Asil Kuhaylat al-Nawwaq from the Tahawis

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 18th, 2011 in Egypt

One of the few asil Tahawi mares left in Egypt is this old Kuhaylah Nawwaqiyah owned by Helga al-Tahawi, the wife of the late Shaykh Soliman al-Tahawi. She is one of those which the Board of Directors of Al Khamsa recently recognized as tribal “horses of interest”. I think the photo is from Bernd Radtke, but it might directly from the Tahawis.

A collective effort on three continents is under way to get these 15 or so remaining Tahawi horses recognized by the EAO in Egypt, and as a result, by WAHO.


31 Responses to “Asil Kuhaylat al-Nawwaq from the Tahawis”

  1. She is like a dream.

  2. They would make a welcome outcross in Egypt of course!

  3. I hope WAHO/EAO are prioritising this important matter.
    What is the age and sex distribution of these 15 horses?
    Sounds as though it may be worth freezing any high quality stallion in this group ASAP.

  4. Dear Edouard,
    Could you help me with any information, I breed 100% Crabbet and in the Uk where I am, they are very few and far between. I am very interested in trying to source a Syrian stallion to use in the future, do you know where the nearest one would be at stud, would it possibly be in France? and do you know how complicated and expensive it would all be?
    look forward to hearing from you, you have a wonderful, interesting site, I particularly like the horses you have shown in Decembers articles, beautiful horses, shame they are not in the Uk.
    Kind regards,

  5. yes samantha, there is arnault decroix in normanday he has a few good stallions including dahess hassaka and hussam al-shamal, louis bauduin south of paris who has nimr shabareq, and jean claude rajot in the east with mahbood halab. chantal checkroun in the center of france has mokhtar, and sophie balthasar in the south west has manjad maram al-baida. all great stallions. I have my preferences, but all are asil. my favorite remains old mokhtar for now.

  6. What a stunning mare, offcourse I am prejudiced because my mare is a Tahawi descendaent through Folla (twice)

  7. I hope this Asil Horses will be reconized from the WAHO and EAO…She is a real Desert Queen.

  8. How beautiful! Just looking at her makes one think of poetry: “She walks in beauty, like the night…”

  9. I just hope they are able to keep every one of these lines going, and worry about outcrossing some time down the road!

  10. I agree, Jeanne. They are a precious group among themselves, with their own unique heritage.

  11. Jeanne and Jenny, I agree wrt the mares but any good stallion can get all his Tawahi mares in foal and still have plenty ‘spare’ (!)naturally or by AI for outcrossing into other breeding groups as Patrick suggested.

  12. Absolutely, Lisa!
    IIRC,there may only be one Tahawi stallion at present, so he’s got his work cut out for him!

  13. If i could suggest a really good reason for adding Tahawi bloodlines to the present EAO and Waho breds. Ran across the following from the Asil club concerning a compilation it did of stallion performance testing in germany back when it was done properly by (i think) department of ag. government supervised officials,” The Asil club found this confirmed in an analysis of stallion performance tests carried out in Germany with the participation of over 221 pure bred Arabians over 15 years, of which only one third were Asil, however, this third provided two thirds of the winners and those best in training.”
    The this confirmed part of the statement referred to a claim that Asils really were more athletic than regular arabians. So to me that is the best response a preservation breeder should make to people who say there is such an overpopulation problem you really shouldn’t be breeding at all. Every preservation breeder should learn how to start their own colts, bring them on in their training and then enter them into performance testing much like used to be done in Germany. The results could be tabulated and then compared.
    The Tahawi horses, and many others all Asil, both from the cradle countries, and here in the west, have a great deal they could add. Remember Hansi Melnyck was asked years ago why she switched over to Eygyptians from warmbloods and she replied because she could train one in a third of the time it took to finish a warmblood. We need to show this kind of thing to the general- horse public. These horses are indeed a treasure!
    Best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  14. Needless to say Bruce, I could not agree more.

  15. I will look Carole up,thanks.

  16. Sorry the Carole bit was meant in reply to Ambar on another thread!!!

  17. Hi Samantha,
    There are half a dozen 100% Crabbet stallions within about 20 miles of me! 🙂
    However I love the idea of an Asil Syrian stallion standing in Britain, I know Elizabeth and Rosemary Archer have talked about it as well, I would be interested in your plans,good luck!

  18. Back in the 1980s, a German horseman told me that the stallion testing program was actually highly political, and having the right connections could have a big outcome on whether your stallion got licensed or not. I have no idea whether that’s true, but this man certainly believed it. Ever since, I’ve taken statements about the German stallion licensing program with a grain of salt.

