This is the 1938 RAS-bred mare, Ragia, the dam of Halima and granddam of *Ansata Ibn Halima, as photographed by Robert Earle Buchanan, a professor of Agriculture at Iowa State University, during one of his trips to Egypt in the mid-to-late forties. The photo is part of the Comar Arabians collection (Robert Earle Buchanan was Joe Buchanan's father), now held by Dick and Carolyn Hasbrook, of Twinbrook Arabians. This photo and many more (over 100 photos also taken by Mr. Buchanan) are found in the digital photo library, which is part of the new global online museum, Arabian Horse Archives.
Ragia was a daughter of the 1917 stallion, Ibn Rabdan (Rabdan el Azrak x Bint Gamila), the most important stallion in Egypt of his time. Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik admired the prepotency of this horse who passed on his dark chestnut color and longer neck consistently onto the foals he sired. Ibn Rabdan was used in the studs of Prince Kemal al-Dine, Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik, the RAS and the Inshass Stud.
Ragia was out of the mare, Farida (Saklawi II x Nadra El Saghira), who was bred by Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik and purchased by the RAS. Farida was the great-granddaughter of the Ali Pasha Sherif mare, El Dahma. Dr. Pesi J. Gazder, a geneticist, author, former President of the Arab Horse Society, and WAHO founder member, picked El Dahma as the most important Egyptian foundation mare of all time. In addition to Ragia, Farida produced the stallion Balance by Ibn Samhan, Bint Farida by Mansour and Futna by Shahloul.
What I found so interesting about this particular photo, as compared to the other photos that I have seen, is that Ragia was chestnut in body color, like her sire and if you believe in phenotype following color, she, like her sire was also robust, her body mass encased within round, curvey lines. Prior to discovering this photo, the only photos that I had ever seen of Ragia were not what I was expecting from an Ibn Rabdan daughter. The combination of Ibn Rabdan with Farida, two horses whose bodies, in appearance were comprised of circular lines, should have produced similarly, especially when combined together. So, I appreciate this photo, as here is the voluptuous mare that I had been looking for all these years! In addition, I noticed her strong and smooth top line, a neck that appears better set than in the previous photos, flowing out of a nicer wither, balanced with a strong hind end. She's lovely.
The Ragia daughter, Halima, by Sheikh el Arab, although bay in color and therefore, a little bit different from her dam, is consistent with her dam's overall sense of balance and conformational structure. Through knowing her maternal background, one can better understand her future, for when she was bred to Nazeer, the combination nicked well with the genetic power of Halima's sire, Sheikh el Arab, producing the classic stallion *Ansata Ibn Halima. Ragia remains a noteworthy and globally relevant mare in straight Egyptian breeding, primarily through *Ansata Ibn Halima but also through her granddaughter, Moheba (Sid Abouhom x Halima), a foundation mare for Marbach State Stud in Germany.
There's a sweet poem, written by Shahwan (the same Shahwan as in Dahman Shawan) included in Judith Forbis' Authentic Arabian Bloodstock, Volume I (the blue book). I can imagine Shahwan whispering these words into Ragia's ear, as he caresses her sleek and silky-soft neck.
I love you, O Dahmah
As if you were part of me
And my family,
And though there may be horses many
You are more to me
Than all the others.