03 July, 2006

*Tuhotmos: Portrait of A King

It is difficult (and a bit unfair) to judge *Tuhotmos from any photos, as they do not accurately capture his presence. He had much charisma and he had the ability to hold a person spellbound. He would hit these poses that made you so weak in your knees, that you were forced to suck in your breath, in order to stay upright. It was as if your mind and your eyes were suddenly disconnected and speaking a different language. Your eyes acknowledged the beautiful horse standing in front of you but your mind didn't know how to process it, for clarity and understanding. A person like me, was easily overwhelmed by this most charismatic horse. He really commanded your attention. The bones in his face were very prominent and brought a heightened sense of drama to his facial features, as if a world class sculptor had just finished sculpting him from the most precious ebony stone. He was not a tall horse, that's true but that was not what you thought about, because there were so many pluses to *Tuhotmos that height was not even something to worry or even, think about. It just was not important. Many people were affected by their personal encounter of *Tuhotmos. Two of those people made him into artwork forever: Robert Vavra and Karen Kasper. *Tuhotmos was a critically important sire at the EAO, actually, the number one stallion, before his exportation in 1973 (January 31) to America, by Rick Heber. As a matter of fact, *Tuhotmos was so appreciated as a sire by American Egyptian breeders, that 5 of his sons and daughters were imported to America, before it was believed that the EAO would even sell the horse:

1) The 1968 bay mare, *Subhaya, imported by Tom McNair
2) The 1970 bay stallion, *Ramses El Dar, imported by Martin Loeber
3) The 1971 grey stalllion, *Ansata El Wazir, imported by Don & Judi Forbis
4) The 1970 grey stallion, *Darrag, imported by Rick Heber
5) The 1971 chestnut mare, *Nazzli, imported by Gleannloch Farm

*Tuhotmos had no Nazeer blood. He was a son of El Sareei and Moniet El Nefous. *Tuhotmos is a double Shaloul horse, maybe the only stallion in Egypt to be bred in this manner, as El Sareei is a Shaloul son and Moniet El Nefous is a Shaloul daughter. Shaloul was an Ibn Rabdan son. El Sareei (pictured) was a striking, metallic bay-coloured stallion. While a very typey horse, with an expressive face, heightened by the star on his forehead; he was also a compact, powerfully-built horse, with a beautiful neck. *Tuhotmos, while a blend of the substance found in El Sareei and Moniet El Nefous' feminine charm, favors his sire more than he does his dam. *Tuhotmos also represents another successful EAO "formula", that is, blending Shaloul with Sheikh El Arab (through Wanisa, Moniet's dam). With the heavy Nazeer lines in the present day, *Tuhotmos is a perfect blend with Mansour, as the Manour/Ibn Rabdan cross was the breeding combination favored by General Pettko Von Szandtner. *Tuhotmos is Saqlawi by strain, although El Sareei is sired by a Saqlawi (Shaloul) and out of a Dahmah mare (Zareefa), while Moniet is sired by a Saqlawi stallion (Shaloul) and out of a Saqlawi mare (Wanisa). Ibn Rabdan, the sire of Shaloul is a Hadban and the sire of Wanisa is Sheikh El Arab who is a Dahman.

Enjoy your horses,

30 June, 2006

The Romance came back...*Al Lahab

I like this stallion Al Lahab quite a bit. Thanks to people like Oliver Wibihal, Aleksi Busch, Erwin Escher, Nicole Sachs and Gigi Grasso, I have been able to follow the development of a really cute colt into a classically beautiful, take-your-breath-away, timeless stallion. As a very young horse, in 2000, Al Lahab was named the Junior Champion Colt at the Asil World Cup in Germany. Erwin Escher is responsible for the picture that first grabbed my attention. Not only is Al Lahab a typey, beautiful horse but his movement is "oily", indicating a freedom of the shoulders that allows a horse to really reach out and cover alot of ground. In 2001, at the European Egyptian Event, Al Lahab was once again named the Junior Champion Colt and at the All Nations Cup in Germany, Al Lahab was the Reserve Junior Champion Colt. In 2002, one of my favorite photographers, Nicole Sachs, who has captured on film, the very soul of another German-bred Egyptian horse, El Thay Mameluk, presented this photo of Al Lahab at the Friedmann family farm in Germany.

