14 November, 2018

Dahmah Shahwaniah: A Love Story

In the mid-60's, *Ansata Ibn Halima went to Gleannloch Farms to be shown and also, to breed the mares that the Marshalls had already imported from Egypt, before *Morafic arrived in America. In Judith Forbis' charming book, The Gift; she writes in the voice of her horse, touching upon the relationship that *Ansata Ibn Halima shared with one of the Egyptian Gleannloch show mares, *Bint Maisa El Saghira (Nazeer x Maisa): "My favorite traveling companion was Bint Maisa El Saghira, who often told me to calm down and relax. She became a very stabilizing influence during my show career. A tall bay mare beloved for her beauty and charm, she won admirers wherever she went. She too collected many halter championships as well as performance championships in English pleasure. Together we were wonderful ambassadors for the Egyptian Arabian horse because we were kind, handsome and athletic." Dahmah Shahwaniah was the result of the affection that both horses shared for each other. I don't think a greater love story exists in any breed, let alone the Arabian breed, across all bloodlines. Like her parents, Dahmah Shahwaniah was a very sweet, gentle and kind mare. I met her at Bentwood, well before the dispersal of the horses via the Sotheby sale, when she and her son, Ibn Dahmahn were sold to Count Federico. An aged mare, she was still pretty and one of my favorites at Bentwood, not so much for how she looked but rather, she had one of the best temperaments that I had ever encountered, in any horse, up until that point in my life. Dahmah Shahwaniah was physically, very Dahmah in her appearance and it made sense to me to breed her to a concentrated Saqlawi horse, like TheEgyptianPrince, who would nick well with her, producing what my friend Oliver Wibihal called "Dahmah Shahwaniah's masterpiece" - AK Nawaal. Her German-born son by Maysoun, Authentic Ibn Nawaal, bred by Rosi Kolster, was recently purchased from Al Waab Stud in Qatar and imported to the United States. Dahmah Shahwaniah was bred a second time to TheEgyptianPrince, producing a full sister to AK Nawaal named Dahmah Reshan, the dam of the stallion, Ali Reshan, by Ruminaja Ali.

10 November, 2018


When I look into your eyes so dark, 
I see the fierceness of your soul
It's there, behind your eyes
in the place I am afraid to look
I feel the heat of your fire
and it burns
until all that is left 
is a beauty so savage,
it overwhelms me
Joy rises in my heart,
like Niagara Falls
it tumbles from my lips
and quenches my thirst 
While my eyes remain fixed, 
on the fierceness of your soul.

