Kuhaylan Hayfi: What’s in a name?

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 10th, 2008 in Syria

The previous discussion concluded (for now) that the strain of Kuhaylan Hayfi has developed sometime between 1850 and 1875.  What was it known as before that? and where did it derive its name from?

Like many, but not all, Kuhaylan strains, Kuhaylan Hayfi, which by the way is also called Kuhaylan al-Hayf, branched out of Kuhaylan al-‘Ajuz. Kuhaylan al-‘Ajuz appears to have been more than a strain — i.e., a family name for Arabian horses related through the dam line.  Rather, it seems to have been a generic name for a “pool” of horses not necessarily related to each other, but sharing something else in common, perhaps the same owner (more on that in a subsequent post).  

Kuhaylan al-Ajuz typically “mutates” into a new strain when it becomes associated with a new owner (e.g., Kuhaylan Khdili), a celebrated mare with a specific characteristic (e.g., Kuhaylan al-Musinn), or an event of some importance. The later case is that of Kuhaylan Hayfi or Kuhaylan al-Hayf.

Kuhaylan Hayfi “belongs” to the tribe of the Fad’aan, which means that the mare that founded the strain and became the first Kuhaylah Hayfiyah was a Kuhaylah al-‘Ajuz owned by Fad’ann Bedouins.  

Al-Hayf in Arabic means the social exclusion resulting from a ban.  A rough synonymous term would be the word “ostracism” in its most commonly used form.  So Kuhaylan al-Hayf or Hayfi means “Kuhaylan of the social exclusion”.  The strain seems to have formed as a direct or indirect consequence of the exclusion or banishing of a section of the Fad’aan tribe by another larger, certainly more powerful section.  This exclusion may have been the result of a conflict over scarce resources such as water or pasture, a political or personal rivalry between two leaders or leading families, or some unacceptable offense done by some members of the ostracized faction.  

Below is a picture I took in 1993 near Aleppo, Syria, of a beautiful Kuhaylah Hayifyah bay mare that traces to the horses of the Fad’aan.  She is even said to trace to the horses of their Shaykh, Miqhim ibn Mhayd who lived in the first half of the twentieth century.  

   Kuhaylah Hayfiyah in Syria, granddam from the Fad’aan Bedouin  


4 Responses to “Kuhaylan Hayfi: What’s in a name?”

  1. This is the strain we also favor and are delighted to own 4 core Hayfi stallions and 3.5 core Hayfi mares, two of which are bred to Porte CF for foals this year.

  2. Do send nice pictures for me to post!

  3. Hello
    I know This mare she is Freihat,and one of the Famous mares in Alaa Din Jabri stud and I have all her grandchildren.
    And one of them named Dalia, she look like her grandmother Freihat.

    Raed Yakan

  4. You are very lucky to have them Raed. These are blessed and wonderful horses. We are grateful that you are breeding them pure.

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