Are all strains created equal?

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on February 12th, 2008 in Uncategorized

The short answer is yes. 

Because strains are just family names given by the Bedouins to Arabian horses that are related through the dam line, there is no reason why one name should be “superior” or “inferior” to another (Is Smith better than Doe, or than Al-Dahdah?)  

It all boils down to the quality of the individual horse.  Some horses are just better than others (I will defer the discussion of what my opinion of a “better” Arabian horse is), and if bred well, these horses may in turn produce better horses, and so on.  Other individuals are less good, and if bred poorly, will end up producing inferior horses as well.  If these individuals are females that in turn produce females so that the strains can be carried forward, then yes, the result in the very long run is one strain becoming better than the other.  In essence, strains improve as a result of sound breeding over long periods of time, and degenerate otherwise.  Nevertheless, all strains are all created equal.   

Lady Anne Blunt, who came as close in understanding Bedouin Arabian horse breeding  as any other Westerner ever did, wrote that her stud manager, a Mutayr Bedouin by the name of Mutlaq al-Battal, never ceased to remind her than “All (strains) are Kehilan, all are Asil”. 

Mind you, there is a longer answer, too…  

2 Responses to “Are all strains created equal?”

  1. I have a notion that Lady Anne made that comment in more than one place, but after a quick review the only instance I have found is the letter to Spencer Borden of Jan. 26, 1910, in reference to the Crabbet Stud catalogue: “I have put Kehilans first because in fact every strain harks back to Kehilan Ajuz, not only all the other Kehilans, but all those strains (Seglawi, Dahman, Manaki etc.) where for brevity the generic term Kehilan has been dropped. Of this my Manager here, Sheykh el Arab Mutlak Batal of the Muteyr tribe so famous for its horses, never ceases to remind me.”

    For comparison, her 1917 catalogue says of Kehilan Ajuz: “Of which all other strains are offshoots, Kehilan being the generic term for pure bred, though in many cases — for example, in Seglawi, Hamdani, Abeyan, Dahman, &c. — the prefix Kehilan has been dropped.”

  2. Thank you for digging the exact cote, RJ. I was referring to Lady Wentworth’s quoting her mother in “The Authentic Arabian Horse”. I think Lady Anne Blunt makes two different points in your quote: the first one is that all strains trace back to Kuhaylan, and the second is that all strains are equal.

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