20 April, 2008

Ringing the Belle for *Bint Bint Sabbah

Do you really know the horse named Sirecho (*Nasr x *Exochorda)?????

He sired 39 horses (21 mares and 18 stallions)
7 of which were Sirecho/straight Babson Egyptian crosses: Musaugah 1957 and Dahrecho 1959 were out of the Babson mare, Dahma Al Zarka. Joramir 1959 was out of the Babson mare, Fad Roufa. Faarecho 1962 was out of the Babson mare, Faara.

THE SIRE FOR REAL:However, the greatest legacy that Sirecho left straight Egyptian breeders was through the family of *Bint Bint Sabbah; through her daughter and great-great granddaughter. Bred to Faara, Sirecho sired the 1962 mare, Faarecho. With Habba, Sirecho sired the stallion Bel Gordas in 1956 and the mares: Asal Sirabba in 1958 and Sirhabba in 1959.

In 1970, the Sirecho son Bel Gordas was bred to his sister, Faarecho, to produce the pure-in-the-strain Dahmah Shahwaniyah mare, Belle Echo. While Bel Gordas and Faarecho share much common ground in their pedigrees through *Nasr, *Exochorda, *Fadl and *Bint Bint Sabbah; Faarecho introduces the blood of two other Babson imports: *Bint Saada and *Bint Serra. While Belle Echo produced Ali Atik (by Fabo), Ja Anna Halima (by Ra'adin Inshalla); it is these 3 incredible mares that helped to write Belle Echo's place in Arabian Horse history:

1) Masada Saabellah in 1974
2) Masada Bellesabbah in 1975
3) Masada Bellisima in 1983

Masada Saabellah was a Saafaddan daughter, Masada Bellesabah was a Lothar daughter. Do you remember these stallions? Both horses were ridden by Linda Tellington-Jones successfully in 100 mile endurance races. Masada Bellisima was sired by Fabo. All three of these mares are equally exciting, beautiful and produced well but I would like to focus on the Lothar daughter, Masada Bellesabah and soon, you will understand why.

Jill Erisman, of Saqlawiyat Arabians in Ohio, remembers Masada Bellesabah:

I saw her down at Desert Arabian Bloodstock in CO when Rasmoniet was there (1984 or 85?). She was in my opinion, one of the top horses on the place: a classic fleabitten gray with extraordinary type and presence even in the company of some of the top Egyptian show horses of the day. She made me gasp looking in her eyes!
When Jill shared this sentiment, it reminded me of Akira Zarif, the 1982 Masada Bellesabah daughter (sired by the Moniet El Nefous son, *Fakher El Din). She was a white beauty, one of the most beautiful horses I saw at Caryn Rogosky's farm, Windkist Manor. She was so harmonious, so smooth bodied, with a lot of curves and a lot of grace. She had that look, of a horse that had been sculpted out of the most pure and priceless marble. But it was her eyes that had me spell bound. They were huge, round, dark and full. Looking into her eyes, stroking her neck, it was difficult not to be chilled to the core. She radiated warmth and kindness, gentleness and compassion. Caryn told me that she was a very good mother to her foals and she felt that Akira Zarif enjoyed her motherhood very much. I met two of her sons, sired by Halim El Mansour, at Caryn's farm and they were my favorite horses on the place.
In 1979 and 1980, Hatchie Hill Farm, produced two full sisters to Akira Zarif: Dahmah Din and Sabbah Din. Masada Bellesabah was also bred to Serr Echo, to produce the stallion, Ibn Serr Echo and the mare, Matara Belle Echo. She was also bred by Vicki Butler to her handsome grey stallion, KH Seral Sireff to produce the stallion, Matara Sherif. Masada Bellesabah was also bred to Nabiel, to produce the mare Nahbelle and she was bred to the Pritzlaff horse, Dahmon RSI, to produce the mare, Negba Bint Masada. However, when bred to the stallion, *Ibn Hafiza, the mare, Bint Al Bediya was born. And I have to take a breath at this point, because this is the other reason (the other was Akira Zarif) why I wanted to focus on Masada Bellesabah. I don't exactly remember when in the 80's that I found Bint Al Bediya offered for sale (I am going to guess that it was in 1988/1989) by Desert Arabian Bloodstock. I was subscribed to the Arabian Horse Express newspaper and saw the list of horses in the ad. I liked the combination of *Ibn Hafiza with Babson blood. It was not a cross that had been tried as frequently as it could have and should have been tried. Simply put, *Ibn Hafiza's dam, Hafiza, was sired by Hamdan (an Ibn Rabdan son) out of Mahfouza, who was also a Hamdan daughter. Through his sire Sameh, *Ibn Hafiza has an additional line to Ibn Rabdan. With *Fadl appearing 5 times in Masada Bellesabah's pedigree, Bint Al Bediya was one of the richest sources of Ibn Rabdan blood in the straight Egyptian community. For me, this was really exciting, as Ibn Rabdan had always been referred to as "the world champion type". The potential to produce my own private world champion was very real. I called, inquired about the mare and was mailed the video. I will never forget the video footage for this mare, as long as I will live. She was amazing. She reminded me of the powerful trot that I had witnessed in *Serenity Sonbolah, a few years prior. She trotted across the diagonal, on the television screen, one way and then another, eating up the ground with a powerful, ground-covering stride. She was an extremely athletic mare and she was also gorgeous, actually, exquisite with the fine, dark skin that I had read about in the books and a finely chiseled face with the biggest nostrils that I had ever seen on an Arabian Horse, up to this point. I just fell in love with her and she was a better horse than I believed her to be, when I answered the ad. I could not believe my great fortune to find this mare. It was very hard to think of anything else. I could not eat, I could not sleep and I drove my poor wife at the time crazy with all the talk about this mare. I was going to buy an *Ibn Hafiza daughter!! I made arrangements with the seller and when those were complete, I made some more phone calls and unfortunately for me, the sale never happened, as the seller changed their mind, preferring to trade the mare for artwork with a local artist. To say that I was devastated, would be putting it mildly. I would not be able to consider purchasing another horse, until the mid-nineties. I think back to this mare, many times and wonder what became of her. While owned by Desert Arabian Bloodstock, she was bred to Rasmoniet RSI a couple of times. At the time of my inquiry for her sale, her Rasmoniet daughter was also listed for sale.
The Sirecho daughter, Asal Sirabba was bred to *Ansata Ibn Halima to produce the 3 full sisters: Silima in 1966, Raalima in 1967 and Siralima in 1971. Raalima was a prolific mare at Bentwood, being bred to the stallions *Ibn Moniet El Nefous, The Egyptian Prince and Shaikh Al Badi to produce 7 daughters in the 70's and 80's. Silima, when bred to Hadbah, produced the stallion Anchor Hill Halim, who went to Germany and became a successful sire. However, of the three Halima sisters, it was Siralima, who produced a daughter by *Ibn Moniet El Nefous, who would further the legacy of Sirecho, around the world. Who would have thought??? Siralima's daugher AK Latifa, was sold to Ariela Arabians in Israel, where she would produce not one, but FOUR Israeli National Champion horses!!!! AK Latifa, when bred to Imperial Imdal, produced the mare, Imperial Kalatifa who went on to produce the champion halter mare, Loubna. However, it is AK Latifa's son, Laheeb, also sired by Imperial Imdal, who has spread the influence of Sirecho, all over the world and made Ariela famous, for producing classic Egyptian Arabian Horses. For straight Egyptian lovers, Laheeb sired the champion stallion, Al Lahab, who is profiled in an earlier article in this blog. Laheeb stood at two studfarms in Poland, Janow Podlaski and Michalow, for two breeding seasons in 1999 and 2000 and is scheduled to return to Poland this year. Laheeb also came to America last year, standing at Ferlita Arabians in California.
Over the years, misinformation and misunderstanding has clouded the legacy that this stallion, Sirecho, has made for straight Egyptian breeding. While I am not a fan of the Otts; I am grateful to them for the awareness they raised for the asil Arabian Horse and for the need of preservation, so we do not lose the asil lines for all time. The Otts paved the way for groups like Al Khamsa and for The Asil Club to not only exist but also, to be appreciated. This is the tremendous gift that the Otts gave the community of asil Arabian Horse breeding and how I prefer to remember these ladies. Through the combination of *Nasr, *Exochorda and *Bint Bint Sabbah; the Otts created opportunities for Sirecho that the horse may not have had, had he remained with the Lodwicks. Imagine, none of the horses we have discussed today would exist. And that would be a sad thing for all of us.
Enjoy your horses,

