29 March, 2020

The Minstril

The Minstril (Ruminaja Ali x *Bahila) as sculpted by Karen Kasper & photographed by Moffatt Photography
The dam of The Minstril was*Bahila, a black straight Egyptian mare, foaled in 1977, who was bred by El Thayeba in Germany. It's interesting to consider how widespread the bloodline of *Bahila has become, all over the world, particularly through The Minstril's son, Thee Desperado. *Bahila was sired by Ibn Galal-I, a 1973 chestnut stallion bred by The Babolna State Stud and a son of the imported EAO horses, the chestnut stallion, Ibn Galal (Galal x Mohga) and the chestnut mare, Hanadi (Alaa el Din x Rahma), who is known also as "11 Hanadi". Both sire and dam were imported directly from the EAO, as they were selected, purchased  and imported by  Dr. Hans Nagel, Dr. Robert Burgert and Dr. Ameen Zaher from 1968 - 1970. Ibn Galal-I became a chief sire for Dr. Hans-Jörg Tauschke of El Thayeba Stud. *Bahila's dam, Bakria, was bred by the Schieferegg Arabian Stud and purchased by El Thayeba, for whom she produced a full brother, Bahrou, as well as six other foals, before she was sold to Bentwood Farm in 1980. Interestingly, she was bred to stallions like TheEgyptianPrince (AK Imaara), Moniet el Sharaf (the full brothers: AK Nahar and AK Khazar), and Ibn Morafic (Bint Bahila). In 1984, bred to Ruminaja Ali, she foaled a colt, who would mature into The Minstril. The cross proved to be a good one and *Bahila was bred to Ruminaja Ali a few more times, producing Coaltown and Out of Africa, both full siblings of The Minstril. She was also bred to Alidaar, a full brother of Ruminaja Ali, to produce the mare, TR Paris At Night. All of these wonderful horses, to the delight of Arabian horse lovers everywhere, have furthered the influence of *Bahila all over the world.

22 March, 2020

An Old School Soul: Ansata Hejazi

So much has already been written about Ansata Hejazi, which includes Born to Reign, a book written by his world famous breeder, Judith Forbis. What can I possibly offer about Ansata Hejazi that hasn't already been said, by people whose experience with this particular horse is so much greater than mine?

What I found fascinating about Ansata Hejazi, is what he represented genetically. I like to call Ansata Hejazi an "old school" Ansata horse, meaning, his pedigree only consists of the foundational elements of the classic Ansata breeding program, as bred by Ansata and used within the Ansata breeding program. There is no blood outside of the original Ansata horses and their descendants in Ansata Hejazi. He is, in the majority of his pedigree, 3 generations of solid Ansata breeding and in the 4th generation, we find 5 lines to the foundational horses that Ansata purchased in Egypt. That's impressive, in terms of genetic consistency and maybe, predictability, in using Ansata Hejazi as a sire. It narrows down the "wild card" aspect of breeding a little more.

Sired by Ansata Halim Shah, an *Ansata Ibn Halima son out of Ansata Rosetta; his dam, Ansata Sudarra, was a daughter of Ansata Abu Sudan and Ansata Delilah. The maternal component of both the sire and dam is noteworthy. It's much more than just saying that both the sire and dam have a tail female line to the EAO mare, Bukra. Each dam is a result of blending Ansata Shah Zaman with the bloodline of *Ansata Bint Bukra. So, at a quick first glance, you can say that we have paternal sisters but the mares are more deeply related than that.  Ansata Rosetta, the dam of Ansata Halim Shah, is a daughter of *Ansata Bint Bukra, while Ansata Delilah is a grandaughter of *Ansata Bint Bukra. Did you catch that? *Ansata Bint Misr  and Ansata Rosetta are maternal siblings, both mares share *Ansata Bint Bukra as a dam. Sameh, who is the sire of *Ansata Bint Misr  is the only line of difference between Ansata Rosetta and Ansata Delilah. Another way to say this, is to point to the percentage influence contributed by each of the Ansata horses, to show you the significance that each ancestor had upon Ansata Hejazi. These would be the Ansata horses like *Ansata Ibn Halima: 31.25%, Ansata Shah Zaman: 25%, *Ansata Bint Mabrouka: 18.75%, *Ansata Bint Bukra: 18.75%, *Ansata Bint Misr: 12.5%, *Ansata Bint Misuna: 12.5* and Ansata Ibn Sudan:12.5%.

