By Joe Ferriss
Posted on January 30th, 2013 in General
I was re-reading Edouard’s December 11th, 2012 post on the photo of Haleb in 1906 with the Anazah Bedouin and how he is a “benchmark”. Haleb was a huge early influence on me as a novice because I noticed this minimalist aesthetic that he had in the photos that I had seen — the same quality in which we admire the Gazelle for its natural beauty combined with supreme function. Nothing to excess and everything in its place as Homer Davenport once said. No doubt this is what the Bedouin celebrated in their poetry. In a certain light, even the camel is a beautiful animal for its supreme function without any excess for its purpose. Now is wish to comment about benchmarks.
I still tend to see the Egyptian horse in kinships with its tribal bred cousins rather than apart from them. I realize that modern tastes and a restless affluent culture keeps changing the look of the Arabian horse but as a visual person, I first look for common elements forgetting for the moment the divergence of bloodline sources. In that regard one can go back through many of the earlier Egyptian bred horses and find them comparable to the horses of Davenport’s importation, to some of the Saudi horses or they are even comparable to some of the desert bred horses that Carl Raswan photographed, that were not in Egypt.
For fun let’s study the comparison photos in this thread. The first two mares compared are the bay desert bred mare Anjemah photographed by Carl Raswan, and the grey Blunt (gifted to RAS) foundation mare Radia (Feysul x Ghazala). Granted Anjeymah was probably in war mare condition and Radia is in foal but they are after all of similar “benchmark”. Of course Radia is all over the place in today’s straight Egyptian show horses.
The second comparison is a chestnut Saqlawi mare photographed by Raswan and below her the famous chestnut Egyptian Saqlawi mare Moniet El Nefous. Again of similar “benchmark.” And we know well the extent of Moniet in today’s show horses.
The third comparison is interesting, the chestnut stallion is the magnificent Tahawi desertbred El Kharass (1970) and the bay stallion is (famed for his beauty) El Araby (Morafic x Hafiza).
I am reminded of the sage advice that the late Ruby Perdue gave me nearly 40 years ago. She said that good blood can temporarily go bad but it is much more easily restored. She said that it takes time to learn to see good blood beyond the horse, and over time it keeps coming back. This was good to hear in my formative years because eventually I realized that this does work and I believe that you can go back to the essence of the originals.