08 June, 2010

A Red Ballerina

Alaa El Din was a chestnut son of Nazeer, foaled in 1956, out of the Shaloul daughter, Kateefa. To develop a complete understanding of a foundation Egyptian Arabian Horse like Alaa el Din, will require that we pay careful attention to the words used by the people who knew the horse, when he was alive. The late Marshall Partlow visited the EAO and wrote about his visit, which included Alaa el Din, in the article titled "A Trip To El Zahraa":

"Then, the horse of my dreams. Could such a horse exist? His dark chestnut coat, gleaming in the sun, gave off a purple cast. Moving like a ballerina, his extreme long neck bowed, tail high and arched like a banner. He stopped, posed like the royally bred king he was. Majestic, proud and elegant he stood. This was the fantastic ALAA EL DIN. To see this stallion would have made my trip worthwhile even if I had not seen any other horses."
Ballerina, you might ask?

General Pettko Von Szandtner, a former cavalry officer, liked the young colt so much, that he had selected Alaa El Din as a future sire (he started his breeding career in 1961) for the EAO breeding program. In a letter to Richard Pritzlaff, the General explained:

"I had to put the two-and-a-half-year-old chestnut stud foal, candidate as a leading stallion, into the stallion barn and work him because he was too strong toward his comrades and often broke out of the paddock."
In Egypt, Alaa El Din was a successful race horse and a sire of race winners. Alaa el Din ran a total of 6 races, winning 1 race, placing 2nd in another, 3rd in only 1 race and placing 4th in the balance of races. The following picture was taken of Alaa El Din, the fit race-horse, at 7 years old. His sons *Farazdac (x Farasha) won 3 races out of 16 and Kased Kheir (x Sherifa) won 3 races out of 8. His daughter, Fayrooz (x Mouna) raced 5 times, winning 1 of those races. *Farazdac's full brother, *Faleh (a Legion of Merit winner, winning two National Championships in Native Costume and participating in a 100 mile endurance race), sired the extremely successful racehorse: Asjah Ibn Faleh (x*Dawlat), an IAHA Racing Colt of the Year(1977) and Race Horse of the Year (1980), in addition to wins in the show ring in English Pleasure, Native Costume and Halter. Asjah Ibn Faleh raced a total of 30 races, winning almost half of these, including the 1977 IAHA Derby. He, in turn also sired race horses, Asjahs Black Jewel and Asjahs Dominion, both out of the Ansata Halima Son daughter, Ansata Jumana. In Germany, the Alaa El Din sons: Sarwat and Sawlagan were talented, athletic horses, participating in demanding, athletic competitions at an age when most horses have been retired and no longer ridden. Alaa El Din was so successful in passing his athletic ability to his children, that the breeders in Poland expressed a very strong desire in purchasing him, for use in their breeding program.
Hansi Heck-Melnyk, of the world famous Serenity Farm in Citra, Florida remembers:

"I saw Alaa El Din in the flesh. Alaa El din was NOT narrow chested. He was a rectangular horse, well proportioned all over. He was also, what I call, a typical 'Kuhaylan'Ajuz Rodan.' I saw him walking towards me and away from me, led by his groom, and that quite correctly. I liked the horse. The horse then was aged already, and had gone, as all others,through rough times in the late sixties on forward.I have never given that much credit in production to him, but rather to the mares and their female tail lines, he bred to create his offspring."
Hans Joachim Nagel, founder of the legendary stud farm bearing the name of Katharinenhof, authored a landmark book titled Hanan: The Story of an Arabian Mare and of the Arabian Breed. Within this book, Dr. Nagel shares much with the reader, that is, the impact that Alaa El Din has had on his vision of the ideal Arabian Horse and the breeding program founded primarily with the Alaa El Din daughter, Hanan:

"Kateefa herself, when bred to Nazeer, produced a real gem: Alaa El Din. He was Dr. Ameen Zaher's favorite. This stallion, who could sire mares with the loveliest and gentlest of faces, was a highly elegant liver chestnut with no white markings except a stripe. His smal dry head with round, black medium sized eyes and small ears made him look typey and expressive. A finely curved neck of medium length, good withers, a slightly too long back and firm, broad croup combined to form a harmonious whole that stood on fine but correct legs."
Celebrated author, historian, researcher and founder of Ansata Arabian Stud, Judith Forbis, shares her impression of Alaa El Din in Authentic Arabian Bloodstock II:

