Ten years of Daughters of the Wind

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 16th, 2018 in General

Ten years already. I can hardly believe it.

I feel so blessed for the old friends it has allowed me to keep in touch with, and the new friends it has allowed me to make, from around the world. Above all, I feel blessed for the collective knowledge and memory gathered here.

One day we will all meet face to face, from Germany and the USA and France and the UK and Chile and Hungary and Canada and Croatia and Tunisia and South Africa and Australia and Spain and Pakistan and Belgium and Morocco and Egypt and Lebanon and Iraq and Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Iran and Israel and Palestine and many, many other places around the world.

And we can all already tell what will be on the menu of discussions.

Hansi’s horses and her legacy

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 20th, 2018 in General

For several years, Hansi ran the same ad about Serenity Arabian Farms in the Khamsat magazine, featuring some of the several hundred horses she and her first and second husbands Bradford Heck and William Melnyk bred over the course of more than four decades.

I recall being in awe of three stallions in particular (photos from this ad below): Serenity Sharaf, with a depth of girth like no other stallion; his brother Serenity Lamir, who was an ode to balance, and above all, racehorse champion Serenity Mamlouk, whose photo below exudes power, balance, perfection of conformation, nobility and … these staring sparkling eyes.

Hansi was indeed a master breeder (and master breeders in this country can be counted on the fingers of one hand), with an eye to functional conformation like no one else’s. As a race horse trainer and an owner of horses that have excelled in halter, flat racing and endurance alike, she knew what makes a superior, athletic performance horse, and even more so, she knew how to breed one, working with a closed pool of Egyptian lines.

I am particularly worried about the fate of her immense and immensely precious collection of photos, letters, documents and books, in particular amidst persistent rumors of horse breeders foraging around her house and home office in Florida. I hope it is and it remains in safe and trustworthy hands, and that someone will eventually catalog it and archive it.

al-Quds, 1920

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 19th, 2018 in General

Farewell, Hansi

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 17th, 2018 in General

From an Al Khamsa news bulletin:

“The Arabian Horse community worldwide lost a fierce advocate this morning. Hanna Luise Heck-Melnyk, known to all as Hansi, passed away at 11:43am EST, Sunday January 14, 2018, at her farm in Hawthorne, Florida, at the age of 86. Founder of Serenity Arabians, Hansi has been a long time supporter of Al Khamsa, Inc. The summer 2018 issue of the Khamsat will feature Hansi, her breeding program, and her accomplishments.”

Hansi introduced me to western Arabian horse breeding and breeders, and instilled in me the passion of defending asil bloodlines. We met in 1994 and remained friends since. This page is a tribute to Hansi, her horses, her legacy, and her achievements.

Handsome Shueyman Redjem in France

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 2nd, 2018 in General

Don’t you love that strong, powerful neck and broad chest. Shueyman Redjem exudes power, and is reminiscent of his sire Murad Dahman (Ahshwan x Murad Hadiya by Ourki x Hamada) whom I rode across the fields and trails of Burgundy in the summer of 2010, with Jean-Claude Rajot. I also rode his dam Shueymah Sabbah (Mokhtar x Murad Haouda by Cherif x Hamada).


Ma’naqiyah, Bint Mach’al

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 29th, 2017 in General, Lebanon, Syria

Another daughter of Mach’al, this time a Ma’naqiyah named Cha’lah, also from an old strain of the Dandashi lords of Tal Kalakh. Sire of dam: al-Jazzar, a Kuhaylan Nawwaq; sire of granddam: Ghazwan, a Kuhaylan al-Kharas; pictured with a foal by a partbred stallion. Photographed by my father somewhere in Western Syria, most likely in Tal Kalakh in the late 1970s, and pedigree in his handwriting on the back of the photo.

How much I would give for just one of those mares now. There numbered in the low hundreds at the height of the Lebanese national program, before the civil war of 1975-1990. In 1991, there were only 25 mares left, most born between 1965 and 1975. Today, zero left in asil form.

