28 January, 2009

There Once Was A Stallion Named Antar

Antar was a son of Hamdan, a full brother to Shaloul, who together with their full sister, Samira, were part of the group which Judi Forbis' called "THE FABULOUS FOUR". These horses were sired by Ibn Rabdan and out of the mare Bint Radia, whose mother, Radia, was not only an important mare for the Royal Agricultural Society but also for the Inshass Stud of King Farouk. In THE CLASSIC ARABIAN HORSE, Judi Forbis shared that Radia traced to the mare Ghazala, a line known for producing elegant racehorses, horses that had substance and balanced with long necks and extreme heads. Radia's daughter, Zareefa (by Sahab) produced the mare, Bint Zareefa (by El Zafir), who in turn produced Abla (by Mekdam), the dam of Obeya. Anter, in both the tail female line of his sire and of his dam, traces to this mare, Radia. He is a special horse indeed. As the son of Obeya, Antar was a favorite horse of King Farouk, at whose studfarm, Inshass, was home to some of Egypt's finest horses. In 1952, when King Farouk was overthrown, most of these beautiful Arabians were sold at auction. However, some of the horses, including the stallions Sameh and Antar were sent to the EAO. Antar was a popular sire at the EAO, siring well over 50 foals, out of the choicest Egyptian mares. I believe that Antar's fame, like Alaa El Din, was made through his daughters, who far out-classed his sons. Judith Forbis saw Antar in Egypt and she shares the following observation:
A handsome bright red chestnut stallion of noble bearing, attractive head of medium length, rather high-placed medium eyes set in boney sockets, weil set and well,shaped ears, well-shaped nicely arched rather heavy long-enough neck, good withers, somewhat long back which tended to softness.
Dr. Hans Joachim Nagel remembered Antar in his very famous Hanan book:
"Anter (1946) a refined, bony horse of solid conformation. He had powerful, extending movements, a good shoulder and a fine, elegant neck. The negative features he passed on to his offspring were small eyes, too long ears and over-angualted hindlegs. On the whole, however, he was appreciated at El Zahraa as a good sire, especially of high quality mares."
Compare and contrast the above comments with Ms. Hansi Heck-Melnyk's memories of Antar in 1973 (Hansi owned the Anter daughter's, *Serenity Shahra and *Serenity Sagda):
"Antar did not have a long or week back at all. I saw him the last time in 1973. I saw Antar in 1973. He was in excellent condition. A liver chestnut, tremendous hindquarters, shoulders, withers and hip. Well set, on a balanced neck, excellent mover, lovely dispostion, excellent legs with a very typey, desert-bred like muscular head".
Reviewing the list of progeny, one immediately notices that Antar was bred to very fine mares, possibly some of the finest mares at the EAO. Was his success as a sire, a result of his own genetic influence or rather, was his significance a reflection of the genetic strength of each of the EAO mares he was bred to? Was Antar like Nazeer, who throughout history was known to be complementary to the mare he was bred to, allowing the mare to favorably influence the foal? In looking at the list of foals produced by the following mares, who went to produce their quality or better: Kamar, Abla, and Shahrzada, I would have to say that the combination was not one-sided, and I strongly believe that Antar bred to each of these three mares was a successful "nick" that should have been exploited more.

ABLA (Nazeer x Helwa)
(1) NAGAT grey Mare 1960
(2) RASHIKA grey Mare 1962
(3) EMAN grey Mare 1963
(4) SOMAIA mare 1965
(5) LOOZA/LUZA grey mare 1969
(6) ADAWEYA grey Mare 1970
(7) EIN grey mare 1971

AHLAM (Sid Abouhom x Bint Zareefa)
(1) CLEOPATRAA black Mare 1960

AYDA (Nazeer x Lateefa)
(1)WADI bay Colt 1964
(2)ASHOUR grey colt 1971

BADRIA ()
(1) BANDONG chestnut colt 1957

BASIMA (Alaa El Din x Sherifa)
(1)BASSAMA chestnut Mare 1971
(2)SALEEMA/SELEEMA chestnut Mare 1972

