Bushra, Kuhaylah Ju’aytiniyah from the Tahawi

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on June 10th, 2017 in Egypt, General

Republishing this beautiful post, which I first published on October 7th 2013 after a visit to my friend Yasser Ghanem Barakat in the Nile Delta. We were chatting today and he confirmed to me the original ‘Amarat provenance of that line (see below). In the 1950s, Shaykh Mahrooth Ibn Haddhal, Shaykh of the ‘Amarat Bedouins, had responded to an inquiry by Shaykh Tahawi Said Mejalli al-Tahawi about the origin of the Tahawi Ju’aythini line with a hujjah that the line belonged to his Ibn Haddal clan.

Yasser tells me he thinks the line came from the Syrian desert to the family of Mejalli al-Tahawi then to Sh. Soliman Eliwa al-Tahawi, but that is to be confirmed. Original post follows.


Last weekend I was Yasser Ghanem’s guest at his countryside farm in Abu Kebir in the Nile Delta area of Egypt, and I took this photo of him and his powerful Kuhaylah Ju’aytiniyah mare Bushra (Malek El Khayl x Bint Bombolla by Najm Tareq). It shows the quality and strength of some of these Tahawi desert bred Arabians. While there, I learned from Yehia Abdel Sattar al-Tahawi that his grand father Abdel Hamid Eliwa got the original Ju’aytiniyah mare from the Mawali Bedouin tribe of Syria through a middleman called al-Skaffi.\

I maintain that the strain goes back to Ju’aitin one of the ancestors of the Ibn Haddal clan of the ‘Amarat ‘Anazah Bedouins but I have no way to prove it so far.


Rabdan Alawsaj at Prince Mohammed Stud, Bahrain

By Matthias Oster

Posted on June 8th, 2017 in Bahrain

Rabdan Alawsaj M291, grey stallion, born 2001, by Jellaby Sultan M49 out of Rabda Salha M125

Jellaby Maroof at Prince Mohammed Stud, Bahrain

By Matthias Oster

Posted on June 8th, 2017 in Bahrain

Jellaby Maroof M309, bay stallion, born 2001, by Jellaby Alyatim M130 out of Jellabieh Rayana M50

Shadows not in foal and bred to Jamr for 2018

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on June 7th, 2017 in General

Third mare not in foal this year, after Thalia CF and RL Zahra Assahra. SS Shadows Aana is at, 17 years old, the youngest of the three, is a built like a tank and is a personal favorite despite her lameness. I long for a colt by her. And a filly. Why is it that the best mares have the hardest time conceiving?

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Guest Blogger Laszlo Kiraly

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on June 6th, 2017 in General

One of Hungary’s veteran Asil Arabian horse breeders, Laszlo really needs no introduction.

Laszlo owns and edits a horse magazine owner and editor Lovas Nemzet, an historian of the breed, and a believer in the universality of Asil bloodlines. Suffice it to say he owns some of the last lines to Babolna’s Siglavy Bagdady VI and 25-Amurath Sahib, and the very last line to Abbas Pasha’s Selma that runs through Musgrave Clark’s Courthouse Stud, and that he has been successfully breeding them to some of the best Egyptian lines in addition to the Davenport bloodline of Delicate Air

Jellaby Faiz at Prince Mohammed Stud, Bahrain

By Matthias Oster

Posted on June 5th, 2017 in Bahrain

Jellaby Faiz M448, grey stallion, born 2007, by Jellaby Mansoor M152 out of Jellabieh Dora M54

Saidan Toofan at Prince Mohammed Stables, Bahrain

By Matthias Oster

Posted on June 3rd, 2017 in Bahrain

Saidan Toofan M346, chestnut stallion, born 2002, by Jellaby Alyatim M130 out of Saida Fajer M72

French translation of classic hippiatry treatise now online

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on June 1st, 2017 in General

“Le Naceri”, Nicolas Perron’s (1798-1876) classic translation into French of the masterpiece of Andalusian author Abu Bakr Ibn Badr Eddine Ibn al-Mundhir al-Baitar, who was master of horses and head veterinarian of Mamluk Sultan Al-Nasir ibn Muhammad ibn Qalawun (1245-1341) is now available in Gallica, the digitalized archives of the French National Library. The publication of Perron’s translation caused quite a sensation in nineteenth European equestrian horse circles, and helped spread the idea that Arabic veterinary science and horsemanship was the most advanced of its time.

