05 December, 2021

Mare Power

Emira (Laheeb x Embra)


An email blast sent by Arabian Essence for the beautiful show mare, Belladonna AT (Wadee Al Shaqab x Om El Bellatrix), led me to Al Thumama's extraordinary website, which is where I found the above photo of the Laheeb daughter, Emira, out of the Monogramm daughter Embra. The power that is radiating from this mare's body is impressive and out of all the beautiful mares pictured on the mare page, it was this one photo that captured my attention. The elasticity in Emira's hocks, the generously muscled hindquarter and the ability to drive herself forward must be why someone was inspired to coin the phrase, "poetry-in-motion." The way in which Emira is using the muscling in her back and abdomen, allows her to move with a powerful and yet, a supple and free stride that many Arabian enthusiasts recognize as "floating." That moment of suspension, when the horse strikes off the ground and for a fraction of a second is airborne, remains fascinating to me, no matter how many times I see it. She's a beautiful mare, bred by Michalow Stud in Poland, who has won many prizes over a long halter career, beginning in 2001 when she was named the Polish National Junior Champion filly but for me, it's a single action photo, captured within one stride in a free-moving liberty session that makes her unforgettable.  I can't make out the photographer's signature in the photo, so I "googled" to see if I could learn the name of the photographer. 
Złota Nić (Emigrant x Zlota Orda)

And that's how I found the photo of the pure Polish Emigrant daughter, Zlota Nić, also bred by Michalow. If I thought that the elasticity of Emira's hocks is amazing, is there an English word to describe the feeling I experience when I see Zlota Nić? A 2005 mare, owned by Polia Arabians and sold to Morocco, she is a maternal granddaughter of Zagrobla, also a Monogramm daughter like Embra. Zlota Nić also uses her back well, as she drives herself powerfully forward like Emira. 
Taghira B (El Thay Mameluk x 211 Zohair-2)

And as it always happens for me, that is, one horse will remind me of yet another horse and in this case it is none other than the straight Egyptian Taghira B , a 1995 mare sired by El Thay Mameluk and out of the Zohair daughter, 211 Zohair-2, bred by The Babolna Stud. She is photographed by Gigi Grasso, who owned her together with Paolo Damilano of Alfabia Stud. We see the same type of movement in Taghira B, as we see in Emira and Złota Nić.

The late classical riding master, Egon von Neindorff, in his literary masterpiece, The Art of Classical Horsemanship, speaks of another book written by Lieutenant Colonel Otto de la Croix, published in 1902 and specifically a particular section which emphasizes the importance of the back, in helping a horse to move powerfully but in a supple manner. He wrote, "it is the hindquarter activity and primarily the back which resembles a feathering spring that builds an elastic bridge between the horse's forehand and hindquarters."  All three mares share common ground in their excellent use of the back muscles, naturally. The challenge, as it is with any horse, is to replicate the same movement, while balancing the added weight of a rider on her back. With the World Championships a week away, it is reason to  celebrate purebred Arabian horses who move like these mares do. It is poetry-in-motion.

***with many thanks to Arabian Essence.  You can't imagine what an email can do for people like me, in love with the Arabian Horse, as he exists, all over the world.*** 

22 November, 2021

Déjà vu


Simeon Sebedee, a 2006 stallion, sired by Imperial Madaar (Imperial Madheen x Ansata Nile Mist) and out of Simeon Sehavi (Asfour x Simeon Sheba) was shown over the weekend at the 24th Qatar National Arabian Championship. You will remember that I blogged about him in February. He was shown Friday night, in Class 14, Stallions 11 years and older. I stumbled upon his video, while writing yesterday's blog about Invictus. Last year at the 23rd Qatar National Arabian Championship (actually held in January, 2021 because of Covid), Simeon Sebedee had placed 2nd to Gazwan Al Nasser (Gazal Al Shaqab x Ftoon Al Shaqab) who also won the same class this year (24th Qatar National Championship). It's interesting to learn that 10 months later, even with 2 of the same judges (Tamas Rombauer & Tomasz Tarczynski), the results are similar and I still feel, despite showing signs of advancing age, that Simeon Sebedee, as he powerfully marches into the show ring, is the kind of horse who captures my attention and makes my hair stand on edge.