Bred by Ariely Arabians in Israel, Al Lahab has a very interesting tail female line and I felt compelled to point it out to you. The Vision HG is by Thee Desperado and out of a mare named Belle Staar. In America, whenever we see the name "Belle" attached to the name of an Arabian horse, it signifies OLD EGYPTIAN breeding, a horse that is the combination of Sirecho and Babson breeding. For example, Belle Echo who is by Bel Gordas (Sirecho x Habba) and out of Faarecho (Sirecho x Faara). Or Masada Bellesabah, Belle Echo's daughter by the Babson stallion, Lothar. Or Belle Echo's full sister, Belle Fayama. However, in the case of Belle Staar, the pedigree is NOT Sirecho and Babson,

it is that of The Minstril x Alia-Aenor (a daughter of The Egyptian Prince and out of an Al Badeia mare named *Hasna Al Badeia [who is a daughter of Kayed {*Morafic} and El Ameera]). One of the best things about The Egyptian Prince was his ability in siring mares. He sired wonderful, wonderful daughters, who have gone on to be terrific broodmares. Sometime soon, people, if they are not doing that already, will look specifically for horses with The Egyptian Prince on the female side of the pedigree. Belle Staar, a 1990 mare, bay, is a beautiful Saqlawiyah, tracing to Ghazieh, through El Ameera. She was bred by Hamilton Gates and was owned by Mauri Chase of Chase Farm, in Aubrey, Texas. This breeding program is also responsible for an excruciatingly gorgeous black filly, who is a full sister to The Vision HG. Her name is The Blessing HG and let me tell you, she is indeed a blessing. Chase Farm is doubly blessed with both mares on their farm.

Finally, Gigi Grasso, captured the evolution of this most wonderful horse into one of the most breath-taking shots ever captured by a camera. It is an inspiring photograph that encourages the mind to marvel and to contemplate all that is good about the Egyptian Arabian Horse.

02 June, 2006

Hoofbeats On My Heart

"I don't know what it is, or rather, I don't know how to put into words that
indescribable air of distinction which marks the horses and mares of Ali Pasha Sherif's, or rather I would say of Abbas Pasha breeds…So it is, however, the movement one sees other horses beside them - when moving one sees the style of the Abbas Pasha collection."

