New information on the Egyptian stallion Gamal El Din

By Yasser Ghanem

Posted on December 6th, 2011 in Egypt

As part of the working group on the horses of the Tahawi, which Edouard mentioned in a recent post, I wanted to share with you brand new information about the Egyptian stallion Gamal El Din.

The information was obtained when Yehia Abd al-Sattar al-Tahawi, Mohammad Saoud al-Tahawi, and myself, recently recorded a one hour video with one of the very old Tahawi horse breeders, Shaikh Tahawi Sa’eid Mejalli al-Tahawi, who was born around 1904, and is 107 years old today. He still has an amazing memory for his advanced age, and is one of the old Bedouin breeders, and a great horse expert, following his father Shaikh Sa’ied Mejalli al-Tahawi.

In this interview, he shared many exciting details about the old Tahawi horses such as “Dahman Abdullah Saoud” which he saw himself when he was young. “Dahman Abdullah Saoud” was the sire of the race horse Barakat (also a Dahman, but from another line), among others, and is today represented in modern Egyptian pedigrees through his great-grand-daughters Fulla, Futna, and Bint Barakat.

Shaikh Tahawi al-Tahawi also spoke about lady Anne Blunt and her frequent visits to the Tahawi clan, and about the horses she bought from them. These horses are referred to by Lady Anne Blunt in her writings as “The First Attempt” at putting together a stud of Arabian horses at Sheykh Obeyd Gardens.

The old Shaikh also spoke about the several Royal Agricultural Society horses that came from the Tahawi clan, and he also confirmed what is already common knowledge, which is that the vast majority of the horses at the race track were also Tahawi horses.

He spoke about the famous Tahawi race horse Soniour, who was also by “Dahman Abdallah Saoud”, and who was hence Barakat’s half-brother. Today, Soniour is represented in the pedigree of the stallion Ibn Ghalabawi. He also talked about Renard Bleu, a son of Barakat with an unmatched racing record. There is a nice photo of Renard Bleu in the book of Ali al-Barazi, a copy of which I have with me.

The surprise came later in the interview when he mentioned that he had known and seen the race horse Gamal El Din, which was owned by Ahmed Abu al-Futuh (Futuh Bey), and he provided full details about him.

It turned out that Gamal El Din was by Barakat our of a Kuhaylah Khallawiyah, and that he was bred by Shaikh Abd al-Hamid Rageh al-Tahawi, who also bred the three Tahawi mares Fulla, Futna and Bint Barakat, which were sold to Hamdan stables.  So Gamal el Din would be a close relative to the mare Futna (Ibn Barakat x Kuhalyah Khallawiyah), who was from the same strain as him, and from the same Tahawi breeder.

Gamal El Din was used by Egypt’s Royal Agricultural Society in the 1940s. He has seven offspring in the AHA Datasource, one stallion and six mares all born in 1945, of which only one mare *Saema (x Bint Dalal) bred on in modern lines.  *Saema was imported by the Queen Mother of Egypt to the USA in 1950, where she was the progenitor of a line of Egyptian horses that is increasingly successful in the show ring today.

Among her descendants is the 2001 black stallion HU Sheikh Imaan (Imaann x Niema Nile by Shaik Al Badi), a great-grandson of *Saema in the tail female, and a great-great-grand son of Gamal El Din. His lines are increasingly popular today.

Before the new information provided by Shaikh Tahawi Sa’ied Mejalli al-Tahawi surfaced, almost nothing was known about him, other than the mention on page 29 of the book “RAS History” that “Gamal El Din was a good racehorse, and was owned by Abu El-Fotouh Bey”. Now, thanks to the testimony of the old Tahawi Shaikh, we know the strain of Gamal El Din (K. Khallawi), his sire Barakat (for which we have a hujjah, and about which we already knew a lot), and his breeder Shaikh Abd al-Hamid Rageh al-Tahawi, one of the most respected breeders of Asil Arabians in Egypt.

After an hour of talking, Shaikh Tahawi Sa’ied Mejalli al-Tahawi became tired, and we stopped the interview. He was also having some difficulty hearing all our questions. So the best thing we could do was to let him tell his own stories and not interrupt him, and this is how the information on Gamal El Din appeared.

Below are some photos of the elderly Shaikh, with my cousins Yehia Abd al-Sattar al-Tahawi (in the middle) and Mohammed Mohammed Saoud al-Tahawi on the right.

