Confused?

When we started learning about the different categorizations of Arabian horses we sure were! People were throwing around strain names, terms like Blue List, straight Egyptian, Sheykh Obeyd, Post 58, Volume 5. Much of it was contradictory. This is an attempt to clarify what some of the terms mean.

 

Strain and Strain Types

The information presented below comes from several sources: (1) Strains and Strain Types by Jeanne and Charles Craver, The Khamsat V3 No2, 1986; (2) Strains and Strain-Types by Joe Ferriss, Sheykh Obeyd Foundation 1992 Directory and (3) Judy Forbis "The Classic Arabian", 1976. (4) Carl Raswan, "The Raswan Index".

You may be wondering what terms like Dahman and Saqlawi mean. They refer to the strain of the horse (Judy Forbis' book "The Classic Arabian" gives an extensive list of strains and sub-strains found among the Bedouin). As to what that strain name means, well, ask ten Arabian enthusiasts and get ten different answers. This reflects the subjective nature of interpreting descriptions of the different strains made by people such as Carl Raswan in The Raswan Index. By studying the strains of the horse you can get an idea of how a particular Arabian should look in maturity and how its looks might show up in future generations. Thus, there is both a genetic and a visual component to strain studies. With that in mind, let's simplify the discussion to two different aspects: (1) Genetic: Influential families have certain defining characteristics which tend to show up in successive generations and (2) Visual: Describe distinctive types of Arabian horses within the general concept of Arabian horse type.

A note of caution, if a horse is the result of combined source breeding, for example bloodlines bred by Crabbet, Marbach, Davenport, the E.A.O. and Babolna, the strain method of evaluation is probably far less reliable than if it were from a single source group like Sheykh Obeyd or Davenport.

 


 

Genetic Influence

It doesn't take long to notice that within the Arabian breed there are a number of different types. Horses with few if any common ancestors may be similar in type because of the influence of a particular set of strain characteristics.

The Bedouin tribes placed the most significance on the mare as to how characteristics were passed from one generation to the next. These influential female families became identified by Arabic names such as Abayyan, Dahman, Hadban, Hamdani, Kuhaylan, Muniqi, Saqlawi etc. Thus, it is the Bedouin practice that a foal was given the strain name of the dam, regardless of the strain of the sire. Some trides even attached sub-strain names to strains of their preference shich they were known for such as Saqlawi-Jidran Ibn Sudan, Dahman-Shahwan, Hadban-Inzihi, Kuhaylan Mimreh etc. This approach is in contrast to western breeders who generally recognize influential sire lines and essentially discount the dam line. How many times have you read an advertisment for an Arabian horse that touted the sire or only listed the dam as a daughter of some well known stallion?

 


 

Pure-In-The-Strain Breeding

If you breed a stallion and mare together of the same strain it is refered to as breeding pure-in-the-strain. If the mated sire and dam have the same strain but the grandsires have different strains then it is refered to as a first generation pure-in-the-strain.

 

 

 FOAL

 Dahman

 Kuhaylan
 Dahmah

 Dahmah

 Saqlawi
 Dahmah

 

*Note that Dahmah is the feminine form of Dahman

If you breed a mare and stallion together in which all four grandparents have the same strain it is called a second generation pure-in-the-strain and if you breed a mare and stallion with all eight grandparents having the same strain it would be called a third generation pure-in-the-strain.

Don't Get Trapped!

On paper strain breeding may appear simple. However, it is imperative to understand that just because a horse is of a certain strain doesn't mean that it will represent the characteristics associated with that particular tail-female strain. The reason is that a pedigree extends back many generations and may have no systematic repetition of the specific strain influence thereby making any resemblance to the founding tail-female ancestress strictly coincidental.

 

 FOAL

 Dahman

 Kuhaylan

 Hadban

 Shueyman
 Hadbah

 Kuhaylat

 Saqlawi
  Kuhaylat

 Dahmah

 Hamdan

 Abeyyan
 Hamdaniyah

 Dahmah

 Kuhaylan
 Dahmah

 Dahmah

 Saqlawi

 Muniqi

 Kuhaylan
 Muniqiyah

 Saqlawiyah

 Saqlawi
 Saqlawiyah

 Dahmah

 Hadban

 Abeyyan
 Hadbah

 Dahmah

 Saqlawi
 Dahmah

In this example only one-eighth of the pedigree is Dahman strain even though the foal is first generation pure-in-the-strain Dahman. Thus, any of the other stains could emerge as the predominant influence and the Dahman strain label has little meaning.

 

 FOAL

 Dahman

 Saqlawi

 Dahman

 Kuhaylan
 Dahmah

 Saqlawiyah

Dahman
Saqlawiyah

 Dahmah

 Dahman

 Kuhaylan
 Dahmah

 Dahmah

 Hadban
 Dahmah

 Dahmah

 Saqlawi

 Dahman

 Kuhaylan
 Dahmah

 Saqlawiyah

 Dahman
 Saqlawiyah

 Dahmah

 Kuhaylan

 Dahman
 Kuhaylat

 Dahmah

 Hadban
 Dahmah

In this example you would expect the Dahman strain to emerge as a dominant influence. Even though both pedigrees in the two examples are first generation pure-in-the-strain Dahman, the first pedigree is only 12.5% Dahman while the second pedigree is 50% Dahman.

To produce a specific strain type by breeding within the same strain rarely works if done solely by pedigree and without regard to the physical characteristics of all influential individuals within the pedigree. For example, Fa-Serr and Fay-El-Dine were full brothers of the Saqlawi-Jidran Ibn Sudan strain. These two horses looked very different. Fay-El-Dine took after his mother, *Bint Serra I, and embodied the beautiful feminie characteristics of the Saqlawi strain while Fa-Serr looked like his father *Fadl, and possessed the masculine and powerful characteristics of the Kuhaylan Jallabi strain.

 


Carl Raswan's Basic Principles

Noted authority Carl Raswan lived among the Bedouin tribes. In his Raswan Index he presents his theory that the original strain types could be maintained by breeding continually within a given strain. He also believed that the total pedigree needed to be considered. It was not enough to select individuals of the same strain but the pedigrees must also have high percentages of that strain and/or as many influential ancestors that resemble that particular strain. Raswan's basic philosophy of strain breeding: breed away from any element which disrupts type; emphasize the female side of the pedigree; constantly compare the pedigree to the living horse; and consider the whole pedigree.

Thus it is very important to consider the entire pedigree before making judgements on a horse and it is important to learn which individuals in a pedigree are considered influential. Strain breeding does not just mean so called "pure-in-strain" breeding. It includes the knowledge and recognition of all influential individuals in the pedigree as well as knowledge of specific strain types in breeding.

Visual Interpretation of Strain and Type

As a note of caution, strain and type characteristics are in addition to the Arabian horse breed type which includes: balanced conformation, moderate size, fine bone, relatively short back and long shoulders and hindquarters, relatively horizintal croup, fine skin and hair coat, elevated tail carriage in motion, well-muscled neck of proportionate length, rounded outlines, well-muscled gaskins and forearms, relatively great development of brain casing, relatively small muzzle, large eyes set nearly midway between the nostril and poll, large expandable nostrils, good width between the branches of the jaws, well developed windpipe, active and well-shaped ears.

Remember, no individual strain type should be considered better or more authentic than another. Like the Bedouin before us, each owner or breeder will have type preferences. It should be noted that not all authorities felt that strains could be identified by specific types, and those that did, didn't always agree on what the accociated types were. Carl Raswan became one of the most prolific sources of descriptions of the characteristics of each strain type as found among the Bedouin tribes prior to the mid 1930's. Unfortunately, even following one authority alone does not make strain types and breeding for them a simple matter. On the bright side, Raswan's extensive information on the subject gives a starting point from which to provide general characteristics of some of the strains which still exist within the bloodlines of the Sheykh Obeyd breeding group.

