12 May, 2021

*Fawkia

*Fawkia (Sameh x Mamlouka)
*Fawkia was a 1965 EAO-bred mare, sired by Sameh and out of Mamlouka, a Nazeer daughter out of the super broodmare, Malaka (Kheir x Bint Bint Riyala). Malaka produced a large family of horses, including the stallion Azmi, who was later known in Russia as "Nil", as well as the stallion Waseem, who stayed in Egypt and became an important sire for the EAO plus the important mares: Samia, Nazeera and *Salomy. 

*Fawkia is Kuhaylah Rodaniyah by strain.  She was purchased and imported by Gleannloch Farm in 1966. A beautiful mare, *Fawkia was a United States National Champion mare, in 1968. Gleannloch bred her to *Morafic, producing Farahl in 1972, Najlah in 1973 and Ana Gayah in 1974, before being purchased by Barbara Griffith of Imperial Egyptian Stud in 1978. Bred to Moniet el Nafis, she produced Imperial BtFawkia in 1983, who in turn was bred to *Orashan, producing Imperial Orianah, the dam of Imperial Madori, the sire of the 2003 World Champion Mare, Gelgelah Albadeia.

Although I never met Sameh personally; I felt that I did know him, through his daughters, like *Fawkia, who like her sire, was an easy keeper, always in good flesh, smooth and powerfully built, radiant white and not only did she possess excellent movement, like her paternal sisters; she also trotted in the same manner, that is, her nostrils dilated and became enormous and she would snort from somewhere deep inside of her, like if she was pulling every last bit of air from the tips of her toes up, up, up through her lungs and out through her nose, tail curled over her back and that graceful, take-your-breath-away floating trot, elegant and yet, powerful, her hocks driving her forward. All these years later, it's the brilliant movement which made the greatest impression upon me and what I remember most about her.

11 May, 2021

NEGMAA

Negmaa (*Ansata Ibn Halima x *Bint Nefisaa) as photographed by Jerry Sparagowski

Negmaa was a 1970 mare, bred by Gleannloch Farms. Sired by *Ansata Ibn Halima; she was out of *Bint Nefisaa (Nazeer x Nefisa), whom Gleannloch had imported in 1962. What is really interesting about this particular pedigree are the multiple lines to Farida. Both *Ansata Ibn Halima and *Bint Nefisaa trace through their maternal lines to Farida, however, Nefisa, the dam of *Bint Nefisaa traces back to Farida additionally through her sire, Balance (Ibn Samhan x Farida).  Interestingly, Farida traces to the 1880 mare, El Dahma, through both the tail female line of her sire (Saklawi II) and dam (Nadra el Saghira).  Combined with the additional lines to Saklawi II through stallions like Gamil Manial and Mabrouk Manial, the pedigree is super concentrated for the influence of El Dahma. 

Negmaa was one of two full sisters to El Hilal; the other sister being Nourah, foaled in 1971, the same year that Negmaa was sold to the Jamesons of Ranch Ruminaja, for whom she produced the mares, Ruminaja Afifa and Taza Jaliya, as well as stallions like Ruminaja Atallah, Ruminaja Rasul and Ruminaja Cherif, all sired by Shaikh Al Badi. She also produced Ruminaja Omar, by *Ibn Moniet El Nefous. Somewhere around 1983, Negmaa was sold to Imperial Egyptian Stud, producing Imperial BtNegmaa and Imperial Nasreena, both sired by Moniet el Nafis. She also produced Imperial Orastar and Imperial Oralamah, both sired by *Orashan, as well as Imperial Alishihab (by Ruminaja Ali) and Imperial Safemaa (by *Ibn Safinaz), whom I was fortunate to meet in person many years later and really liked.

Up until the time I met her, my Arabian horse experience was limited to the horses that I read about in the few books that I owned like The Classic Arabian Horse by Judith Forbis and within the pages of Arabian Horse World Magazine.  I was young, not even in my twenties, when I visited Imperial Egyptian Stud for the very first time. This visit forever remains a powerful, deeply-moving experience, the impact of which I still feel today. You can imagine the "larger-than-life" persona that some of these horses possessed and meeting them face-to-face, is comparable to meeting a Hollywood movie star. The impact that the experience had on my Arabian horse life was significant, as it not only intensified my love for the Egyptian Arabian horse, but more importantly; I was able to visually, connect the information that I had been reading and studying. It was in this visit that I started to develop preferences for a particular type of horse and also, for the combination of bloodlines that I felt were more consistent in producing this type. 