BINT BINT MABROUKA (Sid Abouhom x Bint Mabrouka)
(1)RAKIA chestnut Mare 1963
(2)MARIAM bay Mare 1964
(3)ROKAYA Mare

BINT EL SAMRAA (Mekdam x El Samraa)
(1)IBN ANTER chestnut Colt 1963 ANTER

BINT ELWYA (Sid Abouhom x Zareefa)
(1)ANSATA BINT ELWYA grey mare 1961

BINT KATEEFA (Sid Abouhom x Kateefa)
(1) BINT BINT KATEEFA chestnut Mare 1960
(2) BASIL colt 1966

BINT MAYSOUNA (Nazeer x Maysouna)
(1) NAAMA grey Mare 1961

BINT MONA (Nazeer x Mouna)
(1) IBN ANTAR/IBN ANTER grey colt 1964

BINT OM EL SAAD (Nazeer x Om El Saad)
(1) SERAG chestnut Colt 1972

EL AMEERA (Nazeer x Zaafarana)
(1) FERIAL chestnut Mare 1961

FARASHA (Alaa El Din x Yosreia)
(1)NABILAH/NABILAHH grey Mare 1960

FATIN (Nazeer X Nefisa)
(1)JEHAN grey Mare 1959

GALILA (Sid Abouhom x Rouda)
(1)MAMDOUH Colt 1960

HELWA (Hamran II x Bint Farida)
(1)FAHIDD chestnut Colt 1961

KAMAR (Nazeer x Komerira)
(1)SAAB grey colt 1963
(2)WAHAG grey Colt 1964
(3)KAHRAMANA grey Mare 1966

LATEEFA (Gamil III x Salwa)
(1)MAHBOUBA chestnut mare 1963

MABROUKA (Sid Abouhom x Moniet El Nefous)(1) MUBARK grey colt 1970

MAHFOUZA (Hamdan x El Mahrousa)(1) MAYSA chestnut Mare 1955

MAMLOUKA (Nazeer x Malaka)
(1) FIFI Mare 1963

MAYSOUNA (Kheir x Shams)
(1) TAHSEEN/ TAHSIN bay colt 1964

NAEEMA (Ramses Fayek x Tifla)(1) EL YATEEMA chestnut Mare 1971

NEAMAT (Morafic x Hemmat)
(1) NIHAL chestnut Mare 1966

NAZEERA (Nazeer x Malaka)
(1)HAMDIA/HAMIDA mare 1959
(2)KAWMIA grey Mare 1965
(3)BINT NAZEERA grey Mare 1968

NAZIC (Morafic x Rashida)
(1)AABER/ABER bay colt

RAGHA (Adham x Ragaa)
(1)RASMIA bay mare 1952

SAMIA (Nazeer x Malaka)
(1)HEKMAT chestnut Mare 1961
(2)SERENITY SAGDA grey Mare 1966

SHAHRZADA (Nazeer x Yosreia)
(1)IBN SHARZADA Colt 1960
(2)DAWLAT chestnut Mare 1961
(3)BINT EL NIL/BINT EL NILE chestnut Mare 1963
(4)IBN SHAHRZADA chestnut colt 1964
(5)SERENITY SHAHRA/SERENITY SHAHARA grey Mare 1966

SHERA ()(1)IBN SHERAZA H

SOUHAIR (Sid Abouhom x Salwa)
(1) GHARIB black colt 1965

TANTA (Morafic x Mansoura)
(1)TOBROK grey Colt 1966
(2)HAYAT grey Mare 1967

THOURAYA (El Sareei x Rayana)
(1) GHADEER Mare
(2) MAHEERA grey mare

ZAHDA (Morafic x Om El Saad)(1) ZAHID chestnut Colt 1972

The Nazeera daughter, *Hamdia/*Hamida was imported by Gleannloch Farms and unfortunately, she died within a month of her importation. Gleannloch had imported many of the Anter daughters (Gleannloch imported 10 Antar daughters: Bint Bint Kateefa, Hamdia/Hamida, Dawlat, Hekmat, Nabilahh, Somaia, Eman, Kahramana, Cleopatraa, Nihal, plus 2 stallions: Ibn Anter and Fahidd) and Doug Marshall remembered this mare as one of the best mares he imported from Egypt.

