The Arabian Horse
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The Arabian horse—in Arabic Kehailan—is probably the most ancient of existing domestic breeds. He is also the original " thoroughbred " horse of the East, from whose exemplar all Western ideas of thorough breeding in horseflesh were derived. He has been held in repute as of "noble" blood for at least 1,300 years, and has been bred with fanatical reverence and pure from all foreign admixture in peninsular Arabia as far back as the records of that country go; that is to say, till the second century before Mohammed, the sixth of our era.
It is a matter of considerable dispute in modern science whether or not the Kehailan was indigenous to Arabia as an original wildbreed. The common Mohammedan tradition would make him a .gift from Solomon to the Arabs, or, again, descended from mares ridden by the prophet ; but Western criticism rightly rejects these tales, nor are they, in truth, real Bedouin traditions local to Arabia itself. The local tradition is that the Kehailan is a separate wild breed kept pure in the desert from the time of his first capture and domestication ; that his habitat was Nejd and the high plateaux of Yemen, and that he owes his distinguishing qualities to the fact that his original blood has never been mixed with that of breeds of inferior type. In physical science there is as yet nothing positively ascertained which would show this to be improbable. The high plateaux of Arabia, though all of them desert land—in the sense that they contain no district where crops can be grown in full dependence on the rainfall—are neither without pasture nor with-out water. It is unquestionable that the wild ass existed, if he does not still exist, in Yemen, and the wild horse too may have there existed. In the sandy tracts there is a certain fine grass called nossi, which grows freely, especially within range of the occasional monsoon rains, and it is excellent pasture for horses, so that it is quite conceivable that in the gradual drying up of the peninsula, of which we have geological proof, a section of the wild species may have found itself cut off in the South from the rest of its kind, and have developed there in isolation the special qualities we find in the Kehailan. This is Professor Ewart's opinion, and, in the absence of evidence contradicting it, may be provisionally accepted as true. On the other hand, what historical evidence does exist is adverse to the idea of a very early possession of the horse as a tame animal in Arabia. The Bedouins, certainly of Northern Arabia, would seem during the ages immediately preceding Christ to have been, as indeed many of them are still, exclusively camel-riders, and there is a significant absence of all mention of the horse in lists which have been preserved of the then products of the country. Strabo, on the authority of his friend AElius Gallus, Prefect of Egypt, who made an armed expedition into Western Arabia in the year A.D. 24, says of Arabia Felix (Yemen): "The products of the soil are good. Much honey is made and much cattle reared, amongst which, it is true, are seen neither horses nor mules"; and again of the land of the Nabatheans (Hejaz) : "the land does not pro-duce horses, but camels take their place."
The monumental French work of M. Pietremont, Les Chevazex prehistoriques et historiques, should be consulted on this point, his opinion being that the Arabs did not become horse riders till the third century after Christ. In English our best authority on the subject, though perhaps rather out of date, Colonel Hamilton Smith, is of a similar opinion; and on historic grounds alone the balance of evidence would seem to be in favour of a comparatively late date for the domestication of the Kehailan. All that we know positively is that in the fifth and sixth centuries of our era the Bedouins of Nejd and Yemen were already possessed of a special breed of horses of which they boasted as an " ancestral possession." " Are not these," says their poets of that date, "an inheritance from our fathers ? Shall not we to our sons in turn bequeath them?" It is clear too from their descriptions that the horse then possessed by them was identical in his chief characteristics with the modern Kehailan, as were the ideas of his owners concerning him. There is a description in one of the Abu Zeyd cycle of romances of a Bedouin mare, which is precise in its details and which might have been written yesterday
"Spare is her head and lean, her ears pricked close together, Her forelock is a net, her forehead a lamp lighted, Illumining the tribe, her neck curved like a palm branch, Her wither sharp and clean. Upon her chest and throttle An amulet hangs of gold. Her forelegs are twin lances. Her hoofs fly forward faster ever than flies the whirl-wind, Her tail bone borne aloft, yet the hairs sweep the gravel."
