On the links between Egyptian Arabians and the rest of the global asil herd

By Matthias Oster

Posted on September 21st, 2010 in Egypt

For decades, several different authors (Raswan, Forbis, Schiele in Germany and also Lady Blunt and her daughter Lady Wentworth) have been telling us that the best breeding stock of Arabian horses had left the Arabian peninsula during the 19th century to go to the Egyptian Pashas by either force or negotiation, or as gifts. The stud of Abbas Pasha I was famed for its unrivalled quality of authentic Arabian horses in his time. We even have a report that tells us that some Abbas Pasha horses were brought back to the Bedouin tribes because of their outstanding reputation. One such returning stallion was bought by Von Bruderman (an Austrian) for his government from the Rualla for exportation to Europe and we are told that this particular stallion was even exchanged between the tribes for mating their mares after he had come back from Egypt.
As a result of this and also because of missing information from the Arab countries, the opinion was widespread in the West that nothing of interest was left with the Bedouins, who had already been settled by the second half of the last century (1950-2000), when a greater interest in Arabian horses aroused in the West. And was it not much easier to buy horses in Egypt than in Arabia? So only a few came from Arabia to Europe or America. And not all of those have been accepted by the studbooks as purebreds!

Also financial interests had taken advantage of the information on the superiority of the Egyptian horses going back to Abbas Pasha and the fairy tale stories. And from the very much inhomogenous foundation stock of Egypt a certain type of Arabian emerged after not so many generations of human selection (The same thing happened in Poland or in other Western countries). Even modern genetic findings support this observation: We find more different m-DNA types in Arabians than in most other breeds so that scientists give not more than 200 years for the existence of the Arabian breed (I do not agree but this would lead to a different discussion point). In Arabia the so-called Arabian breed existed and still exists to a certain degree without the uniformity western horse breeders like to have.

For me there is no difference between asil horses from Egypt or Arabia, but there are still some missing links we cannot fill yet. And not to forget that we have even less information for horses of Saudi “origin” than for many Egyptian horses. It has always been my intention as a breeder of Straight Egyptians to know the origin of my horses with the Bedouins, i.e. the tribes and breeders of the root horses. Because of missing information I refrain from certain lines within the Egyptians, until that gap is filled.
And if I understand all the information of this blog and the books I have read, there has always been such an immense exchange of horses inbetween the tribes not only in one area but all over Arabia that we cannot exclude one section of asil horses from the rest. Facing some genetic deseases and also some infertility in some lines today we need all sources of Asil breeding for the future. Let´s work together and not against each other for the sake of the breed!  The Egyptians horses have always been connected with Arabia and have never been disconnected except maybe in the thoughts of a few.

32 Responses to “On the links between Egyptian Arabians and the rest of the global asil herd”

  1. Dear Matthias: Well we know from the documentary historical record that Asil Arabians at least in the form of the Kuhaylan Touwayson(sp) strain horses go back to at least 1665. In reference to Chevalier d’arvieuxs’ voyage to Palestine. So that means that Asils at least are 345 years old as a breed, not 200 years. So this is yet another instance of ,”Science,” being behind the curve. Certainly the assertion that the WAHO arabian type horses largely made up of Stud book general list horses had their gene pool mixed into its current form within the last 200 years, IS MOST LIKELY correct. However most of the Asils are another matter entirely. They are indeed MOST LIKELY one of the oldest breeds in the world. The other might be the Andalusions bred by the Carthusian monks in Spain, at least according to the marketing stories of some Andalusion breeders.
    The currently fashionable institutional scientific view of Arabians that they are only a couple of hundred years old is claptrap promulgated by some of the WAHO show system folks who beleive everything Gladys Edwards wrote. We know Asils are documented to be at least 285 to 345 years old as a breed because the Muniqi strain stallion known as the Darley Arabian and the Kuhaylan Touwaysson were already in existence at those time points.
    Edouard has thoughtfully provided the time references to the Kuhaylan Touwaysson in his link on this site under How old are strains.
    Best Wishes
    Bruce Peek

  2. The Gift from the Desert Exhibit at Lexington covered the history of the Arabian horse in great detail, and there is no question in my mind that we are talking several thousand years at least. We can be cautious and talk of proto-Arabian, and that works for me! I can be not-so-cautious and add more centuries in my own mind, looking at the wonderful petroglyphs being discovered in Saudi Arabia.