Gleannloch treasured their Anter daughters including the mare *Nihal++ (pictured, at left), a 1971 US National Western Pleasure Champion, as well as a Top Ten English Pleasure Champion. This chestnut mare was versatility personified.

The Nazeer daughter, Abla, was bred to Antar multiple times to produce an influential mare at the EAO, Adaweya, as well as Eman (pictured here) and Ein, Looza, Nagat, Rashika, and Somaia. It is my own personal opinion that Abla is one of three mares who "nicked" with Antar; the other two being Kamar and Yosreia, through her two daughters: the Nazeer daughter, Shahrzada and the Alaa El Din duaghter, Farasha. In the 1980's, Dr. Ibrahim Zaghloul, the then director of the EAO, was asked by ARABIAN HORSE WORLD magazine: "Which mares, living or dead, had the strongest influence on the EAO's breeding program?" Dr. Zaghloul identified 5 mares, of which, the Antar daughter, ADAWEYA, was one of these influential mares:
"Adaweya (Antar x Abla) is a very noble grey mare who was foaled in March 24, 1970, and traces to the Farida line (Abla has 3 other daughters by Antar who were exported to the USA). Adaweya has beautiful conformation, including a level topline, pretty head, and refined bone. From Abla, she inherited that unmistakably classic elegance and exquisite type associated with the Egyptian Arabian, as well as a deep shoulder and high set neck. Her foals are in turn the embodiment of these characteristics."

I like the Antar daughter out of Elwya very much. A close-coupled mare, with a powerfully-built hind end, balanced by a wide chest and an arched, well-crested, elegant neck, she was proof of the positive impact that Antar could make as a sire. Imported to America by Don and Judi Forbis of Ansata Arabian Stud, she was renamed *Ansata Bint Elwya. She was bred to *Ansata Ibn Halima twice, to produce the full siblings: Ansata El Hakim, a 1972 stallion and Ansata Haliwa, a bay mare in 1973.

Samia (Nazeer x Malaka) also produced two wonderful daughters by Antar. Ms.Hansi Heck-Melnyk, of Serenity Farm purchased the mare Sagda and renamed her *Serenity Sagda. The interesting thing about Samia and her foals by Antar, is that while Sagda was a grey-coloured horse, Hekmat was a chestnut. Hekmat was successful in the show ring, as she was a Class A halter Champion many times. As I didn't know either mare when they were alive, is it a stretch to say that possibly Sagda resembled more of Samia, while Hekmat may have been a feminine version of her chestnut sire or her chestnut Kuhaylah Rodaniyah ancestors?

I believe that there was another good nick with Antar and that was YOSREIA through her daughters Shahrzada (Nazeer x Yosreia) and Farasha (Alaa El Din x Yosreia). From the union with Shahrzada, a mare like *Dawlat, "a leggy chestnut with a tremendous neck and shoulder" was born, as well as Bint El Nil, Ibn Shahrzada and *Serenity Shahra. *Dawlat carried forward the legacy of her parents, by producing the stallion: Dalul by *Morafic and Asjah Ibn Faleh, when bred to the Alaa El Din son, *Faleh.

One of the most beautiful mares that Gleannloch Farm produced was NEAMA, a daughter of *Nabilahh, sired by *Sakr. She was offered for sale in June of 1982 by Gleannloch Farms in the Pyramid Society Breeders Sale I, with an Amaal colt at side and bred to *Soufian for a 1983 foal (a mare named Qastal). *Nabilahh's daughter by *Morafic was named Bint Nabilahh. When this mare, Bint Nabilahh was bred to El Halimaar, the sweet mare, Maar Bilahh was produced. Maar Bilahh produced the popular stallion, Imperial Mahzeer, when bred to Imperial Madheen. He, in turn has sired Bint Saida Al Nasser (out of Saida), Konouz (out of Imperial Kaliya) and Mezna Al Rayyan (out of Ansata Magnifica) among others.When we speak of a mare like *Nabilahh, her pedigree is so powerful, having ANTAR as a sire and the YOSREIA daughter, FARASHA, as her dam. remeber that Farasha also produced the stallions *Faleh and *Farazdac by Alaa El Din and Galal by Nazeer. I believe that this breeding combination of Yosreia and Antar produced beautiful mares, as evidenced also by the daughters of Shahrzada, another Yosreia daughter. Is it any surprise? The combination of ANTAR and YOSREIA was the esteemed formula of Ibn Rabdan and Mansour. A well-proven "recipe" that yielded some of the most unforgettable horses Egypt has ever produced. If one person's attention is captivated by the beautiful daughters that Antar sired and their resulting influence on the Egyptian Arabian Horse, then the effort behind the writing of this essay, will have been well worth it.

