29 June, 2024

A Little Something about Pride

I'm really loving Arabian Insider's new video of Al Ghanayim's Razan Al-Rayah (Bahhei Ezzain x Rana Al-Rayah). This exquisite black filly, an Abeyyah, is sired by a stallion I once knew, Bahhei Ezzain. I also knew his sire, the "dream maker" NK Qaswarah and his dam, Dhuha Al Nakeeb. So, for me, while initially a moment of surprise; the video inspires an overwhelming array of feelings for horses, people and the times shared with them. And yet, at the center of it all is pride, similar to how you feel when you attend an event  which celebrates the achievement of someone you are connected with. To realize just who Razan Al-Rayah is and to whose origin story she is part of, is also bittersweet. While Mr. Usamah Alkazemi's absence from the community of straight Egyptian Arabian horse breeding is still greatly felt, his death is not final, as his dreams are very much alive and  continue forward, as we see in this filly. 
Bahhei Ezzain (NK Qaswarah x Dhuha AlNakeeb), as photographed by Jennifer Ogden
Bahhei Ezzain, the sire of Razal Al-Rayah, is a 2010 stallion, bred by the late Mr. Usamah Alkazemi of Ezzain Arabians, Kuwait and now owned by Ms. Nayla Hayek of Hanaya Arabian Stud. He is a son of the paternal siblings, NK Qaswarah and Dhuha AlNakeeb, both horses sired by NK Hafid Jamil. In phenotype, Bahhei is strongly influenced by his dam, more so than his sire. 
Dhuha Alnakeeb (NK Hafid Jamil x Sabha Bint Ibn Halima), photographed by Jennifer Ogden 
Dhuha, bred by Mr. Hassanain Al Nakeeb,  phenotypically, exemplifies the type we have learned to associate with the Dahman strain. She has expressive black eyes, larger nostrils and finely shaped ears which, together with a thicker, longer black forelock, intensifies the dramatic look and appeal of a desert horse. She took my breath away. What is especially interesting about Dhuha is that her maternal grandam, SY Kalila, is double Bint Nefisaa, the dam of El Hilal. She traces to Bint Nefisaa in the tail female line of her sire, Ruminaja Attallah and her dam, Katourah. The dam of Bint Nefisaa is the Balance daughter, Nefisa. In addition to producing Bint Nefisaa, who figures prominently not only through El Hilal but also through her daughters Negmaa and Nourah (both mares appear in Dhuha's pedigree), Nefisa also produced by El Sareei, the mare Bint Nefisa who became an important foundation broodmare for Richard Pritzlaff, of Rancho San Ignacio. Nefisa also produced Fayza by Nazeer, (Fayza is the dam of Ramses Fayek), Nadja, who  produced Noha by Hadban Enzahi, the dam of the celebrated mare, RN Farida. This is the powerful legacy that exists within the genetic fiber of Dhuha's pedigree.  It is also interesting to consider that the high percentage of Farida blood, as found through the Halima and Nefisa lines, is balanced by the multiple lines to Bukra, via Ghazal and Ansata Rosetta. This is a significant point to underscore, as the majority of Bahei’s pedigree includes the influence of the two most important mares of the Dahman strain. 

When I was last in Kuwait, I had the opportunity to visit Rayah Al- Sharg Farm. I'm grateful to Mr. Ala'a Al-Roomi (Al Rayah) and Mr. Talal Al-Nesef (Al Sharg) for their hospitality and incredible generosity. It is because of these two amazing men, that I got to meet Ansata AlMurtajiz, an experience which changed my life forever. While my memory of the time spent visiting Rayah Al-Sharg is mainly focused upon this horse; I do remember their 2004 Ansata Hejazi son, Wadhah Al-Sharg (out of Mouna Al Rayyan), and Reem Al-Rayah, also by Ansata Hejazi and out of the gorgeous mare, Gazalah (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Nejdia). These are the "parents" of Rana Al-Rayah, the dam of the filly.
From Rayah Al-Sharg's Farm brochure, photos by Gigi Grasso
Through Gazalah, the Abeyyan matriline traces back through the revered Aisha to the Gazal daughter, Ghazala and then, Hanan, now a globally influential mare within the world of straight Egyptian breeding and a critically important mare in the Ezzain breeding program too. Combined with the blood of her paternal grandsire NK Qaswarah, who shares the same matriline; the Abeyyah influence is expressed in the self-carriage of this 3 year old filly. I'm proud of the far reaching influence of the Ezzain breeding program.

