I have a dream

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 6th, 2008 in Algeria, Bahrain, Saudi, Syria, Tunisia

I have a dream that one day all the Asil Arabians of the world will be united in one unique World registry.

I have a dream that one day breeders of Asil Arabians worldwide will rise above specific labels, breeding groups and sub-groups, and will start breeding their horses to each other to produce the best Asil Arabians possible, the Straight Arabian.

I have a dream that one day the remaining Asil horses of Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and other Arab countries will be recognized for what they are, true authentic Arabian horses, on par with Asil Arabians bred in Egypt, Europe and the USA.

Let us work together towards that dream.

33 Responses to “I have a dream”

  1. Edouard, I applaud your dream which I share. My “top ten” list is but one example of this. Some years ago I placed a gentleman’s bet with someone that if I ever won the lottery and could buy any horses that I wanted world-wide, that after seeing all that I had seen, I could assemble a herd of Arabians which represented common points of the Asil horse and that I could defy anyone to walk through my selection and tell me that they knew for certain the bloodlines of each without seeing their pedigrees first. Among Davenport, Egyptian, Blue Star, combined source and tribal bred stock, I have seen horses similar to each other and have always viewed them as equals.

  2. Edouard, I agree wholeheartedly and look forward to the day when people will see, breed, ride and own Arabians that are simply described as asil. Labels at a fundamental level serve only to confuse Arabian enthusiasts and to create perceptions of differences that as Joe Ferriss has already pointed don’t actually exist in the horses themselves. A good asil Arabian is a good asil Arabian regardless of whatever label man chooses to encumber it with. Labels change only the perception of man not the phenotype or genotype of horses and often to the detriment of individual horses as well as their essentially artificial groupings.

  3. Hi Mike, I couldn’t agree more.. you put it in a more compelling way that I would have, too.

  4. I think it is important to understand, respect and value the different heritages that make up the Asil horse, just as Edouard is now helping us to understand, respect and value the remaining and lost French oriented Asil horses. The premise is the same for the straight Egyptian, straight Davenport, Blue Star, or whatever heritages have developed among various people. The important issue is knowing that they are all a part of the bigger picture and therefore they deserve to be seen as equals. Once this is achieved, people can still chose to preserve a particular heritage but also have the courage to create new ones by drawing on all of the above.

  5. That’s a fair point! I wouldn’t like to see the heritage/history of the individual groups diminished in anyway. I think that the thing is to be able to see and in some sense promote the big picture, so that the groups can be seen in their true light as equal and complementary rather than suffering from the divisive effects created admittedly usually unintentionally as a result of marketing and promotion.

  6. The bottom line is that by creating artificial barriers between horses that belong to the same species, the result is a clustered gene pool. This means less horses to chose from within a gene pool, and eventually, less good horses.

  7. Edouard, I don’t share your enthusiasm for homogenized pedigrees, and I don’t agree with your bottom line. Alice Payne used to say that she never got anywhere breeding Arabian horses until she started to inbreed. Charles Craver was able to produce the horses you admire, such as Pirouette CF and Wisteria CF, by breaking his already small herd into even smaller subgroups and intensifying them to turn up genetic variation, which he then used to advantage. Those CF mares were not produced by homogenizing the pedigrees. Do you have any evidence that breeding with a restricted gene pool must necessarily lead to producing less good horses? Certainly less good horses can result from any breeding program, if poor breeding decisions are made for a few generations. But they are not guaranteed to result. Breeders whose philosophy is “outcross, outcross, outcross” also can and do produce less good horses.