22 January, 2009

The Straight Babson Egyptian Arabian Horse

What does the term straight Babson Egyptian mean? Have you heard someone say this before and wondered over the answer? Babson Horses are one of the longest running, closed-herd breeding groups in the entire Arabian Community. A Straight Babson Egyptian Arabian horse (SBE) would be a horse that traces, in all of its bloodlines, to a combination of the 6 horses imported from Egypt by Henry Babson in 1932 (notice that I have emphasized the words "from Egypt" which is critical in understanding Babson breeding, as Henry Babson also imported horses of Polish, Crabbet and Desert breeding, which are NOT Egyptian).
IMPORTANT: For a horse to be considered STRAIGHT BABSON EGYPTIAN, the horse must trace ONLY to the horses that Henry Babson imported in 1932, from Egypt:
MARES:
1) *Maaroufa (Ibn Rabdan x Mahroussa)-produced 15 Egyptian foals
2) *Bint Bint Sabbah (Bayyad x Bint Sabbah)-produced 13 Egyptian foals
3) *Bint Serra (Sotamm x Serra)-produced 10 Egyptian foals
4) *Bint Saada (Ibn Samhan x Saada)-produced 3 Egyptian foals
5) *Bint Bint Durra (Ibn Rabdan x Bint Durra)-produced 5 Egyptian foals
STALLION:
1) *Fadl (Ibn Rabdan x Mahroussa)-sired 34 straight Egyptian foals
There was an additional horse that was imported, *Metsur, a chestnut colt out of *Bint Serra (sired by Rustem) but he died shortly after importation and was never used at stud.
Henry Babson did try, many times, to incorporate the blood of other Arabian Horses into his breeding program. He was very open-minded, he had vision, and he recognized and appreciated Arabian Horses, from all countries, from all bloodlines. For example, from Poland, he imported 4 mares and 2 stallions:
*Azja IV (Landsnecht x Asra)
*Rybitwa (Almanzar x *Jasolka II)
*Kostrewza (Koheilan I x Dziewanna)
*Kasztelanka (Koheilan I x Bialogrodka)
*Sulejman (Fetyz x Fasila)
*Warsaw (Ofir x *Kasztelanka) imported in utero
*Kasztelanka, when bred to *Fadl, produced Fadheilan, the sire of Fadjur. And we can’t forget the Khemosabi connection in this story. Khemo's dam was Jurneeka who was by Fadjur (Fadheilan x Bint Sahara) and out of Fadneeka (Fadheilan x Raneeka). Khemosabi was almost 45% Egyptian in blood.
The mare, *Turfa, was bred by King Ibn Saoud of Arabia and was presented to King George VI of England as a coronation gift. In 1941, Henry Babson purchased her and used *Turfa at the farm, breeding her to the great Egyptian stallion, *Fadl with a lot of success. The progeny of *Fadl/*Turfa were kept within the Babson breeding program. One of the most famous (because he was the one that was used a lot) was the stallion, Ibn Fadl. The horses that were produced in the Babson/Turfa program were high percentage Egyptian but NOT straight Egyptian, since *Turfa herself was not a straight Egyptian horse. Like all the other non-Egyptian bloodlines that were introduced at the Babson Farm, the *Turfa program was dispersed, in favor of the straight Egyptian blood. In later years, Homer Watson would share his regret over the *Turfa horses. He liked the *Turfa horses and felt they were exceptional and felt that the *Turfa breeding program should have continued. From all that I have ever read and been told, this mare was an exciting horse, with one of the most exceptional trots seen in Arabian Horses in the 1940's. Since the *Turfa blood has been diluted by the Babson blood, it is hard to really see a real physical difference in the Babson *Turfas from the straight Babson Egyptians. However, sometimes, you see a Babson *Turfa horse move in this BIG trot and then you know, *TURFA!!!
Babson also imported the stallion,*Aldebar (Dwarka x Amida) who was bred by the Prince of Wales and the stallion, *Nimrod (Champurrado x Nautch Girl) an Irex grandson, bred by Musgrave Clark.