Saqlawiyah, Bint Mach’al

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 29th, 2017 in Syria

An asil Saqlawiyah, daughter of Mach’al (and hence paternal sister of the stallion Achhal, the sire of the tree mares in the previous entries), from an old strain of the Dandashis (perhaps the Saqlawi Ibn Zubaynah strain tracing to Umm al-Tubul), photographed by my father in Tal Kalakh, Syria, in the late 1970s.

She was exported to Qatar during the Lebanese civil war. Many of the best asil Lebanese mares were sent to the Gulf countries, where they were wasted.

Nawwakiat Akkar, yet another Achhal daughter from Lebanon

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 28th, 2017 in Lebanon

This is Nawakiat ‘Akkar, a Kuhaylah Nawwaqiyah, and yet another Achhal daughter, born in 1976. She was the most valuable mare my father owned, and had established a dynasty of (part-bred) race winners of her own. She was a gift from Henri Pharaon at three years old, and was sold in 1992 to Henri’s cousin, Pierre Pharaon, along with Zenobia and a third mare (part-bred).

This was when my father was transitioning to “purebred Arab” horses of international lines, which he then felt were equally “asil”, and had just acquired two mares of predominantly Crabbet lines from Jordan, Ziba (Dancing Magic x Shazla) and Shela (El Batal x Siva).



Another daughter of Achhal from Lebanon

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 28th, 2017 in Lebanon

This mare, also a ‘Ubayyah, and also a daughter of Achhal, was the last two “asil” Lebanese mares. She was owned by Abd al-Hamid al-Halabi, who bred her to French stallions (non-asil) that my father had selected for Lebanon in 1992. She left no “asil” progeny as a result.

Like most everyone in the Middle East at the time (and until today), he had no idea at the time that the notion of “asil” and the Western notion of a “purebred Arab” registered in a studbook were not the same. Years after that, we eventually understood that not all “purebred Arabs” traced to Bedouin-bred horses in all their lines, but it was too late for the Lebanese breeding from an “asil” perspective. When the Lebanese studbook was accepted by WAHO, it already consisted of 25 or so elderly mares, and one gelding racehorse. Stallions had to be imported from aboard. This mare was one of the youngest, born in 1980 I believe. I think her name was Chahla, but I am not sure.

Zenobia, Ubayyah Sharrakiyah from Lebanon, 1991

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 28th, 2017 in Lebanon

Zenobia, born in 1977, was one of the prettiest asil mare in Lebanon, my father’s favorite horse, and a notoriously difficult producer. A ‘Ubayyah Sharrakiyah tracing to the marbat of Ibn Thamdan of the Sba’ah, with a regal pedigree that was linebred to Mach’al, the foundation stallion of Lebanese asil breeding. She left no asil progeny, and my father sold her in 1992 at the age of 15.

Sire: Achhal, a son of Mach’al; dam: Bint Su’ad; sire of dam: Wazzal, another son of Mach’al; dam of dam: Su’ad; sire of granddam: al-Jazzar; dam of granddam: Mash’al’s sister, a daughter of Shaykh al-Arab.

Desert bred horses in Syria, 1985-86

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 28th, 2017 in Syria

While scanning old photos this morning, I happened on these two photos. There is a story to them.

One evening in 1985 or 1986, a Lebanese visitor came to see my father in Beirut, and left the two photos behind. He spoke emphatically about his trip to the Syrian Jazirah (Upper Mesopotomia in North Eastern Syria today) and the desert-bred horses he had seen there. I was seven or eight years old, I did not catch much of the conversation but the photos made a lasting impression on me.

It was in the middle of the Lebanese civil war, communications between Syria and the part of Lebanon we lived in were infrequent and difficult, and most Lebanese horsemen involved in the Lebanese horse racing scene, including my father, were convinced that no more good, authentic, pure desert-bred horses were left in the Syrian desert, because of the degenerescence of the breed and its contamination by  part-bred Arabs from Iraq. “You will only find leftovers there”, my father was once told.

