By Edouard Aldahdah
Posted on October 27th, 2012 in General
I am quoting this passage of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt’s “My Diaries, being a personal narrative of events, 1888-1914” about his visit to the stud of the Ottoman Sultan in 1893, page 126:
“In the evening we drove to the Sweet Waters and were shown the Sultan’s mares. There were, I believe, about 150 of them, all ‘mares from the Arabs’, but the greater part of them of very small account. Among the herd, however, one was able to pick out about a dozen really good ones, and two or three of the first class. But there was no mare there at all equal to Ali Pasha Sharif’s best, or the best of our own. The best I found had come from Ibn Rashid who, two years ago, sent thirty. But the Egyptian who manages the establishment tells me they will insist upon tall horses, and I fancy the Bedouin who send the Sultan mares get the big ones on purpose for him, and keep the little ones, which are the best. There was a great hulking mare which Sotamm Ibn Shaalan had brought with him, one I feel sure was never foaled among the Roala. Of horses, they showed us seven, the best being without comparison a Seglawi of Ali Pasha Sharif’s, an exact match to our Shahwan. This was a really beautiful and perfect horse, but of diminutive size compared with the others, and so less esteemed here, though the Egyptian knew his worth. Next to him was an immsensely showy chestnut from Ferhan Jerba, a beautifully topped horse of great quality but a little overgrown, and, so the manager told me, less good at the stud than the other. Beyond these two there was not one I would have cared to own, two or three of them quite quite unfit to breed from […]. I should pick out twenty of the best and sell the others. There were a good many black mares among them, sent as rarities, but I doubt if black is ever a good Arab colour. One of these came from Ibn Rashid and was the best; Sarah Bernhardt was also in the paddock looking on”.