06 March, 2011

Sweeter than Chocolate

"On the evening of Queensday, April 30, 1998, Te Era gave birth to the most handsome, small, compact, friendly and most amiable dark bay colt. He was so beautifully solid in colour, I was attracted to him from the very first second. I was taken by surprise and the colt and I had chemistry from the start. I often called him my pure chocolat."-Peter Van Ingen
This is like a "once upon a time" story, involving many different people, three countries and several horses.  It is also the story of the enduring power of an influential EAO mare family and how one man in particular, persevered in his dreams to be forever connected with this family of horses.

When I saw Ibbie's photo, there was just something about him, a charisma which oozed out of every pixel and enchanted me. He looks like an old-time horse, reminiscent of the many Egyptian horses I remember from my youth. "Who is he?" I wondered. I immediately noticed his giant-sized nostrils. He has one of the largest sized nostrils that I have seen in a long time. They are beautiful, with an exquisite shape, flaring upwards delicately, not meaty or thick. His head has a beautiful shape, short, wide and broad,with much distance between the eyes. He is so pleasing in his appearance. His spirit, radiates much warmth and kindness and creates a desire to want to know him better.

A few weeks ago, I was listening to western music on a public radio station and fell in love with a song I had never heard before. The song was written by a real, live cowboy named Dave Stamey. Although the song was written about a woman's secret desire to own a buckskin-colored horse,  a particular line in the song caught my attention. The more I thought about it, the more profound the lyrics became.
"With a yearning burnt deep inside her soul."
What does it mean to desire something so fiercely, that it becomes part of your very essence? A desire so strong, it dominates every moment, filling your days and nights, as it slowly makes it way to the very core, the center of your being. It goes far deeper than your heart and stronger than any love you may ever know. This yearning defines who we are and drives us onwards, in the hope of one day, satisfying it. For many of us, including Peter, this is how we feel about horses and specifically, the Egyptian Arabian Horse. It is a powerful attraction. Peter Van Ingen has been involved with Egyptian horses since he was fifteen years old. I don't know exactly when *Andeera first got on Peter's radar but he just loved this particular mare, understood her great value and held her family in high esteem.  I am sure that in these early moments of Peter's life, he never dreamed that one day, he would become connected to this mare he loved so much. So, who is Andeera anyway? The EAO mare, *Andeera, was a daughter of Manaya, a Moniet el Nefous daughter, sired by the Nazeer son, Waseem.
"Moniet el Nefous is the foundation of the present breeding program at the EAO. Four of her daughters (Mabrouka, Mouna, Lubna by Sid Abouhom and Manaya by Alaa el Din) admirably carried on her line in Egypt, producing 28 foals in their lifetimes. However, only Mona and Manaya produced daughters which have been successful broodmares for the EAO."-Dr. Ibrahim Zaghloul, Influential Mares at the EAO, published in the May 1986 issue of Arabian Horse World 
In 1975, after Manaya had foaled a daughter by Ameer, Dr. Mohamed Marsafi had agreed to sell Andeera to Louise Van der Vorm of the Netherlands. The new filly, named Bint Manaya, would eventually become part of the EAO breeding program and the replacement for her dam and Andeera would not be needed for the program. The Van der Vorms were in the right place, at the right time, for a mare like Andeera is normally not the kind of horse a breeders is very willing to part with. Tragically, Bint Manaya died and the EAO was left suddenly without a replacement for Manaya. It is significant to say that if Dr. Marsafi had the slightest inclination that Bint Manaya might die, he would have never agreed to sell Andeera. She was too precious, as a member of Egypt's premier mare family.