Best regards,

Yasser Ghanim Barakat al-Tahawi

27 Responses to “New information on the Egyptian stallion Gamal El Din”

  1. How interesting!!!
    There were quite a few descendants here in California, with Sandy Wilt/Cleland, Karen Hesel, Bonnie Kenney, Marty Counts and in Utah

  2. Another excellent post that gives us real information to feast on!

  3. Wow Yasser, all respect and credit to Shaikh Tawahi Sa’ied Mejalli al Tawahia for his memory and this valuable information. I am ceratinly no expert, as you all know, but will try to put this inforamtion in context and further my knowledge. He must have been very young when he met Lady Blunt.
    While I am here, Edouard, I am sorry to have been so stupid as to inform you of Lesley’s new book, I have read it now and see that you are credited and provided some of the information!!!!
    I think it is, though I mildly disagree on some veterinary matters, a really excellent and comprehensive introduction to the Arab for people new to the breed, particularly the chapters on the character and training of the Arab.
    A very minor point is Lesleys interpretation of Davenports misunderstanding of ‘Chubby’… you have stated Edouard that it implies ‘fit to be bred from’ whereas Lesley suggests that it simply means ‘in foal’…I appreciate that in a sense it may mean both but on the other hand there is a gulf in meanings, the most hideously awful horse can be ‘in foal’ but is not necessarily ‘fit to be bred from’. As an Arab speaker, I assume that you are correct?

  4. Yasser: Thank you for the information! This is an irreplaceable and represents knowledge beyond price. I have wondered over the years where the better conformed and better moving Eygyptians came from. I’m willing to bet they can be traced toto the Tahawi horses. For example Sameh and some of the non substrained kuhaylan eygyptians. Thanks again
    Bruce Peek

  5. you sure got it, Bruce.

  6. I have NEVER heard of “chubby” as meaning “in foal.” ???? Davenport said it meant suitable to be bred from, and Edouard has elaborated on that simple definition.

  7. what an ugly photo! The rest is great research, hope the findings were recorded!

  8. Lisa, he did not know Lady Anne Blunt but his uncles did.

  9. I know Jeanne, I have read what Edouard wrote,in fact I specifically went back to reread it after reading Lesley’s ‘in foal’ translation in one of the early chapters of her new book ‘Understanding the Arabian Horse’, she used it as an example of Westerners misunderstanding Arabic terms. I am at work at the moment waiting for a horse to get her sea legs after anaesthetic before moving her back to her stable so don’t have the book to hand. I was just curious as to the exact meaning, which is why I asked Edouard’s view, I don’t think it is a big deal either way as the quality and provenance of the horses is not in doubt, it was a matter of interest only.
    Edouard, thanks, it is more comprehensible that it was the Shaikh’s uncles who had dealings with Lady Blunt.

  10. Who is Lesley, Lisa?

  11. Sorry, Lesley Skipper, I mentioned this author and her book, which I had just bought but not yet read on the massive (!)thread on ‘post Arabians’.
    Subsequently, having read the book,I thought that you must have had some input as your thoughts on the importance of tail female lineage is discussed and your knowledge (rightly) described as ‘encyclopaedic’!
    The comment I am refering to is on page xi where it is stated that Davenport ‘evidently misunderstood the Rwala term ‘shabbuh’, meaning a mare that has been covered’.
    Please note ‘has been covered’ not ‘in foal’ as I wrongly stated (sorry Jean) though they may well amount to the same thing!
    I think that it may be the rendering of ‘shabbuh’ as ‘chubby’ which is interpreted as a ‘howler’, though both all are approximations of a word in a very different language I don’t see that it is that much of an issue.
    I do think though that ‘has been covered’ and ‘worthy of being bred from’ MAY be interrpreted differently eg a maiden mare may be described as ‘worthy of being bred from’… is she therefore ‘shubbuh’ or does this term mean simply ‘has been covered’?…. anyway a very minor side discussion indeed, I am sorry that I brought it up, I was just curious!

  12. Jeanne sorry AGAIN I don’t know why I keep mis-spelling your name …

  13. Lisa, I wasn’t poking at you. Pardon me if I wasn’t clear.

  14. As to us westerners misunderstanding Arabic words. How about this one. Where did the word ,’Shagya,’ come from. We do know that the original stallion named shagya upon which the shagya breed was founded, was described as a ,’ Koheil/Saklawi stallion bred by( I think) the Bani Sakr(sp)bedouin. I recall seeing on this blog that the Bani Sakr were noted for their excellent marbat of Saklawy Sheifi horses. So did the Hungarians germanisize as it were, the Sheifi substrain to shagya in an attempt to phonetically reproduce the correct term? Just musings, but I wonder what other misunderstandings have resulted from clumsy attempts to explain concepts like Shabbu, and ,’chubby.’
    Best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  15. Don’t worry Jeanne,I didn’t take it that way, I just was wrong to say ‘in foal’ not ‘has been covered’, it was a mistake I made as it was a few days since I read it and I just had in my mind that Davenport may have been thinking that ‘Shubbuh’ implied a certain quality or fitness to be bred from (which Edouard has agreed that it does), rather than a reproductive status (in foal/covered) as I had read in this particular book.

  16. Interesting question, Bruce. I’ve always wondered how Shagya is correctly pronounced (in Magyar, I assume?) anyway…

  17. Dear Edouard and all posters

    thank you so very much for giving us this new information and I am so delighted to now beeing able to make changes in my database.

