Nimr Shabareq, asil Ma’naqi Abu Sayfayn stallion from Syria, now in France

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on October 16th, 2010 in Arabia, France, Syria

Nimr Shabareq (photo below, by Zaarour al-Barary out of Yamhad by al-A’war) is one of the desert bred stallions that were recently imported to France. He is now standing at stud with Louis Bauduin, who took this picture and gave it to Arnault Decroix, who sent it to me (Merci, Arnault).

This is not your usual Arabian horse. This is a horse from hell. This is fire made horse. Both Jean-Claude Rajot and Arnault Decroix told me about their first encounter with this horse in 2008, when he was just a weanling at the stud of his breeder Radwan Shabareq: three grooms were needed to handle him as he was being shown to the stunned visitors. This is probably why Radwan called him Nimr — tiger.

He hails from one of the most prestigious desert bloodlines: the Ma’naqi Sbayli marbat of Shawwakh al-Bu-Rasan, Shaykh of the Wuldah tribes of the Euphrates valley.  Shawwakh had obtained the line from his neighbor and friend ‘Atiyah Abu Sayfayn, a Fad’aan Bedouin who owns the strain now. ‘Atiyah’s great-grandfather had stolen the original mare from the Sba’ah (click here to read how), the fountain-spring of the Ma’naqi Sbayli strain.

The clan of al-Bu-Rasan is one of the leading clans of the Wuldah, and was once wealthy and powerful. In the 1960s,the Syrian government built a large dam on the Euphrates valley, and the fertile agricultural lands of the Bu-Rasan and others were flooded under the resulting manmade lake. They were relocated to a remote area in North Eastern Syria; by the time Radwan came to purchase Nimr’s great-granddam Hulwah from the sons of Shawwakh in the 1980s, they had become so impoverished that they traded her for a tractor’s battery.

I was always fond of this line of Radwan’s; indeed in the late 1990s, when Radwan offered us a filly in exchange for our stallion Dahess, I hesitated between two al-A’war daughters: Yamhad who is Nimr’s dam, and ‘Amshet Shammar (al-A’war x Ghallaieh), a Kuhaylat Krush, whom we ultimately picked.

If you happen to think that this is not how Arabian horses look like, then compare with the 1906 photo of the Crabbet stallion Rodan (by Harb x Rose of Sharon and the sire of Ghazi, Gulnare and Bazrah, and grandsire of Gulastra and Kahar among other foundation horses of Arabian breeding, and think again:

21 Responses to “Nimr Shabareq, asil Ma’naqi Abu Sayfayn stallion from Syria, now in France”

  1. Similar to Rodan, but Nimrs’ neck is set three quarters of the way up the shoulder whereas Rodans neck is about 5/8s of the way up the shoulder. Also it appears that Nimr has less fat so you can see the various anatomical processes better. And of course, even though Nimrs ribs are showing indicating he’s carrying less weaight than Rodan, Nimrs coupling is still straight with no sags. A lot of breeders get their horses hog fat before picture time to cover up weak couplings and saggy backs. Also he looks like he has more leg bone than Rodan. IMHO Nimr is the better conformed horse. And once again I have to ask if he freezes and do his owners ship semen?
    Best
    Bruce Peek

  2. To be honest, based upon the pictures and not having seen “the horse from hell” in the flesh I would times prefer Rodan over Nirm. Besides feeding there might be another reason that Nimr is showing his ribs. If 3 grooms were needed to handle him as a weanling, chances are that he is one of those restless pacing stallions.

    It is perhaps the impression of the moment, but I do not like Nimr’s neck at all. This horse with a bit more flesh would probably show a very thick, short, “underneck” (don’t know how to call this in English, perhaps ewe neck but I’m not sure if that’s the right term because his back is noth hanging through)

    I’m sure he’s a charger from hell and bred out of one of the most prestigious marbats but even an asil Arabian stallion should offer type and nobility to have the makings of a sire.

    That is at least if the picture gives a good impression of the horse.