Are the words that Lady Anne Blunt used to describe the horses she saw and later bought in Egypt, after founding the Crabbet Arabian Stud in the late 1800's. After traveling the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and purchasing horses from the Anazeh, amongst other Bedouin tribes, the superiority of the Abbas Pasha/Ali Pasha Sherif bred horses was admired by the Blunts and incorporated into Crabbet Park. Their daughter, Judith Blunt (Lady Wentworth) loved to recount the merits of horses like Mesaoud, who by 1938, had over 100 champion descendants including 2 world champions, 5 long distance race winners, and winners of many races overseas. The Arabian Horses of Egypt have a long and unprecedented history of strength, courage, and physical might. Without these horses, much of recorded history would not have been the same. In the time period before Christ, the Pharaohs and particularly during the reign of Thutmose, armies mounted on Egyptian horses, drove out invading armies like the Hyksos and the Hittites, established empires, helping Egyptian civilization to prevail into Palestine and Syria, extending as far as the Euphrates. King Solomon, enamored with the horse of Egypt, had a celebrated stud of horses, which led his chronicler, to record:
"These horses also were much exercised in order to their making a fine appearance, and running swiftly, that no other could upon the comparison appear either finer or swifter, but they are at once the most beautiful of all others, and their swiftness was incomparable also."
The use of the Arabian Horse as a warhorse flourished throughout these times and far into the future, giving prowess to the Mamelukes who dominated much of the Middle East, including Egypt, from mid 800 AD to 1800 AD. Superb horseman, their skills were made even more overwhelming, a direct result of the superior athletic abilities inherent in their horses. Their ability to train horses for battle, to squeeze out of their horses the ultimate responsiveness, leaving their hands free for the use of weapons made them more formidable warriors, than they ever could be on foot. Without the intelligence, the endurance, the confidence that comes from courage, the tractability of their temperament, much of the world would not have recognized and thereby record, the superb horsemanship skills of these Mameluke warriors.It would only be natural that the very qualities that made the Egyptian Horse a formidable warhorse, would also make him a horse well suited for sport. From the times of Mohammed Ali the Great to the present, the Egyptian Arabian Horse is favored as an endurance mount and also as a racehorse. While this article is not an exhaustive study of racing bloodlines, the athletic ability of the Egyptian Arabian as a racehorse is significant and the records of the following horses reflect the superior athletic capabilities of these bloodlines. Aiglon, the sire of *Exochorda, raced from 1914 to 1921, a total of 41 races, winning 6 and retiring sound. Ibn Rabdan (Rabdan x Bint Gamila) in 1919 ran 16 races, wining 4 times. Nabras raced in 1924 until 1929, running in 14 races, winning 6. He sired Komeira, out of Layla, a swift running mare that raced 17 times, winning 3 of those races. *Nasr (Rabdan x Bint Yamama) ran 12 races from 1923 through 1924, winning 2 of them. His son out of Bint Obeya, Ibn Manial, raced 3 times in 1933 and won one of the races. Nazeer (Mansour x Bint Samiha) raced from 1937 to 1939, a total of 20 races, winning 3 of them. Alaa El Din (Nazeer x Kateefa) ran 6 races in the 1960-61 race season winning 1 race. Ibn Bukra (Nazeer x Bukra) ran 12 races in 1961 and won three. Talal (Nazeer x Zaafarana), racing under the name "Goni Boy" ran 44 races from 1960 through 1964 winning 6 races. However, the most famous Sheykh Obeyd racehorse of all time, Balance (Ibn Samhan x Farida), ran from 1932 until 1934, a total of 17 races and winning 14 times! In the races that he lost, he placed second twice and third. Balance also sired Amlam, out of the racing mare Komeira, who raced from 1949 until 1952, a total of 5 races, winning 3 of them, and like his father, in the races that he lost, he placed second and third.The ability of the Sheykh Obeyd horse to gallop and endure over long distances was developed over time, proven on the battlefield and tested on the racetrack. Ultimately, these abilities would prove useful in the sport of endurance racing, where horses are challenged both physically and mentally. Sheykh Obeyd horses, when given the opportunity to participate, have successfully met the challenges. *Fadl and *Bint Bint Sabbah, both sired by Ibn Rabdan and out of Mahroussa, participated in 100 mile rides, with the mare, journalized for her achievements in May of 1937 in The Arab Horse. The following was written about her:
"The third prize winner, the Arab mare, *Bint Bint Sabbah emerged a heroine. Weighing little more than 800 pounds, she carried 189 pounds, finishing the half
distance in 1 hour 16 minutes in the mud, and walking the second lap so as not to finish ahead of the 3-hour minimum. Her head and tail were always up and she never took a deep breath."