Nor are prose writers silent. Ockley, in his History of the Saracens, quotes from the Arab historian, El Wakidi, a decree of the Caliph Omar, A.D. 633, which shows the value already set in Arabia on this special breed. "After the battle of Yermuk," El Wakidi says, " Abu Obeidah, the Arabian commander, divided the spoil thus : ` To a horseman he gave thrice as much as to a footman, and made a further difference between those horses which were ofthe right Arabian breed (which they looked upon to be far the best) and those that were not, allowing twice as much to the former as to the latter. And when they were not satisfied with the distribution Abu Obeidah told them that the Prophet had done the same after the battle of Khaibar, which upon appeal to Omar was by him confirmed.' "
Of European authors the oldest I can find mentioning the Arabian horse as a special and valued breed is Marco Polo. He, writing about the year 1290, says of Arabia and the Port of Aden : " It is from this Port of Aden that the merchants obtain the fine Arabian descriers of which they make such great profit in India, for you must know that they sell in India a good horse for well one hundred marks of silver and more."
It is certain, however, that long before this the Kehailan must have made his way into Europe, for the first time doubtless in the van of the Arab invasions of the eighth and ninth centuries, which having swept across North Africa, passed over into Spain, and through Spain into France. Here he left his trace permanently in the Barb and the Andalusian, and, as is locally believed, in the French Limousin. The great value however of the Kehailan blood does not seem to have been fully recognised in Europe until the practice of wearing heavy armour in war was well on the decline, and it was then introduced rather through Turkey and the Barbary States than directly from Arabia. Leo Africanus, a Moor of the sixteenth century, who had travelled through the whole of North Africa and of the Arabian deserts from Timbuctoo as far as the Persian Gulf and allowed himself to be converted to Christianity at Rome, makes an interesting mention in his description of Africa of the Arabian horses, which, under the name of Barbs, began at that time to be renowned in Europe, and which is of especial value as showing the close connection between the Barb and the Arab. " This name (of Barb)," he says, " is given unto the Barbarie horses throughout Italy and all Europe, because they come foorth of Barbarie and are a kind of horses that are bred in those regions, but they which thinke so are deceived, for the horses of Barbarie differ not in any respect from other horses ; but horses of the same swiftness and agilitie are in the Arabian toong called throughout all Egypt, Syria, Asia, Arabia Felix, and Deserta by the name of Arabian horses. Historiographers affirme that this kind of wild horse ranging up and down the Arabian deserts ever since the time of Ismael have so exceedingly multiplied and in-creased that they have replenished the most part of Africa; which opinion savoureth of truth, for even at this present there are great store of wilde horses founde both in the African and Arabian deserts. And I myself saw in the Numidian Desert a wilde colte of a white colour and having a curled maine. The most certain triall of these horses is when they can overtake the beast called lant or the ostrich in a race; which if they be able to performe they are esteemed woorth a thousand ducats or an hundred camels." The lant (eland?), he explains, "is so exceeding swift that no beast can over-take him, but only the Barbarie horse as is beforesaid." He also affirms that " the Arabians of the desert take the wilde horse and eats him, but he will hardly be taken with either horses or dogs. In the waters where this beast keepeth they lay certain snares, covering them over with sand, wherein his foot being caught he is entangled and slaine." The writer o ` this monograph quite recently received identically the same account as this of Leo's from a negro of Wadai, who spoke of the wild horses still captured there as Kehail. He described the method of snaring them, and declared that when tamed they could go ten days without water. The Arabs of Wadai used them as sires with their tame mares.
In England we first hear of "Barba" in Charles II.'s time, when the "Royal Mares" were brought for the King from Tangiers, and about the same time of " Turks," captured in the wars in Hungary. It was not however till the beginning of the eighteenth century that the great success of the "Darley Arabian," a horse of undoubted Kehailan blood and purchased direct from the Arabs of Northern Arabia by Mr. Darley, our Consul at Aleppo, revealed to English breeders the true source of excellence in Eastern blood. From this date the importations registered in the Stud Book show a constantly increasing preponderance of "Arabians," as against Barbs or Turks. They were, I imagine, obtained direct from the Syrian Ports or the Persian Gulf; and there is every probability, judging from such portraits of them as remain to us, that they were pure Kehalans, though of the Darley Arabian alone we (now the particular strain of blood, Manaki, to which he belonged.
