11 April, 2011

The Brilliance of Sanaa

It had been a gloomier morning than he would have liked, with a dampness that hung heavy in the air, making the temperature feel much cooler than it actually was. It was cloudy and up until a few minutes ago, misty. The pavement was wet, giving the asphalt a luster, almost as if it had been waxed and polished. He leaned against the stick of his broom, admiring the driveway, so...so..so black, smooth and clean. "I really believed the sun would be out by now. What did the weatherman say on television again? Something about it reaching eighty degrees today? I don't think it's gonna' happen," Jim thought out loud. He had not seen the sun in several days and feeling kind of low, he was thinking about the depression some people experience during the long and dark winter months. "I think that's what bothered Bonnie most of all. Gosh, I miss her. I would do anything to get her back." Jim's eyes filled with tears, as he thought of his beloved sister Bonnie. He could still picture her, sitting in her favorite beach chair, soaking up the sun. "Grab a glass of tea Jim and come sit here, next to me." she would say, her voice always on the verge of a hearty laugh. It would be two years next Wednesday, since she had died from pancreatic cancer. He depended on Bonnie, even if it was just knowing that she was only a phone call away. Now, she was gone and so was the joy in his life. He shook the sadness away from his mind, as if it had been a bothersome fly, buzzing around his head. He had a long list of things he needed to accomplish today. He could not afford to lose himself in such thoughts nor any of the enthusiasm he needed, to get the job done. He had not noticed that the day was becoming a bit brighter and warmer by the second. The sun finally poked its face from behind a puffy white cloud and bathed Jim's world in dazzling sunlight. Suddenly, the front yard was awash with light. The light bounced off of the asphalt driveway, reflecting onto the sidewalks, the lawn, the bushes and flowers. The sun was dancing with her partner, the light. The driveway became like a brilliant piece of obsidian. Jim was enchanted with the brilliant light. He gasped with delight. "Wow, I haven't seen anything so beautiful in a long time!" he exclaimed with surprise and wonder in his voice. 

Sanaa, whose Arabic name means "brilliance", was a pretty 1961 EAO mare, sired by the stallion, Sid Abouhom, who also sired Farasha, our Butterfly.
Sid Abouhom was an El Deree son, out of the beautiful mare, Layla, who was an Ibn Rabdan daughter. The cross of El Deree and Layla resulted in a larger-sized horse, who was very powerfully built. Longer neck, longer back, his immense front end, with his powerful shoulders and the most prominent withers that I have ever seen on an Arabian Horse. To me, Sid Abouhom's type reminds me of a Thoroughbred racehorse, possessing the body structure that made him successful on the racetrack. He was built for running. While Dr. Ameen Zaher was not fond of this horse and of his subsequent use in the breeding program; General von Pettko-Szandtner felt that Sid Abouhom would correct the overall conformational flaws that he observed in the EAO breeding program. General von Szandtner wanted to breed a more functional horse, closer to the cavalry horses that he managed at Babolna in Hungary.
Yashmak, the dam of Sanaa, was given a name derived from the Turkish word, yaşmak, which means to "cover up" or "hide" with a veil. A yashmak is a type of veil made from combining two pieces of muslin, one piece which goes across the face, just under the nose, while the other piece covers the head. Some yashmaks even incorporate horsehair at the temples, to further cover the face.

