By Edouard Aldahdah
Posted on August 29th, 2012 in General
Much of Arabian horse breeding program in the West follows patterns based on the exclusion or inclusion of specific horses or groups of horses: within the Babson Egyptians, for example you have the non-*Maaroufa, which is a sub-group that excludes lines to this mare. The Babson Egyptians are themselves an artificial sub-group of Egyptians Arabians, tracing in all lines from the horses imported by Henry Babson. Here’s what I mean by artificial: had Mr. Babson imported another mare than *Bint Bint Sabbah, the descendants of this other mare would have been labeled as Babson Egyptians, and the otherwise eligible descendants of *Bint Bint Sabbah would not. Within the Davenports Arabians, you have the non-Fasal, all without lines to this mare, even though the ancestors of Fasal (*Hamrah x Amran by *Deyr *Wadduda), are present in the pedigree of all non-Fasal Davenports. These groups and sub-groups have their own logic, and are usually meant to preserve different phenotypes.
The Sharp breeding program is one of those rare artificial Western-created breeding groups that I think are worth breeding in isolation and preserving, when the bigger picture of Arabian horse breeding is taken into consideration. The Sharps are basically Al Khamsa Arabian horses without Blunt blood, not tracing to any of the imports made by lady Anne and Wilfred Scawen Blunt from the Arabian Desert: Azrek, Basilisk, Dajania, Ferida, Hadban, Jerboa, Kars, Pharaoh, Queen of Sheba, Rodania and Saadun — the latter being the only not to go to England.
Except for the relatively large herds of BLUE STAR Arabians and Davenport Arabians (a few hundred horses all in all), and a tiny group of other horses that is the subject of this present entry, the above mentioned Blunt foundation elements are present in all Al Khamsa Arabians alive today, and in all Egyptian horses alive today. So, in theory, “Sharps” are made of BLUE STAR Arabians, Davenport Arabians, and that tiny third group of horses, none of whom have Blunt blood. However, since the BLUE STAR and the Davenports have their own advocates, conservancies and self-standing preservation programs, attention on preserving the Sharps, and as result term “Sharp” itself, has historically been restricted to the third tiny component of Sharp breeding. This tiny third group of non-Blunt horses that are neither of 100% Davenport lines, nor 100% BLUE STAR lines has first been identified by the late Carol Lyons, who also invented the concept of Sharp itself. Carol, who along with the Oregon-based Al Khamsa breeders around her, bred most of the modern Sharps from that third sub-group of Non-Blunt horses. Carol has several articles in the Khamsat magazine raising awareness about Sharps and advocating for them, and this overview may well be redundant in the end.
There has never been many of Sharp horses strictly speaking, and there are even less today. The good news is that this is not a closed breeding group, but rather one that can be recreated by breeding BLUE STARs and Davenports with each other, or by breeding Davenports and/or BLUE STAR Arabians with Arabians horses from that tiny third group. It is tough to identify foundation horses for a group of horses that is not a closed breeding group, because any new Davenport or BLUE STAT infusion can always bring in new foundation horses into the program, but here’s an attempt at listing these foundation horses with lines surviving today:
— The 1976 Davenport, Kuhaylah Hayfiyah mare Lady Leaf (Porthos x Lady Grey by Tripoli) was bred to the BLUE STAR stallion Ibn Sirecho (Sirecho x Turfara by *Fadl x *Turfa) to produce the 1981 mare Leafs Echo (Ibn Sirecho x Lady Leaf by Porthos), a Sharp foundation mare from that strain. She was bred to the Davenport stallions, Sir and Audobon, to the BLUE STAR stallion Mnahi Al Shohbani, and to the Sharp stallion Alliance LD (see below). This line still goes on in tail female Sharp breeding.
— The 1978 mare Hamdaniyah Simiriyah mare Fasharecho Moliah (Ibn Sirecho x Shar Moliah by Fa-Turf), herself a Sharp resulting from breeding the BLUE STAR stallion Ibn Sirecho to the mare Shar Moliah (Fa-Turf x Shiba by Hanad x Schilan), who is 50% BLUE STAR and 50% Davenport is another foundation mare. Her line still goes on in tail female as well, and is represented by one daughter, Jadah Moliah, and a grandson, both at Randall Harris in Illinois.
