Magnificent Aleppo

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on November 24th, 2017 in General

I have visited many great cities around the world, and nothing comes close to Aleppo before the Syrian civil war. Fes, in Morocco is a distant second. Photo from the Aleppo Photographic Museum

The French Archives Project : Projet sur les Archives Francaises

By Amelie Blackwell

Posted on November 21st, 2017 in General

After several centuries of existence, the last French National Studs were sadly disbanded last year. However, bad things can sometimes lead to lucky opportunities. Many of the regional stallion stations and National Studs have kept listing of stallions at stud, details of imports, reports of missions to purchase foundation oriental horses, and those are now available for public review at the National Archives. I hope in the coming months to provide more information about them, recover our forgotten heritage and give more insight about some of the most important European foundation horses.

Malheureusement, après plusieurs siècles d’existance, les derniers vestiges des Haras Nationaux français ont été dissous l’année dernière. Néanmoins, un événement aussi triste peu aussi parfois amener son lot de surprises. De nombreuses stations locales et certaines de nos grandes écuries nationales ont maintenu pendant toutes ces années des listing détaillés des étalons à la monte, de nombreux détails sur nos importations, les rapports sur les achats en Orient etc. Ceux-ci ont été regroupés et sont désormais accessible via les Archives Nationales. J’espère dans les prochains mois pouvoir vous donner de nouvelles informations à ce sujet, renouer avec notre héritage oublié et récupérer de nombreuses données sur certains de ces chevaux, fondateurs importants de nos lignées Européennes.

Violence in Bedouin Society

By Matthias Oster

Posted on November 14th, 2017 in General

The following excerpt from the book BEDOUIN HERITAGE – THE WORLD OF THE ARABIAN HORSE deals with a question of importance: violence in Bedouin society. The horse made an important contribution to Bedouin warfare and raiding and has thus increased violence. click here

 Wadi Rum, Jordan

The Power of Poetry

By Matthias Oster

Posted on November 9th, 2017 in General

Arabic Poetry, the only art of the desert, reflects the close relationship between man and his horse. In the book BEDOUIN HERITAGE – THE WORLD OF THE ARABIAN HORSE this is discussed at length. Here is an excerpt: Powerofpoetry

To order this book, please go to!

Price 63,50 € (includes shipment worldwide), payment via PAYPAL.

 The power of Bahrain: Hamdaany Zaizoom (Saqlaawy Saba´an X Hamdanieh Khaznah) 2004

Teddy Roosevelt letter about Homer Davenport

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on November 4th, 2017 in General

Jeanne Craver just shared this short note signed on a White House card by US President Theodore Roosevelt to the US ambassador to Turkey. The note reads:

June 13 1906.

Dear Mr. Leisheman

Mr. Davenport is an awfully good fellow in every way. I hope that you can make a special effort to help him in his arab horse scheme; and any courtesy you can show him I shall accept as personal.

Sincerely yours T. Roosevelt.

Photos of Aleppo at the turn of the 20th century

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on October 30th, 2017 in General

Wonderful photos of a time long gone.


Two more articles on WAHO 2017 in Bahrain

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on October 13th, 2017 in Arabia, Bahrain

Monica Savier has two articles on the Bahrain WAHO conference, one is Desert Heritage, and the other in Tutto Arabi.



Nice report on WAHO 2017 in Bahrain

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on October 13th, 2017 in Arabia, Bahrain

Sharon Meyers has a comprehensive and nicely illustrated report in the Australian Arabian Horse Society New in two parts (Part 1 and Part 2) on the WAHO conference in Bahrain.

Lots of great photos of Bahraini horses.


Online Al Khamsa Roster being updated

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on October 4th, 2017 in General

Al Khamsa is updating its online roster to include  registrations from 2012 and 2013, and I was very happy to see two of my own breeding feature online: both Mayassa Al Arab and Jamr Al Arab now have their own pedigree page, and it’s very rewarding to see their old American pedigrees on an Al Khamsa page.

