07 July, 2022

More Summer Reading


Volume VI, Issue 2 of The Arabian Breeders Magazine is out. I received mine last weekend and you will need a box of Kleenex for this latest edition. Thank you Samantha, you really hit it "out-of-the-park" with this volume! 

The issue's major focus is on Ekstern, understood through the eyes and mind of Scott Benjamin, a beloved author and authority of Polish breeding. His tribute, Farewell to the King, reminds us of just how special Ekstern was in our world. Truly, despite Ekstern's smaller size, through Scott's words, you will fully realize that Ekstern was a living giant among horses.  Scott's guest editorial and subsequent articles in the issue: The Royal Lineage of Ekstern, The Enduring Excellence of Ekstern and The Influence of Ekstern at the Polish National Show 2006 - 2021 further underscore the greatness of this horse and the impact that he continues to exert through his get and grand-get. He was, as I have said previously, EXTRAORDINARY. I have read several articles on Ekstern and Scott's latest work is the best that I have read and now, have become my personal favorite. When Ekstern died, the tributes were brief and fell short of conveying the sweeping magnificence of this horse. He brought back the splendor, the wonder and the excitement of the Arabian horse through his superstar status. He is deserving of so much from us, in repayment for all he gave to us, while present in this world. Thanks Scott, for this gift to Ekstern, through your very concise and powerfully moving articles.

So, let me tell you a story. So, here I am, reading about Ekstern, tears in my eyes and a pain in my heart, while I wondered - will there ever be another horse just like him? Ekstern was so unique in his look, his powerful movement, his character and his siring excellence, particularly through his daughters. His greatness was felt on so many levels! And then, as I turned to page 5, I found:
TA Arapaho as photographed by Wojtek Kwiatowski 

Do you know who this is?

This is TA Arapaho, an Ekstern son owned by Mystic Side Arabians and photographed by Wojtek Kwiatowski. Isn't he just totally wonderful and this particular photo inspires you with still more awe and wonder? That mane...you can lose hands and face in all that glorious hair! 

TA Arapaho reminds us that while Ekstern was a strong broodmare sire, he did sire impressive sons like this significantly beautiful son. TA Arapaho is not only another part of Ekstern's amazing legacy but in those dark moments when we become lost in our grief, TA Arapaho reminds us that Ekstern is still a very vibrant part of our Arabian horse world. We can't see him anymore but we can still feel him.

Hope you all are enjoying the summer and if not, this is your "wake up" call to do just that, as we approach the halfway point of the summer. If there is one thing to learn about Ekstern's life, is that you don't have as much time as you think you have. Do something about it! And read this magazine!

27 June, 2022

Déjà Vu in Menton


This weekend, the Laheeb daughter, Wadad Zamani was shown in class 5, for mares 9 years old and older. She was a previous winner in Menton, earning the Silver Senior Champion Mare title in 2016. This mare is a serious competitor, having been shown throughout Europe, Israel and America. Some of her wins include: 

  • 2013 Israeli Egyptian Event Silver Junior Champion Filly 
  • 2015 Egyptian Event Europe Gold Senior Champion Mare 
  • 2015 Bruges Gold Senior Champion Egyptian Mare 
  • 2016 Menton Silver Senior Champion Mare 
  • 2016 AHO World Cup Bronze Senior Champion Mare 
  • 2017 U.S. Egyptian Event Gold Senior Champion Mare
  • 2018 World Bronze Champion Mare 

Bred by Osman Kasasi, she is owned by Hanaya Stud. The mare is a combination of the breeding programs of Ariela Arabians, Imperial Egyptian Stud (through horses they purchased from Gleannloch Farms, Ansata Arabian Stud, Bentwood Farm and Dr. Siegfried Paufler), as well as the breeding program of Plum Grove Farm. What I find interesting about her pedigree is one horse: Imperial Imdal+. He represents almost 40% of the pedigree, as the sire of Laheeb, Al Maraam and Luiba. However, something to consider is Ansata Imperial (Ansata Ibn Sudan x Ansata Delilah), the sire of Imperial Imdal+. He exists in an additional line, as the sire of Imperial-Alamonra, almost 22% influence, which is equivalent to the weight that a grandparent exerts. We can say something similar about *Ansata Ibn Halima, who carries a percentage of 12.5%, about that of a great grandparent. By far though, the ancestor that appears with more frequency than any of the horses mentioned is *Morafic, approximately 17 times and almost 18% influence, which is significant, as his position in the pedigree, depending on the particular ancestor is way beyond the 6th generation, all the way to the 10th generation. 

Like Sweet Eloise, Wadad Zamani, via the mares, Ramses Nagdia and further back, Om el Saad and her dam Yashmak, traces to one of the most powerful and enduring dam lines in our breed: Rodania, by way of her great-great grandaughter, Bint Rissala, one of 2 Rodania line mares purchased from Crabbet. However, Wadad Zamani is grey in her coat color and the Rodania matriline exerts itself a little differently than it would if the mare were chestnut instead.

I feel like she has these powerful sources within her, brought forward by Laheeb and intensified with *Morafic and combined with Rodania, which helps to explain the strong, correct body infused with that classic dry elegance, creating the dramatic look of a desert horse. She's beautiful and the best horse, in my opinion, at Menton this year. Or better said, Wadad Zamani is the horse who will continue to remind me of sunny Menton on what is, a rainy back-to-work Monday morning.