There were other Egyptian Horses, of newer bloodlines, used in the program as well. For example, Ansata Abbas Pasha (he was actually owned by the Babson Farm) and *Ibn Moniet El Nefous. I personally believe it was a major feat that Henry Babson was able to use Sirecho in his program, given the difficulties that people experienced, developing a relationship with the Otts. Sirecho was a significant horse, a son of *Nasr, who contributes another source of Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik breeding, which is already present through*Fadl and *Maaroufa. Current research suggests that the dam of Sirecho, *Exochorda, was bred by Prince Kemal el Dine. I find it especially fascinating that in one horse, we have a combination of the breeding programs of two Princes, from a time period which was like a renaissance in Egyptian Arabian Horse history. Other than the Brown Arabian Horses, I can not think of a horse who was better suited for the Babson program than Sirecho. However, like the Arabians from other bloodline programs, the progeny of these horses did not remain in the program, much to my regret, as many of these horses added a little something that could not be found in straight Babson horses. In the twilight years of the farm, newer Egyptian blood was tried again, for example, a son of *Asadd, the lion of Egypt, by the name of Sahadi Shikari (out of the mare *Kameela, who traces to the Kuhaylah Rodaniyah mare, Bint Bint Riyala through Malaka in both tail female lines) was used. But again, in order for a horse to be considered straight Babson Egyptian, the horse must trace in all lines of its pedigree to only the 6 Egyptian horses imported in 1932 and not the newer Egyptian bloodlines. The horse is straight Egyptian but not straight Babson.
All of the above horses were added to the Babson breeding program and then, were dispersed, as Henry Babson kept returning to the bloodlines of the Egyptian horses he imported in 1932. There was no incentive at the time to do this. There was no straight Egyptian breeding concept, there was no Al Khamsa, there was no Pyramid Society. What was it about the horses he imported from Egypt in 1932, that captivated him, to the exclusion of everything else from his program? It's a question that I have always wanted to ask him, if he were still alive. I believe Henry Babson was "a true pioneer", as he really was a straight Egyptian breeder, at a period of time when this philosophy did not exist.
Preferences are just that, some people are going to like the straight Babson horses for what they are (and what they are not) and some people are going to like a diluted Babson horse. For example, 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. Like the diversity we find in all Arabian Horses, so too, you will find this diversity (in a more concentrated form) in the Babsons. Since the numbers are smaller for this breeding group, a problem seen in a few horses will give the illusion that the whole group is affected, when it is only a smaller percentage of the already small number of the Babson group. I can't think of a better-tempered horse. At Princeton Arabians, you could go out in the field and walk around in a group of 20 or more mares and not fear for your life (just fear being licked, smelled and sniffed to death). Babsons, on the whole have PHENOMENAL minds. They are sane horses, focused, willing, devoted horses. When you work with horses, one-on-one, this is crucially important and very much appreciated. If you ever come across a bad-tempered Babson horse, then look closely at the owner or the owner's trainer, as these horses are not naturally this way. If you have an angular looking horse, then try Babson breeding, to bring the "curves" back into your program. No doubt about it, Babson horses are three-circle horses (a term that Carl Raswan used frequently). Fadl Dan, a chestnut Babson Kuhaylan Jellabi was the epitome of this type. He had very rounded lines, muscular, wider chested, well-crested neck, larger jowls, with larger, softer eyes (as I remember him). No horse is perfect and I will agree that a thicker throatlatch is a common "flaw" in straight Babson breeding, as well as a shortened neck. Some people don't like this type of stockier, more compact horse; preferring the stretchier show ring horse. The late Mah Deluque, a Dahman Shawan stallion, was more like a willowy horse, very unlike the type of