I was looking forward to spending some time with my son at one of his favorite places, Borders. My son is a terrific kid, a blessing that I am not worthy to receive. However, he is a teenager, popular with his friends and I drop everything for the opportunity to spend some precious time with him. I am in awe of my son, who is a voracious reader. I wish I were more like him. He goes off, deep into the store, to explore, discover new lands and chart new territories. Me, I am unfocused, as I go here, there and everywhere. Look at this, Look at that, look over here, look over there...LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! I enjoy the photography of Gabrielle Boiselle and of all places, in Borders, in the gift ideas section is one of her Horse Photography books and on the cover is...LOOK....can you believe it...ANSATA NILE PASHA.
I never met Ansata Nile Pasha. I never touched him, I never heard him whinny, never had him rub his head against my body, never let his silky mane slide through my fingers. Never, never, never. Ansata Nile Pasha recently passed away in Qatar, at the Al Rayyan Stud, where he made his final home. My life, over the last few months has changed dramatically and although I was saddened to hear the news, I had no time to even consider it, beyond the phone call from my very good friend, Mr. Usamah Alkazemi, alerting me to the horse's death. For me, Ansata Nile Pasha's death is like a bookmark within the text of my own life. For in this current chapter, there is no time for horses and all my dreams of breeding and raising the classic Arabian Horse have also died, although my heart remains steadfast, like an anchor, patently waiting for hope to sail in.
"In the living, comes the dying
In the doubting, comes the truth.
In the hoping, comes the dreaming,
In believing, comes the proof."At first, I was captured by the photo of what appeared to be one of the most typey Arabian Horses that I had seen in a long time. From across the store, I saw the photo, growing larger and larger in my eye, until nothing remained, the picture virtually blocking out all the other larger-than-life picture books of Elvis, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe that shared space with Gabrielle's book, on the same table. Gabrielle's cover photo of Nile Pasha captured me, drawing me closer and closer, like a fisherman reeling his catch....I stood for a long time and admired the cover, looking at Ansata Nile Pasha. The elegance, the refinement, the dramatic look, the kind eyes, lustrous, large and black reminding me of a horse that I knew a long, long time ago.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS HORSE THAT IS HITTING ME SO HARD IN THIS MOMENT?
I lick at the light and it soothes the burning rage of my tongue.
But when it enters
it sets all of me on fire.
-Steven James, from his book called STORY
In the 1980's, when *Jamil arrived in America, it was an exciting time. This horse, *Jamil was so different in type to many of the Egyptian Horses that we had in the USA. His eyes were the largest and blackest that I had ever seen. When *Jamil went to Ansata...oh! the dreams that I had about the horses that would eventually be born there. Ansata Nile Pasha was such a horse of dreams...a fairy-tale come to life. Ansata Nile Pasha traces in tail female to my favorite mare family at Ansata: The Nile Family, founded by the bay, 1965 daughter of *Ansata Ibn Halima: Falima (out of the bay straight Babson Egyptian mare: Fa-Habba, herself a daughter of the 1930 mare *Bint Bint Sabbah, that Henry Babson imported from Egypt.) When bred to the 1971 Ansata National Champion stallion, Ansata Ibn Sudan, Falima produced the 1969 bay mare: Ansata Nile Queen (pictured, to the right), an important foundation mare for Ansata Arabian Stud. What is interesting about Nile Queen, is that she was bred to her sire twice, to produce the full sisters: Ansata Nile Dream and Ansata Nile Charm. Both sisters were bred to *Jamil and each mare produced a stallion: Nile Charm produced Ansata Nile Sheik and Nile Dream produced Ansata Nile Pasha, both of which are full blood brothers. Another interesting point to consider about the Ansata Nile family is that this family produces wonderful females, that is, mares who have continuing influence upon the Egyptian community.
If there is one lesson that I learned from my father's death a few years ago, it is a lesson about time and the pain of missed opportunities. On this side of my father's death, there is never enough time, as I believed I had. There is never enough time to make up for all the time that I lost being hurt and angry, disappointed and discouraged, confused and frustrated. And so, Ansata Nile Pasha's life must also be a lesson to all of us who love Egyptian Arabian Horses."...someone pointed out to me that a pebble and a diamond are alike to a blind man....maybe, I have been fingering diamonds all this time, without ever realizing it." That this horse had many, many fans was not a surprise, as the horse was a living celebration of the very unique qualities that identify a horse as a member of the Arabian breed. Yet for all the people who expressed their appreciation, Ansata Nile Pasha lived somewhat of an obscure life, never really breeding the quality mares that he deserved and should have bred.
From the USA to England, to Austria and then France and finally, Qatar; Ansata Nile Pasha saw many places that most people never have the opportunity to visit, heard many different languages spoken and made many friends, before returning to the part of the world from where his breed was birthed. I remember when the joyful announcement was made that he was going to Al Rayyan. Finally! the horse would have the opportunity to breed some of the very finest mares in the world. His time at the world famous stud farm was very measured indeed. It was as if God wanted his dust, to become part of the wind that blows across the land of his fathers, to remind those who may have forgotten, of a boy, his mother and the angel Gabriel.
"...thy proud, dark eye will grow less proud, thy step become less fleet, and vainly shalt thou arch thy neck, thy master's hand to meet..."
And so, we wait for mares like Mesoudah Al Rayyan (out of Bint Mesoudah) and Noof Al Rayyan (out of RN Farida) to mature and carry their sire's legacy, forward into the future and hopefully, author a new story about a fairy-tale horse that once upon a time, lived a very real life.
Enjoy your horses,