***Many thanks to Arabian Insider for the video surprise of Razan Al-Rayah. If you only knew how many times your videos have not only inspired me but encouraged me to keep going, to keep dreaming. I feel like thank you is a weak thing to say, in return for all you have given me, through the power of your video features and Podcast.***

15 June, 2024

Eyes, Souls and Horses

*Ecaho (*Pepton x Etruria) as photographed by Anette Mattsson

Bred by Janow Podlaski and foaled in 1990, *Ecaho was sired by *Pepton, whose dam Pemba, was out of Penza (a Piewica daughter), sired by Czort (Wielki Szlem x Forta), one of Poland's top racehorses and sire of *El Paso, *Sambor and *Czortan, among others.  Why is Piewica important? Piewica was a 1953 mare, bred by the Tersk Stud, and exported to the Albigowa Stud, where she stayed, until the farm closed and then, was sent to Janow Podlaski, where she became one of the most important mares in the breeding program and foundress of the beloved "P" line of horses, like *Penicylina, Pilarosa and yes, Pianissima, that "P" line.  

Do you know that *Ecaho was approximately 20% Egyptian in blood? Etruria, his dam, was a daughter of Palas, who was 75% Egyptian, being a son of Aswan (Nazeer x Yosreia) out of the Nil (Sid Abouhom x Malaka) daughter, Panel. You will remember that Nil was known in Egypt as Azmi, before he was exported to Russia. 

*Ecaho was also of the celebrated Ibrahim sire line: 


and in phenotype, was representative of the type we associate with horses of the Saklawi strain. However, it is very interesting that *Ecaho traces in his tail female line back to Woloszka, an 1810 mare foaled at Slawuta Stud and foundress of the Polish female family #10. Dr. Edward Skorkowski only classified Woloszka as Saklawi, because she embodied the characteristics of the strain to the highest degree. Why is this important? Authentic Saklawi horses are all about length, that is, longer heads, longer necks, longer legs, longer back and *Ecaho, like Woloszka, was loyal to the strain, as this horse was blessed with an amazing amount of scope. Visually, *Ecaho was a celebration for the eyes, as correct conformation and classic Arabian horse type formed a harmonious union. A Polish National Champion stallion, *Ecaho is also the son of national champions, as his sire *Pepton was a Polish National Champion stallion and his dam, Etruria, was a Polish National Champion mare.  

*Ecaho was an important and consistent sire of daughters. He sired handsome sons like Skoroneek IA but it is through his daughters that *Ecaho has and continues to exercise an impact. Think of his beautiful daughter, Emanda (out of the *Eukaliptus daughter, Emanacja). She in turn, when bred to Gazal Al Shaqab, produced the beloved mare, Emandoria. Some of my favorite crosses using *Ecaho, were with the *Eukaliptus daughters like for example, Esklawa, who produced Esturia. And with strong Kuhaylan type horses, *Ecaho sired mares like Palmetta and Alhambra (out of *Fawor-sired mares). 

 *Ecaho, whose very name honors the European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations, is one of those horses, very few in number, whose appeal is not only universal, his appeal builds bridges and now, since his passing, propels his memory into the consciousness of a diverse group of enthusiasts, regardless of breeding program or preferred bloodlines.

There is a Polish saying, "A man without a horse, is like a body without a soul."  *Ecaho gives truth to this statement. Without him, our souls would have been so much poorer. With him, our souls were enriched and deeply blessed. 