In looking for strain characteristics in the flesh it should be taken into consideration taht most strain distinctions are often changes in angulation, head carriage and musculature and sometimes facial details, but not over balance. The observer must be aware when looking at photos or living horses that type can be affected by weight, mood, sex, age, color and markings. The following sketches are taken from the Joe Ferris article.

 


Kuhaylan, feminine Kuhaylah or Kuhaylat

Sub-strains appearing in Al Khamsa pedigrees include Kuhaylan-Abu Muhsin, Kuhaylan-'Afayr, Kuhaylan-Haifi, Kuhaylan-Jallabi, Kuhaylan-Jurayban, Kuhaylan-Kurush, Kuhaylan-Mimrih, Kuhaylan-Nauwaqi, Kuhaylan-Tamri, Kuhayln-Ajuz Al Khorma, Kuhaylan-Ajuz Dajan, Kuhaylan-Ajuz Harqan, Kuhaylan-Ajuz Rabda, Kuhaylan-Ajuz Rodan,

 

 

photo of *Fadl in old age from Forbis and Schimanski "The Royal Arabians of Egypt and the stud of Henry B. Babson".

Kuhaylan type horses appear muscular, compact, and of symmetrical, rounded outlines. Their silhouettes tend to flow from head to tail. They are deep in the chest and broad fromt the front and rear views. The back seems very strong with the body being deep. The muscles seem round and distinct, the gaskins and forearms are broad and strong. Angles in the quarters are relatively closed. Head carriage is moderately high, and the body and neck do not appear long. In general no one feature stands out as prominent over others. The head has very detailed facial features (prominent veins, tear bones, wrinkled skin, etc.) with extremely broad forehead and great width between the eyes and jaws, very large eyes. Ears seem relatively small. Their disposition is gentle and kind. Kuhaylans combine beauty and muscular strength, and make excellent all-around saddle horses. In Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines tail-female Kuhaylan families include: the strain Kuhaylan-Ajuz Rodan, root mare Rodania (1869 desert bred, D.B., imported by the Blunts); and the strain Kuhaylan-Jallabi, root mare Jellabiet Feysul (ca. 1842 D.B. imported by Abbas Pasha).

Hamdani, feminine Hamdaniyah

Sub-strains appearing in Al Khamsa pedigrees include Hamdani-Simri.

The Hamdani is a Kuhaylan type, but larger and longer, bigger boned and with heftier joints, showing even greater barrel and chest, a noticeably egg-shaped hindquarters. The flow from head to tail is similar to the Kuhaylan, the back is quite strong. Carriage is again moderate, but perhaps lower than the Kuhaylan. Withers are more prominent, hind legs are straighter. The head appears larger, with less detailing, but even wider between the eyes and jaws. The head is wedge-shaped, with a relatively straight profile. Their disposition is very quiet and fearless. Colors tend to be solid bays and greys with little white. The Hamdani excel in endurance, with hunter type movement. In Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines there are no longer any tail-female lines to the Hamdani strain. Found in other than tail female lines within Sheykh Obeyd pedigrees isthe Hamdani-Simri mare Selma (ca. 1850's ) of Abbas Pasha breeding. Her daughter Sobha (1879) by Wazir was acquired by the Blunts in 1891. She is the tail female of the stallion Sotamm BLT, 1910 (sire of the Babson import *Bint Serra I and great grandsire of the Babson import *Bint Bint Sabbah) and Seyal (1897) who sired *Berk. Another Hamdani-Simri mare is Muniet El Nefous EGY (ca. 1875), the dam of El Sennari who is found in the pedigrees of Ibn Rabdan RAS (sire of Babson imports *Fadl, *Maaroufa and *Bint Bint Durra) and Baiyad RAS (sire of Babson import *Bint Bint Sabbah), among others.

 

 


Saqlawi, feminine Saqlawiyah

Sub-strains appearing in Al Khamsa pedigrees include: Saqlawi-Al Abd, Saqlawi-Jidran, Saqlawi-Jidran Dal'ah, Saqlawi-Jidran Derri , Saqlawi-Jidran Ibn Sudan, Saqlawi-Jidran Marighi, Saqlawi-Jidran Subayni, Saqlawi-Shaifi, Saqlawi-Ubayri

The Saqlawi appear to be more elegant and refined than the Kuhaylan, almost feminine in appearance. Neck and tail carriage are higher, with the neck extremely so, muscling is flatter and less prominent. The Saqlawi is narrower from front and behind, with straighter hind legs. They travel with their hocks closer together. Bone structure appears finer, and neck, back, pasterns and ears seem longer. The front end of the horse appears more prominent. The head is very slightly narrower and longer in appearance, but with more bulge between the eyes. The Saqlawi are often 'hotter' in temperment than the Kuhaylan. In color, the Saqlawi tends to a higher percentage of chestnut, with more white markings. They are showier than the Kuhaylan in movement, with 'Saddlebred style'. They may be extremely fast. In Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines tail-female Saqlawi families include: the strain Saqlawi-Jidran Derri, root mare Basilisk BLT (D.B. 1875, acquired by Blunts); and the strain Saqlawi-Jidran Ibn Sudan, root mare Ghazieh AP, ca. 1850 and imported for Abbas Pasha (root mare for Babson imports *Bint Serra I and *Bint Saada).

Abayyan, feminine Abayyah

Sub-strains appearing in Al Khamsa pedigrees include: Abayyan-Sa'ifi, Abayyan-Sharrak, Abayyan-Um Jurays

The Abayyan is a Saqlawi type, with very upright neck carriage, straight hind legs, and fine bone. Th slightly longer and lower-appearing back is a distinguishing feature, as the withers extend far back and the loins curve up towards the hips. There is extremely high tail carriage. The head is similar to the Saqlawi, with even greater bulge or 'jibbah' between the eyes. The muzzle is quite fine. The shoulders are very strong, and the chest, and therefore the entire front end, appears to be very prominent. Pasterns are fairly long. Like the Saqlawi, the Abayyan tends to have showy movement, more chestnuts with white markings and a somewhat spirited temperment. The tend to be small horses, but have good endurance and are handy on their feet. There are no longer any tail-female lines to the Abayyan strain within Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines. Historically found in other than tail-female lines within Sheykh Obeyd pedigrees is the Abayyan-Sharrak stallion Obeyan APK (D.B. ca. 1880's) who was the sire of Bint Freiha in the pedigree of Mabroul Manial among others. Another Abayyan-Sharrak stallion found in Sheykh Obeyd pedigrees is Saadun BLT (D.B., 1906) acquired by Lady Anne Blunt and kept at her Sheykh Obeyd Stud. Another Blunt acquisition of this strain is the mare Queen of Sheba BLT (D.B. 1875) dam of the stallions *Astraled and Ahmar and the mare Asfura.

 


Dahman, feminine Dahmah

Sub-strains appearing in Al Khamsa pedigrees include: Dahman-Kunayhir, Dahman-Shahwan, Dahman-Shahwan Najib

The Dahman is an intermediate strain representing something of a blend of the Saqlawi in elegance and 'show' and the Kuhaylan in muscularity and carriage. Generally hind legs are well under the body. The head has much detailing and is short and wide with large eyes, the 'dish' is extreme and ears are small. The Dahman may be somewhat taller than either the Kuhaylan or Saqlawi. In Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines tail-female Dahman families include: the strain Dahman-Shahwan, root mare El Dahma,D.B. 1880 (root mare for Babson import *Bint Bint Sabbah); and the strain Dahman-Shahwan, root mare Bint El Bahreyn, 1898 (root mare for Babson import *Bint Bint Durra).

