04 May, 2008

Heartbreaker

"I get rousted out of my sleep sometimes for nature's call. I find there is something frightening about that hour of the night. There ain't no fooling yourself about what you've done and what you haven't done with your life." - by Alan Geoffrion, from his book, Broken Trail

I met the great Mah Deluque, near the end of his life. He was no longer the striking dappled grey horse that I remembered from the pages of Arabian Horse World. Do you remember seeing the full page ads for Serrpramacy and Mah Deluque, which ran side-by-side in Arabian Horse World in the early nineties? These two horses were going to be the "torch-bearers" for the comeback of the Babson Farm. It was an exciting time for me, to see Babson horses advertised in the leading publication of the day, as well as seeing Babson show horses like Serrpreme winning in the show ring. For me, it meant that the appreciation for this breeding group, in its straight form, was becoming wider-spread. Little did I realize at the time, how close we were to the end of this 60-year breeding program and the dispersal of all the Babson Horses.

I shared my observation of Mah Deluque previously, in my post regarding straight Babson Egyptian breeding:

The late Mah Deluque was a Dahman Shawan stallion, who was a very willowy, very stretchy horse, unlike the type of horse, most people would picture in their minds, when viewing his pedigree, without viewing the phenotype.

Mah Deluque had been purchased at the Babson Farm dispersal by the late Margaret Albertine of Belleville, NJ. Margaret had moved the stallion to a farm in California and it is unfortunate that he returned to her, with a hock injury that made the poor horse's life miserable and finally, cost him his life.

Mah Deluque was sired by the Fabah son, Mahrouf and out of the Fabah daughter, Bah Habba. I want to underscore what I just said, in case you missed it. Double Fabah. There is no doubt that Fabah was an incredibly influential breeding stallion in the Babson group. His progeny list reads like a veritable "who's who" in Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding. Admired, revered and much loved stallions like Fabo, The Shah, Ahmed Fabah and Fadl Dan claim him as a sire. In a previous post, I shared the following observation about the stallion Fabah:

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.

While it is difficult, if not impossible to find a Babson horse without Fabah somewhere in the pedigree (I think the 1974 Saafaddan daughter, Masada El Aba, out of Daal Aba, may have been the last horse without Fabah in her pedigree) the influence of *Fadl and *Bint Bint Sabbah is very strong and present through their other progeny (for example, in the Fabah-free mare mentioned [Masada El Aba], her pedigree contains Fabah's full sisters: Fa-Habba and Faaba, so are you really Fabah-free????). The Babson Farm used Fabah primarily on the Fa-Serr daughters. This was the breeding cross that produced magical results at the Babson Farm. It was a combination that produced incredible broodmares, helping Fabah to stretch his influence far into future generations through his daughters. This is where I get excited about Fabah, for as great as his sons were, his daughters were exceptional. For example, Fabah produced the mare Aroufina (out of Roufina) in 1969. When Aroufina was bred to the *Ibn Moniet El Nefous son, Fa Noufas (out of the Fabah daughter, Shebaah), she produced Noufina. In turn, Noufina was eventually bred to the Sabeel son, *Lancers Sahm, to produce the mare PH Safina. PH Safina was bred to *Orashan, to produce the mare, BB Ora Kalilah, one of my favorite Imperial mares and the dam of the ultimate Arabian Horse, Imperial Baarez (by PVA Karim). Another Fabah daughter, Sabrah, produced the mares Fa Halima and Ansata Sabiha, as well as the son, Sar Fadl Halim. Fabah's daughter, Maarqada, produced the full sisters by Ansata Ibn Sudan: Ansata Jasmin and Ansata Jellabia, who in turn produced the stallion, El Hadiyyah. Maarena, when bred in reverse of the Babson breeding formula (Fabah daughter to Fa-Serr son) produced the stallion Serr Maariner. Much can be written about Fabah, for he was truly an amazing sire of significance.

In 1981, with Carolyn Gardner in the saddle, Mahrouf, then a 10 year old stallion, was Region 11's Champion Park Horse, in addition to his class A championships in Formal Combination and Formal Driving. In that time period, John Vogel, a Cal Poly graduate, had been employed by the Babson Farm as a trainer, showing the Babson horses in halter, while Carolyn Gardner was showing the Babson horses in performance. In 1982, when Mah Deluque was foaled, the Babson Farm stood the mighty four, a strong offerring of stallions: Mah Deluque's sire Mahrouf, Ibn Fa-Serr (Fa Serr x Fa Deene), Amir Ibn FaSerr (Ibn Fa Serr x Serr Beth) and Serr Rou (Ibn Fa-Serr x Bahrou). I personally believe that Mah Deluque was a super blend or rather a combination of all the good points of his sire, Mahrouf and his dam, Bah Habba. Bah Habba had long foreams and short cannons. Her shoulder was powerful and set at a comfortable angle and her neck was remarkably different from other Babson mares of her day; not short and presents a balanced picture with the rest of her body. It is important to highlight these points, to show you, the reader, where Mah Deluque inherited the "willowy" good looks that I mentioned. Look at his dam.