Captain Upton, in his interesting book New-market and Arabia, enumerates lot Arabian stallions, 44 Barbs, and 28 Turks, as having been registered first and last in our Stud Book. The importation was well maintained until neat the close of the eighteenth century, when it seems to have been interrupted by the great war which then began and which made communication with the Levant difficult.
It would be an interesting speculatio 1 to calculate the amount of true Kehailan blood flowing in the veins of our modern English race-horse, but it is one on which I dare not enter here, beyond hazarding the opinion that it amounts to at least three-quarters, perhaps to seven-eighths, of the whole. It may well be that even the unknown English mares figuring at the head of most pedigrees were in fact partly of this blood, either through Barb or Turk or
Spanish ancestors—while in the male line the blood of the Darley and Godolphin Arabians is everywhere preponderant. The Godolphin, though reaching Europe through Tunis, was almost certainly an Arabian, as his original name, "Scham " (Damascus), would seem to indicate.
The price of Arab horses in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries seems to have been high. Henry Blount, 1634, says that in Egypt in his day as much as 1,000 pieces of eight was paid for a three-year-old of the true breed ; Hamilton, 1720, mentions £50 and £6o as being a small price for one at Moccha, and Niebuhr, 1762, says : "The English sometimes purchase their horses at the price of 800 or 1,00o crowns each." An English merchant was offered at Bengal twice the purchase money for one of their horses, but he sent him to England, where he hoped that he would draw four times the original price (say £80o). The Sporting Gentleman's Dictionary, 1735, mentions still higher sums "£500, £1,000, £2,000, and even £3,000 ;" as " the intolerable price " demanded for the " right Arabian horses " exported from Scanderoon, pricing at the same time the Turkish horses at £10o to £15o and the Barbs at but £3o in their own countries. In 1782 Arthur Young records that at the Royal Stud of Pompadour in France three Arab horses had just been acquired at a cost to the King of 72,000 livres (£3,149)
In former days the Kehailan was bred in most Arabic speaking lands with more or less purity. Egypt, Syria, and SouthWestern Persia, to say nothing of the Barbary States, had their own breeds, which boasted of pure Arab origin ; but at present the area of his distribution has been restricted even in Arabia itself within comparatively narrow limits, and there are indications of a decline of the race which seems to be becoming general. Egypt, with the exception of the single stud of Ali Pasha Sherif, possesses no pure blood, nor is it to be found in Tunis, Tripoli, or Algeria. In southern Morocco the tradition of pure breeding, if preserved at all, is so only among the remote desert tribes beyond the Atlas—who still boast of possessing strains of blood brought with them in their migrations from Nejd in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Syria is almost stripped of its authentic breeds, once numerous in the Lebanon ; and although a considerable sprinkling of pure mares is still to be found in Horns, Hama, and Aleppo, and in the villages of the Euphrates, their quality is far from what it used to be ; so much so that the horse-buying commissions sent by the French and other European Governments find it yearly more difficult to acquire stallions of standard merit. In Mesopotamia the breed is becoming more and more mixed, and in all the Bagdad district it has long been a by-word. A few good mares are still to be found in Persian Arabistan but the great studs of the Bakhtiari chiefs are gone, and it is very doubtful whether any pure blood at all is to be found now in Persia proper. Pure Kehailan blood may therefore be considered as confined in the present day strictly to Arabia, and even there within ever narrowing limits.
The reasons of this general decline are, first, the ever-increasing military pressure of the Ottoman Government, which has broken the independence of ,the tribes on the Arabian frontier and limited their areas of summer pasture. Secondly, the gradual adoption of firearms by the Bedouins in their inter-tribal wars, and thirdly, the more systematic "combing" of the desert for stallions for the Indian market. It has been found that, wherever firearms take the place of the lance, there the tribesmen care less about their horses and revert to their original camel-riding in their raids. It is certain too that for many years past the handsomest and strongest colts have been taken away more and more unsparingly from the strength of the breeding stock, while the tribes have contented themselves with less and less perfect stallions for their stud use. The blood has remained the same, but the stock has declined in vigour, in beauty, and in excellence.