Hadban, femimine Hadbah

Sub-strains appearing in Al Khamsa pedigrees include: Hadban-Inzihi

The Hadban is a strain about which there is little descriptive information. It is considered to be comprised of influences from both the Saqlawi and Kuhaylan strains though not actually a blend of both. The general appearance of this type is one reflecting the strength of the Kuhaylan but with more scope in flowing lines. Of strong build with great depth of heart and very large shoulders, substantial bone butalso showing some refinement created by the effect of longer lines and great style in movement. The head is large and broad with bony details, relatively straight profile and large eyes. They are considered to be of great endurance and easy keepers. Bay or brown were the predominent colors. In Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines tail-female Hadban families include: the strain Hadban-Inzihi, root mare Venus, D.B. ca. 1890.

 


Mu'niqi, feminine Mu'niqiyah

Sub-strains appearing in Al Khamsa pedigrees include: Mu'niqi-Hadruj, Mu'niqi-Sbaili

The characteristic Mu'niqi tends to be taller than average, with longer and racy-looking outlines. The quarters are not as level as the Kuhaylan. The legs are excellent with short cannons, and the hind legs are quite straight, with hocks well let down. The neck is longer and not as muscled as in the Kuhaylan, and carriage varies. The wither is prominent. The barrel is ordinarily not as deep, especially behind the rib cage. The head is narrower and higher. The open angles in the rear quarters give the Mu'niqi more of a sprint and less of an endurance type of conformation; they were noted for greater speed over shorter distances than the other strains. Colors were often plainly marked chestnuts or bays. The Sbaili substrain of the Mu'niqi was strongly Saqlawi influenced, according to Raswan, and was not so much of this conformation as was the more commonly found Mu'niqi-Hadruj. There are no longer any tail-female Mu'niqi within Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines. Historically found in other than tail-female lines in Sheykh Obeyd breeding are the stallion Meanagi Sebeli, D.B. ca. 1900, who was the sire of Nafaa El Saghira who is found in the pedigrees of Mansour and Ibn Samhan among others. Also the mare Maanagia Hadragia, D.B. ca 1880, dam of the stallion Sabbah found in the pedigrees of Om Dalal among others. To understand the debate over the purity of the Mu'niqi strain click here

Blue List

In 1952, Miss Jane Llewellyn Ott began a list of the horses proven in every line to trace directly to the Bedouin bred horses of the desert. In 1961 the "Blue Arabian Horse Catalog" was published. This is the "Blue Catalog."  Miss Ott continued this catalog until the early 70's, when she closed her research.  The organization known as Al Khamsa was born to continue her work. There are some variations as Al Khamsa accepts some horses not listed in the "Blue Catalog".  All these horses trace directly, in every line, to horses from Bedouin Tribes, or to exceptional individuals, such as Abbas Pasha and Lady Ann Blunt, who only purchased horses from these sources. The terms, "Blue List" and "Al Khamsa" indicate that this horse is believed pure by these meticulous organizations. The term Asil, meaning purebred, is a German based organization with the same goals.

BLUE STAR

The "Blue Catalog" is divided into two sub-groups, generally referred to as BLUE STAR and Blue List. The background of both of these groups is the same, except that the BLUE STAR Arabians have no Mu'niqi strain blood in their extended pedigrees, while the Blue List animals may have it in an amount varying from full Mu'niqi in a few of the early imports, to a fraction of a percent in our modern day horses. Of the original Babson imports, only *Fadl and *Maaroufa are considered BLUE STAR. Two other Sheykh Obeyd horses considered BLUE STAR are Sirecho and *Nasr. *Turfa, the 1933 gray Sa'ud mare imported by Mr. Babson in 1941 is also considered BLUE STAR but is neither straight Egyptian nor Sheykh Obeyd.

Why Pick on the Mu'niqi Strain?

In ancient times the Mu'niqi strain was considered as classic as the other strains in Saudi Arabia, in fact it was always listed as one of the 5 pure strains by the Bedouin. However, early European travelers wrote of a less classic and appealing Mu'niqi strain which was developed when the Salqa Bedouins bred Muniqiyat mares to Turkoman stallions, about three hundred years ago. Carl Raswan wrote most extensively of this, and according to him, this cross produced a taller, more angular animal, lacking much of the type of the original antique Arabian, but had greater speed. There is little doubt that there is some truth to this "legend". It is also likely that somewhere in the interior of Saudi Arabia there were FANATIC PURISTS who would have never bred their Asil Mu'niqiyat horses to one which contained the Turkoman influence. Carl Raswan advocated the breeding of the less classic Mu'niqiyat to the more classic strains, stating that the recapturing of original classic type would then be accomplished. The problem for the purist non-Mu'niqi breeder has become not whether or not all Mu'niqi (or the related Julfan, Abu 'Urqub, Kabayshan, Mukhallad, Rabdan, Sa'dan, and Samham strains) were actually infiltred with Turkoman, but how to know which ones were, and which were not. From the purists' point of view, when in doubt, err in favor of purity.

* The terms BLUE STAR and Blue List are copyrighted, exactly as spelled, and are the property of Miss Jane Llewellyn Ott. Only horses which are actually listed in the BLUE ARABIAN HORSE CATALOG are BLUE STAR or BLUE LIST. All descendants are, in actual fact, BLUE STAR or Blue List "eligible". Miss Ott allows the use of those terms to describe horses provided that the actual definitions and meanings of those terms are not "altered" by such use. All of the horses so listed, or "eligible", are BEDOUIN SOURCE horses.

For more information on BLUE STAR horses read The Legend and Reality of Blue Star Arabians.

 


 

Straight Egyptian

Straight Egyptian means that all pedigree lines can be traced to horses that lived in Egypt. Not every horse listed as Al Khamsa or Sheykh Obeyd is considered to be straight Egyptian by such organizations as the Pyramid Society. For example, the Davenport imports and *Turfa are Al Khamsa but not straight Egyptian. The Doyle Arabians and Mr. Richard Pritzlaff's foundation mare Rabanna are Al Khamsa and Sheykh Obeyd but not straight Egyptian. (For further information read Heirloom and Doyle ). Also, not all Straight Egyptian horses are considered Al Khamsa, such as *Jamilll and The Minstrel.

 

Egyptian Related

The term Egyptian Related refers to a purebred Arabian horse whose sire or both grand sires are Straight Egyptian Arabians. 

 

Sheykh Obeyd

The Sheykh Obeyd Foundation was founded in 1988 for the purpose of preserving what remains of a small group of Arabian horses who descend in every line from the desert horses gathered by the Royal Egyptian breeders of the 19th and early 20th century. Amazingly, a small number of these horses, around 800 world wide, have survived in pure form to modern times. They are primarily straight Egyptian, all are Al Khamsa and can be traced exclusively to the Egypt 1, 2 and Blunt ancestral elements, as defined by Al Khamsa Arabians in 1983. The Egypt 1 ancestral element includes foundation horses from the breeders Abbas Pasha (22 horses), Ali Pasha Sherif (8 horses), Prince Ahmed Pasha Kemal (7 horses), Khedive Abbas II (3 horses), Ahmed Bey Sennari (3 horses); the Blunt ancestral element comes from Lady Anne Blunt (15 horses); the Egypt 2 ancestral element from the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) of Egypt (8 horses).