The video sequence above, was taken in 1995, when Ansata Hejazi was then, three years old. It is one of my favorite videos. He's not only a beautiful, typey horse, he is charismatic and expressive in his movement, in the way that one expects a correct Arabian horse to move. His tail carriage is unbeliveable! In Authentic Arabian Bloodstock, Volume 2, beloved author, Judith Forbis writes of Ansata Hejazi, "...exceptionally free movement in front and driving well off of his hocks - capable of a breathtaking elevated trot when turned on."  The video underscores what Judith Forbis wrote of Ansata Hejazi, within her landmark book and celebrates the wisdom behind the breeding program of Ansata Arabian Stud.

15 March, 2020


Atum is a 2015 black stallion, sired by Silver SK (Thee Desperado  x AK Shalina) and out of Aleah Al Moutribah (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x TheMinstrils Aria). He was bred by Robin Lee and Sharon Kettwich. He is Dahman by strain, as he traces in his tail female line, through *Bint Nefisaa (the 1959 EAO mare imported by Gleannloch Farms), to Farida and ultimately, to El Dahma, the Ali Pasha Sherif-bred mare long considered to be the root mare of the strain. However, if you look at the overall pedigree, the percentage of influence for the Dahman strain, including the tail female line is only 20%. And of this percentage, 60% is from Shaikh al Badi, the son of *Bint Maisa El Saghira (Bint el Bahreyn), who appears in the pedigree four times! The rest of the Dahman influence is through *Ansata Ibn Halima and *Ansata Bint Bukra. Atum is a very gloriously stretchy horse, with length in his neck, legs and body. He is really lovely, especially for mare owners looking to incorporate increased scope within their program. Atum is a proven sire, having sired a son named Aleah Dhahab Adwan, out of his paternal sibling, Shalpashas Silver SSK, who is currently with his breeder, Robin Lee of Aleah Arabians. One look at Atum and you just know that he has to have some Saqlawi influence in his genetic make-up. And that's exactly where we find a very interesting story, through one of the most beloved mares in Egyptian Arabian horse breeding. The presence of Moniet el Nefous is further back in Atum's pedigree, due to the fact that she was a 1946 mare who started producing foals in 1950, approximately 70 years ago. Therefore, while she appears seventeen times in the pedigree, the percentage of her influence is a little more than 13%. It is through AK Shalina, the dam of Atum's sire, that the influence of Moniet el Nefous is magnified, as a little more than half of the 13% influence is brought forward through her. AK Shalina was the product of two paternal siblings (sired by*Ibn Moniet el Nefous) out of mares who were great granddaughters of Moniet el Nefous. It is interesting that approximately 50% of AK Shalina's pedigree is influenced by Moniet el Nefous primarily through individuals like *Ibn Moniet el Nefous, TheEgyptianPrince, *Bint Moniet el Nefous, *Hoyeda and Ansata Shah Zaman.  While Atum carries a percentage of Saqlawi that is a fraction higher than that of the Dahman strain, he also carries equal percentages of the Kuhaylan, Hadban and Abeyyan strains. On paper, it would be challenging to say which strain had the most profound influence upon Atum. However, standing in the presence of Atum, you are immediately impressed by the overall level of elegance and refinement that this young stallion possesses, which to me, can only mean that it's the Saqlawi strain which had the most significant impact of all.  Atum is in training with Rodolfo Guzzo of Scottsdale and Robin Lee plans on showing him in Region 7, later this year.

