20 October, 2012


"...you'll be whispering my name, as if sorrow were your friend and this world so alien, But life will call with daffodils and morning glorious blue skies. You'll think of me - some memory, and softly smile to your surprise."-from the song, When I'm Gone, written by Sandy Emory Lawrence and performed by Joey + Rory Feek

CH Michael Kariim, a 2000 straight Egyptian Arabian stalllion bred by Cheryl Horton, was a son of the Walter Schimanski-bred stallion, Masada Aheb, a Fa Asar son out of the Ansata el Sherif daughter, SF Khala Zahra. His dam was the Jay Gormley-bred JA Nirvana Halima, a Ra'adin Inshalla daughter out of Serouba, a Sirhabba grand-daughter. Primarily a heavily Babson-influenced horse, the blood of the new Egyptian stallion and Nazeer son, *Ansata Ibn Halima appears on both sides of the pedigree, as does the Nazeer daughter, *Ansata Bint Bukra. His pedigree represents the philosophies, dreams and the appreciation felt for older Egyptian bloodlines, by breeders who are no longer alive in this world. He was purchased by Laurence Perceval of Laurence of Arabians, Saint-Arçons-D'Allier, Auvergne, France who loved him deeply. 

"I remember driving 9 hours to Belgium just to "see"  Kariim...Love at first sight....the owner was amazed...I didn't travel with any buying intention at all ...and he wasn't for sale either... his owner was in shock..and so was I. The boy gave me goose bumps...his offspring even more...I even asked to also take one of his fillies, AG Hatsipsut. He is the only horse who triggered in me the desire to ride again...It is so hard for me to talk about him without tears...I see him in every of his offspring daily, I talk to him through his sister Li...how can I explain the unexplainable? He is my best, my gone treasure, my dad and my son..."-Laurence Perceval

It was Laurence's dream to further the influence of CH Michael Kariim in this world and pay tribute to the vision of the people, whose sacrifices made it possible for a horse like him to exist. CH Michael Kariim sired a small amount of progeny overseas. In May of 2011, this brilliant black horse was killed in a tragic traffic accident. He has a left a hole in the heart of his loving owner, who continues to miss the presence of her very special horse. At Laurence's farm, CH Michael Kariim's full sister, Mahrus Li Nirvana, provides some consolation; as does the promise, the legacy of his get.

As she pulled into the driveway, she looked across his field and noticed the fog, heavy and thick, like a smoky curtain hanging at the far back of the pasture. It was dark out, about an hour before the sun would rise and shine her warm light upon the earth. The fog would disappear in the warm morning light, as the temperature moved up from the mid-50's. She shivered. It was cold and damp in her heart. She paused for a moment, savoring the mysterious, almost sinister appearance of the fog in the dark. She could barely make out the silhouettes of the horses, as they continued to graze in the cool morning air, oblivious to her arrival. The blackness of the night enveloped her completely and reached deep inside, squeezing her heart and .releasing an intense wave of sadness that threatened to drown her, right there, on the  wet grass she was standing upon.  She heard her voice call out to him, as if the sound of his name could bring him back to her, from wherever death had taken him. Her heart had not yet gotten used to the fact that he was no longer here, he was no longer alive. She still looked for him, even on this dark and gloomy morning. How she missed him...still! On a morning like this, he would have been waiting for her at the gate, anxious to poke his muzzle into her jacket pockets, searching for a piece of something sweet and special, as her hands caressed his velvety face.  She had loved this horse deeply. She smiled through her tears as in her mind, she saw him and knew that one day, she would see him again.

"I feel privileged to be able to carry on his blood. I have already 7 offspring from him...His son Bukra is cherished as a spitting image and I just hope he produces as well as his daddy."-Laurence Perceval
It never stops from amazing me, the power that horses have upon our emotions. They quickly become part of us and although we chose horses for reasons other than self-empowerment, horses do help us to become better people. For many, horses have been our "constant" in a life that keeps evolving, keeps changing, a bit of security, a bit more reliable,  in an unstable world. I am reminded of  a quote from the bio mechanics-focused riding teacher about this power.
"Whether you regard the horse with awe or love, it is impossible to escape the sheer power of his presence."-Mary Wanless 
In speaking with Laurence, that power is what impressed me the most in her story. That even though CH Michael Kariim had died, the power of his essence is still, very much alive. I can't think of a more honorable way to pay this wonderful horse homage, than by recognizing the power of his presence. 

Back at you with some JOY,


Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Ralph! Oh how I have missed reading your wonderful stories.... Please visit with us again - soon! Your friend, Beth

mark miller said...


I did not ever meet Carl Raswan, though I have heard the stories about him so many times I sometimes feel like I must have. He was a friend of my father and mother.

I've always thought it ironic that his "Raswan Index" has been used to help define the "purity" of the Straight & Blue List Egyptian Arabian Horses. Ironic because the horse that Raswan loved most of all was *Raswan, said to be the best son of Skowronek. Until *Raswan died, Carl Raswan was known as Carl Schmidt. It was when *Raswan died that Carl Schmidt became Carl Raswan. Skowronek, of course, is not considered to be acceptable in "Straight Egyptian" pedigrees.

Raswan was certainly a larger than life character. My father, Peter Miller, told me that when he first met Raswan in Tucson in 1942, Raswan was telling him about his Ruala blood brother, Bedouin Prince Fawaz as-Shaalan. My dad said he believed Raswan was exaggerating when he told his tales of the desert.

My dad, however, was not the horseperson in our family. My mother, then Bazy Miller, was. She had already purchased some horses from the Selby Stud lines (heavy in the Skowronek son *Raffles), it was her that Raswan had come to see in Tucson.

My parents had bought an irrigated farm on River Road in Tucson, and in the early 40s irrigated farms there were rare. When Raswan arrived on the farm, he turned to my mother and said, "This is a real Al-Marah!" My mother asked the meaning of Al-Marah and Raswan said, "The Oasis!" Thus the most famous Arabian Horse farm of the 20th and 21st Century was named. About eight years later, after my sister and I were born and my parents divorced, my mom remarried "Tank" Tankersley and started along the road of making Bazy Tankersley an Arabian Horse legend herself.

My mother always thought that Raswan loved the same kind of Arabian horses she did: beautiful, athletic and with great endurance. I have always thought of them as war horses. Spirited, athletic and brave enough to go into battle; personable and calm enough to share your tent in a sand storm. And, of course, the most beautiful animals on earth. I believe she learned a great deal from talking with Raswan about the desert horses, and that knowledge was important to her because she wanted to be sure to preserve her band of horses, who trace directly from Abbas Pasha to Ali Pasha Sherif to Sir Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt to Lady Wentworth to her, was not only the right genotype, but also the right phenotype.

My parents moved to Peru, Illinois shortly after Raswan named the farm, and not long after that, Raswan brought his Ruala blood brother to Chicago to meet my parents. After meeting Prince Fawaz, my dad told me he apologized to Raswan for ever doubting him, as Prince Fawaz backed up all that Raswan had told him and also told my father of the great influence Raswan had when he brought many Bedouin leaders together in the late '20s.

I hope your journey helps you find what you are looking for. The search for the perfect Arabian, whether it is a search of finding the existing horse or, in my family's case, trying to produce it, is a wonderful journey that can last a lifetime.

My journey includes keeping the core Al-Marah herd in tact for my lifetime, as it remains the most unique and wonderful herd of horses in the world in its 199th year.

Mark Miller
Owner, Al-Marah Arabian Horses & Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction