What Are Al Khamsa Ancestral Elements and How Do I Use Them?
Al Khamsa horses are blessed with a rich heritage. By definition, they descend entirely from horses that can be reasonably assumed to have been bred by the migrating Bedouin tribes of the greater Arabian peninsula, an area which spans more than 1,500 miles from east to west and almost 1,800 miles from northern Syria to the bottom of the peninsula in the south! Within this vast area there were many dozens of tribes and clans. Certainly there was never one unified breeding program used by all of these peoples. The Bedouin obviously appreciated a variety of bloodlines and types. Diversity of type is evidenced by both photographs and written descriptions of Bedouin horses.
The Ancestral Element concept was developed to help people identify the history of Al Khamsa horses. First, Al Khamsa traces pedigrees back as far as they can go and calls these ancestors Foundation Horses. Currently, there are 192 Al Khamsa Foundation Horses represented in pedigrees of living Al Khamsa horses.
Second, the Foundation Horses are divided into groups, based on a common denominator: the country, stud farm, person or group who imported or was primarily associated with the Foundation Horses concerned. (Four Foundation Horses were acquired individually and are designated by their own names.) These groups are called Ancestral Elements. Ancestral Elements serve as the Building Blocks of Al Khamsa Pedigrees. When readers see Ancestral Element designations in a horse pedigree, they immediately know something about the ancestry of that horse.
While the names of most of the Ancestral Elements have been in use in North America for many years, exact meanings vary. Following is some background on the Ancestral Elements. More detailed information can be found in Al Khamsa Arabians III (2008).
The most frequently found Ancestral Elements (EGYPT I, EGYPT II, BLUNT, DAVENPORT, INSHASS and SA’UD) are presented first, followed by the other Ancestral Elements in alphabetical order.
Other equally important, but less frequently occurring Ancestral Elements
AYERZA: Ayerza refers to the nine Foundation Horses imported to Argentina by Don Hernan Ayerza in the 1890s. He combined these Foundation Horses with descendants of combined EGYPT I and BLUNT Ancestral Elements. These lines are available today through *Aire, a mare of this breeding who was imported to the USA in 1934.
BISTANY: Khalil Bistany was active in the Hamidie Hippodrome Society of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. He and his family imported three horses from Syria from 1929–33. Of these, the stallion *Al-Mashoor left eligible Al Khamsa descendants.
BORDEN: Spencer Borden established an Arabian breeding program in the USA in 1898 with stock exported from England which preserved lines to three Foundation Horses imported there.
COBB: While in Saudi Arabia in connection with ARAMCO, Connie Cobb bought the stallion *Furtha Dhelall from a member of the Dawasir tribe and imported him to the USA in 1966. She also imported horses from the SA’UD and JALAWI Ancestral Elements.
CRANE: Charles Crane, a member of the international King-Crane Commission on Middle Eastern Affairs in 1919, imported *Mohalhil to the USA in 1929, a stallion he received as a gift from the Saudi Arabian Minister to Cairo. He also imported two mares of the SA’UD Ancestral Element. This, along with EUROPA, are Al Khamsa’s rarest Ancestral Elements. Both exist only in combination with other Ancestral Elements.
DWARKA: An 1892 stallion, the Foundation Horse Dwarka was imported to England where he sired two Al Khamsa-eligible foals that were in turn imported to the USA.
EUROPA: Sixty-two Foundation Horses obtained by both private and governmental studs of Europe, primarily the Weil and Bábolna Studs during the 19th century, were preserved in combination with EGYPT I and BLUNT Ancestral Elements. There are only a few horses in North America tracing to this old European stock, and the lines are also scarce in Europe.
HAMIDIE: In 1893, Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II granted a group of Syrian businessmen permission to take authentic Arabian horses to the Chicago World’s Fair for exhibition purposes only. The Hamidie Society, as it was called in the USA, imported 40 horses, but financial and other problems prevented the return of any horses to the desert. Five Foundation Horses are designated HAMIDIE, which exists only in combination with DAVENPORT and other Ancestral Elements.
HEARST: William Randolph Hearst, head of a media empire, also had Arabian horses. In 1945, Hearst’s Sunical Land & Livestock Department imported 14 horses from Syria to add to his stud. Of these imports one mare, *Layya, has living, eligible Al Khamsa descendants.
HUNTINGTON: In 1888, Randolph Huntington established America’s first totally Arabian breeding program, primarily with stock from England, but also including *Leopard, a gift to U.S. President U.S. Grant from Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Huntington’s pioneer program contributed five Foundation Horses to Al Khamsa bloodlines that were not preserved elsewhere.
JALAWI: Three Foundation Horses came from Ibn Jalawi (Jiluwi), a relative of the Sa’ud family and Governor of Al Hasa Province. These horses were gifts to various Americans living in Saudi Arabia during the ARAMCO period.
KHALIFA: The Khalifa family has ruled the island of Bahrain off the east coast of Saudi Arabia since the late 1700s. Two horses from the Khalifa studs were imported to the USA. NOTE: Twelve Foundation Horses supplied by the Khalifa family to Egypt during the 19th century are included in the EGYPT I Ancestral Element.
MIRAGE: A 1919 stallion, *Mirage was owned by Lady Wentworth in England before being imported to the USA. His only Al Khamsa descendants are from his get in the USA.
NEJDRAN: An 1896 stallion, *Nejdran was imported to England in 1902 and to the U.S. in 1904. His only Al Khamsa descendants are from a son bred in the USA.
RICHARDS: While living in Saudi Arabia in connection with ARAMCO, Marie Frances Richards obtained a mare which she bred to a friend’s stallion. *Jamalah El Jedrani, daughter of these two Foundation Horses, was imported to the USA in 1963.
TA’AN: A 1988 stallion bred by the Tai Bedouin tribe and imported to the USA in 1993 by Debra and Jerald Dirks.
For more complete information about any of the Ancestral Elements and the Foundation Horses which comprise each of the Ancestral Element designations, please refer to Al Khamsa Arabians III. More about Foundation Horses.