There are also in Arabia certain studs still flourishing in the hands of princes and individuals which are recognised as authentic. The chief of these are the studs of the Emir Ibn Rashid at Hail, of Eid et Temimi at Oneyzeh, of the Emir Ibn Khalifa at Bahreyn, and of the Sultan of Muscat. Outside Arabia the only Eastern stud of any importance recognised by the Arabs as authentic is that of Ali Pasha Sherif, at Cairo, which is held in great respect by them, as descended from the mares and horses collected, at the expense, it is said, of a million sterling, fifty years ago in Nejd by Abbas I., Viceroy of Egypt. The Ottoman Sultan's stud at Constantinople is of recent growth and of no special value. It is a collection of some 800 stallions, many of them of great beauty, but of which the pedigrees have been lost, and of some 40 mares, few of them " mazbutat" (of known pedigree) or of the first quality. In India fine horses abound in the stables of the native princes, especially at Jodpore, and in the hands of the rich Bombay merchants, but few mares ; and I do not know of any Indian stud exclusively managed on the Arabian principles of breeding. The Indian Government in 1893 had 147 Arab stallions in stud use in Bombay and the Northern provinces. These had been purchased at from 1,200 to 2,000 rupees, but the price has since risen. In Europe the oldest Arab studs are those of Prince Sanguscko and Count Joseph Potocki, in Poland, both of high quality, which date from the end of the last century, and of the Branicki family in the Ukraine. Al-though the pedigrees in these are imperfect from an Arab point of view, they all contain mares of fine Arabian type, especially Prince Sanguscko's, and supply magnificent chargers to the Russian Imperial cavalry. Next to these come the Royal Stud of Wurtemberg and the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Studs at Libitza and Babolna, at all which establishments great care has been taken in the acquisition of Kehailan mares as well as horses. In Italy there was in the time of King Victor Emmanuel a truly magnificent stud, containing as it did half of Abbas Pasha's famous collection. But it was unfortunately sold and dispersed at the King's death in 1878 ; while in France, though Arab stallions are largely used for cross breeding, there is still no pure Kehailan " Haras." Prussia has quite recently been endowed by the Emperor William with a pure stud at Neustadt ; but Spain, Portugal, and the rest of the European States are still unrepresented. In England the first attempt to breed from pure Arabian mares as well as horses was made by Mr. Chaplin in 1875, who sent Captain Upton, an enthusiast on the subject, to Aleppo, where with the help of Mr. Skene, H.M. Consul, he purchased some authentic stock. But ill luck attended the venture. The best stallion died, and one or two of the best mares proving barren, the project was shortly after abandoned. It was revived, however, in 1877 by the writer of this monograph on a larger scale and with better results. The Crabbet Park Stud, established in the autumn of that year, now numbers some thirty brood mares of the most authentic strains of blood, the produce of which are sold yearly by auction and realise good prices. The average of all sales during the last fifteen years from the stud stands as high as 110 guineas. It is carried on on strict Arabian principles, and as there is no attempt at increasing the height of the stock, the Kehailan type has been well preserved. It has supplied breeding stallions to nearly every part of the globe, including North and South America, South Africa, Australia, India, and even Turkey. The Honourable Miss Dillon's stud at Pudlicote, started in 1884, has won many prizes in open jumping competitions.'
In America Arab breeding was commenced some twenty -years ago by Mr. Huntington, and has subsequently been taken up, bat on no large scale, by others. Several small studs exist in Australia, and Arab stallions and mares have lately been imported by Mr. Cecil Rhodes into South Africa. It may be hoped, therefore that any falling off there may be in his original home is being compensated to the Kehailan elsewhere.