14 March, 2020


Zaim was an impressive 1971 chestnut stallion, bred by Gleannloch Farms. Like his full brother, Al Fattah, Zaim was sired by *Morafic and out of the Sameh daughter, *Safaa. In addition to Al Fattah and Zaim, *Safaa also produced two other full siblings: the grey mare, Muzahrafa in 1968 and the chestnut stallion Mishmish in 1974, suggesting that there was a genetic "nick" between *Morafic and *Safaa. Breeding these horses together worked and resulted in progeny so excellent, you wished that there were more of them. Her son, Zaim, was so strong-of-body, that at first glance, you might think he is of the Kuhaylan Rodan strain but he is not Kuhaylan, he is Saqlawi, born of a pure-in-the-strain Saqlawi mare.  Zaim's EAO-bred dam, *Safaa, was a Sameh daughter out of the Moniet el Nefous daughter, Lubna. This is the same Lubna who also produced *Sultann, the sire of Nagsous. Lubna and Mabrouka (the dam of *Morafic) are full sisters, both mares were sired by Sid Abouhom and out of Moniet el Nefous, who represents 25% of Zaim's pedigree. So, the doubling of Layla (Sid Abouhom's dam) and Shahloul (Moniet el Nefous' sire), both sired by Ibn Rabdan, may be the reason why Zaim's phentotype favors Ibn Rabdan more, than any of the other horses present genetically. In both tail female lines (sire and dam) Zaim traces to the Ali Pasha Sherif mare, Roga el Beda, which may also explain the overall quality and refinement that we observe in Zaim. He is strong of body but he is still an elegant horse, with an abundance of breed type. While *Morafic and Sameh are grey in color; each stallion was bred to a chestnut-colored mare, who both happen to be full sisters.  The influence of Ibn Rabdan comes through primarily, the maternal lines of both the sire and dam (although the stallion Sameh is of the Gamil el Kebir sire line, with Ibn Rabdan as his paternal great grandsire too), which suggests that the maternal lines in this pedigree are the more influential ancestral source in the creation of Zaim. I remembered a passage from Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik's book, Breeding of Pure Bred Arab horses, in which he remarked on the prepotency of Ibn Rabdan. He wrote, "Some stallions always sire foals of their own colour and sex; let us take a dark chestnut like Ibn Rabdan, one of the Royal Agricultural Society's stallions, for an example. He always produces dark chestnuts, no matter what the colour of mares. This will go on until he covers a mare who produces the form and type of her own strain; if she is better bred she will dominate in the formation and colouring of the foal." It is interesting to contemplate the modern day influence of a long-ago chestnut colored horse like Ibn Rabdan. In my mind, he is every bit as relevant today, as he was in his time. How is Zaim represented today in straight Egyptian breeding? Zaim was bred to a Faleh++ sired daughter named Falaha (out of Bint Hanaa) resulting in the 1980 mare, Bint El Ghaba. When bred to the *Jamil son, Ansata Haji Jamil, Bint El Ghaba produced the stallion, Badr Bouznika in 1991 and the mare, Dourrah in 1992.

08 March, 2020

10 FEET TALL & BULLET PROOF: The Story of an Equine Superhero

Nagsous (Makhsous x Nagliah)
I was looking for something else last weekend, related to the blog about Ansata AlMurtajiz, when I stumbled upon the tragic news that the straight Egyptian stallion, Nagsous, had died in Spring, 2018.  I had to stop for a few minutes, collect my thoughts and regain my composure, as I was not expecting to read the word "died" with the name "Nagsous" written in the same sentence. No horse lives forever, I know, and Nagsous, by virtue of his birth year was 26 years old when he died,  a senior aged horse. Still, that hurt.

