About the strain of Kuhaylan al-Kray

By Pure Man

Posted on October 24th, 2010 in General

The strain of al-Kray is a branch of Kuhaylan al-Krush and it originates from either the Bedouin tribe of al-‘Ajman or that of Bani Hajar.

3 Responses to “About the strain of Kuhaylan al-Kray”

  1. That’s interesting.

    In his book “Rihlah ila Bilad al-‘Arab”, Dr. Ahmad Mabrouk of the Royal Agricultural Society of Egypt describes his journey to Arabia in search for Arabian horses, in 1936. He visited the stud of Prince Saud ibn ‘Abdallah Ibn Jalawi, governor of the Eastern region, and among the horses there, he describes two mares:

    “Krush al-Kray, golden chestnut, no white on the face, pretty head, nice legs but short neck, five years old, her dam the bay Kray, and her sire the bay ‘Ubayyan.”


    “Bay Kray, white on the hindlegs, pretty, eight years old, not to be mated.”

  2. I am going to stick my neck out here on Dr. Mabrouk’s book. In the mid 1970’s large portions of the book including photos were a part of an article by Gladys Brown Edwards which appeared in the August 1974 Arabian Horse World Magazine. At the time that article seemed to create a negative psychology for the remaining Middle Eastern Bedouin bred stock outside of Egypt. Such psychology to me seemed to ripple and linger throughout the “western” community and I think created attitudes among some which made it very difficult for a fair and balanced case to be made of what continued of tribal breeding. When I think back about the quality of “straight desert bred” Arabians that I had seen and filmed in the mid 1970s in America, I had wondered at the time how to reconcile the content of the article.

    Two years ago I finally got a copy of Dr. Mabrouk’s book and poured through it several times. To be fair to Gladys Brown Edwards, she represented the book’s content fairly well but I was now still confused since my travels to the Middle East (including Bahrain) had shown me a good many truly excellent “tribal type” horses, whose current descendants are now often seen and favorably received here on Edouard’s website.

    After reviewing Dr. Mabrouk’s book my first thought was that I wished it had been a bit more thorough. Granted the photos taken in the late 1930’s left much to be desired for the newcomer in the west. This may have contributed to the lingering negative impact of the Gladys Brown Edwards article. However, as an artist and extremely visual person I studied the photos, (considering that I have seen by now photos, films, video etc. in the many tens of thousands) and I found myself seeing quality in some of the photos and wondered why Dr. Mabrouk essentially came back empty handed?

    It raises questions to me:
    1. Was Dr. Mabrouk’s general perspective much like the western view since Egypt at the time was so heavily influenced by European thought? Even if his standards were “westernized” would he have thought to look beyond the individual and consider the risk worth taking to add or restore a rare of lost strain to Egypt, or did such a notion not matter to him? The EAO later was willing to give the Inshass horses the opportunity to prove themselves, why not would Dr. Mabrouk have selected a number of these desert-breds for a trail run? With now only some 67 or so foundation horses that make up all current straight Egyptian breeding they certainly could have used a few more before “closing its book.”

    2. Dr. Mabrouk said… “To my surprise there were no stud books available, consequently it was not possible to select animals with any degree of certainty that were thoroughbreds and purebred Arabs.” [I think this quote resonated in the west.] This tells me that his primary standard for judging pedigree was an official stud book which seems that he did not value truly the Bedouin methods of defining their horses lineage or, if he carried some “westernized” prejudices did he not trust it? When I visited the Shammar tribe no stud book was offered but in the evening with the elders, and with my tape recorder in hand, they spoke of the history of their horses going back many, many generations. To be fair to him in Hama, Syria, he did select several “good-looking mares of famous pedigree” but the deal feel through over money. He did succeed in getting one stallion of the Kuhaylan Kroush strain but it died about 4 years after coming to Egypt.

    I fully understand that he described Arabian horse breeding in the regions he travelled to as at a low point but, to me, I was want for more courage in his expedition, because the mandate for his journey was described as important to find more outcross blood.

    When I think of how American breeders in the mid 1950s sought to gather up the remains of the few “straight desert bred” horses in our country realized that they had to take what they could get, I realize how much courage and foresight they had because when one sees the results today it is proof that their risk was well worth it and we are very fortunate for it.

    Few people realize that North America probably has the largest amount of “straight desert breeding” outside of the Middle East. Yet I am concerned about its future as it has to struggle against two large challenges, the lingering notions of negativity by some about the “Bedu” type of horse and the lingering notion that the Egyptian horse is the only viable “asil” left.

    Those who know me, know that I have been an admirer of the Egyptian horse for 4 decades now so I am not making this long commentary against Egyptian breeding. But from the beginning I also saw it as a part to the horse of the desert. (I even got criticized in the mid 1970s for filming many “non-Nazeer” horses but I did that because I knew I would always be able to see, film and photograph the Nazeer bred ones. What I was looking for partly was Egyptian horses close to “desert breeding” such as the Inshass bred ones.)

    It seems now that there remains a large partition which separates the view of some regarding the remaining non-Egyptian asils and the Egyptian bred ones. I can’t help but feel that Dr. Mabrouk’s book has been an unwitting contributor to that partition. Sadly his book is still quoted from today on some blogs.

    The cross with Egyptian stock and desert bred stock has worked well and I have seen a good many in the past, even bred some but a quick glance through the “stud books” of today reveals some choice “desert bred” mares from Syria and elsewhere being exported and bred to straight Egyptian stallions and the produce seem to evaporate into obscurity. This can only be a reflection of this misunderstanding of the Bedouin horse.

    For these reasons I have to keep Dr. Mabrouk’s book in perspective and not let it reinforce partitions of thought which jeopardize the future of the asil horse. I hope others will do the same.

  3. and Krush not to be mated

    Do not trust the Mabrouk’s book

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