14 June, 2024

A Song of Carmagnole

*Carmagnole(*Camargue x Sa'lilah) 
Someone recently posted this photo online, of the stallion, *Carmagnole, a *Camargue son out of the Crabbet mare, Sa'lilah. Instantly, I felt the pain of an old wound re-open. My dear friend Gari, how much do I miss you. I don't remember when I first met the late Gari Dill-Marlow, because in her company, it really felt like I had known her forever. She was familiar, in the same way that a beloved relative is familiar and cherished for it. I think I remember reading messages that she had written in a public internet forum, under the moniker, "Deputy Horse". That was classic Gari and a small example of her delightful sense of humor. Her knowledge of the breed and its history, on the other hand, was vast and so deeply thorough, encompassing all bloodlines. I just had to meet this mysterious "equine deputy". In her company, whether in person, by phone or via email, we could always pick up on our last conversation, no matter how much time had passed.  I really miss her, and as the years pass by, I only feel her absence more strongly. 
Rosemary Archer with Sa'lilah (Silver Flame x Sunset)

Gari had leased Rosemary Archer's Sa'lilah (Silver Flame x Sunset) for breeding and bred her to the stallion, *Carmargue, hoping for a filly.  Sa'lilah, foaled in 1977, was an elite broodmare, having already produced the stallions, Sa'ika and Seffer plus the mare Sema [all 3 by Prince Saraph (Samson x Princess Alia)]. Bred to Silver Scimitar (Bright Shadow x Silver Grey) she produced Seyad; while bred to Silver Blue (Azrak x Silver Sheen), she produced Shail. The opportunity to breed Sa'lilah and to incorporate her blood within her program was super important to Gari.  The stallion, Silver Flame, Sa'lilah's sire, was a  maternal grandson of Silver Vanity, a Silver Gilt son.  Sa'lilah's dam, Sunset, was a Silver Gilt daughter. That's double Silver Gilt and that of her dam, Silver Fire (Naseem x Somra), one of the most beautiful mares ever bred by Crabbet and foundress of the celebrated  Silver line. There's also 2 crosses to Naziri, the 1925 Skowronek son out of Nasra, whom Gari was especially fond of. She considered Naziri to be Skowronek's most important son, more so than his full brother, Naseem. To intensify the concentration of Naziri, there are 7 additional lines to Nasra (Daoud x Nefisa), Naziri's dam. That's what I mean about Gari, she just had that ability to make you see and understand things so differently than you had previously believed. 

Had Sa'lilah foaled a filly, Gari had every intention of eventually breeding her to the Dutchess of Rutland's stallion, Silvern Idyll (Masjid x Silvern Dream).

*Carmagnole (*Camargue x Sa'lilah)

Instead, a tall, leggy and magnificent bay colt was born, whom she named *Carmagnole (pronounced as carmen-yule). Although *Carmagnole sired a daughter, Caelilly Rose (x WN Sharazada), *Carmagnole had very poor semen, approximately 10% motility. At the time, Gari was boarding *Carmagnole and because she had recently purchased *Rushan, she was trying to reduce her monthly horse expenses, in favor of *Rushan. *Carmagnole had been raced in England and had been shown at the British Nationals. Gari knew of my love for dressage and believed in *Carmagnole's ability to be the kind of partner I needed for the discipline. Gari offered *Carmagnole to me, on one condition, that I geld him and show him. 

He was a huge horse, 16 hands and possessing a spectacular temperament (he loved to lick people, it was his favorite thing to do). At the time, with three small children, a sales career that involved commuting to NYC, I was afraid to take on such a responsibility but *Carmagnole could be the perfect Arabian horse to help me realize my USDF dreams. Tentatively, I accepted Gari's offer and started to contact shipping companies for the transport of *Carmagnole to New Jersey from California. However, about a week or so later, Gari called me with the tragic news. *Carmagnole had colicked and tragically, died.  I grieved over the loss of all that Gari had told me about him but I felt worse for Gari. Despite her unflappable spirit, it was a setback for her that she could not save him.  She was that kind of person. Whatever she set out to do, she was victorious in her ability to carry it out. Gari loved *Carmagnole and there was no doubt in my mind that she would not offer such a wonderful horse to just anybody. I am honored to have shared a friendship with Gari and that she chose to trust me with such an incredible horse as *Carmagnole. I can't even come close to capturing with words, the gratitude that I feel, all because of "Arabdom's" finest lady.