I wrote a short email to express my condolences to his longtime owner, which generated a surprise reply from Tina Penniman, who said,  "having Nagsous in our lives brought great joy indeed. I got very close to him in his last several months and the bond made it very difficult to see him go." Such was the power that one horse had on the people who loved him, appreciated his value and realized comfort in his company.  Over the years, I have missed almost magical opportunities to own and breed some truly wonderful horses but Nagsous was like the "last chance Texaco" for me. I believed that someday, I would not only meet him, I would also have the opportunity to breed a mare to him, to produce a daughter similar in quality, to the daughters he had consistently sired for Treff-Haven Arabians. If Superman was engaged in "a never ending battle for truth, justice and the American way", then why not Nagsous, as the equine superhero in what certainly feels like a never ending battle to hold onto all of my dreams? As old as I am now, you would think I would already know that you never have as much time as you think you have, until the day you finally realize you don't have any time left at all.
Nagsous (Makhsous x Nagliah)
Nagsous was a spectacular 1992 bay stallion, a son of the dazzling white stallion, Makhsous (*Sultann x Nabda) out of the beautiful bay mare, Nagliah (*Ibn Hafiza x *Nabilahh), bred by Gleannloch Farms. Nagsous was purchased by Homer and Tina Penniman of Treff-Haven Arabians in Waldron, Arkansas at the Gleannloch Legacy Sale. Nagsous was an important sire, right up until his death, in the Treff-Haven Arabian's breeding program, which focuses on straight Egyptian horses with reduced percentages of Nazeer, or no Nazeer blood at all. Nagsous, by virtue of his pedigree had 6.25% Nazeer blood, through the stallion *Morafic (Nazeer x Mabrouka) and the mare, Kamar (Nazeer x Komeira), both appearing in the pedigree of Nabda, the dam of Makhsous.
Nagsous (Makhsous x Nagliah)
If I had to very quickly, list what impressed me most about Nagsous, it would have been his strength of body and correct conformation. His shoulders, his neck set, broad chest and pronounced wither were about the best that I have ever seen on an Arabian horse. Power and extraordinary strength flowed through his body, as well as the freedom to express it. He had a well-sprung rib-cage, with appreciable depth in the heart girth. His hind end was equally powerful, well-muscled right down into the gaskins. The elasticity in his hocks were typical of horses influenced by Sameh (El Moez x Samira) and he was able to get way under his belly, using the muscles in his back to drive his powerful body forward.  It is interesting to point out that Nagsous carries 25% of Sameh's influence in his pedigree, as Sameh is the paternal grandsire, on both sides of the pedigree, through his sons, *Sultann and *Ibn Hafiza. In the third act of Henry V, at the French camp near Agincourt, a conversation about horses takes place between the Constable of France, Orleans and Dauphin, who says of his horse, "When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air. The earth sings when he touches it, the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes." I feel that Shakespeare was psychic, when he wrote this scene, as he must have seen into the future and wrote of the horse that we knew as Nagsous.
Treff-Haven Nia, sired by Nagsous and out of  Treff-Haven Aashea
What's even more note-worthy is that he passed his strength of body and electriying movement forward. His chestnut daughters like Treff-Haven Nia, Treff-Haven Salina, Treff-Haven Lakiya and Treff-Haven Leina are absolutely gorgeous mares, who competed successfully in Class A shows and named Champions, Reserve Champions and Most Classic Head. While I am partial to the color chestnut, it would be a travesty if I didn't mention his bay daughters like Treff-Haven Savana or Treff-Haven Salma, full sisters of Treff-Haven Salina and equally lovely mares, who are all out of Alidance, an important foundation broodmare for the Treff-Haven program and a Prince Ibn Shaikh daughter out of an Alidaar daughter.
Treff-Haven Salina, a Nagsous daughter out of  Alidance
I found it interesting that Nagsous, through the sire lines of his grandparents (*Sultann, Nabda, Wahag and *Nabilahh), traces to Gamil el Kebir, an 1870 chestnut stallion bred by Ibn Subeyni of the Mhayd Fid'an Bedouin tribe and purchased for Prince Ahmed Pasha Kamal. Sometimes, depending on the historical source that you are reading, Gamil El Kebir, as known in the RAS History book, is also called "Jamil El Kebir" or "Jamil El Ashkar El Kebir". If you follow the sire lines of each grandparent, you will notice two things: first, that the sire line to Gamil el Kebir is brought forward by two Saqlawi strain horses: Sameh (Ibn Fayda)) and Anter (Ibn Rabdan) and second, there is a pattern to the utilization of the sire line, which alternates, that is, Ibn Fayda on top (through the sire) and Ibn Rabdan on the bottom (through the dam). In a breeding community dominated by the sire line of Saklawi I, it is very important, for the health of our Egyptian gene pool, to have alternate sources, like the sire line of Gamil el Kebir.
Nagsous (Makhsous x Nagliah)
*Nabilahh, Nagsous's maternal grand dam was my personal favorite of the Farasha daughters, as I believe she was a very consistent producer of horses that in turn, created influential families. The combination of Anter with Yosreia represented the historic formula of combining Ibn Rabdan with Mansour, which was an esteemed cross that yielded some of the most unforgettable horses Egypt has ever produced. Gleannloch, recognizing the importance of Anter within the EAO program, imported ten Anter daughters from Egypt. One of the  ten Anter daughters was the mare, *Nabilahh. I can't think of a more powerful statement, that would underscore the importance of Anter  within the Gleannloch breeding program and the role that *Nabilahh would have, in furthering his influence. Bred to Zaghloul, Nagsous' dam, Nagliah, who was also a *Nabilahh daughter, produced Asmarr in 1979, who in turn, when bred to TheEgyptianPrince, produced AK Amiri Asmarr, the dam of Thee Desperado. This is the legacy that is part of the genetic fiber of the horse we knew as Nagsous.

