This is how real Arabian stallions are

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 19th, 2014 in Bahrain

Jenny Lees sent me these four beautiful photos of the two new Bahraini stallions standing at her stud, with her grand-daughter. She meant them as an example of the wonderful disposition and temperament of Arabian stallions in general and Bahraini horses in particular.

She wrote:
I was invited to take the two Bahraini stallions presented to HM the Queen to the AHS National Show at Malvern this summer. After they had done the display we all settled down in a corner of the showground for a picnic. This is my five year old granddaughter Elsie with the stallions Tuwaisaan That’atha’ta the grey and Mlolshaan Mahrous. Both stallions are in their early teens and both have covered mares. Elsie has a special relationship with the grey Tuwaisaan.

To learn more about the pedigrees of both stallions, visit this link.




Origin of the strain name Mlolshaan

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 14th, 2014 in Bahrain

Mlolshaan (Bahrain Studbook spelling) is an Arabian horse strain now only found in Bahrain, but which was also present in Najd in the past, as evidenced by its mention in the Abbas Pasha Manuscript page 251, under Kuhaylan al-Mulawlish.

I was always curious about the origin of the word Mulawlish, which is uncommon in Arabic today. It is obviously a Bedouin Arabic word, which means it can be traced to Classical Arabic, the language of the Qur’an and of pre-Islamic Bedouin Arabia.

The Bahrain Royal Stud website offers this interpretation of the meaning of the strain: “The name Mlolesh is believed to derivate from the word “Mlolash” the trilling high-pitched sound the Arab women make at weddings and other happy or exciting occasions. The original Mlolesh mare must have had a beautiful neigh!”.

So a Mlolesh is a trill, so to speak, and its usage, originally associated with women, was extended to mares. It is a common pattern with horse strain names, as is the case with the Kuhaylah.

Still, I thought I’d look up the word in another way, through a dictionary. The first step to find the origin of an any Arabic word is to take it back to its original trilateral root, a process that follows the generic rules of Arabic grammar. All (or almost all) Arabic word go back to trilateral roots.

The form of the word Mulawlish is common and is the same as Muhajir/Murafiq/Murasil/Musafir and can be traced back to the verb Lawlasha, which is itself an emphasized version of the verb Laasha. The trilateral Arabic root is hence L-W-SH (Lawsh).

The problem is that the root L-W-SH does not appear in the usual Arabic root dictionaries (e.g., Lesan Al-Arab, the most comprehensive of all, compiled in the XIIIth century from older dictionaries). That’s because the last letter “SH” or “CH” is how Bedouins (or some of them) pronounce the letter “K” (e.g., “Chabir” for “Kabir”, big, in Iraqi and Syrian Bedouin dialects, or “Hatchem” for “Hakem”, the name of the Fada’an Bedouin leader who was Homer Davenport’s counterpart). It took me a while to make that connection.

This means that the real trilateral Arabic root is L-W-K and not L-W-SH, and that the word Mulawlish should instead be rendered Mulawlik, back to verb Lawlaka back to the verb Laaka.
Lesan Al-Arab here tells us that one of the meanings of the root L-W-K (lawk) is the act of turning something (e.g., the tongue, as in chewing) inside one’s mouth (al-lawk idarat al-shay’ fi al-famm). The dictionary even illustrates this meaning by using the example of a horse chewing a bit by turning its tongue around it (wa qad laaka al-faras al-lijaam).

Now the explanation offered by the Bahraini Royal Stud website begins to make sense: the original meaning of turning something (the tongue) inside one’s month could have been extended to mean “the sound made by turning one’s tongue inside one’s mouth (i.e., a trill). From women making that sound in rejoicing at wedding, the meaning slipped and became associated with horses that make a trilling, high pitched sound when neighing.

That said, I believe that the more mundane, more literal meaning suggested by Lesan Al-Arab could provide the answer to the origin of the name: Mulawlish could simply refer to a mare/horse in the habit of chewing its bit tirelessly, or one prone to chewing its food on and on and on..

HH Tantalus Krush, 2009 Kuhaylan Krush in Illinois

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 14th, 2014 in General

The magnificent HH Tantalus Krush, a 2009 Arabian stallion of the Kuhaylan Krush strain, Davenport lines, out of Quantum LD x Kashmir Krush LD. Thanks to owner Kim Davis for sharing this beautiful video of a superior stallion, true heir to his sire.

Head shot of CSA Baroness Lady — Ma’naqiyah Sbayliyah

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 12th, 2014 in General

Taken at Sue Moss in Pennsylvania, shortly after she arrived there. This mare is top crossed with 6 generation of Straight Egyptian sires on a Crabbet tail female of Milanne/Ferida. I believe she is in foal to Monologue CF.

CSA Baroness Lady

From the good not so old days

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 10th, 2014 in General

From 2007, but it now seems like it was ages ago, from the good old days of tracking old Bedouins in Syria with Hazaim Al Wair and asking them about their horses and all sorts of other things. I re-read it now, fascinated by the wealth of information — like a Abbas Pasha Manuscript entry, and am grieving over what is lost.


Conversation with Abdallah Abu Sayfayn, Bedouin horse breeder (03.31.07)

Revised after a visit by my friend Kamal Abd al-Khaliq to Abdallah Abu Sayfayn on April 5, 2007 

1) The man: ‘Abdallah, son ‘Atiyah Abu Sayfayn, said he was 55 years old.  He is the owner [sahib] of a marbat of the Maanagi Sbaili known after his family.

