Lost asil tail females: *Abeyah

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 8th, 2009 in Arabia, USA

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.

4 Responses to “Lost asil tail females: *Abeyah”

  1. What a great post on Abeyah, Edouard. I really enjoyed this. Though her blood survives in Al Khamsa lines, it is sad that such a celebrated mare did not continue a female line in the U.S. Another case of not knowing what we had until it was gone. I remember Walter Schimanski used to say that to me about Lothar (Fadl x Habba), who was an excellent and important horse and yet needed to attract more Babson mares. He used to say “some day people will think about this after he is gone but it will be too late.” Lothar had no crosses to Bint Serra, Bint Saada, Bint Bint Durra, or Maaroufa and was a good outcross for many of the Babson mares during his lifetime. Thanks to Col. John Fippen and Bruce and Diana Johnson there is a sire line to him, but he should have been given much more of an opportunity within Babson breeding. Important not just by pedigree but in person. He was just like those 19th century engravings of Arabians. This lament for Abeyah is another example this. How wonderful that the Dirks and Billy made the sacrifice to try to preserve Carila. I am on the road now and away from home so I cannot look it up but years ago we engaged R.J. Cadranell to do a feature on Caravan for the Khamsat. Don’t know what issue that appeared in but there is a nice picture of him as an old horse. Another intelligent breeding group of horses that have faded due to the next generations not knowing or appreciating them are the horses bred by Dr. Fred Glass. I think I also engaged R.J. to write about them in a Khamsat. Many years ago I wrote out the Dr. Glass pedigrees and I was amazed at his breeding program which reminded me a bit of Dr. Doyles. A smart breeder now gone.

  2. Thanks Joe for this testimony on Lothar and the Glass horses. Billy had a lot of such stories. Fortunately, there are success stories too.. the *Nufoud, Milanne, Sirrula, *Samirah, Arabesque, Sahanad, Rabanna, Baba, Ehwat Ansarlah, and indeed all the Craver “second foundation” lines are here to remind us of what we are lucky to still have..

  3. Speaking of rare bloodlines, and horses who could have stepped out of 19th Century engravings…
    Last year I had the good fortune to see the 1988 stallion Ajr (Raadin Inshalla x Ascarte), who traces in tail female to the Hernan Ayerza imports to Argentina. I was hugely impressed by his quality. He only has a handful of foals, and I hope he gets the chance to sire a few more.

  4. These are excellent horses, who will be the subject of a future entry..

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