Moniet el Nefous produced three chestnut daughters by Sid Abouhom: Mabrouka, Mouna and Lubna. In America, we incorporate the influence of Lubna, primarily through her son, *Sultann or her daughter, Safaa (think of the *Morafic son, Al Fattah and daughter, Muzahrafa). In Germany, Lubna is primarily represented by her son, Ghalion.  In American straight Egyptian breeding, Mabrouka, (through the influence of her son, *Morafic) is the more prevalent way to access Moniet el Nefous in combination with Sid Abouhom (and on a lesser note, that of Mouna). It is interesting that in Nagsous, with his lower percentage of Nazeer blood and a more concentrated source of Sameh, we would also find a source to Lubna, to underscore yet again, how valuable the pedigree of Nagsous was, for all of the outcross opportunities.
Nagsous (Makhsous x Nagliah)
It is uniquely bred horses like Nagsous whom we lament the most when they die, as too late, we realize the genetic potential that a horse like he, offered. His champion daughters are proof that utilizing a low percentage Nazeer horse like Nagsous does not mean that you have to compromise breed type, as some breeders have been led to believe.  Nagsous represents what is really needed to insure the future health of the straight Egyptian Arabian horse, that is, the diversity that results from having a variety of alternative bloodline choices to offer straight Egyptian breeders, outside of the highly-marketed choices.

01 March, 2020

The "Eyes" of March: A Story of Ansata AlMurtajiz

Ansata AlMurtajiz (Ansata Hejazi x Ansata Samsara) photographed by Usamah Alkazemi's son, Jaber, at Ezzain Arabians, Wafra, Kuwait
Sometimes, a horse comes into your life in the same way that light, as soon as you flip the switch on the wall, floods a previously darkened room. At first, the light overpowers your eye and it takes a few seconds to adjust to the brightness but when that time has passed, you can not only see things more clearly, you see everything that is in the room, right down to the very details. So, it is with Ansata AlMurtajiz, an Ansata Hejazi son out of Ansata Samsara (Prince Fa Moniet x Ansata Samantha). His beauty was so breathtaking, like the light, he overwhelmed all sensory responses. Up until the time that I became aware of Ansata AlMurtajiz, I had met other horses who possessed a soulful countenance, conveyed through deep and luminous black eyes; however, Ansata AlMurtajiz was uniquely different. His eyes were larger, deeper,  more luminous black and yes, I dare to say, conveyed a spiritual force that I had never encountered before. Through his eyes, Ansata AlMurtajiz communicated with you, on a level that maybe, human beings don't normally have a lot of practice with. You just knew, without anyone telling you, that you were in the presence of some one who was really special or, extraordinary. Carl Raswan believed that our modern ways of equine husbandry, focused only upon the horse's physical form and animal mind, prevents us from engaging in an intimate connection with these creatures and dulls our senses, so that we no longer communicate or even, understand their souls. So, just who was this special horse we knew as Ansata AlMurtajiz  and how to better understand him?  Perhaps, the best place to start, dear reader, is through his family, that is, those horses who preceded him.
Bint Samiha (Kazmeen x Samiha)
Ansata Sudarra, the dam of Ansata Hejazi (the sire of Ansata AlMurtajiz), is a daughter of Ansata Abu Sudan, a son of *Ansata Bint Misuna, a Nazeer daughter (out of Maysouna). The mare, Bint Samiha,  appears as both a paternal granddam and a maternal great-granddam in the pedigree of *Ansata Bint Misuna. When bred to Ansata Ibn Sudan (to produce Ansata Abu Sudan), things become interesting. The three additional lines to Nazeer, in the pedigree of Ansata Ibn Sudan (through *Ansata Ibn Halima and * Ansata Bint Mabrouka)  further intensifies the influence of Bint Samiha blood in Ansata Sudarra. Crossed with Ansata Halim Shah, four more lines to Bint Samiha are added, concentrating the influence of this Hadbah strain mare even more, on the paternal side of Ansata AlMurtajiz's pedigree. On the maternal side of the pedigree, through Ansata Samsara, we find  seven more lines to Bint Samiha, three of those lines through Prince Fa Moniet and four through Ansata Samantha.   The combined influence of  Bint Samiha, in Ansata AlMurtajiz's pedigree is approximately 25%! Remember, Bint Samiha is an 1825 mare, who appears far back in the pedigree, as one would expect her to be and yet, she yields a significant presence in the pedigree.
Ansata Delilah (Ansata Shah Zaman x *Ansata Bint Misr)
What I also found interesting is the similarity in phenotype between Bint Samiha and Ansata Delilah, whose pedigree is influenced at approximately 18.75% by Bint Samiha.  However, Ansata Delilah was sired by an intensely-bred  Saqlawi stallion, Ansata Shah Zaman, who added more length to her frame. Ansata Delilah also had a strong topline, which as you can see in the above photo, remained even into her old age. Ansata Delilah’s enchanting expression was magnified through her large, black eyes which had the power to captivate anyone who met her face-to-face. She also had fantastic tail carriage, whether at rest or in movement. Why focus on Ansata Delilah, over the other horses who also carry the influence of Bint Samiha? Well, Ansata Delilah appears in both of the tail female lines of Ansata AlMurtajiz, in the same position (great-granddam) and represents 25% of Ansata AlMurtajiz's pedigree. Her daughter, Ansata Samantha, by Prince Fa Moniet, who is the maternal granddam of Ansata AlMurtajiz, also had large, dark, expressive eyes like her mother, suggesting that these eyes were passed from one generation to the next. Ansata Samantha had an ideal topline that was as smooth, as it was strong and excellent tail carriage, both of which she passed on. Can large, expressive eyes, a strong and smooth topline, tail carriage and the intangible qualities that correlate with an enlightened being be genetically tied with the female line of Ansata AlMurtajiz and possibly, runs back farther than Ansata Samantha and Ansata Delilah? Do we conclude that these qualities originated with *Ansata Bint Bukra, or a long ago ancestor? Could any or all of these qualities come from the maternal line of Nazeer, meaning, Bint Samiha or do we look further back, maybe to the desert and an ancient mare that belonged to a long ago Bedouin breeder? I am not sure that these are questions, for which answers exist but still, it makes me wonder.