Yashmak, foaled in 1941 was sired by Sheikh el Arab and out of the Crabbet-bred mare, Bint Rissala, eventually tracing back, through four generations to the important desert-bred mare, Rodania.  In Judi Forbis' landmark book, The Classic Arabian Horse, she tells us that,
"Yashmak was a big, tall, graceful bay mare with a long supple neck, longish head, well-shaped with huge black eyes, and much improved in type over her dam."
Notice the adjectives that Judi uses in her description of Yashmak: big, tall, long and huge. She must have been a very solid, big-bodied mare because Judi also tell us that the Saudi Princes, when visiting El Zahraa were struck by her size, as compared to the other mares, who were noticeably smaller in stature. Within the context of who she was and the powerful mare family that she belonged to, I can understand the meaning of her name better. It is an appropriate name. I can't emphasize enough how powerful this family is, their inherent prepotency for producing their own phenotype with great consistency, almost as if they are "hiding" or "covering"  any influence another horse can make in the pedigree. A high percentage of United States National Champions can be traced through the tail female line, to Rodania. It is a line which has produced champions, whether in an arena or in the breeding shed. Yashmak, as a member of the Rodania family, was an incredible broodmare, having produced by Shahloul, the mare Om el Saad, whose daughter, Bint Om el Saad would become the dam of the much loved 1971 United States National Champion Mare, *Serenity Sonbolah. Yashmak also produced by Mashhour, the mare Rahma, the dam of Rawayeh, who when bred to the EAO stallion, Aseel, produced the exciting and very promising stallion, El Mareekh. Yashmak was also the dam of *Rashad Ibn Nazeer, by Nazeer, who became an important stallion for Richard Pritzlaff. She also produced by El Sareei, an ultra-refined bay beauty named Rashida, who produced by *Morafic an influential daughter named Nazic, particularly through her Gassir daughter, Nazeefa and her *Tuhotmos daughter, Nana.

In Lady Wentworth's monumental study, The Authentic Arabian Horse, I recall a passage made by her mother, Lady Ann Blunt, suggesting that the proper breeding of the Rodania-line horses were to be made with an ultra-refined Saqlawi stallion. In Sanaa's time period, I can't think of  a more elegant or refined stallion than *Morafic. Sara Loken, who lived in Egypt in the 1960's and was responsible for saving the life of the stallion, Hamdan and importing the Moniet el Nefous son, *Fakher el Din, said of *Morafic in the May 1984 issue of Arabian Horse World,
"an eloquent personification of Nazeer. Envision the monochromatic landscape of Egypt, the flat vastness of the sand, the constant cloudless blue sky, and the shadowlessness bright sunlight, and then suddenly the shimmering beauty and vitality of *Morafic. A contrast in textures of life, time, and form."
In 1964, Sanaa was imported by Gleannloch Farms as a young, three year old mare. She was bred to a variety of the top Gleannloch stalllions like *Faleh, Moftakhar, *Ibn Hafiza and the brilliant *Morafic. Sanaa was also bred to *Ansata Ibn Halima, who was on lease to Gleannloch, which was in the very early days of Ansata, while Don and Judi Forbis were overseas. Rhita McNair, who took the lovely photo of Sanaa, said of *Ansata Ibn Halima in an August 1984 Arabian Horse World tribute to Ansata Arabian Stud,
"...he was a statue of perfection, with those eyes that stared 'way off' into time and space. He was one of the most beautiful Arabians I have known..."
Sanaa's influence would be felt primarily through her sons, who became champion show horses and important sires for other breeding programs: namely her *Morafic son named Mosry+++, who earned a legion of supreme merit and sired over 140 horses, including Imperial Mistry, an Ansata Nile Mist daughter, who in turn produced Imperial Imperor, who would become a foundation stallion for Gibson Arabians in Loomis, California. Imperial Imperor would sire a chestnut daughter out of Ansata Aziza named GA Moon Tajhalima. Karen Henwood of Sandybrook Arabians bred this mare to Anaza el Farid and the fabulous stallion, Farid Nile Moon, was born.