The total census of the Arabian horse cannot be large. Of quite pure authentic blood there are probably not 2,000 brood mares left in Peninsular Arabia, with perhaps as many more among the northern tribes—5,000, let us say, the world through, all counted.
The Bedouin system of breeding is one rigid in its principles. The noble tribes divide their mares into three categories. r. The Mazbutat (authentic) mares, of absolutely certain pedigree, their ancestors having been from time immemorial in the tribe. From these alone colts are chosen as stallions for the tribe, all others being sold away as yearlings. 2. Mares taken from other noble tribes and their descendants. These are often authentic, their pedigree being known. But their colt produce is disqualified, and even one of their own Mazbutat mares, if lost and bred from away from the tribe, remains on her return disclassed. 3. Mares of unknown pedigree. These in the best tribes are used for riding only, and are not bred from. They go by the name of Shimalieh, Northerners, or Kadisheh, mares of no breed, the Mazbutat mares being sometimes called Nejdieh, of Nejd, in distinction, though there is no such thing as a " Nejd " breed.
All authentic mares claim to be descended from certain original strains of Kehailan blood. The most notable are the Seglawi, Managhi, Abeyan, Hamdani, Dahman, Hadban, Jilfan, Toweysan, Saadan, and Wadnan. The five first are generally known as the " Khanisa." The pedigrees are chiefly remembered through the dams, the blood of the sire being taken for granted as always beyond question. These are not written in the desert, but kept by oral tradition. Within the tribe the blood of each mare is of common notoriety and so is not a subject for deception, but strangers need to be on their guard.
The single object for which the Kehailan is bred by the Bedouins is service in their wars. For this the qualities necessary are great powers of endurance, the capacity of making long marches, of 300 or 400 miles, without flagging, an extreme sobriety in the matter of food and drink, and a sufficient turn of speed at the end of the raid to overtake the enemy or elude pursuit. Mere speed over a short distance is not encouraged by any system of racing or trials. The sole practical test is in the raid (" ghazu," Italianised " razzia "). What is of at least equal importance with speed, inasmuch as all fighting is done with the lance, is perfect shoulder action, facility in turning, a light mouth, intelligence and courage. All these qualities are conspicuous in the true Kehailan, and seem inherent in his blood. The rigorous conditions of his desert life ensure a certain hardihood of constitution; his feet are of iron. He stands unsheltered night and day; he is hardened against hot sunshine and bitter winds. The Bedouin camp is a perpetual turmoil of noise : he is bold and cool-headed. From his foalhood the children have crawled among his feet in the tents: he has the temper of a lamb. He is made for the vicissitudes of campaigning life, and is thus the most complete light cavalry horse imaginable for all countries where hard work and short commons, especially under a burning sun, are the rule of the campaign.
As a racehorse, the Kehailan, though not scientifically bred for the purpose, would seem to have in him a natural quality of speed superior to any other natural breed. Neither the Tartar of Eastern Asia, nor the Cossack, nor any of the unimproved European breeds, can at all compare with him on this head ; and it is only his own illegitimate descendant, the English thorough-bred, that has at length distanced him. For over a hundred years he figured victorious against all comers on the Indian turf, and until quite recently he held his own there even against English blood. Latterly, however, he has become less in fashion in India, and has had to give place on most racecourses to the improved Waler, who, thoroughbred or nearly thorough-bred, has been found able to beat him at an allowance. At the present time Arab racing proper is nearly confined to the Bombay Presidency, where the horses arriving from the Persian Gulf are first landed. Here the general price given for a Kehailan of the best strains is from 1,500 to 2,000 rupees before he has been tried for racing, or 2,500 to 3,000 when tried successfully. In the rest of India, Arabs figure mainly as polo ponies, and are run in races of that class when under the standard height. In the palmy days of Arab racing in India, the performances of the best horses were very nearly on a time level with those of our own thoroughbreds.