In the meantime, back in Holland, Peter was seizing every opportunity to learn about Andeera. Peter became acquainted with the Andeera daughters sired by Mowaffac, an EAO stallion and in particular with Adora, her oldest daughter by Mowaffac. Adora became Peter's favorite mare and for him, became not only the standard by which he would measure other horses, Adora underscored for Peter, the tremendous value of the Moniet el Nefous family, as seen through Andeera.
"Adora was a most handsomely mare, very small but all Arab and all horse. She resembled Andeera in type. She was feminine, but also strong. She was elegant but she also has something masculine in her aura. That, I think she inherited from her sire Mowaffac."
At some point in the eighties, the Van der Vorm family moved to the United States, taking their horses with them, which they boarded with Paul Hassel in Florida. Louise wanted to breed her mares to Paul's famous bloody-shouldered stallion, Al Nahr Montego. As Al Nahr Montego was a son of the Babson mare, Bint Fada, Louise wanted to incorporate the blood of *Maaroufa into her breeding program. Unfortunately, Paul had recently sold Al Nahr Montego to Israel and Louise decided to breed her mares, including *Andeera to Tego's son, PH Ibn Tego (who was also out of the mare Noufina, a daughter of the *Ibn Moniet el Nefous son, Fa Noufas). It is important to point out the high percentage of Moniet el Nefous blood in this cross. Eventually, the Van der Vorm family returned to the Netherlands, talking all of their horses with them except for one, Te Era, who was given to the Hassel's in exchange for board and was renamed PH Te Era.
The Hassels sold Te Era to Don Plumb of Mitmar Arabians. At the time, Don owned the chestnut stallion, Egypts Al Metrabbi, an Al Metrabbi son out of the celebrated Babson mare, Rose of Egypt. Don is a long time friend of Al and Judi Parks. During this period, the Parks had leased the Bukra son, GAF Wesam, from Barbara Johanson and persuaded Don to breed Te Era to him. She foaled a filly named Dashta by Wesam and shortly thereafter, Te Era was sold again, and she and her filly went to their new home in Miami, Florida. Eventually, Dashta was sold to Carlos Montt in Chili, for whom she would produce fillies by sons of *Kanas, Imperial Al Kamar and PVA Karim. Te Era made her way back to Al and Judi, to be bred to the EAO stallion, *Ibn Farha, who was on lease from Donna Blackmon. Te Era gave Al and Judi a beautiful present in the form of a lovely filly, whom they named Tohfa. When Bernard Van de Putte of Belgium learned of this filly, he wanted her. Bernard had just purchased the EAO stallion, *Ibn Barrada from Pascal Lavreau. Judi loved this stallion and decided to sell Tohfa to Bernard with the agreement that she would get the second foal Tohfa produced, by *Ibn Barrada. This second foal is the lovely gray stallion, *Ben Ben Barrada, who is about to start an endurance career with his new owner, Ken Keele. When Judi and Al acquired the Anter son, *Serag from Nagib Audi, Peter told them that Te Era would give them one of the best Serag foals they would ever have. Al and Judi listened to Peter and that's how a filly named Taherah was born.  Judi was ecstatic with her, as she was everything that Peter had said she would be. Taherah was retained by Judi and Al, with a bright future as one of Judi's premier broodmares.
"She was one of my best *Serag daughters, truly beautiful."
In 1995, Judi was blessed with one of her larger foal crops, approximately 17 foals. With two beautiful female replacements produced for Te Era, Judi made the decision to offer the mare to Peter.
"Judi and Al called me saying they wanted me to have Te Era and offered her for sale to me. I was speechless, clearly had no answer and my first reaction was `thank you but I cannot accept your offer ` and hang up. Five minutes later Judi called again with Al on the speaker saying they REALLY wanted me to have Te Era and made me an offer I could not refuse. I was taken by surprise because I knew how important Te Era was."
In May 1996, Te Era arrived in Holland, to be welcomed by the man who had spent his lifetime, studying and secretly dreaming about owning a horse from this family. Never would he have thought that his dreams would be answered with a half-sister of Adora, who could possibley, give him his own private Adora to love.
I was incredibly happy with her arrival as she was such a calm and easy mare. She was also very handsome and she was a true eye catcher.