                      ---- Fierce, written by Ralph Suarez, 2018

***the straight Egyptian mare *Malekat El Gamal (Waseem x Nagdia) is pictured

18 May, 2015


*Farazdac was born in Egypt, in February 1966, bred by the EAO. He is an Alaa el Din son out of Farasha (Sid Abouhom x Yosreia). *Farazdac was exported from Egypt in 1974 by Rick Heber together with Bill & Janet Lowe; the same team of people responsible for the importation of *Tuhotmos. *Farazdac sired a record number of horses, approximately 461 horses from 1974 to 1991. Of this total number, 417 horses were purebreds. It is interesting to note that *Farazdac started to sire Half-Arabians in 1980, with most of these horses born between the years of 1984 and 1987 (1985 and 1986 the banner years for Half-Arabian versions of *Farazdac). However, do you know that less than 25% of the 417 purebred horses were straight Egyptian (approximately 96 horses)? That’s only twice the number of the Half-Arabian horse count! Why was the reaction among SE breeders so poor for *Farazdac? I have always tried to understand the answer to this question and failed. Maybe because I have been looking for one definitive answer and really, there is no clear cut answer. *Farazdac was one of the most beautiful stallions to ever come out of Egypt. He was so striking, so different, from the horses of his day and no one captured his beauty like photographer Polly Knoll. Her pictures of *Farazdac to this day, remain some of my most favorite photos. You can't even imagine the impact these photos had on a kid who dreamed about horses all day long. In an interview with Desert Heritage Magazine, Polly Knoll said, “He is another horse that was very ethereal like Morafic. He had that same fine skin and clean sculpted bone structure. He was a bit taller than Morafic, with longer legs. He was an energetic horse but he was very nice in disposition and easy to work with. He was very kind. Also he could really move.” One of the qualities that breeders did not appreciate in *Farazdac was his narrowness or rather, a perceived lack of substance. Although*Farazdac was built like a racehorse, he had a long distance runner's conformation. He was elegant, in the same way that you would find an athlete elegant, especially when moving. There was a cat-like grace in every one of *Farazdac's strides. In silhouette, *Farazdac had a radiator-shaped body, long and lean, the kind of body that may have suggested endurance racing potential. I will never forget what Hansi Heck Melnyk said about the horse, “I wish you had seen Farazdac as I did in Cairo. He just came back from his ‘winning’ race, absolutely breathtaking gorgeous. Prancing, like if he had just walked around the block. He had a beautiful long and well befitting to his body neck, elegant, and clean. There was also something very regal about him." As beautiful and eye-catching as he was, *Farazdac’s head was longer and more narrow, with average-sized eyes, set higher in the head. In the age of horses like *Ansata Ibn Halima, with his large and lustrous eyes, set lower in the head, *Farazdac was completely opposite and breeders wanted more horses like *Ansata Ibn Halima. In the Hanan book, Dr. Nagel said that Alaa El Din was a good sire of broodmares but not of stallions. He believed that Alaa El Din never produced a son who was an equal or who emerged as an important sire in the EAO breeding program. Most breeders in this time period also felt like Dr. Nagel about the Alaa el Din sons. Even if a stallion were successful in the first generation, most breeders felt that any prepotency would diminish in the second or third generation. *Farazdac sired a wonderful son named Ikhnatoon in 1974, who remains his most influential son, impacting the EAO program significantly, which has in turn, influenced the breeding programs of private breeders in and out of Egypt. Ikhnatoon, in turn sired Adl (out of the Adaweya daughter, Enayah) who also became an important sire for the EAO breeding program. So, in terms of the Egyptian get tracing back to *Farazdac, Dr. Nagel’s statement is not only wrong; it is not fair to *Farazdac or even, Alaa el Din. In America, mention must be made of some of the wonderful daughters he sired, especially with the horses of the Maar-Ree family of horses, which appeared to combine well with *Farazdac (Robert & Jeanne Middleton, of Midcrest Farm, the home of Maar-Ree, also owned *Farazdac later in his life): Fasarra, foaled in 1980 out of the *Tuhotmos daughter, Massara, when bred to El Halimaar, produced the popular stallion, Richter MH. Rancho Bulakenyo also bred Mumtaz Ree, a *Farazdac daughter out of MFA Bint Maarree. Her daughter, Bint El Halimaar MH remains at Rancho Bulakenyo, while Mumtaz Ree returned to the country of her ancestors, to become part of the program at Yasmine & Ali's Shaarawi Arabians in Egypt. Bint Farazdac, when bred to The Egyptian Prince son (out of RDM Maar Halima) produced SH Say Anna. This mare produced two Ansata mares: Ansata Aniq (sired by Ansata Manasseh) and Ansata Anna Maria (sired by Ansata Hejazi). Donna Aldrich owned a pretty *Farazdac daughter, RG Desert Storm (out of the Pritzlaff mare, Desert Song RSI). In closing, I want to believe that even with the few number of SE offspring, *Farazdac remains a vibrant horse in our genepool, because his get and his grand get and his great grand get have been prolific and contrary to the popular belief that Alaa el Din sons were not prepotent. What do you think?

21 April, 2015

Thettwa Ezzain - The New Black Stallion

"His small ears were pricked, catching the strange sounds from the other animals. His fine head was held high. His every sense was alert. Every muscle, every sinew was ready to be unleashed with the power and swiftness of a coiled steel spring. The Black was all horse." - from The Horse Tamer by Walter Farley.
This young stallion is Thettwa Ezzain, bred by Mr. Usamah Alkazemi, of the world famous Ezzain Arabians, a fabulous breeding farm located in Kuwait. His sire is NK Qaswarah (NK Hafid Jamil x NK Nariman) and his dam is Albaheiah Ezzain (Nooreddine Ezzain x NK Nakeebya). I love the shape and length of Thettwa's neck, which has a beautiful underline and when meets the head, the angle adds length to the poll. His lines are actually circular, very smooth and flow gracefully into each other. There is harmony and balance present in the horse we see. He has longer, muscled forearms and short cannon bones, which are becoming increasingly more difficult to find these days. He is compact, with a smooth and strong top line, balanced below with a well-sprung rib cage. He is very correct. 