Zayd al-Mutayri on buying horses from the Bedouin

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 27th, 2017 in General

From Rehan Ud Din Baber on Facebook:

“Here is a story about how “Azrek” was acquired by “Zeyd” — the Bedouin horse master of Lord Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (Zeyd was from the Muteyr tribe in Nejd). Zeyd says:

“I will tell you how I bought the Seglawi [this was the stallion ‘Azrek’]. I did not, of course, tell them the truth, that I was the servant of the Bey (Lord Blunt). There is no shame in this. It is policy (siasa). I am a master of policy. I made a deceit. I said to them that I was of the Agheylat, looking for horses for India, horses from the north and tall ones, for those are the horses that bring most price in India. What did I want with the pure bred? I wanted to make money. And so I went to the Sebaa. I alighted at Ibn ed Derri’s tent, as it were by accident. But I made a mistake. It was not the tent of Mishlab Ibn ed Derri, but of his brother Fulan (the name Fulan is used as we say So-and-So). There are four brothers. Fulan and Fulan and Fulan and Mishlab. Mishlab was the owner of the Seglawi. I stayed there for three days, without speaking of the Seglawi. The horse was at pasture and I did not see him.

On the fourth day came Mishlab to breakfast with his brother, and they killed a lamb — and behold the Seglawi was with him — he did not bring him to sell, but, as the custom is with strangers, that I might see him. He stood tethered outside the tent, but I did not even turn his way. Only lifting up my eyes stealthily, I saw him, and the sight of his forehead and of his eyes gave me joy. For you know the Seglawi’s face is of those which, if a man, a sorrowful man, sees, he needs must rejoice. Only it made my heart beat terribly, and I said to myself, ‘ Zeyd must never more return to the Bey — he must die — if he do not obtain that horse.’

Then, after we had eaten, I arose as one who wishes to go outside for a private purpose; and I walked past the Seglawi with my face to the ground as though I did not see him, and hardly putting one foot before the other, like a thief. And when I returned Mishlab was alone with his son Sakr in the tent, and we talked of the buying of horses. And I told them of my desire of “tall horses for the Indian market. And after a while I said to the father that I had something that I should wish to speak to him of in private — for I knew that his son would not consent to the sale, seeing that it was he who received the money of the Arabs when their mares were served, and I knew, too, that the father was displeased at this.

All that is customary is that those who bring mares should also bring flour for the stallion, and it may be a kiswah (a complimentary robe), but not money. But Sakr had taken money, to his father’s displeasure. So I said to the young man, when we had gone outside, ‘ On Salameh, stay you here on one side, for I have something to speak of with your father. And you may watch us, and, if you see me strike your father, then come to his assistance, but if I do not raise my hand to him, then wait till we have finished, for it is not necessary you should hear.’

And to my friend who was with me, I told him to take his spear, and sent him on another errand to fetch my dromedary. “Then when we were alone, I said to Mishlab: ‘ O Mishlab, it is time I went on my business, for I am engaged in the purchase of horses. But before I go I would see your horse. I cannot buy him, for I am looking only for horses from the North at a low price, but yours, the Seglawi, would I see. For I am of the Muteyr and you are of the Sebaa, and I am a master of fortune (sahib el bukht), and you are a master of fortune, and it would be a shame that I did not name a price or put a value on him, for otherwise, you might think that I did not know his worth.’ And Mishlab said, ‘ So be it.’

And I named £100, as if it were a great price. And when I had named it, I saw that Mishlab put his hand under his kefiyeh to scratch his head and stroke his beard. And at last he spoke: ‘Nay, it would be a sin.’ And I pressed him, for I saw by his manner that he was in doubt, and I could hardly believe in my fortune that there should be a hope of his consenting. And again my heart beat so that you might hear it. And at last I said, as if rising to go, ‘ There shall be another ten added to the hundred.’ And I gave him my hand, and he gave me his hand. And I said, ‘ O Mishlab, listen. The Seglawi is the Seglawi, and the men of the tribe send their mares to you on his account. But he is but flesh and blood, and a shot might destroy him, and then where would be the £110?

