from Combined Source to Straight Arabians

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 9th, 2010 in General

In Al Khamsa parlance, a “Combined Source” Al Khamsa Arabian, is one that has more than one Al Khamsa ancestral element in its pedigree. Ancestral elements are the basic building blocks of Al Khamsa. You can learn about them more by clicking here. Take the Early American Foundation Stallion Caravan (Ribal x Fasal) for instance. Caravan is a Combined Source, and respresents one of the most popular early combinations (Crabbet and Davenport) as his sire Ribal is a Crabbet stallion that blends the EGYPT I and the BLUNT ancestral elements, and his dam Fasal adds the DAVENPORT ancestral element.

Combined Source horses such as Caravan, Alla Amarward (Stambul x Makina) , Ghazi (Rodan x Guemura), El Sabok (El Jafil x Narkeesa) Bint Sedjur (Ribal x Sedjur) and many, many others, helped popularize Arabian breeding in the USA in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, way before Straight Egyptian Arabians became popular. All the big farms and breeders of these early days, Kellogg, Maynesboro, Selby, Travelers Rest, Hearst, and even Babson (with the introduction of Turfa and others) were based on some measure of Combined Source breeding. Combined Source breeding was all motherhood and apple pie.

Now, Combined Source is looked down upon. People who own combined source Al Khamsa Arabians don’t breed them anymore, and don’t want to own them anymore. They, and the dozens of rare lines they include are in dangers of becoming extinct in a decade or two, as the numbers in the entry below eloquently suggest.

Why? Well, it’s all because of this “Straight” business, in my opinion. Horses that are ‘straight this’ or ‘straight that’ have been so well marketed that anything not ‘straight’ has the connotation of ‘mutt’, ‘crossbred’, ‘hybrid’ and, implicitly, ‘impure’. I am thinking of ‘Straight Egyptian’ of course, but also ‘Straight Davenport’, and ‘Straight Desert’.

‘Straight Egyptian’ is a marketing concept, not a concept based on horses from a single geographical provenance (e.g., the Bahrain ancestral element in Al Khamsa), a single breeder (e.g., the Saud ancestral element), a single owner (e.g, the Blunt ancestral element), or a single importer to the USA (e.g, the Borden or Davenport ancestral element). Many of the ancestors of today’s Straight Egyptian horses never set foot in Egypt (e.g, Rodania, Dajania, Queen of Sheba, Azrek, etc). Even more so, some of the horses with the highest concentration of actual Egpytian blood (i.e., high concentration of the horses of the Kings and Pashas of Egypt), such as the Doyle horses and the horses of the Rabanna line are not accepted under the Straight Egyptian label.

What is most ironic is that all of today’s Straight Egyptian horses are in fact Combined Source Arabians, since they all have some measure of the BLUNT ancestral element, in addition to the EGYPT ancestral element. Most Straight Egyptians also have the INSHASS Ancestral Element, which is mostly composed of horses bred by the Kings of Saudi Arabia, and gifted to the Kings of Egypt. These horses could just as well fall under the SAUD ancestral element, and the ‘Combined Source’ identity of most Straight Egyptian would be even more apparent. But no, the magic of marketing has managed to turn ‘Straight Egyptians’ into a single, homogeneous, even uniform breeding concept.

Everyone in the USA wants to breed Straight Egyptians today, resulting in so many Straight Egyptians horses (more than 95% of Al Khamsa horses also fall under the Straight Egyptian label of the Pyramid Society) that their prices have collapsed, except for a tiny ‘elite’ minority of Straight Egyptian horses destined to the Gulf market. All over the United States, rescue operations are being mounted to save starved Straight Egyptian horses abandoned by their owners, when they are simply turned loose, put down, or simply sent to the meat market.

It’s time to rid Arabian breeding of these bogus concepts of ‘Straight this’ and ‘Straight that’ and acknowledge the debt we owe to ‘Combined Source’ breeding by changing the term ‘Combined Source’ into something more positive, and more appealing. How about “Straight Arabian” for a change? I will tell you why I think this is a good term as an alternative for “Combined Source” in a next entry. Stay tuned, I am on a roll…

27 Responses to “from Combined Source to Straight Arabians”

  1. You are indeed on a roll! We are waiting excitedly to hear what is next!

  2. Dear Edouard.
    Sorry that I am writing here but I did not find where I can leave a privet massage for you. I tried to mail you in Al Hamsa but I doubt that you have received any massage. My question is concerned Hamdani horses. Please mail me this address: ninabara(at sign), and I answer you and tell my story. Or may be it is possible for me to publish my post with photo in some place here. If it is so, point me where.
    Thank you for all the information that you publish in this blog. It is really rare and precious.
    Best regards,

  3. Hi edward I hv been reading ur blogs for a while Now truely they are informative .I just wana know do u know any thing about the present Arabian horses in Pakistan .Pakistan is a full member of waho .with Arabian horses stabled at remount depot Mona including the progeny of mare nasem-e-hijaz by Saudi king .do u have any information on it .thanks

  4. I feel I should say that “Combined Source” is not an official Al Khamsa term. Al Khamsa has never defined modern breeding groups one way or the other. Al Khamsa supporters have tried for over thirty years to come up with a term for horses that have multiple ancestral elements and don’t belong to some breeding group defined by some other organization. In Al Khamsa terms, a modern “Straight Egyptian” is likely to have four ancestral elements: Egypt I (before the RAS), Egypt II (after the RAS), Blunt and Inshass.

