By Edouard Aldahdah
In my opinion, *Abeyah was the best mare of the Davenport importation, and perhaps one of the best mares to come out of Arabia. She was certainly the best authenticated one. Look at my translation of her hujjah (also published in Al Khamsa Arabians III):
I, o Faris al-Jarba, witness that the bay mare which on her face has a blaze and on her two back legs has a stocking, [i.e.] she has two stockings on her hindlegs, that she is ‘Ubayyah Sharrakiyah from the marbat of Mit’ab al-Hadb, [that she] is to be mated in the dark night, [that she] is purer than milk, and we only witness to what we know and do not keep [information] about the unknown. Faris al-Jarba bore witness to this [Faris al-Jarba’s seal]
A hujjah couldn’t get any better than this. Concise, to the point, and written and sealed by the supreme leader of the preeminent Bedouin horse-breeding tribe of Arabia Deserta: the Shammar al-Jazirah. In comparison, how many horses otherwise known to have been berd by the Aal Saud have Ibn Saud’s own seal on their hujjah? How many other imported mares have Faris al-Jarba’s seal? [I know of only another one: the Blunt’s Meshura, hujjah and seal here]
Mit’ab al-Hadb was the leader of the Thabit section of the Northern Shammar. The al-Hadb have been known as “bayt al-harb”, the ‘war household’ among the Shammar. These tough fighters could claim credit for many of the Shammar war deeds. As ghazu professionnals, they had to have what it takes to prevail: a speedy, tough, resistant war mare. *Abeyah seemed to have fitted the bill, according to Homer Davenport.
There has never been many asil female descendents of *Abeyah in the USA. The last ones were bred by the Drapers of Richmond, California. They were true to their glorious ancestress. One of them, the stallion Jubilo, won a number of endurance competition in the late 1940s.
The very last tail-female asil descendent of *Abeyah was the mare Carila (by Caravan x Akila by Akil x Sali by Rasik), born as late as 1964. Sorry I don’t have a picture. Maybe someone else does?
Interestingly, and as an aside, several of the stallions in Carila’s pedigree were associated with other asil tail females lines that were also hanging by a thread and ended up being saved: Akil was the grandsire of Milanne, at one point the last asil tail-female descendent of the Blunts’ Ferida, a Ma’naghiyah Sbayliyah; Rasik was the sire of Rabanna, also at some point the last asil tail-female descendent of the Blunts’ Basilisk; Caravan (Ribal x Fasal) was a well-known sire who lived to the ripe age of 34 years, who has unfortunately left very few asil offspring alive today, if any.
At some point in the 1980s, the late Billy Sheets and Gerald and Debra Dirks took Carila to the University of Colorado where they tried artificial insemination, but the mare was too old and wouldn’t conceive. And that was the end of this.