    If you are unable to visit the Exhibit, you should be in touch with the International Museum of the Horse and purchase the Exhibit book. It is worth every penny!

  3. Hello,
    First of all I am surprised about finding me introduced in this blog in such a nice form, even with a photo of Safeen and Masr El Dahman, the last living son of Madkour and Maymoonah. Thank You very much Edouard. And let me tell You another personal notice first: my father in law, the late Günter W. Seidlitz and his friend, the late Mr. Dobat, would take great joy in the discussions here and the opportunity to get so much information from competend men and women who share their experience with each of us. And for myself I am glad that there is only little of those negative words about horses of other breeders here.
    I hope that will continue.
    Now to the first two replies:
    I totally agree with both of You that the Arabian breed is older than the 200 years some scientists state for the breed. The conclusion of modern genetics is the following: Because there are more maternal lines in Arabian horses (and they looked for lines going back to the desert even in Polish mares, i.e. strains as we talk about them)than in other breeds like the Lippizan, or even the Przewalski horses, they come to the conclusion that the breed is not so old. But this is just a theory, and nothing more. I have a different explanation: the original Arabian breed, as it was bred by the beduins, is coming from different sources, from different beduin tribes in different areas of the Arabian peninsula.
    It is also interesting that some different strains have the same origin according to m-DNA research, and others have different origins. Therefore m-DNA tests can only give us information that a mare or her line is not the same as another one. One example is Murana I of Weil. No strain is recorded for her but she shares her mDNA with the mare Gazella, a root mare imported from Arabia to Poland. But we cannot assign Gazellas strain to Murana, we can only say they are from a common source. Also in Egyptians we have different strains, like Dahman Shahwan and Obayan Om Grees, that have the same mDNA type. You can not make the conclusion that an error was made in the stud books. But You see that the two different strains developed out of one origin. The same findings we find in different breeds, we have more recorded female lines than haplotypes.
    The Arabian breed of the Beduins is very old, it is very close to the wild horses, You may call them Pre-Arabs, and it was preserved in an mostly unchanged form over centuries. But it is not a breed like modern breeds formed by man, like Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods or others. It was formed by the environment of Arabia to a greater degree than by the beduins. So I explain the different phenotypes of original Arabians, the great number of mDNA types, my personal observations of the breed in general and especially in Egyptians in particular.
    Only in the hands of breeders with a breeding goal in mind uniformity came into the Arabian breed, it may have been in the marbaret of the beduins, in the studs of Abbas Pasha and other Egyptian breeders, and in the West, like Crabbet Park, Weil, Babolna or other places, and also today in the breeding programmes of the big Egyptian breeders like Ansata and others and their succesors even in the Middle East.
    Let me end with one provoking question: Did the beduins of the past have a breeding goal?

  4. A breeding goal? To my knowledge, to stay alive on the best, fastest, horse possible! This was first and last, then they admired the grace of movement and beauty.

    A horse that danced within the soul of being.

    I know you ask Edouard, yet I felt rich this day, and gave my two cents worth. Besides “Am” almost four centuries old? Maybe five? And was there with the Ark of the Covennant, in deepest of thought only. (I and my Krush Stallion, and that’s my story and I am sticking with it!)

    Jackson – Bedouin Arabians

  5. The reason this how old are arabians question has come up is a certain self styled scientist and Movie advisor is telling people on her website that arabians are among the youngest of breeds. Really? Younger than Thoroughbreds? Younger than Standardbreds? Younger than Saddlebreds, Quarter horses, Apps, Morgans? You could go on. Every breed I mentioned has arabian blood mostly from their Thoroughbred top crosses. And we all know Thoroughbreds were formed by blending Arabs with Turkomans, and Barbs slash Spanish Jennets.
    But then she also took money for lending her name as an advisor to Hidalgo, a movie based on the fraud Frank Hopkins supposedly winning a three thousand mile horse race in arabia during the 1890s. Disney studies claimed it was based on a true story. Of course it was a pack of lies. No 3000 mile horse race took place in arabia at that time because the Saudis and Rashidis,the Aneza and Shammar were fighting it out to see who would control the Kingdom. And this is the knowledge base that is misinforming westerners about Arabian horses. Gives one pause to think
    Best wishes
    Bruce Peek