2) His clan: He said his family is from the Shumaylat [a section of the Fad’aan], and that there were four Fad’aan sections that are “brothers” [i.e., very closely related to each other]: al-Mhayd, al-Shumaylat, al-Sari, and al-Rus. He mentioned that the Mhayd were the senior section, and implied that the other three sections, including his, acknowledged the authority of the Mhayd. He also asked me to check with Thamir ibn Mhayd [who seemed to be current Shaykh of the Fad’an] to confirm whether what he was saying was true. It was clear that he viewed Thamir as a reference.

3) Where his family got its horses from: He said that the grandfather of his father ‘Atiyah took a pregnant [laqhah] mare “hiyafah”, from the Sba’ah [Hiyafah is the planned theft of a specific mare by lone raider from an enemy camp]. He said that this took place before the time of Miqhim ibn Mhayd [so pre-1920s].  He does not recall the name of the grandfather of ‘Atiyah [‘Atiyah is the son of Shatti], but he mentioned ‘Ubaydan and ‘Awwad among his ancestors. He knows his clan traces back to Munaykhir. [Note: The copy of the Fadaan family tree I have says that the Munaykhir clan and the ‘Awwad clan are one and the same. This Awwad in the family tree is probably the same Awwad mentioned by ‘Abdallah above.]

 4) Who his family gave horses to: He recognizes the following “marabet”: that of [Sattam] al-Haybi, and that of [‘Affat] al-Dbayss.  These two got their horses from them. The mare that went to ‘Affat was before his time, and even before the time of ‘Atiyah, but the mare [s?] that went to al-Haybi was more recent. He said that the father of his father, Shatti Abu Sayfayn, married a woman from the Dbayss and that al-Dbayss asked for the Sbayliah in exchange for the daughter.  He mentioned at least twice in the conversation that his family used stallions from al-Dbayss. He also said several times that I could ask Thamer Ibn Mhayd about his horses.

At another point in the conversation he mentioned a certain Ibn Shaqra who said he got his horses from Abu Sayfayn. It was unclear from the conversation if he recognized the horses of Mallah al-Saeed [he asked me if that was Mallah al-Mheidi??] as being from his horses.

More recently, he also gave [perhaps even gifted] a bay mare, 5 or 6 years old, to Nawwaf al-Fares in al-Quneytrah, [Note by Edouard Nawwaf is/was a senior government official of Bedouin origins, a Ageydat man].  His father ‘Atiyah liked Nawwaf very much.  That bay filly is a sister of the grey one he has [Sayfiah]. She in turn produced a colt and filly [and went to Saudi and back?? which is why she was not registered, so he claims – she was not there at the time of registrations. This part of the conversation was not clear, he was speaking fast, while I was scrabbling to take notes] and she was returned to him later. The bay and the grey are full sisters, [i.e., the sire of the bay one is also the Ubayyan al-Suhaili of al-Mu3mo]. The bay mare is not registered.  She is at al-Huwayzah [in partnership with some people?] and he does not know if she is in foal or not.

He also sold a chestnut filly, with a blaze, to a man from Bani Khalid, a dark-skinned man who lives in the area of Hama.   He testified that this filly is from them.  He was promised a filly back, but did not get anything.

He also gave Wadeehah the grey and her son Marzuq to Kamal Abd al-Khaliq in Aleppo, and he gave Wilayah, apparently Wadeehah’s sister, to Mustapha Al-Jabiri. Abdallah’s father ‘Atiyah did not want to register the horses for fear of them being taken by the government, and asked him to wait till they saw what the intentions of the government were.  After ‘Atiyah saw the government’s good intentions, he authorized him to go ahead with registration. He recognizes they were registered thanks to Mustapha al-Jabiri.

He also mentioned that his father also sold a grey mare to Sallum al-Laqtan [another Fad’an Bedouin], when he was very young, and that he was present during the sale.

He could not recall his father giving a mare to Shawakh al-Bursan of the Wuldah, [Note: perhaps because that took place before he was born and because Shawakh had then been displaced to the Turkish/Iraqi border after the filling of the Tabqa dam; but we know from several trustworthy sources that the horses of Shawakh are directly from Abu Sayfayn].

He mentioned the story of a man [of the ‘Afadilah??  I could not hear him well] who claimed that his mare was Sbailia Abu Sayfayn and then he told him [or told other people who were coming to inquire about her] that she was not from his horses, that she was kadishah and not Sbaylia.

He confirmed that Iskandar al-Qassis of Aleppo owned horses from them. He spoke about two bay mares that went to Iskandar al-Qassis; oe of these two mares was a sister of Wadeehah from her dam, or a sister of Wadeehah’s dam, [this part was unclear]; her sire was the Maanagi Sbaili of ‘Affat al-Dbayss. Ten he mentioned a mare going to Qassis in the old times, either when he was very young, or before he was born. She was a bay too. Then he mentioned Sahab, a bay stallion who went to Lebanon [for racing] and then to Iskandar al-Qassis; Sahab was from their horses. Not clear if he was born with Atiyah or if he was born at Qassis. [Radwan Shabareq, who knew the Qassis horses, may know]

Then he mentioned giving a mare and her colt [or only a colt, that was unclear] to a man from the Wuldah, in al-Tabqa, or al-Mansurah, and said that the colt was bay and out of this world [jalil], and that he had not seen anything like that.