  8. It was not so long ago that Arabians were considered so rare in the USA and enthusiasts were breeding any Arab-to-Arab, regardless of whether they were imported from the desert or from another country. They were Arabians and that was the only label applied to the horses. Take Henry Babson for example, he imported horses of various bloodlines, in addition to the horses he imported from Egypt in 1932. Had he not done so, there would be no Fadheilan, and in turn, no Fadjur and no Khemosabi, two of the greatest and most loved Arabian Horses in history. I am not sure when our community of breeders segregated Arabian Horse breeding by country of origin. What was the pivotal moment in history that resulted in straight and pure thinking? To offer other Arabian breeders concentrated bloodline pools that could be incorporated, for whatever reason, whenever needed? How long ago was it that breeding Arabian Horses meant breeding a correct horse, with functional conformation and a temperament that reflected a sound mind, and not about how many crosses to “Ibn Wonderful” or that the horse could remain untested, unproven, based on the suggested strength of his pedigree? Was the concept of “Heirloom” or “Sheykh Obeyd” or “Davenport” or “Saudi” or “Blue List” or “Blue Star” practiced as the “be all and end all” in the desert, with no consideration for the attributes that were necessary for survival? Was it really the intention of whoever started the concept of SE breeding, for example, to have so many people breeding similarly-bred Egyptian Arabians, to have several breeding programs built around the same horses, bred in the same combinations or was this concept supposed to be on a smaller scale, to insure the survival and perpetuation of key horses/bloodlines for later use by the wider community of general Arabian breeders, to help people breed better horses?

    I can understand both sides of the argument but I think it is about time that people realize that just because a “mediocre” horse belongs to a rare or in danger bloodlines, doesn’t necessarily give the horse automatic breeding rights and that’s what I see happening. Horses bred on the strength of their pedigree or their membership status in an exclusive group and you look at the phenotype and you cry out loud: WHAT THE…..WERE THESE PEOPLE THINKING??????????????

  9. Ralph, I agree with your frustration with the belief that seems to exist in some minds that an infinite number of labels coupled with a “stellar” pedigree will turn a pigs ear into a valuable breeding commodity!

    I am a firm believer in the classic “leg at each corner” asil arabian that makes you gasp with wonder when you look at it, followed by a deep desire to ride that horse and immerse yourself in the whole mind blowing experience.

    When looking for a riding horse the only thing that matters is the horse itself, however in a potential breeding animal then not only is the physical horse one sees important but also its provenance. In this the modern breeder is no different from the Bedouin of the past. Just as in the past there are socio-political considerations to take into account along with the quality of horseflesh. Horse breeders crave acceptance by their peers above most things and few are entirely comfortable to be working outside of what the consensus of opinion decrees as being the “norm”.

    The result of this is that when you start off with a good idea such as “here is a group of complementary bloodlines from the same source that needs to be maintained for the future without admixture” then if and when peoples imagination gets fired by the idea, down the line you find that almost everyone is breeding more or less the same thing and that there is no diversity of bloodlines in the horses or of thinking amongst the breeders.

    Unfortunately for every breeder who achieves success through having a good eye, wit and a thorough understanding of their horses and bloodlines, there are hundreds who will try to slavishly copy them whilst failing to understand how or why the program that they are trying to emulate worked so well for its originator.

    There are, and only ever were, very few truly original thinkers in horse breeding circles.

    I don’t believe that any of those initially involved in defining any preservation group envisaged a future containing only identikit horses. But human nature being what it is, that is perhaps the inevitable result.

    Apologies for the diatribe!

  10. Hi Mike:

    I remember reading an interview with Barbara Griffith. She said that you are to give a mare two chances to breed a great foal, that’s it. And it got me to thinking that as a community, we are not very good at culling. We are a pedigree-focused community and any horse has value, based on it’s ancestral history, whether the horse merits this value or not. If we (as a community) were better at culling, our gelding percentage would be much, much higher and we would not have the overwhelming amount of unproven, and untested stallions advertised at stud. So many of these stallions could be better geldings than average stallions. I find it remarkable and alarming , that given all that this community has experienced over the last 30 years, that we seem determined to repeat all that has not worked. Was it Einstein who once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results? I like this conversation very much, as I see the horse that Edouard dreams about as a “whole” horse or a “complete” horse. For so many years, we have been experts at breeding the “parts” but not the “whole” horse. It makes sense, at this junction in time, to use all the parts to breed better horses, that are strong in body and spirit, disease free, and bring honor to their ancestry because they are capable of many things with their rider.
    In closing, I wanted to say thank you Mike, for the wonderful description that you wrote, as I have never read a description like yours, which is spot on. I hope you don’t mind me “lifting” it, because it is so good, it bears repeating:

    I am a firm believer in the classic “leg at each corner” asil arabian that makes you gasp with wonder when you look at it, followed by a deep desire to ride that horse and immerse yourself in the whole mind blowing experience.

