01 November, 2008


"I was a pretty young girl once
I had dreams
I had high hopes...."-Tracy Chapman, from her song, All That You Have is Your Soul
I "stumbled" upon this beautiful mare, while I was looking for another picture. Who is she? Her name is Kah Retta, she was bred by the Babson Farm and she was foaled in 1981. That's right, 1981. Do you remember where you were in 1981? In 1981, Anwar Sadat was assasinated and Hosni Mubarak became the Egyptian President. Both Pope John Paul II and the American President, Ronald Reagan were shot in assasination attempts. Martial law was declared in Poland by General Wojciech Jaruzelski and the Solidarity Labor Union was outlawed and its leaders, including Lech Walesa were imprisoned. The movie Chariots of Fire won the Academy Award for Best Picture and the song, Bette Davis Eyes won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Dallas was the number one TV show and 42nd Street won the Tony Award for the best musical. In 1981, the world was changing and for me, as a college student, the world was a fresh, new place, full of opportunity and big dreams, for all who could seize it or so I believed. It is really hard to believe that 27 years have passed by and that this mare has somehow faded into obscurity. I was so surprised to find her. How did I not know about her? In the later years of the Babson Farm, the blood of *Asadd++ was introduced to the program through a stallion named Sahadi Shikari. I knew this and I always thought this cross was interesting, as there is common ground through Ibn Rabdan. I knew it and I accepted it and yet, I did not move on it. I contacted her owner, Jennifer Graef, in order to learn more about her. Jennifer told me:

"I bought her first in 2003 from a less then desirable situation where she was wasting away in a field with a bunch of young horses and one rotten round bale. She is a beautiful mare. She has such wonderful dark eyes. She really embodies the Arabian breed."
She is gorgeous, with a softness that ignites the desire to wrap my arms around her neck and bury my face in her soft coat, filling up my senses, all the way down to the deep, deep part of my core being; the special place that is reserved for something extraordinary, for great beauty that is not easily comprehended and the resulting joy which fuels my dreams and encourages my spirit, even in the darkest days. As special as Kah Retta is on the outside, her pedigree is unique, a blend of key horses that one does not find too often. I recognize and appreciate the concentrated sources of Kuhaylan Rodan breeding in Kah Retta's pedigree, as her sire, the 1978 stallion, Sahadi Shikari is not only a pure-in-the-strain Kuhaylan Rodan; his dam Kameela, is predominantly Kuhaylah Rodaniyah as 3 of her 4 grandparents are of this strain. WOW! That's amazing. However, the concentration does not stop with the Kuhaylan Rodans, as Haretta's pedigree is influenced by Saklawi and Dahman sources. Sired by Ansata Abbas Pasha who traces to the most beautiful Saklawiyah mare of all time, Moniet El Nefous (see my previous article, ENCHANTMENT), Haretta is out of the mare, Henretta, who was sired by Ibn Fa Serr, who traces to *Bint Serra, who is also a Saklawiyah. These Saklawi sources on the bottom of the pedigree combine nicely with Lubna, a Moniet El Nefous daughter, who is the dam of *Sultann, the sire of *Asadd++, on the top side of the pedigree. The entire pedigree is balanced by the Dahman sources on the bottom, through *Ansata Ibn Halima and through the tail female line of the pedigree, *Bint Bint Sabbah.

"Why was I such a young fool
Thought I'd make history
Making babies was the best I could do
Thought I made something could be mine forever..." -Tracy Chapman, from her song, All That You Have is Your Soul

I use allbreedpedigree.com a lot. I checked the progeny records for this mare and I see two horses listed. Let's look at the first mare, the 1985 mare, Rou Ketta, who was sired by the all Babson and Ibn Fa Serr son, Serr Rou. This is incredible, while Serr Rou has the tail female to *Maaroufa, this stallion has 3 lines to *Bint Serra!! This mare, Rou Ketta, in turn has produced 2 mares: the 1989 Ruala Sereta by Serhabbas and the 1995 mare, Ruala Aleeta by Ansata Ali Abbas. Both these daughters have common ground, in that their sires are Ansata Abbas Pasha sons. Remember that Kah Retta's dam is an Ansata Abbas Pasha daughter!!! The Saklawi sources are magnified, not only through *Bint Serra but also through Ansata Abbas Pasha. It makes me think about what Judi Forbis once said about the Dahman strain being a blend of Kuhaylan and Saqlawi influences. And here, in this mare, we have concentrations of both strains, anchored by the Dahman tail female line.