09 June, 2024

Step it Up

I saw him, from a distance, as he stood under the canopy of a large shade tree, near where the trail splits in two. I was on my way out of the woods, he was heading in. He was a fit, older man, leaning against the trunk of the tree. Was something wrong? He didn't appear to be in distress. I kept walking, while my right hand reached around and felt the corner of my cell phone, sticking out of my back pocket. A great feeling of relief washed over me. A couple of swipes with my finger and I checked the time on my phone. I was making good time, one of my best yet. I was now within a few feet of the old man and as I held my hand up in a friendly gesture of hello, he shot back, "step it up man!" I shook my head, not knowing what to say or do and kept walking. The more  I thought about what the old man had just said, the more irritated I became, as I had clocked one of my best times on this particular trail. 
It wasn't until the next day, when I heard the old man's words again in my head, except this time, not only were the words less irritating, they now made my hair stand on edge. Maybe the old man was talking about something far more significant than walking. Maybe, the words came from elsewhere and the old man was the chosen messenger to deliver them. Yet, I am puzzled, exactly what do I need to step up?
*Ganges (*Monogramm x Garonna) as photographed by Anette Mattson

*Ganges was bred by Michalów Stud, one of 29 colts sired by  *Monogramm ( Negatraz x Monogramma) during his first breeding season in Poland, 1993. *Monogramm offered the Polish breeders an opportunity to "step it up" by incorporating the valuable Kuhailan Haifi sire line through a proven American-bred, pure Polish sire, recognized for siring horses with beautiful, chiseled, breedy heads, longer, swan-like necks, well-muscled hindquarters, strong movement and a presence that was electric. 

His dam, *Garonna, also bred by Michalów Stud, was by Fanatyk, a grandson of Celebes, a small, Kuhaylan-type bay horse who was with a circus for 12 years, before being discovered by Michalów, because he was one of the last living Witraz sons. *Garonna, an  Oaks winner, was a proven mare on the track and in the breeding shed, remaining in Poland until 2001, when she was exported to America. What's interesting for me is Gastronomia, *Ganges' maternal great-great-granddam. Aside from her great name, she also produced Gomora, by Comet, who when bred to Partner, foaled *Gokart in 1975! Also, the matriline traces back to the critically important mare Gazella, one of four desert-bred mares purchased by Count Julius Dzieduszycki for his Jarczowce Stud. The mare families produced by Gazella and Milordka, Ukrainka, Szweykowska, Sahara, Woloszka crossed with select stallions helped to keep Michalów Stud firmly focused on the Saqlawi strain, for which the Stud is globally recognized. 

Now 30 years old, one can say that *Ganges is living the legacy that his pedigree promised he would live. He is a proven sire, many times over, with get all over the world and perhaps, his 2009 bay daughter, Pia, out of  Pianissima is the most special of all.

I'm embarrassed to say that I was not so much a *Ganges fan, in the same way that I was a fan of Ekstern. I thought, yes, he is a solid, substantial horse and  yes, he is stronger in conformation than many other stallions but *Ganges didn't fire my imagination in the same way that Ekstern did. He didn't make me dream, the kind of dreams *Ekstern inspired me to dream. When I saw the above photo, I was stunned over the size, shape and placement of *Ganges eye. I somehow missed all of this. And then, I stumbled upon the photo below, also taken by Anette, which not only reinforces his beauty and Arabian type but we also have proof of yet another breed trait that *Ganges possesses.  Is this what the old man meant when he said step it up? That I am missing obviously phenomenal horses like *Ganges?  How does the old man even know that I like horses? 
*Ganges (*Monogramm x *Garonna) with photographer, Anette Mattson
In many of Anette's social media posts, she tells us of *Ganges sweet character. An intangible quality, there really is no way to capture disposition photographically, unless of course a relationship exists already, like the relationship that he enjoys with Anette. That is the significance of the tender photo that Anette has shared with us. We need more horses like *Ganges and less squealing, striking and rearing "hot house" stallions. Through Anette's generosity, she has allowed us into her private *Ganges moment, so that we too can experience the loving nature of *Ganges, all for the love of an Arabian horse. And for me, the opportunity to learn about *Ganges also offers a chance to step it up in the world of Arabian horses.

