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…