    were fighting it out

  6. There are much older sources of Asil Arabians on document such as the bedu warriors with pure Arab horses joining Abd-Al-Rahman when he fled from Damascus to Al-Andaluz where he took power in Cordoba, creating the emirate of Cordoba (later to become the kaliphate of Cordoba) and introducing many things from Arabia unknown to the moors (barbs) who were the first invadors of Spain (thinking of the famous irrigation techniques, rice, oranges, cotton, silk (that later became the fame of Granada), as well as camels and horses from the bedu).

    I don’t know when he fled from Damascus but he laid foundation to the mosq in Cordoba in 785, so his conquest of Andalucia was probably at least a decade before.

    There is much other proof that the bedu way of life had been “exported” by the bedu to the maghreb and andalucia including the pride of owning asil horses, the best documented by Abd-El-Kader in the 19th century.

    It’s a pity that most Arab books were destroyed by the reconquista but here and the pride for pure desert horses by Arab nobility and knights is mentioned in the christian literature.

  7. Dear Patrick: Ah yes the book burners. Sickening how these toxic schmucks keep coming back throughout history. Of course their handmaidens have been the practioners of junk science who promulgate theories based on their habit of ignoring the historical record, and then promulgate patently untrue theories, to their everlasting shame.
    Good luck
    Bruce Peek

  8. Hello,
    I did not intend to break loose a discussion about how old the Arabian breed is, I just mentioned the postulate of one scientist and I said that I do not agree. But thank You all for Your replays.
    Sorry I did not understand what Jackson Hensley wrote in his second part. Who is “Am” and what does the Arch of the Covenant mean? And Your story about You and Your Krush stallion?
    Also I did not ask Edouard alone what the breeding goal of the beduins was, but all of You. In my opinion, I totally agree with Jackson in this point: survival, survival of the fittest – the same principle as nature or evolution or however You may call it aplies to wild animals. And I conclude from this, that the beduins bred their horses in accordance with nature. So they did not change them but kept them as they had received them from their fathers.
    But that is only my opinion based on observation and thoughts and I would appreciate any input to correct me or give further details on the breeding goals or principles of the beduins.
    I can not help but say that the prototype of the Arab horse walked under the arch of covenant in the time of Noah. Is this what You said, Jackson?
    Only westerners have started to apply their own goals and principles on the asil horses they owned, thus forming part of the breed into modern show horses. In the eyes of western breeders the Beduins may not been called breeders in the meaning of someone forming the breed. The beduins have been preservers. This is a challenge to all who call themselves preservionalist breeders. Preserving may be much more difficult than forming.
    Matthias

  9. Well said Matthias,” Preserving may be much more difficult than forming.” I suspect that unless we duplicate the harsh, harsh, harsh conditions that formed Asil Arabians we are not going to be able to keep them like for example Edie Booths Saudi breds. But then simply for reasons of humane care would we really want to subject them to conditions of famine every few years? For both the good and the bad together shaped Arabians into what they are.
    What is vitally important is that they are not outcrossed to European light cavalry horses- that the Asil gene pool be kept as broad and intact as we can keep it. And that they are athetically tested with subjective criteria through endurance riding, and three day eventing. The endurance riding is allready pretty much established. The eventing or combined training or as its called in Europe the Military could be Training level horse trials held each day for 4 days in a row so that the horses with bad dispositions- unwilling to go on would be revealed. It would also place a premium on soundness and good legs. Specialised concentration on endurance riding doesn’t necessarily demand good strong bone, whereas jumping up to three feet with a four foot spread would require excellent leg structure.
    best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  10. If we were designing trials, I would also like to see some that emphasized agility and handiness, as these were vital qualities for raiding and warfare.

  11. Good point, Jenny,
    I am not convinced that the type of jumping found in Eventing is necessarily indicative of “Desert” demands.