Mah Deluque looked very different from what most people came to accept as a stereotypical Babson horse. The majority of Mah Deluque's pedigree traces to the Dahmah Shahwaniyah mare, *Bint Bint Sabbah (about 3/4 of his pedigree). If the Dahman strain horse is, as Carl Raswan explained, a blend of the Saqlawi and Kuhaylan lines, the presence of the Saklawi strain through *Bint Serra and the Kuhaylan through *Maaroufa, further refined this Dahman stallion in appearance. I remember well the day I saw him, for the very first time. I was so grateful to finally meet him and I was not disappointed, as this horse was every bit as elegant, as I imagined him to be. Mah Deluque looked more like an Ansata Horse to me, than he did a Babson Horse and I often wonder over the everlasting appreciation for Mah Deluque, had he had the opportunity to breed some of the wonderful Ansata mares that were alive and producing in the late eighties and early nineties. What delightful horses would we be discussing now? What a complementary pedigree, to offer breeders today, whose heavily bred Nazeer horses carry multiple sources of Mansour blood, in contrast to the multiple sources of Ibn Rabdan blood, found in Mah Deluque's pedigree. If anything, it would be the chance to combine the breeding philosophies of the Babson Farm with the breeding renaissance instituted by General Pettko Von Szandtner of the EAO. While this chance may no longer exist with Mah Deluque, he did sire progeny, who can carry his influence into the future.

As far as I know, Mah Deluque sired 2 females and 2 males (of which 2 are full brother and sister) and one horse, Mahrouf's Hafid, has been trained and ridden in the discipline of dressage and shown through Second Level within the Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Association:

1987: Fay Abba (out of the Mahrouf daughter, Bint Serr Abba)
1990: Mahquee (out of Fa Bah Roufa, who is out of Bah Roufa, a Fabah daughter)
1991: Almoraima Sarita (out of LCA Bint Serabah, who contributes 2 more lines to Fabah)
1992: Mahrouf's Hafid (out of the Mahrouf daughter, Bint Serr Abba)

Diana Johnson of Bint Al Bahr Arabians, a leading Straight Babson Egyptian breeder in Buckeye, Arizona remembered Mah Deluque:

"...Mah Deluque is a strong moving stallion with a lofty trot. Mah Deluque's full brother, Mah Hab (represented in our herd by Bint Roulett), shared this eye-catching action. Their sire, Mahrouf, was a Champion Park horse."

By the time that I saw Mah Deluque, it was not possible to observe his powerful moving action, as the horse was limited in his movements, by the previous injury mentioned. But I will not forget the wonderful times with him, to be at the side of a horse that I admired in pictures and never thought I would get to see and stroke his coat, admire his beauty and his charming personality. He was a wonderful, sweet horse who had the most indescribeable air about him. He did not have the short, thick neck, heavy in the throatlatch. He did not have the short legs. Standing approximately 15 hands, he was a harmonious individual; smooth of body and well-balanced. While I delighted in his presence and the opportunity to pet him; there was just something about him that made me catch my breath, while my mind struggled to comprehend the feeling that was bubbling from my core. I knew that I was in the presence of a very special horse. It was like being in the most holy of places and yet, I kept reminding myself that I was only standing in a stall, looking at a horse. I felt compelled to thank God for this most unexpected moment, right there, right then. How can a horse manifest this feeling in a person? Maybe, Mah Deluque helped me to understand that we are all connected, through life, whether human, horse or vegetable. Maybe, horses like Mah Deluque grab our attention and remind us of how precious and sacred life is and how hard we have to work, to fight the influences of this world, which trick us into believing that life, is not the great miracle we believe it to be. Maybe, I was at a point in my life where i needed to be reminded of these things. Maybe, I was at a point in my life where I needed Mah Deluque.

"I can personnally attest to how much horses can improve one's basic
qualities...they taught me, sometimes painfully, to be kinder and more
tolerant...they increased my awareness, my perceptivity and my compassion."-by
Robert Miller, from his book: Understanding the Ancient Secrets of the Horse's
Mind
While this post is written to celebrate the life of this great horse, Mah Deluque, and help to perpetuate his memory into the future, I can't help but feel sad over the ending of this horse and his fade into obscurity. He lived his last days on a Standardbred Race Horse farm in central New Jersey, while his owner waged a courageous fight with cancer, which sadly, she lost. Margaret Albertine and I shared common ground through John and Betty Fippen and our horses that we had purchased from them. I wish so much that I had pursued (more actively) the purchase of this horse, Mah Deluque. I wonder what I was thinking at the time, as I had long admired Mah Deluque, then in Illinois and when finally, this horse arrives at my "back door"...where was I and what was I thinking??? Who would have thought, back in the early 80's that Mah Deluque would one day live in New Jersey?? That's why Mah Deluque will always be my personal heartbreaker, as the question "what if" has become synonmous with his name. And maybe, this is the greatest lesson that I learned from Mah Deluque that we must always live life and the opportunities that are presented to us, to the fullest, so we can avoid the "what ifs" later on. Do you have any "what ifs" in your life?

Enjoy your horses,

Ralph

3 comments:

Mike said...

Life rather like horse breeding, full of "what if's" and "if only's" that nag almost constantly at the back of ones mind.

Amongst mine, pertaining particularly to Babsons are the "what if" .. the Babson sire The Shah (Fabah X Bint Fada) a truly remarkable horse had actually been used within his own breeding group during his tragically short life. Falling into the "if only's" is the thought that so few Ansata mares were bred to the great Babson sires of that era, the reverse being ever so much more popular.

I cannot help but feel that our arabian horse world would have been so much the richer had either of the above actually been the case.

Steve S said...

Ralph,

An update for your post: Mahquee is alive and well! I was thrilled to see him mentioned in this post. At 18, he and my daughter are a wonderful pair with an amazing bond between them.

We are blessed with the results of a great lineage both in and out of the show ring!

Steve Secosh

Robert said...

1227

Mine is trying to picture were we would be now if Ali Pasha Sherif had not bred Mesaoud.

Great blogs my friend

Bob