Negmaa was uniquely different from the rest of the mares in the Imperial broodmare band and very quickly, became my favorite of the horses that I had seen, up to that point. She was not a tall horse in stature but her body mass was such, that while standing next to her, she felt like a bigger mare than she actually was. It was her body that caught my attention and held it, as I had never seen a horse quite like her before. She was voluptuous, perhaps even rubinesque, her substance, balanced by flowing, gracefully circular lines. She was close-coupled, wide in the back, broad in the chest, possessing an old-world type like the horses depicted in the paintings which hang on the walls of museums throughout the world. She was protective of her foal and studying her was a little more challenging but her neck was of a nice shape but not long, her head was not extreme or even exotic, it was clean and of a nice shape, short and wide and her eyes were larger in size and luminous. She was a pretty mare and because she was also flea bitten, the speckled color enhanced her timeless look. At the time, I was not well read, as I am today and when I think of Negmaa, all these years later, I wonder if I was in the presence of a Nejdi type, as Lady Anne Blunt had once described: 

"the Nejd horses have short necks, short bodies, good shoulders and a very good tail carriage. Their heads are better than the Anazeh's in every respect the Arabs admire: the heads are not too large, but neither too small, a great width between ears and eyes and between the eyes, but not between the ears; the profile concave below the eyes."  

Do you know that "Negmaa" means a heavenly body that shines in the nightime sky with much brilliance, like a star and, is also used with another maning, that of a source of inspiration? I was really captivated by her and thought she was the most perfect Arabian in the world, until...I met Ansata Imperial, who was so amazingly similar to Negmaa, it was like experiencing deja-vu. I remember feeling confused for a few seconds, thinking that somehow, I took the wrong turn and ended up at Negmaa's stall again. In hindsight, maybe because of the multiple lines to Moniet el Nefous in his pedigree, Ansata Imperial possessed a little more stretch than Negmaa did. However, I think this may have been a very subtle difference between them, as it was really amazing how these two horses were more similar, than they were different. 

Over 35 years later, Negmaa continues to inspire me, as her name suggests and I lament the opportunity (if it even existed) to have bred Negmaa to Ansata Imperial, for a 5th generation pure-in-the-strain Dahman Shahwan foal (Foal-Negmaa-*Bint Nefisaa-Nefisa-Helwa), safeguarding the tail female line that runs back to the Ali Pasha Sherif mare, El Dahma. 

10 May, 2021

Mother-to-Mother: A Story

Mahfouza (Hamdan x El Mahrousa)
Mahfouza was a 1943 bay mare, bred by the Inshass Stud. Mahfouza's sire was Hamdan (Ibn Rabdan x Bint Radia) and her dam was El Mahrousa (El Zafir x El Shahbaa), a 1937 mare bred by the Inshass Stud. El Mahrousa's dam, El Shahbaa, foaled in 1925, was a foundation mare for the Inshass Stud. An Abeyyan strain mare, sired by a Hamdani stallion, she was purchased by King Fouad in 1931. 

Maysa (Anter x Mahfouza)

When Mahfouza was bred to Anter, she produced the mare Maysa,

*Magidaa (Alaa El Din x Maysa)

Maysa, when bred to Alaa el Din, produced the 1964 chestnut mare *Magidaa.

Bint Magidaa (*Khofo++ x *Magidaa)

Bint Magidaa was *Magidaa's 1970 grey daughter by *Khofo++ and became one of the most legendary and prolific of all straight Egyptian broodmares through her sons, i.e. Ruminaja Ali, furthering the influence of the chain of mares starting with El Shahbaa, El Mahrousa, Mahfouza,  Maysa, and *Magidaa, all over the world.

09 May, 2021

Something about Mother's Day....

When Marsha Williams was a child, she discovered an Arabian horse inside a general reference book she had found in the library. Her heart pounded in her ears, when she saw him. She can still remember tracing the horse's silhouette, over and over with her finger. She never tired of it and promised herself that one day, she would have a horse just like this. Horses had always defined who she was, who she wanted to become and it was only natural that Marsha decided to dedicate her life to the Egyptian Arabian horse. There wasn't anything else she could do, as significant as working with these special horses.

Marsha became a successful trainer, taking green horses and preparing them for their amateur owners. She had been working with a head-strong Ansata Abbas Pasha daughter who had been proving herself to be a bit too difficult for her owner. With  tender loving care, Marsha had seen the mare blossom in her training. There wasn't much the mare wouldn't do for Marsha. However, the mare's owner grew tired of her and all the time she required, on top of the dirt and the smell. So Maggie Iacovino paid Marsha an impromptu visit. "You know Marsha, I thought I might find some personal fulfillment in this horsey thing and you know what, I haven't. I don't really like it. It's more than what I want to invest of myself, so, she's yours. Marsha was so stunned, she let out a gasp. Maggie looked at her and then said,  "I watched the interaction between you and Abby. She loves you. So, I signed the registration papers over to you. She is your horse now Marsha. Love her and one day, if you have the opportunity to do so, pay it forward." she said, as she pushed a white envelope into Marsha's hands. Marsha was stunned. Suddenly, here was the encouragement she had been praying for. Was she dreaming?