***with many thanks to Arabian Essence, for making these videos available on YouTube. You can't imagine what it does for people like me, in love with the Arabian Horse, as he exists, all over the world.*** 

21 November, 2021

UNCONQUERABLE

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." - Invictus, by William Ernest Henley (1849 - 1903)

It was this particular thumbnail that came up in my YouTube subscription feed. The expression and position of the horse's body speaks volumes without saying a word. Invictus has moved left, placing the outside of his body closer to his handler. In a situation where he is bombarded with new sights, scents and sounds, his comfort is with the person on the other end of the lead. It is within these moments, if you are paying attention, that one catches a glimpse of the unique intangible characteristics that define the Arab horse breed. So, I clicked and proceeded to watch Invictus, a 2014 stallion by Cavalli (DA Valentino x Aspyn) and out of Althea (Ajman Moniscione x Naama Della Vigna). 

The YouTube video is from Class 14, 7 - 9 year old stallions at the European Championships in Verona, Italy. A later email blast from Tutto Arabi would confirm that Invictus not only won his class; he was also named the 2021 European Champion Stallion. One can say that Invictus fulfilled the prophecy held within his name!

As I watched the video, I couldn't shake the feeling that Invictus has Egyptian blood coursing through his veins. A quick check of his pedigree confirmed my suspicion. He has almost 30% Egyptian blood. He has multiple crosses to Aswan (Nazeer x Yosreia) and Shaker El Masri (*Morafic x Zebeda) but he also carries lines to Egyptian horses like *Soufian, Dalul, Mohssen, Ruminaja Ali, Salaa El Dine, Mohafez, Halim Raquim, *Ibn Moniet el Nefous,  *Fadl and *Maaroufa, two of the horses that Henry Babson imported from Egypt in 1932. As I dug around looking for the sources of Egyptian blood, I slowly realized that Invictus also carries pockets of Spanish breeding, on both sides of his pedigree. As a matter of fact, his tail female line, through Amiranda (Algebi x Lagunita) runs through to Yeguada Militar breeding, ultimately reaching Farja I, a Hamdanieh Simrieh mare imported from the desert by the Yeguada Militar in 1908. She went on to found an important family in Spanish breeding. Combined with the multiple sources of *Estopa, A Fancy Miracle (the dam of Magnum Psyche) and the stallion AN Malik (Galero x Ispahan), Invictus carries almost 15% Spanish blood. In this day and age, when Spanish blood seems to be scarcely represented, I choose to celebrate every drop. 

I also found it interesting that he is linebred to the stallion, *Padron (Patron x Odessa) through his son, Padron's Psyche (out of Kilika), grandson Magnum Psyche (out of A Fancy Miracle) and daughter, Padron's Ghibli (out of Santana's Dalight). Invictus carries as much influence to *Padron, as he does in Spanish blood. You can see the *Padron influence expressed in his phenotype, although he bears a stronger resemblance to Padrons Psyche than *Padron himself, even down to his red chestnut coat color.

I learned that Luca Oberti, who showed Invictus, is also his breeder and owner and that, explains the connection between horse and man that I noticed throughout the video.  Naturally, a relationship is established with the horse, as a result of consistent training and handling. However, in this case, that relationship already existed between man and horse, as Invictus has known Luca Oberti all his life. One can say that the consistency of training and handling further deepened the relationship that was already in place. In the old days, the show ring included many owners who showed their own horses and very successfully too. I'm thinking of people like Stanley White, Bill Trapp, Paul Polk, Don Forbis and Sheila Varian, to name a few people off the top of my head. Watching Luca Oberti show his beautiful horse, as well as observing the trust and affection that Invictus has for Luca Oberti, remains a wonderful reminder of the way things used to be and how it can be again, if more owners got a little more hands on with their horses.