5) His uncles’ horses: His uncles gave a light grey [sha3lah] mare to Jadaan al-Nuri [ibn Mhayd, the former shaykh before Thamir], and Jadaan took this mare to either Qatar or Bahrayn [he could not remember, but seemed to opt for Bahrayn later in the conversation]. They they lost track of this mare, because Jadaan died and no one knew where this mare had gone. He lamented her loss, and mentioned that when mares were going to Saudis and Bahrainis so far away, their progeny would not come back.  He mentioned that Jadaan was sending horses to people in Qatar/Bahrain at this time, and that he took this Sbaylia, and another mare, a Saglawiah.  He did not know the sire of the mare that went to Qatar/Bahrain, but promised he would ask his uncles when they would return from Saudi. He said either ‘Ubayyan Suhaili or Managhi. He said that his uncles no longer have horses and they squandered [dayya3u] their horses, unfortunately. His uncles have Saudi citizenship and keep going back and forth to Saudi and Syria. [Did he say they lived in place in Saudi called al-Shaybaniah???]. His uncles [A3mami] apparently also had a marbat of Maanagi Abu Sayfayn. [His uncles are likely the family of ‘Awwad al-Shatti mentioned in the Syrian Studbook as an owner of Managhi Sbaylis, because his grandfather is Shatti, and his ancestor is ‘Awwad].

 6) Wadeeha: Wadeeha was named Hajeilah when she was with them; the sire of Wadeeha is the grey Maanagi Sbaili from his horses, who died at their place [I made sure to ask if he was the Maanagi of al-Haybi or that of al-Dbeyss, but he confirmed he was their own grey horse; I also asked if her sire was not the Ubayyan Suhaili of the Bu ‘Assaf; he said no. I don’t know what to think of this because the hujjah signed by ‘Atiyah mentioned the Ubayyan as the sire]. H mentioned that he did not remember who the sire of Wadeeha’s dam was either, either the ‘Ubayyan al-Suhaili of al-Bashat, or the Maanagi Sbayli of al-Dbayss. He added that at that time the horses were numerous and that there was plenty to choose from.  ere we talked about inbreeding, and he mentioned that he had a horse that refused to mate with his mother or his sister.
7) Sayfiah, daughter of Wadeeha:  He mentioned that Sayfiah was the daughter of the grey ‘Ubayyan al-Suhaili whose dam was the mare from al-Bashat, of Muhammad al-Basha al-Mu’mo [in Ras al-3Ayn, near the Syrian border with Turkey], and that the stallion was with the Kurdish groom. Sayfiah has a daughter, between black and grey in color, dark grey, one year old. Her sire is al-Qa3qa3, the dark grey/black horse of Raghib al-Bashir of the Baqqarah, who is the son of the old mare of al-Bashir who died at age 30. He is registered. He is Saglawi Jadrani, but could not tell if from the marbat of Dari al-Mahmoud or Hassan ibn Amud, and said I needed to ask al-Bashir.

8) The origin of his name: Finally he told me, with much pride, the story of why his ancestor was called Abu Sayfayn [the father of two swords]. It involved a conflict that took place within the Fadaan, which resulted in his ancestor leaving the Fad’aan and seeking asylum with the Shammar.  Shammar was then fighting al-Jayss, and his ancestor was fighting alongside Shammar, and displayed much bravura.  He only had a nibl [small sword] and when asked by the Shaykh of Aal Muhammad [the other name for the Jarbah ruling clan] where his sword was, he said he had none, so he was told by the leader of Aal Muhammad that this small sword was like two swords and called him Abu Sayfan, the father of two. The incident aslo involves al-Qa3it of Shammar in some way.



Dahmah Al Tawilah in Forbis 1971 — Bahrain

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 9th, 2014 in Bahrain

The visit of Judi Forbis to Bahrain adds another piece of extra information not otherwise mentioned in Bahraini studbooks, with regards to the mare Dahmah Al Tawilah, the dam of Dahman II (Dahman Al Thaani):

“…then came an interesting contrast between two elderly Dahmah matrons, both chestnuts, both very distinctive but of a very different type and sire line. One was half sister to the old Dahman stallion [Dahman I or Al Awwal], but sired by a Krush, and far more refined than he.”

The caption of a photograph of a chestnut mare in the same article reinforces this identification: “Dahma, a chestnut mare at Sakhir. Dam of Dahman II and IV, who are breeding stallions used by Sheikh Isa, she is also a sister to old Dahman I. Pictured in her 20s. Forbis photo.”

From this we learn that the sire of Dahmah Al Tawilah is a Krush (in the Bahrain studbook this horse appears as OA Original Arab with no strain mention). This Krush may be “Krushan Bay” (aka Krush Al Asday, meaning the Bay Krush) who is the sire of the Jallabiyah dam of Jellabi II (Jellabi Sakhir), a mare contemporary to Dahmah Al Tawilah.