These photos and the visitor’s description showed otherwise, just at a time when the Syrian breeders were launching a large-scale effort to register all the horses of the Bedouins. Indeed, there were good desert-bred horses left, and that was the start of my interest in desert-bred Arabians.

I know nothing about the horse, his rider, or the exact place the photo was taken. I am not even sure if the photos show two separate horses, or just one.

From Kipling’s “Mandalay” poem

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 27th, 2017 in General

“If you’ve ‘eard the East a-callin’, you won’t never ‘eed naught else.”
No! you won’t ‘eed nothin’ else
But them spicy garlic smells,
An’ the sunshine an’ the palm-trees an’ the tinkly temple-bells;
On the road to Mandalay . . .

Cairo, 1857

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 27th, 2017 in General

The neighborhood of al-Darb al-Ahmar. Photo from the Facebook page Ahl Masr Zaman.


Mlolshaan Mutab, Bahraini stallion in South Africa

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 27th, 2017 in Bahrain

Pauline Du Plessis’s Saruk Arabians is standing the bay 1999 Bahraini stallion Mlolshaan Mutab (Mlolshaan Hilal x Mlolesh Durra by Jellaby Adari) at stud in South Africa.

He was bred by the stud of Sh. Mohammed Bin Salman Aal Khalifah, and is heavily linebred with Mlolesh (Mulawlishan) blood.  He is a sire of endurance winners. Photo from Saruk’s stud Facebook page.

Speculation on the origin of the Kuhaylan al-Ajuz line of *Nufoud

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 9th, 2017 in General

“Belle” (photo below) is one of just four Al Khamsa mares from the female line of *Nufoud, a Kuhaylat al-‘Ajuz from the stud of King of ‘Abd al-Aziz Aal Saud of Saudi Arabia, imported to the USA in 1931. When *Nufoud was born around 1925, Saudi Arabia was still known as the “Kingdom of Najd and the Hijaz”.

Peter Upton, in the tables at the end of the book “Royal Heritage: The Story of Jordan’s Arab Horses”, mentions that *Nufoud was from originally from the stud of the Hashemite King of Hijaz, ‘Ali ibn al-Hussain, whose short-lived kingdom was overtaken by the Saudis in late 1925.

I don’t know the source of Upton’s information, but it is certainly likely, since the Kuhaylan al-‘Ajuz strain was bred by the Hashemites in the Hijaz. A mare from this strain accompanied King ‘Abdallah (King ‘Ali’s brother) on the armed march northwards from Hijaz to Syria, during the Arab Revolt of 1916-17, and founded a line that still exists at the Royal Stud of Jordan.

The Saudis maintained a stud near Ta’if, in the Hijaz, which Dr. Ahmed Mabrouk of the Egypt RAS visited in 1936. This stud may well have included horses taken from the stud of the Kings of Hijaz. There was also a stud in al-Khorma, on the border between Hijaz and Najd, from which the mare *Turfa, incidentally also a Kuhaylat al-Ajuz (per the letter Brigadier Anderson sent to Henri Babson), hailed from.

Three Bahraini mares in the UK

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 8th, 2017 in General

The three imported mares of Jenny Lees (her photo): Hamdanieh Habiba, Shuwaimeh Bint Warda and Kray Mohammedia

Wadhah and Belle yesterday

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 4th, 2017 in General

Wadhah and Belle are now boarded at a farm near my home where the children can enjoy them and see them more often. They will return to Pennsylvania for breeding to the Bahraini stallion Shuwaiman Al Rais this spring.


Damascus, the Umayyad Mosque

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on November 30th, 2017 in General

A beautiful photo of the interior of one of the few remaining wonders of Syria still standing.

On the origin of the Bedouin Horse

By Matthias Oster

Posted on November 30th, 2017 in General

Different theories on the origin of the Arabian horse exist. The range is from a wild Proto-Arabian that lived in Arabia and is said to have been domesticated by the Bedouins, to theories that an already domesticated horse reached Arabia from outside. Some authorities maintain that the Arabian horse came from Egypt and compare the pictures of horses in ancient Egyptian art with petroglyphes (stone carvings) in Arabia and the modern Arabian horse. But except from the resemblence of those three groups no other proof can be found.