— The 1962 mare Shar Turfa (Fa-Turf x Shar-Hiba by Fa-Turf), a Hamdaniyah Simriyah that’s a close relative of the above, and that is also the result of top-crossing a BLUE STAR stallion over a Davenport mare over two generations, is another foundation mare as she produced the 1971 mare Karims Moog by the Sharp stallion Karimkhan (see below), who in turn produced the 1979 mare FF Fatimite by the BLUE STAR stallion Ibn Muhaira (IbnFadl x *Muhaira), who is turn produced the 2006 mare CW Danelle by the Davenport stallion Jubilation. This line is a good example of crossing BLUE STARs and Davenports on top of each other, and also of bringing in new lines into the Sharp breeding, in this case, the line of the desert-bred mare *Muhaira.
— The 1968 Saqlawi Jadran stallion Karimkhan (Dhahmida x Hamara by Hallany Mistanny x Haraka by Kenur) is also a Sharp foundation stallion. He brings in bloodlines from Albert Harris imports from Saudi Arabia (*Sunshine and *Tairah) to the mix of bloodlines of Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfiq’s horses (*Fadl, *Zarife, *Roda, *H.H. Mohammed Ali’s Hamida, *Nasr), and the desert bred mares Exochorda and *Turfa, which are the foundation blocks of the Sharp program as we have seen above.
— The 1964 Saqlawiyah Jadraniyah mare Mistara (Mista-Bin x Haraka by Kenur) is a close relative of Karimkhan above was added to the Sharp program as an old mare. She produced 1981 Sharp mare LD Ice Capade by the Davenport stallion Anchorage, who was in turn bred to Davenport stallions and to Karimkhan to produce a few Sharps including Snow Princess LD and Polynesia LD. The 1985 sister of LD Ice Capade, Hamida Ivey (Karimkhan x Mistara), is still alive, and an effort is now being considered to bring her back into breeding. Hamida Ivey is extremely special within the Sharp program, because he is the last Sharp mare (stricto sensu) without Davenport blood.
— The 1985 Hamdaniyah Simriyah mare Halley (Audobon x Peta by Lysander x Faleta by Ibn Fadl x Kaleta) was purposefully bred within the Sharp group for at least three generation and her breeding shows Carol Lyons imprint, through top crossing her rare dam line with Davenport and BLUE STAR stallions. She bring in the blood of the Harris imports (*Sunshine and *Samirah, the latter being the tail female), as well as the stallion Alcazar who was owned by Albert Harris as well. While still alive, she has never been bred and is likely to drop out of the group soon. A pity, as she is the only representative of *Samirah in the Sharp breeding group. She was on the code-Red list of the Al Khamsa Preservation Task Force until we realized that her owners did not plan to breed her.
— The 1982 Kuhaylat al-Ajuz mare LD Rubic (Plantagenet x Tarrla by Tarff) was bred by Carol Lyons of Lyons Den (LD) Arabians, and is the last female line in the Sharp Program. Other than the usual BLUE STAR (through Tarff, one of the *Fadl-*Turfa siblings) and Davenport lines, she brings in the Albert Harris line of *Nufoud in tail female, as well as the stallion Alcazar. Today, three living Sharp mares, MSF Rubie, Jadah Necessity and Jadah BelloftheBall, and three living Sharp stallions, Salil Ibn Iliad, Jadah Sharuuq, and Jadah Abu Nufoud trace to her.
All in all, maybe not more than 15 mares and stallions alive today constitute the Sharp program. The gene pool is rather broad, relatively to existing numbers, and is not closed as many other individual BLUE STAR and Davenport lines (the Krush, the Hadban) can be added to the original building blocks. These consist, again, of Davenport lines, BLUE STAR lines (mainly *Fadl-Turfa-Sirecho but also *Muhaira), as well as other lines from Prince Mohammed Ali (the Zarife-Roda-Hamida horses), and horses from the collection of Albert Harris, mainly his Saudi imports *Nufoud, *Samirah, *Tairah, *Sunshine, but his stallion Alcazar (Nedjran Jr. x Rhua by *Haleb) who brings lines from the Hamidie and Davenport importations. This is all what seems to remain from the Blunt horses tsunami. Another obervation: the Sharp program was started in the early 1980s, when the main foundation horses were assembled or bred, and it thrived while Carol Lyons was overseeing it, and mentoring new breeders. Since then, some breeding by Marge Smith, Marilyn McHallam, and Randall Harris have done some breeding in the 1990s and 2000s, but on a smaller scale.
Below, the gorgeous and very desert-like mare Peta (Lysander x Keta by Ibn Fadl x Kaleta), tail female to *Samirah a representative of this successful Davenport-BLUE STAR-Harris blend of bloodlines that’s at the core of the Sharp program, and a sad reminder of how quickly this Sharp program can go down the drain.