Have you ever heard the saying, "let the sire of the sire be the grandsire of the dam?" In the early 1950's, Lloyd Brackett, one of the founding fathers of the German Shepherd dog in the United States, popularized a long known breeding formula, used in breeding everything from Thoroughbred race horses to Holstein cattle to prize winning sheep. Lloyd Bracket did much to clear the confusion and misunderstanding of line and inbreeding and in the process, he bred over 90 champions. So this saying, "Let the sire of the sire be also the maternal grandsire of the dam" is forever known as Brackett's formula. In the pedigree of Thettwa Ezzain, the stallion, NK Hafid Jamil is the sire of Thettwa's sire, as well as the grandsire of Albaheiah Ezzain, Thettwa's dam. 

When I visited Ezzain Arabians four years ago, I realized that my favorite horses all shared common ground in Ansata AlMurtajiz. A son of Ansata Hejazi out of Ansata Samsara, it was not important whether Murtajiz appeared as a sire, grandsire or even great-grandsire; what became more important to me is the presence of Ansata AlMurtajiz in the pedigree. In Thettwa's pedigree, Ansata AlMurtajiz is the sire of Nooreddine, the sire of Albaheiah. I value Murtajiz's influence and the qualities he passes onto his get, most notably the size and shape of the skull and the placement of the ears, as well as the structure of the eye socket which enables these horses to possess some of the most beautiful eyes seen in the breed: very black, luminous and very large, set lower in the head. 

When I saw the dam of Thettwa, Albaheiah Ezzain, for the first time, I felt like someone had hit me and all the air was driven out of me. I felt light-headed and feared the embarrassment of fainting in the presence of men whom I had never met before. I had traveled thousands of miles to see her and I was not disappointed, as she was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined her to be. I had to get closer and look at her, I could no longer remain seated. While Thettwa is black as the night, Albaheiah is as radiant white as sunshine falling on new fallen snow. She is a taller mare with much substance but very refined, graceful and elegant. She has very fine, black skin which accentuates every line, every curve in her fabulous body. Her muzzle is very much like her paternal grandsire with elastic nostrils that become enormous, while moving. She is smooth and strong over her top line and her tail carriage is extreme, with the tail carried like a flag, away from her body. Most people dream of horses that look like Albaheiah does and unfortunately, never meet them. I am one of the luckier people who can say that I not only saw a horse like this once but meeting her was so profound, that I cannot continue to look at horses in the same way. As beautiful as Albaheiah is, one must stop to acknowledge her very interesting pedigree and the close relationship between the stallion, Nooreddine Ezaain and the mare, NK Nakeebya, her sire and dam. Albaheiah, through both her sire and dam, traces to the mare Nashua, a Salaa el Dine-sired daughter out of Lotfeia, who also became an important broodmare for Katharinenhof, having produced the stallion Nejdy as well as Nashua. Both Nooreddine and Nakeebya are grand progeny of Nashua, as Nooreddine is out of the Nashua daughter named Nada (by Adnan) and Nakeebya is out of the Nashua daughter named Nabilah (by Nahaman). To further underscore how closely related Nooreddine and Nakeebya are, both sires of the Nashua daughters, Nahaman and Adnan, are also Salaa el Dine sons. Nahaman is out of Ameera (Madkour I x Hanan), while Adnan is out of Ghazala (Ghazal x Hanan). Hanan is common ground for both horses.The difference between Nahaman and Adnan comes down to only two horses-Madkour and Ghazal. And with Ghazal being the sire of Moheba II, the dam of Madkour I, is there really a difference genetically between these two horses?

Going back to Lloyd Brackett and his breeding theories, he understood the value of using high quality dogs who were related to each other. He understood very clearly the type he wanted to reproduce in his dogs and by concentrating  genes and exercising very strict selection, he could breed the traits he desired with much consistency. He was not fond of outcrossing and he said, "Never outcross when things seem to be going well, do it only as an experiment or when some fault or faults cannot be eliminated." While Lloyd Brackett was focused on breeding his own unique strain of German Shepherd dogs; Usamah Alkazemi is equally passionate about breeding the most beautiful Arabian horses.

