Mohamed Sherif Pasha

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 3rd, 2015 in General

The other day I was on the 16th floor of the Egyptian Ministry of Finance (the one where they have this impressive portrait gallery of all former ministers of finance), and I saw a painting of Muhammad Sherif Pasha (with a tenure date around 1840, don’t remember exactly), with the mention “father of Ali Sherif Pasha”).

I was reminded of this upon reading the December 8th, 1910 entry of Lady Anne Blunt’s Journals, where she mentions that “on the conquest of Syria the plan was — Mohd. Ali’s plan — to have Egypt for himself and his heirs, Syria for M. Sherif (his Minister and Govr. of Syria) and Yemen for Kurshid.

Hope springs

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 3rd, 2015 in General

From Carrie Slayton, a fellow Arabian horse preservationist (thank God for these angels):

“Polynesia LD foaled a lovely bay Sharp filly April 23rd,sire is the Davenport stallion Fire Dragon LF. She will be named DI (Desert Ice) Pele, for the Hawaiian volcano goddess”. 

That’s the same pedigree as this horse, three generations of Davenports on top, and a particularly close tail female line to Manial’s Mahroussa. Photos below from Carrie.

20150425_173000 20150501_171150 20150425_173444


Ahmed Ibish photos and information from his grandson

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 30th, 2015 in General

This is one of the nice surprises which maintaining this blog can offer you from time to time. Some time ago, Dr. Ahmed Ibish, the grandson of his famous namesake, left some comments on Daughters of the Wind about his grandfather’s involvement with horse-racing, and he now sent me these precious, precious photos. I believe these are the first photos the Arabian horse community gets to see of Ahmed Ibish (of Aiglon, hence, *Exochroda, hence Sirecho fame). Please do not take them or reproduce them without his permission. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Ahmed wrote in his message:

“I could copy these pictures in Damascus; Unfortunately none of them was dated, and they have not titles or comments of any kind. I believe that the racing track shown is that of Beirut? Date must be around end of 1930s; My grand father lived between 1857-1941; the young man with the mare is my late father Nouri Ibish (1891-1975), picture apparently taken in Damascus. While the picture of Ahmed Ibish sitting, shows his two sons, Hussein (1884-1967) & Nouri; None of them was a horse breeder, but were both keen enthusiasts of outdoor life and big game hunting. I wish I had a picture of the legendary Aiglon, but I was not lucky in this regard.”







Small number of tail female lines at Ali Pasha Sharif post 1875 disease

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 29th, 2015 in General

This morning I was reflecting on the number of tail females left at the Stud of Ali Pasha Sharif after the plague which ravaged his stud around 1875, until his death in 1897. It is surprisingly small:

1) Ghazieh line (Saqlawi Jadran ibn Sudan); mares: Horra, Helwa, Bint Helwa, Johara, Bint Horra, Yemameh (dam of Mesaoud); stallions: Wazir, Amir (Aziz x Horra) offered for sale to Blunts but declined; young stock: Ghazala, Mesaoud, Ibn Johara, Ibn Helwa, Ibn Yemameh Sr, Ghazieh, etc.

2) Nura line (Dahman Najib); mares: Bint Nura Esh-Shakra, various Bint Nura mares (a brown, a bay and a white); stallions: Ibn Nura; Ibn Bint Nura El Hamra (offered for sale to the Blunts March 5 1891 but declined); young stock: (ibn) Mahruss; Abu Khasheb; Kaukab

3) Faras Naqadan line (Dahman Shahwan); mares: Bint ‘Azz (went to Amato the dealer), Mumtaza, Bint Mumtaza (Badiaa); stallions: Aziz, Azz (Aziz x Mumtaza) offered to the Blunt who delined, Nasrat; young stock: Bint Bint Azz; Sahab;

4) Arussa line (Kuhaylan Nawwaq); mares: Noma, Bint Arussa (Harkan x Arussa);

5) Jellabiet Feysul line (Kuhaylan Jallabi); mares: Bint Bint Jellabiet Feysul; Makbula; El Argaa; Yamama; young stock: Khatila; (Bint) Makbula; Kasida; Manokta; Jellabieh; Merzuk; Yatima (the orphan, missed getting); Kasida’s brother at Moharrem Pasha’s, Feysul, etc.

