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> Basilisk
Caryn Rogosky
post Nov 28 2004, 05:45 PM
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Since the production and publication of the Blue Catalog more than four decades ago, there has been significant information which has come to light which would have/could have impacted this project had the author been privy to such. This extraordinary work is said to mark the birth of the preservation movement for Asil Arabian horses in North America...the initial inspiration for Al Khamsa and other preservation organizations that came later. This was a highly significant accomplishment by any standard, and particularly considering the absence of global communication which has opened many doors for pedigree research in recent years. The work has been utilized as an important research tool over the decades. I treasure my set of Blue Catalogs.

All research works are a reflection of their own time and must be regarded within the appropriate context; considering what information was available to the author as well as how such information was processed. It is critical to recognize what portion of the work is based upon documented facts, what portion is personal opinion and the degree to which objectivity vs. subjectivity has influenced conclusions. When it comes to the sub-listing of Basilisk, we don't need to speculate at all as the author was very candid in confirming that this was based only a personal opinion. This opinion was based, to a large extent, upon a poor photograph of an ancestor taken over one hundred years earlier and a personal evaluation of a small group of distant descendants primarily bred by one breeder, within one herd. Besides the Blue Catalogs themselves, additional articles written by the Otts on this subject which appear in such books as "Arabiana", provide deeper insight into the personal aspects relating to the sublisting.

Since 1961, a plethora of new information has been made available and the advent of the Internet has given us the kind of access that Ms. Ott could never have dreamed possible. Indeed, the revelations in such relatively recent published works such as Lady Anne Blunt's personal journals and information from the GSB (Stud Book of England), as well as recently acquired and translated information from Bedouin tribes, puts to rest any inkling of doubt regarding the provenance of one of the Blunt's most treasured mares, Basilisk.

One of the most comprehensive works on this issue is the article, "Basilisk Defended" by R.J. Candranell II, published in the CMK Record in the Spring of 1992, Volume X/I. In his article, Mr. Candranell effectively debunks the utter misinformation which has been circulated for years about Basilisk. We know from Ms. Ott's own words, that she decided to sub-list Basilisk because she had concluded that Basilisk was "too big" and had too much bone to be fit her ideal of a desert bred Arabian. However, Ms. Ott (naturally) never saw Basilisk herself, but judged her on the only thing available to her; poor quality ancient photographs. Here is a quote from Mr. Candranell, which I find especially enlightening: "Ever since the beginning of modern Arabian horse breeding in the English speaking world, it has been customary to question the origins of other people's stock. Among the foundation horses of the Blunts, probably the one attracting the most attention over the last thirty or forty years is a fine-boned little mare named BASILISK."

In the same article, we are given a first hand description of Basilisk from Lady Anne herself: "BASILISK was a small mare, standing 14.1 hands. Lady Anne Blunt described her as having "wiry legs...not large below the knee" and a "good head and small muzzle." Lady Anne Blunt commented that BASILISK had "something of the compact wiriness of a wild animal."

Mr. Candranell also comments, that "...according to Michael Bowling BASILISK "seems to have bred still smaller, since BOZRA and BUSHRA were both noted as standing 14 hands even" (see Record V/3). In its early generations, the BASILISK family seems to have produced an abundance of pretty, delicate-looking "deserty" little grey mares which very often turned flea-bitten as they aged. According to notes on the back of a Maynesboro photo of *BATTLA (Razaz x Bukra), published in the October 1972 Arabian Horse News, at the age of five years she stood 14.2 and weighed only 850 lbs."

I have personally experimented with concentrating ancestors of Basilisk, and completely contrary to Ms. Ott's predictions, the results complied precisely with Mr. Bowling's observation...small, refined and extraordinarily deserty-looking, flea bitten greys.

As to the authenticity and provenance of Basilisk, as published in "THE CRABBET ARABIAN STUD, ITS HISTORY AND INFLUENCE", Archer, Pearson and Covey, 1978:
Quote, Lady Anne Blunt, "In one instance, that of Basilisk whose dam had been stolen from Ibn ed Derri by one of the Abadat tribe [sic], authentication was not obtained for three years not until we visited Ibn ed Derri in the desert -- if we had not succeeded her descendants would not have counted as pure-bred, and no stallion of her or of her posterity could have been used as a sire."

From Lady Anne Blunt's journals, first published in 1986:
"We have inquired about Basilisk. Neddi says that eight years ago a white mare, of his Seglawyehs, was stolen by people from Aleppo, from a Sebaa one of the Abadat to whom Neddi had sold her in shares, and there seems no doubt that Basilisk is her daughter."