It's been about a week, since the old man told me to "step it up." I have thought about what he said alot. I knew I had to do something about it. If not, it would continue to gnaw at me. And so, I did, starting today. I opted to make my walking route longer, significantly longer, by moving the
starting point to a spot  nearer to one of the most famous landmarks in town, the red mill. The newness of this location, the sight and sounds invigorated me and made the extra distance easier.  I also focused on lengthening my stride, which actually felt really good, as well as improving my personal best milestones, in terms of clocked performance times.
And having increased the distance by moving my starting point a good way away, I balanced that decision by moving the turnaround point too, thereby walking a little farther on the trail, all the way to the restricted area sign. You can't walk any further than this!  Although horses are not allowed on the trail, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to do this trek with *Ganges.  It's got to have a horse in it or life would be so, well, lifeless. And yet, with all this said and the amount of physical energy expended today, I still can't help but wonder that what the old man meant, is something totally different.

08 June, 2024

A Voice in the Distance

Early in the morning,
In that space between night and day,
Before my mind slips back into my body,
I heard your voice today.

My best friend.
Happy days, spent by your side.
A willing partner, 
to ride and ride.

A piece of you rises up within me
and then, runs down my face.
I miss the you I once knew,
When I heard your voice today. 

***She would have been 36 today! Happy Birthday Rosie****

01 May, 2024

Tameri Anisah

Tameri Anisah is a 2014 chestnut mare bred by Christine Krumm of Tameri Arabians.  She is sired by Farees Halim (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Monisa Halima) and out of Tameri Abadiyah, whose dam, Amira Shahwaniah, is a full sister to Tameri Nawaal, the dam of the 2019 chestnut stallion, Tameri Nashuan Nawaal. Amun Re, the sire of Tameri Abadiyah is a son of the 1996 mare, Miriyah Alida, an Alidaar daughter out of Monisa Halima, the 1982 *Ansata Ibn Halima daughter [not to be confused with the dam of Farees Halim, who is also named Monisa Halima, a 2001 Al Kidr daughter out of Moufisa Halima (Halim al Kidr x Mofisa)]. With 6 lines to *Ansata Ibn Halima, Tameri Anisah carries almost 20% of his genetic influence, primarily through his son, Ansata Halim Shah. 
However,  despite the multiple sources to one of the most classic stallions of our time, the majority of the pedigree (roughly calculated at 40-to-50%) is focused on Moniet El Nefous, which is a similar breeding pattern that produced the grey Monisa Halima and yet, this time, results in a beautiful chestnut mare, reminiscent of the Moniet family of horses. 
Tameri Anisah  is a strong-bodied mare, possessing a level of substance that is impressive. Her chest is broad, her heart girth is deep, she has a well sprung rib-cage, a wide back and her hocks are well-muscled and so elastic, we see her reaching well under herself. Hers is a textbook example of balance, coupled with elegance, generously proportioned, the voluptuousness of which, is captured within flowing, circular lines. 
A few weeks ago, I was reading The Pyramid Society's Standard of Excellence book which includes an illustration of a 3-circle horse, a term used by Carl Raswan frequently, to visually describe a horse whose overall appearance is harmonious. The body of an Arabian, when viewed from the side, will accommodate three circles, of the same size. Tameri Anisah is living proof of the accuracy of the illustration, as presented by The Pyramid Society in this important "must have" book. 

