Nasty Note

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 9th, 2012 in General

 I am especially pleased with how my little Wadd is turning out; the father-to-daughter inbreeding on Triermain was a gamble, and it paid off. I was worried about him turning out “too pretty”, as in “feminine”, but he’s looking just fine, so far.

Those of you who have been following this blog for some time know that I really dislike feminine stallions whatever their strain, and ‘refined’ (naa’im) is by no means  an adjective any Bedouin would ever use on a stallion to praise him. A true Arabian horse is not a poodle nor a china doll. A true Arabian stallion — and only Bedouins set the standard for what ‘true’ means here, at least that’s the truth I choose to abide by — MUST exude and even ooze masculinity, but can be gentle and kind at the same time, although he does not have to.

A true Arabian stallion is a ‘lord of the desert’ — ‘un Seigneur’ as Robert Mauvy would put it; he rules over all the living beings within his sight, including us humans; he “occupies a territory”, in the zoological meaning of the phrase, like lions or wolves; the air in that territory is electrified by his presence; he inspires awe and respect; you don’t pet him, you just pay tribute, if he lets you.  

This trend of ‘cute’ and ‘refined’ stallions that is overtaking Western (and by extension, Gulfi breeding, which is taking ‘refinement’ to new heights) Arabian breeding is a western invention that started with Raffles (Skowronek x Rifala by Skowronek) and has been continuing ever since. I am deliberately avoiding modern examples of ‘cute’ and ‘refined’ and ‘feminine’ stallions. I am sure each one of you has at least one in his/her head, so here’s a photo of the ‘immortal’ Raffles, who will hence pay for all the others; isn’t he sooo cute?


12 Responses to “Nasty Note”

  1. What an adorable little Welsh cross… Oops, did I say that aloud? My bad…

  2. This “little” horse is responsible for attracting so many new people to the breed. Enthusiasts could not get enough of him. *Raffles was a significant horse in his day and one of the important foundation stallions in our breed. There was a day, not so long ago, when it was challenging to find an Arabian in America without *Raffles blood. He was at the core of long-lived breeding programs which are still in existence today. Amazing how “little” in the eyes of another, can be seen as a “giant” in the eyes of others.

  3. I was unusually harsh. The effect of the Cairo traffic perhaps. I agree it is a question of taste though..

  4. GUILTY! as charged Edouard. For my use of not only “refined” but also, “ultra-refined” or “the ultimate Arabian Horse”. However, I don’t think of “feminine” when I use the word “refined”. To me and my use of the word, “refined” is synonymous with “quality”. Refined in a stallion, to me, means not “coarse” or lacking in type. others may say “exotic” or even “extreme” but I like the word refined because in actuality, that is what it is.

    I don’t like the word “cute” although there are behaviors that a horse will do that will make me laugh and privately, I will say to myself, “gosh, he is so darn cute, I just can’t stand it.” Or I will go over to my most wonderful stallion, who I am head over heels in love with, grab a piece of his mane, right by the wither, and kiss him on the shoulder as I I have to get all my dibs in right now, because he is so darn cute, I just can’t stand it. When you really love something, as when you love your horse, saying “cute” is just a verbal release of the passion we feel in our heart for the horse. Because I fear that we would explode like on the monster movies, if we didn’t express our affection for our horses like this. I am sure that being a human, as I am, is not unique and other humans, be they Bedouin, American or European would all do the same over a horse they love. But I would never say such things when anyone else is present for fear of being ostracized as a mentally deranged Arabian Horse lover on the level of a crazy cat lady. HA HA.

    I think on this subject, I will have to agree to disagree.

  5. Oh and by the way, congratulations on Wadd and Wadhah. They are phenomenal and a testament to the brilliance of your decisions.

  6. yes, refinement = quality is fine by me; refinement = feminine is not. Mind you, to many people, Saqlawi type = feminine = refined.

  7. I don’t believe Raffles had welsh pony blood at all. He was inbred to skowronek.My journey with the arab horse started 35 years ago and my opinion is the polish and russian horses imported in the 60s to the 80s are much more responsible for contaminating the gene pool of the early american foundation bred horses. Raffles progeny were not mistaken for anything but arabian. I realize Skowronek was polish and i believe he also was not a asil horse. But he also was unmistakenly arabian in apperance.

  8. Edouard: You are absolutely correct in calling out,’refined,’ as something to stay away from especially in stallions and geldings.. Why you may ask,,, because in breeding for refined modern weatern breeders have bred the legs right off their horses— continued pursuit of refined is starting to get us horses whoase couplings are becoming weaker. Once upon a time arabs were known for their good bone to bodyweight ration and phenomonanly strong coupling..
    best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  9. Ralph, I agree re ‘cute’ behaviour but that is different shade of meaning.
    I am afraid that I do think stallions should be kind and gentle, but certainly masculine.
    Refinement used to describe a honed athletic perfectly formed little horse is one thing but the terms ULTRA refined, exotic and extreme make my blood run cold, they are the path to the ruin of the breed as a riding horse, which is his whole raison d’etre.
    As ever Bruce, I agree..

  10. I absolutely agree with Lisa. When I hear those terms, I think – weedy caricatures, poor things.

  11. I’ve bred Skowronek horses which had predominately Davenport, Old Egyptian and Crabbet blood, and with all due respect (since my herd is all straight Egyptian now) the present straight egyptian could not stand twice in their shadows in the legs, length of back and very often, disposition. I’ve bred the Blues, the SE’s, but not the Polish (with the exception of Skowronek) nor Russian because I had a personal friend on the Board of Directors of the Registry, years ago, who quit over the Russian importations.

    I do not like feminine stallions, however, I have seen those miniature multi *Raffles crosses stallions of Alice Payne make a silk purse baby out of a sow’s ear mare. I also saw the crosses of *Ibn Moniet el Noufus on exquisite domestic mares, which were so bad, that it made me decide to think long and hard about breeding SE.’s and also made me decide not to use him on my mares of *H.H. Mohammed Ali’s Hamida breeding.

    Part of one’s career as a breeder of horses, or chickens or pot bellied pigs is to make sure that one looks at as many different programs, with as many different years of experience by breeders, as possible. And after 45 years of breeding Arabians, I think that I tried to breed asil horses (we all believed that Skowronek was as Lady Wentworth represented him to be,) which were correct in conformation, functional as horses and of good minds (this latter being much harder in the SE’s then it was in the Skowroneks.) In the end, if you have spent the majority of your life breeding horses, whether as a vocation or as an advocation, you will recognize that you are not as smart at the end of this project, as you were at the beginning.

  12. “Raffles himself was on the small side (his dam was under 1`4 hands as well) but he was a ‘big’ horse. His stock (and he was bred to everything.. good mares and poor) were considered ‘using’ horses
    as well as beautiful.

    Here are some photos and discussions of his bloodlines… and some articles from the days:


    Alice Payne’s “Asil Arabians” inbred *Raffles program

    photos of Skowronek, Raffles and descendants

    “Modern” discussions on Skowronek and relatives:


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