Rabhar, History and Arabian adventures 2

26 02 2008

Rabhar with his millenium halter: The coins are English pence-pieces from the year 2000.rabhar-met-millenium-halster.jpg
On december 14th, 1877 Lady Anne Blunt wrote in her journal: ”We have made a plan…of importing some of the best Anazeh blood to England and breeding it pure there… it would be an interesting and useful thing to do and I should like much to try it.”

The consequenses of this plan may be found today throughout the Arabian stud-books of the world.

On April the fourth 1878 The Blunts and mr Skene finally found the campsite of Jedaan. While there they met many people, and saw a beautiful mare of the Gomussa they were very keen to buy, but it took a long time to secure her. They named the mare Queen of Sheba.

From lady Anne’s journal:

April 4th,

Crossing a plain, a low ridge in front of us called Aleb. While we were crossing we saw at a distance two or three people on foot. Wilfred (on Hagar) galloped towards them followed by Muhammed ed Taleb on his chestnut mohra. My new mare being stiff and tired. Wilfred came back shouting: ”Jedaan was near”

Just beyond the ridge of Aleb. We waited for the camels. Wilfrid described his interview with the people he rode up to. There had been ten more men, in a wady. One with a gun, others with spears and pistols, and three deluls. They said they were Meheyd of Jedaan and described the position of the camp. They themselves were going on a ghazu against the Roala. Why then had they no mares, Wilfred asked, Oh, because they were only going to steal Roala camels by night.

We hear that Jedaan’s people and the Sebaa are all together, a thing wich rarely happens and only lasts a short time when it does occur, for on account of pasturage they are obliged to separate.

We saw a horseman coming to meet us. It was Jedraan himself, mounted on a powerful but rather plain grey filly. At his tent we dismounted and on entering, Wilfrid and I were placed one on each side of the camel saddle, while mr Skene sat beyond Wilfrid and next to Jedaan. Coffee was already made and handed to us, and then dates and butter and lebben.

Jedaan began asking about my Mecca mare (Sherifa) -”What is that mare”- and he evidently took a fancy to her.

With regard to horses, someone told me Jedaan posesses the finest horse ever seen. Mr Skene asked to see it while letting Jedaan understand that we were not come to buy, but that caring much for horses we should like to see any that are worth looking at. Jedaan ordered the horse to be brought at the tent. It is a Keheilan Akhras, a bay horse, three white feet (mutlak as shemal) It is handsome, though not a horse I should care for.

Jedaan himself has a dignified manner, but his appearance wants the distinction of a thoroughbred aseel person such as Faris and he is in fact of no family – a parvenu.

On seeing our tents up, about 100 yards off, we retired and got out the presents. A black cloak with gold, a pair of red boots for Jedaan, also tobacco and a sugar loaf and a box of sweets for the harem. Hanna and Geurgy took these things to the great tent. Jedaan was very pleased, Hanna assured us, adding that he said ”Hide them, hide them” in order to prevent the crowd from seeing and coveting them, which might oblige him to part with them. How unlike Faris, who gives everything away!

Faris. .c_faris.jpg

The Sheyk of a small Anazeh tribe, the Mesenneh, at Jerud two or three days from Damascus, came and sat at the door of our tent this evening. Faris ibn Muziad is his name and his blood is the bluest of the desert so that his daughters are much sought for in marriage.

April 7th

In the course of the afternoon, Beteyen ibn Mirshid, Sheyk of the Gomussa, came to mehmet Dukhi’s tent. He called at the Welled Ali camp on his way back from an outlying Gomussa camp where he had been on business. The business was to fetch a mare of which he had just brought The bridle half.

She was tied to one of the tent-pegs of the big tent. We all agreed that she surpassed anything we have got. She is Abeyeh Sherrak, 3 years old, dark bay 15 hands or over, everything perfect for racing, her head good though not very fine. To my surprise Mr Skene seems to think he can persuade Beteyen to transfer the bargain to him.

April 8th

Meshur ibn Mirshid, son of Mitbakh, Suleiman’s brother, came to see us.He was sitting in the tent while we were there, but too modest to come forward. We were talking about breeds of horses and on our asking if there was a particular breed of Nejd horses different from their own breeds, they all agreed in saying that they themselves as well as their horses originally came from Nejd, and that the breeds of horses now found in Nejd are the same as those of the Anazeh in the north, and began going over the names of breeds, Keheilan Ajuz, Seglawi Jedran, Hamdani Simri etc.

