09 November, 2008

BALANCE: The Future Hangs In It

"And the Angel Gabriel said to the Lord, 'Behold my hand is full."
I think this is my favorite photo, taken by Jerry Sparagowski, of Ansata Halim Shah (*Ansata Ibn Halima x Ansata Rosetta). What do you notice in this photo? For me, there is so much going on. It is immediately apparent that he was a most balanced horse. Ansata Halim Shah was a horse whose overall structure was one of uninterrupted smoothness. The outline or rather, the silhouette of Ansata Halim Shah was comprised of circular lines, creating an equality of body that is harmonious, elegant and graceful. There are no sharp angles, there are no abrupt interruptions to redirect lines that are gently flowing from one, into the next. He was not a horse of bits and pieces, rather, Ansata Halim Shah was a living sum of all his parts. Nothing was too short or too long; everything was perfectly suited for his body. For many, this horse is so special and for me personally, he is the standard, against which all horses are measured. Ansata Halim Shah will always be a timeless representative of classic Arabian Horse type. He continues to be relevant in the present day. If Nazeer was historically significant as a catalyst for modern Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding, then Ansata Halim Shah is critically significant for revolutionizing classic breed type, by underscoring the crucial need for balance.

In Lady Wentworth's AUTHENTIC ARABIAN HORSE, she speaks of balance:
"Many men worry more about measurements than type, and are lost without their inch tape and their measuring standard....An 'eye' for a horse is a gift like an ear for music. It is a sense of proportion and harmony and co-relation, the power to balance the points at a glance."
Judi Forbis, his breeder and his owner, described Ansata Halim Shah as
"one of those special horses from the day he was born. He was extreme of type, as one would expect of his unique linebreeding to the very classic Nazeer daughters, *Ansata Bint Mabrouka and *Ansata Bint Bukra, as well as being sired by the Nazeer son, *Ansata Ibn Halima. Halim Shah has always been an individual. He is smart, bold, and carries himself with elegance and grace."
And a majority of people seemed to have agreed with Judi, as Ansata Halim Shah was a 1983 United States Top Ten Futurity Colt and a 1983 World Reserve Junior Champion Stallion at the Salon Du Cheval, where he was spotted by Dr. Hans Joachim Nagel. Later, Ansata Halim Shah would travel to Germany, to Katharinenhof and dramatically influence Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding in Europe, and from there, all over the world. Dr. Nagel, in his Hanan book speaks about the Ansata influence:
"The most desired attributes of the Ansata stallion are a superbly laid-back shoulder, and ideal croup and the ability, so rarely found in Egyptian stallions, to sire stallions and mares of equal quality."
Take for example a child, who has learned to color between the lines in his coloring book. His hands have filled the black-lined outline with a vibrancy of color that the lines cannot contain anymore. So, the color spills out, influencing other empty pages with equal vibrancy and fullness and yet, possessing a loyalty to the colors that one sees. Ansata Halim Shah is like that page in a child's coloring book. He remains relevant through his progeny and particularly through his sons who are hauntingly familiar. One cannot look at a horse like Al Adeed Al Shaqab or Thaqib Al Nasser and miss the unmistakeable Ansata Halim Shah look. Again from Lady Wentworth's work:

"It is always," Said Gayot, "the best shaped horse that is most consistently successful; a good sire is almost always beautiful."

Bukra has proven, over and over again, of the influence she contributes towards the creation of the classic Arabian Horse. Ansata Halim Shah's dam, Ansata Rosetta, is a daughter of the grey EAO mare known as Husnia, renamed *Ansata Bint Bukra, by her importers, Don and Judi Forbis. She was as the name "Bint" implies, a daughter of Bukra, the "prima stute" of the EAO, as coined by General Pettko Von Szandtner. In reading the book: HANAN, THE STORY OF AN ARABIAN MARE AND OF THE ARABIAN BREED, I learned from Dr. Nagel, the following point:

"there are probably dams, very few of them, who end up controlling a family for many generations. Bukra is certainly one..."

*Ansata Bint Bukra was a full sister to the stallion: Ghazal, who at that time, was the living inspiration for the type of Arabian Horse, people envisioned in their mind as "ideal". Ghazal was the most exotic horse of the times and the principal horse to sire the influence of Bukra. It is unfortunate that his influence in Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding is small, through his four daughters. In many ways, Ansata Halim Shah was reminiscent of Ghazal and yet, he was a stronger Ghazal, an improved Ghazal, superior in the areas where Ghazal was weak. And maybe, we see the influence of Halima (Sheikh el Arab x Ragia), which helps Ansata Halim Shah favor his sire, who was a very close-coupled horse, with a strong back and an ideal topline.

Enjoy your horses,

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