***Many thanks to Arabian Essence TV for their coverage of the 2022 Mediterranean and Arab Countries AHC - Menton.***

25 June, 2022

Sweet Eloise

Sweet Eloise (Thee Desperado x Kuhaylah Nitaya) as photographed by Suzanne Sturgill

Julie Koch has a couple of Facebook pages that I am really enjoying and very quickly, have become personal favorites. In Reliving Arabian horse history, she mainly posts black and white photos from the Arabian Horse Yearbooks, circa 1970's. Sometimes, she takes breaks from posting Yearbook photos and posts color photos from her fabulous collection of farm-generated marketing materials, which includes the likes of sale catalogues, stallion brochures and programs, as well as photos taken from advertising placed within our community's largest periodicals, like Arabian Horse World. Today, I came across another group created by Julie: U.S. Arabian Nationals in Louisville 1990 - 2002. As I was scrolling through Julie's personal photos of the 2002 National Show, I came across the photo of Sweet Eloise, a Thee Desperado daughter out of Kuhaylah Nitaya, a Tammen daughter bred by Maggie McNair-Huggins.  

In my life, there have been periods of time, that for one reason or another found me somewhat disconnected from the Arabian horse scene. So, I appreciate Julie Koch and all of her efforts, as her Facebook groups are sources of contemporary historical information which help me to connect the horses that I missed during these years, with the horses I knew well from the past, as well as the horses trending today. It's a gift, as I hope this blog is for you.

The photo of Sweet Eloise on Julie's Facebook page is a conformation shot, as compared to the head study taken by one of the most amazing equine photographers of our generation, Suzanne Sturgill. I have been a fan of Suzanne's work since the days of Everglade Arabians, when I first discovered her photography. I was so happy to find this particular photo of Sweet Eloise, as I focused my eyes on my big 3: broad chest, larger size jowls and large, dark (no white) eyes.

The interesting thing about Sweet Eloise is that while she was not bred by Gleannloch Farms, with the exception of *Bahila, the dam of The Minstril, the majority of her pedigree is populated by Gleannloch horses.

I have written previously about Thee Desperado and direct your attention to the one or two blogs devoted to him. Sweet Eloise's dam, Kuhaylah Nitaya, is a mare I am not so familiar with but her pedigree is so interesting and at first glance, one cannot miss following her tail female line via the Kateefas (*Bint Bint Kateefa->Bint Kateefa->Kateefa) to Rodania, by way of her great-great grandaughter, Bint Rissala, one of 2 Rodania line mares purchased from Crabbet.  The stallions Alaa el Din, *Moftakhar, Kaisoon and Farag are  from this family, as all are maternal siblings to Bint Kateefa. When my friend, Gari Dill-Marlow was alive, she was interested in the dam lines of the United States National Champion horses. She had a hunch that more winning horses shared common ground in their matrilines and she was determined to find out. Tragically, Gari's study was cut short by her illness but her preliminary studies pointed her to two desert-bred mares: Rodania and *Wadduda.  In speaking with Gari, she felt that further study would prove Rodania to be the more influential mare. Personally, I have observed that the grey Rodania horses are less likely to be representative of the matriline,  as compared to the chestnut Rodanias. While Kuhaylah Nitaya is a grey mare; her daughter, Sweet Eloise is chestnut. If you are a believer in phenotype following coat color, it is something to consider.

Another aspect of Kuhaylah Nitaya's pedigree that would point to a more probable source of genetic influence, as per her coat color, is found in the number of times that *Morafic appears in her pedigree: 5 times, with 4 of those crosses occurring in the 5th generation (great-great-grandsire) and once in the 6th generation (great-great-great-grandsire). When combined with Thee Desperado, 3 more lines to *Morafic are added to the pedigree, through Shaikh al Badi, *Khofo and TheEgyptianPrince, helping to keep the percentage of *Morafic's influence around 25%. 

However, what I found even more interesting than the *Morafic  concentration,  is a little pocket of double-Hamdan horses, serving as common ground between Asmarr (*Zaghloul x Nagliah), the granddam of Thee Desperado and Abenhetep (*Ibn Hafiza x *Omnia), the grandsire of Kuhaylah Nitaya. *Zaghloul carries almost 40% of the Hamdan influence, as his dam, Gharbawia is by Hamdan, bred back to his daughter, Ghorra. Nagliah, Asmarr's dam, is sired by *Ibn Hafiza, a son of Hafiza, who just like Gharbawia, is a result of Hamdan bred back to his daughter, Mahfouza. Additionally, *Nabilahh, the dam of Nagliah, is an Anter daughter and adds another  Hamdan line. The sire of Tammen, Abenhetep, is by *Ibn Hafiza and repeats the Hamdan crosses we found in Nagliah, plus Abenhetep adds an additional Hamdan cross through Ameena, his maternal granddam. That's 8 lines to Hamdan, between 2 horses. When you factor the other sources of Hamdan blood found in the rest of the pedigree, through Maysa, Bakria, *Sakr, *Kahramana and Bint Bint Kateefa, as well as the additional line through *Nabilahh that comes by way of Bint Magidaa, Sweet Eloise ends up with 16 lines to Hamdan.  What makes the Hamdan blood even more interesting are Hamdan's full siblings: the stallion, Shahloul and mare, Samira. While all 3 horses were grey in coat color, all 3 horses were sired by Ibn Rabdan, a chestnut. The genetic presence of these 3 siblings, as combined in one pedigree, intensifies the concentration of Ibn Rabdan, which also exists in the pedigree through Layla, Hind, Bint Bint Dalal, Ibn Fayda, Salwa and Badia, to name a few sources of the Ibn Rabdan influence. There are a total of 67 Ibn Rabdan lines in Sweet Eloise's pedigree. To me and my level of understanding, I think that the line breeding of Ibn Rabdan, whether intentional or unintentional, is the greater story to tell about Sweet Eloise, especially when the genetic concentration is expressed through her Ibn Rabdan-like phenotype. 