‘And he said, ‘If it were not for my son’s ill doing, I would not do it. And I do not want money, for God has blessed me with many camels and I have all I need. But I fear that Sakr will bring disgrace on me, for he takes money for the mares, which thing is forbidden; and I fear lest my good fortune should fail me.’ “And so it was settled in that one talking, and immediately I called for my delul, and having given him the advance money (arbun), I begged him to send his son with me to Aleppo to receive the full price. And I mounted in haste, fearing that the rest would return and would make him change his mind.”

My diaries; being a personal narrative of events, 1888-1914.

~Wilfrid Scawen, Blunt”

The mare Yemama in the veterinary records of Abbas Hilmi

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 22nd, 2017 in General

The Saqlawiyah Jadraniyah mare Yemameh/Yamama was the dam of the Crabbet foundation stallion Mesaoud, and the progenitor of the female line of Saqlawi Jadran that runs through the world famous Mahroussa and her offsprings at Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfiq of Egypt, many of which were exported to the USA and Europe and founded important families there.

Yemameh/Yamama (same spelling in Arabic, different pronunciation  depending on whether it’s pronounced in Egpytian Arabic or Classical Arabic) was  from the breeding of Ali Pasha Sharif and went to the Khedive Abbas Hilmi II in his Qoubbeh/Koubbah stables. Wilfrid Blunt entered the following entry in his diary:

11th Jan. [1896] — Took Anne and Judith to Koubbah to see the Khedive. He received us with great empressement… and showed us his stud. He has got together some nice mares, but nothing quire first class, except two of Ali Pasha Sherif’s, one of which is our horse Mesaoud’s dam, a very splendid mare, with the finest head in the world. He has bred some promising colts and altogether the thing is well done.”

The veterinary records for the Khedivial Stud offer the following additional information on the mare’s production:

2 July 1900: “The colt ibn Yamama is in good health”

July 1900, no day: “The filly bint Yamama has an inflammation in the hock”

23 July 1900: “Bint Yamama under training daily”

What these records show is that the mare Yemameh/Yamama had two offspring in the studs of Abbas Hilmi, one male, no trace in modern pedigrees, and one female, who went on to be the dam of Nasr, Negma and others of global fame at the Manial stud of Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfiq, the Khedive’s brother.

Both the male and the female were respectively referred to as “mohr” (colt) and “mohra” (filly), which in the context of the time, meant horses aged four and under (so still growing) and not bred yet.

Al Khamsa gives 1895 as a date of birth for Bint Yamama, which makes sense. Not sure what the source for that date was, though.


The Abbas Hilmi Archives at Durham University

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 22nd, 2017 in Egypt

Did you know that Mohammed Ali Foundation had deposited the archives of Khedive Abbas Hilmi (II) at the University of Durham? Michael Bowling, who had know this for years, suggested one of us visit at the first occasion, and I had the chance to go there last February, and spend 2.5 hours looking for references about Arabian horses.

One of the more interesting things I found were the veterinary records of all Khedivial Studs (Montazah, Qubbeh, Ras El Tin, Ismailia, etc). These are handwritten, and are available for four years: 1898, 1900, 1904, and 1907. Records of veterinary visits cover horses, donkeys, cows, buffaloes, small cattle, and birds. Horses include Arabian horses, but also horses imported from North Africa, Switzerland, and Austria, among other places.

I copied the sections relevant to Arabian horses, and came back with a wealth of information that, if analyzed in the context of existing information from other sources, can add to our – scant – knowledge about the Stud of Abbas Hilmi. I will be writing about some of these discoveries in subsequent posts. Stay tuned.

Other photo of desert bred stallion Bango imported to Algeria

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 20th, 2017 in Syria

I had never seen this photo of the Ma’naqi Sbayli stallion Bango, bred by the Shammar in 1923, and imported to Algeria by the French government in 1928, from an Egyptian racetrack. The photo was taken from an article on the Algeria stud of Tiaret, which appeared in the magazine Le Sport Universel Illustre N1375 of 1929/07/06.