***WOW! It's a tee shirt! I love it! You can purchase your Moniet el Nefous shirt at RedBubble and honor this legendary mare, while supporting the artist who created the design***

21 April, 2024

Maymoonah to Messaoud

So, this is how my story begins, not so much a "once upon a time" or even, a "many moons ago" but a simple exchange of messages between 2 friends and a photo of the EAO-bred stallion, Amgad (Shadwan x Insaf), who was owned by Smaroel Arabians in the Netherlands. The conversation eventually steered towards another stallion, the Kaisoon son, Maymoon and then, his dam, Maymoonah, a Hadban Enzahi daughter out of Malikah. Naturally, in discussing Maymoonah, sooner or later, the attention shifted to *Messaoud and photos that Betty Finke had recently posted on her Facebook page. You know, I really loved *Messaoud. Actually, let me take that back. What I meant to say is that I really loved *Orashan and his paternal sibling, *Madheen, who was more of a baby at the time when I first met him and then, witnessed his metamorphis into the extraordinary horse he became. The common denominator between both horses was *Messaoud. So, I loved *Messaoud, because I loved his sons, first. Imagine my surprise, when I learned that Imperial Egyptian Stud had attempted to purchase *Messaoud initially and when they could not buy him, purchased two of his sons instead! I can still close my eyes and see Madheen trying to get my attention, as he danced from side to side of his stall, while I lavished all of the attention *Madheen felt belonged only to him, on his brother, *Orashan.  I was enchanted, as they were both friendly, happy horses who clearly enjoyed interacting with people.

Then, life, or rather, the consequences of the decisions I made happened and soon, thoughts of *Madheen, *Orashan and *Messaoud vanished, like the morning fog does, when the sun rises and starts to heat the day. 

This morning, I stumbled upon Denise Hearst's Facebook page, only to find photos of her astride Imperial Madori, a *Madheen son and surprise, surprise, a *Messaoud grandson! True to the meaning of *Messaoud's name, I was happy and fortunate to find the photos.

I don't remember how I found the digital copy of the advertisement that Erich Hagenlocher placed in the early 90s, once he had leased *Messaoud from his breeder, Günter W. Seidlitz. I'm thinking the ad was posted by Julie Koch in her awesome Facebook group, Reliving Arabian Horse History. When I saw the ad, it took me back, to a long ago time when I opened my copy of Arabian Horse World, to find the same ad and learn that *Messaoud was in America!

*Messaoud's sire was Madkour, a *Morafic son out of the Shahloul daughter, Maisa. In Madkour, we can observe the power of the successful EAO breeding formula for top-crossing Mansour (*Morafic)  onto an Ibn Rabdan son, like Shahloul (Zareefa). Keep in mind that *Morafic was himself, a result of the same formula, that is, Nazeer top-crossed on a Shahloul (Moniet el Nefous) daughter! In fact, one can argue that all of *Messaoud's pedigree represents this formula; as Nazeer's influence figures prominently (3 lines & over 30% genetic influence) but so does Shahloul (4 lines & almost 30% genetic influence). 

On the dam side, there is Maymoonah, an elite broodmare bred by the Filsingers, whose progeny included celebrated horses like the previously mentioned Maymoon, by Kaisoon, and Jean Kayser's Masouda, a full sibling to *Messaoud, as she is also by Madkour. Maymoonah was by Hadban Enzahi (Nazeer x Kamla) out of Malikah, the granddaughter of Moheba, herself a daughter of Halima. The matriline traces back to Farida, and from there to El Dahma and thereby, a connection Maymoonah shares with one of the most classic horses of our time, *Ansata Ibn Halima.

Time has a way of altering perspectives or the way in which you remember your past, good and bad. And for me personally, I have difficulty remembering that my eyes are on the front of my head and not on the back! Why did I not breed to a stallion like *Messaoud, when I could have done just that? At the time, I am sure that there were many practical reasons for not doing so but now, who knows? I find myself older and wondering about all of the missed opportunities over my lifetime, like for example, incorporating the blood of this stallion and creating a mini-program focusing on him, combined with other Egyptian ancestral elements. It seems so logical, so obvious of a thing for me to have done but sadly, I didn't and now, my life is like broken glass, scattered over many years. And therein is my challenge, to take these broken glass pieces and fashion them into something more beautiful, more radiant than what the glass was originally part of. Do I still have enough time to do this? That is my hope, all for the love of a happy horse.

***Thinking about Maymoonah, who was bred by Dr. Erwin Filsinger, makes me a little sad, as she also reminds me of the late Irina Filsinger. I loved her photography! And so, I dedicate this blog post to her memory and for the joy that her photos brought to all of us.***