  11. RJ, to me the best Arabians the USA ever produced were the so-called “Combined Source”. Similarly, i believe you’d agree that the crosses between the Blunt original desert imports and the Ali Pasha Sharif (APS) horses were superior to both the “APS-only” horses and the “Blunt-only” horses.

    Of course, your statement that smart line-breeding and even inbreeding gets you better horses by fixing a desirable type remains true, but the original pool you start line-breeding from needen’t come from one importation only. The assumption that horses from similar “groups” (Davenports, or Straight Egyptians) have similar types, and that as such should be bred together is nonsensical. Why would horses that were imported from the same Bedouin clan, but at different times be considered to belong to different groups?

    Also, horses from similar types may come from different desert importations, and horses from widely different types may come from the same importation (e.g, *Muson vs. *Hamrah).

  12. Hi Ralph,

    I too am enjoying this conversation immensely! Please feel free to use the above description if you wish.

    I believe that we have each touched on differing aspects of the same whole and I for one have gained fresh insights as a result.

    There is certainly a case to be made for the much more rigorous selection of breeding stock in general and stallions in particular . The problem being the lack of demand for arabian geldings. On the other hand given the old maxim “a good stallion makes a great gelding” if we breeders were to produce a better class of gelding as a result of more stringent stallion selection then the demand for arabian geldings might well improve dramatically.

    Nor does the show scene inspire me with confidence either, I see very few arabians that I would confidently expect to carry even my 125 lbs for any length of time. But I digress yet again….

    I also particularly liked R.J.’s observations on inbreeding and out-crossing. Though we might all agree that there comes a time in any breeding program that an out-cross might be beneficial, to do so continuously has I think got to be detrimental in the long term and I have seen marked degeneration after 3 or 4 of such iterations. On the other hand, I strongly suspect that of those currently practising inbreeding the majority are (compared to Charles Craver) looking down the wrong end of the telescope as it were. Genetic diversity within a tightly bred group of horses being absolutely the last thing that they are looking for.

  13. Edouard, I did not say that inbreeding fixes type. I said the exact opposite: that inbreeding turns up variation, which can then be used to advantage.

    Also, I do not agree that the crosses between original Blunt desert imports and APS lines were superior to the Blunt-only horses. I think that Blunt-only horses such as Bukra, Nefisa, and Rosemary were as good as anything the Blunts ever bred at Crabbet. I think what happened next at Crabbet, starting in the mid-1890s, was that the Mesaoud progeny were consistently good and the Blunts did not turn up a suitable Blunt-only stallion to follow Ahmar. I’m not sure how hard they really tried. They did use Nejran after Ahmar, but Nejran was not it.

    My own bottom line is producing the best horses possible, and I’ve seen it done using relatively small gene pools.

    I do not believe that something must be preserved just because it exists. As a wise breeder taught me when I was growing up, “Some bloodlines are deservedly rare.”

    However, I have also had successful breeders point out to me horses in their herds that they considered “stepping stones.” These were broodmares that were maybe a little plain or had some faults and that most people wouldn’t look at twice. But the foals out of those mares were stunning, and the breeders explained that those mares were necessary intermediate steps in reaching their desired end products. In other words, these were people thinking two or three generations ahead, all the time.

    A similar concept is the “genetic fishing” that Bazy Tankersley talks about having done with *Ranix. That was a horse with some features she wanted in her herd but also some shortcomings. She bred him to enough mares to turn up the combinations she wanted, which gave the world Al-Marah Canadius and AM Canadian Beau. Small breeders usually don’t have the room or the money to fish like that, however.

    I do not understand the comment attributed to Barbara Griffith. Does a mare get only two chances to breed a great foal because it is not economically feasible to give her three? Or does she get only two chances because one can conclude that, if she hasn’t done it after two, she never will?