6) Samha line (Saqlawi Jadran ibn Sbeyni); mares: Bint Fereyha; Bint Jamila; Fulana; Fasiha; stallions: … ; young stock: Bint Bint Jamila; Aziza; Jamil; etc.

7) Zarifa line (Saqlawi Jadran Semni); stallions: Ibn Zarifa Sr (Aziz x Zarifa); young stock: Ibn Zarifa Jr. [perhaps same line as Samha line, perhaps different]

8) Faras Bandar ibn Saadun (Wadnan Khursan); stallions: Mahruss (Wazir x Mahrussa); mares: Bint Mahrussa (non asil); young stock: Bint Bint Mahrussa (non asil);

9) Faras ibn Khalifeh (Dahman Shahwan); stallions: Shahwan (Wazir x mare of Muhammad Sadyk Pasha); [perhaps same line as number 3, perhaps different]

10) Selma line (Hamdani Simri); mares: Sobha; Safra; young stock: Ibn Safra; Antar; Sherif;

11) Roga El Beda line (Saqlawi Jadran): mares: Roga (at Ahmed Pasha); [perhaps same line as #6 or #7, perhaps different, no way to check]

12) Sabha El Zarka line (Saqlawi Jadran): mares: Sabha (at Ahmed Pasha) [perhaps same line as #6 or #7 or #12, perhaps different, no way to check]

Given this small number, it would seem possible that the Dahmah Shahwan mare presented by Ali Pasha Sherif to the Khedive Abbas Hilmi (or more correctly, to his father Khedive Tewfik) is from the line of Faras Naqadan/’Azz/Mumtaza. Too bad the line died out and we can’t test this hypothesis with mtDNA analysis.

In bold horses bought by the Blunts (non-exhaustive list).

Jamr, last week

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 24th, 2015 in General

I could not get decent pictures of Jamr (Vice Regent CF x Jadiba), who is not three years old yet, and is going through a growth spurt — a real teen-ager. I was taken aback at first (my eye got used to the Egyptians) but then I took a second look and thought he was promising and had a lot of the right things in the right place. He still needs at least three years before I showing his true promise.

What I could already see was that Vice Regent’s Davenport blood shortened the longer back of Jadiba and did not affect the deep girth. It turned Jadiba’s rectangle into a square. The legs are good. The head I could not tell yet (he had a few teeth coming out), I could already see his sire and dam’s big jowls, but it looks like he will be taking a lot after his dam’s sire, Dib.






Ginger, last week

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 24th, 2015 in General

That’s the best head shot I could get of my DA Ginger Moon, a tail female Rabanna mare, with lots of Blunt and Ali Pasha Sharif blood (and it shows). There is a lot of the Bint Moniet el Nefous in there (Nazeer x Moniet el Nefous), close up, and it shows too. That’s a very different mare from my other horses, all of whom have a majority of Davenport and other early desert blood.

She turned out not to be in foal to the Bahraini Mlolshaan stallion. What a disappointment. So much time and resources invested to make it happen, all gone to waste. Oh well.


My Kuhaylat al-‘Ajuz

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 24th, 2015 in General

Last week I saw “Belle” for the first time. Jadah BelloftheBall (I so don’t like that name and I want to change it) is Jeannie Lieb’s gift to me in 2013. I liked the mare, she sent all the right vibes to me.

Looking at her, you’d easily forget you are in the woods of Pennsylvania, and you would feel transported in time and space to Arabia in the early twentieth century (one of my favorite time and space combinations, but I don’t think I would have survived more than a few days there and then). She is a Kuhaylat al-‘Ajuz tracing in tail female to *Nufoud of King Abd al-Aziz Aal Saud, sent to Albert Harris in 1932. She is only five generations removed from the desert (from both *Nufoud and *Turfa), and she looks like she came straight out of there.

The mare is not without defects, I would have especially liked to see a deeper girth and a longer croup, but I don’t mind her just the way she is; I appreciate the big bone, the short and thick cannons, the large hocks and hooves, the high wither, the highly set tail, and above everything else, that overall look of a desert animal, camel, antelope, bird or even dog, the mixture of sweetness and roughness, of wild and tame, of strength and fragility. The blood mark on the croup accentuates that “fresh off the desert” look and must have come from the Davenports (cf. Thea Isis, Pirouette), as she has 90% Davenport blood. The looks is most apparent in the three pictures I took, below. Of course, she was still in her winter coat.