  19. We had heard the same thing, again in the 80s, from horsemen from Germany, and not necessarily Arabian breeders, either.

    Charles said that he did not know enough to tell for sure which stallions were going to be the best sires without trying them… and if they were a good sire, it did not matter what they looked like. One of the best sires we ever had was the last foal of an old frail mare, and he was not perfect by any means. But he bred as close to perfect as they can come!

  20. Well you’d certainly want to conduct any performance testing out in public, in front of god and everybody, and of course over a period of say 30, 60 , and 90 days covering a series of combined events so that if a colt were to have a bad day it wouldn’t wreck his chances for doing well. The response to any evaluation of athletic ability has always been well its political so the results don’t count. Look at the show system. Those participants who didn’t do well have always kvetched about how political and unfair it all is. And based on, for example, seeing entire classes in which all horses were moving crookedly, yes you could certainly say the show system needs to be drastically altered.
    Open publicly viewed performance testing at least provides objective criteria, much like racing- the horse that finishes first wins. Test results can be compared. The horse that refused a jump or ran out, the horse that goes lame from training whereas other horses stayed sound- can all be known if the results are obtained in a public fashion. Which would you rather breed to the horse that did well in performance testing or someones barn blind pet?
    It has often been remarked on this blog particularly that since the bedouin have become settled their horses are no longer being selected as the result of surviving the crucible of battle, starvation, and constant migration. Some means needs to be developed to remove defective unsound animals from the gene pool, or at least favor their use as breeding animals.
    Best Wishes
    Bruce Peek

  21. Woops!- meant,’or at least NOT favor their use as breeding animals.
    best wishes
    bruce Peek

  22. Yet again Bruce I agree, of course with conformation assesment etc there is room for sunbjectivity/bias (there shouldn’t be, as I have said many times, a lot of it is biomechanics, simple engineering but some eg head/neck etc is more subjective.)
    However your point was wrt PERFORMANCE testing which doesn’t only asses biomechanical soundness but wiilingness to cooperate, toughness (there would have to be an endurance element to my mind),athleticism etc.
    A horse is placed in an edurance race/flat race and does or does not run out cross country…that is an objective assesment, not an opinion. Of course training/rider ability have a bearing and there is no perfect system but I would never use a stallion that had not been tested and proved worthy !
    We betray the Bedouin heritage of this breed if we don’t test each generation under saddle.
    I don’t believe that an Arab horse can be FULLY appreciated…or judged, except from on his back, no matter how ‘perfect’ he may be in appearance, even how sweet a person he may be,it is the Arab’s readiness to form a partnership to give all of his strength without stint, essentially his boundless generosity,that is his essence.

  23. I agree in part. Yes, horses are for riding, and I believe in testing by riding. Or driving.

    Can you tell a good horse without riding it? Can you tell good fried chicken without eating it?

    And yet, as Jeanne says, there are still some horses that are themselves either imperfect or damaged but turn out to be first class sires if given a chance to breed. And most of us can probably think of a few stallions that were excellent as individuals but very disappointing sires. What you see isn’t always what you get. In my experience, the best breeders have a certain intuition that goes far beyond the cliche, “Breed the best to the best and forget about the rest.”

  24. I agree. The history of Arabian horse breeding in Lebanon is full of references to great horses that did not breed well, and ‘diamonds in the rough’ who did not look the part but sired great individuals. At the same time, some horses were known to sire great broodmares, but average stallions.

  25. Here’s another angle: with just one exception, every Davenport horse I’ve ever had here has been at least green broke. Five of them I started myself, and the other two were already broke to ride when they got here. But when I ride, I think of myself as gaining more information about that particular horse’s strengths and weaknesses, which is yet another layer to evaluate when thinking how to use that horse in breeding. How does the horse carry itself, how does it move, how quickly does it learn, how does it react on the trail — that’s what I want to know, and I need to ride the horse myself to find out. Sending the whole herd out for someone else to train and compete with, leaving me with a stack of objective performance testing results, would be less useful, although still of some value.

  26. Dear R J Cadranell,
    I agree with you entirely,there are so many facets to a good riding Arab (responsiveness, generosity, balance,courage, agility,cardiovascular function,tendon strength etc etc) that simply cannot be judged other than under saddle. I agree, futher, I would certainly not send any of my horses to be trained or competed by anyone else, I breed, or buy very young, break and compete my own horses, they are family and stay with me for life.
    Lisa 🙂

    I don’t think that a German style system is exactly what is needed,particularly not for Arabs who are very much an individual’s horse. However I have to very strongly agree with Bruce that some form of objective assesment of performance is essential to safe guard the utility (ie essence) of the breed. Even a horse who has never competed but has had a long,sound ,happy career as a riding horse is a far better prospect than the current situation in some lines where we have generations of horses that have never been ridden, an utter travesty in my view.