The full reference to the book is “Abu Bakr ibn Badr, Le Nâçerî. La perfection des deux arts ou traité complet d’hippologie et d’hippiatrie arabes. Traduit de l’arabe d’Abou Bekr ibn Bedr par M. Perron. Paris, Bouchard-Huzard, 3 vol., 1852, 1859 et 1860.”

The original manuscript titled “kitab kashif al-wayl fi ma’rifat wa ‘ilaj amrad al-khayl” appears to have been written in Cairo for the Mamluk Sultan in 1333 AD, and is available somewhere in Istanbul. A later copy from the XVIIIth turned up at Christies’ a few years ago, and my friends Yahya Eliwa al-Tahawi and Muhammad Saud al-Tahawi have two later copies from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, done by a Syrian copyist.


Zahra not in foal, covered again by Audacious CF for 2018

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 31st, 2017 in General

In another bout of bad luck, Zahra (RL Zahra Assahra, by Portent x Antezzah by Grand Pass) turned out not to be in foal to Latitude HD (Atticus x Lycia CF by Lydian), to which she had been bred to last October. That cross if successful was going to be the 2017 vintage of the Al-Dahdah program. Carrie Slayton, who boards her for me, took this shot of her below, which shows her conformation well. I really like the dark black skin of her muzzle, and I also like the strong back and coupling, which are characteristic of this strain.

Carrie also bred her yesterday and the day before to her beautiful Audacious CF (Telemachus x Audacity), photos of Audacious below. Lets see if she takes, she is 22 so still young by my standards. I am so looking forward to that cross, they are a good match. Photos from Carrie.


By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 28th, 2017 in General

So I went to see the horses today, all were beautiful especially Haykal and Barakah. I was riding Wadha, and had just started galloping, but the saddle strap was loose so the saddle slid to the side and I fell on my back, while my foot remained stuck in one of the stirrups. The whole thing hurts.

Dourrha 1819: from North Arabia to France… and to Germany?

By Amelie Blackwell

Posted on May 26th, 2017 in General

This story starts in Syria in the 1820’s. In those years, many European nations maintained trade and diplomatic representatives, or “consuls” in the Orient, especially in Aleppo, a cosmopolitan city, hosting European, Turkish, Greek, Jewish, Armenian traders. Aleppo was also one of the best places to start looking for the noble Kuhaylat horses bred by the Bedouin tribes of Northern Arabia.

Many of these European consuls hosted horse buying expeditions during the 1820’s, such as those led by Count Rzewuski or by the French de Portes and Damoiseau in 1819-1820. Among these consuls were Van Massec (Van Masseyk) the Dutch consul, de Riguello the Spanish consul and the four Pithioto brothers (or Pitiota but the original spelling was probably Picciotto), the respective consuls of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Piemont-Sardinia, Prussia and Russia. This commercial web extended beyond Aleppo, and these diplomatic traders often dispatched various members of their family to other Mediterranean trading cities such as Trieste, Smyrna or Marseille.

The European consular community and the town of Aleppo were vividly described by Damoiseau, the veterinary of the de Portes French expedition, in his book “Trip to Syria and the Desert”. During part of their expedition, the French traveled with the Polish Count Rzewuski and an Armenian agent of the Austro-Hungarian consul Pithioto/Picciotto, both looking for noble “oriental” horses, and Damoiseau saw two youngsters the Armenian agent had acquired for M. Picciotto: a filly and a colt.