Ibn Rabdan, painted by Mrs. Colmore, from the book written by Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik, Breeding of Pure Bred Arab Horses

While she is a very strong-bodied chestnut and one can say that she is representative of the continuing influence of Rodania; the fact that she is a generously voluptuous mare, her smooth body comprised of gently flowing circular lines conveys the Ibn Rabdan influence, that "world champion type" alive in her. The conformation photo that Julie posted on Facebook reminds me of the Ibn Rabdan painting that appears in Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik's book, The Breeding of Pure Bred Arab Horses. 

Sweet Eloise's classic good looks and charisma won her universal appeal and her show wins were many, including a US National Top Ten Futurity Filly, as well as Junior mare. She was also an Egyptian Event Reserve Supreme Champion Mare and a Region 9 Champion Mare (unanimous). 

A 1998 mare, Sweet Eloise is also a proven broodmare, having produced a daughter by Pimlico RCA, Hadassah HP in 2005. I wish there were only more of her!

18 June, 2022

READING INTO YOUR BEST LIFE

In 1910, Carl Raswan picked up a copy of A Pilgrimage to Nejd and became inspired by the Blunt's desert adventure. One can say that it was this book, more than anything else, that set the course of Carl Raswan's life. Can one book hold that much power and inspire you to live your best Arabian horse life? 

After 6 years of research, translation and writing, Edouard al-Dahdah's long-awaited translation of the 1860 sales list of the Abbas Pasha horses will be available for sale. These are the horses sold at auction, following the death of his son,  Ibrahim Elhami Pasha, who had inherited his father's horses and had continued the breeding program for 6 years (interesting common ground between the period of time Edouard spent developing his book and the period of time Ibrahim Pasha spent on breeding his father's horses). Written with Moira Walker and Kate McLachlan, the book also includes a newly written foreward by Judith Forbis, the author (with Gulsun Sherif) of The Abbas Pasha Manuscript. The book also includes (among other material) the translation of Ali Pasha Sherif's scrapbook, as well as the translation of two entries from his studbook, previously thought to be lost. At 336 pages, the book promises new information, which will help us to better understand the ancestral elements in the genetic history of our beloved horses. The book reminds me of a time not so long ago, when our world was turned upside down, with the reclassification of the formerly considered Kuhaylan Jellabi horses to the Saqlawi strain. Already, Judith Forbis gave us a surprise peek of the new information involving the sire line of the stallion, Mesaoud. I have read that the book is selling briskly and has almost sold out. Timed for release by mid-summer, the book is available at a special price, until July 15th, although I don't think you will find any for sale, should you wait that long. 

Tik Maynard is a Canadian-born eventing rider and trainer, who has worked for Ingrid Klimke, Anne Kursinski and Karen & David O'Connor, in addition to being an author. Prior to writing this book, his popular articles appeared in Gaitpost magazine, Canada and The Chronicle of the Horse, USA. Looking to be inspired within your life with horses? There is a heartwarming kindness written into every word, all at once sensitive, thoughtful and yet provocative, because Tik Maynard will push you into an honest evaluation of your horsemanship and thereby, the very essence of the dynamic you bring into the relationship with a horse. Published in June of 2018; I promise you that this book will become one of your favorites, as it has become that book that I find myself turning to, many, many times. I never tire of it.

This book was a complete surprise for me. Not only did I not know anything about the book, prior to reading it; the story sounded more like a fantasy adventure and I wasn't so sure that I would enjoy it. I prefer reading non-fiction books and very rarely venture out of that genre. However, imagine a Thoroughbred racehorse escaping from the track where she was stabled, to form friendships with a German Short Haired Pointer dog, a crow and a couple of Mallard ducks to remain undetected while living on the streets in Paris. Eventually, a lonely, young boy joins the mix, who falls in love with the filly and offers her everything he has, including his Grandmother's home. I won't say anything more, as I don't want to spoil the story but I did end up enjoying the story and feel it is the perfect summer read for any horse lover. 

If you were to ask me which book is a favorite, as challenging as it would be to answer that particular question, The Gift would be my immediate answer to you. This is the life story of *Ansata Ibn Halima, as told by "him" and written by his "mistress", Judith Forbis. I remember when I first read the book, I wasn't so sure that I would enjoy it, as I thought the whole persona thing was a bit cheesy but the book really surprised me, as the story, told in this special way, is both heartwarming and kind, just like the horse who inspired it. No matter how many times I have read it, I enjoy it every time and with each reading,  there is a piece of his life that will impress me and for a very long time, will continue to think about it. If you are looking for a "feel good" story this summer, then this one is it, while boosting your knowledge and appreciation for this horse and the life he lived.


This book may just be the one book to redefine your life with Arabian horses, similar to the impact A Pilgrimage to Nejd made upon Carl Raswan's life.  Concerning Oriental Horses and Those Originating From Oriental Strains, written by Count Waclaw Rzewuski, was translated by James E. Luck and annotated by Andrew K. Steen and published by Tales of the Breed, 2015. I had this book on last summer's reading list and am inspired to put it on this summer's list too. There is so much information packed into the 350 pages, everything from a history of the Count, as an individual, to the qualities found in true Bedouin bred Arabian horses. The annotations made by Andrew Steen, bring much clarity and depth to the work, which helps to broaden and further explain the meaning of many statements made by Count Rzewuski. 