Portia, Kuhaylah Hayfiyah photo

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 20th, 2015 in General

A photo of the Davenport foundation mare Portia (Tripoli x Dhalana) I had not seen before.

Wadd, yesterday

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 20th, 2015 in General

I am in the USA for a few days, for the first time in two years. I am here for work reasons, but you can imagine I took advantage of the weekend to go see my horses. So Saturday, Darlene Summers and Jenny Krieg drove up with me to Pennsylvania to see the 7 (well, 6.5) I have there, and had a wonderful time talking horse on the way. As usual, my camera died on me half-way through the visit, and I have to rely on my friends’ photos.

Here is a photo of my Wadd, which Darlene too. He will be 4 years old this September. He is a slow grower, and Charles Craver told me today that the inbred ones are even slower growers than the others.

He had just rolled in the mud, and still had a lot of his winter coat. I still think highly of him, and hopefully he will keep improving and taking more after his sire, the glorious Triermain CF (whom I also saw today — what a privilege).




Two Dahman Shahwan stallions at Ahmed Pasha’s?

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 14th, 2015 in Egypt

The long-held hypothesis that Prince Ahmad Pasha Kamal had two grey Dahman stallions at the same time, developed by Pearson and Mol in a seminal footnote of their Arabian Horse Families of Egypt gets a boost when one carefully reads this passage of Lady Anne Blunt’s Journals, March 9th, 1904, where she first describes the stallions she saw (numbering mine):

To Ahmed Pasha’s stud. Of the horses, there was first

(#1) the old bay like Mabruka, in color shape and mark on nose, blind of near eye, a Keyhilan A. of the Tanviri [actually, Tamiri] strain, his sire the old chestnut Seglawi of Ibn Sbeyni,  

(#2) then a white Dahman Shahwan, dam the Dahmeh that belonged to Ahmed Bey Sennari, sire the Keh. A. of Mesenneh strain brought to A.B. Sennari from the desert, a handsome and very strong horse but wanting in something of quality

(#3) and also the white with still some dark on the legs and mane; 

(#4) Managhi Ibn Sbeyel (sire of our filly Jamila) his dam the Managhieh Sbeylieh brought from Arabia to the Tihawis (from whom Ahmed Pasha took her) his sire the old Seglawi Jedran from Ali Pasha Sherif belonging to Ahmed Pasha (now dead). 

(#5) There was also a chestnut horse, dam I forget, sire Aziz, rather good. 

Among the mares […]

I want to say two things here: first, the semi-colon at the end of the sentence in bold makes it clear that Lady Anne saw and described five horses not four (i.e., the white with still some dark on the legs and mane in #3 is not the Managhi Ibn Sbeyel in #4, but a different horse altogether); second, that Lady Anne somewhat associated that #3 horse with the preceding one #2; the use of “and also” between #2 and #3, before she’s done with listing all the horses is illustrative of this association, and so is the absence of a comma between the two. The absence of a strain for #3 is also significant in this regard (especially when realizing how much Lady Anne paid attention to a horse’s strain when describing him, when she does not know or remembers a horse’s strain, she says it, as in #5 for example); in view of the apparent association of #3 with #2, the absence of a strain for #3 may be taken to indicate that #3 was of the same strain as #2, a Dahman Shahwan as well.

In this hypothesis, Lady Anne would have seen and described two Dahman Shahwan horses at Ahmed Pasha on that day, the first “a white Dahman Shahwan, dam […], sire […], a handsome and very strong horse but […]”, and also a second one, “the white with still some dark on the legs and mane“, perhaps a younger brother of the first, but one which Lady Anne seems to have noted/admired before (hence the use of “the” instead of “a”).

The French, the Suez Canal and the Tahawis

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 14th, 2015 in Egypt

Historian Mohamed Saud al-Tahawy is digging into what appears to have been a privileged and deep relationship between the Tahawi leaders of the house of Saud al-Tahawi and the French engineers who dug the Suez Canals and the French managers who operated it afterwards, including Ferdinand de Lesseps; he has some correspondence between de Lesseps’ successor Jules Guichard, who operated the Suez Canal company from 1892 t o1896, and Saud al-Tahawi.