In the early 1990's, when Usamah Alkazemi began to formulate a plan of action to breed the horse he envisioned in his mind's eye, he visited Ansata Arabian Stud, as he had become aware that many of the horses he admired, shared common ground in the prefix name, "Ansata". It was on this visit that he met and selected Ansata AlMurtajiz. While we can say that NK Hafid Jamil, through his son NK Qaswarah is a cornerstone of Ezzain, so too, we can say that Ansata Hejazi, is important, through his son, Ansata AlMurtajiz, who established a level of quality and consistency that made it possible for NK Qaswarah to take the breeding program to the highest levels. When I visited Ezzain in 2013,  there were two Ansata AlMurtajiz daughters in the breeding program, Azhaar Ezzain (a full sister to Suror Ezzain), who is a mare of great influence, having founded a vitally important family of horses, like the exquisite mare, Shamsilshmous Ezzain. The other daughter is Alamirah Ezzain, who carries much significance personally for Usamah Alkazemi, her breeder. However, the influence of Ansata AlMurtajiz is also represented through his sons, Suror Ezzain and Nooreddine Ezzain, who sired two daughters each, who were active broodmares in the program at the time I met them. Even as a great grandsire, Ansata AlMurtajiz's influence continues to be felt! Nooreddine was represented in five horses, while Suror was represented in six! I don't believe that a more compelling statement can be made, as to why Ansata AlMurtajiz remains so significant in the Ezzain breeding program and later, as an important sire for Mr. Alaa Al Roumi of Al Rayah Arabians and Mr. Talal Al Nisf of Al Sharq Farm in Kuwait.

Sadly, Ansata AlMurtajiz died in 2016 but his influence (and that of his ancestors, like Bint Samiha) remains dynamic, vibrant and relevant, to the present day. The Breeders Cup for Straight Egyptian Arabian horses was held recently (February 17th through the 19th) at Bait Al Arab Arabian Horse Center in Kuwait. With many thanks to Arabian Essence TV, who made the videos of the show available on You Tube, I was able to watch the get and grand-get of Ansata AlMurtajiz who participated in the show,  like his beautiful daughter (out of Ghazalla, an Al Adeed Al Shaqab daughter), presented in class 8, the 7 - 10 year old mares. Her name is Ghazala Al Rayah, bred by Mr. Alaa Hamad Al Roumi of Al Rayah Arabians:

Also competing at the show, within the same class as Ghazala Al Rayah, was Sabika Al Sharg, an Ansata AlMurtajiz daughter out of Ansata Sabika, bred by Mr. Talal Al Nisf of Al Sharq Farm:
In Class 7A, the 4 -6 year old mares, I found Janna Al Ward, an Ansata AlMurtajiz daughter out of NK Nakeebya,  a hugely influential mare for Ezzain Arabians and a daughter of NK Hafid Jamil out of NK Nabeelah (Nahaman x Nashua). Janna Al Ward is bred and owned by Mr. Salah Ahmad Al Terkait of Al Ward:
Also in Class 7A, the 4-6 year old mares, I found Malak Al Konooz, an Ansata AlMurtajiz daughter out of Mahlisa Halima, bred by Al Konooz Stud:
The 4-6 year old entries were so numerous (29 total mares), the show ran an additional class, 7B, and within this class I found Feddah Al Rayah, an Ansata Al Murtajiz daugher out of Farida Al Rayah, also bred by Mr. Alaa Hamad Al Roumi of Al Rayah Arabians:
I also must mention that there were three Ezz Ezzain daughters and two sons at the show. Ezz Ezzain is an Ansata AlMurtajiz son out of Najeiah, a Nahaman daughter. Interestingly for me, Mohamed Al Mubaraki bred the mare, M.Naeema, out of Neama Sqr, who showed in the 4 - 6 year old mare class. Mohamed also bred M.Anan, a son of Ansata AlMurtajiz, out of Aroub Asayel, who was shown in the 7+ year old stallion class. It was at Al Mubarak Arabians, the beautiful farm of Mohamed Al Mubaraki, that I was blessed to meet Ezz Ezzain personally, seven years ago!  Khaled Faleh Sahab Musad bred the Ezz Ezzain daughters: Ajayeb Shaha (out of Cauley) and Ajayeb Shammah (out of HF Aida), both of whom showed in the 7-10 year old mare class. Additionally, an Ezz Ezzain son, Ezz Alsuhail, out of NK Miriam, bred by Ahmad Al Mutairi, was shown in the 4 - 6 year old stallion class, while Ezz Al Sedirawi, an Ezz Ezzain son out of Marreyah, bred by Al Sedirawi Arabians was also shown in the 7+ year old class. There were other horses in the show who claimed Ansata AlMurtajiz farther back in the pedigree, for example, Mr. Salah Ahmad Al Terkait of Al Ward, bred and owns a mare named Fajer Al Ward, who competed in Class 9, the 11+ year old mare class. Her dam is Sarrah Ezzain, an Ansata AlMurtajiz daughter.

In the winter of 2013, thanks to the kindness of Usamah AlKazemi of Ezzain Arabians,  I was finally able to meet Ansata AlMurtajiz. There are times in a man's life that bear significance and become treasured memories, for example, learning to drive a car, graduating college, getting married, the birth of your children. Among those cherished moments, meeting Ansata AlMurtajiz  remains one of the highlights of my life. He was more beautiful than any picture I had ever seen and yet, there was something about him, that enchanted me, in a very deep and profound way. As I walked away, he rose on his hind legs and hung his head over the wall of his stall to look at me, as I walked down the aisle. When I asked about it later, I was told that it was a thing that he liked to do. I turned and looked back at him and we made eye contact. It is a moment that I cherish and think of often. In that special moment, his deep inner beauty touched my heart and I knew it would be the last time that I ever saw him. I just knew.

23 February, 2020

Before Nazeer, there was Shahloul

Shahloul, as captured in a photo that appeared in a 1948 issue of LIFE magazine

"Shahloul was undeniably the most accomplished sire out of the entire Rabdan line of sires." -
Philippe Paraskevas, The Egyptian Alternative, Volume II
Shahloul was a 1931 grey stallion, bred by The Royal Agricultural Society (RAS). He was a son of Ibn Rabdan and out of the mare, Bint Radia (Mabrouk Manial x Ghadia)

Shahloul's sire line is that of Gamil El Kebir, an 1870 chestnut stallion bred by Ibn Subeyni  of the Mhayd Fid'an Bedouin tribe and purchased for Prince Ahmed Pasha Kamal. In Shahloul, this sire line is expressed as:

Shahloul->Ibn Rabdan->Rabdan El Azrak->Dahman El Azrak->Jamil El Ahmar->Gamil El Kebir

Sometimes, depending on the historical source that you are reading, Gamil El Kebir, as known in the RAS History book, is also called "Jamil El Kebir" or "Jamil El Ashkar El Kebir". 