I read this book a few years ago, approximately at the same time as when The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts was published. While both books share common ground in the rescue of the Lipizzaner horses during WWII; Frank Westerman's book (as translated by Sam Garrett) delves deeper within the darkness of the time and the genetic engineering that defined the breeding "experiments" under the Hitler regime and the drive to develop a "superhorse" utilizing the Lipizzaner breed. At times, it reads like a thriller and will make your heart race. For those of us in love with the Arabian horse, this story also includes the Janow Podlaski horses like *Witez II.

Reading a book, in terms of the time invested, is a commitment. I think any of these 6 books (to honor the number of years that Edouard spent working on his book) will inspire thought and remain on your mind, long after you finish reading. Will any of these 6 books change your life like A Pilgrimage to Nejd did for Carl Raswan? You have the whole summer to find out!

Happy Reading, Happy Summer!
Ralph

12 June, 2022

Uniquely *Ibn Hafiza

 

*Ibn Hafiza (Sameh x Hafiza) 

"By breeding Sameh to Hafiza, a Hamdan/inbred mare of the Obayan-Om-Greis female line, the E.A.O. was squarely aiming at obtaining an outcross, and a Nazeer-free stallion." - world famous author and celebrated Egyptian Arabian horse breeder, Philippe Paraskevas, The Egyptian Alternative Vol. II

*Ibn Hafiza, a 1959 bay stallion, was very uniquely bred, the significance of which is revealed by studying the genetic heritage of both parents and therefore,  the unique story that I would like to share with you. *Ibn Hafiza was a son of Hafiza, who will forever be regarded as the dam of the extraordinary stallion, El Araby.  

Judith Forbis photo of Hafiza (Hamdan x Mahfouza)

Hafiza was sired by Hamdan, out of Mahfouza, who, just like her daughter, was also a Hamdan daughter. By virtue of the horses who make up her genetic heritage, she is as authentic to Egypt, as any Arabian horse bred in Egypt can be.  Unlike the majority of the EAO horses who bred forward, carrying the genetic influence of the Crabbet horses purchased by the RAS in the 20's (for example, the stallions: Kazmeen & Sotamm and mares: Bint Rissala & Bint Riyala); Hafiza does not carry any lines to the desert horses purchased by the Blunts. Hafiza's "Blunt" lines reflect the efforts of Lady Anne Blunt, while in Egypt, at Sheykh Obeyd. This does not make Hafiza better than the horses who do carry the Blunt desert blood, this makes her different and presents outcross opportunities. Her ancestors were horses bred by Prince Kemal al Dine, Prince Ahmad Pasha Kamal, Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik, Khedive Abbas II, the RAS and Ali Pasha Sherif, as preserved by Lady Anne Blunt. While Hafiza is technically considered 87.5% Egypt I; if you study the tail female line which reflects the 12.5% that is Inshass, you will notice that Hafiza's granddam,  El Mahrousa, is sired by El Zafir, a horse bred by Prince Kemal al Dine and out of a mare named El Shahbaa, an Abeyyah Om Grees, purchased in 1931 by King Fouad from Muhammad Ibrahim al-Hajj of Cairo. Although we don't know much about the mare El Shahbaa, we need to consider that at the time of her purchase, the transaction was made between two people from Egypt. In my opinion, even with the limited ancestral information for El Shahbaa, Hafiza could not have been any more Egyptian, than she already was.

Judith Forbis photo of Sameh (El Moez x Samira)

"Sameh was a great favorite with visitors at the E.A.O. and always made a striking appearance. He was a well-balanced horse who had a certain Arabian flair for showing off his grace and beauty. Unlike many of the horses in Egypt, he always managed to keep his weight, and so appeared more handsome than many of his contemporaries." - D. Christy Gibson, from her article, The Sameh Influence, published by Arabian Horse World

*Ibn Hafiza's sire, Sameh, like Hafiza, does not carry any lines to the Blunt desert horses. Additionally, Sameh has no recorded Muniqi lines in his pedigree, as confirmed in The Blue Arabian Horse Catalog.  He was sired by the Inshass bred El Moez, who was a son of horses bred by Prince Kemal al Dine and purchased by King Fouad. El Moez's sire, Ibn Fayda, was a son of Ibn Rabdan out of the mare, Feyda, who while bred by Lady Ann Blunt, was a daughter of two Ali Pasha Sherif-bred horses: the stallion, Jamil (Aziz x Bint Jamila) and the mare, Ghazieh (Ibn Nura x Bint Horra).

Ibn Rabdan, painted by Mrs. Colmore, from the book written by Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik, Breeding of Pure Bred Arab Horses 

It's interesting to consider that through El Moez, a third line to the RAS-bred Ibn Rabdan is introduced into *Ibn Hafiza's pedigree, boosting the percentage of Ibn Rabdan's genetic influence to approximately 25%. The above photo of *Ibn Hafiza appeared within an article written by Ramzy Hegazy and  published in the May 1970 issue of  Arabian Horse World. It was recently posted to a Gleannloch Farms Facebook group. It's a great photo, as visually, you can see in *Ibn Hafiza many of the qualities attributed to Ibn Rabdan, that is, a horse who is very close-coupled and comprised of harmonious, rounded lines. Carl Raswan called horses who were conformed like *Ibn Hafiza 3-circle horses, meaning their bodies could be divided equally into 3 circles: from the point of chest to the wither, from the wither to the hip and from the hip to the point of buttock. However, we can't ignore the impact that Sameh also made, for example, a deeper and sloping shoulder, well-sprung rib cage, a smoother top line and a powerfully muscled hind end. 