For the purpose of this study, I wanted to focus on her son by *Ansata Ibn Halima, who was named Hossny. However, I want to also point out that by *Ibn Hafiza, Sanaa produced the bay colored, Sahlih, who was campaigned by Cherry Hill Arabians of Alabama, as a Class A champion , Regional and Scottsdale Hunter Pleasure and  Show Hack performance horse. Sahlih is an interesting horse, as the combination of Sameh with Yashmak, produced *Serenity Sonbolah. I am always surprised that this stallion wasn't recognized more by breeders, who wanted to incorporate the combination of blood resulting in a celebrated mare like Sonbolah but via the sire line, instead of the tail female line.
Hossny was purchased by Imperial Egyptian Stud in the mid-1970's from Gleannloch Farms. He was a 1966 stallion and Imperial had purchased Hossny to complement the collection of mares that they had already purchased by this time: *Malekat el Gamal, *Fawkia, Ansata Nile Mist, *Serenity Sonbolah, *Serenity Sabra, Deena, *Pharrah, AK Monareena and Dalia. Once the influence of Ansata Imperial and Moniet el Nafis began to be felt and Imperial determined the direction of their breeding program with these horses, Hossny was sold to Count Federico Zichy-Thyssen, who was building a straight Egyptian breeding program, founded on Imperial and Ansata bloodlines. I was particularly touched by something that Count Federico had said about Hossny, because it speaks so loudly of the horse's personality and the relationship that a person, like you or me, can enjoy with these special horses,
"Hossny was a true friend, my personal mount and companion."
Alhough Hossny's career at Imperial was not long-lived, the continuing influence of Hossny would be felt primarily through his daughter Imperial Sonbesjul (out of *Serenity Sonbolah). I find it especially interesting when I consider that Imperial Sonbesjul is actually a pure-in-the-strain Kuhaylah Rodaniyah, tracing through her tail female line to Yashmak through Om el Saad, as well as through the tail female line of her sire, through Sanaa to the same mare. So when Imperial Sonbesjul was bred to the pure-in-the-strain (and double Farida tail-female) Dahman stallion named El Hilal, a son of *Ansata Ibn Halima and the Nazeer daughter, Bint Nefisaa; the question that I had was which strain would prove dominant over the other? The extraordinary result was the influential stallion Imperial Al Kamar, not only an important sire for Imperial but also, for Rancho Bulakenyo, his new home. There are two considerations, as to which strain had the most impact on Imperial Al Kamar. Considering that the Kuhaylan Rodan strain was combined with *Ansata Ibn Halima, gives an edge to the Dahman strain. Also, the body color of Imperial Al Kamar is grey and not chestnut, which again points to the Dahmans.

For Count Federico Zichy-Thyssen of Haras El Atalaya in Argentina;  Hossny's influence would be felt in a big way through his daughter, IES Sondusah, out of SF Bint Sonbolah, a *Khofo daughter out of *Serenity Sonbolah. What is different in IES Sondusah than Imperial Sonbesjul, is the presence of the Hadbah Enzahiyah mare, Yosreia, through *Khofo, as well as Antar. When IES Sondusah was bred to *Jamil, she produced the mare, ZT Jamdusah. She in turn was bred to Anaza el Farid and produced the breath-taking stallion ZT Faa'iq. This Gigi Grasso photo for me, captures all of the reasons why this stallion is an exciting horse for straight Egyptian breeders.
So, to further underscore the complementary blend of Dahman horses with the Kuhaylan Rodans, in ZT Faa'iq, we have two more sources of Farida, through Madkour I and through the Sameh daughter, Deenaa, in addition to the Bahraini line through *Bint Maisa el Saghira, as well as more *Ansata Ibn Halima. However, I want to be careful in making a statement which credits the Dahman strain solely for a beautiful horse like ZT Faa'iq, as one cannot discount the Abbeyyan influence of two super-powerful mares like Magidaa and Hanan. We know that both these mares have created families which are enduring and very relevant in our current breeding population. It is interesting, in light of the statement made by Lady Anne Blunt, regarding the proper breeding of the Rodania horses and how a most beautiful and balanced horse like *Ansata Ibn Halima, through his son Hossny, blended so well with this family of powerful females.

Remember Sanaa and enJoy your brilliant life,
Ralph

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