23 March, 2010

Preserving Fabo: Revised and Revisited

Pictured at left, is a once-upon-a-time, really enchanting horse named Fabo (Fabah x Misimma).

There are NO straight Babson Egyptian horses alive anymore, with a tail female line to *Bint Serra. They are gone...really gone, as in FOREVER gone.

Fabo and AK Bint Serra were the last straight Babson Egyptian horses with the tail female line to Bint Serra. Going forward, the only way to incorporate the influence of *Bint Serra, in straight Babson Egyptian form, is through the sire line. What makes Fabo unique is his dam, Misimma (Fa Serr x Fay Khedena), who was pure-in-the-strain Saqlawi, as Fa-Serr was a *Bint Serra son and Fay Khedena was a great-grandaughter of *Bint Serra. Misimma was the real reason that Walter purchased Fabo for his breeding program, in the spring of 1977. Fabo was already an aged horse. A few years ago, I purchased a senior horse care book, which was written by Dr. Karen E.N. Hayes and published by the same company who produces Arabian Horse World, Primedia. Imagine my surprise, when I saw a picture of Fabo in the book and learned of the feeding challenge that Fabo presented to Walter, in his old age. He didn't have any teeth, so he was not able to chew anymore and he didn't like anything soupy and mashy. By accident, Walter learned that he loved to eat Wonder bread. So, that's what Fabo ate.

Fabo was bred by Mr. Bruce C. Huss and prior to this purchase, Fabo lived the life of a treasured family pet. Fabo's lifetime foal count was 81, breeding mares from 1966, right until the very end, in 1992. Fabo died on November 15th. Some people have said that Fabo was about 16 hands (163 cm), when he was all snort and blow but I seem to remember that he was not very tall. He sure had a lot of charisma.

"Well, I start to feel like Superman
Then I pick a fight
Only to find that my opponent's
Holding kryptonite
You'd think I'd learn my lesson
But, I'm still paying dues
Each time I drink and start to think
I'm ten feet tall and bulletproof."-Travis Tritt, from his song, Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof
Walter Schimanski was a phenomenal Dahman strain breeder, maybe only eclipsed in his greatness, by Judi Forbis of Ansata Arabian Stud. His breeding program produced some of the most beautiful (and sweetest) Dahmah mares that I have ever personally known. I mourn the loss of Walter Schimanski and find myself wishing that he had more time, to accomplish all of his goals. Fabo, although a Saqlawi horse by strain AND by phentoype, had a very strategic role in the breeding program.

"incorporating the Saqlawi type brings length back to neck and leg, which can be lost with intense use of Dahman and Kuhaylan strain types. It also yields finer bone structure and produces flatter and less prominent muscling. Too much Saqlawi can produce a long back and ears. Dahman type brings back an overall balance and harmony, including more dished heads and larger eyes, and shorter backs, but also has the tendency to produce shorter necks and legs, heavier muscling, and more bone."-Walter Schimanski
I visited the Cerebellar Abiotrophy testing website, which lists the status of the horses as they are tested, for the presence of the genetic markers that produce the disease. Thanks to this new test, Arabian Horse breeders can use the disclosure of this information to guide them in breeding healthy foals. My friend, Laurence Perceval Hermet of France, said the following,

"This test is to be taken as is: another breeding tool! Get the knowledge to not breed carriers to carriers. But may I remind a carrier is not a SICK horse...he just wears the wrong gene/jean...! So keep breeding these rare lines."
For those readers who may be visiting here for the first time and may not have read the 120 articles that I have written, I must admit to you that I love Babson horses. Of all the Egyptian bloodlines, Babson Horses are my favorites. Maybe, it is the influence that Gail Carmona had on my life, being exposed to her Babson horses at an early age. Everything I treasure, every quality I want in a horse, is found abundantly in these horses. No matter how you group Egyptian Arabian Horses and over the years, I have witnessed the cataloguing of horses by The Pyramid Society, Al Khamsa, the Asil Club, Sheykh Obeyd and Heirloom; Babson Horses always qualify by right of their bloodlines. They are precious. When I visited the CA web site, I did not expect to see any Babson Horses listed. When I found two Fabo-sired horses listed as carriers of this disease, I was stunned. And I was not sure what to do. Originally, my shock and my dismay over this discovery, paralyzed me. It took a few weeks to get to the point where I could even write how I felt. A horse like Fabo is crucially vital to our gene pool, as he is a source of Bint Serra blood, in the combination of horses that were imported to America in 1932 by Henry Babson, with no additional bloodlines added. By bloodline and by virtue of the impact that this horse can have on our breeding community, Fabo is extremely valuable, in order to preserve the influence of *Bint Serra for future breeders. As an individual and by his phenotype, Fabo is also valuable, as he offers the breeder great pigmentation, classic type and harmony of body, with the added bonus of abundant charisma. Fabo was a most charming horse. Most people, having seen him, were left in awe, never to forget him. His lasting impression was THAT HUGE.