Hamdany Riadh in Forbis 1971

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 9th, 2014 in Bahrain, Saudi

Another interesting snapshot is the information Judi Forbis reports about Hamdany Riadh, a stallion at Sheykh Mohammad B. Salman (brother of the then ruling emir and uncle of the present King), during her 1970 visit to Bahrain:

“Despite deep chuck holes and the rocky desert, the car succeeded in reaching Ganabia safely where Sheikh Mohamed’s farm was located a few kilometers away. An old grey Hamdaniyah mare from the Saud’s stud and a desert-bred [implied -- not from Bahrain and not the Saud's studs] grey Obeyah mare were  the most attractive of some fifteen broodmares. Sheikh Mohamed had also kept a good Hamdani stallion which he received from the Saud’s as a gift, but unfortunately the horse had died recently.” 

A few years ago, a discussion on this blog had come to the conclusion that Hamdany Riad was in all probability the Saudi stallion Faris (Al Harqan x Al Hadbaa), #84 in the Saudi Studbook, which gifted to Bahrain in 1964 along with a number of Hamdani mares.

On Dahmah Al Shaqra from Bahrain to Qatar and back

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 9th, 2014 in Bahrain

The set of articles on the Arabian horses of Bahrain which Judi Forbis published in the Arabian Horse World in 1971, and reprinted in her Authentic Arabian Bloodstock contains so much information that it has become one of those snapshots that help chronicle the history of Arabian horses, often complementing existing pedigree and studbook information.

One example where her material add extra information not otherwise available is her description of the stallion Dahman I (1938-1970) whom she saw in extreme old age:

“Of particular interest at this stud [Jezra] was old DAHMAN, well over thirty years of age. He had been used extensively and while having size and great forehand depth, he was light behind, short and somewhat rounded in croup and possessed a strangely pointed triangular head which was very large, convex, bony and coarse, though dry. It is said he is responsible for many of the plain heads on Bahrain today. Sired by a Mlolshan, he was out of a chestnut Dahmah [Dahmah Al Shaqra] who was one of the old Khalifa mares left on Qatar and eventually sent back to Bahrain as a gift from Abdul Jasim [in reality Abdallah bin Jasim] al Thani, the ruler of Qatar.”

The new information here pertains to Dahmah Al Shaqra originally being a Bahrani mare that went to and later came back from Qatar. This adds to the discussion on horses of the Dahman strain that took place on this blog a few years ago.

Diab, 1907 desert bred import to France

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 2nd, 2014 in France

Jean-Claude Rajot tells me that Robert Mauvy’s favorite desert bred Arabian horse imports to France were Dahman (a Dahman x a Rabda) from the Shammar, and Diab (a Hamdani Simri x a Kuhaylah Nawwaqiyah). Diab was the sire of the mare Bad dam of Bad Afas in Poland. I am looking for a photo of him.

The desert bred Nibeh, hailing from the Fad’aan was also one of his favorites.

Bahrain King gifts Poland Kuhaylan Aafas Stallion —

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 2nd, 2014 in Bahrain

This news from the Bahrain News Agency from August 2014 was just displayed on Philippe Paraskevas’ “Egyptian Alternative” Facebook page. I find it fascinating that more than 80 years after the importation of the first Kuhaylan Afas to Poland by Bogdan Zientarski, a stallion from same bloodline joins the Polish State Studs. Below a photo of this gorgeous stallion.

Can someone try to leave comments on any DOW thread

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 2nd, 2014 in General

I just tried and it works for me. Not sure if you must be signed in or not.

Quote from Bogdan Zientarski on Bahraini horses in 1930s

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 1st, 2014 in Bahrain

“At Cairo we heard from sportsmen, that from time to time one or two horses ‘asil’ from the stud of the Sheikh of Bahrain came up on the race track; they always ran with great success. This stud, existing since 1785, is pure-in-the strain bred. The same was confirmed to us by the Bedouins of Damascus.”

Picture of Bahraini stallion Mlolshaan Hager Solomon

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 1st, 2014 in Bahrain

Solomon picture taken in 2010 by Jenny Krieg. I love how much we know about his sire line, which dives deep into Arabian and Bahraini history. He is 28 years old this year.

Mlolshaan Hager Solomon, tack removed

He is Mlolshaan (M118 in the Bahrain Studbook), born in 1986, bred by Sheykh Mohammed Bin Salman, brother of ruling Sheykh Isa Bin Salman (ruled 1961-1999), and uncle of current King Hamad (ruling 1999-present), out of Mlolesh Asila M105.

His sire is Rabdan Al Wasmy (M19), born in 1979 (out of a Rabda M16 — M indicating a mare/horse at the stud of Sh. Mohammed), photo below

His sire is  Managhy Al Ahmar, born in 1971, died in 1989 (M20)

His sire is Dahman II of Jesra (one of the Amiri Studs), born 1962, died accidentally in 1977 photo below from Royal Bahraini Stud website

His sire is Jellabi Al Wasmiya (another Stud), born 1943, died 1973, favorite stallion of ruling Sheykh Isa Bin Salman, a.k.a Old Jellabi I, photo below

His sire is Dahman I, born 1938, died in 1970, photo below

His sire is Mlolshaan Al Marshoosh (speckled), born 1930, died 1968, perhaps the longest living known Arabian horse

His sire is sire is Jellabi Al Marshoosh Al Awwal (the first speckled Jellabi), born 1914, a present of ruling Sheykh Hamad Bin Isa to the royal family of Saudi Arabia in 1937

His sire is Shawafan, favorite stallion of ruling Sheykh Isa Bin Ali (ruled 1869-1925), early XXth century.