  3. I agree Patrick, prefer my Arabs from heaven than hell!!
    I presume there is a reason why he is SO ribby.
    There also may be a reason for his behaviour, believe me I like an Arab to be fiery and vivacious but providing they respect and love their handler, for all their prancing they should be ameniable to genlte handling and not require the strength of three men, all that does of course depend on how well they have been educated and if he was a yearling at the time I would not rush to comdemn him on this point.
    I think that Rodan is the better conformed horse, particularly in the shoulder and neck , but as was recently illustrated photos can lie!

  4. Sorry to interrupt you for this misunderstanding in regards of Nimr’s behaviour. When I brough Nimr from Syria with Meliar Halab and Dahess Hassaka, it was the quieter of the three and when I loaded them in a lorry or in the container for the plane, it was the one I let enter firstly although it was completely new for it.
    Louis told me that last week he did a walk with Nimr and with two other stallions and a mare. Nimr was staying just behind the mare very quiet. Bruce, when you tell hereabove that Nimrs coupling is still straight with no sags, you are quite right! It herits of this quality from it’s marbat family. It was the same quality I saw in 2008 about last two mares belonging to Mr Atya Abou Saifan in the desert.

  5. To tell how high set the neck is find the thickest part of the neck and then run a horizontal line back to the shoulder and mark that spot too. Then measure how high up in the shoulder the intersecting line is. Lots of arab stallions have high set necks. However many of them also have abrupt scalenus junctions if you will. If the scalenus process is longer and more spread out it is easier for the horse to hold their neck out in an arch than if it is short and rises abruptly upward. Arching of the neck is step three in the four step process by which a horse goes into true collection. Step 4 is relaxing the poll and making their face vertical. Step 1 is flexing their illipsoas mucle which helps tuck their pelvis, step two is lifting their back as the result of tucking their pelvis. The discerning rider can feel them do this of course as their back lifts like an elevator. The happy result of true collection is that they
    evenly distribute their weight which allows them elevate off their
    forehand thus preserving their longterm soundness. Their topline muscles must stay relaxed during all this too, or you can lose collection and end up collapsing onto the forehand.
    Thoroughbreds for example often have longer scalenus junctions than do for example Asils. But T-breds often have very low set necks, as they are frequently bred to be sprinters, along with long and weak couplings. So the challenge for the breeder is to combine the short strong coupling which we see here in Nimr with the longer
    curve of the neck which is more forgiving of less gracefull riding.
    As for restless pacing stallions the folks at MSU used to say that about Ghalii, the Nazeer son gifted to them by the EAO. Ghalii got fabulous movers with very trainable dispositions.
    Best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  6. Two additional things to keep in mind:

    1) the horse was in racing condition when the picture was taken.

    2) he is only 3 years old. These desert horses keep growing until they are 7 or 8. Horses of the al-Aawar bloodlines are particularly slow growers.

  7. Picking up on the comments from Patrick and Lisa: perhaps Edouard and PureMan (and others with relevant knowledge) can discuss what they know of Bedouin views of desirable temperament in a breeding stallion. I would appreciate more insight into the Bedouins’ general selection process of breeding stallions, too.

  8. Fair enough Arnault, he sounds like a gentleman, as an Arab stallion should be …. in my opinion(!)
    The photo may well not do justice to his shoulder.

  9. Please understand that the image of Rodan presented on this thread is a George Ford Morris photo. Mr. Morris is known for his artistic photos which often include some brush work which accentuates the positive. However I do understand Edouard selecting it as it does have some similarities.

    But it is not realistic to review Rodan accurately from this image. To see an untouched image of Rodan please look to the W.R. Brown Manesboro Arabian Stud Catalog from 1927 where he is standing with a woman mounted side saddle on him. I am not near a scanner right now so i cannot post the image but one should be able to locate it as the Manesboro Catalogs were reprinted several times.