El Moez was out of the Prince Kemal al Dine mare, Bint Zareefa, who was by the Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik-bred stallion, Hadban.  This stallion, Hadban, was produced by breeding  Rabdan Al Azrak  with Tarfa, both horses bred by Prince Ahmad Pasha Kamal. It's also interesting to point out that Hadban was a maternal brother to Mabrouk Manial (think of horses like Baiyad, Mahroussa & Bint Radia), as both horses were out of Tarfa (Dahman el Azrak x Bint Freiha). The "Zareefa" in "Bint Zareefa" was a mare bred in Egypt by Lady Anne Blunt, using Ali Pasha Sherif bred horses.

Sameh's dam, the mare, Samira, was a 1934 grey mare bred by the Inshass Stud. Her sire, El Deree and her dam, El Samraa are interesting, from the perspective that both were Bedouin-bred horses, bred elsewhere, outside of Egypt, as compared to the majority of the ancestors in *Ibn Hafiza's pedigree, who were bred by Egyptians, in Egypt. Also, like El Shahbaa in Hafiza's pedigree, we don't know very much about their genetic history. The Syrian-bred El Deree,  foaled in 1920, was a successful racehorse in Egypt, his racing career beginning circa 1924. He was purchased by King Fouad from Hussayn al-Dayri, a Bedouin from the al-Jubur tribe. By the end of the 1926 - 1927 racing season, King Fouad was considered to be one of the leading race horse owners in Egypt, with a large number of winning racehorses in his stable, including El Deree.  Given King Fouad's interest in racing, I better understand his interest in El Deree, who became a top sire for the King's Inshass Stud and then in 1934, the King presented El Deree to the RAS (think of Sid Abouhom).

Like El Deree, the interesting thing about  El Samraa, a 1924 grey mare, is that we really don't know a lot about her. While her strain is not recorded within the Inshass herdbook, 
"...in some few cases, the Inshass Original Herdbook does not list strains." - Judith Forbis, Strains and Families in the INSHASS STUD, published within Authentic Arabian Bloodstock
her sire is recorded as Hab El Reah (breath of wind) and her dam as Bint El Sheik (pride of her owner), however, both of these names may have resulted from a misunderstanding of Arabic expression, commonly used when speaking about a mare and not necessarily, the real name of her sire and dam.  Within the heritage section of Volume XII of The Pyramid Society Reference Handbook of Straight Egyptian Horses, well-respected author and consummate historian, Joe Ferriss wrote of El Samraa, 
"Her exact strain has been uncertain since her descendants were first listed in the Saklawi section of the E.A.O. Stud Book and later listed in the Kuhaylan section, which most now follow."
Dr. William Hudson, within the second volume of his significant research publication, The Matrilines of the Egyptian Arabian Horse also wrote of El Samraa, 
"Edouard al-Dahdah, an expert on Arabic documents, wrote of El Samraa that all that was known about her was her color, her date of birth, the year she was acquired by Inshass, the name of the man from whom she was bought, and her sale in 1941 to Mostafa Bey Khalifah. This makes her one of the least well-documented mares  to form an important matriline at Inshass."
With all that said, El Samraa remains a royal mare, having captured the interest of King Fouad, who purchased her in 1931 in Cairo, from Shaikh Umar Abd al-Hafiz, a member of the Shammar Bedouin tribe. I find the common ground shared by both Sameh and Hafiza interesting, as the majority of their pedigrees  reflect the breeding programs of the previously mentioned Prince Kemal al Dine, Prince Ahmad Pasha Kamal, Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik, Khedive Abbas II, the RAS and Ali Pasha Sherif, as preserved by Lady Anne Blunt; however, it's the tail female line of both horses which traces back to horses possessing very limited ancestral information. We don't know much about these horses, other than from whom King Fouad purchased the horses. While neither Sameh and Hafiza carry the blood of the Blunt's desert purchases, they do carry other blood, presumably  from undocumented Bedouin sources.  I am reminded of a talk that  Cynthia Culbertson once gave at a Pyramid Society event. She reminded us of how close-up the desert sources appear in an Egyptian horse's pedigree, as compared to other Arabian horse bloodlines and really, the only way to get desert breeding closer than it exists, would be to import a horse directly from the desert. 