The Sheykh Obeyd Foundation was named after Lady Anne Blunt's stud just outside of Cairo, Egypt. That stud was originally owned by Abbas Pasha's uncle, Ibrahim Pasha, and named Sheykh Obeyd after the saint - a companion of the prophet Mohammed. Lady Anne developed close ties with the Egyptian breeders who shared her devotion to the meticulous breeding philosophies of the Bedouin. The group included Ali Pasha Sherif, Prince Ahmed Pasha Kemal, Prince Mohamed Ali and Dr. Branch of the RAS.

 


 

Sheykh Obeyd Sub-groups Frequently Encountered

 


 

Ansata

Donald and Judith Forbis of Ansata Arabians imported a total of five Sheykh Obeyed Arabians all by Nazeer. In 1959 they imported the first two as yearlings, the stallion *Ansata Ibn Halima (Nazeer x Halima) and the mare *Ansata Bint Zaafarana (Nazeer x Zaafarana), full sister to the later import *Talal. The elegant *Ansata Bint Zaafarana introduced to America the treasured Ghadia/Radia family. Bint Radia bred to Ibn Rabdan produced the fabulous four, Shahloul, Hamdan, Radwan and Samira. Zaafarana (Balance x Samira) was known for her brilliant trot, regal presence and her ability to produce winning race horses. *Ansata Bint Zaafarana was always bred to *Ansata Ibn Halima. She produced two national winners and 3 of her offspring produced national winners. While *Ansata Bint Zaafarana is very well represented in Egyptian lines, sadly almost none of her blood remains within Sheykh Obeyd lines.

*Ansata Ibn Halima's show ring presence was to win the hearts of many. He is the only imported Sheykh Obeyd stallion to sire both a National Champion stallion and mare and he sired 14 national winners himself. Through 1987, 11 sons and 11 daughters have sired at least one national winner. In addition, he is the sire of the very popular Sheykh Obeyd sire El Hilal (x *Bint Nefisaa). The Forbis stallions were always at public stud, which gave them considerable exposure to American breeders. American breeders began using *Ansata Ibn Halima and his sons and the results were well received. Many of his sons were used at stud, whether from Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines or others, and as a result his influence became very widespread and made him one of the most influential Nazeer sons in the breed. Like his 3/4 brothers *Rashad Ibn Nazeer, Hadban Enzahi (Nazeer x Kamla) in Germany and Aswan (Nazeer x Yosriea) in Russia, *Ansata Ibn Halima was the product of breeding a Mansour son to a Mansour grandaughter (37.5% Mansour line breeding). There is a special quality found in the head and facial details found in many offspring of this combination of Nazeer bred to Sheikh El Arab daughters. The graceful and shapely set of the ears, eyes and prominent forehead with muzzle parts low in the line of the face are often seen in this group.

In 1965 Donald and Judy Forbis returned to Egypt to select additional imports to add to their program and these included the exquisite *Ansata Bint Bukra (Nazeer x Bukra). *Ansata Bint Bukra was a full sister to the beautiful stallion Ghazal in Germany and was very much the feminine version of him. *Ansata Bint Bukra is very well known for her son Ansata El Sherif by *Ansata Ibn Halima.

In 1970 Donald and Judy Forbis completed their Sheykh Obeyd importations with the Nazeer daughters *Ansata Bint Nazeer (x El Bataa) and *Ansata Bint Misuna (x Maysouna). Sadly, both are lost to Sheykh Obeyd breeding.

While Ansata Arabians themselves did not maintain any Sheykh Obeyd horses in their breeding program, other dedicated Sheykh Obeyd breeders have been preserving the blood of these magnificent imports for the future.

 

 


 

Babson

In 1932 Mr. Henry B. Babson traveled to Egypt. Unfortunately, Mr. Babson did not get to meet Prince Kemal el-Dine Hussein but Dr. A.E. Branch of the R.A.S., who attended the Prince's horses, did show him through the stables. From among the entire herd, Dr. Branch felt Serra to be one of the finest mares in Egypt and he wanted Mr. Babson to take her daughter to America. Thus, Dr. Branch interceded on Mr. Babson's behalf and Bint Serra was acquired. She was Mr. Babson's favorite mare of the importation. A tail-female descendant of the elegant Saqlawi Jidran Ibn Sudan strain (through Horra) of Abbas Pasha lineage, she descended in tail male line from the famous Abbas Pasha Saqlawi Jidran foundation stallion Zobeyni. *Bint Serra I was of an unusually high percentage, 75%, Ali Pasha Sherif breeding. Her son *Metsur by Rustem accompanied her to the U.S., but he died shortly after his arrival and before he could be used at stud.

*Fadl and *Maaroufa, bred by Prince Mohammed Ali, were full brother and sister and foals of the beautiful Mahroussa (made famous by Carl Raswan's photographs). *Fadl and *Maaroufa were of the celebrated Kuhaylan Jallabi strain, descended from Bint Yamama KED.

Mr. Babson imported in 1932 seven horses from Egypt, six of which survived. Those horses were: *Fadl MNL, *Maaroufa MNL, *Bint Serra I KED, *Bint Saada MNL, *Bint Bint Sabbah RAS and *Bint Bint Durra RAS.

The Babson importation has been divided up into six sub-groups. The first group is defined as horses descending only from *Fadl,*Bint Serra I and *Bint Bint Sabbah. This group is nearly gone with only one breeding mare remaining, Nefer Tiye (Fa Asar x Serr Beth) at Chariot Farm. There are several remaining stallions including Fa Asar, Ahmed Fabah and Serr Ibn Fa-Serr (Fa Asar x Serr Beth). Group 2 Babsons trace only to the imports *Fadl, *Bint Serra I, *Bint Bint Sabbah and *Bint Saada. This group will end with the death of the two remaining aged stallions, both bred and owned by Candice Cohn. Group 3 Babsons trace all the imports but *Maaroufa. This is also a small group which currently has only 4 breedable mares, Zahara Sabiya and her daughter Masada Anisah at Masada Arabians, Dahma Saafada at Bint Al Bahr Arabians and Masada Malima at Nadara Arabians. All mares are being bred to Group 1 or Group 3 stallions. There are several stallions within Group 3, including Masada Samhan, three full brothers by Fa Asar x Zahara Sabiya and three full brothers by Ahmed Fabah x Dahma Saafada. The Group 4 Babsons trace to all six imports. Surprisingly, this group is relatively small. However, in a few generations the majority of straight Babsons are expected to fall into the Group 4 or Group 6 category. Group 5 traces to all imports except *Bint Bint Durra. The largest current categorization of straight Babsons is Group 6 which trace to *Fadl,*Maaroufa, *Bint Serra I and *Bint Bint Sabbah.

 

 


 

W.R. Brown

The Brown imports began in 1918 with a massive group of 18 horses: 14 mares and four stallions. This importation would remain the largest group for the next years. Among these were the impressive *Berk noted for his brilliant trot, *Battla, *Nafia and *Rijma, which have bred on and are represented in the offspring of Rabanna, Ghadaf and Gulida. *Baraza, *Hazna, *Kerbela, *Nueyra, *Numera, *Rajafan, *Ramim, *Felestin, *Ramla, *Rishrash, *Rokhsa, *Simawa and *Rizvan were lost to the Sheykh Obeyd genetic pool. *Kasima's blood is preserved through her son Kazmeyn in Egypt. An additional Brown import was *Hamida, who is represented in Sheykh Obeyd breeding through Gulida.