    I was once at an Eventing clinic where the clinician was asked why there weren’t more Arabians in Eventing. He replied, “The Arabian wasn’t bred to jump off a cliff of unknown height into water of unknown depth just because some human asked them to do it; the Arabian horse is smarter than that.”

  12. Well we do know that ,”desert topography,” was not all flat sand dunes, more like dangerously uneven, rocky and uneven. We could of course put in lots of banks, slides, drops,jumps with 360 degree turns, hills and so forth to get the handiness tested. Plus galloping cross country is about the most fun you can have on earth! We need to get a way of testing willingness to continue without getting to the point that the horse shuts down psychologically.
    best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  13. I was thinking more along the lines of mounted games. Lots of fun there, too!

  14. Mounted games? How about flat racing and endurance to start proving asils in Europe and the States. Unless you want to hold fantasias and other mounted wargames, flat racing and endurance is pretty close to what the bedu did when they were up for “games” instead of war.

  15. Endurance, fantasias and mounted war games, then. Flat racing at shorter distances only if the horses are doing endurance as well.

  16. “the Arabian horse is smarter than that.”
    A cousin of mine ,living in London all the civil war days in Lebanon,became a smart polo player.
    After the war he returned to Beirut and decided to introduce plolo in Lebanon.
    Together with him was an English polo instructor who was helping him in choosing polo ponies ,when I suggested to the instructor to buy part-bred Arabs ex race-horses he replied .”They wont fit,the Arab is too smart to go and bump with other horses”

  17. Did the beduins of the past have a breeding goal?

    In 80 after Christ, Plinus ( le jeune) or the Young ,(Tribun Militaire)military governor of Syria under Rome wrote:
    “the Arabs are warriors and no one can reach them due to their fast horses”
    I think Mathias that can answer your question.
    On another hand the question who should be asked is
    “Did the Bedouins always bread pure Arab horses”?
    My answer is :Maybe not.In Mesopotamia there was other horses long before the Bedouin came (17th century more or less);called the “Shimali” horses as strong and endurant as the pure Arab horses (The endurance races in Syria today are very often won by these horses).
    It may be very possible that “Shimali” mares were mated with Pure Arab Stallions ,as it is very possible also that “Turkmen” mares(as strong and swift as a pure Arab mare) could also be mated with pure Arab stallions by the Beduins;
    who knows maybe descendant of these matings were sold to “Westerners” as pure Arab horses.

  18. Dear Joe: So were these Shimali horses crossbreds, or an indigenous middle Eastern type of ,” Shagya,” that was bred back every few generations to Asil horses? Interesting.. I’d not heard that term before hence my curiousity.
    Thanks
    Bruce Peek

  19. Dear Bruce,
    The Shimali, as I know, have been asil horses bred in the North (that´s the meaning of the name) and were distinguished from the Nedschi horses, that came from the south with the great bedouin migrations of zhe Anazeh tribes. Examples of Shimali could be horses bred by the Mawali, see one of the last entries by Edouard.

    But I also like to come back to the points of endurance and polo testing. One example was Fadl, bred in Egypt by Prince Mohamed Ali and exported to America by Henry Babson. Again an Egyptian (remember this discussion is posted under Egypt). He was used for both and also for harness. Many of his descendands have also been good dressage horses! Dressage is a good way to test intelligence and willingness of a horse and for me it is very important. But all performance testing will never substitute the selection of the desert. We must use this tests as a criteria for selection, for sure, but still the question remains, by what means we can preserve our asil horses best. I ask the longtime breeders to give us some practical advices how he does his or her breeding decisions. And as a breeder of Egyptians I again come back to this section of asil horses, “second hand” Bedouin horses as You may call them. You as breeder of Non-Egyptian Arabians can learn from the Egyptian breed, because it has been trying to preserve asil Arabians outside Arabia over many generations now, be it good or bad. The Arabian horse of tomorrow comes from our breeding decisions today. For myself I look forward to Your replies and hope they will be fruitful for me and many other.