  14. Blue Star (Ibn Fadl x *Al-Hamdaniah) is a good example of two successive stone-cold outcrosses producing an excellent mare. Pirouette CF is an example of generations of linebreeding producing an excellent mare. You can do it both ways.

  15. I think that the rule may be that the “Thinking Breeder” succeeds whilst the rest to a greater or lesser extent place their faith in Lady Luck.

    I believe that to reject a mare after having bred only two foals one would have to be very seriously disappointed by them. My own reaction would not be to dump the mare but to hold off breeding from her until I had figured out where the heck I had gone wrong the first couple of times.

    Horses live a long time and there is no pressing reason why every breeding animal one has; needs to be producing offspring every single year. By means of patience, thought and observation one learns more about about ones stock and breeding program than one does by charging off at full speed.

  16. Dear RJ:

    As I said to Mike earlier, I am enjoying this conversation very much.

    If you have the December 2001 issue of Arabian Horse World, you will find BARBARA GRIFFITH’S TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR BREEDING ARABIAN HORSES, within the article by Honi Roberts, profiling Imerial as a foundation breeder.

    #6. Give each mare entering the herd two chances to produce a top-quality foal. Two only.

    I really enjoyed Arabian Visions magazine and I am grateful for the education that I received from its pages. It is a pleasure to be reading your very insightful messages. Thank you so much.

  17. Thanks, Ralph.

    Unfortunately, I do not have that issue of WORLD. I understand that Barbara Griffith’s philosophy is “two chances only.” What I don’t understand is why.

  18. When did the groupings begin (to my knowledge)… in the desert itself – if books are to be believed . Carlo Guarmani, an Italian-born and Beirut raised traveller who was fluent in Arabic also had an ardent interest in the Arabian Horse, wrote: “Horses are divided into three groups: the asl, shalat, and kadisha. The asl is the pure-blooded, pure-bred, the ‘known race’. The shalat is the half-bred, of doubtful breed, a word still used of the young produced by crossing an asl with a kadisha. The kadisha is the ordinary, average horse.”(1864) [and here it maybe just the simplicity of phonetics relative to cultural languages and the ear of the layman]

    The next known delineation was by the Russians (late 19th century) but we (other than Russians) didn’t know much about this until materials were readily available. Perhaps Lady Wentworth could have learnt much from the Russian materials?

    Then there is Jane L Ott’s “dream” to breed the asil to the asil with due respect for others via sublists?

    Though the groupings didn’t really seem to ossify until Al Khamsa and more recently, the Pyramid Society’s Straight Egyptian.

    I would truly like to follow the asil guidelines, whether it be via inbreeding (to whatever level) or not, the dream is there, and they are the Arabian. What I don’t want to loose is the diversity, which the asil Arabian offers, to standardisation. Dare I dream… yes

  19. Diane, good to hear from you.. Of course, differentiating Asil from non-Asil is desirable, but segragation within Asil is not..

    Guarmani was referring to the three common categories: Asil (Pure), Khalit (Mixed) and Kadish (Mongrel). The latter two are one and the same, for all practical purposes.

  20. We receive not a long time ago as a present a 2 years old filly who sire is French and the dam is a mix of Egyptian (one cross) and Syrian.Believe she is one of the finest fillies I have ever saw.
    Syrian breeders have imported Egyptian sires and crossed them with Syrian mares ,the result is astonishing.

  21. I firmly believe that the best “outcross” for a breeding program is a horse from the same foundation source separated by several generations of independent breeding. From observation, when this has been tried it has been most successful. Possibly even too successful from the point of view of maintaining genetic diversity on a global basis.

    An example of this would be the use of US bred “Egyptian” sires on asil mares descending from the imports into Germany. The same kind of thing is now happening with the private breeders in Egypt.

    There is though the danger that once the horses from all of these “independent” modern sources have been interbred, what do we do next …..

  22. Hello Edouard, I do wholeheartedly agree with you that there should be no delineations within the asil group so as to prevent breedings (or at least delineations which prevent a plausible breeding). My dream is that Australia have a greater choice within asil Arabian group other than just sE. Though, such is the marketing influence behind the sE!