Although French studs did not favor grey horses at the time, Bango left behind 142 offspring in both Algeria and Tunisia, including the stallions Sumeyr, Beyrouth, Titan, Caleh, and the mares Tosca, Salome, Palmyre, El Balaska, Gafsa, Themis, Diyyena, and others that stamped Northern African studs with their quality.


Libraries of the East

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 20th, 2017 in General

A very exciting development is the digitizing and online publication of eight Middle Eastern library collections, the result of a collaboration with the French National Library. There are so many Arabian horse related treasures in the French National Library, and I can’t help think how many more lie in the Middle Eastern ones.

Mahboub Halab in 2017

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 7th, 2017 in Syria

Better resolution photos from the Shuwayman Sabbah stallion Mahboub Halab in France this summer.

Mahboub Halab, Syrian import to France, in 2017

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 7th, 2017 in Syria

I spent some time with my friend Jean-Claude Rajot and his companion Fabienne Vesco and her daughter Severine this past summer. His imported Syrian stallion Mahboub Halab is looking glorious. I have other better photos too.

Telmese, b. 1903, “Asil from the Chammar”

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 5th, 2017 in Syria

A photo of the desert bred stallion Telmèse, born in 1903, imported to France by  Quinchez in 1912 has surfaced on His name is spelled “Telmez” there.

There is no strain recorded for Telmese, only that he was an “Asil de la tribu des Chammars”. This marks one of the first usages of the term “Asil” for an Arabian horse in French official records.

His most important progeny includes the stallion Djebel Moussa, sent to Tunisia, out of Dragonne, and the mare Medje, out of Dragonne’s daughter Dourka.

Dahman, b. 1900, from the Shammar

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 5th, 2017 in Syria

The desert-bred Arabian stallion Dahman, born in 1900, imported from Syria to France’s Pompadour stud in 1909 by Quinchez, remains one of the prototypes of the authentic Arabian stallion. He was bred by the Shammar, by a stallion of the Dahman strain, out of a mare of the Rabdan strain.

This photo is in a 1923 article from the magazine “Le Sport Universel Illustre”, from the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.




The Emmon issue

By Amelie Blackwell

Posted on August 31st, 2017 in General

Among the foundation stock of Old French Bloodlines, I would like to discuss one specific horse : the stallion Emmon born in 1819. Some have considered his blood as “Asil” for decades. But, does he really fit the “Asil” definition?
What do we actually know about this horse? Honestly not much. The first french studbook describe him as : “a grey 1819 Arabian stallion, bought in England by Strubberg Senior and de Bony”. He stood at Pompadour from 1825 to 1836 and died in January 1837.
Can we trace him to “Bedouin breeding of the Arabian peninsula”? No. No data from his breeding source is given in the French Studbook, nor inside the Journal des Haras.

Indeed, he is sometimes listed as an Arabian horse…but also, he is sometimes not. Although, one must confess that French authorities did their best to try to classify their “oriental imports” (from Persians to Barbs), having him or any other horse listed as “Arabian” is not enough to prove he was “Asil”. We shall agree that the knowledge of “oriental breeds” was lacking depth at that time. The difference between Thoroughbred horses bred in England and orientals imports was also suffering great troubles. They were, in most occidental countries, listed together in the same Studbooks. In France, until 1891, every horse either sired by an oriental or Thoroughbred stallion and foaled out of an oriental dam-line was listed under the “oriental section”. Ephrem Houël, the French Stud Officer who compiled exhaustive data of every Thoroughbred and Oriental stallion introduced in France before the 1860’s does even not mention Emmon in his purebred horse listing.
So, I have searched for more information about him in the General Studbook of Weatherbys. No horse is recorded under this name. As some of you shall know the Studbook describe exports. But I could find no purebred Arabian matching the description of Emmon inside the 1810’s to 1830’s issues. The Studbook does feature a good number of “Arabian” horses, some of them famous stallions exported (fore example Buckfoot to Germany).