She had heard of a couple who owned  a young and upcoming stallion, recently imported from the EAO. Marsha had seen his photo spread in Arabian Horse World and had instantly liked the charismatic stallion. Now that Abby was her horse, Marsha wasted no time in contacting them. A year later, the stallion had tragically died but not before her miracle mare had been bred to him and eventually, given birth to an exquisite filly, whom she had called MW Milagro, her personal miracle. This filly matured into a beautiful mare, a Class A Halter Champion, who was coveted by many people. She had received a number of offers for her, which she had turned down. She had briefly considered one offer, as it was more money than she had ever earned in her life. It would have lessened the pressure of running a cash-strapped business and allowed her to renovate the farm with all of the improvements that would make her life easier. However, to have sold  "Milly" was unthinkable and in return,  the mare had rewarded Marsha with nine daughters, insuring the survival of this family, on her farm. Marsha's hands lovingly caressed the shiny red neck of Milly's grandson. Milagroso had been a little on the small side, when he was born but under Marsha's care, he prospered and now stood over 15 hands. "You know Matt, this colt's dam was a beautiful mare. I loved her. She was like a clone of her dam, MW Milagro, whom I called Milly. I almost called it quits, the day she died. I couldn't even begin to think, how I would make it, from one day to the next, without her. Like her dam, she was my friend and my confidante. She was carrying another foal by this colt's sire and I was hoping for a filly." she said. Matt looked across the paddock, to a couple of mares who stood with their eyes slowly closing, as they dozed in the sun. Marsha's voice was starting to break and he knew where she was headed next. Matt couldn't bear to hear the words he believed that she would soon be saying. "I love these horses and I care what happens to them. It's hard to let them go. Don't know if I can do it. I am so confused Matt, one moment, I am convinced that this is what I need to do and then, a few seconds later, I no longer feel so strong in my conviction" she explained, as tears started forming in her eyes.

Matt had been introduced to Marsha at a breeders conference by a friend of Matt's wife. Matt was new to horses. Actually, it was Darla who loved the horses and Matt, well, he loved Darla and would do anything to make her happy. Matt thought of Darla and somewhere deep inside of him, he still felt the ache. "Would he make it through any day, without missing Darla?" he asked himself but he knew the answer. He didn't believe that he would ever stop missing Darla. Darla had meant everything to him. It would be almost three years, this coming May. It all had happened so fast, it seemed like Darla was there one minute and then, gone the next. While getting ready for their annual Fourth of July barbecue, an overwhelming fatigue had robbed Darla of the energy she needed, to create one of the most anticipated family gatherings of the year. The following week, Darla and Matt had visited the doctor and as a precaution, had a round of blood tests. A couple of weeks later, the doctor delivered the grim news. As they crossed the parking lot of the medical building, Matt promised Darla that the following year, he would buy her the Arabian Horse she had always dreamed of, in celebration of her victory over her illness. He was determined to fight this with all he had. At the end of August, shortly before Labor Day, Darla had breathed her last breath. Matt was devastated and without Darla, he was lost. Consumed by grief, Matt stayed at home, surrounded by pictures of his beautiful wife.

Six months later, on a business trip down south, he opened the complimentary airline magazine and read an article about alternative investment vehicles, which included breeding and raising Egyptian Arabian horses. Matt remembered the promise he had made to Darla, in her last days. With a new found fervor, Matt threw himself into the many reference books that Darla had collected. He purchased a subscription to Arabian Horse World Magazine. Matt focused on learning everything he could about the Arabian horse. When he was ready, he called Darla's friend, Nora. It was a timely call, as Nora was making plans to attend a Pyramid Society breeders conference and had suggested that Matt register for the event. It was at the conference where Matt had met Marsha Williams. Nora told Matt that Marsha, once a bright student with an exciting academic future ahead of her, had given up a full scholarship to Princeton University, so that she could work for a guy named Victor, a small preservation breeder who had spent a lifetime carefully breeding within an obscure, rare group of horses, descended from a key desert horse named *Sabra, a mare who had been imported from the Nejd region of Saudi Arabia. Victor had discovered, quite by accident, that alternately crossing the mares of this family with highly refined Saqlawi stallions produced a classic-looking horse. In one of Victor's travels, he met the American-born Saqlawi stallion named Ansata Abbas Pasha and strategically, using his best mares, had incorporated his bloodline into his program. Victor had sold a mare to an older woman, who had a penchant for collecting things that many others wanted but could not afford to buy. It was this woman, Maggie Iacovino, who had gifted Abby to Marsha. Matt spoke with Marsha during the conference, learning more about her breeding program and  of all the key horses who figured prominently. Marsha had suggested that he come out to the ranch, as she had two fillies for sale, that would make phenomenal foundation mares for a beginning program. While Matt liked what Marsha had said, there were other farms and ranches that he wanted to visit more. So, he never made it to Marsha's farm.