In 1932 W.R. Brown made another historic importation, this time from Egypt, of seven Arabians all bred by Prince Mohammed Ali. These Brown imports were considered by some among the finest ever imported into this country. They were all of the Kuhaylan Jallabi strain. Brown had become one of the largest and most prominent breeders of Arabians in America, having established his Maynesboro Stud in 1912 based primarily on the Egypt and Blunt breeding imported from England. Brown is the breeder of the noted early sires Ribal and Gulastra. His Sheykh Obeyd imports were well regarded and considered nearly the pick of the choice stock of Prince Mohammed Ali. This group included the stallions *Nasr (Rabdan El Azrak x Bint Yamama), *Zarife (Ibn Samhan x Mahroussa), *Silver Yew (Ibn Rabdan x *Aziza) who died shortly after importation, and the mares *Roda (Mansour x Negma), *Aziza (Gamil Manial x Negma), *HH Mohamed Ali's Hamida (*Nasr x Mahroussa) and *HH Mohamed Alis Hamama (Kawkab x Mahroussa).

In Egypt, the lovely Negma was considered by Prince Mohammed Ali to be the key to true Arabian quality. Her daughter Mahroussa was considered by Brown to be one of the most beautiful mares he had ever seen. She was one of the most photographed mares of her time.

Soon after the Great Depression began to take its toll, Brown dispersed his breeding program and many of the Brown horses were acquired by Dickinson of the Traveler's Rest Stud. *Nasr became the senior sire at Traveler's Rest and was used heavily. *Nasr survives in Sheykh Obeyd breeding only through his son Sirecho out of Exochorda, *Zarife and *Roda through their son Hallany Mistanny and *Aziza through her son Julep by Gulastra.

To learn more about *Aziza and *Roda please read the Arabian Visions archived article.

 

 


 

Doyle

In 1949, Dr. J.L. Doyle of Sigourney, Iowa abandoned an already successful program and began a breeding program designed to save and utilize what remained of the high percentage "Ali Pasha Sherif bloodlines in this country". He was concerned because the Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines were quickly being absorbed into other programs and combined as new owners discovered the innate ability of these mares to add breeding power to a farm's herd. A well liked and knowledgeable individual, he was able through diligent efforts to obtain three key horses to begin his new breeding program. Gulida (Gulastra x Valida), whom he sent to Nusi (Gulastra x Nusara) and produced Im Gulnar. He was also able to acquire the 22 year old stallion Ghadaf (Ribal x Gulnare). In 1957 Dr. Doyle passed away and his wife Ellen took up the reins of this important program until 1969 when she became ill. A family friend, Dr. Ed Kelly, maintained the bulk of the herd for a couple of years and the remaining horses were inherited among the Doyle relatives. Barbara Baird, Dr. Doyle's niece, led the way in a return to the Doyle breeding. The mare Bint Gulida (Ghadaf x Gulida) has earned the title "broodmare supreme" in the difficult sport of endurance. Through the efforts of various dedicated small breeders the work of Dr. Doyle has been saved and the living Arabians of Doyle breeding continues as a significant part of Sheykh Obeyd breeding even though small in numbers. These horses are among the highest percentage Ali Pasha Sherif horses that remain in Sheykh Obeyd breeding.

Controversy has swarmed around the Sheykh Obeyd horses descended from Dr. Doyle's Ghadaf/Gulida/Nusi program. A simple question is, if Heirloom horses are the "old" Egyptian blood stock, why aren't all of them identified as "straight" Egyptian by the Pyramid Society? The answer is unfortunately not simple.

The reason is that this line traces to the Blunt desert-breds Kars and Jerboa (exported 1878 to England) who never set foot themselves in Egypt. Both of these horses are in the pedigrees of horses purchased by the R.A.S. for their purebred breeding program and included among the "Root" horses in the first R.A.S. studbook. Both are foundation horses of Al Khamsa. However, the Pyramid Society does not recognize these two horses as components in Pyramid bloodstock. In addition to Dr. Doyle's Ghadaf/Gulida/Nusi program, Richard Pritzlaff's foundation mare Rabanna, is also excluded by the Pyramid society for the same reasons.

For nearly 20 years there has been debate over the question of why these horses are not included by the Pyramid Society. Preservation breeders and scholars of the history of the Arabian have long been aware that the Doyle and Rabanna blood is also "Egyptian", and in addition transmits the highest concentration of the treasured Abbas Pasha/Ali Pasha Sherif stock available today.

This conflict has led to confusion and misunderstandings about the term "Egyptian" bloodlines. Fortunately both the Sheykh Obeyd Foundation and the Heirloom Stud Book have recognized the immense value to the Egyptian gene pool of the bloodlines carried by the Doyle and Rabanna stock.

 

 


 

Heirloom

In 1993 Col. John Fippen and Joan Schleicher introduced the Heirloom Arabian Stud Book. Their goal was to let history alone reveal the identity of what today is our "old Egyptian" blood. They concluded that there were clear historical parameters that divided modern Arabian breeding in Egypt into two eras, with the earlier one ending in 1914.

Using the first authorized studbook published by the Egyptian government, History of the R.A.S. Stud of Authentic Arabian Horses (Cairo, 1948), Fippen and Schleicher felt they found a valid basis for building the Heirloom taproot system. It was based upon the observation that the sections entitled "Root Mares" and Root Stallions" clearly distinguished that group of horses from the remaining chapters describing horses bred by the R.A.S. Thus, the stock designated by the R.A.S. as its own "roots" proved to be a sensible reference point for generating a comprehensive list of extant bloodlines from the earliest era of Egyptian breeding. Thus, the Heirloom horse can be broadly defined as "pre-RAS" Sheykh Obeyd.

Of the 57 horses listed in the "Roots" sections, 52 trace in all lines to Al Khamsa Foundation horses. 51 of the Al Khamsa horses descend entirely from foundation horses exported from desert Arabia before 1914, and are categorized by Al Khamsa as "Egypt 1" and "Blunt". The remaining horse is Bawdy, the only member of the "Egypt 2" element to be included among the roots of the R.A.S. Her date from the desert is unknown but if it is found to be prior to 1914, the Heirloom Stud Book has said they will add Badouia to the Heirloom taproot list.

 

 


 

Post 58

Although the name of this group is a bit of a misnomer, it includes all the Sheykh Obeyd horses imported into the United States after 1950 and includes some 64 horses through 1991. This includes the 1958 importation by Richard Pritzlaff of five horses and the Ansata importation of five Sheykh Obeyd horses between 1959 and 1970. Also included is Serenity Farms Limited, owned by Brad and Hansi Heck, importation of five Sheykh Obeyd horses between 1963 and 1973 and Gleannloch Farms, owned by Douglas and Margaret Marshall, importation of nineteen Sheykh Obeyd horses from 1952 to 1970. Gleannloch Farms dispersed its herd of Egyptian Arabians in 1992 and seven of their original imports continue within Sheykh Obeyd breeding.

 

 


 

Pritzlaff

The noted Arabian horse authority Carl Raswan encouraged Richard Pritzlaff of New Mexico to go to Egypt and select some of the fine animals being bred by the EAO. As a result, Richard Pritzlaff became the first to import Nazeer offspring into the United States. His importation in 1958 consisted of the Kuhaylan Rodan stallion *Rashad Ibn Nazeer (Nazeer x Yashmak II) and the mares *Bint Moniet El Nefous (Nazeer x Moniet El Nefous), *Bint Nefisa (El Sareei x Nefisa), *Bint El Bataa (Nazeer x El Bataa) and *Bint Dahma (El Sareei x Dahma).

*Rashad Ibn Nazeer had an exceptionally high percentage of original Abbas Pasha breeding. *Bint Moniet El Nefous was the only daughter of the legendary "Queen of Egypt", Moniet El Nefous, to come to America. *Rashad Ibn Nazeer and *Bint El Bataa were three quarter brother and sister. Their son, Sheiko Ibn Sheikh was a popular sire on the west coast and sire of four national winners. The imports were bred to each other and combined with the Pritzlaff foundation mare Rabanna. Rabanna was personally selected for Pritzlaff by Carl Raswan. (For further discussion on Rabanna please see the section on Doyle). The blood of Ansata El Salim, Faarad, *Fakher El Din and Bel Gordas were also incorporated into the Pritzlaff program, which has remained a successful breeding program since the beginning.