    However I like the descriptions about Nimr. I can only imagine that he would be quite a sight in person. Throughout history and even to the present there are some tribal type horses who have a slight under curve of the windpipe running up the neck and, though often criticized by western breeders, the feature remains in some horses and I am thinking that it must serve some positive purpose or it would have been discarded long ago among tribal breeders. Perhaps someone else could explain it.

  10. In particular, the head and topline of Rodan look like they have been retouched.

  11. Looks retouched to me as well. :) Loved GFM’s photos/paintings of the Davenport horses. ;D

    Also, check out Nimr’s head. It appears to be slightly turned towards the camera while his body is angled away. The angle of his head together with the shape of the blaze appear to distort his head/muzzle? as well as eye placement?

    Also, his front feet appear higher than his hind, and his rear end closer to the camera than his front end.

    The twisted positioning (head/neck/body) adds even more distortion to neck and head, and the resultent bend in the body distorts the shoulder and body of the horse.

    There is also the feeling that the camera was pointed above the horses center???? Maybe even slightly downward at the same time??? Not sure at all here because of the apparent length of legs, but maybe he is leaning away from the camera and the camera lens is short enough to produce a slight wide-angle (fish bowl) effect???

    Is the type of camera/lens length known???

    Lots of subtle distortions.

    AnitaW, to well acquainted with unflattering photos. sigh And up to late.

  12. I suspect that the undercuve of the windpipe would have resulted from throwing the head up as an habitual gesture. Some show cultures like to pose their horses that way.. And other show cultures have developed counterstrategies for working the muscled up undercure away. Like showing the horse the way to the ground. Take a following feel of the horse with your legs at the walk. Give rhythmically with your inside hand, while keeping your outside hand light. As soon as the horse responds by lowering his neck and head, lighten both hands and legs, and do an allowed stop. Dismount and stroke your horses neck. Don’t do this movement in a drill fashion, but do build on it for longer periods of time, and at the trot and canter. Eventually you will dissolve as it were the brace in his neck which has developed over time.
    Best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  13. Absolutely agree with everyone re the potential for photos to distort a horse. It may well be that this photo does poor Nimr no justice, and that the other flatters Rodan.
    I regret saying anything now of course but it was the shoulder more than the neck which led me to comment as I did. For all his faults when Palgrave saw the collection in Nejd in the min 1800s the excellent shoulder was a feature that he particularly noted, Lady Blunt very frequently remarked on a ‘fine shoulder’ I think a good shoulder is a feature of a good Arab/supreme riding horse (same thing!) but that is only my personal view and I didn’t mean to upset anyone.
    Sorry.
    Lisa

  14. Don’t bother Lisa. Wait for a couple of year and you will see how nice it will become and how nice it will produce…I saw the old Marzouck uncle of Nimr: his daughters are exceptionally splendids with nicest shoulders and very good mental! it is the blood which is the most important thing …

  15. i hope my stallion keeps growing….7 or 8

  16. [...] off of Nimr Shabareq, he’s not your typical Arabian. He has the defined legs of any desired equine, but his face [...]

  17. If one looks at photos of Akhal-Tekes one can see the resemblance to both Nimr and Rodan. I recall hearing Arabians from the south were more likely to have the short back [missing vertebra] than from the north [I may have that backwards/upside down :)] Could it be that there was some mixing with Akhal-Teke types very early on? Actually I doubt there is any doubt!

  18. Previous negativs comments are remembering me the ones made in France for the stallion “insh’allah” according to Robert Mauvy. its blood was very pure and It produced the best arabian types. We can see now Nim’s products and we have no doubt about Nim’s purety of origine and blood.

  19. Arnault,

    I would love to see some pictures of Nimr’s get, and I hope you will send some to Edouard for posting.

    Never mind the comments of people who think there was — or should be — only one Arabian type. Or those who think that any “Oriental” horse in lean or racing condition shows Turkoman influence.

  20. Jenny,

    I am going to ask for Louis Bauduin to send last pictures of Nimr get which have been taken, few weeks ago.

  21. Thank you!

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