Dahman II 1963-1977

Jellabi al-wasmiya

Rabdan al Wasmy M19

Dahman I

Interview of Princess Badiaa of Hijaz

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on August 26th, 2014 in General

A fascinating and nostalgic interview in Arabic of Princess Badiaa, daughter of King Ali of Hejaz (1924-1925), sister of regent of Iraq Abd al-Ilah, sister of Queen Aalia the wife of King Ghazi of Iraq, with beautiful memories of then-enchanting Bagdad.

Please, never forget that Bagdad was at that time (together with old Aleppo now gone, old Jeddah now gone, and old Sanaa still standing but for how long?) one of the most beautiful cities of the Middle East. It was not the sprawling jungle of concrete and backwardness that it is today.


The ultimate goal

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on August 25th, 2014 in General

Of course, the ultimate objective of tallying and identifying the horses of Ali Pasha Sherif breeding not owned by the Blunts would be to be able to put a reasonably solid pedigree on horses like Saklawi I, Sabha El Zarka, Roga El Beda, Farida El Debbanie, Muniet El Nefous (the old one), Nader El Kebir, Bint Yemama, and perhaps above all, El Dahma. I don’t despair of being able to do this some day.

Other Ali Pasha Sherif stallions not owned by Lady Anne Blunt

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on August 21st, 2014 in Egypt

There are not many of these. Lady Anne reviews four of them in a letter to Wilfrid Blunt, dated December 13, 1914:

“Up to last year Yusuf Bey was the only one of the sons owning a stallion from that Stud [APS's] — a beautiful white horse about 15 years old. But its name was ‘Kaukab’ not ‘Valentino’… Ibrahim Bey had a horse but that was done away with two or three years ago when the glanders scare occured. Of outsiders Moharrem Pasha and Ahmed Fathi, formerly wakil of the Daira, each had a stallion. I know Moharrem P. still has his. A. Fathi’s was not remarkable and would hardly fetch 500 pounds but that can be found out without much difficulty. Mutalk is pretty sure there is nothing else…” 

— The first one with Yusef Bey is clearly Kaukab (Ibn Sherara x Bint Nuar El Shakra) and is identified by name here. Lady Anne saw in 1914 and described him. See earlier entry.

— The second one, the one that was with Ibrahim Bey Sherif but died a few years before, appears to have been the horse mentioned in a February 24, 1902, entry of Lady Anne’s Journals:

He [Prince Sanguszko] told me he had seen a grey horse belonging to Ibrahim Bey Sherif that was from Ali Pasha Sherif Stud. It is 8 years old [so born in 1894], color of Wujra — still quite grey. Mutlak says the sire was Ibn Nadir.

— The third one from Moharram Pasha, was also seen by Lady Anne who refers to him in her Journal entry twice. The first time on November 9th, and the second time on November 20th, 1909:

“The Serinji came in the afternoon and says Moharrem Pasha would like to sell the daughter of Yatima and perhaps Kasida’s half brother, so unless he asks impossible prices I will look at these … for that might be the longed for grey stallion, and as to the Yatima [orphan in Arabic] it was stupid not have bought her as a foal.”

“To the house of Mahmud Moharrem Rustem purchaser of the Yatima and the colt by Nasrat out of Makbula [hence full brother of Kasida not half brother as thought earlier by Lady Anne]. First saw the horse, a handsome wreck, eyes sunk in and looks older than his age (16 to 17 years) [so born in 1892-93], is very like Kasida is grey, great bone, strange to say not yet white at that age. Then the mare who is own sister to Feysul and Jellabieh…”

In her Sheykh Obeyd Studbook, Lady Anne talks about his stallion Nasr/Nasrat, as having “died of the eye.. he fell dead one day when being ridden out, this happened on the bridge… His only descendants were Manokta, Kasida and a colt from Makbula” (Pearson and Mol, 1988). Moharrem Pasha’s stallion appears to have been that colt.

— The fourth one of Ahmed Fathi [Yeken] seems to be the horse mentioned in January 22, 1902 entry of Lady Anne’s Journals, who does not appear to have been impressed with him:

At 2 rode Wujra to stable. There found one of the former stable helpers of Ali Pasha Sherif who had come from Ahmed Fathi and his son Mohammed Fathi about the grey horse (now 7 years old) [so born in 1895] by Mahruss out of Johara which they want to sell.” 



Johara and Kaukab from Ali Pasha Sharif

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on August 21st, 2014 in Egypt, General

As I continue perusing Lady Anne’s Journals and Correspondence and what was published of her Sheykh Obeyd Studbook looking for information on those horses of Ali Pasha Sharif breeding she did not own, I came across this conclusion, which others might have already reached before.

Excerpts from the Sheykh Obeyd Studbook published in Pearson and Mol (1988) list an entry for the mare Bint Helwa Es Shakra (Johara), which was purchased from Ibrahim Bey Sherif, son of Ali Pasha Sherif, on April 19, 1897, and sent to England the same year, after having been covered by “Ibn Bint Nura Es Shakra (white about 7 years) by Ibn Sherara in Cairo and barren“.