  20. Hi,
    What a wonderful thread.
    I’d like to jump in with some more historic quotes that I found interesting that relate to the question — how old is the Arab ‘breed’, or, if one prefers, Arab ‘prototype’? Or, at least, how far back was he referred to as ‘Arab’? The first is from a book called Ancient Greek Horsemanship by JK Anderson, published in 1961.
    The book quotes from the writings of naturalist Timotheus of Gaza, living in the 6th Century AD.
    [Note that the passage describe Arab horses “near … India” which seems to indicate that ‘Arab’ horses were well known across large parts of the East at this time.]
    Here is the excerpt:
    Of the Arab horse we have no description earlier than that of Timotheus of Gaza, who, probably in the 6th Century after Christ, wrote about four-footed beasts among the Indians, Arabs, Egyptians, and Libyans. He writes that the Arab horses ” . . .near to the mountain of the land of India” are of a good size, generally red-baby, carrying their necks high, with faces regular and well-proportioned, carrying their heads close to their riders’ faces, haughty and spirited, having a superabundant pride, very keen, swift, with supple limbs, giving themselves wholly to the ardour of the course, bounding lightly rather than galloping, with compact flanks and lean bodies, their spines “hollow.” [This does not mean a ‘hollow back’ in our sense, but a back having the flesh and muscles on either side of the ridge of the spine so well developed that the spine is actually sunk between them. Such a horse is of course far more comfortable to ride bareback than one with a sharp ridge. This ‘double back’ was naturally much sought after in antiquity — ‘At duplex agitur per lumbos spina’ says Virgil of his ideal horse.]
    Another quote from Timotheus in this book: “The Arab horse is unwearied in the heat, rather rejoicing in the sun; his coat is beautiful, his diet simple, his bearing dignified. He crosses obstacles without being forced.”
    So here we have Timotheus, a writer from approximately 6th C AD, refering to horses both near India and in his own area [Gaza – between Sinai and the Negev desert] as Arab.

    Second quotation is taken from even earlier writings of the Roman Historian Ammianus, from about 380 AD. He writes of the Saracens — a term which referred to both the Arab peoples and Nomadic Bedouin during the time of the Roman Empire. It does not refer to horses per se, but the description certainly fits mounted Bedouin: “At this time also the Saracens, a race whom it is never desirable to have either for friends or enemies, ranging up and down the country, if ever they found anything, plundered it in a moment, like rapacious hawks who, if from on high they behold any prey, carry it off with a rapid swoop, or, if they fail in their attempt, do not tarry.”

    And regarding the Ark of Noah . . .

    Based on the evidence of early Egyptian, Hittite, Canaanite, and other art I would agree with Jackson without hesitation about the ‘prototype’ being truly ancient and certainly existing during at least part of the Old Testament era. When I read in the Old Testament about King David and King Solomon and horses and chariots, I can’t imagine these horses being anything other than’proto-Arabs’, but of course I’m prejudiced, living right beside Megiddo, which King Thutmose III captured with horses and chariots in what is the earliest recorded battle in the history of mankind. These horses, according to the inscriptions at Karnak in Egypt,look suspiciously Arabian. And that was back in the 15th Century BC, long before the time when King Solomon ‘brought horses and chariots out of Egypt’.

    Back to the time of Noah? Well its a stretch, but not an unreasonable stretch in my mind. . .

  21. If anyone in North America is interested in what Tzviah is talking about, by all means get yourselves to the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington KY to see the “Gift from the Desert” exhibition. It is truly outstanding, with priceless antiquities from the ancient near east, Egypt, Iran, etc.

    (Sorry to hijack your thread again, Matthias — as you can see, these things have a life of their own! Someone will get it back on track.)

  22. I hope to be able to somehow get to the States to see “Gift of the Desert” before its gone. Not much time left, but at least I can buy the book if nothing else.

  23. The book is wonderful, Anita Enander offered me a copy when I saw her in Atlanta, and I read it from cover to cover twice.

  24. Dear Mathias

    You wrote”You as breeder of Non-Egyptian Arabians can learn from the Egyptian breed” maybe this was adressed to Bruce,as for myself I’am a Lebanese Christian Arab who breed “Syrian Desert Horses” near Damascus ,all my stock is a Bedouin stock and I can give any “Egyptian breeder” as many lessons a he wants.One of my horses was twice Syrian National reseve Champion and his now in France as a breeding stallion and endurance racer.