    I recently found the following quote by Raswan on asil breeding: “Do not grudge those few purist and fanatics among us their authentic Arabians. They have indeed an advantage in any argument!”

    Must admit, I do muse over the word “pure” though and its suggestions pertaining to the Breed. Is “pure” the best word for describing the Arabian? A few years ago I read Tweedie’s manuscript and could understand his interpretation of asil. He wrote:[quote] Nobility depending on letters-patent is a thing undreamt of by the Arabs. Titled travellers in Arabia have sometimes thought that their connection with the peerage raised them in the eyes of the Bedouin. But any impression thus produced can only have depended on all the words by which the conventional English idea of ” nobility ” admits of presentation to an Arab being pre-associated in his mind with different ideas. When the old-fashioned Highlander said that King George could make anyone he liked a Duke, but that ” nobody could make a Mackay,” he exactly expressed the Bedouin view. This comes out in the word a-sîl – having for primary idea established on a sure foundation – which in Arabia forms the equivalent of our ” old,” as applied to birth. What the arch is in masonry, a-sa-lat, or a deeply laid foundation, is in the Arab’s view of breeding. In modern Europe, at all events our portion of it, we ask, What has been a man’s or a woman’s history, subsequently to being born? and what improvements has he undergone through education? In the East, especially Arabia, the point is, How has he, or she, been bred? That a man’s grandfather should have been rich or poor, front rank or rear rank, is secondary. All that is essential is, that his genealogy should be traceable to established stock. Omne ignotum, etc., goes but a short way in Arabia proper: and for one whose progenitors may have been Turks or Levantines to put himself on a level with him whose pedigree everyone knows to be Arab, all Arab, and nothing but Arab, would there be looked on as utter presumption. The Bedouin, it should further be observed, do not think it possible for blood that has suffered mixture to recover itself.[/quote]
    Page 94 Book 2 Chap2 “Where did the Arabs come from?”

    Thoughts / expressions?

    Mike… ?where next… follow the old path, its well worn The asil has been line and in breed for many an eon. To remain successful it may take coordination rather than competition, though (my thoughts). There’s lots to be learnt from phenotype per the functionality of horse, in terms relative to the horse. If the pedigree is asil, then phenotype(s) maybe interesting way to breed so as not to get too tight a pedigree per western terms or fixated towards a grouping other than asil and within asil?

  23. Hi Diane,

    I think that the best (and most accurate) term to use in place of “pure” when talking about asil arabians would to my mind be “authentic” as used by Raswan in the brief quote you gave. Using paintings as a metaphor, whilst a copy or a pastiche might look like an original, they are not and never can be the same.

    The beauty of asil arabians is that they come in a wide variety of vey different phenotypes. My concern would be that if they are all interbred or some lines are used to the exclusion of others then this diversity will be lost. At the moment there is in effect something for everybody regardless of their requirements.

    Whilst I firmly believe that all asil horses are equal by virtue of their authenticity, I definitely wouldn’t want them all to end up looking the same!

  24. The Top Ten Memorable Statements from this discussion:

    1) “one day breeders of Asil Arabians worldwide will rise above specific labels, breeding groups and sub-groups, and will start breeding their horses to each other to produce the best Asil Arabians possible”

    2) “I could assemble a herd of Arabians which represented common points of the Asil horse and that I could defy anyone to walk through my selection and tell me that they knew for certain the bloodlines of each without seeing their pedigrees first.”

    3) “I am a firm believer in the classic “leg at each corner” asil arabian that makes you gasp with wonder when you look at it, followed by a deep desire to ride that horse and immerse yourself in the whole mind blowing experience.”

    4) “I see the horse that Edouard dreams about as a “whole” horse or a “complete” horse. For so many years, we have been experts at breeding the “parts” but not the “whole” horse. It makes sense, at this junction in time, to use all the parts to breed better horses, that are strong in body and spirit, disease free, and bring honor to their ancestry because they are capable of many things with their rider.”

    5) “Some bloodlines are deservedly rare.”

