Joined: 11-August 04
Member No.: 1584
Dear Carol and All, I swore never to get into an Internet debate on this topic again, and I am not going to do so now, but I think that Carol's and Liz's comments are outstanding and merit a long, hard look. For those who may not be new to this topic, here are a couple of points to consider:
1. With regard to the circumstances of lost breeder records in Egypt during the first half of the 1900's and before: We cannot apply the same logic and assumptions which would be appropriate today in this event -- there would not likely be a second set of records, and probably no official records. There was NO general stud book, no Registry, no government control or oversight of private breeders or their records in Egypt during that time. If a breeder's records were lost or destroyed...that was pretty much it, except for the possibility that there may be an overlapping of documentation somewhere along the line (such as export documents, racing information, etc).
2. The stud records of Prince Kemal El Dine, the President of the RAS and a private breeder during the early part of the 1900's, have been lost or destroyed. As of today, as far as anyone knows...they don't exist. We only have records compiled through anecdotal means, such as letters from visitors, etc, and the kinds of overlapping documentation which I have mentioned. One such record is a letter which was written by a visitor to the farm of Kamel El Dine, in which he cites the existence there of many "unnamed" or "unknown" horses -- at least to him. In his outstanding article, "Rustem in Retrospect" (Khamsat Vol. 12, No.1), Joe Ferriss states: "I thought it would be interesting to try to document all known Al Khamsa get of Rustem (*Astraled by Ridaa). Using sources such as: Vol. II of AHS stud book, Hansi Heck-Melnyk's Straight Egyptian Index, Al Khamsa Arabians LL, and the 1932 letter to W.R. Brown published in Khamsat Vol. 4, No. 3, courtesy of Carol Lyons, I was able to come up with a composite list of 34 get of Rustem. In checking the RAS Stud book Vol I, I found that of those get produced in Egypt (and there may be others not documented) very few appear in any official records. A number of them are properly photographed or identified by Jack Humphrey in 1932 in Egypt while visiting Prince Kemal El Dine. Some had no names. Three of the dams of these Rustem get are not identified in any stud book or official record with ancestry, strain, breeders ect. recorded.--- these being Nizma, Rizkia and Hasni Hegazia...ultimately only the Prince knows who these mares are. But I have no reason NOT to think of them as Egyptian Arabian horses. This is but one example of what we have to constantly deal with in exploring the details of past ancestry".
3. During our visit to Egypt two years ago, Marilyn Lang and I were told by authorities at the EAO that most of the actual records of Dr. Branch, the Director of horse breeding operations at the RAS and mentor/breeding consultant to both Prince Kemal El Dine and Prince Mohamed Aly, were lost in the early 1930's. What is known of the early breeding activities at the RAS was recreated from notes and memory by Dr. Ashoub over a decade after Dr. Branch had retired from his post.
4. There is no PROOF of purity (or of SE qualification) for ANY SE ancestor -- bar none. The only element upon which we can rely is reasonable evidence. PURITY is improvable for any horse born prior to DNA testing -- and even the "absolute" concept of DNA testing can be challenged to some degree. I harken back to the Al Khamsa definition of purity, which leaves enough wiggle room necessary to allow for the reality of "non-proof", the best and most honest means of approaching this issue.
5. There is currently far MORE evidence available for Leila II (*Exochorda) regarding her place of birth, her birth date and the names and provenance of her parents than MANY very famous and popular ancestors, including but by no means limited to, El Dere -- whose purity and qualifications as a SE I do not doubt for one second. El Dere is an excellent example because of his familiarity and impact on the SE Arabian bloodlines -- we all realize the strength of his blood within the SE population. However, he is only one of countless ancestors who could be singled out as "questionable" according to the very same criteria as some others have been...but are curiously avoided and/or defended. Its simply a matter of an illogical and unethical double standard.
6. There is very strong and mounting evidence to support the belief that Leila II was bred and/or raised by Prince Kemal El Din (the cousin to Prince Mohamed Aly and then the President of the RAS) -- and at this time, there is no evidence at all to prove that this is not the case. There is ZERO evidence to support any idea that the ancestry or qualifications of Leila II are any more "questionable" than any other Straight Egyptian Arabian horse. Not even one iota...never has been.
7. It is true that there have been very damaging rumors planted and circulated to imply impurity or lack of provenance in the pedigrees of some of the greatest bloodlines the SE community has ever known. I believe very strongly that this is no accident. Think about it...who has ever bothered to target bloodlines that weren't gaining success? It is easy to promote the "purest of the pure" label stuck on the rumps of one's own breeding animals by simply pointing out whatever holes exist in "the other guys" horse's pedigrees -- while absolutely ignoring the same (or worse) holes which exist in the ancestry of one's own herd. What easier way to bring down a competitor's breeding program or to devaluate a competitors produce? And it has always worked like a charm. Why? Because the people who perpetrate these rumors DEPEND upon the lack of knowledge of others. To have knowledge is to be empowered. Caryn Rogosky