For further reading about Richard Pritzlaff please read the Arabian Visions archived article about him.

 


 

The Benefactors

Horses bred by the Egyptian breeders have a letter code following their name which identifies the breeder. For example, Nazeer RAS means that Nazeer was bred by the Royal Agricultural Society. If an (F) follows the breeder code, it indicates that the horse was imported by that breeder as a foundation horse from the desert. Zobeyni AP (F) tells us that Zobeyni was a foundation horse for Abbas Pasha.

 


 

 


Abbas Pasha

Abbas Pasha, grandson of Viceroy Mohammed Ali, was born in 1813. Three years later his father, Tousson Pasha, died. He was raised under the watchful eye of his grandfather and reared in the desert where he obtained a thorough foundation in Arabian lore and became entranced with the Bedouin horses his father had obtained from Abdullah ibn-Saud, as well as those accumulated by his uncle, Ibrahim Pasha. At age 23 his grandfather put Abbas in charge of the administration of the horse breeding stations.

To preserve the bloodlines of his grandfather's once incomparable Arabian stud, the young Abbas carefully studied the pedigrees and the offspring of particular stallions and mares and as thereby able to obtain some of the best individuals and their foals. He was meticulous about keeping records of the origins and breeding history of his animals and spared neither time, money nor his own security to acquire by whatever means necessary the best of his grandfather's and uncle's horses. That he loved them with a passion beyond any breeder Egypt had known, except perhaps Sultan el-Nacer, was evidenced by the quality of his stud.

Abbas formed friendly ties with the Arab princes and leaders and in 1842 engineered the escape of Prince Faisal ibn-Saud, Imam (exalted spiritual leader) of the Wahabbis, from the Citadel of Cairo where the Wahabbi prince had been held for ransom. News of the escape reached his grandfather Mohammed Ali, but much to the surprise of all, he didn't fly into his customary rage but supposedly commented "This is a trick of grandson Abbas, but there must be some good reason for it." Indeed there was.

The story, as told by Carl Raswan, goes that Faisal and Abbas had previously met while Abbas was still in his mid twenties and Faisal a captive in Cairo. They discovered their mutual love of horses and discussed breeding, pedigrees and stains. Bedouin chiefs were subsequently invited to Cairo and scribes recorded the information which they provided to Faisal and Abbas. After the escape of Faisal back to the Nejd, he assisted Abbas in acquiring the pick of desert mares, among them the famed Jallabiyah mare Wazira.

When it was known that Mohammed Ali was fatally ill, the government of Turkey decided that Ibrahim Pasha should accede to the vice regency. Abbas supposedly emigrated to Arabia because of a quarrel between him and his uncle, Ibrahim, and he settled down among the Arabs of the Roala tribe. Abba's absence was short and at the death of his uncle in 1848 he returned to Egypt and became viceroy.

In the meantime, Abbas set out acquiring the choicest Arabians and learned the ancient histories if the horses which Abbas had gotten from the studs of Mohammed Ali and Ibrahim Pasha. His love of Arabians and his determined quest to obtain horses having first class pedigrees reached such an intensity that it is said he purchased, at prohibitive prices, almost all the Saqlawiyah Jidraniyah mares from the Anazeh Tribe. Lady Anne Blunt mentions in her private notes of 1882 that Ibn Sudan had reputedly sold their last mare to Abbas Pasha just prior to the pasha's death: a bay mare, fifteen years old for which he paid 1000 pounds. She was apparently in such poor condition that she had to be transported by wagon. Nevertheless, the pasha got several foals from her. However, Abbas Pasha's favorite strain was the Dahman Shahwan.

In addition to his luxurious stables he built a library which contained the efforts to document the pedigrees so faithfully recorded by Abba's mameluke, El-Lallah. He also engaged the most select group of Bedouins from Arabia, from the Nejd, Anazeh, Ateybe and Muteyr tribes, to not only watch over and direct management of his stud but to also check accounts given of the horse's histories for accuracy.

The reputation of Abbas Pasha's Arabians soon spread throughout the Arab and Christian world. Many poems and paintings were inspired by their beauty. Abbas Pasha died in 1854 at the age of 41 having reigned as the viceroy of Egypt from Nov. 10, 1848 to July 13, 1854. It is said that he was assassinated by two of his servants because of his extreme cruelty to those who worked for him. Lady Anne Blunt relates the story that Abbas Pasha became infuriated with one of his grooms who forgot to have a horse shod, and as punishment ordered a red hot horseshoe be nailed to the sole of the forgetful servant's foot.

Time has proved that Abbas Pasha made an incalculable contribution to Egypt, and to the Arabian horse world in general. Historians have overlooked this aspect of his life, which was in fact his life, and condemned him on other economic and personal accounts.

Foundation Horses of Abbas Pasha, AP (F)

 
 Ghazieh (AP)  Ra'is  Talqah
 Hajlah  Raqabah  Udayha
 Harka  Samha (AP)  Wadihah (Dahmah)
 Jathimah  Selma (AP)  Wadihah (Shueymah)
 Jellabiet Feysul  Shalfa  WaziriAl-Auwal
 Miskah  Shueyma  Zobeyni
 Najib (AP)  Shuwayman As-Sabbah  
 Qumiz  Sueyd  
 

Ali Pasha Sherif

Born in Egypt as Ali Bey, Ali Pasha Sherif learned to love horses early in life. His father, El Sayed Mohammed, was brought by Mohammed Ali from Albania to Egypt at the age of twelve. He had found favor with the viceroy and Mohammed Ali obtained admittance for him into the school attended by the sons of pashas and princes. El Sayed Mohammed became an important administrator in Mohammed Ali's regime, eventually becoming governor of Arabia. El Sayed Mohammed instilled the love of horses and horsemanship in his son through association with desert chieftains and through Abbas Pasha and the royal family.

Ali Bey was sent to French staff officer's school in Paris where he completed his education. When he returned to Egypt he was commissioned as an artillery colonel in Mohammed' Ali's Egyptian Army. After the death of his father, Ali Bey received the title of Ali Pasha Sherif, becoming president of the Chamber of Commerce and subsequently president of the legislative council. In this capacity her served throughout the reign of Khedive Mohammed Tewfik, father of Khedive Abbas Pasha Hilmi II.

Ali Pasha's sons likewise inherited this love for horses. It is still related by the Sherif family how Ali Pasha, insisting that his children become excellent horsemen, tested their skill often by placing a coin between their knee and the saddle. If it fell during their equestrian exercises, they received a whipping for their failure.

When Abbas Pasha was assassinated in 1854, his precious animals were inherited by his eighteen year old son El Hami Pasha who was described as a madcap youth who showed little respect for his inheritance and gave away horses right and left. In a three week long fire sale, the remaining horses were put up for auction. It was there that Ali Pasha Sherif purchased 40 horses to be added to his already superb collection. He had acquired the earlier horses from Abbas Pasha himself and as a result of his father's governorship of Arabia.

Both Abba Pasha and Ali Pasha Sherif showed favoritism toward the strains of Dahman Shahwan and Duhaym al-Nejib, Saqlawi Jidran Ibn Sudan and Saqlawi Jidran Ibn Zobeyni as well as Kuhaylan Mimreh, Kuhaylan Jallabi, Kuhaylan Nowak Debbe and Wadnan Hursan. At the height of Ali Pasha's stud he had some four hundred horses. Sadly, the horse plague invaded Egypt and wiped pit many valuable strains and only those which he had moved to upper Egypt were saved.

