Nichem, an Asil Arabian from France

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 14th, 2008 in Algeria, France, Tunisia

The presence of a French mare of Algerian/Tunisian bloodlines in my top ten list of best Asil Arabian mares ever bred has achieved its (undeclared) goal: it has sparked an interesting and lively debate about the Asil status of these bloodlines and their place within the broader community of Asil Arabian horses. Such a debate was way overdue, in my opinion.

Yet before delving into a discussion of these little-known Asil Arabians, let me share with you a few pictures of some of these horses, to give you a feel for what they look like.

Below is the magnificent Nichem, a 1970 Asil stallion, bred in France from Tunisian and Algerian bloodlines. Nichem was by Iricho and Caida, who was Rabat and Salammbo, by Bango.

Nichem, an Asil stallion of Algerian and Tunisian bloodlines 

Nichem’s sire Iricho was born in Tunisia in 1959 at the stud of French Navy Admiral –  and otherwise master Arabian horse breeder – Anatole Cordonnier, who sold him to the French government a few years later.  Iricho subsequently stood at the Haras de Pompadour for most of his breeding career. Although a horse of excellent conformation and irreproachable bloodlines, Iricho was shunned by French Arabian (?) horse breeders who preferred taller stallions of racing (i.e., highly dubious) bloodlines. 

In addition to a number of non-Asil horses, Iricho did produce three Asil Arabian stallions: Zab in 1971 (out of the beautiful Izarra), Jahir in 1975 (out of Ciada), and Nichem. Unfortunately, none was replaced in French Asil Arabian breeding — a real blunder.

Nichem’s dam Caida was imported to France by a family from the “pied-noirs”, the returning descendants of the French settlers of Algeria.  She was bred at the Tiaret stud, in the western Algerian mountains.  Tiaret’s was France’s main Arabian horse breeding center in Algeria.

Nichem has three close crosses to Bango, perhaps the most prominent desert-bred stallion to be imported to Tiaret.  Bango was a grey Ma’anaghi Sbayli bred by the Shammar in 1923, was sold to Egypt for racing, and was imported to Tiaret in 1928. Below is a picture of him, courtesy of Pierre-Henri Beillard, who breeds Tunisian, Moroccan and Algerian Arabians in France.

Bango, an Asil Ma’anaghi Sbaili of the Shammar, imported to Algeria

13 Responses to “Nichem, an Asil Arabian from France”

  1. She is amazing Edouard, I wish I had time to go and visit the few remaining asil stud farms in France.
    By the way, If you have a list to share, I will appreciate it.
    Clo from the Association du Cheval Arabe bédouin.

  2. oups sorry, he is amazing!
    What about his son Khelif? Could he be considered Asil as you define it?

  3. Hi Clotilde, good to hear from you. Khelif has lines to Denouste, through Ourour (a great-grandson of Denouste), Kriss II (Denouste x Kenia), and Abel (Denouste x Alicante). Abel was used at Pompadour, and Mauvy used to think his use was a mistake.

    I don’t know if Denouste is Asil. It really needs further research.

    In general, and without wanting to generalize, a rule of thumb is that the horses bred at the government stud of Pompadour, of old French, Tunisian and Algerian bloodlines are okay, because records of the breedings are available and can be checked.

    Denouste was bred at a private farm. At that time, some private breeders of French race horses were less than honest about how they bred their horses. Some insiders have information they will not easily share, and one has to realy on the reputation of the breeder.

    A word of caution: I am not saying he was not Asil, all I am saying is that it is difficult to check that he was.

  4. Hi Edouard,

    some years ago I saw the stallion JAHIR. He was and is one of my favorite arabian stallions I ever saw. He’s wonderfull. Sadly I was’nt wise enough to breed my tunisian/egyptian mare to him.

    Thank you very much for your nice words about the french/tunisian and algerian lines.

    All the best

  5. Lucky you Stephen, I never saw him.. do you have pictures?

  6. yes I took some amateur pics of him. But I must search them. As soon as I found them, I’ll inform you.


  7. take a look at this link (also ours)

    there you’ll find a pic (not very good) of Jahir and one of his daughter Boukha in Germany as well as from the wonderfull Dar Essalam. She was in the ownership of friends of mine, and they tried to get her two times in foal Jahir, but she got no foal of him.

  8. I thought some might be interested in the following site as it mentions some French Cavalry Arabian horse captured by Australian troops during WWI and ridden by Australia’s Kelly Gang. Photos. 🙂

  9. Whoops 🙁

    That was WW2 in Syria

  10. Nice!

  11. wow great site^_^
    This is my youtube channel >

  12. Hello!
    Just thought i could give you some news from Pierre-Henry Beillard and his horses. Khélif died this automn, unfortunaetly. He lived a long and beautiful live! He has many living sons and daughters (you can find some on on sale at Pierre-Henry’s farm! 🙂 )
    And Moulouki’s last living son (Kbir) is still alive and available for breeding.
    Here is the adress of the website and official facebook group from the farm.
    Enjoy 😉

  13. It is good to hear from you. I remember Khelif and Kbir as young colts from my visit in 1994 and I have pictures of them too. Please send my best to Pierre-Henri Beillard. I wish him all the best and for his great horses too.

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