We might have heard more, but mr Skene informed us that Beteyen had given him a promise that he would make over to him the bargain of the mare. However the price he named was quite absurd. But before the thing went further a messenger called Beteyen away to his tent on business. A Roala ghazu was said to be coming to attack the Sebaa.


April 9th

Something like a panic seemed to possess the Gomussa Camp. Beteyen’s tent was hastily struck and as the sun rose he and all his people were on the march. All the tribes are going to unite together with Jedaan’s people and the Khayal would be ready to fight.

Mr. Skene had decided that in hopes of getting the Abeyeh mare we should remain with the Gomussa instead of going to anybody else. We had been walking about looking at all the mares that attracted attention and there were not a few. I had never before seen such a collection of well-bred mares, for though of course even here there were only a few ‘first class’, the average was high.

Beteyen says that the owner of the other half of the Abeyeh mare utterly refuses to consent to a further sale. So here ends that affair.

Meshur came in and talked very pleasant and not in the way like some others. Then he showed us his pistols, of old english manufacture but ornamented with silver of Eastern workmanship. Taking them off he said: ”Turid? ana ma arid” (do you like them? I do not want them). We said this would not do, but he pushed them to me as if he would not be refused. Wilfrid then said if young Meshur would swear brotherhood with him, he would take the pistols and give Meshur his own revolver. He and Meshur stood up and swore brotherhood, the left hand in the other’s girdle and a finger of the right hand held up. Meshur was greatly pleased and very much delighted with the revolver, a really good one.

The Blunts travelled back to Damascus without purchasing any more horses.


April 17th

I am lying under the trees in one of the gardens of Damascus, looking up at the pink and blue sunset sky and listening to the beebirds flying high in the air and keeping up an endless twittering.

We fortunately found a garden where it seems travellers are in the habit of pitching their tents. In teh middle of it stands a sort of café with a veranda and piles of chairs. The garden is full of tall trees, running brooks and green barley wich was being eaten by mares and horses and a donkey, all picketed out. Hanna arranged a sumptuous dinner to be cooked by the people of the garden. We had Kemayeh (truffles), fool (beans) and mutton, roast fowl, fried onions, mashi (the Aleppo dish of rice in cabbage leaves) and bourghul and afterwards a couple of sweet dishes. But though I’m glad the journey is over, I feel teh want of fresh good air in the town and if the luxury is there, there is less appetite for it. The only thing better in the town than in the desert is the food.

Mr. Skene did manage to secure the Abayeh mare late in Autumn for the Blunts, together with a very fine colt. The Blunts having brought Beteyen’s mare, and the colt of Ibn Nederi had caused ”quite a sensation” in the desert. It was being talked about in all the tribes, the mare as being the best in the desert and the colt as the finest horse among the Anezeh.

Queen of Sheba, and the colt which they named Pharaoh, were considered the stars of the stud.


Lady Anne Blunt’s description of Queen of Sheba:

Foaled in 1875 an Abeyeh Sherrakieh, of the Gomussa tribe of Sebaa Anazeh; 15 hands. A brown mare with four white feet, a very small star and snip, a good head, remarkably fine nostril and fine ears, muzzle not particularly small, splendid shoulder, strong back and quarter, very free action trotting, great stride galloping and tail carried high. This mare is perhaps taken altogether, the finest in the stud. She is celebrated in the Syrian desert. Sire a Managhi Hedruj of Ibn Gufeyfi of the Gomussa. Purchased in the autumn of 1878 of Beteyen Ibn Mirshid, who owned her on half shares with her breeder.


Foaled in 1876, a Seglawi Jedran of Ibn ed Derri of the Resallin tribe of Sebaa Anazeh, sire a Kehilan Ajuz of the Gomussa tribe of Sebaa. 14 hands 3 inch.

A dark bay stallion with black points, both hind feet white up just below the fetlock, handsome head, very beautiful ears, Good depth, splendid barrel well ribbed up, magnificent carriage of the tail walking trotting or galloping; there is never a moment of forgetfulness. Pharaoh is ever ready to be seen. He is celebrated among the Anezeh tribes as the handsomest colt bred by the Sebaa for twenty years.