*Bint Bint Durra (Ibn Rabdan x Bint Durra) also competed in endurance, finishing the Vermont trail ride in perfect condition. One of the most famous endurance horses was a Doyle bred mare, the 1956 mare Bint Gulida (Ghadaf x Gulida). She went on to establish an endurance dynasty of her own, producing Cougar Rock. Another successful Doyle bred horse is Blarney (Ibn Gulida x Bint Ghadaf), the 1980 US Top Ten Purebred Endurance Arabian.Lothar (*Fadl x Habba) and Saafaddan (Faddan x Saaba), both under the capable hands of Linda Tellington-Jones, were top endurance winners, before becoming herd sires for Walter Schimanski. Drkumo RSI (Dymoniet RSI x Kumoniet RSI) is a contemporary endurance champion, having won the 1996 AERC National Jim Jones Stallion Award, the 1997 AERC Top Ten Jim Jones Award, and the 1997 Pioneer Award Winner for heavyweight rider.In America, we have taken the harsh conditions that have fashioned the Sheykh Obeyd Horse into an ultimate warhorse, racehorse, and endurance mount and crafted these qualities to create a show horse supreme. No show horse list would be complete without first mentioning the most famous Sheykh Obeyd Dressage horse of all time, Serr Maariner (Ibn Fa Serr x Maarena). This horse was successful at a period of time, when Dressage was not one of the largest growing disciplines in the IAHA and when Arabian Horses were exceedingly rare in the open divisions. A United States National Champion in Second, Third, Fourth Level, and the first Arabian ever to win a USDF Gold Medal (for which he won at one of the highest levels, Prix St George). He was also the USDF horse of the year, the AHSA/Insilico region 2 Horse of the year, and the Eastern States Dressage Champion for second and third level. Another successful dressage horse, Ibn Sabbah Bedu+ (Serabaar x Shar Sabbah), is a 2001 Scottsdale Prix St. Georges Reserve Champion and 1997 US National Top Ten Winner in Second and Third level. In 1998 Sabbah was the Region VII Reserve Champion at Third Level and the Purebred Working Hunter Champion in Scottsdale. Although not shown, *Rashad Ibn Nazeer was schooled by Colonel Hans Handler, a former director of the Spanish Riding School. In the 1950's, the beautiful show mare, El Maar (Fay el Dine x Maaroufa) dominated the show rings with her type and balance. Fabah (Fadl x *Bint Bint Sabbah) met with tremendous success in the show ring and passed on his performance abilities to his son, Hadbah, out of Fa Deene, who won many championships for his owners, Anchor Hill Farm. The Hadbah son, out of Silima, Anchor Hill Halim was a successful multi-champion stallion in Germany, and a winning endurance horse. The 60's and 70's ushered in an Egyptian explosion in the United States, as the ethereal beauty of the imported Egyptian horses captivated people. As these horses made their way into the show ring, the horses of Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines were among the stars. One of the most successful Sheykh Obeyd performance show mares was the lovely and talented *Bint Maisa El Saghira, not only a top ten halter winner in 1965 but also in the same year, scored top ten wins in English Pleasure and Park. In 1968, the talented Sirecho son, Joramir, out of Fad Roufa, won a National Top Ten in English Pleasure and Native Costume, the crowning achievements to a career that included 20 Class A championships in halter and performance. The gray Babson stallion, Roufas (Fa Serr x Aaroufa) was a 1974 Reserve National Champion English Pleasure Champion and also a top ten winner in Park and Formal Driving. As a matter of fact, Bentwood Farms took the Babson mares Maarena, Roufah, Aarouser, Ahroufa, and Bint Aaroufa and successfully campaigned these mares to championship wins. Bint Aaroufa, the most successful performance mare of the group, went Top Ten Park. *Ansata Ibn Halima, the beautiful Nazeer son out of Halima, imported by Ansata Arabian Stud, was the winner of many championships in Park and English Pleasure, in addition to his National Halter top tens. *Ansata Ibn Halima is the only Sheykh Obeyd stallion to sire both a National Champion stallion, mare and 14 other national winners. His beautiful daughter out of Sabrah, Fa Halima, inherited her father's good looks and even disposition and used these qualities to win 1980 US National Champion Mare, in addition to Reserve Champion wins in Canada and at the Salon Du Cheval in Paris. The *Ansata Ibn Halima son out of Allah Ateyyah, Ra'adin Inshalla, was also a frequent English Pleasure champion like his father, in addition to his halter wins. *Moftakhar (Enzahi x Kateefa) a successful racehorse in Egypt, was imported to America, and was shown to multiple championships in Native Costume, English Pleasure, Western Pleasure, and Driving. Owned by Gleannloch Farms, his beauty changed the course of breeding and inspired Gleannloch to import horses, which would play a significant role in the development of Egyptian breeding, including 19 Sheykh Obeyd horses. The mare *Dawlat (Antar x Shahrzada) was one of these 19 horses and was an English Pleasure champion and the dam of the successful racehorse, Asjah Ibn Faleh. *Talal, a proven racehorse in Egypt came to America and started a new career as a premier show horse, winning Scottsdale Reserve Champion Stallion and US National Top Ten Stallion. Whatever your discipline, whatever your choice for pleasure on the back of a horse, there is an athletic Egyptian Arabian horse waiting for you! Whether you value speed, courage, agility, kindness, intelligence, consistency….or just a companion that you can trust and depend on, you will find these qualities wrapped in the utter and absolute beauty of an Egyptian Arabian horse.