In 1897 Ali Pasha Sherif died and a month later the remnants of his stud went up for auction. It is said that Ali Pasha Sherif kept copious herd books and manuscripts about his stud, but they have unfortunately been lost.

Foundation Horses of Ali Pasha Sherif, APS (F)

 
 Dahmeh Shahwaniyah  Mahroussa (APS)  Sabha El Zarka
 El Dahma  Nader El Kebir  Saklawi I
 Gharran  Nura El Kebira  

Lady Anne Blunt and Sir Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

Sir Wilfred Blunt was born August 17,1840 and was the second son of Francis Blunt, the scion of an ild Sussex family. Unfortunately, Blunt's father died two years later. His mother leased the family estate, Crabbet Park, and wandered with her three young children in desultory fashion throughout England and Europe. At the age of eighteen Blunt passed the examination for the diplomatic service and for twelve years he served as an attache to Dritish embassies and legations in Athens, Constantinople, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt. It was also during this time thatthe handsome Blunt pursued his favorite pastime, the seduction of beautiful, often married, aristocratic women.

Blunt ended up marrying a very different sort of woman. Lady Anne King Noel was twenty-nine years old when they first met in Florence, Italy. She was chaste, rich and attractive in an unassuming way. Blunt described her in later years:

She thought herself plainer than she was, and had none of the ways of a pretty woman, though in truth she had the prettiness that a bird has, a redbreast or a nightengale, agreeable to the eye if not aggressively attractive. She had beautiful white teeth and a complexion [that was] rather brown than fair.... In stature [she was] less than tall, well poised and active, with a trim light figure set on a pair of small high-instepped feet. It is thus I see her in recollection, an unobtrusive quiet figure.... dressed in pale russet with a single crimson rose for ornament, rather behind the fashion of the day, but dignified and bright.

Lady Anne came with a remarkable family history. She was child of Lord Byron's daughter, Augusta Ada, and had been brought up largely by her grandmother, Lady Byron. She had spent most of her youth in Europe. By the time Blunt met her, Lady Anne already boasted several impressive achievements: fluency in French, German, Italian and Spanish; a considerable artistic talent (she had studied drawing under John Ruskin); and some musical skills (she owned two Stradivarius violins and practiced in them five hours a day).

Blunt was attracted to her almost from the first. A marriage to the heir of the Byronic tradition appealed very strongly as a major first step in his own poetic progress. Nor was he indifferent to the obvious advantages of her annual income of some 3,000 when his own, as a second son, had dwindled to 700. Later Blunt discovered he had in her a perfect companion for his Arabian travels. She was a woman courageous, tough, resourceful, cool-headed in life threatening crises, self-reliant, adaptable and shared his major interests in Orientalism and horses.

They were married on June 8, 1869 in London. In the summer of 1873 they began their first adventure to the Middle East. In the winter of 1875-76 the Blunts visited Egypt. Afterleaving Egypt, they hired Bedouins and camels and made a leisurely trip throug the Sinai to Jerusalem. While crossing the desert, the small group ran out of water and almost died of thirst. However, the Blunts survuved the experience and gained a rudimentry knowledge of Arabic, an insatiable desire to learn more about the Muslim culture and a determination to mount a major expedition into central Arabia.

There were years of pain as well as pleasure. Lady Anne suffered one miscarriage after another, the first occurring just two months after their wedding. A year later she delivered a son who died after 4 days. In 1872 she delivered twin girls. One died immediately. Lady Anne took the other in her arms. "Oh, it was so lovely to me, it had feet and hands like its father, and its voice went to my heart," she wrote. The baby died a few days later. And so it went through one terrible pregnancy after another. Both were keenly aware that their families were among only sixty-eight in England that had come over from Normandy with William the Conqueror in 1066. Blunt especially was desperate for a son to carry on the family line and eachfailure devasteted him.

In the spring of 1872, Blunt's older brother unexpectedly died and he inherited the ancestral estate at Crabbet Park. Suddenly the couple found themselves with a country house, 4,000 acres, fifteen servants and an annual income of 21,000. Blunt immediately set about restoring the dilapidated Tudor manor house. On February 6, 1873, Lady Anne gave birth to a daughter. She lived andthey named her Judith Anne Dorothea. She grew up as an only child.

In late November of 1877 the Blunts returned to the Middle East to begin their first expedition. It was not until January 9, 1878 that their small caravan departed from Aleppo. At the end of their adventures (I encourage reading Lady Anne's account of the trip in her book Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates) the Blunts sailed home to England with six Arabian mares that were to form the heart of the famous Crabbet Arabian Stud farm. The idea had been the brainchild of their friend in Aleppo, James Skene, who also joined as a general partner. Blunt believed that the Arabian horse was the finest in the world but in order to develop its full potential it must be bred in England. Within a few years the Crabbet's stud reputation had spread throughout England.

In late 1878 the Blunts decided to return to the Middle East, this time to penetrate northern Arabia and the Nejd, the highlands sacred to all Syrian Bedouins as their ancestral homeland. It was also considred the birthplace of the Arabian horse. Isolated by rugged mountains and fierce deserts, few regions in the world were more inaccessable. Only three European men had preceded them. Lady Anne would be the first European woman to visit the Arabian Peninsula. (I encourage reading Lady Anne's account of this trip in her book A Pilgrimage to Nejd).

In 1882 the Blunts purchased Sheykh Obeyd, a thirty-two acre house and walled garden on the outskirts of Cairo in the desert near the pyramids. The estate was originally owned by Ibrahim Pasha, uncle to Abbas Pasha. A family friend, Frederic Harrison, visited Sheykh Obeyd in 1895 and wrote a full description of the Blunt's life in Egypt:

The garden, which covers about forty acres, is full of oranges, olives, apricots in blossom and roses in bloom - so that, although it is in the desert, it is a wilderness of water and greenery ....The house is a genuine, roomy and airy Egyptian villa in two storeys, with a large flat roof on which we spend early morning and evening, take afternoon tea and coffee and lounge .... Under the palm grove, in front of the gate and outer court, the Arabian brood mares and their foals are tethered and are feeding down the clover. there are about twenty-five of them ... tended by a small tribe of Bedouin lads in burnouses, who live in tents under the palms. The sight is like a bit from Genesis in real life. The camel encampment is some distance off, in the actual desert, where there is another tribe of Bedouins who never come under a roof..

The primary horse objective of the Blunts became that of collecting from the stud of Ali Pasha Sherif. With perseverence and tenacity they collected approximately 16 stallons and 51 mares bred by Ali Pasha Sherif which were some of Egypt's finest Arabians. They shipped some of them to the Blunt's estate, Newbuildings and later to Crabbet while leaving others at their Sheykh Obeyd Stud. In a poignant note, Lady Anne mentions that she could almost regret having purchased the Ali Pasha mares because Judith, her sole heir, did not value them.

The Blunts slowly drifted apart. Lady Anne lived a reclusive life at Sheykh Obeyd, now her chief home, rarely returning in later years to Crabbet Park in Sussex. Arabic, not English, became her first language and she insisted, the language of her dreams and thoughts. Blunt often sought the companionship of other women. In 1895, when he ws 55, he had a passionate affair in the desert with the daughter of an earlier mistress. In 1900 he started an affair with a young woman, Dorthy Carleton, whose pet name for him was Merlin. In 1906 she moved in with him at Crabbet Park. This precipitated a separation with Lady Anne. They continued to correspond on friendly terms and unsuccessfully attempted in 1915 a reconciliation.