One back to France with a first shipment of horses, Damoiseau seems to have gotten involved in Arabian horse breeding. The above lithography on the front cover of the “Journal des Haras” issue of March 1, 1829 showcases one of his horses: Dourrha, a flea-bitten mare of fairly small size (around 1m45), born in 1819 with the Fedaan Bedouin tribe that nomadized between Bagdad, Aleppo and Palmyra. Her sire was an Abeyyan stallion of Nedjdi origin and her dam a Saklawiya from the Kuhaylat (authentic) horses of the Fedaan.

Dourrha was purchased by the Armenian agent sent by Elyas Picciotto in 1820 in the desert near Palmyra. In 1826, Pithioto sent her to one of his brothers in Marseille with a filly foal and several other horses. Dourrha and her filly were then sold to the General of Livron, who took them to Paris where she was recognized by M. Damoiseau to his greatest surprise as the filly he had seen years before in Syria. Livron kept the filly and sold Dourrha to Damoiseau.

Another daughter of Dourrha, owned by Livron, was sold to the King of Wurtemberg in 1828. The year after, in April 1829, the agent of the King of Wurtember, a certain Kaula went to France to purchase horses. Having seen the exposure the dam of the King’s filly was getting in the Journal des Haras, Kaula managed to purchase Dourrha from Damoiseau for the King’s stud.

When I read this story, the possibility of a “matching” of the Weil mares Czebessie II and her daughter Safra with Dourrha and her filly occurred to me. As Edouard pointed out to me, Czebessie II was recorded as a black (Schwarz in German) while Dourrha is depicted as a grey (Schimmel). Is it possible that two different mares were imported from France to Weil around the same time, each one a year after her filly? Why is it that the exportation of Czebessie II and her daughter were not mentioned in the Journal des Haras?

At that time, France was importing several hundred horses each year from Germany, but French exports to Germany were few and far between, and were heavily advertised when they occurred. Could the abbreviation of Schimmel  (Sch. in German studbooks) and Schwarz (Schw.) have been mistakenly condused, and led to mistakes about the color in old pedigrees? Does it makes more sense to think that the Pithioto brothers were involved in the importation of a Czebessie II/Dourrha to France instead of the Van Masseyk family? Let me know what you think!

Ibn Ghurab and his son, Rmaylan, Syria, 2005

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 23rd, 2017 in General

How I miss those days. 2005. North Eastern Syria, not far from the border with Iraq. From right to left: Ibn Ghurab’s son, yours truly, Ibn Ghurab, our driver. Ibn Ghurab had the best collection of desert bred Hamdani Simri mares I had ever seen. His family has owned them for some 250 years. From his stud, they spread to the tribes.

Shuwaimaan Mishwaar at Prince Mohammed Stud, Bahrain

By Matthias Oster

Posted on May 21st, 2017 in Bahrain

Shuwaimaan Mishwaar M401, black stallion, born 2006, by Rabdaan Naif M154 out of Shuwaimah Nafaa M97

Aurene CF and the survival of old desert Arabian type

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 20th, 2017 in General

The photos Hannah Logan posted on her Facebook page made my day this morning. Hannah is a new breeder who acquired several horses from Marilyn McHallam’s herd in British Columbia, and they seem to be thriving.

I was particularly pleased to see this nice photo of the 2004 Kuhaylan Haifi Davenport stallion Aurene CF (Triermain CF x Aureole CF by Fair Sir) after all these years; I had seen him at Craver Farms as a two year old in 2006 — I had mentioned the possibility of exporting a Davenport stallion to Syria, and Charles Craver suggested Aurene. Charles thought highly of him. I saw Aurene again at Pamela Klein’s in Southern Virginia in 2010 (I think) and liked him even better. In 2012, Pamela drove Aurene up to Pennsylvania for breeding to one of my older mares, Bint al-Barra. She took, but then absorbed the pregnancy.