Enjoy your horses,

The horse pictured is Serr Maariner (Ibn Fa Serr x Maarena) with Gail Hoff-Carmona astride.

01 June, 2006

*Serenity Sonbolah

I was looking for a picture on the internet of the Monogramm daughter *Zagrobla. When I visited her website, imagine my surprise when I read the following interview that Denise Hearst (Arabian Horse World) had with Jeff Wallace (who, together with Mike Carragher, leased *Zagrobla from Michalow Stud in Poland)
QUESTION-Name three to five Arabian horses that have had the greatest impact on you.
ANSWER-The straight Egyptian mare *Serenity Sonbolah represented so well the Poles’ description, “of perfect harmonious build.” Her make and shape were so pleasing to the eye.
I saw *Serenity Sonbolah on two occasions at Imperial Egyptian Stud. The first time that I saw her; I didn't recognize her. I had arrived late for the open house and was quickly walking over to the indoor arena, as it was raining. As I approached the building, I saw a young girl leading a chestnut mare in from the field. The mare was having a difficult time walking and the girl was very sensitive to her, taking it slowly too, matching the pace of the mare's steps. I was looking at her body and she was a substantial horse. Her hindquarter was generous in size, round and balancing her powerfully-built shoulder. She was not the slight-looking, narrower, elongated in the middle kind of horse that seems to be all the rage today.

She was compact and she had muscles. She had a darker chestnut coat, not bright red but the kind of chestnut color that is deeper, with a hint of purple. She was dirty and she had not fully shed her winter coat (this was in early May). Where were the beautiful horses pictured in the magazines? Gosh, I didn't think this mare was attractive, as she did not have, from a distance, any of the chiseled features that I had seen pictured. In my haste and arrogance, I had decided that she was definitely not Egyptian and not like the horses that were waiting for me, inside the building. Imagine my surprise, when later in the day, this mare reappeared in the outside ring (the weather had cleared by then and the sun was shining). I recognized her by her walk, as she was led up to the ring.
*Serenity Sonbolah????????????????
Someone must have made a mistake. Or so I thought, I am embarrassed to say. When the young girl unclipped the lead line and Barbara Griffith had shared some of her story, she asked and encouraged the audience assembled outside of the ring, to share their enthusiasm and appreciation, as the mare really liked to show off.
I thought, "she must be kidding."
I saw a transformation slowly take place...a miracle, you might even call it that. There was no way this mare could move like that. I had just seen her walking to the barn, with a lot of difficulty. With every clap, with every holler, this mare became a "trotting machine", her tail curled over her back, her nostrils dilated; making this huge snorting sound, as if she was grabbing every bit of air in her body and pushing it out, from as far down as her toes. She floated this way and she floated that way. She extended her trot in ways that a dressage champion would envy. With every stride, the float lifted her body and she was suspended in the air longer and longer and longer. She was curvy and she was graceful. Her body was like a song, playing tribute to harmony and to....JOY. She danced gracefully all over the ring. She was a prima ballerina, showing off her best moves. BRAVO!! I was so unfair in my early appraisal of this beautiful mare. She was more beautiful than any horse I had ever seen. She "flew" around the arena, swallowing every form of appreciation we gave her and was obviously enjoying herself. How did I miss this?

I looked around me and saw the faces of the people. Some were smiling, some had tears in their eyes and some, were too stunned to even show a look. It was obvious that they were feeling what I was feeling too. I wondered how? How did this mare do this? The look on *Sonbolah's face was not that of a horse in pain. It was of a horse that was free and joyful and just happy to be alive. She was here, present in all her glory, in this moment and grateful for it. "What must it feel like to ride this horse?", I thought in passing. I remember a conversation, recently, that I had with a friend over how he had missed "that special something" in Ansata Iemhotep, preferring his brother, Ansata Sinan over him and I understood exactly what he was saying, as I had initially missed the special something in *Sonbolah that day. Seeing her walking from the field, I dismissed her. She was not like the horse I remembered in the pictures. However, watching her move, I knew that the most beautiful horse of all, was right in front of me and I had almost missed her. How many wonders occur in every second of life and how many do we actually witness? I dare not even contemplate my answer. As many beautiful horses as I have seen over the years, no one can ever be as beautiful as *Serenity Sonbolah. She is unforgettable...still, to this day. She gave us everything she had, that special day in May. She gave me more, lots more. She taught me a powerful lesson about raw courage and joy, while helping me to get past my shallow self. She taught me how to recognize true beauty, to savor it, to really appreciate it, so I wouldn't miss it the next time. I'll always be grateful to Barbara Griffith for sharing these beautiful horses with everyone and in the process, help me to make some bold, new steps towards a more joyful life.

Enjoy your horses,

PS I would like to give credit to the photographers Jerry Sparagowski and Johnny Johnston for the lovely pictures of *Serenity Sonbolah. Little did they know, when they took these pictures, how many people would fall in love with this mare, as a result of the pictures.