Another point that I would like to add is NK Qaswarah's ability to sire color. This is a significant point. While he is gray in color and even when bred to gray mares, he has produced a good number of bay-colored horses and like Thettwa, the more elusive black color. Thettwa is one of three black horses at Ezzain, the other two horses are Ekramilbari and Alttafilbari. In everything we know about the Bedouin, we understand that the Bedouins preferred darker colored horses over lighter colored horses and of the dark colors, the black horse was their favorite, followed by the dark bay and then, the dark chestnut. The black horse was so highly regarded by the Bedouin that only the Sheikhs rode the black horses. 

Thettwa is the best of his dam, enhanced by the unique qualities of his sire. Even with that said, it is challenging to look at this horse and not recognize the impact made by Ansata AlMurtajiz and just maybe, even farther back in the pedigree, the legendary sire, *Ansata Ibn Halima. Thettwa, in my personal opinion is very much like him, especially in the outline or silhouette of his body. Over the years, we have been taught to recognize this phenotype as Dahman by the scholars of our breed, most notably, Carl Raswan and Judith Forbis. Perhaps the multiple sources of Dahman blood in the pedigree have something to do with this? Although he is a Hadban strain horse by pedigree, Thettwa is the ultimate representation of the Dahman horse, in very modern form. 

12 May, 2014


Farrada is a 1986 stallion bred and owned by Marge Rose Klasek. He is a son of Ibn Farah and out of Princess Parada. His tail female is to Dajania, a mare bred by Mohammed Pascha, a Turcoman Chief and  imported by the Blunts in 1878. His pedigree is representative of multiple crosses of the Crabbet-bred stallion, *Raffles with older desert-bred lines like the Davenport horse *Hamrah and the Hamidie Society war mare, *Wadduda. But really, it is not fair to just mention *Raffles, as this horse was a son of Skowronek and combined with the other Skowronek sired get in the pedigree like Raseyn; Farrada has approximately 55 lines to Skowronek! Closer up, you can spot names of the superstars of our breed like Ferzon, Indraff, Azraff, Gai Parada, Dunes, Gamaar, all horses who are representative of the golden era of Arabian horse breeding and showing in the United States of America. This was the time period of breeders like Frank McCoy, Dan Gainey, Jimmie Dean and Bazy Tankersley.
Farrada presents an extraordinary picture of ultimate Arabian horse type, embodying the unique characteristics that are recognized and cherished as hallmarks of the breed. At first glance, one is overwhelmed with the overall balance of this horse. Then, it would have to be the scope this horse presents in all of his 15 hands. He is impressive. His breeder says, "Everyone goes nuts when they see him in person.  He is not that big but throws size. He is a rare CMK stallion and a classic Arabian type. . He doesn't act or look his age and still gets excited when his daughter comes in heat. Would love to see more babies by him."
A closer look at this horse and it is in the details, that one finds abounding elegance and grace. The pigmentation of Farrada's skin is amazing. His skin is jet black with no pink spots and serves a dramatic contrast to his sparkling white coat. The quality of his skin is so amazingly thin, that it accentuates the prominence of the bones in his face, as well as the veins.
His eyes are of a very nice shape, larger, fully black, set lower in the head with so much width between them. The width of the facial crest bone is also very wide. This is the area below the eye and right the jowl. The Bedouin believed that the wider this flat area is, the more authentic the horse. His nostrils are elastic, clean and of a beautiful shape. His ears are short with a beautiful shape, ending in sharp points.  His neck is beautiful, with much length and set well on his powerful shoulders, connecting with the head to form a fine mitbah. It reminds me of a Homer Davenport quotation, "The neck is a model of strength and forms a perfect arch that matches the arch of the tail."
When I look at Farrada's pictures, I am reminded of what Jimmie Dean once said about Dan Gainey's breeding program, "He established quality and refinement as the Gainey trademark. He fixed a type." In Farrada, those words, said so long ago, ring true. He is a living celebration of all the treasured qualities one can find in the Gainey-bred horse.

