"Bentwood Farms has sought to consistently breed Arabians with correctness, athletic ability and the classic elegance which excites the mind and never deceives the eye for beauty."-Bentwood Farm: A Breeding Philosophy, from the 1982 advertisement in Arabian Horse WorldFor me, the mere mention of the word "Bentwood" is the equivalent of saying "Disneyland" or "Hollywood".
So many wonderful horses....
I don't know if people new to Arabian Horses, in these post-Bentwood years, will understand what Bentwood meant and for me and many other people, still means. At the time, Bentwood Farms had the largest and most diverse collection of Egyptian Arabian Horses, assembled in one location, not only in the United States but in the world. Bentwood Farm was a very HUGE place, so big, you had to drive a car, to get from one part of it to another. Almost 20 years later and Bentwood's acreage still shocks me, as much as it did back then. The resources that made managing a farm like Bentwood possible, also made it possible for horses to be bred in unique combination of bloodlines. For a small breeder, with limited resources, it was not financially possible to do such things, in order to discover nicks or duds. Bentwood was able to arrive faster in a multi-generational program, without the aid of AI or embryo transfer and in the process give the entire community a bit of diversity, through these combinations. What this farm was able to accomplish, with treasured Egyptian Arabians, remains significant. I am forever grateful to the dream that made Bentwood possible. Bentwood made it possible to have horses with Sirecho, Babson and Halima lines blended with Moniet el Nefous, Anter combined with Babson lines, *Ibn Hafiza bred with Babson lines; just to point out a few of the crosses that the farm tried. If it were not for Bentwood breeding, many of the influential farms of today, would not have the horses that have made their programs noteworthy. For example, Ariela Arabians in Moshav Bnei Zion, Israel, purchased the mare, AK Latifa (*Ibn Moniet el Nefous x Siralima) a Bentwood mare, foaled in 1977. AK Latifa produced four foals for Ariela, the most famous of which is the stallion Laheeb by Imperial Imdal. Laheeb is one of the most influential sires, world-wide in the entire breed community. In 1998, Laheeb traveled to Poland, to become the chief sire for the Janow Podlaski and Michalow state studs. Because of Laheeb, we enjoy in the show ring, Polish-influenced Arabian horses like Poganin and Emira. Laheeb was so successful in Poland, that he returned 10 years later. In Israel, Laheeb produced a World Champion, the handsome and popular straight Egyptian stallion, Al Lahab, now owned by the Friedmann family in Germany. Like Laheeb, Al Lahab traveled to America and stood at stud at the world famous Om El Arab International in California. Al Lahab is spreading Laheeb's influence even farther. This is one example...ONE...AK Latifa is just one of many Bentwood horses, to illustrate the powerful influence that Bentwood breeding still has upon the Arabian Horse community, to this day. It is rare to look at the pedigree of an Egyptian arabian Horse and not find a Bentwood horse, somewhere in the pedigree.
Bentwood indeed was a magical place, filled with the horses that I had read about and saw pictured in all the books dedicated to Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding and also in the leading magazines dedicated to the community. In the early 1980's, after the death of *Ibn Moniet el Nefous, some of the stallions standing at Bentwood Farm were The Egyptian Prince, Ansata Abbas Pasha, Ansata el Sherif, *Refky, Fadl Dan, Ansata El Arabi, *Nagid and *Ibn Alaa el Din. The mare collection was impressive. Outside of the EAO, there was no other place in the world with a herd this large. As a matter of fact, there was no place in the world, even at the EAO, that had a collection as complete as Bentwood's mare herd, with the Babson lines. For straight Babson Egyptian fans, Bentwood Farm owned the largest collection of Babson Egyptian mares, outside of the Babson Farm in Illinois. This was the home of Maarena, Bint Fada, Henrietta, Fa Dena, Aarouser, Roufah, Maar Kamalla, Sabrah, Serrasab, to name a few of the names. Bentwood presented the mares in a format similar to the Egyptian Reference Handbooks, cataloguing the mares by strain. While Bentwood had mares from every one of the major strains (Hadban, Kuhaylan Rodan, Kuhaylan Jellabi, Dahman Shahwan, Saqlawi and Abayyan), the wealth of the collection was found in 2 strains: the Saqlawiyah and the Dahmah.
I had the opportunity, a few years ago to purchase a copy of an early 1980 edition of a popular Arabian Horse magazine. In 1982, when this list was published in the magazine, I was overwhelmed. I could not comprehend what it would be like to have all of these mares assembled in one place. When I visited Bentwood 6 years later, this feeling did not vanish, it was MAGNIFIED. Seeing all the names on paper was overwhelming...seeing many of these mares, with my eyes and touching their coat split me in two. While Bentwood was blessed to have many of the top Egyptian stallions on the farm, the bigger blessing, the treasure, the prized jewels of Bentwood, were the mares that Bentwood owned and leased.
THE BENTWOOD MARE CATALOG
"The enduring quality of any breeding program rests with the female lines which were its foundation. Stallions receive more notoriety, but in fact, the finest and most prepotent stallions are never from anything but the finest mares. At Bentwood Farms, we have placed particular emphasis on mare lines and their strains. With any pedigreed bloodstock, the female line most often contributes more to the genetic makeup of the individual. The tail female line in the pedigree is of particure importance in breeding decisions. We have engaged in the most tedious research and have spared no effort or expense to bring together the finest and most prepotent group of foundation mares possible. Bentwood Farms has been noted for the quality of their mares, evidenced by 13 National Top Ten awards, two Reserve National Championships and one National Championship awarded in mare halter classes in North America. Bentwood mares have won three Reserve International Championships in England and in Europe in the past several years. More importantly, these mares are producing foals which are elegant, refined and prepotent themselves..."-from the 1982 Bentwood Farms brochureHADBAN STRAIN
In the late summer of 1988, I had an opportunity to visit Bentwood Farms. My memories of the grandeur of Bentwood had been formed many, many years before. Little did I know or even understand, that the sun had started to set for this most amazing place. I hardly slept the night before I was to visit the farm, thinking about the horses that I would finally get to meet. I set out early and I was so impatient, as the drive from Dallas seemed to never end. When I pulled up in front of the stallion barn, there was a beautiful, gleaming, silvery-white horse, turned out in a metal pipe corral, in front of the stallion barn. He was a little "hint", a preview if you will, the "opening act", for all of the beauty which I was soon to encounter. Later, I would learn that this horse was Prince Fa Moniet. Yes, the Prince Fa, who would eventually go to Ansata. I look back to this one day, a brilliant day, a beacon, still shiny and bright in the "fog of the past", directing me to this day in the future, to write of this farm and somehow, help to perpetuate these treasures of the past. I wonder if I fully realized how significant, how precious, how priceless this day really was and how I would look back, still, in wonder and amazement. I am grateful for the experience to have visited this farm and for the generosity of the people at Bentwood, to show me all the horses.
"As with all desert creatures, authentic Arabian horses possess an elegance and refinement which is unique." -Bentwood Farm: A Breeding Philosophy, from the 1982 advertisement in Arabian Horse WorldEnjoy your horses,