The other mare produced by Kah Retta is a Thee Infidel daughter, Khara Infidel, which again, is a unique combination and what I find really exciting about this cross is the intensification of the Ibn Rabdan blood. The cross of Thee Desperado on Bint Magidaa is a pedigree that is rich with Ibn Rabdan blood through horses like Anter, Farasha, Zaghloul, Mahfouza, *Morafic and Ibn Galal I. I don't see that this mare has produced any progeny but allbreedpedigree may not be updated with the most recent information.

Visiting the Craver Farms website, earlier this week , I was reminded by what Charles and Jeanne Craver were able to accomplish for the Davenport breeding group. It is a contemporary example with much relevance for the straight Egyptian breeding group. There is a lesson to be learned here. We need more mares like Kah Retta, with her blend of bloodlines that introduce a bit more variety or diversity into the genetic stream of Egyptian breeding. Over the years, through appreciation and recognizing that the more popular bloodlines offer reliable consistency in producing the type of horses that people desire, we have moved uncomfortably closer to limiting the choices in our gene pool by increasing the supply (or oversupply) of particular bloodlines, while sacrificing the bloodlines of key horses.

It is difficult to describe the powerful feelings that a horse like Kah Retta generates. To trace her silhouette with my finger, the familiarity of gently sloping, smooth, harmonious and generously curved lines, the electricity that collects in the tips of my fingers, matched only by the rapid beating of my heart, as I recognize a horse that is faithfully authentic to her heritage and yet, another reminder of a horse that I knew a long time ago and despite the years that have accumulated between the day I met him and today, I still remember him.

"Here I am, waiting for a better day
A second chance
A little luck to come my way
I hope to dream, I hope that I can sleep again
And wake in a world with a clear conscience and clean hands
'Cause all that you have is your soul
" -Tracy Chapman, from her song, All That You Have is Your Soul

Enjoy your horses,

PS Thanks Jennifer


Suzanne Thomas said...


I stumbled upon your blog tonight and have been enchanted. I am enjoying this article about Kah Retta, and went to look up her progeny on Datasource.

Datasource names the first offspring you mentioned, but not the second (I, too, was intrigued by the idea of a cross between Kah Retta and Thee Infidel). Kah Retta's 2nd offspring according to Datasource is a 1997 mare named Mah Zarif Halal who is not a Straight Egyptian.

So I went looking in Datasource for this Khara Infidel and she was not in the purebred Arabian list. The only 2 purebred daughters of Infidel whose names come close are listed as: Princess Infidel, not a SE, and Ajmalu Infidel, who is a SE.

I could look up pedigrees and talk bloodlines and breeding until the cows come home. Your blog will provide me with hours of entertainment.


vclink said...

Ralph, thank you for the wonderful article on Kah Retta. I know that Jennifer has been trying to ensure continuation of this bloodline by embryo transfer but has been unsuccessful so far. She IS a beautiful mare.

Valerie Clinkenbeard

P.S. Miss your input on SE.com.

Sherri B said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful article on this mares unique past and rare pedigree.

We now have Kah Retta and are just in love with her. She is truely a special mare.

We also hope to try and get one foal out of her if possible to carry on her rich past. We have already spoken with our repro vet to discuss our options to make this a reality.

Your statements about her were not understated. She is a stunning mare that takes your breath away and her deep dark eyes look straight into your soul.

We will keep you posted on our hopeful success in carrying on her bloodline.