    Of course, it goes without saying, there are the exceptions that prove the rule… excellent individuals who are poor sires and vice versa, we all know many examples. However it is unarguable that if you want to breed an elite endurance horse for example it is more LIKELY if one uses a proven than an unproven sire, this extrapolates over the total population to a shift over time to horses who are better at their job, that is why thoroughbreds are fast, shires are strong and Arabs are utterly magical to ride, no matter how far, fast or over what ground.
    It also depends on your criteria,if one wants a horse that looks and moves and behaves like a good Arab that can be acheived without any performance testing,if one wants a horse that also RIDES like a good Arab, in,say, 50 years from now,we had better be riding our breeding stock.

  27. To be fair, 50 years was a bit artbritary,some lines have degenerated into caricature in less than that time,others eg Davenports,Bahrainis etc are probably ‘safer’ for a longer period due to their genetic foundation,but as I have said before,one need look no further than certain dog breeds to understand the danger of not keeping faith with a breed’s original function…

  28. Dear R. J. and Edouard: ” But when I ride I think of myself as gaining more information about that particular horses strengths and weaknesses- How does the horse carry itself, how does it move, how quickly does it learn, how does it react on the trail”- R.J. precisely why in most testing protocolls the several riders and trainers who had worked with the colt were either given a vote or were consulted with to determine which horse should get the best in training. In my understanding the best in training award usually went to the horse with the best attitude who remained generous and stayed trustworthy throughout the training regime. They might not have been the best jumper- or the fastest, or caught on the quickest to their lateral work but their try and steadiness were most likely there.
    Saving this breed- and thats really what we’re talking about ,means above all else giving people a reason to have them based on something more useful than having pasture decorations. Without real demonstrated utility its really just a fantasy.
    Best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  29. By ‘chilling’,I meant ‘frightening’,not sure if it read as ‘relaxing’over in America,sorry!
    Yes Bruce,utility always was and I hope always will be the whole point of the breed, unless we continue to select for it we will just end up with the beautiful shell that once contained the best riding horse this world has ever known (imo!) 🙂

  30. There is A LOT that is affected by this subject.
    Thank you to all-
    What comes to mind is:
    Form to Function for a working purpose.
    In applying an evaluation and criteria of our Stock Horses (of which I believe, all Need be designated) historically, this is actually how the “show system” that we know today began; as an opportunity to present your Stock publically to be judged/evaluated by an educated eye as a Gauge for how your breeding program is working.
    Be it for the working category of either:
    Utility Stock- driving, logging/plowing, transport of goods to market
    Saddle/Pack Stock – Riding,Hunting(fox/game),Dressage, Jumping,Trail,Endurance, Checking cattle/herds over open lands
    Blood Stock- Registered stock; for lineage, strains, genetics,for continued proven achivement
    Breeding/Production Stock- The Female and Male lines of a certain breed, pedigree, strain that determines, produces and best sustains through offspring the qualities that your farm/ranch operation’s “working” focus is.
    According to definition: Livestock: An Inventory/Asset on a farm/ranch that “appreciates” and adds to the agricultural business’ operation.
    I understand that some in today’s show world have “created” and developed into many more derivative “classes” that stray from the basics of evaluation; there used to be only limited classes at Agricultural Fairs.
    One of the programs here in the US in an effort to evaluate the all around Arabian stock horse was initiated by W.R. Brown, Maynesboro Stud,NH in 1913- The Endurance Tests for the US Remount program.
    This was an evaluation over a period of time, miles, skills that has been documented and was adopted by the military for stock to meet the need of our Military. Yes, Quarter Horses were used as well, and many of the depot’s were located out west in later times.
    As of Today, there are programs that (imo) encourage any breed owner to train their own for the all around finished ALL AROUND stock horse…drive,jump,cattle,trail,dressage,ect. is just one-they support Arabians too! (My Hunter/Jumper loves Cattle Work)
    I was just in KY., they discussed Pony Club adopting Western discipline into curiculum…

    Many countries get this and have continued their state agriculutral studs of which they breed & train their stock for many different “disciplines”

  31. Very impressive mare. Lets hope we can get EAO and WAHO committed to getting these remaining Tahawi horses registered as purebreds. Would be a fantastic source of outcross blood and really unfortunate to lose them.

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