dan, a chestnut Babson Kuhaylan Jellabi was the epitome of this type. He had very rounded lines, muscular, wider chested, well-crested neck, larger jowls, with larger, softer eyes (as I remember him). No horse is perfect and I will agree that a thicker throatlatch is a common "flaw" in straight Babson breeding, as well as a shortened neck. Some people don't like this type of stockier, more compact horse; preferring the stretchier show ring horse. The late Mah Deluque, a Dahman Shawan stallion, was more like a willowy horse, very unlike the type of horse, most people would associate with Babson breeding. And while people complain of the smaller stature, there are Babson Horses who are tall and I remember a gelding, Mahrou, who stands close to 15.3 hands. So, not all the Babsons are small. I will agree that sometimes, the presence of a "club foot" does appear but I see these things happening in Arabian Horses of other lines too, so is it fair to restrict these "flaws" only to Babson breeding? However, let me remind everyone reading, that despite some of the "flaws" that may crop up in heavily bred Babson horses, the fact that this bloodline, over 70 some odd years is still vigorous and can still produce some outstanding horses, is nothing short of miraculous. For this very fact, we need to celebrate the Babson Horse, in spite of the "imperfections".
I am not sure where or how the athletic/unathletic comment regarding Babson Horses originated. For a teeny-tiny group of horses, the accomplishments under saddle are significant. In my late teen-early adult years, I enjoyed lessons from Hector Carmona and Gail Hoff-Carmona. I loved spending time at Princeton Arabians and Los Alamos Dressage Center and found every opportunity to do so. Thanks to Gail Hoff-Carmona, I learned about the Babson horses in ways that are not possible from a book, magazine or video. I learned about the positives and I also learned of all the shortcomings. All of these horses were used on the farm and even the broodmares were tested in basic dressage training. They were school-horses; they participated in clinics, in schooling shows, in class "A" shows, in USDF sanctioned shows. I had the opportunity to see Serr Maariner on a very regular basis. His body build, post-dressage, was dramatically different than his body build before starting dressage training. Despite the "textbook" depictions of "perfect" conformation, Serr Maariner lived a long life and was a very athletic, a very willing, and focused dressage horse. Serr Maariner was also a good sire and I believe that his son, Pri Serr Sudan, out of the mare Pri Sufa Kuhaylah (an Ansata Ibn Sudan daughter) was better than he.
Some of the most beautiful horses in the world are a combination of the Babson bloodlines, mixed with the bloodlines of the more recently imported Egyptian Arabian Horses like *Morafic or *Ansata Ibn Halima. I saw them at Bentwood Farm (who incidentally had one of the largest Babson collections, outside of the Babson farm). For example, Serr Maariner’s dam, Maarena was bred to *Ibn Moniet El Nefous three times to produce the very exquisite, grey, AK Monareena who sold in the Bluebonnet Sale for $385,000, AK El Maalouf, a gray stallion that went to Deep Meadow Farm in Virginia, and the chestnut, very Babson-like AK El Zahra Moniet, owned by Alyce Burgess of Akid Arabian Stud. Would any of these superior-crossed horses exist if someone, somewhere, did not have the foresight to preserve the straight Babson horse?
With the heavy Mansour lines of our heavily bred Nazeer horses, the rich repository of Ibn Rabdan blood that is present in Babson breeding, offers today's breeder the opportunity to employ the "magic formula" used in Van Szandtner's day. Think of the opportunities to concentrate Ibn Rabdan, when combining a heavy *Bint Bint Sabbah horse with the blood of say, Salaa El Dine (both Bukra and Farida [El Dahma] through Ansata Halim Shah and Layla through Hanan). The lines of Moniet El Nefous combine well with the lines present in *Bint Serra and *Bint Saada, since these mares all trace to the same Saklawiyah source of Ghazieh, so don't be so quick to dismiss the Babson blood, as they offer a rich, concentrated source of the same blood present in newer Egyptian breeding, albeit different branches.
For more information regarding Babson Horses, please check out the new book: THE BABSON INFLUENCE: A RETROSPECTIVE, soon to be published by The Institute for the Desert Arabian Horse (link to the site can be found to the right).
Enjoy your horses,
Ralph
The mare pictured in harness, in the opening photo is the lovely Roufah, an Ibn Fa Serr daughter out of Bah Roufa.