King Ali ibn Husayn of the Hijaz on an Arabian steed

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 4th, 2016 in Arabia

Oh how much I would give to know the strain and the breeding of this handsome desert stallion. I have a fascination for the mounts of Arab kings, sheykhs and other leaders, and I pay particular attention to the photos featuring them — this one by Gerald de Gaury of King Ali of Hijaz, the last Grand Sherif of Mecca, was featured on Rehanuddin Baber’s facebook page.

That’s because I feel that there are specific reasons these horses have been selected to be ridden on official occasions, when photos were taken. I believe that these horses of kings embody a certain ideal Arabian horse at the time, and can be looked at the equivalent of today’s show champions. This ideal may even influence the tastes of the spectators.

Notice the broad chest, the deep jaws, the short ears, the strong muscular neck, and the big bone. This is what I hope my Jamr (Vice Regent CF x Jadiba) will look like in a few years.

king ali of hejaz

12 Responses to “King Ali ibn Husayn of the Hijaz on an Arabian steed”

  1. Well he certainly got a Davenport head that’s for sure. He reminds me of Judy franklins horse Major General.
    best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  2. I find it truly remarkable how much this photo reminds me of Richard and Laura Cavedo’s pure desert Saudi stallion *Shams. Born 1948 in Al-Hasa province and of the Ubayan strain, *Shams was imported to the US by his owners, Richard and Laura Cavedo. Both his parents, Nasim and Hayfi, were from the Banu Hajar. He was bred by Said Ibn Nasir al-Mu’amman al-Hajari in Saudi Arabia. I have a couple of photos of *Shams and I see some similarities to the horse you have featured above Edouard. Clearly this was a valued type of horse in the 1950s.

    The Cavedo’s were Aramco employees working in Saudi Arabia in the 1950s and 1960s. When they returned to the US in 1962 the Cavedos brought three asil Saudi horses with them, *Shams (1948 bay Ubayan stallion mentioned), Malaiha, 1946 chestnut Kuhaylah Krush mare, and Munirah, 1950 chesnut Kuhaylah ‘Afur mare. These horses reamined the loyal mounts of the Cavedo family however they did not leave descent in the US. They were not registered with the AHA (AHRA back then) but were registered with IAHRONA and also were accepted by Al Khamsa.

    The Cavedos gave an incredible presentation of their time living in Saudi Arabia back at an Al Khamsa convention in the early 1990s. This included not only a gallery display of photos of the various royal studs but also some old movie footage from the days when the Aramco put on dramatic riding events and exhibitions for the King. One segment shows the young Laura Cavedo riding full speed on her mare Malaiha (“Lil”) and throwing a spear through a small ring hanging in the arena. This was the pure beauty of the Arabian horse in those days. It brings to mind Cynthia Culbertson’s fascinating lecture at the 2014 WAHO conference where she noted that nearly all Bedouin poetry is about the riding qualities.

  3. I might also add that in the old movie footage shown by the Cavedos was some footage of the aged pearl grey stallion Hamdani who was just as swift in performance as horses half his age. We have Hamdani’s descent in America from his daughter *Muhaira, 1948 bay Abayyah mare imported from Saudi Arabia in 1950 by Dr. Esther Ames.

  4. He reminds me of Taamri as well. Neat horse.

  5. It appears that the pearl grey Hamdani stallion was himself imported to the USA although not registered here.

    What a shame that the three Cavedo horses did not leave any lines active today. They seem to be some of the more authenticated horses coming out of Saudi.

  6. I wonder what happened to the horses of the Kings of Hijaz after the takeover of Mecca, Medina and Jeddah by Ibn Saudi in 1924-26. They must have been incorporated into the Saudi studs.

  7. Edouard, I am interested in any information you have about Hamdani coming here, and agree that knowing what happened to the King’s horses of Hijaz would be a great research project. That would be an article, if not a book!

  8. I agree with Jeanne. I never heard about Hamdani being imported here so would like to know. Only his daughter *Muhaira is shown as such in the registry Datasource. I believe that in the Cavedo films shown at the Al Khamsa convention in the early 1990s that Hamdani was already in his 20s, (born 1938) so if he did come in the 1960s then he would be an old horse for sure and not registered in either AHA or IAHRONA.

    Looking back through the IAHRONA studbook, I see also that several of the Cavedo imports produced foals here registered in IAHRONA but were not registered with AHA.

  9. While looking back on the 1985 publication on The Desert Arabian Horse by Carol Schulz and Carol Neubauer I see where it says that Hamdani was not imported or registered and is only known as the sire of Muhaira. AK website does indicate however that he was given to Aramco CEO Thomas Barger from his breeder Ibn Jiluwi, but apparently he remained in KSA?

  10. I would love to see an updated reprint of “the Carol’s” book. Extremely informative, I still find myself going back to it from time to time! Mine’s a bit dogeared and annotated, as I’ve tried to keep it updated myself.

  11. Billy Sheets told me that Laura Cavedo told him that the ARAMCO CEO told her he had imported Hamdani in very old age to the USA but never registered him in either AHA, IAHRONA or another registry. I may have further information written somewhere but I don’t know where to start looking..

  12. Thanks Edouard. I had not heard that before. It would not surprise me that since Hamdani was a gift that Mr. Barger would have wanted to keep him so if the horse was in good form when Mr. Barger returned to the US then it makes sense that he might bring him back with him as a personal companion.

    I have a letter from Laura Cavedo to me in 1992 in which she describes Hamdani, per my questions about him. She said he was often ridden by members of the Aramco group in KSA especially because he was very patient and had a gentle disposition, making him ideal for some of the younger riders. Hamdani taught all the Barger children how to ride as well as numerous other beginners. Laura said that he was quite tall, over 15 hands compared to the others. He was originally a gift from His Excellency Saud Ibn Jiluwi, Amir of Al-Hasa Province and was given especially for Mr. Barger’s wife. Laura said Hamdani was still in riding use and still going strong at age 24 when she came back to the states in 1962.

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