18 June, 2022


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!

1 comment:

kar120c said...

Hi Ralph,

I either have ordered or own every single book you posted. You have excellent taste but we all knew that!

Hope you are well. I so look forward to your posts.