    6) “Guarmani was referring to the three common categories: Asil (Pure), Khalit (Mixed) and Kadish (Mongrel). The latter two are one and the same, for all practical purposes.”

    7) “Do not grudge those few purist and fanatics among us their authentic Arabians. They have indeed an advantage in any argument!”

    8) “I have also had successful breeders point out to me horses in their herds that they considered “stepping stones.” These were broodmares that were maybe a little plain or had some faults and that most people wouldn’t look at twice. But the foals out of those mares were stunning, and the breeders explained that those mares were necessary intermediate steps in reaching their desired end products. In other words, these were people thinking two or three generations ahead, all the time.”

    9)”A similar concept is the “genetic fishing” that Bazy Tankersley talks about having done with *Ranix. That was a horse with some features she wanted in her herd but also some shortcomings. She bred him to enough mares to turn up the combinations she wanted, which gave the world Al-Marah Canadius and AM Canadian Beau. Small breeders usually don’t have the room or the money to fish like that, however.”

    10) “The bottom line is that by creating artificial barriers between horses that belong to the same species, the result is a clustered gene pool. This means less horses to chose from within a gene pool, and eventually, less good horses.”

  25. Agree with you Mike, though what is the diversity of the Arabian, in particular the asil, that we speak of? Are we talking the same talk here? ie placement of the bones.

    Hiya Ralph – number 3, might not be so memorable other than any horse does well with four legs in the best place suitable to its structure. But it does depend on how “corner” is corner Could be a question of semantics. Shame there isn’t a paddock to share the concepts of equine variety beyond standardisations implied by simplistic words.

  26. Hiya Diane:

    You know that I am a fan of standardization, as far as the unique attributes of the Arabian breed. It is possible to have diversity, while sharing common ground for the recognizable traits of the Arabian breed. One would not want to encourage the perpetuation of phenotypes which resemble other breeds.

    I chose Mike’s statement as memorable (in my top ten list) on many levels. Howver, basically, I share Mike’s sense of wonder and complete joy, when seeing the most wonderful horse alive. And while you try to comprehend what your eyes are seeing, you are overwhelmed by the beauty standing in front of you. I also think that Mike has conveyed well, within the overwhelming wonder, the balance that a beautiful horse possesses. Beauty is a balance of correct conformation, Arabian Horse type and a healthy and sane mind.

    I think it would be interesting if everyone would isolate the statements from this discussion that are meaningful. It would be interesting to see how different/how similar we are to each other.

    I appreciate Edouard’s dream and really believe it’s time, to encourage people to breed Asil Arabians, for many reasons.

  27. Before my previous post gets misinterpreted, I wanted to clarify on my view of “standardization”. I am not suggesting all Arabian Horses need to conform to one phenotype. Not at all. I am suggesting that particular breed characterisitics are standard from one horse to the next, regardless of body type/shape. Does this make sense? What are some of these breed characteristics that distinguish an Arabian Horse from all other horses? It would be interesting to see how we agree or disagree on these attributes.

  28. Ralph’s statement 3) is in actuality an oxymoron. The description of a horse as “having a leg at each corner” in common parlance in English TB/hunter/jumper circles (and I am unfortunately english!) refers to a horse that isn’t particularly attractive BUT has substance, heart and near perfect conformation. A horse that will do its job all day, every day without fear of breaking down or suffering from injury during the normal course of events. These were the attributes I was referring to rather than the physical placement of the legs themselves.

    If I phrased it badly then I apologise for any misconception I may have unwittingly caused. My intent was to try to convey the impact of a horse that initially blows you away with an over abundance of type, spirit and presence as an ARABIAN and then you get the double whammy as the realisation slowly dawns regarding what a truly fabulous HORSE (regardless of breed) you are privileged to be in the presence of.

    Such a horse will have the same effect every single time you see it, no matter how often, every time your appreciation and wonder will grow. I could spend the rest of my life simply gazing into those big dark eyes as they sparkle with unconditional love, intelligence and understanding.

    To be lucky enough to know such a horse is to be rich beyond avarice!

