"For 'twas not into my ear you whispered but into my heart,'twas not my lips you kissed but my soul."-Judy GarlandI had walked into the broodmare barn, focused on a conversation with Beverly Sziraky on the suitability of Egyptian Arabian horses for Dressage. I was really excited, as it had been a very long time since my last visit to Imperial and the barn we were walking into, was a veritable HALL OF FAME of crucially important broodmares like BB Ora Kalilah, Imperial Safilla, and Imperial Mistilll. I am embarrassed to tell you that I didn't even notice Imperial Falaah at first. The focus of my day was seeing Imperial Mistilll one more time. Across the aisle from Mistilll, was the *Pharrah grand daughter, Royal Kamiel. To her right, was Falaah, and in the stall next to her was Imperial Baarillla, a Baarez daughter who literally, knocked my socks off. Across the aisle from Baarillla was BB Ora Kalilah, next to her was Safilla and then in the next stall was Phandala. I was like a kid who had eaten too much sugar. I was darting from one stall to the next, not sure of who to stop and admire, as they were all gorgeous mares. I couldn't concentrate on just one horse! As I settled in front of Imperial Baarillla's stall, Falaah kept looking at me, waiting patiently. She stretched her neck out towards me and very gently, bumped me over and over with her nose, trying to get my attention. I was oblivious to what she was doing, as I was so enchanted with Baarillla. I turned around, to see who was tapping me and saw this beautiful face, "WOW, who are you pretty girl?" and I paused, as in that split second, I recognized a beauty so fierce, I could not hear or see anything else but her. "Oh my gosh, you are so pretty" I said, as I scratched her forehead, straightened her forelock hairs and the beautiful mare smiled in satisfaction. She didn't make a sound, not a whinny, nicker or even a thumping of the stall door with her hoof, as most other horses would to demand attention. Falaah had too much dignity, too much grace. A few minutes later, I was actually holding her head in my arms, as the mare dozed, content to be in close company with a human being. "Beverly, who is this mare?" I asked. She smiled and said, "That's Falaah, one of our Imdal daughters and one of our best producing mares on the farm. Remember that chestnut colt you liked so much? That's her son." The chestnut colt that Beverly referred to was none other than Imperial Amir Kamar, who had given an electrifying liberty performance, earlier in the day.
Imperial Falaah, a 1991 grey mare, was a daughter of Imperial Imdal and out of Imperial BTFawkia. Her pedigree primarily reflected the breeding program of Gleannloch Farms, as the majority of the horses in her pedigree like Dalia, *Morafic, *Romanaa II, and *Hoyeda were either bred or imported into America by the Marshalls. She is also one of the straight Egyptian horses with a lower Blunt desert blood percentage, less than 6%. Her Egypt I, Egypt II and Inshass ancestral elements, combined, total to almost 95%! What's also interesting about the components in her pedigree, is that for the most part, they represent the first wave of horses produced at Imperial. That is, the foundation horses and the first few generations produced with the foundation, before *Orashan, *Imperial Madheen and *Ibn Safinaz were added to the program. Once the broodmare band was selected and after initially breeding some of these mares with horses like Amaal and Hossny, Imperial purchased two colts who would not only complement their powerful mares but establish consistency and predictability, for the next decade and beyond.