    As for “Shimali horses” this what Major General Tweedie H.B.M ‘s consul-general in Baghdad in his book “The Arabian horse his country and people” 1894,wrote
    “The Bedouin Arabs of Najd ,when they overflowed into Shamiya and al Jazira ,neither expelled nor subjugated the peoples whom they found there.The spaces were ample,and the new-comers took only what they wanted.Their boast is that have preserved from “Shimali” admixture the strains of horses which they brought with them;but this account exceeds the bounds of credibility.In these northern pastures,the best Najdi blood is that which is the most frequently revivified by fresh supplies from Najd.
    The granges and hamlets on the Euphrates produce innumerable horses which it be an abuse of language to call Arbians.
    Where the Bilikh fertilises north-western Al jazira,the Baraziya,drive the plough and raise cattle.These are not Al Ghazu folk,and their mares are mostly Shimali.they are ,however,skilfull horse breeders ,and they have access to the stallions of the Bedouin.They specially aim at breeding large horses”

    As for the Shimali definition:Shimali means northern .Here it denotes the horse stock which existed on teh Euphrates before the coming aothe Anezeh and the Shammar.the term”Baridatu’l jauf lit.”Cold-hearted” is given by the Bedouin to the produce of Shimali mares by Hudud i.e. pure bred stallions.
    Page 272 of Tweedies book.

    how many European “experts” were fooled by these horses?

  25. “what” I was saying in the second part, is that it does really matter when or how this horse began, what matters is that it began. Like any first breath, beginning is
    when the soul becomes in this time or prior. The horse
    was and is the feast of life, the discovery is that celebration. And who invited, but yet the Bedouin, they who shared their own vision, and now we who live with that vision. Yes, safe guard this history and more, live
    these moments set aside for being.

    Perhaps DNA will provide answers asked, yet, who is truly to say except who? Is this you?

    In jest it is not even the horse! What is thought is that we often hold truth to the test. And what power have I or you?

    Do we run away, no, we just question the question, excepting whose truth. Yours or the legends, stories, of the Bedouin. I will listen to what is within truth, we celebrate what, we celebrate the Bedouin and their horses.

    So who do we listen too? Theirs are only one story,
    the story of the Bedouin Arabian Horse, and the Bedouins
    of time. History is now, we are that living history.
    Realizing what, realizing it is our turn to pass on what others prior lived. Edouard has a torch, may it burn bright allowing all to see, not just what he see’s; but what is within this dance. The dance of time, what do I see, I see a soul dancing awaiting I and you, saying, I
    am alive. Be there for me as I for you, let me remain as I am just as I accept you as you are.

    The questions of time, who can be trusted, it was the Bedouin and the Bedouin only. Yes, raising hands to God saying, this is so.

    Jackson Bedouin Arabians Taos

  26. “We celebrate the Bedouin and their horses.”

    A very good summary of the whole thing!

  27. I don’t understand how you can have a debate about how old a breed is or which breed is oldest without anyone having defined what they mean by a “breed.” As my 10th grade history teacher used to insist, “Define your terms!” Unless maybe I missed the definition somewhere, and if so, I apologize.

    Dear Ann Bowling used to say to me that a breed is defined by a stud book. Using that definition, because the English Thoroughbred had the first published stud book, it is the oldest breed of horse. Something tells me, however, that the folks in the discussion here are using a different definition of breed. From what you’ve written, I cannot tell exactly what any of you mean when you use the word “breed.”

  28. Interesting take RJ. What I have been arguing for some time now is that the Bedouin strain system of rasan/marbat was an “oral studbook” of sorts for the 300 year period period elapsing from 1750 until the 1950s.

  29. Me thinks, the Bedouin were far more then the western world as to records, outsiders wanted more then what was lived. Assurances of trust that could be proclaimed truth. Here in this world of stud books and many differing horse breeds, we cannot keep anything correct.