Five things amateurs of the old type of Arabian horses would like in this photo of Aurene: first, the long forelocks, a sign of asalah — authenticity, and a favorite feature of the Prophet Muhammad; second, the prominent facial bones between the eyes and the muzzle that make the face look so dry, another sign of asalah; third, the deep jaw bones, visible on the left of the photo; fourth, the protruding eye sockets common to all desert mammals, and visible to the right of the photo; and fifth, the camel-like muzzle, with the nostrils placed higher, making room for a substantial upper lip, and flat nostrils at rest, which make for the triangular tipped muzzle “a la Sherifa” (see below the drawing of Sherifa’s head by Lady Anne Blunt). Nostrils open only when a horse is excited or in action.


Today’s show champion horses — see for example the specimen below — are being bred for inflated nostrils placed very close to the tip of the muzzle, with the result that the upper lip all but disappears under the nostril, and the tip of the muzzle becomes shaped like a square; they are also being bred for bulging, over-sized eyes, while the protuberance of the eye is only a consequence of the bone structure of the socket — veteran Alepine expert Abu Husayn Khattab used to say that one should be able to easily place a chicken egg above the eye socket;  in today’s show horses the dense facial bone structure is gone and the area between the eye and the muzzle has become flat, with only some veins showing; finally, the deep jaw bone is also gone, and the consequence is that heads now have the shape of long rectangles instead of the triangular heads that were traditionally favored by the Arabs.

Related image

The photo of Aurene also reminds me of of al-Aawar, who was the last herdsire of the Shammar Bedouins in Northeastern Syria, and the embodiment of that vanishing old type. I wish you were closer than Alberta, Canada, Aurene, my Thalia would find a suitable mate in you.


Dib 1976 Saqlawi Jadran stallion

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 20th, 2017 in General

My friend Lyman Doyle is showing this “new” photo of Dib (top) on his Facebook page. Dib was the sire of Huntington Doyle, the stallion who revived Doyle breeding, and of my beloved Jadiba (bottom), now in a retirement home. Compare the likeness between sire and daughter, especially in the hindquarter.



Demystifying Marengo, Napoléon Bonaparte’s stallion

By Amelie Blackwell

Posted on May 19th, 2017 in General

Many mysteries surround Marengo the mythical white stallion of Napoleon Bonaparte. Did he really exist or was he just a mirage created by the Emperor’s predilection for the “oriental” horse? Did the British really capture the old stud after the defeat at Waterloo? And why is he not recorded in the French studbooks listings of Napoléon’s horses?

Napoleon’s legend tells us that his favorite white charger was named Marengo after the famous victory in Italy. This means that he was known after a different name before the battle of Marengo, and perhaps that name could be found in the French Studbooks. Interestingly, one of the horses described in the first ever published French Studbook (1838), fits the known description of Marengo perfectly. This stallion is called Seidiman (Sédiman in French).

Seidiman was a light grey horse, born in 1794 or 1793. He was not taken during the battle of Aboukir as the myth says. Several other stallions were indeed…but this is another story for a later time. Rather he was shipped to France from Hungary by a M. de La Barthe (a royalist of this era) and likely confiscated for the benefit of the new Emperor after his coup d’état. For several years indeed he was one of the Emperor’s favorite war horse. Seidiman was without a doubt at the battle of Marengo. We know this because the French archives record that following the victory, Napoléon left his mount to recover and serve as a stallion at “La Vénerie”, better known as the Stupnitz Stud, in Torino.

The Journal des Haras of 1836 relates the visit of Napoleon, returning from his Spanish campaign (in 1808), to the Stud of Pau, a city near the Pyrenees mountains, in the south-west of France. There, the Emperor met an old friend. My translation of the account follows:

“A first horse is presented; he is an Arabian: one called Seidiman…

The Emperor exclaims: “Ah! This is an old brother in arms, my poor Seidiman, here we meet again. How come he is here? I thought he was at the stud of La Vénerie.