“In truth, every one of Imperial’s leading ladies have been hand-picked and held to the highest standards-a necessity in breeding programs, large or small. I believe the mare’s contribution to her foal to be at least 60 percent, so she is extremely important. Many of our mares were successful show mares before entering our broodmare band. I’ve bred or purchased mares that I felt would be good crosses with Imperial stallions and I’ve bred or purchased stallions specifically for select mares.-Barbara Griffith”The first colt was Ansata Imperial (Ansata Ibn Sudan x Ansata Delilah), who will forever be remembered for siring the great Imperial Imdal. Much has been written about Imperial Imdal and the impact that he has had not only on Egyptian Arabians, but for Arabian Horses of all bloodlines. Imdal's influence has traveled farther and wider, significantly impacting stud farms all over the world. What I remember most about Imdal, was his abundant charisma. I loved him. There was just something about him, that really got you and you felt compelled to stand next to him, to touch him, to adore him. Susan Gilbert experienced his magnetic presence very personally, when she saw Imdal for the first time at the 1997 Egyptian Event, during the stallion presentation,
"I became aware that this magnificent stallion had an air of complete presence that was emotionally overwhelming to his many onlookers. As I touched his shoulder, Imdal turned his head towards my face, acknowledging my own presence with a calming power deep within his gaze. I continued to admire his completeness and the sheer beauty standing in front of me and I realized that I was crying .. he had touched my soul and heart. There was an aura to his nobility .. a hum of energy.-Susan Gilbert"
"...oh, what a horse he was! He had lovely legs and conformation, with strength and refinement, tremendous heart girth and shoulder, great tail carriage, presence, movement, and he reflected Arabian type although his head was not as typey as today's standards demand. As a sire, he produced a fair share of show winners and numerous race horses, at a time when Arabian racing was just beginning to take on a life of its own."-Lisa Lacy
Imperial Falaah produced more sons than daughters.In 1996, she produced Imperial Sarouf by *Ibn Safinaz, Imperial Amir Kamar by Imperial Al Kamar in 2001. Then, she produced Imperial Birak in 2004, Imperial Baaron in 2005 and Imperial Baaru in 2006, all three colts sired by Imperial Baarez. Her two daughters, Imperial Koublah by Imperial Al Kamar and Imperial Orahllah by *Orashan were produced at Imperial, while her third and last foal born in 2010, Nadira al Hadiyah by Ramses Mishaal Nadir was bred by Susan Gilbert of Sumerlan Egyptian Arabians in Texas.
"..Imperial Falaah's daughter, Nadira al Hadiyah, by Ramses Mishaal Nadir, graces our farm with the same magic and nobility etched in time by her beautiful dam and grandsire. Falaah's last gift to me .. in gratitude for loving this beautiful mare who captured me.-Susan Gilbert"
"If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it."-Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little PrincessI went about my business, content that I had done everything that I knew to do and well, time passed and eventually I forgot about Falaah. In the meantime, Susan Gilbert visited Imperial Egyptian Stud with the memory of Imperial Imdal still vivid in her mind.
"In August, 2006, the spirit of emotions created that day by Imperial Imdal were realized the first time I saw his beautiful daughter, Imperial Falaah. It was a beautiful day spent with friends as Beverly Sziraky spoke passionately about each stallion, each mare, and each foal. Imperial Falaah was one of the last mares we saw that day, and she was standing on her own basking in the day's sunlight as if the day belonged only to her. She drew me into her gaze the very same way her noble sire had drawn me back in 1997. She imprinted my heart so much so that I asked to come back to the farm later that day to see her once more."
"Falaah graced our farm in every way possible. Each day spent with her was a gift which touched my spirit. Many onlookers visiting our farm were so captured by her presence that they were drawn to ask me if they could lead her back to her stall. Such were the gifts this magnificent mare offered to one's heart. She lived and died in complete nobility. I miss her so much that I have not spoken to many. The loss feels like it is happening again today as I write this. I will never forget her."-Susan GilbertEarlier this week, while casually reading on the internet, I learned the very sad news that Imperial Falaah tragically died a year ago, from cancer. I was stunned and found myself reading the same sentence over and over. "How could this be?" I thought over and over. The princess, the sweet mare who had captivated me, so many years ago, was gone, leaving the planet as quietly as she had entered my world, so many years ago with both dignity and grace. Now, she lives in the memories of all who loved her, her children will now carry her name and her influence far into the future. And one day, one of these horses will stretch their neck to bump the pant leg of someone with their nose, for attention. A long ago memory then becomes fresh and new, and the rest of us will smile, because we have just witnessed that the princess, the very sweet and dignified Falaah still lives.
"Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would, I'd never leave."-A.A. MilneGoodbye dear, sweet Falaah,
*opening photo of Imperial Falaah credit: Carol Maginn, Bear Creek Ranch, Photos of Moniet el Nafis and *Fawkia credit: Johnny Johnston