The Arabian. Never mistaken for another breed, yet is the root from which
all light breeds sprang. It captures the soul as no other can, and is favored
by artist, photographers, historians and poets over all others. What is
the magnetism this breed holds? An early student of the Arabian
will find a maze of puzzling terms and subtle type differences. What
do they all mean? Constant reference to the Egyptian Arabian horse
may make one wonder if it is a separate breed. What is a Straight Egyptian
Arabian horse? What does the term Egyptian Related mean? Is there more
than one kind of Arabian?
Terms like Strains, Al Khamsa, Blue
List, and Sheykh Obeyd often refer to these horses. What is their
meaning? While it lends its fine qualities to others, the Egyptian Arabian
remains virtually unaltered since the beginning of history. The oldest
documentation of the Arabian horse was a fine carving uncovered in a cave
in Turkey. It depicts a leaping, fine-headed horse of pure Arabian
type, its mane flowing and tail carried high. Scientific data places
this at 8000 BC.
Evidence of the domestication of horses emerged in Syria, dating 2000 BC.
In an excavation, halters adorned the bones of horses and horses in artistic
drawings. In 1330 AD, the first pedigrees recorded, referred to the
Arabian by name, although there was no mention of strains or types.
As time went on, early travelers questioned the crossing of apparently
different “breeds” by the people of the Desert.These were not, in fact,
different breeds but strains, or families, of the same breed.These strains
gather their names from the important tribes who bred them.
Basic among many variations are the
Maneghi, Seglawi, Obeyan and Kuheilan, all descending from the Keheilan,
which means “purebred.” Each strain showed distinctive characteristics,
no doubt as the result of the individual needs or type preference of the
tribe members. A study of the pharaonic horses of the tombs
and temples of Egypt places the horse in use in Egypt as early as 1580
BC and show these strain characteristics. These relief paintings appear
to be actual portraits of horses that must have existed. Today’s
Arabian is a product of constant crossing of these strains, as no individual
carries the blood of a single, undiluted strain. This is not to say
that an Arabian of pure, undiluted, Desert blood does not exist.
Therein lies one of the major differences in the Straight Egyptian Arabian
and those of other bloodlines. The Straight Egyptian is the blending of
strains of pure, undisputed, Desert heritage. We might compare that
to the marriage of a man from one ancient desert tribe wedding a daughter
of another tribe. They are pure in race (breed), but from different
families or tribes (strains). Their children would then be a blending
of the two. Though of great significance, the purity of the
Egyptian Arabian is not the only reason for their preservation. To delve
deeper, we must understand the history of the Egyptian Arabian. The Pharaoh
Thotmose III (1504-1450 BC) and his son Amenophis, “could not be overtaken
in races,” in large scale military use of the horses of Egypt. Ramses
II credits his horses for saving his life in battle against the Hittites.
His own words reflect his devotion and appreciation for their valor as
he proclaimed, “Henceforth their food shall be given them before me each
day when I am in my palace ....” The Pharaoh Piankhi
(751 BC) grieved when learning that a rebellious Egyptian King had left
his stable in total chaos and cried, “I swear, as Ra loves me..... it is
more grievous in my heart that my horses have suffered hunger, than any
evil deed that thou hast done, in prosecution of thy desire.” We
can easily see from our first documentation of the horse in Egypt, how
they had already established themselves as an animal of the greatest importance.
They were loved, admired, and cherished by the noblest of men and the desert
nomad. As history progresses and the Prophet Mohamed established
his teaching out of the desert, he taught that “every man shall love
his horse.” Bedouin warriors when mounted on their finest Arabian
steed, proved to be invincible as Islam's power spread throughout the civilized
world. Egypt was submerged in this Arab tide. Come now,
the extraordinary horsemen, the Mamelukes, who swept over Egypt.
Their ruler, Ahmad Ibn Tuleu, (1193-1250) built palatial gardens and a
magnificent hippodrome to house his collection of the choicest Arabian
horses. Saladin¹s horses, who prevented Richard the Lion Hearted
from conquering Egypt, were hailed by Sir Walter Scott. He writes
in “The Talisman”: “They spurned the sand from behind them -- they
seemed to devour the desert before them -- miles flew away with minutes,
yet their strength seemed unabated . . . “ In 1279-1382, Sultan
Nacer Mohamed Ibn Kalaoun, was obsessed with obtaining the choicest Arabian
horses and built an equally impressive Hippodrome for their comfort.
Price was no object. For a single mare, he paid the equivalent of
$5,599,999., plus land. These horses were indisputably the
most beautiful, courageous and exquisite horses in the world. Solomon,
King of Isreal, built 40,000 stalls for his Arabian horses.
here to continue