On December 15, 1917, Lady Anne died in Cairo. Her body was buried in a small cemetary on the edge of her beloved desert. Her obituary as it appeared in the London Times has been reprinted in the Arabians Visions Archive. Wilfred Blunt died September 10, 1922. By his own orders there was no ceremony, only a simple Bedouin-style funeral. His body was wrapped in an Oriental carpet and carried by six workmen to a grave several hundred yards from Crabbet Park.

Lady Anne's fears about Judith's lack of appreciation of the Ali Pasha Sherif horses were not without foundation. Judith Blunt, known as Lady Wentworth, inherited the Crabbet Stud from her parents and did not bother to preserve the Ali Pasha Sherif bloodlines in any straight form and eventually Blunt desert bred stock and the impure Polish Arabian Skowronek predominated the Crabbet pedigrees. Thus, the Wentworth "superhorse" was born, but at the expense of what Lady Anne and Sir Wilfred valued most. It is only recently that a handful of dedicated breeders have recognized what the Blunts and early Egyptian breeders knew so well, the special qualities only found in Sheykh Obeyd Arabians.

 

Foundation Horses of Lady Anne and Wilfred Blunt, Blunt (F)

 
 Azrek  Jerboa (BLT)  Queen of Sheba
 Basilisk  Kars  Rodania
 Dajania  Meshura  Saadun
 Ferida  Pharaoh  Sherifa
 Hadban (BLT)  Proximo  

Khedive Abbas Pasha Hilmi II

The Khedive Abbas II maintained an outstanding stable ofArabians and possessed various gift horses from desert sheiksin Arabia as well as from Ali Pasha Sherif, who gave him among others Mesaouds lovely Saqlawiyah dam, Yemama. The khediva was alsoa doner to theRAS's studfarm andalso sold horses to the Blunts. Sadly, he was not as dedicated to the horses as was Abbas Pasha I and he lost interest with mounting political problems. He was eventually dethroned when British officials became administrative rather than advisory.

Foundation Horses of Khedive Abbas II, KDV (F)

 
 Bint El Bahreyn  Halabia  Venus

 

Ahmed Bey Sennari

 

Foundation Horses of Ahmed Bey Sennari, EGY (F)

 
 Gazza  Koheilan El Mossen  Muniet El Nefous

 

Prince Ahmed Pasha Kemal

One of the most enthusiastic collectors of Arabian horses was Prince Ahmed Pasha Kemal who obtained most of his horses from Ali Pasha Sherif and directly from the Arabian desert. The prince kept several palaces and stables, and the Blunts were in frequent touch with him about horses and other matters.

The prince's horses played an influential role in both the Blunt's and R.A.S. breeding programs, as well as those of Prince Mohammed Ali and Prince Kemal El-Dine.

Foundation Horses of Prince Ahmed Pasha Kemal, APK (F)

 
 Donia  Maanagia Hadragia  Rabda
 Freiha Al Hamra  Meanagi Sebeli  
 Jamil El Kebir  Obeyan  

 

Prince Kemal El-Dine Hussein

Prince Kemal El-Dine was heir and successor to the throne of Egypt. When his father Sultan Hussein died in 1917 Prince Kemal El-Dine declined the throne as he had no ambition to take his place or that of Abbas II and nor was he attracted by the prospect of being a figure head ruler under the control of the British.

The prince was an avid sportsman and maintained several splendid palaces and hunting lodges as well as superb stables for his Arabian horses. Prince Kemal El-Dine was one of the most influential breeders in the early 1900s. However, exports from his stables were not numerous and *Bint Serra I, imported in 1932 by Henry Babson to the United States, remains his most famous mare.

It is said that there was a great rivalry between Prince Kemal El-Dine and Prince Mohammed Ali over their horses. Prince Kemal El-Dine was a donor to the R.A.S. and often borrowed horses from them for his own breeding program. Sadly, no records remain of this outstanding stud, except for references in the Egyptian studbooks.

Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfik

Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfik, the prince regent of Egypt, was a small man, distinguished in bearing and appearance and displayed polished Turkish manners. By some who knew him he was thought to be rather penurious, surrounding himself in luxury but not particularly giving. He spoke French as his first language, and very little Arabic. He never married and thus left no heirs. With his passing the old order yielded and with it the element of Oriental splendor vanished.

Prince Mohammed Ali maintained the most splendid of the royal studs in the early 1900s. The prince was an outstanding horseman and scholar, and his "Breeding of Purebred Arab Horses", published in Cairo in 1935/36 in two volumes, is valued in Arabian horseman's libraries everywhere. In the preface of the first volume he writes: "All my life Ihave lived among horses and loved them. When I was only six years old I hada pony to ride which was as powerful as a stallion. My guardian was an old Georgian Pacha, who was sent more than twenty times to Arabia to buy the finest horses for my ancestor - Abbas Pacha the First. Abbas had a stable of horses finer and more beautiful than any since the days of King solomon. the Pacha used to tell us stories all day long of his travels, praise what he bought and also taught us the beauty of horses."

The prince maintained fabulous stables at Koubbeh, Shoubre, Mataria and on the island of Roda in the Nile. His palatial Manial stables at Roda bore the stamp of the most opulent Arabesque architecture. The ornate palace and buildings housing his priceless oriental carpets, tapestries, Korans and art treasures, as well as his hunting trophies from expeditions throughout the world, were set admist lush botanical gardens. All was surounded by a high wall with buttresses and two impenetrale brass-ornamented gates. It reflected the grandeur and wealth of royalty, and provided a spectacular background for his pried collection of Arabian horses.

The foundation stock which he chose were mostly of Ali Pasha Sherif derivation, but particularly descendants of Abba Pasha's renowned Jellabiyah mare which the prince bred to a perfection not since duplicated. The matriarch of his stables was the lovely white Bint Yammama, which established for him that special "type" - a certain look by which great breeders are identified. Two of Bint Yamama's well known progeny were *Nasr, by Rabdan, and the exceptionally beautiful Negma, by Dahman El Azrak. Negma producedforthe prince the exquisite *Roda, by Mansour, *Aziza, by Gamil Manial and the legendary Mahroussa, by Mabrouk Manial. Mahroussa was immortalized in Raswan's photographs.

The premise that it is quality, not quantity, that counts in a breeding program was aptly illustrated by the prince. His breeding goals were described by Lt. Col. Sidney Goldschmidt in his book "Skilled Horsemanship", published in 1937.

...But then the selection of sire and dam at this great stud is not on orthodox lines. The Prince has made a collection of old prints and drawings showing the traditional Arab horse, the horse of poetry and romance. These serve as his guide, and it is his aim to breed to this standard. Every sire and dam as well as their progeny, are studied with this ideal before him, and the tests are appled with almost mathematical precision. Any that fall short in the minutest detail are ruthlessly weeded out and sold.

Photographs of some ofthe horses placed alongside old prints show how surely he is approaching his goal.. In reply to an unguarded question as to the quality of a stud of horses that were never ridden, we were told that the attainment of an ideal has no utilitarian object, and just as we in Europe hand beautiful pictures on our walls to look at and admire, so he has his beautiful horses. I must say that what we saw, especially those that hadalready spent their maturing months in the desert, excelled in beauty over any work of art it has been my good fortune to see.

Dr. A.E. Branch and the R.A.S.

The implementation of the Royal Agricultural Society (R.A.S.) studfarm fell to Dr. A.E. Branch, an outstanding Scottish veterinarian. He was called upon by both Prince Momammed Ali and Prince Kemal El-Dine and assisted them loyally in various phases of their breeding programs and was totally devoted to his work of improving the classic beauty and quality of the Arabian horses in his charge.

Foundation Horses of the RAS

 
 Aiglon  Eid  Mashaan
 Badaouia  Leila  Nabras

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    information originally found on Nadara Arabians website home.