One would easily argue that not much either is known of  several foundation stock horses already qualified and recognized as “Asil” horses. But, in that case, they are linked to names of Asil horse breeders that we can trust. So what do we know about Strubberg Senior (Charles George Strubberg père)  and Count of Bony (Jospeh de Bony)?

The name Strubberg should ring a bell to any horse enthusiast who ever got interested in European Warmblood breeding in the early 19th century. This family ruled some of the most successful breeding programs from Trakhnen to Le Pin. Strubberg was in charge of the famous Zweibrucker Stud on the French/German border for many years and later head of the Rosière aux Salines Stud in East of France. Without any doubt, this was a family of great horsemen, wise and successful breeders. But they were not purist in anyway. The success of the old Trakhner breed or the old Zweibrucker breed  was the same recipe : breeding Warmblood horses for cavalry purpose and mixing oriental and Thoroughbred bloodlines. Holbein, one of the most successful Thoroughbred stallion in France during the 1820’s and 1830’s, was selected at Lord Exeter‘s in England and imported by Strubberg Senior in 1826 (likely within the same group of imports as Emmon).

About de Bony, he was director of Pompadour for a year. But his most infamous accomplishment was the fire who severely damaged the castle of Pompadour during his charge (while the man was running the country chasing for romance). Fortunately, the Stud’s barns and horses were safe but he got fired from his duty soon after the dramatic event. He was later reintegrated mostly in an honorific form, due to the strong support he received some influential friends. He was curiously praised by many while Lespinats who succeeded him brilliantly, devoting his life to what would become the true major step towards the foundation of Pompadour’s breeding program, was sometime despised.

So what? Do we actually care if such a remote ancestor as Emmon, indeed was an “Asil” stallion? He may well have been. I have followed the track of 9 horses sent from Aleppo to England by the Pacha of Tripoli’s ambassador in 1819 from which the famous stallion Bagdad was part of. Three of them eventually made it to England while six of them were purchased by the French National Studs (likely Noma, Shami, Hadban, Rhadeban and Raz-El-Fedawe). Could one of the two remaining horses be Emmon, or his dam imported in foal? Maybe. But there is no proof I could find to emphasis this hypothesis.

Ultimately, Emmon’s blood is widely represented in worldwide breeding programs through his great-grand childs: Bou-Maza (1847) and Moheleda (Bis – 1850) bred by Baron of Nexon. There is not a single doubt that many “Asil” horses were imported to France since the 1810’s. And many of them were bred to the descendants of Emmon. These horses have proved their value in many ways over the last two centuries…but can we reasonably pretend that they are “Asil”?

Vonolel, a hero of the second British Afghan war

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on August 29th, 2017 in General

 Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts was the commander of the British expeditionary forces — the Kabul Field Force — that fought the second Anglo-Afghan war from 1878 to 1880.

General Roberts led his 10,000 troops, including 2800 British soldiers, on the legendary march from Kabul to Kandahar, where he defeated the forces of Ayub Khan.

The war horse General Roberts rode on the 20 days march from Kabul to Kandahar and on much of the campaign was Vonolel, a desert-bred Arabian stallion (photo below, at the National Army museum). Vonolel ranks high in the pantheon of history’s most famous war steeds

Der Ezzor in 1933

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on August 28th, 2017 in General

The French military airport in the foreground, the Euphrates and its modern bridge in the background. The bridge was built by the French in 1927 and destroyed by ISIS in 2013.

Monsoon, that legend

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 15th, 2017 in General

I will never, ever tire of watching that mythical photo of the Kuhaylan Haifi stallion, Monsoon (Tripoli x Ceres). Thank you Anita Westfall, for taking it. My Thalia (Javera Thadrian x Bint Dharebah by Monsoon) is a Monsoon granddaughter.