27 April, 2014

Ansata Halim Shah: The Standard of Balance

I think this is my favorite photo, taken by Jerry Sparagowski, of Ansata Halim Shah (*Ansata Ibn Halima x Ansata Rosetta). What do you notice in this photo? For me, there is so much going on. It is immediately apparent that he was a most balanced horse. Ansata Halim Shah was a horse whose overall structure was one of uninterrupted smoothness. The outline or rather, the silhouette of Ansata Halim Shah was comprised of circular lines, creating an equality of body that is harmonious, elegant and graceful. There are no sharp angles, there are no abrupt interruptions to redirect lines that are gently flowing from one, into the next. He was not a horse of bits and pieces, rather, Ansata Halim Shah was a living sum of all his parts. Nothing was too short or too long; everything was perfectly suited for his body. For many, this horse is so special and for me personally, he is the standard, against which all horses are measured. Ansata Halim Shah will always be a timeless representative of classic Arabian Horse type. He continues to be relevant in the present day. If Nazeer was historically significant as a catalyst for modern Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding, then Ansata Halim Shah is critically significant for revolutionizing classic breed type, by underscoring the crucial need for balance.

In Lady Wentworth's AUTHENTIC ARABIAN HORSE, she speaks of balance:
"Many men worry more about measurements than type, and are lost without their inch tape and their measuring standard....An 'eye' for a horse is a gift like an ear for music. It is a sense of proportion and harmony and co-relation, the power to balance the points at a glance."
Judi Forbis, his breeder and his owner, described Ansata Halim Shah as
"one of those special horses from the day he was born. He was extreme of type, as one would expect of his unique linebreeding to the very classic Nazeer daughters, *Ansata Bint Mabrouka and *Ansata Bint Bukra, as well as being sired by the Nazeer son, *Ansata Ibn Halima. Halim Shah has always been an individual. He is smart, bold, and carries himself with elegance and grace."
And a majority of people seemed to have agreed with Judi, as Ansata Halim Shah was a 1983 United States Top Ten Futurity Colt and a 1983 World Reserve Junior Champion Stallion at the Salon Du Cheval, where he was spotted by Dr. Hans Joachim Nagel. Later, Ansata Halim Shah would travel to Germany, to Katharinenhof and dramatically influence Egyptian Arabian Horse breeding in Europe, and from there, all over the world. Dr. Nagel, in his Hanan book speaks about the Ansata influence:
"The most desired attributes of the Ansata stallion are a superbly laid-back shoulder, and ideal croup and the ability, so rarely found in Egyptian stallions, to sire stallions and mares of equal quality."
Take for example a child, who has learned to color between the lines in his coloring book. His hands have filled the black-lined outline with a vibrancy of color that the lines cannot contain anymore. So, the color spills out, influencing other empty pages with equal vibrancy and fullness and yet, possessing a loyalty to the colors that one sees. Ansata Halim Shah is like that page in a child's coloring book. He remains relevant through his progeny and particularly through his sons who are hauntingly familiar. One cannot look at a horse like Al Adeed Al Shaqab or Thaqib Al Nasser and miss the unmistakeable Ansata Halim Shah look. Again from Lady Wentworth's work:
"It is always," Said Gayot, "the best shaped horse that is most consistently successful; a good sire is almost always beautiful."
Enjoy your horses,

11 April, 2014

The Essence of Imperial Mistilll

I am grateful that there was a horse like Imperial Mistilll. How many people did she influence around the world? I saw her the last time, winter 2004. For me, it was pure delight and pure magic, to be in her presence. Like standing in the sun light, on a cold day and feeling warm. I felt good. She made me feel better. To this day, I won't forget how she let me stand next to her, while she sniffed every part of my person. I was important enough to Mistilll, that I mattered and she wanted to know who I was and what I was all about. She filled me with happiness, down to the tips of my toes and my soul sang, all the way home. She was kind, gentle and she was everything that I expected. Little did I know that this visit, would be the last. This is a somewhat bizarre time in my life, as all the great horses of my youth are disappearing. I realized that there might be some people who are not familiar with Mistilll and the horses in her lineage. The mare that founded this family at Ansata Arabian Stud is Falima, sired by *Ansata Ibn Halima and out of the Babson mare, FaHabba (a first generation daughter of the 1932 Babson Egyptian imports: *Fadl x *Bint Bint Sabbah). Falima is the dam of important broodmares, like for example, Ansata Nile Mist, who went on to found an important family at Imperial (when bred to Dr. Nagel's *Jamilll, produced Imperial Mistill, who in turn produced horses like Imperial Kamill and Imperial Saturn). When I walked the broodmare barn at Imperial, I discovered the young grey mare, Imperial Baarilllah, by Imperial Baarez and out of Imperial Mistilll. She was stunning and I knew, in the moment that I found her, that Imperial Mistilll will never be that far away.

Enjoy your horses,