    The Bedouin claimed only two things, that their horses were asil or that they were not. Stating to God that this was a truth for those horses leaving to the outside.
    They left with the seals of the Bedouins. This was the stud book of their time. Today we have a Registry, that
    disallows a lot of the truths that are the core of Arabia
    and the Bedouin Arabian Horse. So now we have Al Khamsa
    trying to hold true to the values of the Bedouin
    and the horses they bred.
    They, the Bedouin, were not a registry
    creating a breed, they were a way of living a life that brought value to being gifted within.

    A breed? Studbooks? Why?

    Being apart of and remaining alive was their
    reason, and reason enough.
    It was the outside wanting, and the outside that brought change. Yes, we require written comfromation, blood typing, DNA, papers, and payments.
    The pride of the desert, yes, was the Bedouin Arabian Horse. The Bedouin took great pride in their being and especially the life they call home.
    Their horse is a breed apart. A studbook can never replace what was a truth known to all. Not even Al Khamsa
    Books. The breed registry, is endless flaws, why, because the studbooks record, the Bedouin lived and was his own record reflecting his own truth. The best any stud book today can provide is a Bedouins truth. And this is recorded by a Non-Bedouin. As so we find ourselves back to where Edouard wonders out loud. Where are all the papers, we have the horses, yes: but some of the papers are where? Can a non Bedouin be trusted?

    Jackson – Bedouin Arabians – Taos

  30. hello,
    for me the term breed defines a closed (more or less) poulation within a species. A breed does not neccesarily need a stud book, but this is the way we define our breeds in the western world today. Before the time of using stud books a breed could and was defined by the following parameters:
    place of origin (country, region)
    group of breeders
    purpose
    phenotype
    Not only Arabian horses but all other breeds existing before the beginning of stud book records apply to those 4 categories.
    Today for (nearly) every breed a standard is fixed by those who keep the stud books. If a stud book is introduced, someone has to decide which horse is registered and which one not. Sometimes a horse is registered in a sublist and her (because that applies mostly to mares) offspring by registered stallions are registered under certain rules, or a horse of a different breed is accepted for reason of breeding progress.
    The Arabian breed has also been put in studbooks that
    follow the same principles as all studbooks of different breeds do, except for the fact that Arabians are considered a pure breed, so no foreign blood is allowed.
    Arabian horses have not been listed in a written studbook by the beduins but still for centuries are considered a breed that is pure, by the bedouins themselve and by non-bedouins, be they from the orient or occident.
    The definition of the Asil Arabian breed has been discussed on this blog some time ago and it was pointed out that we deal with a socio-cultural definition. Horse and bedouin belong to one unit. Within this unit we have no problem regarding the definition of the breed, i.e. the definition of asil, i.e. the credibility of the oral tradition of belonging to the breed of Arabian horses. The definition is clear and sufficent within the socio-cultural environment. But the moment it leaves this unit it becomes questionable. Here the written records must step in. The problem is, it did not or only after some time in many cases of horses that are considered asil. Here our questions must begin and we have to decide – can we believe in the asil origin or not. The question of credibility is vital and here it comes to personal opinions.

    Regarding the history of the breed we also have to look at the oral tradition of the bedouins and compare it with written records from outside. The latter has been done by Patrick, Tzwia and others in this discussion.
    If we go back in history we come to a point where the sociocultural unit of Bedouin and his horse is broken. Is the Arabian breed older than this unit?
    For me, Yes it is older, but this is a personal opinion based more on feelings than facts. The term Pre-Arab is used by many, also by me, but for me it is still the same kind of horse, the horse of King Salomon, the horse of the Pharaons, or even the horse in the time of Noah. Mostly I draw my inspiration for this believe from the unique character of the Arabian horses in general.

  31. ” If we go back in history we come to a point where the sociocultural unit of Bedouin and his horse is broken. Is the Arabian breed older than this unit?” Excellent point Matthias,I would suspect that at that point the anscestors of todays Rasan and Marbat Asils were indeed only and wholly the proto- hotblood which they are descended from.
    And as we know Asils by Rasan and Marbat are thee only breed which does only descend from the proto hotblood. All others have to some extent or other been outcrossed to a greater or lesser degree. Thus if you follow the logic Asils are the only breed that can claim to completely be from one of the 4 types of horses that preceeded domestication.
    Best
    Bruce Peek

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