horse, most people would associate with Babson breeding. And while people complain of the smaller stature, there are Babson Horses who are tall and I remember a gelding, Mahrou, who stands close to 15.3 hands. So, not all the Babsons are small. I will agree that sometimes, the presence of a "club foot" does appear but I see these things happening in Arabian Horses of other lines too, so is it fair to restrict these "flaws" only to Babson breeding? However, let me remind everyone reading, that despite some of the "flaws" that may crop up in heavily bred Babson horses, the fact that this bloodline, over 70 some odd years is still vigorous and can still produce some outstanding horses, is nothing short of miraculous. For this very fact, we need to celebrate the Babson Horse, in spite of the "imperfections".
I am not sure where or how the athletic/unathletic comment regarding Babson Horses originated. For a teeny-tiny group of horses, the accomplishments under saddle are significant. In my late teen-early adult years, I enjoyed lessons from Hector Carmona and Gail Hoff-Carmona. I loved spending time at Princeton Arabians and Los Alamos Dressage Center and found every opportunity to do so. Thanks to Gail Hoff-Carmona, I learned about the Babson horses in ways that are not possible from a book, magazine or video. I learned about the positives and I also learned of all the shortcomings. All of these horses were used on the farm and even the broodmares were tested in basic dressage training. They were school-horses; they participated in clinics, in schooling shows, in class "A" shows, in USDF sanctioned shows. I had the opportunity to see Serr Maariner on a very regular basis. His body build, post-dressage, was dramatically different than his body build before starting dressage training. Despite the "textbook" depictions of "perfect" conformation, Serr Maariner lived a long life and was a very athletic, a very willing, and focused dressage horse. Serr Maariner was also a good sire and I believe that his son, Pri Serr Sudan, out of the mare Pri Sufa Kuhaylah (an Ansata Ibn Sudan daughter) was better than he.
Some of the most beautiful horses in the world are a combination of the Babson bloodlines, mixed with the bloodlines of the more recently imported Egyptian Arabian Horses like *Morafic or *Ansata Ibn Halima. I saw them at Bentwood Farm (who incidentally had one of the largest Babson collections, outside of the Babson farm). For example, Serr Maariner’s dam, Maarena was bred to *Ibn Moniet El Nefous three times to produce the very exquisite, grey, AK Monareena who sold in the Bluebonnet Sale for $385,000, AK El Maalouf, a gray stallion that went to Deep Meadow Farm in Virginia, and the chestnut, very Babson-like AK El Zahra Moniet, owned by Alyce Burgess of Akid Arabian Stud. Would any of these superior-crossed horses exist if someone, somewhere, did not have the foresight to preserve the straight Babson horse?
With the heavy Mansour lines of our heavily bred Nazeer horses, the rich repository of Ibn Rabdan blood that is present in Babson breeding, offers today's breeder the opportunity to employ the "magic formula" used in Van Szandtner's day. Think of the opportunities to concentrate Ibn Rabdan, when combining a heavy *Bint Bint Sabbah horse with the blood of say, Salaa El Dine (both Bukra and Farida [El Dahma] through Ansata Halim Shah and Layla through Hanan). The lines of Moniet El Nefous combine well with the lines present in *Bint Serra and *Bint Saada, since these mares all trace to the same Saklawiyah source of Ghazieh, so don't be so quick to dismiss the Babson blood, as they offer a rich, concentrated source of the same blood present in newer Egyptian breeding, albeit different branches.
For more information regarding Babson Horses, please check out the new book: THE BABSON INFLUENCE: A RETROSPECTIVE, soon to be published by The Institute for the Desert Arabian Horse (link to the site can be found to the right).
Enjoy your horses,
Ralph
The mare pictured in harness, in the opening photo is the lovely Roufah, an Ibn Fa Serr daughter out of Bah Roufa.