So, when I saw Fabo's name on the list, I became distressed. What to do?

Over the years the number of *Bint Serra horses kept shrinking and shrinking and shrinking. The *Bint Serra horses that remained suddenly became vitally important, as the only connections we have available to her. Had the remaining horses been bred to produce at least one replacement in SBE form, where would we be today, in terms of the horses that we would be enjoying? A mare like *Bint Serra powerfully conveys the importance of preservation breeding and the permanence of the loss to an entire community. Here we are today, 2010, trying to grab any connection to *Bint Serra, so we don't lose the influence of this most precious mare completely and then, I clicked on the CA link and I saw Fabo's name on the list. How do you resolve this news about a special, a beautiful and most charismatic horse? How do you avoid the reality that CA affects all Arabian Horse bloodlines and the resulting sadness that a most favorite horse may be a carrier. How do you move forward, when you want to incorporate his influence into your tiny program, producing one foal every few years? Lisa Campiglio of Szed Arabians said,

"...there is no indication that FABO himself was a N/CA CARRIER. He has been cited 11 times on a list of 1470 horses, most of which are as a maternal sire. Posted is one N/CA daughter, Masada Fa Khedena, which is out of a known carrier mare; one N/CA son, Masada Sherif out of an untested/undisclosed mare and the rest are all as grandparents. Unless FABO appears as a sire of a tested horse out of a tested N/N Clear mare, it is impossible, unfair and unethical to put a label on him as a carrier."
While Lisa's statement is a bit more comforting and although I feel much better, than how I felt when I saw Fabo's name on the list, the most important fact remains, that the line of *Bint Serra is slowly dying out, unless we do something about it immediately. And yet, this is more than just about *Bint Serra, as how many other Egyptian lines face the same fate today as the line of *Bint Serra? We need to think of preservation more...it is really the best gift we can give to each other in our community.

Please, don't forget a special horse like Fabo and the precious *Bint Serra family of horses, from which he descends,


gpere45460 said...

Loved your thoughts Ralph! Yes there is first that bit of fear, confirming that there is CA in our Babson horses (and in the Arabian population). But it is followed by a sigh of relief - because we now have better information, there is no reason to breed a CA affected foal. Your friend Laurence Perceval is a very wise man!
Jacquie Peregoy

Carolyn Jacobson said...


As the co-owner of perhaps one of the most charming and talented SBE stallions today and a CA Carrier, Serr Kazmeen, I can tell you that we will not hesitate to breed him to CA N/N Clear mares! I too needed to "take a breath" when I received results that 3 of my SBEs were CA Carriers! But then I immediately posted the results on the CA Public Status List since I believe that ethically we breeders must disclose our breeding stock's status. I personally believe we will ultimately find the presence of CA in all Arabians. I spoke with Dr Peneda, the main CA researcher, at The Institute's Symposium on Genetic Disorders and she is intent upon providing us with the most up to date information. I am also quite happy that the SBE statistics of which I am aware-50 horses tested and 10 Carriers-is in accordance with the overall Arabian population of tested/disclosed horses.
Thank you Ralph for your support of our wonderful Babsons!

Hugh Fillmore said...

Hi Ralph,
Bint Serra I was "The Unobtainable Mare" when W.R. Brown was collecting the Best Horses that he could find. Luckily Henry Babson was able to obtain her a few years later. Her 13 Lines to Zobeyni makes her the highest % of Abbas Pasha Blood of all the Babsons.
Strong Ibn Fa-Serr lines are the best source of Bint Serra I blood
Ibn Fa Asar and Tariifah Bint Aurora both have 31% Bint Serra I
Blood - which is the Highest of any
breeding Babsons today.
See them at:

- - - Hugh