In the Al Adeed blog, I included a quotation that I read in Rania Elsayed's blog, which I feel is also applicable to Invictus, as it was the beauty that he holds inside which attracted and motivated me to click on his YouTube video:

"The most beautiful of horses which a horseman owns is a horse that embodies excellence in behavior and physical qualities, as our predecessors wrote."

 This quote remains like a compass for me, within a world that sometimes can be overwhelming and a bit confusing, by reminding me what is really important and in this case, it is a preference for those horses who possess the tangible and intangible characteristics unique to the Arabian horse breed. Many  congratulations to Luca Oberti and his team, for presenting such a wonderful horse to the world.

***with many thanks to Arabian Essence, for making these videos available on YouTube. You can't imagine what it does for people like me, in love with the Arabian Horse, as he exists, all over the world.*** 

20 November, 2021

Apple Hill Angel

Apple Hill Angel (Ansata El Nisr x Rose Halima) as photographed by Judith Wich

Apple Hill Angel was a 1981 grey mare, not straight Egyptian, as she traced through her maternal great granddam, Kadorzah (Kahar x Dorzah) to non-Egyptian but Al Khamsa recognized horses bred by Paula Fatjo, Albert Harris, WR Brown, the Van Vleet Arabian Stud, Hernan Ayerza and the Hamidie Society, among others. The majority of Egyptian influence in Apple Hill Angel's genetic fiber came by way of her sire, Ansata El Nisr, an *Ansata Ibn Halima son out of *Ansata Bint Zaafarana. Her dam, Rose Halima was a paternal sibling to Ansata El Nisr, as she was also sired by *Ansata Ibn Halima. The influence that *Ansata Ibn Halima exerts upon Apple Hill Angel is 50%, a percentage usually attributable to a sire and not a grand sire. I feel that his influence is unmistakable, as you study the phenotype of this beautiful mare.

The stallion, Hallany Mistanny (*Zarife x *Roda), although bred by General Dickinson of Travelers Rest, was by and out of, horses bred by Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik. Hallany Mistanny is the sire of San Luis Rose of Zarife, the dam of Rose Halima. Hallany Mistanny's sire, *Zarife, appears again in the pedigree as the sire of Dorzah, the dam of Kadorzah (the dam of San Luis Rose of Zarife). However, if you look at the pedigree of Croisedore, the dam of Dorzah, she is sired by the stallion *Nasr, another stallion bred by Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik. The interesting relationship between *Zarife and *Nasr is the mare, Bint Yamama. She is *Nasr's dam and she is the maternal great-granddam of *Zarife! This is the same dam line that we find in the pedigree of *Fadl and *Maaroufa, both imported by Henry Babson from Egypt in 1932. I think it is clever to intensify this wonderful damline, through multiple sources of the same blood: *Zarife, *Roda and *Nasr.

Kahar (Katar x Niht) brings in more Egyptian blood through Gulastra (*Astraled x Gulnare), the sire of Katar. The mare Niht, the dam of Katar is the great grandaughter of a mare named Nonliker, a daughter of the Dahman Shahwan stallion bred by Ali Pasha Sherif and sold to the Blunts.

In 1983, Apple Hill Angel went to the Egyptian Event and was shown in the 2-year old Filly Futurity class which she easily won. I guess the success she achieved in Kentucky inspired her owners to show the mare in the more competitive world of main ring halter, despite that the venue was dominated at that time by the Polish and Russian horses. The photo above, taken by Judith Wich, appeared in the leading breed magazines of the day. Whenever I hear Apple Hill Angel's name, this is the image that immediately  pops in my head. I was so happy to find the photo on line, as it is one of my favorites.

Unfortunately, Apple Hill Angel did not produce any offspring, as she died while she was still a young horse. Her dam was bred to Ansata El Nisr and produced the full siblings: Apple Hill Ahkita in 1976, Apple Hill Atari in 1978, Apple Hill Aclsic in 1980 and AppleHillAzourrak in 1982. Apple Hill Aclsic produced a filly in 1990 by RG Joshua (Alcibiades x Faaraa), while AppleHillAzourrak has sired a number of horses, furthering the influence of this family  farther in the world.