Meanwhile, I was able to find the following in Lady Anne Blunt’s Journals, Feb. 19, 1887 entry:

“Arrived at Tihawi camp at 1.30: it is as it were a sand oasis in the midst of cultivations; all the surrounding country belongs to Haj Sa’oud and his family. They must be good sort of people among themselves, though hating all fellahin, for they seem to be all very happy together […]. In the evening two black agas arrived from Cairo, they belong to the ladies of the late Abbas Pasha. There was also a French engineer stationed at Salahieh.”

I wonder who he was.

Tohama, Saqlawiyah Jadraniyah tracing to Roga (Ali Pasha Sharif) at the EAO

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 7th, 2015 in Egypt

In my opinion, the 1984 Saqlawiyah mare Tohama (Akhtal x Ibdaa by Ikhnatoon x Ibtisam by Nazeer x Mouna by Sid Abouhom) was one of the nicest mares at the EAO in the 1980s. Photo by Judi Parks.



Virginia Deyr, 1979 Hamdaniyah Simriyah tracing to Sobha from the Abbas Pasha line

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 6th, 2015 in Egypt

This photo of the lovely 1979 Hamdaniyah Simriyah mare Virginia Deyr (Tristram x LR Double Bubble by Ar-Raad) in old age appeared in one of the Khamsat magazine issues and is courtesy of Jeanne Craver.



This Hamdani strain, going back to the mare Sobha (Wazir x Selma) is one of the handful strains handed down from the Abbas Pasha collection in asil form. Owing to this fact only, Sobha’s Hamdani Simri strain ought to receive so much more attention within an outside Al Khamsa’s realm. The credit for saving this line in Al Khamsa/asil form goes to Charles Craver who acquired the mare Arabesque (Rouf x Koreish by Alcazar out of the Crabbet/Blunt mare Simawa).

The other Abbas strains still in existence in tail female today, within Al Khamsa, are: El Dahma’s (Dahman Shahwan); Ghazieh’s (Saglawi Jadran); and Roga’s (Saglawi Jadran); other Abbas Pasha strains such as Jellabiet Feysul’s (Kuhaylan Jellabi), Noma’s (Kuhaylan Nawwaq), Nura’s (Dahman Najib), and Samha’s (Saglawi ibn Zubaynah) died out early on. Jellabiet Feysul’s still exist, but outside Al Khamsa.

By the way, Virginia Deyr carries two lines to the Davenport Second Foundation stallion Tripoli: she is by a Tripoli son out of a Tripoli grand-daughter.

Sharkasi — looking again

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 30th, 2015 in General

Last week I visited Mrs. Barbary at her Shams El Asil Farm outside Cairo. It was a lovely moment, and I enjoyed seeing her and her horses; I was especially struck by the stallions from the Bilal (Morafic x Mona) sire line, who have a very desert look about them, and are very correct and well built. The grey 1998 stallion SEA Halawat Zaman (SEA Shams El Asil by Sabah El Noor by Bilal, out of SEA Set El Hosn by Lokman/Ibn Adaweya) stood out, and so did his bay son and otherwise lookalike, SEA Zay El Kamar.

That said, one interesting part of the conversation was about the stallion Sharkasi; Mrs. Barbary is the custodian of the most credible story about him, a story apparently obtained first hand from one of the protagonists. I recall reading a short version of this story in an investigative report WAHO commissioned in 1976.

In essence, Mrs. Barbary told me that there was a sandy open area near the present location of the El Zahraa farm, where horse merchants from al-Sham (Syria, I asked if traders from other areas like Najd came there too, but no, these were apparently only horse traders from Syria) used to bring horses for sale to the Cairo racetracks. One of these horses was young Sharkasi, then a weanling; these same merchants used to take their horses to Alexandria in the summer, when the racing season at the Samooha racetrack was flourishing; Farghalli Pasha, a race horse enthusiast and the wealthiest cotton trader of Egypt at the time, went near the Samooha racetrack to buy future racehorses; his secretary, and his secretary’s wife (a Mrs. Nagdawi) were there too; apparently, the wife, who had nothing to do with horses or racing, was so taken with the cute little weanling that Farghalli Pasha bought him and offered him to her; she kept him at his racing stables in Cairo, but raced him in her name; he turned out to be an outstanding race horse; when Farghalli Pasha died, the horse, who was by then famous, was sold. TGB Trouncer, the Scotsman, acquired him.

