24 July, 2011

Remembering AK Monareena

A long time ago, far, far away, I came face-to-face with a beauty so fierce, I didn't know what to do about it. I really wasn't prepared for the encounter and to become engaged in a battle of deep emotions, the scars of which, I carry to the present day. I knew I was outnumbered but I was young, brave and naive, so, I fought with all I had and came up short, so my heart was captured by this beauty, as her prize of war and locked in a dungeon, forever, a slave for longing and desire.

Here, in a wintry landscape, all barren and brown, far from the desert of her ancestors, I found the rose of the Bedouin. And I wanted to pick this rose from the winter garden that I found her in and bring her to my garden, to nurture her, to love her, to protect her and to be rewarded with her flourishing beauty. I had loved this particular mare, since I saw her advertised in a Bentwood sale flyer and I couldn't believe that here, in Pennsylvania, I finally would meet her, already 18 years old, having produced 6 foals, foundered and yet, she was even more beautiful than I remembered. She, had lived a hard life and me, in my youth, understood and shared common ground with her. Life, even when everything around you looks great and good, could still be harsh and unfair.
"But someone,
They could have warned you
When things start splitting at the seams and now
The whole thing's tumbling down
Things start splitting at the seams and now
If things start splitting at the seams and now,
It's tumbling down
Hard."-from The Band of Horses song, No One's Gonna Love You
AK Monareena was extraordinary, stunning really with a most expressive head, finely sculpted with every pronounced detail that I could ever imagine in an Arabian Horse head. No artist could create a sculpture as beautiful as the head that God created for this mare. She was a triumph of creation, a celebration for her breeder, Bentwood Farm of Waco, Texas. Her eyes were large, deeply black, with a nice round shape, which, set against the whiteness of her coat, seemed blacker, fuller, deeper. A man could get lost in her eyes. She was a close-coupled mare, with a strong back; actually she had one of the most beautiful toplines that I had ever seen. Her body was curvey, of rounded lines, even voluptuous, as she had the substance that Babson horses are known for and yet, she was extremely elegant and I think this overall refinement came from Moniet El Nefous. She had a quiet way about her. She wasn't the kind of mare that was anxious, calling to her stablemates. She was elegant, reserved, lady-like even. I marveled over her. As the farm trainer led her back to her stall, I walked behind her and  I was just so fascinated with the smoothness of her body, accentuated by a beautiful tail carriage. Her steps were carefully made, almost delicate, as if each step was carefully considered and a specific purpose was outlined for each step. That's it, her steps were purposeful, conveying energy, like electricity. An undercurrent that ran through the ground, charging through my body, on the way to my mind. I kept thinking of long ago breeders like Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik and what he would have done or said, in the presence of this regal mare named Monareena. She was one of the most beautiful mares that I had ever seen. I wanted her to be my horse. I wanted her to be the horse to help me realize all of my dreams.
"Give each mare entering the herd two chances to produce a top-quality foal. Two only."-Barbara Griffith
AK Monareena produced six foals, including two mares: Imperial Moniq in 1979 by Hossny and Imperial Monfisah in 1980 by Moniet el Nafis. In 1982, the first of four colts was born: Imperial Imohaan by Ansata Imperial, in 1983, it was Imperial Na Mojiz by Moniet el Nafis,  in 1984 it was Imperial Shahmon by Ansata Shah Zaman and finally in 1991, Mondall by Imperial Imdal. Imperial Moniq went to Count Federico, where she produced a daughter by Ansata Shah Zaman named ZT Shahmona. When bred to Ruminaja Bahjat, she produced Sche' Mon Ami, who in turn, produced Alfabia Halawa by Ansata Halim Bay.

I didn't believe that she had been bred to the kind of stallion, who when combined with her blood, would sire a foal equal to or superior, to her level of quality. Despite that she had been sold out of the Imperial breeding herd, I really believed in her ability to produce the kind of foal who would in turn, become the foundation of a significant breeding program.

I wanted to breed AK Monareena to her half-brother, Serr Maariner, to not only intensify the influence of the stallion Fabah but to multiply the sources of the Saqlawiyah mare, *Bint Serra I, through Ibn Fa-Serr, to combine with the line already present through Aaroufa (her sire, Fay-El-Dine was a son of *Bint Serra). Together with the concentrated Saqlawi lines of *Ibn Moniet El Nefous; I would accomplish what Walter Schimanski had suggested, in relying upon the strength of the Saqlawi lines, to "open up" the heavier individuals in Monareena's pedigree, to balance the genetic influence away from a horse that could end up being "too short" and "too thick".
"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
We know from looking at AK Monareena and her full brother, AK El Zahra Moniet, that the combination worked well; now, it was a chance to focus, to concentrate on a few key horses in the pedigree, with the hope that their quality could be produced again. I felt certain that if I ended up with a chestnut filly, my chances for reproducing my own private Maarena would be at least 50%. It's difficult sometimes to revisit these memories or rather missed opportunities and yet, the pain that comes from an unpopular decision, revisited, drowns in a sea of regret and pushes me ever closer to the edge, towards hopelessness. And then, I catch myself, as hindsight always looks far different, than when you are present in the moment. It reminds me of a quotation I once read from Henry David Thoreau, who said,
“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”

Do you know these words? Have you ever used them? I shudder with these words because I use them alot.

Learn from all the parts of your life, learn from the pages of this blog, make the most of your day and from the opportunities that SUDDENLY appear in front of you. Don't ever play it "safe" and do take the risk...the horses are really worth it.

Seize the day! Seize the JOY!
and happy summer...see you in the fall,


Oliver said...

If only...

kcooper said...

Ralph, Your words and description are like honey. Thanks you for this beautiful post. We can still breed horses like this. I appreciate your encouragement to forge forward! Smiles!