    An asil can be ethereally beautiful, ridiculously intelligent and sensitive, have unbelievable charisma, be incredibly substantial and correct; all in one package so amazing that you simply cannot take it all in at one time! The harmony and balance in effect deceives the eye and hides the substance and conformation, so that the horse appears very much more refined than is actually the case.

    Apologies for waffling on(and/or waxing lyrical depending on the variable quality of my prose!).

    Diane,

    I hope that we are on the same page so far as diversity is concerned. I am quite content with structural/bone differences so long as the horse(s) concerned is (are) unmistakably Arabian (when compared to other breeds not other Arabians). I don’t want all Arabians to look identical!

    One of the beauties I found in attending last years AK convention was in being able to have conversations such as this for as long as sleep deprivation allowed!

    In terms of describing head type, this is a quote of one such from SE.com that I found to be particularly apropos –

    “The head of an Arabian should be “dry” “Piquant” with paper thin nostrils and well shaped ears, those of stallions small, those of mares large. Fleshy heads are not to be found in Desert Breds. When matured, these true Arabian heads look like skin pulled over bone.”

  29. It’s funny, not in a humourous manner of “funny”, however, when I visit any forum dedicated to straight Egyptian breeding, I know (with some certainty) that I will find discussions devoted to diseases that our horses suffer, i.e. Lavender Foal Syndrome, GPT as some examples. I always wonder if these diseases are occurring because of the tight inbreeding practices that occur with much frequency in our community. I want to underscore “I wonder” as I want to be clear that I am not stating facts but only thinking (which can always be changed). In these days, when any interest in the Purebred Arabian Horse seems to be waning (or correcting), have we reached a point in our objectives, where we need to rexamine our intenst to determine if it is crucially more important to encourage the breeding of horses which are sound of mind, body and spirit, utilizing all sources of Asil breeding and reducing our inbreeding coefficients??? Does anyone feel like I do, that we need to return to the breeding practices of the RAS, where it was common practice to bring in horses from the desert for a fresh infusion of new blood and the vigor that introducing new bloodlines bring to an established breeding program. When will we rise up and go beyond the sub-groups, labels, catalogue/marketing groups to produce Asil Horses, that are competitive with other breeds of horses and a viable option to a person looking for a horse to enjoy?

    No answers from me this morning, just questions to revive this discussion and get to a better place than where we are now.

  30. Ralph, this is what Robert Mauvy’s breeding philosophy was all about. He believed that after three generations, changes brought about humid climates and wetter, more fertile soils such as those of many parts of Europe and the USA were such that a infusion of blood from the desert was necessary to maintain vigor and type..

  31. Much of our thinking about inbreeding is colored by 19th century nature philosophy, pre-dating the concept of discrete genes with a predictable mode of inheritance. We can benefit from being aware of, and perhaps re-interpreting, such influences, rather than unconsciously going along with them.

    One thing needs to be clear: Inbreeding, as such, does not cause lethal traits such as SCID or lavender (dilute lethal) foal syndrome; such genes arise by mutation, and they become recognized as problems when they reach substantial frequency in a breeding group such that heterozygotes begin to be mated together.

    It’s true that increased levels of inbreeding can be associated with declines in vigor or fertility, known as inbreeding depression. Still, these problems are the result of gene interactions, and any trait which is genetic will vary (meaning some individuals will be affected more than others).

    The first lavender foal I saw personally was from two imported Egyptian parents. The next one had three imported-to-USA grandparents from three different countries–and as it happens none of them was from Egypt. It’s not closed pedigree breeding that causes lethal defects.

    Closed pedigree breeding needs to be discussed on its own merits; as RJ points out above, excellent horses can be produced from cold outcrosses or from prolonged inbreeding.

  32. I have a dream too…

  33. Why breeding Asil horses?

    1 To keep the Original Arabian as he was in the desert?
    answer : the horses we are breeding have nothing to do with their ancestors.

    2 To have as Raswan said a “genetical pool” to regenerate the breed?

    answer :no one from non-asil Arabs horses breeders or breeders from other breeds are looking and using an asil stallion for this purpose

    3 To be “fashionnable” to belong to this or that organisation and to put a label on our horses?
    answer : maybe

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>