The Arabian vocabulary concerning horses and horse-gear (saddles and so on) is on the other hand derived from Arameic or Persian words. Furthermore genetic findings, especially on maternal DNA (mtDNA) suggests that the Arabian horse has its origins from different sources. On the latter I have attached an excerpt from my book BEDOUIN HERITAGE. Click here for more: science

Assyrian horses on the so called Lachisch relief

Stallion Musannan Awaad (Rabdan Baher X Musannah Ghazwa) 2011 in Bahrain at the stables of Prince Mohammed

Cherine, 1903 desert bred stallion to France

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on November 25th, 2017 in France

A photo of the desert-bred stallion Cherine from the magazine Le Sport Universel Illustre. Cherine, born in 1903, was one of the best looking stallions to be imported by the French to their government stud of Pompadour, and then on to their Algerian stud in Tiaret in 1909.

Magnificent Aleppo

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on November 24th, 2017 in General

I have visited many great cities around the world, and nothing comes close to Aleppo before the Syrian civil war. Fes, in Morocco is a distant second. Photo from the Aleppo Photographic Museum

The French Archives Project : Projet sur les Archives Francaises

By Amelie Blackwell

Posted on November 21st, 2017 in General

After several centuries of existence, the last French National Studs were sadly disbanded last year. However, bad things can sometimes lead to lucky opportunities. Many of the regional stallion stations and National Studs have kept listing of stallions at stud, details of imports, reports of missions to purchase foundation oriental horses, and those are now available for public review at the National Archives. I hope in the coming months to provide more information about them, recover our forgotten heritage and give more insight about some of the most important European foundation horses.

Malheureusement, après plusieurs siècles d’existance, les derniers vestiges des Haras Nationaux français ont été dissous l’année dernière. Néanmoins, un événement aussi triste peu aussi parfois amener son lot de surprises. De nombreuses stations locales et certaines de nos grandes écuries nationales ont maintenu pendant toutes ces années des listing détaillés des étalons à la monte, de nombreux détails sur nos importations, les rapports sur les achats en Orient etc. Ceux-ci ont été regroupés et sont désormais accessible via les Archives Nationales. J’espère dans les prochains mois pouvoir vous donner de nouvelles informations à ce sujet, renouer avec notre héritage oublié et récupérer de nombreuses données sur certains de ces chevaux, fondateurs importants de nos lignées Européennes.

Violence in Bedouin Society

By Matthias Oster

Posted on November 14th, 2017 in General

The following excerpt from the book BEDOUIN HERITAGE – THE WORLD OF THE ARABIAN HORSE deals with a question of importance: violence in Bedouin society. The horse made an important contribution to Bedouin warfare and raiding and has thus increased violence. click here

 Wadi Rum, Jordan

The Power of Poetry

By Matthias Oster

Posted on November 9th, 2017 in General

Arabic Poetry, the only art of the desert, reflects the close relationship between man and his horse. In the book BEDOUIN HERITAGE – THE WORLD OF THE ARABIAN HORSE this is discussed at length. Here is an excerpt: Powerofpoetry

To order this book, please go to       www.arabianheritagesource.com!

Price 63,50 € (includes shipment worldwide), payment via PAYPAL.

 The power of Bahrain: Hamdaany Zaizoom (Saqlaawy Saba´an X Hamdanieh Khaznah) 2004

Teddy Roosevelt letter about Homer Davenport

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on November 4th, 2017 in General

Jeanne Craver just shared this short note signed on a White House card by US President Theodore Roosevelt to the US ambassador to Turkey. The note reads:

June 13 1906.

Dear Mr. Leisheman

Mr. Davenport is an awfully good fellow in every way. I hope that you can make a special effort to help him in his arab horse scheme; and any courtesy you can show him I shall accept as personal.

Sincerely yours T. Roosevelt.