  5. Hi Haroon, no I don’t but I am very curious about the horses of Pakistan. Whether those of the Remounts from the time of the British or those presented by Arab rulers. It is a place I want to know more about. Do you have the Pakistani studbook?

  6. Jeanne, point well taken. I did not mean to imply that Combined Source was an official Al Khamsa term

  7. If the popularity of Straight Egyptians is owed to marketing, then maybe we should enlist some marketing experts to help.

  8. What about Pure to the Source Arabians?

  9. tha’s nice I like it..

  10. Eduard il get that stud book in few days .and in seventies Saudi king gave arab mares n stallions to out president they are kept at remont depot Mona it’s a goverment owned farm where arab horses army mules and other breeds of horses .u can watch a glimpse of Pakistani Arabs in the documentry ribat-ul-khail on youvtube.currently there are no arab horse shows in Pakistan people are mostly interested in thoroughbreeds .u know whenever I c those cherished Arabs of Mona my heart beats fast .u must watch the lil documentry I told u .regards. Haroon

  11. Was thinking of Asil2 as in Asil squared. When you cross and asil with an asil you get an asil2.

  12. Haroon, I will watch it indeed. When you get a chance, it would be helpful to check whether the horses gifted by the Saudi Royal family were bred to each other in close group or whether they were crossed with other Arabians..

  13. Yea I’m thinking on these lines too .I m going there soon to get my studbook an apply for an arab I wana send u a pic of a colt who’s highly estemed by the Mona people here .how can I post a pic on ur blog sorry I’m a goof about these technical things

  14. Edouard, how would your translate combined source into Arabic?

  15. that’s supposed to read “you” not “your”. fumble fingers.

  16. As a breeder/owner of some combined source horses the term means to me that I can cross the best horses of several groups and still have an AK horse with outstanding quality. The best of both groups in one horse.

  17. I think Elena has something there. Rather than fumble around with English, let’s see what sounds reasonable in Arabic!

  18. Marketing or educating is indeed the issue, the straight Egyptian has been marketed. What has Asil Club done in Europe when they should have made breeders aware? They have boycotted the 2nd largest group of available asils (the Tunesians) because recognising a couple of thousand asils would put their own handful of asils in the shadow. What are they doing today? Basically nothing, just an old book publisher promoting equally old books alongside and throwing a meager show every 2 years or so.

    95% of the European breeders (including breeders of straight Egyptians) have no idea that there many pure bred are not at all.

    Popular and highly used stallions in Belgium are for instance Antar Elamal ( and JK Catalist ( Not alone are they both show champions and champion sires – the first is in fact the grandsire of the highly promoted Scottsdale & World res. champion Maharaja HDM and the second a son of the famous World & Qatar champion mare Victoria II. On top of that they are really gorgeous Arabians (looking as good in the flesh as on picture).

    Take a wild guess how many breeders in Belgium that sent their mares to these (absolutely gorgeous) Arabian stallions are aware that the granddams of these stallions are in fact high percentage and proven Shagya Arabians?

    They are prettier thany many asil Arabians but nevertheless breeders should be aware. Same as the French racing Arabians, people breed them for racing purpose but at least most of them know that their breeding is rather doubtful and that many have a different temperament than the Arabian.

    You can call it marketing or informing breeders, at least the straight Egyptian has grown thanks to marketing in one of the largest groups of asils world-wide

  19. Patrick–I’m so glad you made such a strong statement about marketing. I wrote an earlier comment about just that on the thread about ” Why should we breed these horses if no one wants them?”…..and then I erased it. I lost my nerve for fear of sounding cynical.

    The truth is that desire on a large scale for anything you can think of is a desire which has been created by Madison Avenue (or whatever its equivalent is in the rest of the world.) Anyone who has watched even 2 episodes of Mad Men knows this.

    I believe strongly in education–in talking and writing, but in order to really send a message, going to the dark side (marketing) 🙂 is also a must.

    And BTW, your statement: 95% of the European breeders (including breeders of straight Egyptians) have no idea that there many pure bred are not at all.

    Good Lord, did you ever hit the nail on its flat, stubborn head. It’s a major problem over here.

  20. I am posting this for Jackson Hensley, who was unable to post himself today.

    “I tried to respond, unable!

    Combined Sources is a great name! just add Combined Sources-AK- strain name here -Breeding

    *The strains become the key-to all recordings – not the breeder country – AK has the records and any needed information.