13 responses

26 02 2008

I was curious, since you know more than most of us commentators, I have a question. “What can one say, if anything, about a person by looking at his/her horse?”

26 02 2008

Interesting question, Jahandost.
I do think you can come to some conclusions about a human by looking at their horse; if they had the horse for a couple of years and do stuff, sport, training, hacking, or spend a lot of time with them.

For one thing: after a couple of years of riding, the horse is Modelled by the rider: the horse will have developed in a way that will show the riders skill (or deficiency of-), and it’s responsiveness, and/or joy, or resistance to riding will show how the rider treats their horse.

Also the behaviour of the horse will reflect how it was treated by the rider. Naturally bad treatment will result in a horse that is closed, scared, or agressive. In Rabhar’s case he was completely closed when I got him. Rarely did he turn agressive. But he has not at all an agressive temperament.
He was very nice to me, but though he behaved well with my friends, they remarked that they could not make contact with him.
That has changed of course: Rabhar is now relaxed and friendly.

A weak human can also completely spoil a horse with strong character by being too soft. The Tarq is an example of a horse that could become completely spoiled, and very unhappy if not treated with consequence, strickt rules, and yet friendliness.

I do believe that horses will become a kind of mirror to the people who own them, if you can asses the horses own character, and how they have changed because of their humans.

So good (and appropriate) treatment will result in a horse that is relaxed, comfortable with humans, happy to see his owner/servant. Such a horse will have a free and independent character, might be up to some mischief, and in generally will be happy.
And if the horse is well trained it will enjoy it’s training sessions: regarding them as fun-time, and will look good, well musceled, a good muscled back, that is capable of carrying a rider. And it will carry itself proundly with beautiful flowing movements. It will be very sensitive and take subtile hints from the rider. A well ridden horse wille expect the rider to take hints from him in return, and will give them accordingly. A badly ridden horse will probably have given up communicating with the rider.

27 02 2008

I can say Rabhar is amazing. Do you know how much one should pay to have a horse link Rabhar?

27 02 2008

Ehm, difficult question, depends on where you shop! Rabhar is a complete wreck now, and not a stallion anymore, so money-wise he’s worth nothing, on the contrary: he’s a money-drain!
As a top-stallion he would have been very expensive.

You can buy an Arab for lots of money, but The Tarq cost me as much as a simple dutch warmblood. I brought him from the lady who bred him from her own mare. If you go to a stud you’d have to pay more. He has a fashionable and rare colour for an Arab, so some people would ask more on that account, but I refuse to pay for a colour.

27 02 2008

How did you collect all this information?

My God woman, when will you cease to amaze and impress me?? I can tell you something right now – and believe me I am very stingy with compliments so when I say this I mean every word – I have never met a woman like you.

May God bless you always.

27 02 2008

Achelois: Thank you very much for your kind words, and your blessing. And I am amzaed how your writings always manage to touch my heart.
So did you like all this rambling on about horses and the past? If it’s getting boring everybody should say so, for there are a few more installments.

Shahrzad: two stallions have been sold for 2,7 and 5 million $!

27 02 2008

AHHH, you gave me heart attack with this price.. 😥
I have to wait untill the time i find a chance like yours. Sheesh 😛

BTW, i’m checking the site. MAN, these horses are AMAZING..

27 02 2008

Ahh, Rabhar was given to me, and the Tarq was, as I said, normal! 🙂
I sometimes think they look a bit plastified on those pictures!

28 02 2008

I am enjoying this history because I know very little – almost nothing – about horses and never imagined that people took such interest in the breed and history of their horses. It is facinating!

28 02 2008

No wonder there is so much discussion in Islam about how men love fine horses!

28 02 2008

Achelois, I heard there is a hadith that encourage men (and women?) to learn horse riding and archery with bow and arrows.

28 02 2008

Is there? Cool!
I’ve been ordering a korean bow, to practise shooting with bow-and-arrow on horseback!

28 02 2008

Aafe, I hadn’t heard of the Blunts or their work until I read your post. I’ve been away from the horse world for more years than I care to admit, and reading your blog is a way for me to reconnect with it, as a passion from my youth, a passion that never died, but merely smoldered in the background while I worked, raised kids, and worked more.

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