I understand and appreciate the interest that Gleannloch had in acquiring *Ibn Hafiza, given the breathtaking beauty of El Araby. It was their intention of crossing *Ibn Hafiza onto their *Morafic daughters, in the hope of producing horses like El Araby. It was to be Gleannloch's version of "the Golden Cross", in the days before that term was coined.  Eventually, Gleannloch would focus on using their *Morafic sons exclusively, over horses like *Ibn Hafiza and the much loved stallion made his way to a new home at Green Mountain Arabians, owned by Fred and Judy Gunzner, who remarked on his people-loving and easy-going disposition. By the time he reached his senior years, he was owned by Burt and Sherri Melton of Rinconada Arabians. 
"He seems to have a certain intangible quality; a combination of intelligence, kindness and spirit." - Sherri Melton in a 1984 article, The Sameh Influence by D.Christy Gibson of Arabian Horse World
Beloved as he was, it was *Ibn Hafiza's unique genetic history, which also captured the interest of influential purists like Mrs. John Ekern Ott and her daughter, Miss Jane Llewellyn Ott, the publisher of the amazing resource, The Blue Arabian Horse Catalog. Although *Ibn Hafiza does not appear in The Blue Catalog, the Otts had a high regard for him (many of his ancestors including his dam, Hafiza, are listed in the appendices within the foreign section) and encouraged Robert Cowling, a straight Egyptian breeder (he bred the US National Champion Mare, Fa Halima), to purchase Blue Star mares (for example, the Ibn Fadl daughters: Fa-Dlara, out of Bint Turfara and Fabaira, out of Bint Muhaira) for the sole purpose of breeding them to *Ibn Hafiza. I knew of Robert "Bob" Cowling and admired his horses. At the time, many considered Bob Cowling to be the best small breeder of Egyptian Arabians in America. I felt that breeding *Ibn Hafiza to the Blue Star mares was a very strong endorsement of *Ibn Hafiza and the esteem that I already had for *Ibn Hafiza intensified. The results of this Blue Star breeding "experiment", although not straight Egyptian, have thankfully, been saved and preserved by George Hooper of Maine, through his breeding program named "Hisani". However,  I lament the missed opportunity to have preserved *Ibn Hafiza in his very unique form,  exclusively within straight Egyptian breeding and free of the Blunt desert-bred  ancestral elements like Kars, Queen of Sheba, Rodania, Dajania, Azrek and others. For example, I shudder to think of the horses that we would have available today, had *Ibn Hafiza been crossed with mares line bred to Blunt-free horses like  *Fadl, *Maaroufa, *Bint Saada and Hallany Mistanny.  Again, there is nothing wrong with the Blunt desert blood horses, that's not the point that I am trying to make but rather,  *Ibn Hafiza represented an opportunity for straight Egyptian breeders to strategically create a significantly different source of outcross blood, to balance the overuse of the Nazeer bloodline, within our smaller gene pool. 

***Without the following people, this story would not be possible to tell. Many thanks to Judith Forbis for the photos of Hafiza and Sameh, as well as for her article on the Inshass Stud which appears in Authentic Arabian Bloodstock, Dr. William Hudson, for his monumental work, The Matrilines of the Egyptian Arabian Horse, George Hooper for your emails and photos, Marilyn Lang, for your many years of friendship and guidance, the late Miss Jane Llewellyn Ott, publisher of the Blue Arabian Horse Catalog, Edie Booth, for your words of clarity regarding The Blue Catalog, Philippe Paraskevas, The Egyptian Alternative, In Search of the Identity of the Egyptian Arabian Bloodlines Volume II, Joe Ferriss for his Arabian Breeders Magazine article, The Last Kingdom in Egypt, the Story of the Royal Inshass Stud and for his summary on the Straight Egyptian Dam lines, which was published within Volume 12 of The Pyramid Society's Reference Handbooks , Peg Davis Johnson's Sameh article published by The Arabians and D.Christy Gibson's article, The Sameh Influence, published by Arabian Horse World and finally, Diane Wilson for your insight regarding the uncertainty of the strain for Sameh. I have corrected the paragraph for El Samraa.***

01 June, 2022

The Raswan Summer Challenge

Carl Raswan astride Jadaan (Abbeyan x Amran), bred by Hingham Stock Farm and purchased by W.K. Kellogg. Jadaan was the favorite horse of the beloved actor, Rudolph Valentino. Not sure who took the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 








All my life, I have been searching 
to find a very specific horse, for whom real words will never do justice in fully describing him or convey the significance he holds in my life. So, he remains elusive, living in the back forty of my mind, until just the right word lassos him and makes him real. 

"Once you are real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always." - Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Carl Raswan knew a horse like this too. In these modern times, so unlike the time period in which Carl Raswan lived, you can immediately find information on just about everything, including Arabian horses, all from the hand held device whose primary function used to be a voice telephone. Remember, the AT&T commercial?
Reach out and touch someone.
Now, like Captain Kirk and the rest of the Star Trek crew, we carry this device that can tell us anything we want to know, whenever we want to know it, relegating historically significant words to dusty shelves, waiting to be discovered. Within these old books, Carl Raswan comes alive again, a leading  voice at the very core of our breed history. Much of what is said about Raswan concerns the many words that he used to describe the Arabian horse. Raswan is criticized because in his later writings, he contradicts his earlier work. Others feel that his words glorified only the horses owned by his financial supporters and therefore, Raswan could be bought, at the right price. In our very modern (no time to read) and (selective) "hindsight", we can be unfair while sacrificing tolerance, compassion and respect. However, with all that said, it remains challenging to embrace Carl Raswan, his heart, his spirit and his passion, especially when one also considers the Skowronek son, *Raswan.
 And yet, as difficult as it is to reconcile the man and his responsibility for the tragic death of *Raswan; it is deep within his writings that I found the passion Raswan had for the Arabian horse. 

"But my quest may be for a mythical horse which no longer exists." - Carl Raswan from his book, Drinkers of the Wind

Not only do I find it challenging to use just the right words to describe my perfect horse; my perfect horse is constantly evolving and changing. I  learned painfully, that the world of the classic Arabian horse was much broader and diverse than I originally believed.  And here I am, having lived a lifetime of incredible horse experiences and I am not any closer to identifying my dream horse than I was last year or  even, 40 years ago. Such is the way with words and feelings, journeys and quests, passion and inspiration. They never remain the same because as a person, I am not the same person. I am different today, as I will be next month, next year or even, ten years from now. Why do we have difficulty then with Carl Raswan? Was he any different from you or me?  

So what's important about Raswan, you ask? 

