13 October, 2009

DIVERSITY

"People may be said to resemble not the bricks of which a house is built, but the pieces of a picture puzzle, each differing in shape, but matching the rest, and thus bringing out the picture."-Felix Adler
I experience difficulty many times, trying to identify which line or which horse is my absolute favorite, because each individual is unique, with his own attributes. My personal list of favorites is ever evolving. Ask me about my top ten favorite horses one day, and on the following day, the list will be different. In a breeding community as small as the Egyptian Arabian (approximately 5% of the total Arabian Horse population), one would not expect a wide diversity of phenotype. Even within a particular family, where a more uniform or standard look is expected, the diversity of phenotype exists. One of the most powerful examples of diversity in phenotype was documented by Judith Forbis, in her book, Authentic Arabian Bloodstock. It is a fantastic lesson for all of us. Judi presents three Kuhaylan Jellabi strain stallions, closely related through the straight Babson Egyptian mare, Fada, who is present in the tail female line of all three stallions: the straight Babson Egyptian Fadl Dan, the Babson-Moniet el Nefous cross Prince Fa Moniet, and in the blend of Farida/Moniet el Nefous/Babson which is Mohummed Sadden. Of the three stallions, Fadl Dan is the only horse who physically embodies the characteristics that we accept as being from the Kuhaylan Jellabi strain. His silhouette was comprised of rounded lines, more substantial in body, muscular, wider chested, powerful shoulders, well-muscled forearms, a shorter, thicker, crestier neck and larger, rounder jowls. It is interesting that of all three horses, the source of Kuhaylan Jellabi is closer in his pedigree, than the other two horses, as *Fadl sired his father, his maternal grandfather and grandmother. I am not surprised by Fadl Dan's phenotype, as he is concentrated in the blood of the horses who sire this type of horse more consistently.

Prince Fa Moniet, who is the complete opposite of Fadl Dan's phenotype, appears more like a Saqlawi Arabian than he does a Kuhaylan. While Fadl Dan was a stockier built horse; Prince Fa Moniet was a bit more "stretchy" in his conformation. Not as close-coupled as Fadl Dan, Prince Fa Moniet had a longer back, a longer, slender neck, with a roomier throatlatch which came out of a very defined wither. Prince Fa Moniet's legs were longer and he was built more like a sleek racing greyhound; with a deeper heart girth. I remember watching the way he moved and was stunned over his agility in the round pen. Not as powerfully built as Fadl Dan but still a muscled horse; Prince Fa Moniet's muscling was accentuated by the fine skin, as if he were chiseled out of the finest white marble. He was an elegant horse. While Fadl Dan was a son of Fada; Prince Fa Moniet is a maternal grandson. Physically, the influence of the Moniet el Nefous family had more of an impact on the phenotype of Prince Fa Moniet, than the Babson side had, through Fada.

Unfortunately, I never saw Mohummed Sadden while he was alive but I remember the many advertisements in Arabian Horse World. Mohummed Sadden, of the three horses, is less of an extreme example in phenotype, as Fadl Dan and Prince Fa Moniet were. He is a combination of the physical attributes found in the other two horses. Mohummed Sadden reflected the look that we have learned to identify as "Dahman". He is an interestingly-bred horse, as he was sired by the pure-in-the-strain Dahman, El Hilal, who was a son of *Ansata Ibn Halima, out of the Farida tail female mare, Bint Nefisaa, imported from Egypt by Gleannloch Farms. His dam, Akid Fa Mona, is a full sister to Prince Fa Moniet, which brings in the Moniet el Nefous blood, as well as the Babson. This may be the reason why he is closer to Prince Fa Moniet in his physique, than he is to Fadl Dan. Both horses have the Babson and Moniet el Nefous blood in common, however, the Farida blood changes everything in Mohummed Sadden.

In my opinion, some of the most exquisite and most extraordinary Egyptian Arabian Horses have been a blend of Babson bloodlines with Halima and Moniet El Nefous. In horses like Fadl Dan, we see the strength and beauty of the Babson lines, in their purest form. When blended with the influence of Moniet el Nefous and Farida, we see some of the attributes that breeders object to, disappear, while still retaining the qualities for which Babson breeding is highly regarded. Prince Fa Moniet launched a new era of Ansata breeding, revolutionizing the breeding program and making it possible for horses like Ansata Hejazi, Ansata Sinan and Ansata Nile Echo to exist, to prosper and to further spread the influence of Prince Fa Moniet in this world. It is amazing, when one thinks of a little mare like Fada and the tremendous influence she would have upon the world of Egyptian breeding with horses that did not resemble her physically but were connected to her by blood and genes. When Fada was produced at the Babson Farm, were her breeders even aware of how she would impact the future? Fada and her descendants can be a parallel example for our very human lives, proving to us that underneath it all, we are more similar than we are different, having life and our human-ness as our common bond and connection.

“…the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls, and interesting people.”– Henry Miller


EnJoy your horses,
Ralph

PS -This entry is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Mohummed Sadden, who died in September at the age of 25. Condolences to the Starrs of Winddrinker Arabians and to all who loved him.

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