From Mr. Candranell's article:
"The Crabbet herdbook, which has a more complete account than either published stud book, says that her dam was a white mare 'stolen by Faris Assaat from the desert. Neddi ibn ed Derri had sold the mare on shares to an Abadat (Sebaa Anazeh) and it was from him that she was stolen. Sire said to be a bay Seglawi of same strain. Faris Assaat sold the dam to Abd el Jadir of Deyr on the Euphrates in whose possession Basilisk was foaled.'

Approximately four years ago, Haji Abu Yahya Jerald F. and Hajah Um Yahya Debra L. Dirks, shared some extremely interesting information with Al Khamsa breeders. During the 1998 Bani Sham Association meeting in Jordan,  Sheykh Anwar ibn Fawaz Al-Sh'alan of the Ruwala provided them with a copy of a family tree of the `Anezah. Of this document, the Dirks remarked: "To our knowledge, this is the most detailed exposition on the genealogical breakdown of the `Anezah ever to come into Occidental hands."  The family tree was in Arabic and the Dirks stated that they had transliterated the information in a fairly literal manner. Within this chart was the following entry:
 3. Sb'a, father of the Al-Sab'a tribe
         i. Al-Btynat
            1. Al-Qumus'ah, breeders of Azrek (BLT), *Gomusa #31
            *Haleb #25, *Hauran #26, Kesia I (GSB), Kesia II (GSB),
            perhaps Pharaoh (BLT), Queen of Sheba (BLT), and Yataghan
            (GSB)
            2. Al-Mwahyb

            3. Al-Resaleen, breeders of Basilisk (BLT) and perhaps
            Pharoah (BLT)
            4. Al-Msarbt.

As you can see, this FIRST HAND information from Sheykh Anwar ibn Fawaz Al Sh'alan of the Ruawala, confirms the origins of the PURE BEDOUIN BRED ASIL MARE...BASILISK.
As to the quality of this line, I refer again to information contained in Mr. Candranell article: "Wilfrid Blunt's famous 1897 memorandum ranked the breeding influence of the foundation mares imported from the desert. It treated the BASILISK line well: "the strains which have hithero proved themselves the best are 1. Rodania's 2. Dajania's through Nefisa 3. and 4. Meshura's and Basilisk's..." And, "As of August, the three or four year old BASILISK was already under saddle. One day that month, six year old Judith Blunt was put on her back. This was likely the first Arabian she ever rode. By the time Judith was eleven, the mare was such a favorite of hers that Judith could "bring tears into her eyes for Basilisk at any moment."

It is an accepted fact by Al Khamsa, Straight Egyptian and Sheykh Obeyd breeders/researchers alike, that Lady Anne Blunt was a purist by all accounts, and therefore her chosen use of the Basilisk blood, especially through the stallion *Berk, should alone be enough to vanquish any question as to the purity of this line. As Lady Anne Blunt, herself, stated, it was "...a fundamental principle at the Crabbet Arabian Stud that any stallion, however individually excellent, was not eligible for service if there was any doubt or lack of information as to a true Arabian descent..."

Based on a study of the extremely credible information currently available on this mare, combined with my own testing of the bloodlines, I must, respectfully, strongly disagree with the conclusions drawn by Ms. Ott which motivated her to the sub-list Basilisk. Her theory, and predictions based on that theory, simply have not been supported through practical testing over many generations. Nonetheless, it was her book and she had the right to do what she pleased with it, and I have a profound respect for the work as a whole. I think it is only fair to give Ms. Ott the benefit of having far fewer resources available to her than we have now, and in having far, far fewer Basilisk descendants to observe. However, in the year 2004 we do have clear and definitive information which confirms, without any shadow of a doubt, that this bloodline is exactly what it has been accepted to be: A 100% AL KHAMSA, STRAIGHT EGYPTIAN, SHEYKH OBEYD ASIL source.

Caryn Rogosky
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Guest_Erika_*
post Nov 28 2004, 11:11 PM
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Too bad Lady Blunt's journals and the translated info from the tribes weren't available when Jane Ott wrote the Blue List. I'm sure she would have taken Lady Anne's word as gospel and the whole sublisting thing could have been avoided. It would have prevented a lot of heartache.
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HLM
post Nov 29 2004, 12:00 AM
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Hi Erika

Now, why would that have created heartaches? I cant find anywhere that Basilisk was was regarded other than an Asil Desertbred.
If it is true, what you are saying, what on this earth have "Labels" done!!! THEY ARE MENMADE, and in recent years a marketing tool for many a horse, which otherwise could not have been sold or sold for a huge price. If a person looks at the horse he/she wants, follows the genetic values/power incase they wish to breed from it, should it really matter if the horse is labelled green, purple, pink or blue? Some of The "labelmakers" did not even follow their own rules, and with it created the disrespect or distrust internationally. Basically it destroyed their own labeling.