It's a gradual awareness or awakening to the spirit within Raswan's message. He deeply loved the Arabian horse, despite what happened with the stallion, *Raswan. Carl Raswan, the man, lived every moment of his life, choosing the Arabian horse over everything else. And yes, he was human and he made mistakes but his driving force, his mission, was to improve the overall understanding for the breed and increase admiration for all of the horse's special qualities, as bred by the Bedouin people. 

So, will you share my annual summer journey, dear reader? I believe that's where you will find the real  Raswan, a very human and fragile Raswan who made mistakes, frustrated and angered people, changed his mind over and over and over, all for the love of the Arabian horse.

***In 1910, Carl Raswan picked up a copy of  A Pilgrimage to Nejd and became inspired by the Blunt's story. One can say that this particular book set the course of Raswan's life. Will this be the summer when you find that one book that will change your Arabian horse life forever? Happy Summer! Happy Reading!***

12 May, 2022

Palatino

Palatino (Pesal x Palmeta) as photographed by Ewa Imielska-Hebda, who captured him with all 4 feet off the ground!

Palatino is a 2006 stallion, bred by Janow Podlaski Stud. He carries approximately 16% Egyptian blood, primarily through the stallion, Aswan (Nazeer x Yosreia) and Nil (Sid Abouhom x Malaka). However, as interesting as it is to discover the sources of Egyptian blood in a Polish-bred horse; what I found even more interesting is the matriline of both his sire and dam. He traces to the mare, Piewica (Priboj x Wlodarka), through both Pentoda (sire side) and Pilarka (dam side). Furthermore, he also possesses a 3rd line to Piewica, through Pemba, the dam of Pepton, the sire of *Ecaho. Piewica, a 1953 mare, was bred in Russia, at the Tersk Stud, and exported to the Albigowa Stud, eventually joining the broodmare band at Janow Podlaski. She became one of the most important mares in the breeding program and foundress of the beloved "P" line of horses, which includes horses like *Penicylina, Pilarosa and Pianissima.

What I also found interesting about the Piewicas is the utilization of the stallion, Negatiw, in combination with Piewica. Pierzga, the dam of Pilarka, is a Negatiw daughter out of Piewica, while Pentoda is Piewica's daughter by *Bandos, a Negatiw son. So, in both matrilines, you have the family of Piewica but you also have Negatiw, whose genetic  influence is further concentrated through the *Nabor daughter, Planeta, the dam of Pohaniec  and again, Pepton, who was sired by *Bandos. 

Palatino is an old world type horse, the kind of horse depicted in the paintings of artists like Adolf Schreyer, Victor Adam or Eugene Delacroix. Palatino's body is comprised of rounded lines, the type of horse that Raswan probably had in mind when he coined the term, "3-circle horse". His body, powerfully built, has an impressive deep shoulder, broad chest, well-sprung rib cage and deep heart girth, framed by a strong and smooth topline. His head is a masterpiece of the breed, with larger, fully black eyes, set within a finely chiseled head, while smaller, nicely-shaped ears enhance the dramatic look of a noble, desert horse. Dressed in a sparkling white coat, one cannot miss the darkly pigmented fine skin which intensifies the prominence of bone, muscle and vein. He is a gorgeous horse and his wonderful tail carriage is like an exclamation point, placed at the end of a sentence to deliver more power and emotion to what is being said. You might expect me to claim that his classic look is driven by the 16% or so of Egyptian blood and while I agree that his overall smoothness  may have something to do with his Egyptian blood; I think that Palatino's classic Arabian phenotype comes from somewhere else, like his Ilderim sire line. Ilderim, an 1896 stallion, was imported from Istanbul in 1900 by the Slawuta Stud. Saqlawi by strain, he was considered to be the most beautiful stallion purchased by Prince Roman Sanguszko, after inheriting Slawuta from his uncle. The Ilderim sire line is noted for producing horses who possess great beauty, type and overall quality. What is especially interesting in this matter of the Ilderim sire line, are all of the additional sources of Ilderim blood which further strengthen the sire line. There is Borexia, the dam of Probat, Dziewanna, the dam of Piolun (and paternal grandsire of Piewica), Makata, the dam of Witraz and Elegantka, the dam of Wielki Szlem and Lowelas. No surprise then, that Palatino would favor this particular ancestor over the others in his genetic heritage.

It is these concentrated sources to proven mare families like that of the "P" line, combined with genetic giants like Negatiw, plus an Ilderim sire line, which makes Palatino unique, as well as an historical horse of significant value for Polish breeders. 

***with many thanks to polskiearaby.com for their wonderful website, so full of information on the Polish Arabian horse. I love it and very quickly, has become a favorite resource. I recommend it!***

26 April, 2022

The Extraordinary Story of Ekstern

Ekstern died yesterday, April 25th, 2022. Early this morning, I received an email sent by polskiearaby.com, concerning the Excalibur EA son, Sulaiman EA, who is standing at stud in Poland. There was a Facebook link listed and so, I clicked it. I don't have Facebook, so I am never really sure of where the click will take me but in this case, I made it to Polskie Araby's page and because it is written in Polish, I couldn't read the words that captioned an Ekstern photo but I poked around and found the link to the page of the equine photographer, Ewa Imielska-Hebda, whose photos of Ekstern I have absolutely loved and that's  where I noticed the series of broken heart emojis, followed by the letters: RIP. In that most unexpected moment, overwhelmed by sadness; I recognized that life had forever changed, as Ekstern, was no longer part of this world. Will there ever be another just like him?

