Pseudo-Arabians

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on November 4th, 2010 in General

From now on, I will use the term “Pseudo-Arabian” to refer to horses that are registered as Arabians in a WAHO-approved studbook, but are in reality part-bred Arabians with varying amounts of non-Arabian blood running in their veins. They are part-breds in disguise.

The Qatari horse Amer (by Wafi x Bushra on paper), the Saudi horse Tiwaiq (by Unknown 1 x Unkown 2 out of Unknown 3, photo below) and a majority of horses of French racing bloodlines such as Djourman (Manguier x Djouranta by Saint Laurent, photo below) fall under this category. They and their offspring are among the most expensive and sought after “Arabian” horses today. Their presence in WAHO-registered studbooks represents a scandal unlike any other in the world of equine breeding, in no small part because they belong to rich and powerful people who can get away with this behavior.

15 Responses to “Pseudo-Arabians”

  1. As the devoted owner (if you can ‘own’ an Arab!) of three beloved ‘pseudo Arabs’ (ie all have lines to Skowronek, though were you, without seeing their pedigrees, to examine them from head to tail, study their mt DNA (tail female lines Bint Helwa and Rodania), or ride them a thousand miles you would never doubt their purity), I can only agree with you Edouard, we cannot undo the liberties of Lady Wentworth for example, without rejecting an enormous wellspring of Arab blood, (I appreciate that you DO reject this blood), but that impure blood has been blatently allowed to pollute Arab blood in the full knowledge of WAHO in modern times is scandalous.
    We have had several ‘purebred’ French racing mares in for frozen semen(Dahess, Concorde) over the last few years,good mares, one in particular is a very fine mare indeed and also very likeable as a person. She of course, looks like the Anglo that she is, I said as much to her owner who smiled and said yes Lisa but there’s no way that you can win with a purebred in Arab racing these days (!!!!).

  2. Lisa, your Skowronek horses do not fit in the pseudo-arabian denomination! The amount of non-Arabian blood in them is negligible, in the 1/100th of a percent.

    Pseudo-Arabians have as much as 30% non-Arabian blood in them.. cf. Flipper.

  3. Is this what the Saudi Royal Family is breeding nowadays? Do they intend it as self betraying mockery of the body of the work they accomplished in breeding horses like Edie Booths authentic desert descended stock?
    Just judging from phenotype I would think the two pictured partbreds would have a lot less than 70% arab blood. More like a a fourth or so.
    What should be done would be to require that any registered breeding animal submit genetic samples which should be examined to find evidence of Thoroughbred, or Warmblood genetic markers. And their subsequent foals should also be required to submit such samples. If outblood is found then the horses should be publicly stricken from the stud books.
    We have the means to fix this deception. And if the breed registries concerned won’t fix it they don’t deserve to exist.
    Best
    Bruce Peek

  4. Not all Saudi royals breed or own horses like Tiwaiq fortunately. Only a tiny minority does so. Thank God there are some Saudi Royals who are really attached to the preservation of Saudi asils.

  5. It is unfortunate that France, etc. did not instead choose to create another Arabian-based breed, like the Russian Tersky or Hungarian Shagya, specifically for racing.

  6. Jenny, Arabian-only races were halted for many years in France after WWII. Arabians were running against Anglo-Arabs in the races, and were losing, obviously. Some Arabian horse breeders turned to breed Anglo-Arabs, many of them continued to breed both, and some of them bred Anglo-Arabs disguised as Arabs. That trend expanded after Arabian-only races were reinstated. It was very easy to cheat, sanctions were not enforced, and there were no incentives to produce Shagya-like horses.

    What is disastrous is that these French pseudo-Arabs are now imported en masse to Arab countries like Tunisia, Syria and Iraq, where they are destroying indigenous asil Arabian horse breeding. Tunisian asil breeding is collapsing as a result.