The stud’s director answers: He was indeed, Sir. But as I was passing by Torino, I learnt he was not being used, so the Minister allowed me to bring him here, together with the Ptolemée and the Diezzer, both of which are gone to the Tarbes stud. (Note: Diezzer or Diezzard, is also recorded in the French Studbooks as an Arabian stallion sent from Constantinople around 1808 and was indeed standing at Tarbes).

The Emperor replies: But would you use him better here, with his bad shoulders?

To this the impertinent director would reply: Sir, I made sure to check his shoulders were good when he was used by your Majesty; this defect was caused by an accident, thus I do not consider it hereditary…”

As we learn from this extract, the tough little Seidiman was probably injured during the Marengo battle. Left to recover, he survived in Italy, but finally found his way back to France. At Pau, Seidiman was used from 1808 to 1821. In 1821, he was sold away to some M. Dargué. It was a strange French habit to reform old stallions easily during the 19th century and to sell them very cheap, no matter how brave and how much glory they achieved on the battlefield. To this, I guess most Bedouin breeders would have objected strongly! Many horse dealers likely benefited from it…and so far there is no objection to the fact that this M. Dargué took the horse to England or sold it to some Englis men as the lost “Marengo” of Napoléon.

In France, Seidiman’s progeny suffered from a bad reputation, although the horse himself was greatly admired. The Journal de Haras from the 15th of May 1830 gives more details about this: “Who would know that the beautiful Seidiman, one of the best legged horses, one of the best altogether that ever came to France, whose hocks were of the most perfect conformation, would give bad hocks to his progeny? It is only the truth that this part, so beautiful on the sire, was bad on several of his progeny; that some of the stallions bred from him, and some were remarkably beautiful, had to be reformed early on because of capped hocks; that several of his mares having the same problem, they transmitted it to their own progeny, even with stallion that did not exhibit this defect. But what is more significant, is that this conformation defect occurred more often over the grand-progeny of Seidiman, than on the first generation”.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Arab Stallion, “Marengo” Antoine-Jean Gros — Sotheby’s

A couple of years later, his progeny had vanished from the purebred bloodlines bred by the National Studs or the private breeders…But here remains the image of the white horse mounted by a famous general during a famous battle.

A stallion of King Abdallah of Jordan

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 18th, 2017 in General

From Rehan Ud Din’s wonderful page on Facebook comes this photo of King Abdallah I of Jordan, petting his prized stallion, c. 1948. Photo by John Phillips — the LIFE Picture Collection.

I wonder who the horse is. The halter is the way Bedouin halters should be.


Thalia not in foal

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 15th, 2017 in General

This mare is 25, but she is very precious, so I am not giving up.

Part-bred Iraqi stallions in the Lebanese racetrack from 1950s to 1980s

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 13th, 2017 in General

This is work in progress. In face of fading memories and changing narratives, and documented truths that don’t seem to matter anymore, and in keeping with my obsession to safeguard all I can from a previous Middle Eastern order, I have taken it upon me to list and document the part-bred Arabian horses that came to the Lebanese racetrack from Iraq starting from the 1950s and well into the 1980s, and were later used as stallions by the most prominent breeders. Together with the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), they were responsible for the destruction of the asil, purebred Lebanese Arabian horse breeding program, and there were spillover effects into neighboring Syria (mostly Homs and Tell Kalakh, but also Hama and Damascus and into Deyr Ezzor), where part-bred Iraqi stallions were also used.

There were grandsons and great grandsons of the grey English Thoroughbred known as “Tabib” and “al-Suri” in Lebanon and Syria, and sometimes had more than cross.