    I am still very, very upset and angry that Dr Hans Nagel,Germany introduced the idea to close “the Book”, meaning no new findings of Asil Arabians can be registered, and got the majority of WAHO Delegates to agree and vote on it.

    to me it is like closing the book on paintings, and if somone now would discover a Rembrandt, it could not be accepted as authentic. THIS IS SO VERY VERY VERY WRONG, and has to have a particular motive.

    When it comes to “preservation” no-one must ever be entitled to or have the power to intervene detrimentally.

    Right now I am aware of various Asil Tahawi Horses, not eligable for registration due to the above decisions, and highly recommend that anybody interested and caring should contact their delegates to RE-OPEN THE book AT ONCE and permit the Tahawis to issue their herd/studbook for INSTANT ACCEPTANCE by WAHO AND WITH IT ALL REGISTRIES WORLDWIDE.

    We must never allow to have rules/laws invented which will be harmful to our cause wanting to preserve what is so dearly needed and so obviously

    Thank you all for listening and please do all you can to help.

    All take care and God bless you


  18. Hansi,
    What you say sounds completely right to me, a ridiculous situation.
    Bruce you will be glad to know that I followed your suggestion on the ‘Post Arabian’ thread and competed my ENDURANCE Arab in combined training on the w/e and he won (it was a very low level competition but still… : ))

  19. PS Jenny when in Hungary and speaking to local Shagya breeders in French or English mixed with my (very little!) Hungarian they have always pronounced it as we do.

  20. This is what we expect, dear Hansi, from all genuine horse lovers like you and the esteemed guests of this blog and I invite everyone to join your call.

    Preserving these few remaining horses is not about adding a punch of some other Arabians that some people think there is a plenty of them around the world. It is about preserving some very rare age-old genes to extend the closed gene pool of the registered Arabians. We strongly believe (and invite everyone to come and see) that our few remaining mares will add some true unique qualities related to horse agility, stamina, power and speed that our old breeders succeeded to concentrate over a complete century just as EAO and others succeeded in concentrating the body type and the overly dished heads in today’s Arabians. Succeeding to cross our lines with the registered lines will yield phenomenal horses, we believe.

  21. Hansi and Yasser would you folks provide documentary evidence that could be faxed to the Al khamsa board of Dirs.and then support having an emergency meeting of the Al Khamsa Board, so that Al Khamsa could pass a resolution granting some sort of protected status to the Al Tahawi horses. Say something to the effect that A.K. intends to recognise the Tahawi horses bred according to the several hujahs(sp) presented. This could then be forwarded to the American registry, and then also to the Asil club. The intention here of course would be to pressure the Asil Club guys and of course ultimately our registry too to do the right thing and list the Tahawi horses. And of course the self interested reason for the registries to include the Tahawis is as Yasser has said because they would add so much in substance, frame and movement to our Waho-breds. And they come in in an Asil package. But if I could make a suggestion, the tahawis need to be bred among themselves too so that they aren’t bred out. This would be a self
    protection move, and it would also likely result in some new stallions who could be frozen and shipped to us folks over on this side of the pond.
    Also Lisa, thats wonderful news. Most all horses truly love combined training at the so called lower levels. The variety of different challenges you’re presented with as a horse and rider team is really good for their minds. And of course since its mostly outside you’re not locked into an arena working on getting one or two dressage movements letter perfect. Good for you.
    Best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  22. Bruce, some of that has already taken place, and the rest is ongoing.

  23. Thank you Bruce, you are right he reaaly enjoyed it!

  24. I had a DR Godward mare that was by HADAYA EINDAFA out of FADELEKA, so I am thrilled with all the additional information. I amthoroughly pleased that
    my foundation stock comes from such notable racing lines, as that was always a ‘bucket list’ goal for our breeding program- to race!!!

  25. For Lisa and Jeanne: the term is not pronounced “chubby”, it’s “yu shabba”. It does mean fit for breeding i.e. as asil. It is used throughout the Abbas Pasha manuscipt which Was handed down to me from my great grandfather Ali Pasha Sherif and which I translated with Judi Forbis. please forgive the typos, I’m having trouble adjusting to my iPad keyboard!

  26. That’s right. yushabba is a verb in the passive voice that litterally means “fit to be bred from [by people]”. There is a less grammatically correct derivative in spoken Arabic, “yushabbi” which means “fit to breed”, and from which the “chubby” of Homer Davenport must have come from. “yushabbi” is in the active voice, and is less correct because it implies that the stallion breeds on its own, while the decision and the handling of the breeding are made and carried by people, hence the use of the passive voice.

    By the way, Gulsun, I simply find it fascinating that people all over the world discuss Ali Pasha Sharif and his horses as if they personally knew him and even more, knew his thinking and what was inside his head, and then you comes and says, he was my great grandfather”. No doubt the reality about him and his horses was rather different from what outside observers like Anne Blunt and others have recorded in their writings..

  27. My honours and admiration for Sheikh Tahawi Said Megalli, whom I had the pleasure to know at the horse races in Egypt together with great trainer Elias Raji (RIP)…. Yalla Yalla at that time was the best Tahawi horse….!!! It has been a great enotion to see his picture…

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