Garnished with romance, elaborate translations, etc, it became
a disaster, especially when people were involved who never were on top of a horse or did any testing of their breeding stock, but tried their hands in markleting something they did not even understand in my opinion.

I really feel bad now, that indeed there are people out there who were so gullable and mislead, that it created a heartache. I hope it has healed or is healing now.

therefore, please do not worry about Basilisk, worry about the horses themselves, in case the od one does not cut the muster.

Blue List realy only meant the horses carry three strains,
Kuhaylan, Saqlavi and Mu'nique, while the blue stars do not carry mu'niqu blood according to Mrs. Ott's catalogue. There are no SEs left which she would call "Blue Star". Mrs Ott did a wonderful job, I treasure her work, but never forget that when Raswan said to her "Jump" she would reply "How high". Dont misunderstand now, I also deeply respect Raswan's work, without which all of us would not have been able to continue proper research. But we should try to let common sense prevail.

However, there a dozen of other strains, some I never heard off before until I got the Tukish studbooks and saw the horses in Istanbul a few years back, and neither has Mrs Ott or may be not even Raswan. As I see it, they basically carry the family name of the breeders of such horses.

I dont think we have to dig into this subject any further, it will lead to now-where in my opinion.

Have a nice evening
Hansi biggrin.gif
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Guest_CarynGuest_*
post Nov 29 2004, 02:54 PM
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QUOTE (Erika @ Nov 29 2004, 12:11 AM)
Too bad Lady Blunt's journals and the translated info from the tribes weren't available when Jane Ott wrote the Blue List. I'm sure she would have taken Lady Anne's word as gospel and the whole sublisting thing could have been avoided.  It would have prevented a lot of heartache.

No doubt. While it is true that Ms. Ott's sublisting of Basilisk is of little or no consequence to contemporary Egyptian breeders, particularly those who have taken the time to understand the nature of the issue, anyone who has read Arabian horse breeding articles of the era recognizes the painful discourse which it caused. Although there was never any claim regarding pedigree flaw, an aura of implied suspicion was unjustifiably created, and that did hurt breeders and caused factions within the preservation community. Today, organizations such as Al Khamsa and the Asil Club provide objective, universally accepted indexing of Asil Arabians...back then, the Blue List was "it". Fortunately, despite the upset, the Basilisk line has survived to produce some of our most celebrated Egyptian Arabian families, not the least of which was headed by the Egyptian matriarch RDM Maar Hala, the Number One Egyptian Dam of Champions. I think we could say that this is a case where the quality of the horses themselves overcame the "manmade" obstacles thrown in their path and disproved the prevailing dogma of the day.
Caryn
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post Nov 29 2004, 04:57 PM
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Thanks Caryn for the information about Basilisk.

I always loved Basilisk, she just has this wonderful expression in her eyes and I can understand, that she was Judith´s favourite horse.

But many many people will say : What an untypy head .
The same head, that was discussed in the thread :Is this we are to become.

tongue.gif Sorry , but THIS already WAS THERE and is absolutly an original type, but many deny this fact and adore just the modern fashion with little dished heads.

Many many Arabians in former times and today, including the Bahrein Arabians have more straight and longer heads.Very often they have the most wonderful charakter, as Judith also realized.

Can someone please put a photo of Basilisk here ?

Greetings Sylvia
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post Nov 29 2004, 06:08 PM
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I don't know how to post pictures but here is a link

http://public.fotki.com/hypoint/arabians/a...asilisk_db.html
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Guest_CarynGuest_*
post Nov 29 2004, 06:30 PM
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Hi Sylvia,
Yes, I definitely agree with you, by today's standards this would not have been considered a "typey" head at all. Neither would those of the great majority of the desertbred foundation ancestors of our most "exotic" headed Egyptian Arabians today. In order to be able to judge accurately, we must compare within the proper context. I believe the early breeders of Egypt had a particular vision of their own, the protoype for which was found in their ancient carvings and etchings, and they recreated that vision over generations, through selectively breeding their preferred traits from the plainer looking desertbred ancestry. I believe our modern concept of a "typey" Arabian head comes from that evolved Egyptian style. Personally, I also prefer a dished profile and have selectively bred for a specific look. However, I do recognize that while the dished profile did exist in desertbred stock it was his was not at all typical, and it really has become a "cultivated" taste. When you compare the photo of Basilisk to some of our more well known desertbred ancestors, I believe you will find her was one of the "typier" ones. Interestingly, some of the most typey, even exotic, Arabian heads today can be found on Basilisk descendants. Thank you, Pashon 2,000, for posting the link to the photo, that was very helpful. I was able to view it with not trouble.
Caryn
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Pashon2001
post Nov 29 2004, 06:37 PM
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Hope this works!
Attached thumbnail(s)
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idan atiq
post Nov 29 2004, 07:12 PM
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Shalom and greetings from Israel!
Caryn, thank you for sharing this information on Basilisk, especially all the original quotes and the new data from the Dirks'. You presented the material beautifully, as always.
There is no doubt that Basilisk was an asil db mare - no matter what how we label her.
Basilisk certainly has proven herself beyond doubt in my book and, as you may recall, I bred the Basilisk line through the Rabanna horses for decades - both in the States and in Israel.