So long, Ginger

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 15th, 2017 in General

This week, my beautiful Ginger (DA Ginger Moon) left for Idaho, on lease to Bev Davison. She will be missed, but I could not give her the chance she deserved over the past three years, for lack of a suitable stallion, and competing breeding projects (and programs). Her 2015 miscarriage after a successful breeding to the aged Bahraini Mlolshaan stallion in Michigan still haunts me.

Ginger July 2015

Bev will attempt a breeding to Buckner (photo below), on lease from Rosemary, Terry and Lyman Doyle, and then to one of her handsome Babson-Doyles, if all goes well. Buckner is double Greggan and double Subani, and it does not get better than that!

Image may contain: horse, sky, outdoor and nature

Pericles, Kuhaylan Haifi

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 14th, 2017 in General

This beautiful photo of Pericles appeared on Facebook yesterday, courtesy of PG Gregory.

Image may contain: horse and outdoor

Fifth Lumbar Vertebra in Arabian and Barb horses

By Yassine Jamali

Posted on July 14th, 2017 in General

So much has been said about the five lumbar vertebra of the Arabian horse. Many authors still mention it up till now. But History and science reject this assumption.
This feature was described by Auguste Rochau, then by his pupil André Sanson. Both of them were French veterinarians in the second half of the nineteenth centuryThis is a summarized translation of what Sanson said on the topic :
— The aryan horse, with a straight frontal bone and rectilinear nose bones and six lumbar vertebra is from Asia.
— The mongolic horse, with a convex profile and nose bones and five lumbar vertebra is from Africa.
 Here under is the translated text of Sanson ( extract from Denis Bogros’s book)
[Both brachycephalic, one has a flat frontal bone, rectilinear nose bones and six lumbar vertebra in the spinal column, with seven cervical , eighteen dorsal and five sacral. The other has a convex or rounded frontal bone, slightly curved nose bones, and only five lumbar vertebra, and seven cervical vertebra, eighteen dorsal, and five sacral;  and this one’s lumbar vertebra are not only different from the others by their inferior number, but they differ also by their transverse apophyses’s shape and by their disposition in the series.

The two oriental types seem to have different geographic origins, as they are obviously from different stocks.

The oriental type with six lumbar vertebraes would belong, in the hypothesis, to the Asian continent; while the five lumbar vertebraes type belongs to the African continent, as other types from the same genus yet admitted by naturalists as distinct species, and known for having only five sacral vertebraes, like donkeys and zebraes in general. Two american teachers  William E. Jones et Ralph Bogart, in their book Genetics of the Horse,1971, showed this board, from a 1962 study by R. M. Stetcher :
Thoracic vertebraes  Lumbar vertebraes 
Observed animals Nb 17    18    18 ‘/2 19 5    5 ‘/2  6    7
Common horse 55 4 50 1 0 6 1 48 0
Shetland Pony 7 0 7 0 0 0 0 7 0
Arabian horse 7 4 3 0 0 1 0 6 0
Przewalski 32 0 23 0 9 16 0 16 0
Donkey 11 1 10 0 0 9 0 2 0
Mule 6  2 4 0 0 1 0 5 0
Hemionus  9 0 8 0 1 9 0 0 0
Zebra 49 7 41 0 1  5 0 44 0

Grévy Zebra
14 0 14 0 0 1 0 12 1

End of the extract ]

This board shows clearly that most of the Arabian horses have a normal number of lumbar vertebraes, i.e six, as every breed of horse.
The number of thoracic vertebraes is equal to the number of ribs. In his book published in 1834, Karl Wilhelm Ammon reported an Arabian adage, where the Arabs were praising horses with an additional rib, which means an additional thoracic vertebra. That seems logical because it gives more volume to lungs. Only 9 Przewalski horses out of 32, had 19 ribs instead of 18 like normal horses. Sanson’s allegation still needs to be confirmed for the African horse, the Barb. That should be easy to prove with modern tools as echography and radiography.