Lost asil tail females: *Nedjme

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on December 14th, 2008 in Arabia, USA

Think of this new “Lost asil tail females” series as an obituary section in a newspaper.. I know there is no point in grieving over what is lost, but it’s a good reminder of how lucky we are to have what we still have.

The series starts with *Nedjme, just because “she was given the position of the first registration in the stud book of the Arabian Horse Club of America, […] an indication of the regard in which she was held by Arabian horse breeders in this country of her day” (Craver and Craver, Horses of the White City).  *Nedjme was one of the horses the Ottoman Hamidie Society exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World Fair. She is registered as a Kuhaylat al-‘Ajuz by a Saqlawi Jadran. However, evidence from a letter J.R.  Dolbony (who was involved with the Hamidie Society, perhaps as an performer in the Ottoman exhibition) to Homer Davenport, mentions that her dam was of the Sa’dat al-Tuqan strain, from the Wuld Ali Bedouins and her sire of the Nkhayshi strain, from the Hssinah tribe, which is certainly more interesting.  

Whatever the case, *Nedjme was the pick of the Hamidie Society horses, and fetched the highest price when the horses were sold: 1,200 USD. Her buyer, J.A.P. Ramsdell, described her as follows: 

“Nedjme (sic) is 14.02 hands high… She is almost white, with the thinnest blue-black skin; her head is a typical Arab’s, not too small, deep through the jowl, large in the brain space, with the forehead (called by the Arabs the jibbah) well developed: her eyes are very large and set in Arab fashion, rather lower in her face than in that of our horses; around them the hair is thin and shows very perceptibly the black skin… The skin of the eyelids, lips and nostrils is extraordinarily fine and the opening of the latter small when she is quiet, but expands splendidly when she moves. The “mitbah,” where the head joins the neck, is very gracefully cut, and she has plenty of room for the wind-pipe… Her ears are long and thin, with a quick but not nervous movement and when forward point inward. Her neck is long and well set on, shoulders running very far back; she is well ribbed up and has to perfection the far famed carriage of the tail, it having the effect of being “thrown on,” so perfect is the arch, and carried at such height. Her hocks are strong and large. The legs are perfect, the feet blue and rather cup-shaped.” 

Nedjme eventually passed to Homer Davenport, and founded a large and successful family in the USA, to which several famous “Old American” horses belong to. Her granddaughter Dahura (*El Bulad x Nanshan) was especially prolific, producing among others the mares Amham (the dam of the asil stallion Feyd), Mershid (dam of asil the stallion Kulun) and Morfda (the dam of the beautiful asil stallion Stambul), and the stallions Joon, Ah Ben and Ameer Ali.  Dahura’s daughters were also prolific broodmares. 

Somehow, by the 1980s, only one asil tail female descendent of *Nedjme was left in existence, the mare Tarnagid (Nagid x Tarmika by Tarff), born in 1975. (Incidentally, Tarff was also associated with another tail female that was nearly lost, since his daughter Tarrla was the last remaining descendent of the *Nufoud tail female. Fortunately, that line still exists thanks to the efforts of the late Carol Lyons.)

From a preservation perspective, Tarnagid was also interesting because she carried one of the few remaining lines to the stallion *Mirage in asil breeding, through his Kuhaylan Da’jani son Adonis (x Curfa). Adonis was the sire of Tarnagid’s maternal granddam. 

The late Billy Sheets and D. Susan Whitman deserve credit for desperately trying to rescue Tarnagid as an older mare. I don’t recall the exact circumstances of their attempt, but I remember that Billy told me how they drove hundreds of miles to her owner’s place, and managed to take her to be bred to an asil stallion, and that this ultimately failed, and that mare died without any asil replacement. Maybe I need to ask Susan Whitman to elaborate…

With the loss of Tarnagid, the *Nedjme line died out in tail female. It survives in the middle of a number of asil pedigrees, in particular through the stallion Feyd (Farana x Amham), whose daughters Milanne (a Ma’naqiyah Sbayliyah) and Suebe (a Kuhaylat al-Rodan) among others, still have modern descendents in asil pedigrees – even though both lines are threatened. It also survives through the stallions Kaniht and Kahar (both by Katar x Niht). Kahar’s daughters KadorzaSagitta and Zarieha have lines (barely) surviving today.


Billy knew how to tell the “lost asil” stories much better than I ever could. I really miss this guy.