I was wondering who that stallion could be. He obviously was not one of Lady Anne’s horses. He stood in Cairo, not in its outskirts where the studs of Prince Ahmed (in Matarieh) and of the Khedive Abbas Hilmi (in Qubbeh) lied. Downtown Cairo was the location of one or more of the palaces of Ali Pasha Sherif — who had died earlier in the same year. Could this stallion have been of the few horses that remained with Ali Pasha Sherif’s sons, for riding purposes, when the stud was dispersed?

One of the horses that are known to have remained with the family was the stallion Kaukab, with Yusuf Bey Sherif.  On dec. 13, 1907, in a letter to Wilfrid Blunt, Lady Anne writes: “Up to last year Yusuf Bey was the only one of the sons owning a stallion from that Stud — a beautiful white horse about 15 years old. But its name was ‘Kaukab’.  On February 19th, 1914, she has the opportunity to see Kaukab again: “Visit of Ibrahim Bey Sherif. Interesting. He is now again a neighbor… Also he says he has ‘taken’ Kaukab (sire of Sahab) from his brother (Yusef) and will bring that beautiful old horse to show me tomorrow…“. The next day, “Ibrahim Bey Sherif… appeared on Kaukab… That horse is indeed beautiful… what style, the quarter splendid… Kaukab is son of B. Nura, and there is in him much to recall her — a perfect head… Kaukab is Dahman Nejib.

As is noted in the Al Khamsa Online Roster entry for Kaukab, the personal recollection implies that Kaukab is a son of Lady Anne’s Bint Nura (Bint Nura El Shakra), not one of the several other “Bint Nura” of Ali Pasha Sherif from a generation earlier, which Lady Anne saw in 1880, 1882, etc. The Al Khamsa Online Roster adds that “the 1932 certified pedigree for *Bint Serra I from the stud of Prince Kamal al-Din describes Kaukab as a grey stallion by Ibn Sherara out of “Bint Nura.” Colin Pearson shows the same information about Kaukab’s sire being Ibn Sherara in the Foundation Tables of his “Arabian Horse Families of Egypt” (1988, xxiv), probably using the Sheykh Obeyd Studbook as a reference, but he mistakes the dam for one of other Bint Nuras.

I think there is a great likelihood that the “Ibn Bint Nura Es Shakra (white about 7 years) by Ibn Sherara in Cairo ” that covered Johara in 1897 and Kaukab are actually one and the same horse. There are several arguments in favor of this:

1. The ownership of both Johara and Kaukab by the Sherif family, at the time Johara was bred to this Ibn Bint Nura Es Shakra (white about 7 years) by Ibn Sherara in Cairo”.  

2. The date of birth: Kaukab was “around 15 years” in 1907, so born around 1892, and the Ibn Bint Nura Es Shakra by Ibn Sherara was “about 7″ in 1897, so born around 1891.

3. The sire and dam: Both by Ibn Sherara out of Bint Nura Es Shakra.

4. The color: Both white.


Welcome, Ginger

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on August 13th, 2014 in General

I recently acquired DA Ginger Moon (DB Destiny Moniet x Kumence RSI), a 1998 Saqlawiyah Jadraniyah, from Sheila Harmon of Destiny Arabians in Idaho. Tail female to the Blunts’ Basilisk through Rabanna, and lots of Blunt/Ali Pasha Sharif blood throughout the pedigree. Photos below, taken by Sheila in 2009.




I have long been a fan of these highly authenticated Blunt and Ali Pasha Sharif lines of the Crabbet and Sheykh Obeyd (SO) Studs, which, one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty years after the importation from the Arabian desert into Europe then the USA, continue to produce high quality horses from time to time, close to the original Arabian type of the homeland (now gone, both the homeland and its horses). These lines do very well in endurance (cf. Bint Gulida and Linda Tellington Jones, see photo), and are being increasingly recognized and celebrated in this field.

Her pedigree is made of three lines to Rabanna (Rasik x Banna by *Nasr, 75% Crabbet/SO), three lines to Ghadaf (Ribal x Gulnare, 100% Crabbet/SO), three to the Doyle foundation mare Gulida (Gulastra x Valida, 100% Crabbet/SO), three to *Rashad (Nazeer x Yashmak II who was out of the Crabbet mare Bint Rissala, almost 50% Crabbet/SO), and three to *Bint Moniet El Nefous (Nazeer x Moniet El Nefous, low percentage Crabbet/SO), as well as one line to Fa-Serr (*Fadl x *Bint Serra, 50% Crabbet/SO) and one line to Nusi (Gulastra x Nusara, 100% Crabbet/SO).

As much as I already liked these lines on paper, I got to like them even more after getting to know my Jadiba (Dib x Jabinta) who is 87.5% Crabbet/SO, with three Doyle stallions on top of the pedigree. There seems to an inextinguishable flame of true and original Arabian characteristics running in these lines, which their endurance record is revealing.

DA Ginger Moon (aka ‘Ginger’) comes with her newborn of two weeks ago, a black colt by the Babson stallion Serr Serabaar. That colt is for sale. Sheila tells me that his full sister (photo below at Cougar Rock) is doing well in endurance riding, completing her Tevis Cup 100 mile ride last year with 52nd finish out of 75 horses present at the finish line (and 160 at the starting line).