    Your mare’s foal will be then Combined Sources-AK-Hafiat strain-Breeding

    “Ak” could then simply show origin- like Syria-plus-Bedouin Breeding Unit…. I think we did this in the very first index-Carol [Lyons] and I

    I know you have with others extended this on! with others help… we all added to the present problem by adding countries, separating

    All AK breeding’s go to Combined Sources! Bar none. Just some have more formal information surrounding the horse named.

    The combine breeding of sources is getting a lot of play at the moment. Especially since all AK horses are just that!

    (A) The mistake was compounded with years of letting countries become the strain.
    (B) The advancement of selling opportunities, promotion
    (C) Played right in to the hand of American Farms promoting sales
    (D) Like selling to Arab nations horses tracing back to there own original stock

    I personally believe: the words Combined Sources is Correct! Just add on… .as suggested.

    Combined Sources-AK-strain name-bedouin source-Breeding

    *leave all countries out after departure from the Bedouin. Then AK becomes what was needed in the first place, a record to the source.”

    Jackson Hensley, Taos, New Mexico

  21. Hi Edouard and I understand what you are saying and I think I agree with most everything that you say, regarding Combined Source horses. I think it is very similar to how I feel about Babson Halimas. If there are people already producing this cross, maybe the wisest thing to do is to try and do something else, something a little different, something that either doesn’t exists or exists too few in numbers. For example, if we have an established and healthy supply of Egyptian Horses, does it make sense to continue breeding these horses instead of using the very best Egyptian bloodlines to blend with other superior Asil bloodlines, so that we can breed Asil Super Horses? That is horses who are superb than their straight counterparts?? I think this is what you are trying to say and not calling for the demise of Straight Egyptian Arabian horses, as there are those of us who are MADLY IN LOVE with the Egyptian Arabian Horse and would find it difficult to not recognize “the RAS, the EAO, the Prince Mohamed Aly Tewfik, the Ali Pasha Sherif, the Al Badeia, the Prince Kemal el Dine, the Dr. Marsafi, the Dr. Zaghloul, the Ameen Zaher, the Dr. Soliman, the Hamdan Stud of Mr. Hamza, the Inshass stud of King Farouk” found in our horses. We have a rich Egyptian history in our horses which we are so proud of, like the blood found in our beautiful red-headed queen, whose name means the beauty that is unfolding in the universe…Moniet el Nefous. When I was in my early teens, with money that I had saved from cutting lawns, I was able to purchase Judi Forbis” Classic Arabian Horse. It was this moment that became the defining moment in my life, with regard to Arabian Horses. I found the horse that I believed only lived in my imagination! Prior to purchasing this book, I was subscribed to Arabian Horse World and through the pages of the magazine, I was acquainted with many beautiful Arabian Horses like *Aramus (whose picture I had cut out and carried in my pocket, so I would never forget what an Arabian Horse is supposed to look like) but it was the Egyptian Arabian horse, where I found most consistently reproduced the horse that exists in my mind as the ideal Arabian Horse.
    I love Egyptian Arabian Horses and I love the country which made this horse possible and gifted the world with his beauty.

  22. Ralph, I don’t have a problem with the horses, I love the SE horses. I have a problem with every concept (including the SE), which artificially isolates, excludes, and singles out a group of asil Arabians from the wider population of asils.

  23. I agree with you Edouard. One should not dominate to the point of exclusion for another. But how do you maintain viable breeding groups, without the part becoming more important than the whole??? I think this is where the challenge lies.

  24. Straight Egyptian, Pure Polish, Russian….they were and still are marketing only terms. There is no such thing as a Straight Egyptian horse. This is a label given to a group of horses by a group of people in order to perpetuate what this group of people like and are breeding. I agree with you Edouard… it is a concept that artificially isolates, excludes and singles out a group of Asil Arabians from the wider population of Asil Arabians. What is going on today is a crying shame. Now that this group has achieved success beyond imagination and there are numerous SE horses and SE breeders you are now faced with certain factions within this group professing that certain SE horses are inferior to what they have….again to increase the value of what they are breeding and to what they have to sell.
    Ralph this domination of one group of people with one set of bloodlines over others has effectively prevented the growth of other viable breeding groups within the SE Asil Arabian, not to mention the other Asils. This non acceptance of other Asil groups has driven the SE into an inbred corner. The challenge is to overcome the strong push for exclusion of certain bloodlines that is currently going on in this industry as without a change the SE breeders are going to drop out one by one by one.
    Sorry….this exclusion marketing brings out the tiger in me…:)

  25. Ralph, of course, IMO the onus is breeders of non SE asil arabians is to develop their breeding and create a market for it, as opposed to dropping out and joining the crowd of SE rank and file breeders.

  26. Why not change “Combined Source” to “Pure Blend”?

  27. Very nice! I like Pure Blend!

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