Iraqi imported stallions to the Beirut racetrack, grandsons of Tabib, 25% Engligh Thoroughbred blood, 1950s and 1960s, later used as stallions:  

  • Hisham, by Walans/Violence by Tabib, one of the earliest and perhaps the most used to all these Iraqi imports; raced by Henri Pharaon
  • Helwan
  • al-Zir, a son of Ala Mahlak, widely used in Akkar (Northern Lebanon) and neighboring Homs in Syria.
  • Fahd al-Shol
  • Mared, used in the Syrian Jazirah and around Deyr Ezzor, sire of Amir Al Zaman who was very widely used

Iraqi imported stallions to the Beirut racetrack, great-grandsons of Tabib, 12.5% English Thoroughbred blood or more, 1970s and 1980s, later used as stallions: 

  • Lark, son of Dixi al-Awal son of Wadi’ Amal son of Tabib
  • Rabdan, said to be Lark’s full brother
  • Burkaan
  • Surra Man Ra’a, son of Saaad Sattar, son of Asad Anwar son Dahman Baghdad son of Tabib
  • Milyar
  • Amal Hayati
  • Shayyal, used sparingly in and around Damascus
  • Black Arrow, used in Damascus

Incomplete list of Amir al-Zaman male progeny used for breeding in Lebanon, out of Lebanese mares:

  • Tayr al-Shol, out of a Ma’naqiyah from ‘Akkar
  • Good Boy
  • Nafees, out of a Dunayssah from ‘Akkar (the Uyun al-Ghizlan marbat)
  • Samer, out of a ‘Ubayyah from ‘Akkar (the al-Bissi marbat)
  • Ossyan
  • Harbaji, used in Rayak (Lebanon)


Obeyaan Smaier at Prince Mohammed Stud, Bahrain

By Matthias Oster

Posted on May 13th, 2017 in Bahrain

Obeyaan Smaier M439, grey stallion, born 2007, by Dhahmaan Faraj M157 out of Obeyah Samira M262

Dhahmaan Hoobeishi at Royal Stables, Bahrain

By Matthias Oster

Posted on May 12th, 2017 in Bahrain

Dhahmaan Hoobeishi 1085, dark bay stallion, born 1998, by Kuheilaan Umm Zorayr Al Dheleem 407 out of Dhahma Umm Wajnah 821

Dhahmaan Hoobeishi in Bahrain

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 11th, 2017 in General

Probably the most impressive and the best stallion at the Bahraini Royal stud. What a pity he is the last of his line. Photo credit Sharon Meyers. Click to enlarge.

Bahraini Obayyan stallion in Germany

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 11th, 2017 in Bahrain

Obeyaan Mirage the Bahraini Ubayyan stallion which the Royal stables of Bahrain have gifted to Warren and Regina Staas arrived today at their farm. He is very handsome, and comes from old lines.

This is the fourth Bahraini stallion to come to Europe in the last five years, after the Kuhaylan Ibn Aafess stallion “Kuheilaan Afass Maidaan” that was gifted to the Government of Poland, and the Mulawilishan stallions “Mlolshaan Mahrous” and the Tuwayssan stallion “Tuwaisaan Tha’atha’a” that were presented to HM the Queen of England.

Obeyaan Azheer at Prince Mohammed Stud, Bahrain

By Matthias Oster

Posted on May 10th, 2017 in Bahrain

Obeyaan Azheer M361, grey stallion, born 2003 by Dahmaan Shaban M84 out of Obeyah Al Gabra M153

Horse eaters

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 9th, 2017 in General

I now have a reliable account of the story of warriors eating horses in Iraq and Syria.

When I first heard the story, it was about American soldiers buying and eating Arabian horses, but it did not make much sense, given food habits in this country and restrictions imposed on US soldiers.

Lately, someone told me that it was actually ISIS fighters from Kazakhstan, a country where people eat horse meat regularly, who were seeking Arabian horses, and white ones in particular, to eat them. Several Kazakh squadrons appear to operate within ISIS ranks.