Ebony 2013 Tevis Cougar Rock


Okba son wins Tevis Cup 100 miles endurance ride

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on August 12th, 2014 in Tunisia, USA

Kina Murray just wrote to me that a gelding son of the asil Tunisian Arabian stallion Okba, out of a Polish/French/Russian mare, won the 100 mile Tevis Cup endurance ride.  Kina tells me that “the winner, ridden by experienced endurance competitor Heather Reynolds, is called  French Open (Okba x Selma Croixnoire, by Ala Croixnoire) – he raced for 7 years, earned over $78,000  and was stakes-placed 3 times.”

This is great news and bodes well for Tunisian and Algerian asil lines in the USA in the future.


Egypt Grand Hotels of the past

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 15th, 2014 in Egypt

A wonderful blog about Egypt’s Grand Hotels and golden era. On the Shepheard, quoting from this blog:

“Long before London’s Savoy or the Paris Ritz, Shepheard’s of Cairo was the epitome of glamour. It was a hotel from which explorers set off for Africa, where kings entertained mistresses, where movie stars rubbed shoulders with of?cers on leave from the desert and spies hovered in the hope of minds being softened by the congenial atmosphere. [...] Everybody stayed at Shepheard’s from Mark Twain and Arabian adventurer Richard Burton to Noel Coward and Josephine Baker. Its parties and balls were legendary, its barmen the souls of discretion. When the hotel was burned to the ground in rioting in 1952, it marked the end of an era.”


Cairo’s Shepheard Hotel

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 15th, 2014 in Egypt

old sheapheard hotel cairo

From Wikipedia: “Shepheard’s Hotel was the leading hotel in Cairo and one of the most celebrated hotels in the world from the middle of the 19th century until it was burned down in 1952. A modern hotel called the Shepheard Hotel was built nearby in 1957″ and “in the First World War, the hotel served as British Headquarters in the Near East.”

It is frequently mentioned in Lady Anne’s Journals and Correspondence.

Thabit Pasha the Wakil of APS

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 14th, 2014 in Egypt

Another character who makes occasional appearances in Lady Anne Blunt’s Journals is Thabit Pasha, who acted as Wakil (Trustee) for Ali Pasha Sherif’s estate in the later years of his life, and who was a central character in the process of Lady Anne’s acquisition of the remnant of the Stud of Ali Pasha Sharif in December 1896 and January 1897.

The genealogical tree of the royal house of Mohammed Ali the Great has his as: “Muhammad Sabit Pasha (b. 1820; d. 1901), Private Secretary to Muhammad ‘Ali the Great 1847-1848, Minister for Justice 1878, of Charitable Endowments, Education and the Interior 1884, Khedevial Envoy at Istanbul 1881-1882, President of the Privy Council. 1884-1901, a younger son of the Circassian Chief of the Nahoush.”

According to the same tree, Sabit/Thabit Pasha married a daughter of Zohra, who was one of Mohammed Ali the Great’s sisters. He appears to have been one of the country’s highest officials, and the head of the Khedive’s advisers when he acted as Wakil for Ali Pasha Sharif. The site goes on to list Aziz Bey Sabit as one of his sons, this buying the same Aziz Bey Thabit whom Lady Anne mentions as a visitor to Sheykh Obeyd Stud in her Journals.

By the way, the Nahoush were one of the main tribes/grouping of the Circassians/Cherkess/Adyghe people in their native Circassia (a region now par of Russia, where Sotchi lies among other places).

The Yekens

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 14th, 2014 in Egypt

Both Ahmad and Fathi Bey Yeken (Yakan, Yeghen) make fleeting appearances in Lady Anne’s Journals and Correspondence (where their name is sometimes mis-transcribed as Bekin) whether as visitors of the Sheykh Obeyd Stud or occasional buyers of surplus stock. Either Ahmed or Fathi Bey is mentioned as the buyer of the colt of Fasiha (Ibn Sherara x Bint Fereyha) by Antar (Aziz x Sobha) in 1908, and Fathi Bey was the buyer f the colt of Ghazieh (Ibn Nura x Bint Horra) by Feysul in 1907.

The genealogical tree of the royal family of Egypt mentions the Yeken as an allied family descending from a certain Mustafa Bey, who married Zubayda Khanum, sister of Mohammed Ali the Great, founder of the Egyptian royal family. Mustafa Bey’s sister, Amina Khanum, was also Muhammad Ali’s principal wife. So the sister of the first married the second, and the sister of the second married the first. Both Mohammed Ali and his brother-in-law Mustafa Bey were born in Kavala (in today’s Macedonia, then under the Ottoman Empire, like Egypt). Most of the senior military commanders around Mohammed Ali the Great were from Kavala, including Mohammed Sherif Pasha, the father of Ali Pasha Sherif.

One of Mustafa Bey’s sons (and hence Mohammed Ali’s nephew from both sides), Ahmed Shukri Yeken Pasha (b. Kavala, 1799 – d. 1856) was commander in chief of the Egyptian forces in the Hijaz from 1820 to 1829, and then from 1833 to 1841, and Minister of War in between (1829-33), and was a Vizir in Istanbul some time after that (query, had he defected?). He had a son, Khalil Yeken Bey, who in turn had two sons Ahmed Shukri Yeken Bey and Mohammed Fathi Yeken Bey  (b. 1868).