  7. For years I tried in vain to stop the French stallions invasion of Syria.
    I hope that I came this year to a result.
    In Syria until today all the WAHO registered Arabians runs in the same race (Sons of Syrian Asil stallions together with sons of imported French stallions) obviously the pure Syrians are no match to the others.
    This year I succeed in convincing the very wealthy breeders with a lot of connections, to sponsor pure Syrian races ,the Syrian telecom company offered to sponsor races.
    I hope in doing this to contribute in saving the Syrian Asil horse.
    I was horrified in knowing that this year(2010) more than 200 Asil mares were covered by doubtful French stallions.
    I hope that, in heavily sponsoring pure Syrian races ,the Syrian big companies will incentivate the breeders in covering next year their mares by Syrian stallions instead of French.
    One example :Last year (2009) our racing stallion Al Bark covered 35 outside mares ,for free,as we consider a shame to take money to cover a mare.
    This year 2010: only 4 outside mares.
    The funny side of the story is that it took a Lebanese (your humble servant)to raise the flag to save the Syrian horse …in Syria

  8. This is encouraging news.. you know, so many Syrians like Basil and Saleh Srouji and the Aleppo breeders are committed to the Syrian horses, which they view as part of their national heritage..

  9. Edouard: Is it possible to find out who the Ruling family members are who are breeding Asils and being true to their heritage. They deserve to be honored in the best sense of the term. Perhaps Pureman could let us know which breeding programs are worthy of trust. To me the pictures of these angloarabs you have posted look like so many anglo arabs- better more tightly coupled bodies than lots of thoroughbreds, but bodies that are way to large for their leg bones. How long would such horses stay sound? Consistently breeding athletic racehorses that have stamina and can,”stay,” and then also run a cross country course, do a dressage test,and jump clear in the stadium has got be among the most difficult things to do.
    Best wishes
    Bruce Peek

  10. I know they wish to remain private..

  11. Just need to step in here quickly and head off the notion of DNA testing for breed purity. We heard a good bit about this 20 years or so ago, but it did not stand up as a model for good reasons.

    First, even when there are marker differences between populations, they are differences in relative frequency, not absolutes: even at the species level, there will not be a marker that’s present in all Equus Przewalskii and not present in any Equus caballus. With breeds the situation is even less clear cut, which only makes sense given the way breeds have interacted historically. It’s not possible to tell, just looking at the test results, whether a rare marker came from a distant legitimate common ancestor, or from recent introgression.

    More importantly, even if there were such a marker, think about it: it would have only a 50% chance of being transmitted at each generation. Compare it to a coat color gene; the transmission works the same way. Clearly, not all the offspring of any parent come out with its same array of coat color genes, never mind all the grandget and more distant descendants.

  12. Great work, Joe A – keep it up!

  13. Generally there is few breeders who does not to sell in order to survive ,the breeders you mentionned, Edouard, are of them.
    the majority of the small breeders need to sell in order to survive,that’s why they are using French stallions :
    they can sell the product,while a pure syrian is very difficult to sell ,even for a very low price.
    Unfortunately ,The Syrian Arab Association,even under Basil presidency did not realise the danger in opening their races to French/Syrian horses.
    This is the result:more than 200 asil mares covered by French stallions
    here I wish to use the same French proverb that used to the French breeders association, when I send them an email about the Amer and Tuwaik products winning over the French horses:

    “Qui seme le vent recolte la tempete”
    or”who plant the wind, harvest the tempest”

  14. great blog – had not seen it before…my letter of October 2013 to France Galop; remains unanswered:
    Dear France Galop:

    As the association which offers some of the most prestigious and richest events of “purebred Arabian” racing I am writing to you with my issues.

    I have previously written to the governing body IFAHR , which was then forwarded to the world authority for registration acceptance – WAHO. The result was that neither organization seeks to ensure fairness in the ‘Sport”.

    I am not a participant in these races , however I have formerly bred Thoroughbreds. Our Arabian horses are family horses which are indeed “purebred” Arabians as far back as they can be reasonably traced. They are fast, with extreme stamina, but not as speedy as the Thoroughbreds.

    However in races Internationally, the restriction for “purebred Arabian” horses seems to me to be a major faux pas. The horses that are now dominating in Arabian racing often have very limited pedigree. My recent example would be the winner of your Prix Dragon , yesterday at Longchamp – a horse by the stallion Amer – who has NO pedigree.

    The speculation among Arabian breeders and owners – including a great many of those disgruntled at the status quo of Arabian racing participants , strongly feel that these horses are often NOT “purebred” running in the “purebred Arabian” races.

    As you know, in the rules for Thoroughbred racing, regulations, supervision, drug testing, etc, are there to ensure a “level playing field “ , or “Fairness” for ALL participants. While we know and understand that the use of performance enhancing drugs does indeed occur, your testing laboratories DO try to ensure that all obey the rules and do not, at least, use the illegal drugs that are currently detectable . We cannot answer for the use of illegal drugs for which there is no test yet developed.