"A tall horse at maturity, very elegant and refined, beautiful head but not large enough eyes, which he tended to transmit. Good length of neck and well shaped. He was well-balanced but tied in at the elbows, narrow in front, had rather small but good dark hooves."
In the 1980's, the Director of the EAO was Dr. Ibrahim Zaghloul. In an interview with Arabian Horse World, he was asked to name which mares, living or dead, had the strongest influence on the EAO breeding program? In his answer, Dr. Zaghloul named 5 mares, one of which was the Alaa El Din daughter, Safinaz (x Ramza):

"A chestnut mare foaled on February 1, 1970, has one of the prettiest heads you'll ever see along with all the other qualities that make you take a second look. She is extremely elegant with a chiseled, tapered face and a teacup muzzle. She is one of the noblest mares in the herd, with the dry, typey, look of the true Bedouin mare."
Dr. Zaghloul caught my attention when he named an Alaa El Din daughter influential, as influential as our perennial QUEEN OF EGYPT, Moniet el Nefous. I believe that Alaa El Din has been more significant as a sire through the female side of the pedigree. I have observed personally more of an impact through his daughters, rather than through his sons. This observation led me to pay attention to the female side of Alaa El Din's pedigree, namely, the mare Kateefa. One of the most powerful families in Egyptian breeding (as well as in Crabbet breeding, from where the family originates) has been the Kuhaylan Rodan family. Is the siring influence of Alaa El Din the continued influence of the Kuhaylan Rodan family, as brought forward through Kateefa? Would you agree? Kateefa was a daughter of Bint Rissala (Ibn Yashmak x Risala). Through her tail female line, Kateefa traces through Ridaa to Rose of Sharon, a Rodania daughter. In looking through Dr. Nagel's Hanan book (pages 224-225) he presents a very interesting photo study of not only Kateefa but her dam Bint Rissala and Risala (the dam of Bint Risala), as well as Ridaa (the dam of Risala) and Rose of Sharon (the dam of Ridaa). It is a fascinating study, photographically. Dr. Nagel also presents a very thoughtful observation and I would like to submit the following quotation for your consideration:

"The Rodania family was highly appreciated by Lady Anne Blunt and her daughter, Lady Wentworth. White markings and good necks frequently appears but also some heavy heads with straight profiles and high withers. In addition a long back and a short croup are a recurring feature. In spite of these characteristics this family developed to be of high breeding value in different ways; bred to the right sires, the Rodania family produced horses with both type and beauty, plus racing power and athletic ability."
Oliver Wibihal, Egyptian Arabian Horse enthusiast, publisher and founder of straightegyptians.com had the following perspective on Alaa El Din's influence:

It is true that Alaa El Din's daughters gained more influence than his sons. In Egypt, Germany and in the US, many of his daughters founded their own dynasty. The full sisters Mahiba and Moneera (Alaa El Din x Mouna/Mona by Nazeer) were very influential in Europe and horses like Maysoun, Sherif Pasha (the first SE World Champion) and Ibn El Moniet come from this line.
Dr. Nagel refers to the Alaa El Din daughters as "the most beautiful flowers" of Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding. Have you walked among this garden and smelled the flowers? Are you familiar with their bright colors? Do you know the daughters of Alaa El Din?

Set Abouhom (*Noha)
Aziza (Galila)
*Hoda (Fathia)
Madeeha (Rahma)
Hodhoda (Ithad)
Basima (Sherifa)
*Magidaa (Maysa)
Fayrooz (Mouna)
Rawayeh (Rahma)
Manar (Moniet El Nefous)
Manaya (Moniet El Nefous)
Mahiba (Mouna)
*Omnia (Ameena)
Lotfeia(Kamla)
Hanan (Mona)
Om El Arab (Tifla)
*Shiaa (*Berlanty)
Hanadi (Rahma)
Moneera (Mouna)
Nazeema (Bint Kamla)
Sabrah (El Ameera)
*Bint Alaa El Din (*Serenity Sabra)
*Ramses Amal (Manal)
Alifa (Zebeda)
*Daad (Enayat)
Mahlaha (Mouna)
Reem (Farfoura)
Safinaz (Ramza)
*Hegrah (Hagir)
AK Karama (Tanta)
Rabab (Horeja)
Hend (Maysoura)


While Alaa El Din remains a critically important horse in Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding, we must never forget the inspirational and encouraging power that these horses have on people's lives.

May the horse continue to inspire you.
Ralph