1 comment:

Tzviah said...

Dear Ralph,
Nice to see Bellesabbah remembered as she was owned by my parents in Michigan (Masoret Arabians) for several years. Her son Khalif El Din ex Fakher el Din and daughter Nahbelle ex Nabiel were owned and loved by myself here in Israel, although Khalif for too short a time
A small but exquisite mare, Bellesabbah had the most amazing presence - a BIG mover, loads of desert type, wonderful eye, muzzle, and nostril. She was oh so laid-back, but could really turn on. Soon after my parents bought her, just after she foaled to Ibn Hafiza, a tumor was discovered in one of her ovaries and the ovary surgically removed. This certainly never stopped Bellesabbah as a broodmare who remained productive for my parents and other owners for several more years.
When my parents decided to disperse their horses I convinced them to gift me Nahbelle and brought her to Israel where several children from a riding club trained her to be a school horse. We raised several excellent foals and her progeny of both sexes have done well at stud and in the showring. At age 10 Nahbelle was shown by a 15 year girl to win the 1995 title of Israel Reserve National Champion Mare. Marek Trela, of Poland, was one of those judging the show and insisted on being photographed with her as it was his opinion that she should have won Champion Mare.
Khalif el Din was gifted by Bill and Edna Weeks to Kibbutz Sha'ar HaGolan's Golan Arabian Horse Breeding program in 1982. They did not use him much on straights, but after their dispersal he sired some key Egyptian horses for Zvika Gorda. Khalif was a very old style deserty Arabian, simply magnificent with huge expressive eyes and the Nasr/Sirecho look about him - all curves and wonderful limbs. I finally managed to buy him after years of trying, but unfortunately while undergoing a veterinary procedure to remove a bad tooth his heart stopped and we lost him too young.
Khalif won his age class the only two times he was ever shown and no one will ever forget how he began to dance spontaneously in place when traditional Arabic music was played over the intercom during his last public appearance. The entire show stopped as both the judge and audience fell under the spell of this magnificent horse. He danced as if trained to it until the music finally stopped and received tremendous applause.
One of my biggest regrets as a breeder is that we were not yet freezing semen when Khalif still lived, because I would certainly be using it today.
Thanks, Ralph, for your homage to a great mare, and for bringing back such wonderful memories.