Matt had been traveling all over the United States, visiting breeders, taking lots of pictures and notes but he always came up short, trying to find just the right Arabian horse. He knew this horse existed, he just couldn't find the horse. So, Matt had called Marsha and made arrangements to finally visit her farm. As Matt drove up her long driveway, he saw a large group of mares grazing in the front paddock. Even at a distance, Matt recognized something special. Smooth of body and harmonious of build, Marsha's mares were unique; their physical qualities different from the other horses that he had seen. Their iridescent white coats, made even brighter by their black skin, accentuated every curve, enhancing their silhouette. The large, round and very black eye captured the twinkle of the sun, intensifying the depth and shape of the eye, like a pool of melted obsidian. The mare's nostrils, large and delicately curved, underscored the overall beauty of the mares’ heads, which looked as if they were chiseled out of the finest stone. The mare’s necks were long and swan-like, with extra length in the poll and a finer throat latch than he remembered ever seeing. Powerful shoulders met a closely-coupled, strong and level back, supported by deep, well-sprung ribs and balanced with round, well-muscled hindquarters. An extreme high-set tail, proudly carried, like a banner, waved in the breeze, As Matt slowed down to look at the mares, he heard loud trumpeting neighing, ricocheting from somewhere on the right side of his car. The powerful sound filled the inside of his car, the outside air and the surrounding hills. As he turned his head around to look, he saw what appeared at first to be a red lick of flame, burning down the hill, at a high rate of speed and coming towards him. "What the heck?" Matt cried out loud.

The stallion had seen the man driving the vehicle up the driveway. "Who was this man and what did he want with his mares?"  the stallion thought as he galloped down hill towards the driveway. A few feet from the fence line, he turned to his left effortlessly and slowed down to a floating, suspended trot, as he snorted deeply, to let the man know that he was there. As beautiful as the mares were,  the stallion defied description. He was extraordinary. Matt had never seen anything quite like this horse before. He was what the old-time cowboys called a three-circle horse, incredibly balanced, with a body comprised of rounded lines and curves. The powerful shoulders were set at an angle which allowed the horse so much freedom, that he flew over the ground with enormous strides. His neck was long, swan-like, with a pronounced arch, gently curving upwards to meet a head that was short and wide, with a prominent and very detailed bone structure. His back was short and strong, with a tail that was set high and curled over his back, accentuating his short, smooth and strong top line. He was exquisite and to Matt, was the masterpiece of Marsha's  program . Matt was in awe. He had to have the horse. He needed him. At first, Marsha would not even hear of it. "He is not for sale Matt, not at any price. Not at all. I have waited a long time for this horse to be born. I dreamed about him and now that I finally have him, it makes no sense to let him go." she said emphatically, leaving no doubt in Matt's mind that he had decided to fall in love with a horse that could never be his.

When Marsha called, almost a year later, Matt was surprised by her phone call and by the news that circumstances beyond her control, was forcing her to liquidate, to raise the cash she desperately needed. Matt didn't even wait a second to consider whether he should or shouldn't. Granted, the money Marsha was asking, was more money than he ever thought he would pay for a horse but the image of the red stallion, still burned in his heart and well, he had to have the horse. Matt accepted Marsha's offer.

So, now, having driven with his new trailer all day, to pick up his horse, Marsha was having second thoughts.  Matt was feeling anxious, as the dread filled him. "I am so confused Matt, one moment, I am convinced that this is what I need to do and then, a few seconds later, I no longer feel so strong in my conviction." He watched Marsha, as her face suddenly changed to a look of resolve, as if someone had whispered something into her ear, giving her strength.  Marsha drew in a very deep breath and said, "but then Matt, I thought of Maggie Iacovino and how her generosity made it possible for me to even get to this point, where I can significantly impact the life of another person, like Maggie had done for mine with Abby. She told me to pay it forward, so, Matt, he's yours, I want you to take him and help him to become the star he is destined to become. That is his destiny, to be nothing less than a star."

As Matt headed home, he was overwhelmed with happiness. He thought of the coming weekend and realized that Sunday was Mother's Day. Finally, the promise he had made to Darla, had come true. He couldn't think of a more appropriate time of year for this miracle to happen. Even through death, Darla continued to live victoriously and her dreams, now helped Matt to discover joy, when he felt he had none. Matt had found a new purpose, a new direction in his life. He felt lighter and happier than he had felt in a long time. The world suddenly felt more exciting and more hopeful. He was headed home with Darla's horse, the horse that Darla had once dreamed of owning and now, he would carry on for her, honor her, with a horse that she would have chosen and been proud of. "Happy Mother's Day Darla...I love you." Matt whispered, as a tear ran down his face.

Happy Mother's Day to all, both human and equine.