    Arabians are racing at ‘Thoroughbred distances” of usually under two miles. Thoroughbred times and ability far exceed that of an Arabian. While in Endurance, NO horse can beat an Arabian, at distances under 5 miles we can normally accept that Thoroughbreds are supreme ( of course the Thoroughbred blood in the Selle Francais has allowed them to often beat the Thoroughbred in steeplechase – congratulations!) ……….. My point here is that – example at 2000 metres… or one mile and one quarter in the USA – Arabian times are appx 20 seconds slower than the Thoroughbred. This is appx 100 lengths in superiority at that distance. NO performance enhancing drug in the world can improve a horse to that extent. HOWEVER , the crossing of an Arabian with a Thoroughbred, can come MUCH closer to improving the 10 furlong chances of an Arabian.

    Therefore while you will drug test the winner of the Prix Dragon for ensuring no “cheating” has happened with this runner, you will NOT have tested for something FAR superior to performance enhancing drugs – the PEDIGREE.

    In the supreme racing equine ( under 5 miles ) the Thoroughbred needs no pedigree testing to ensure “purity”. That concept was thrown out long ago as the American and French , and other nationalities “half breds” – outcasts of the “Jersey Act” , have been accepted as Thoroughbreds since the middle of the 1900s.

    However in a breed such as the Arabian, ( or a Shetland Pony) , Thoroughbred blood will certainly improve the speed SIGNIFICANTLY. Therefore, to ensure the level playing field in the sport of “purebred Arabian” racing, one MUST ensure that the participants are, indeed, PUREbred.

    Societies and interest groups abound within the Arabian breed, protecting their Al Khamsa Arabians, or Straight Egyptian Arabians , or their Russian Arabians, etc etc, and their respective “purity”. Suffice to say in their LONG history “purity” is in the eyes of the beholder. However, under reasonable circumstances , Arabian studs were reformed and resurrected after the Second World War. For reasonable records, Arabians can ALL at least trace to the animals that were recognized ca 1950 in International stud books.

    When we arrive at 1984, after Arabian pedigrees have been well established internationally , we find that a horse of unknown pedigree is foaled in Saudi Arabia – named Amer. There are others, but I use this sire of the Prix Dragon winner as a recent example. Amer ‘s sire and dam have no other offspring that I am aware of. No photos exist of these horses. However, by some ”magic”, this horse becomes the world’s greatest producing stallion on the racecourse. A veritable Northern Dancer of the Arabian racing world ? Can this happen ? I SERIOUSLY doubt this. You, as well informed and well read gentlemen and ladies of the Turf. KNOW that such producing horses WILL have relatives of esteem SOMEWHERE.

    mtDNA has proven Arabian dam lines back to foundation mares in the early 1800s. While sire lines can NOT be proven with this technology at this time – the dam lines CAN be proven. The Polish foundation lines, of the 1800s, have been ascertained to be correct to an astounding degree. A horse like Amer, still alive in 2013 as far as I know , has no such proof, nor does anyone enforce the testing to silence critics like myself. Speculation that this sire, and some others, are NOT truly Arabians abounds in the sport of Arabian racing. The fact is, in this decade, no “purebred” Arabian has a chance of success running against these UNPROVEN horses.

    Is this a FAIR contest ? Is it acceptable that the societies charged with regulating their sport turn a blind eye to something that is far more performance enhancing than any
    drug ?

    As IFAHR and WAHO will not investigate to the full extent of modern scientific technology available., I request that the highly regarded and respected authorities of France Galop ensure that their promotion of “purebred” fixtures are truly fair contests for all breeders and owners of the ARABIAN horse.

  15. I don’t understand how knowing Amer’s mtDNA haplotype would prove anything one way or the other about his “purebred” status. If his mtDNA haplotype matches a known Arabian mare line, then this would suggest that at least some distant tail-female ancestor was an Arabian mare. It would say nothing about the rest of his pedigree. If Amer’s mtDNA haplotype did not match any known Arabian mare lines, then there would be no way to tell whether his distant tail-female line traced to a rare Arabian mtDNA haplotype or to a non-Arabian mare.

    As for other DNA testing to establish breed purity, see Michael Bowling’s Nov. 5, 2010 comment above.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>