These are our two fellows, cousins of Egypt’s royals and members of the first circle of Egypt’s aristocracy. Their uncle, Daud Fathy Yeghen Pasha. (b. 1837 – d. 1917) married Princess Tawhida (b. at Istanbul, 1860; d. at Cairo, 1882), youngest daughter of Prince Ibrahim Ilhami Pasha, the son of Abbas Pasha. Years after Lady Anne’s death, Fathi’s son, Faik Yeken Bey (b. 1901) went on to become the Court Chamberlain and Master of Ceremonies to King Faruk.


This little Palestinian baby victim of Israeli bombings on Gaza just looks like my younger daughter

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 13th, 2014 in General

gaza soleni


Reference to Al Mashoor’s sire owner in Lady Anne Blunt’s Journals

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 13th, 2014 in Syria

These Journals are a gold mine. There is not a single horse related entry which does not yield new information about the horses of yesterday and today. Look at this set of entries:

July 17, 1911: 

“In the evening Teddy arrived with the (reported wonderful) bay stallion which Mr. Learmouth took to Australia and brought back not being allowed to land it — he bought the horse at Damascus and H.F. [Wilfrid] went to see it at Tatterstalls where today it was sold for 100 gs. Teddy bidding for H.F. It seems that H.F., if the details of pedigree show it to be genuine, intends to breed from it — the advertisement particulars were not convincing: I saw them in the Morning Post.”

July 18, 1911:  

“The horse is a fine horse but does not carry conviction to me. We shall see what is said of pedigree later. Damascus is not a good starting place nowadays. 

August 3, 1911: 

“H.F. sends the bay horse’s certificate asking what I can make of it. The horse does not convince me to look at and as far as I can see there is no date or year on the document not clue to identity of the ‘Sheykhs’ whose seals are on it.”

September 20, 1911, Sheykh Obeyd

“Now came the opportunity of telling Fauzan about the Learmouth horse and getting him to make inquiries should he not have heard of it. I handed the document to Fauzan who read it carefully, studied it and the seals and then said that it was not an Arab or Bedouin statement, the style as well as writing and paper show this, that there is not a single Bedouin names in the list of seals, these names must be those of townsmen from Damascus, and as to Shammar Tuka they are not of the true Shammar (of Mesopotamia) such as Jerba and others he mentioned, that they are breeders of sheep; they have a few horses among which there may or may not be some good. He remarked that there is no mention [in the hujjah] of any person belonging to the tribe [ie, of Shammar Tuka], as breeder or seller of the horse, it is merely stated that this horse came from that tribe [ie, from Shammar Tuka] and the strain (H.S.) [ie, Hamdani Simri] is to be found in that tribe and nowhere else. (!) They have got it from the region of Nejd (nothting said about when, nor from where in Nejd). “I think this is a made up thing” was Fauzan’s final verdict. However he has promised to write to a friend there — in Damascus — asking him to find out all he can as Learmouth and the purchase made by that gentleman. By the way, the words in the pedigree about “purer than milk on the dark night when covering mares mazbutate etc” is not at all a  Bedouin phrase. I had thought as much.”

October 6, 1911 

 “Fauzan brought to Mutlak who brought it to me the answer from his Damascus friend Said Abu Dahab about the horse (Mrs. Learrmouth’s purchase then nearly two years ago). It was bred in the village of Jerud (near Damascus) and bought from [the] Juardly [ie, a man of Jerud] who bred it by Musa el Seyyid, they telling him it was Hamdani — no mention of Simri. That was what had been ascertained. A quite different story to that of the “pure as milk on a dark night” pedigree.”  

From this set of entries, who take up the better part of 2011 in Lady Anne’s Journals, it appears that Wilfrid Blunt bought a horse in London, with the intention of breeding from him, from a certain Mr. Learmouth who had acquired it, along with a certificate, from the city of Damascus. It is also clear that Lady Anne was not convinced by the certificate from the start, and took the trouble of taking it with her to Egypt where she showed it to a North Arabian acquaintance of her stud manager Mutlaq, who in turn asked someone from Damascus about the horse. It turned out the horse was bred in Jerud near Damascus, said to be a Hamdani, and sold to a Musa el Seyyid.  The certificate embellished these facts, adding that the horse was Hamdani Simri, originating from the Shammar Tuka, who got the strain from Nejd, but not providing evidence of any of that, by way of Bedouin witnesses testifiying in the certificate.

What happened to this horse is not clear. It does not look like Wilfrid Blunt ever bred from him, perhaps because Lady Anne had managed to convince him of the weakness of his certificate.

That said, the words in bold font (near Damascus, Hamdani, Musa el Seyyid) found some echo with me. Some thirteen years ago, I had translated the certificate of the 1928 stallion *Al-Mashoor (link to the translation here), imported to the US, where he left Al Khamsa eligible progeny (of which Jenny Krieg’s mare Sarita is the only descendant left today). This is an excerpt of *Al-Mashoor’s certificate, referencing his sire:

“And the sire of that horse is the Hamdani Semri of the well-known Musa al-Sayyid Abu Hamdi from the [Damascus] neighborhood of al-Midan Bab Musalla”.

So what does this mean? Not much, except that this Musa al-Sayyid who owned *Al-Mashoor’s sire in the late 1920s appears to have been active in horsebreeding since at least the early 1910s, and that fancied horses from the Hamdani strain, to the point of having owned at least two (Al-Mashoor’s sire and Mr. Learmouth’s horse) who may or may not be related.

More on the Syrian town of Jerud (or Jayrud) here.