Peter was fond of a black Egyptian stallion by the name of Arabah Abbah. He is sired by the *Tuhotmos son, Kasr el Nile and out of the mare Samohga, who traces to the Sameh daughter, Salha. The tail female line goes to Bint Radia, the dam of Hamdan and Shaloul, who also appear multiple times in the pedigree, magnifying the presence of Bint Radia. I found the the three lines to Yosreia interesting, as Kasr el Nile is out of Bint el Nil, an Anter daughter out of the Yosreia daughter, Shahrzada by Nazeer; while Ibn Galal is sired by Galal, a Yosreia grandson out of Mohga, a Yosreia daughter by El Sareei.  We know how well the blood of Anter nicks with Yosreia and there is one line to Anter. Considering the three lines to Moniet el Nefous in Te Era's pedigree, the blood of this particular stallion, Arabah Abbah, is complementary to Te Era. So, that summer, he bred Te Era to him and she was checked in foal. However, it was to be short lived, as Te Era reabsorbed. The following spring, Te Era was bred again to Abbah, to carry Peter's chocolate colt, whom he affectionately calls "Ibbie".  
Ibbie was the most easiest foal I had so far. He was very independent, but easy. Te Era did not like that, her foal being so curious, but hence, that was Ibbie. At 3 months old we started to slowly walk together,doing small tours on the road, mom being upset seeing her foal leave, but Ib didn´t care at all, just enjoyed his new adventures.
At this point, Te Era was 15 years old and Peter longed to breed a daughter from her, that would replace her bloodlines in his program. Peter bred her to Arabah Abbah once again, in the hope that she would produce a filly.
However, Te Era foaled a gray colt in 2000, whom Peter named Rashad Lateef. In 2003, he sold Lateef, who has matured into a competitive endurance horse, earning a 5th place in the Dutch Nationals last year.
"Lateef, is now part of the Dutch National Endurance Team - B selection. He ran twice the 120 miles last season with a new national speed record. This upcoming season he will run his first 160km. If he makes that.... he is part of the A-team immediately, which means he is selected for the European, world championships and....the Olympics in London!!!!!!"
Lateef is Ibbie's full brother. It is interesting to note that prior to her life in Holland, Te Era produced fillies. And this is the frustrating part of being a breeder, especially when nature does not cooperate with the right amount of X and Y chromosomes. We all want fillies but what happens when we only get colts? I admire Peter and for what he has accomplished. Lateef will further the influence of *Andeera farther, in a completely different manner, and provide a powerful example of the reason behind preservation of these bloodlines in providing the world with functional performance horses, designed to be enjoyed, even at the highest levels of sport.
But what about Ibbie? At thirteen years old, Rashad Ibn Te Era remains a stallion and Peter hopes to breed some foals by him.
There is only one desire I have. I would love for him to have 2 or 3 foals in the future. He still covers the old, somewhat unfamiliar blood and has no genetic defects.He is only 13 years old so there is enough time to think of.  Ib clearly stands the Babson/Tuhotmos blood but also resembles his mom Te Era. But his character is golden and that is irreplaceable.


Te Era's life is like a series of random acts of kindness, made by the people who surrounded her. It is a powerful story of transformation, of the possibilities that can turn negative situations into positive opportunities. Our story would be dramatically different, had Dr. Marsafi not initiated this chain of generosity, which many years later resulted in a stallion like Ibbie. His dam, Te Era,  is now 27 years old and continues to enrich the life of Peter with her charm and her beauty. In old age, these mares become so exquisite, as their heads reach a level of "dryness" not seen in their youth. I know that Peter is forever grateful to Al and Judi Parks, for helping him to realize his secret dream and also for the opportunity to use Andeera's influence, to breed his own version of sweet chocolate...like Willy Wonka.
"So shines a good deed in a weary world."-David Seltzer, for the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
EnJoy,
Ralph

1 comment:

Marsha Hubler said...

What a beautiful site and beautiful story about your love for horses.
I, too, have horse blood in my veins. I can no longer ride because of a bad back, but I write horse books for girls.
I love your site.
Please visit my blog and website. You'll see all kinds of neat horse stuff at both.
Marsha Hubler, author

www.marshahubler.com
www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com