I must say I found the story compelling, and more detailed than the information in the 1976 WAHO report; the addition of the information on Farghalli Pasha explains how a lady with no prior experience in racing or horses was able to enter Sharkasi in the races, and how she was able to sustain the horses’ career for several years; the addition of the information on the sandy open area in the middle of the Nile cultivation, where the Syrian horse merchant exposed their horses for sale, helps explain how this lady acquired a horse “from a desert source” (as per WAHO report), and the connection with the desert.

By the way, the story on the horse coming from Upper Egypt does not match the part in the WAHO report about acquiring the horse from a desert source. Upper Egypt is not the desert. It’s Upper Egypt (al-Saeed). When the desert is mentioned in horse milieus in Egypt, they mean the Arabian desert.

I now need to look up that Ferghalli Pasha.


Farghalli Pasha



King Ibn Saud visit to Egypt in 1946

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 20th, 2015 in General

A photo of Saudi Arabian King Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud with King Faruk during the former’s official visit to Egypt in 1946. Taken on board of the train from Suez to Cairo (King Ibn Saud had come to Egypt by sea from Jeddah to Suez). The year before, several Saudi desert mares had been presented to King Faruk.

In my opinion, the best Egyptian mare of the 1970s

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 19th, 2015 in Egypt

This is Kalthoom (Farazdac x Nahed by Sid Abouhom x Zaafarana by Balance), tail female to Ghazieh through Radia, a mare born in 1974 at the EAO. Talk about a racing pedigree, and an athletic conformation that reflects it. Not a flattering photo, as she sticks her tongue out, but what a mare! I specifically love the black skin from the eyes all the way down to the muzzle. It is a mark of asalah/authenticity, for the Bedouins at least.

Dandashi photos: 3

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 18th, 2015 in General

Courtesy of Mukarram al-Dandashi

fares 3

Arabian horse preservation 1,400 years ago

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 17th, 2015 in General

A verse from pre-islamic [Bedouin] Arabian poet Tufail b. ‘Awf al-Ghanawi (died ca. 610), know as Tufail al-Khail [Tufail of the horses] for the emphasis on horses in his poetry, from Abu Ubaida’s “Book of Horses” [translation mine]:

Horses the likes of wolves, so well-protected, for they are the pick of what’s left of [the bloodlines] of al-Ghurab and Mudh-hab

Al-Ghurab and Mudh-had are two famous steeds from these ancient times. Their offspring had become rare, at least within Tufail’s tribe, and they were treasured and well-guarded for that reason. 

Anyone knows a good pedigree software or app?

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 16th, 2015 in General

I am looking for a template with placeholders for the names of the parents, the grandparents, the great-grandparents, etc. which can be printed later. I am tired of doing all that stuff by hand.

Dandashi photos: 2

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 16th, 2015 in General

Another beautiful photo from the Dandashi landlords of Tall Kalakh, those master breeders of Asil Arabian horses; they were the equivalent of the Tahawis in Syria, really. Photo courtesy of Mukarram Abd al-Karim Othman al-Dandashi.




Ahl Misr Zamaan

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 16th, 2015 in Egypt

If you are on Facebook, I really recommend this page of wonderful old photos of Egypt in the XIXth and early century.

Mamluk bit

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 16th, 2015 in General

A specimen from the collection of Muhammad Saoud al-Tahawi, who is looking for a catalog of Mamluk bits, if you know which Museum has published one.


Lady Anne Blunt’s purchasing criteria

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 3rd, 2015 in General

You get a window into Lady Anne Blunt’s selection criteria when purchasing new horses when reading this passage of her Journals, March 15, 1887:

“He [Zeyd, who was sent on a purchasing trip in the desert] is to be very particular about plenty of bone, height of wither, length, of course everything else perfect and origin mazbut.

Everything else perfect, but three points stand out in this concise statement. Where is the bone, and where are the high withers today? Check the withers of DA Ginger Moon, my Saqlawiyah Jadraniyah (back to Basilisk) of overwhelmingly Blunt/Crabbet lines.

ginger winter

Dandashi photos 1

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 in General

Mukarram al-Dandashi, grandson of Abd al-Karim Osman al-Dandashi, one of most prominent leaders of the Dandashi clan of Tell Kalakh — the breeders of the best horses in Syria and Lebanon historically — sent a number of historical photos of his family on horses, which I will publish in his name. A whole book could be written about the Dandashis and Arabian horses. Barazi barely scratched the surface in his book.


Sharing Matthias Oster’s message of peace to Muslims

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 in General