12 Responses to “Lost asil tail females: *Nedjme”

  1. Hi Edouard and thank you for this entry in your blog. I had not realized how beautiful *Nedjme was and the second picture, well, I had never seen that picture before. I had seen the picture’s taken at the World’s Fair and they were not good, for portraying the essence of the horses. Even after all these years and prehistoric (as compared to today’s technology) photography, one can clearly see the classic mare that was *Nedjme. Her type would rival some of the most breath-taking horses exhibited in today’s European show rings.

    In the description about her, I got goose-bumps reading the following:

    “..thinnest blue-black skin;…deep through the jowl, large in the brain space, with the forehead (called by the Arabs the jibbah) well developed: her eyes are very large….set rather lower in her face….around them the hair is thin and shows very perceptibly the black skin… The skin of the eyelids, lips and nostrils is extraordinarily fine and the opening of the latter small when she is quiet, but expands splendidly when she moves.”

    WOW. WOW. WOW. Does this happen to anyone else? What an awesome mare she must have been!!!!

    Gari Dill-Marlow studied the mare lines of US National Champion winners and although the details are somewhat “foggy” for me this morning, I want to believe that the mare line of *Nedjme was one of the tail female lines in the top ten of all mare lines producing winning horses. So, although she is not represented in her original form, she has made a significant impact on American Arabian Horse breeding and showing (trying to look at the world through a half-full cup perspective this morning).

    Don’t know if I will have another opportunity to offer my best wishes to everyone, so, as the world slows down as we transition from one season to the next and we gather with friends and family to celebrate that which is important to us on an individual basis, I wish you all peace and the hope for a better day for all living things.

  2. I just wish there was more of her left. She seems to have been truly world-class, as is her grand-daughter Onrust pictured above.. Happy holidays to you too..

  3. I have a different shot of Onrust (appears to be from the same photo session, though) hanging in my cube at work. She reminds me quite a bit of Capucine, and also of your mysterious Tunisian mare (though that mare appears to have a shorter head and neck than Onrust and Cap).

  4. Nice! time you tell us about Capucine then..

  5. Heh, that’s only the story of my entire breeding program. It won’t be short. 🙂

  6. My mare (Blue Angel Dreams), though not pure Egyptian, does has Nedjme as her tail female. So easy to see with all the pictures and descriptions as to how my mares ancestors shaped who she is and what she looks like. Thanks for the article.

  7. Hello,
    My name is Mario Braga and I breed arabian horses in Brazil. Not straight Asils but your website made me want to know more about these lines.

    I have a straight descendent of Nedjme, thorugh the dam line, which I find amazing. Her name is Lumiar Tenerezza , she is by a son of Ali Jamaal. Here’s how her dam line goes to Nedjme :

    Lumiar Tenerezza ( by Kiton Carol ) – Lumiar Only You ( by Lumiar Amadeus ) – Jayala HVP ( by Ponomarev) – Padrons Teariffic ( by Padron ) – BPL Tender Tears ( by Perkal ) – Misimma Amira ( by The Egyptian Prince ) – Misimma Rakasa ( by R-Rakkas) – HH Sobrina Fair ( by Rafscal ) – Diena ( by Kaldi ) – Dhabeh ( by Raidaan) – Beneyeh ( by Letan ) -Amham ( by Hamrah ) – Dahura ( by El Bulad ) – Nanshan ( by Garaveen ) – NEDJME !!!!

    I feel part of a noble family now !!

    Kindest regards and congratulations on your wonderful website,

    Mario Braga

  8. Thank you for your nice message Mario. In the USA (and also elsewhere around the world) the tail female to Nedjme died out when the last mare Tarnagid (by Nagid) died without progeny after a last minute effort was made to save her..

  9. But it seems the damline survided in not asil form of nedjme…as Mario posted it

  10. It is so sad that not more information on this mare is available. Her history is lost, and it is sad to think that the ancestry may never be reunited.

    Also a clearer account of which strain she truly is would be so beneficial to so many…

  11. Hello I am writing from the South of England. My stallion El Mahaal has his female tail line to Nedjme through his mother Ali Luya out of DP Black Mantilla. Not asil but a descendant of the great mare nonetheless. So Nedjme is also still represented here in the UK. Best wishes to fellow breeders in the USA


  12. A non AK descendant from this line, Auli Farwa, won the 2017 Tevis Cup on Aug. 5, 2017. g.g.g.grandson of Nejd Kamil.

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