By Edouard Aldahdah
Several recent blog entries have mentioned the Arabian mare Bucolique (Besbes x Berthe by Irmak). Bucolique is arguably one of the few remaining Asil mares of French bloodlines still in breedable age. She was born in 1982, so that window of opportunity is closing fast.
Bucolique is not quite representative of “Old French” bloodlines: both her sire Besbes and her maternal grandsire Irmak (a gorgeous horse of the most classic type, pictured below) were born in Tunisia (at Sidi Thabet and Sidi Bou Hadid, respectively), and her maternal granddam Bassala was born in Algeria (at Tiaret). All three were subsequently imported to the French goverment stud of Pompadour, where they conspired to produce Bucolique and her full sister Best, pictured below. Best’s picture was sent to me by her owner Rose Cambon.
Best, born in 1981, was still alive in 2006, but had stopped breeding. She is pensioned at Jean Cambon’s stud in South-Western France, after having produced a string of race winners in France and the United Arab Emirates, none of them by Asil stallions (I am being polite here: saying that some of these stallions are non-Asil is a euphemism). At the time, Ms. Cambon was open to the idea of trying to breed here again, this time to an Asil stallion.
Both mares trace to the root mare Wadha, a Jilfat Dhawi bought by the French from the Fadaan Bedouin tribe and imported to Algeria in 1875.