On the English turf it is rather as a sire of racehorses than as himself a racehorse that the Kehailan is honoured. Few of the imported Arabs, even of the eighteenth century, distinguished themselves as winners ; and in the present century, no pure Kehailan has carried off an important race. The last Eastern horse entered for any of our classic contests was in 1863, when the Duke of Beaufort's Barb " Mazagan ran for the Goodwood Cup, high hopes being entertained of him by his owner and trainer ; but in the event he was easily beaten. In 1883, through the exertions of Lord Calthorpe, Lord Bradford, Prince Batthyani, Mr. Edward Weatherby and others, the Jockey Club, in the interests of horse breeding, consented to the establishment of a special race for Arabs, to be run at Newmarket yearly at their July meeting ; and a single contest took place in accordance with their decision in the following year. Fifteen Arabians were entered and eight of them appeared at the post, including two that had run well on the Indian turf, with the result that Admiral Tryon's "Asil," a three-year-old colt, bred in England from an Anazeh mare imported in foal from Aleppo, proved the winner. The same colt however was shortly afterwards beaten in a match by " Jambic," an English thoroughbred of inferior class ; and this was considered so discouraging that the Arab race has not since been renewed. The superiority of the English thoroughbred on the flat cannot indeed be contested. At the same time it is by no means proved that a new infusion of Kehailan blood would not be an advantage to breeders for our turf; and Lord Bradford's experience is encouraging. From Arab mares mated with Bend Or and Chippendale he has had produce in the second and even in the first generation which have proved winners of good English races, notably of the Dee Stakes at Chester, and he is continuing the experiment.
The practical value however of the Kehailan lies undoubtedly in his role of sire to half-bred stocks, especially for all such countries as suffer from extremes of heat and cold, drought, poverty of pasture and general hard conditions of life. For this purpose he is inestimable, for he has the power of transmitting to his half-bred offspring his own enduring qualities, with much of his speed, action and courage, and no little of his beauty. In this he is superior to any but the very highest class of our English thoroughbreds, and has been successful wherever he has been fairly tried. Certain ruleshowever are very necessary to be laid down in the choice of Arabians as stallions, the neglect of which will lead to failure ; and, as it is a subject not well understood, I think I cannot do better than close this monograph with a few practical suggestions in the interest of breeders.
The first point in choosing an Arab stallion, as indeed any other, for stud use is to be certain of his blood. Unless the horse chosen can show a clean Kehailan pedigree it will always be a matter of chance whether his stock proves satisfactory. Many a stout horse on the Indian turf has proved a despicable sire, and many an unconsidered slug a good one. Apart however from pedigree, and where this cannot be ascertained, there are certain characteristics of shape and figure which very seldom mislead, and a certain ideal type without an approximation to which no Arabian ever yet proved of value as a stock getter. The Arabian points are not very different from those of our English thoroughbred sires of eighty and a hundred years ago ; and there are half-a-dozen representations in the collection of Portraits of Celebrated Race-horses, which might stand for those of Kehailans of the highest type. Such are " Flying Childers " (the portrait without the saddle), "Sedbury" 1734, "Dungannon " 1780, his grandson " Walton " 1792, his great grandson "-Partizan " 1811, and above all, " Sultan " 1816, an almost perfect type of the pure Kehailan. " Actaeon " 1822, and " Venison " 1833, are the latest that show any strong Arabian character in this collection, all the recent portraits having diverged widely from the type. If the reader wishes to contrast the Arab points with those of the modern thoroughbred, he cannot do better than set the portrait of " Sultan " side by side with that of the great modern race-horse Fisherman. Of living " English " sires "Petrarch" and "Bend Or" come nearest to the Kehailan type.