It was a year ago, when I found new photos taken by Karolina Misztal of Ekstern, age 27. The photos were honest and showed Ekstern for what he was at the time, a mature, aging stallion. He was still the absolutely gorgeous horse that I always admired but the photos reminded me that even great horses, just as people do, age and well, become elderly.  Ekstern was 28 years old at the time of his death. A long lived life, yes but when you cherish this horse and wish there were more just like him, I'm sorry but 28 years is not long enough.

One of my favorite photos of Ekstern, taken by Anette Mattson

In my opinion, Ekstern was one of those rare Arabian horses who appealed to a variety of people, regardless of bloodline. He was beautiful and for many people, the type of horse who immediately comes to mind, when you think, "Arabian horse". As a show horse, Ekstern exuded charisma, winning the love of the audience, wherever he was shown. He was the Polish National Junior Champion in 1995, Polish National Senior Champion, All Nations Cup Champion, European Champion and World Champion, all in 2000. In an article written by Monika Luft and published by polskiearaby.com, Jerzy Bialobok, the Michalow Stud Director, was quoted as saying, 

"Ekstern always liked to show, it was clear that it gave him pleasure." 

Ekstern possessed unbelievable breed type. He was close-coupled with a strong and smooth top line. He was well-muscled, harmonious, with a body comprised of circular lines. His head was short and wide, dry and elegant with eyes that were both dark and luminous. He had great tail carriage, very fine, black pigmented skin, large and elastic nostrils that maintained a beautiful shape when fully dilated and short, tippy ears. All of these qualities came together to create the magnanimous personality that so defined this horse. His inner sparkle conveyed a strong spirit of joy that was both, playful and charming. You see some of this spirit in a You Tube video, taken in August of 2015 at Michałów State Stud. My favorite part remains when Ekstern picked up the potted plant and moved it to another part of the arena. Oh, how I loved this horse! He was photogenic but to experience the full essence of Ekstern, one had to see him at liberty, where his physical beauty, his brilliant movement and engaging personality all came together in a most overwhelming way. 

The most amazing thing about Ekstern's life is that it almost didn't happen at all. His sire, Monogramm (Negatraz x Monogramma) did not appeal to Andrzej Kryztalowicz, the Director of Janow Podlaski and an old-time Polish breeder, who did not like chestnut colored horses. If Monogramm were to go to Poland, it would depend solely on the enthusiasm of the highly esteemed master breeder, Ignacy Jaworoski, the Director of Michalow, who together with Izabella Pawelec-Zawadzka had fallen in love with the horse at the 1988 US Nationals. Bill Bishop, who had purchased the horse from Dick and Kay Patterson of Patterson Arabians in Sisters, Oregon, was not interested in leasing him to anyone. What seemed at best to be a very remote possibility, became reality five years later, setting the stage for not only Ekstern, but also, for the return of the *Bask line to Poland, as well as that of Mammona, who was captured and taken from Poland as a foal. Monogramm was used for the 1993 and 1994 breeding seasons at Michalow and was so successful, that he continued to breed mares (through frozen semen) until 1997. Ekstern was born in 1994, one of 29 Monogramm-sired colts in his first foal crop. In the Monika Luft article, published by polskiearaby.com, Jerzy Bialobok, the Michalow Stud Director, also said of Ekstern, 

"Already during his first days we could see the great beauty of this horse." 

How significant was Ekstern? Despite a very pronounced Saklawi phenotype, in sire line, he traced from Monogramm-to-Bask-to-Witraz-to-Ofir, the Kuhailan Haifi son taken from Poland as a six year old. In tail female line, Ekstern traced through his dam, Ernestyna (Piechur x Erwina) to the *Naborr daughter, Estebna and from her, all the way back to Milordka, bred by the Sanguszko family of Slawuta Stud and foundress of Polish female family number 5.  As Monogramm restored the *Bask line for Poland, *Naborr did the same for the Ibrahim sire line and it is especially touching to find both of these horses in what is for me, a unified Polish pedigree (pre-war & post-war), which reads like a celebration of Poland's continuing love for the Arabian horse. It is also interesting to consider that Dr. Edward Skorkowski, who strongly believed in maintaining a balanced breeding program to insure the survival of distinct strain types, considered Milordka a Saklawi strain mare, because she strongly embodied the characteristics of the strain. No surprise that her descendant, Ekstern, would also embody strong Saklawi type.

Ekstern, as photographed by Ewa Imielska-Hebda

In thinking about Ekstern, I am reminded of something I once read by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a popular Indian mystic who was also known by the name of Osho, 

“...to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life. ” 

A great horse is just that, an "explosion", the beauty of the horse so overpowering to the senses, that it is not possible to continue thinking about horses in the same way. The force at which Ekstern comes into a person's life has the power to turn everything upside down and inside out. I hope that when you think of Ekstern today that you will be inspired by a sense of awe and wonder from what was  an extraordinary horse's life. He really was that...EXTRAORDINARY. 

 ***Many thanks to polskiearaby.com, it was only because of their email, that I Iearned of Ekstern's death. There have been several articles written about Ekstern, which you can find online. My favorite article and one of the most comprehensive on Ekstern was written in 2015 by Monika Luft. You can find Ekstern- 20 Years of Success on polskiearaby.com. In closing, this blog is lovingly dedicated to Ignacy Jaworoski, Izabella Pawelec-Zawadzka, Tomasz Skotnicki and Bill Bishop in recognition of all they did to provide Poland with the stallion, Monogramm, making a most wonderful horse like Ekstern possible.***