More on Benchmarks, for fun

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.

4 Responses to “More on Benchmarks, for fun”

  1. Joe,

    Ruby gave good advice, and something most breeders realize sooner or later.

    Visual is your usual comment, A great painter does not always paint great paintings. True also
    in the foals we foal. So many things can come forward as to health. Oh well, so much opinion
    is healthy. Yet, facts are not lost on these horses. They have a way of presenting what is possible and what is not. The line bred Krush I have known can and will give surprises, thank goodness. Just as did all the other groups we bred and lived with.

    Joe, Enjoyed your statements in the Khamsat on the wandering streams away from the main river.

    Edouard you should have the Khalifa’s give a history of what they have done and not. Why they only use certain stallions as to their strains, etc..

    JMH/ Bedouin Arabians

  2. Yes Jackson, Ruby was an important early influence for me just as you were when I first visited you in fall of 1975.

    To me, the life history of the Arabian horse is like a river. As the pressure of modernization pushes the river, the forces can cause tributaries to form, some which flow parallel to the main river, and some which keep going astray.

    If Al Khamsa represents the core principle of the Arabian horse’s roots and continuance, (the main body of the river), then we should become engineers to find a way to redirect some of this water back to the original river. Some tributaries will continue to follow their own way further and further from the river–that is the randomness of nature. But some that are traveling parallel must still be considered akin to the river, and we must believe that they can be redirected in the long run. The river should never dry up and lose its direction.

    Some of these tributaries would be that about which Ruby was telling me, and it is my belief that they can be returned to the river.

  3. Joe,

    This is what I have been doing with the Krush all these years.
    (Line breeding)Trying to realize what the desert and the Bedouin gifted. The results are two fold, mental and physical. The Krush just think and look different from any other group.

    Just as did my inbred Turfa’s.

    As did my other groups that I line bred.

    I am not anxious to changing what came from the desert, just
    reinforcing. With the groups I have bred, I think each had wonderful heritage and represented the Bedouin and his horses.

    Today we have Al Khamsa to record these horses and perhaps
    others from the desert that are not open to be registered. I know Edouard has mentioned his efforts. Perhaps some how the past can be brought into the present, not as to the western way of thinking; But, as to what was the Bedouins way of seeing believing, and living.

    JMH/Bedouin Arabians

  4. Good analogy Joe.

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