Shahloul's tail female line is equally exciting, as he traces to Ghazieh, an 1850 grey mare, bred by Ibn Sudan of the Saba'ah Bedouin tribe and purchased for Abbas Pasha, prior to 1855. Many say that it was this mare that inspired Abbas Pasha's love for the Saqlawi Jedran strain horses and led him to collect as many of these horses as he eventually did. In Shahloul, the tail female line is expressed as:

Shahloul->Bint Radia->Ghadia->*Ghazala->Bint Helwa->Helwa->Horra->Ghazieh

The asterisk in front of Ghazala's name signifies that this Ali Pasha Sherif-bred mare (and the great grand dam of Shahloul) was purchased and imported to America by Spencer Borden, producing mares like Guemura and Gulnare. Incidentally, her dam, Bint Helwa, was the famous "broken-legged" mare of Crabbet Stud, whom Lady Anne Blunt listed first, above all the other horses in her herdbook, indicating how she felt about the mare. Spencer Borden said of Bint Helwa, "were it not for her injury, she would be a beauty, pure white, with a head such as Schreyer would seek as a model."  In Egypt, *Ghazala produced the mare Jemla, the dam of Serra, who foaled the Babson import, *Bint Serra I by Sotamm. The most interesting story of Shahloul's pedigree is that the majority of his pedigree is comprised of Ali Pasha Sherif-bred horses, approximately 16 horses (some of whom like Saklawi I, El Dahma & Farida Dabbani appear more than once) brought forward through the breeding expertise of Lady Anne Blunt, Ahmed Pasha Kamal, Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik and Khedive Abbas II.  Also, the desert sources are closer up in Shahloul's pedigree, in some cases, only three to four generations removed. It reminds me of something I heard Cynthia Culbertson once say, “What we can say about the Straight Egyptian Arabian, very reliably, is that they are so close to that desert source, the only way one could get closer is with a desert bred that stayed in the homeland.”  A more royal history could not be had by any horse, especially by one who would exert his significance and influence in the breeding program of the RAS, in the way that Shahoul has magnificently done. In my mind, the quality of his genetic history is like a harbinger of the greatness that was still to come. Shahloul's full brother was the stallion, Hamdan (the sire of Anter) and his full sister was Samira (the dam of Zaafarana), proving a breeding nick or "nickabiity" that existed between Ibn Rabdan and Bint Radia. Further underscoring the almost magical cross of these two horses, noted breed historian and authority on the Egyptian Arabian horse, Judith Forbis, coined a name for the full siblings sired by Ibn Rabdan and out of Bint Radia. She called them "the fabulous four".
Shahloul (Ibn Rabdan x Bint Radia)
In almost every book written, we know that Shahloul was a beautiful horse, possessing many of the unique hallmarks which make this breed famous and different from all other breeds of horses, like large, black expressive eyes accentuating the look of intelligence in a noble head, a well-set longer neck, fine, thin skin and very high tail carriage. Dr. Ameen Zaher in the EAO herdbook wrote, "best eyes, head and neck which was arched and very lovely." However, Shahloul was also criticized for weaknesses in the legs, a flaw that was also mentioned in the herd notes written by General Von Szandtner and Dr. Mohamed Marsafi. You can read these comments in the celebrated second volume of Authentic Arabian Bloodstock, written by beloved author, Judith Forbis.

If Moniet el Nefous was the only horse that Shahloul sired, his historic influence as a sire of great renown would still be assured. However, the mark of a really great sire, is found in the quality of his get and Shahloul sired influential daughters and sons. Think of key mares like Kateefa, the dam of Alaa el Din, Bukra, the dam of *Ansata Bint Bukra, Maisa, the dam of *Bint Maisa el Saghira and Om el Saad the dam of Bint Om el Saad.  Shahloul also sired sons who matured into influential stallions like Mashhour, who sired Seef and of the stallion, El Sareei, who sired *Tuhotmos. It is as Philippe Paraskevas wrote in his book, "On a get-of-sire basis, Shahloul's track record is outstanding. It is easily correlated to his achievement of a high degree of balance between Saklawi and Koheilan attributes, along with balancing Rabdan influence. In view of his accomplishments we can only wish that he had been bred more at the E.A.O. where the Shahloul legacy was an inspiration."

So, maybe you are reading this blog and feel that my praise of Shahloul is misplaced and more deserving for Nazeer? Without Shahloul, Nazeer could not have enjoyed his tremendous success as a sire. There would not have existed the foundation that Shahloul established, thereby enabling Nazeer to build upon it. Shahloul, most especially through his daughters, proved that a greater stallion would be hard to find and that the success of the Saklawi I sire line within the EAO breeding program in later years was because a horse like Shahloul came first, used as judiciously as he was in the program and therefore, clearing the stage for horses like Sheikh el Arab and Nazeer to enjoy the runaway success that they did.

***This blog is lovingly dedicated to Philippe Paraskevas in gratitude for the volume of work he has written, in celebration of the still relevant, dynamic and vibrant horses of Egypt past, like Shahloul, who remain the very heart of the EAO breeding program.***