The best Arabian sires are about 14 hands 2 inches high, of great thickness through, depth and substance, but very short on the leg and with the shortest possible cannon bones ; the feet large, deep and perfectly round ; the legs clean and flat, with a fair amount of bone, say 71 to 8 inches below the knee ; powerful fore-arms and second thighs; broad knees and hocks ; but a greater development of bone than 8 inches seldom goes with the highest quality. The horse should cover a deal of ground, but should have a short back, with just sufficient space between the wither and the rise of the loins for a short saddle. The wither should be high (this is an original Kehailan characteristic found in no other natural breed), but not exaggerated, and the highest point of the croup should be nearly level with it. It is a great point of breeding that the tail should be set or, high and that it should rise at an angle of about 45 degs. from the point of insertion, curving however sharply downwards so as just to clear the hocks in walking. It is no defect that the tail should hang a little sideways, that being often the effect of a twist given it at the foal's birth t y the Bedouin breeder for luck. Both mane a id tail should be fine as silk and fairly abundant, never heavy. The shoulder should be well sloped, but without the exaggeration of the English hunter's. It should have, however, the freest possible action, and there is no better lest of quality than to turn a colt loose in a paddock and take note of how he moves his shoulders and fore-arms. There should be little high knee-action, but the whole limb should be thrown forward and the hoof "dwell " a second in the air before it is put down. This, with corresponding action behind—like that of a deer trotting through fern—is most important in a sire and a great test of quality. The most characteristic point however of all in the Kehailan is his head. It is difficult to describe this intelligibly. It should be very broad between the eyes, the forehead high and slightly convex, but with a sudden upward turn of the profile, such as is seen in the gazelle. This can hardly be too exaggerated. The muzzle should he extremely fine, the lips delicately compressed, the nostrils set somewhat high and on a plane with the face in repose, but capable of great expansion when excited ; great depth of the cheek bones and width at the throttle ; great distance between the eyes and the ears, the head well set on and the neck arched. The following are the exact measurements of " Mesaoud," bred by Ali Pasha Sherif, the most successful stallion of the Crabbet Park Stud, also of the head of " Sherifa," a Nejd mare bred by the Emir Feysul Ibn Saoud, both admirable types.
Measurements of "Mesaoud" at ten years of age : Height, 14 hands 2 inches ; girth, 69 inches ; from summit of skull to wither, 38 inches ; from wither to root of tail, 41 inches ; tail bone, 18 inches ; from summit of skull to point of muzzle, 231 inches; round jowl and forehead, 37 inches; round muzzle, 191 inches; wither to knee, 45 inches ; knee to pasterr, 11 1/2 inches ; point of hip to point of hock, 40 inches ; point of hock to fetlock joint, 17 1/2 inches ; round forearm, 19 inches ; round cannon bone, 71 inches ; round hoof, 16 inches ; length of ear from junction with skull, 51 inches.
Measurements of the head of " Sherifa " :—From summit of skull to point of muzzle, 24 inches ; round jowl and forehead, 36 inches ; round muzzle, 14 1/2 inches ; width between cheeks 5 1/2 inches.
The best Kehailan colours are—1. Bay with black points. This would seem to have been the original wild colour, and is that principally esteemed by the Bedouins, especially a dark full bay with the black markings well above the knees and hocks. z. Chestnut, a strong bright chestnut with mane and tail of the same shade, accompanied generally with three or four white feet anda blaze. These markings are commoner among the Anazeh tribes than in Nejd. Pale shades of chestnut should be avoided, but a sprinkling of white hair is no disadvantage. 3. White. This, when quite pure, is perhaps the best as it is the most beautiful of all colours. It is the "fortunate" colour with Mohammedans, and for this reason has been more carefully bred for than any other. The most perfect Kehailan types I have seen have been white, or in advancing years flea-bitten. No Kehailan however is ever foaled white, and for the first five years colts go through many changes of coat, from bay, chestnut or nearly black to rose-roan, iron grey and grey. A white stallion should not be used as sire, says Guarmani, till he attains his full white colour at eight years old. White is the favourite colour in Nejd; and all the great collections have been mainly white, notably Ibn Saoud's at Riad; described by Palgrave, Abbas Pasha's in Egypt, and Ibn Rashid's at Hail. Except in the Sultan's stables at Yildiz, I have never seen a quite black Arabian, and I doubt black being a true Kehailan colour, though Bedouins say it occasionally occurs. Dun, blue-roan, and pie-bald certainly are not. The skin, where clear of hair, especially round the eyes, should be in all cases of a deep slaty blue. The eyes should be large and prominent, and shaped like the human eye, the white showing well round the cornea. This is very characteristic of the true Kehailan.