Thanks for posting the lovely historic photo. Brings back memories.

Some food for thought....
After living in the Middle East for 20+ years I must agree with Hansi that our western labels - which we have devised in a true attempt to preserve our beloved bedouin horses - often cause incredible confusion - especially among residents of the Middle East.
I'm responsible for introducing these labels into the Israeli horse community, and looking back, kind of sorry that I did so. Even though I try to educate people directly, confusion is rampant. As an example, Arabian horse breeders in my area are certain that a horse is EITHER Al Khamsa, Straight Egyptian, or Sheikh Obeyd - their logic being that each group must be exclusive of the other - how can one horse be possibly more than one of the above? Since most have no access to written materials from the west on the subject or do not have a good enough knowledge of English, this creates all sorts of misunderstandings. I plan to offer a lecture explaining these "labels", their meanings, and their history but have little doubt that the confusion will remain to a great degree.

All the best and happy holidays!

Tzviah
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HLM
post Nov 29 2004, 08:33 PM
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Dear Tsviah

Please read the thread from Debra Schrishun. "Asil/Blue List, etc on this forum. there are datas which might interest you.

If indeed you give lectures on the "Labels" please make absolutely certain that there were/are "two" purposes these were created. One was for the sincere experienced breeder wanting to preserve the best and highest quality of those catogorized, other did it for a marketing tools to enhance prices, regardless of quality. One had at best to look at the breeders of individual horses, which will give a better understanding, why was what done. But also please do not overlook that some label makers broke their own rules and included horses which by no means or the wildest imagination belong under such labels. The mere acceptance by these organization of such horses, has absolutely nothing to do with with what was meant to be preserved.
But you are safe with Basilisk, anybody who even in the slightest way made adverse remarks/statements, is/was only daydreaming.
Let them give you facts and have them refrain from fictions.

Have a nice day
hansi biggrin.gif
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post Nov 29 2004, 10:12 PM
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Hi Tzviah,
It's great to hear from you, thank you for joining the discussion. I hear what your saying regarding confusion over subgrouping and I understand completely. I don't think the confusion is restricted to Middle Easterners, plenty of newcomers to the breed find it confusing regardless of where they are from. I'm sure your lecture will go a long way in helping to make it clearer. Do you think perhaps it might be helpful if you drew an analogy to a library indexing system, where you begin by locating a broad category of interest and further narrow down to smaller and more specific subcategories? Or, if their is a general understanding of the Bedouin tribal systems, whereby there were many smaller tribes existing under the umbrella of a larger tribal confederacy, perhaps that might help to clarify the Asil indexing system? If I can be of any assistance whatsoever, if you think I may have some literature in my files that would help you, please let me know - it would be my pleasure. I do recall your fondness for the Rabanna lines, and you may also recall that they were among my favorite individuals when I visited Richard Pritzlaff years ago. Clearly, the Otts did not share that opinion, which is perfectly fine. The differences in taste is what makes breeding interesting and diverse. Although I do feel that the sublisting was an unfortunate mistake, it is to Ms. Ott's considerable credit that she never pretended that it was based on anything more than a personal opinion. I appreciate and admire her honesty, as well as her devotion to preserving an intact pool of original Asil ancestry.

Hope all is well with you, and please keep up the great work. You are a fine ambassador of our breed!

Caryn
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diane
post Nov 30 2004, 12:54 AM
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Tzviah, wishing you success with the "lecture" concept. What about formalising this lecture into an article for global magazines and websites? I'm sure it won't go astray biggrin.gif Even down to some of the questions, which I feel sure may arise.

Caryn - thanks for your post on Basilisk
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Caryn Rogosky
post Nov 30 2004, 01:26 AM
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I think that is an outstanding idea!
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Guest_Guest_*
post Nov 30 2004, 08:32 AM
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Here the link to an other photo, I hope it works.


http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/index.php?...ssword=&x=0&y=0

Sylvia
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Guest_SylviaGuest_*
post Nov 30 2004, 08:58 AM
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Hi Caryn,

I love and adore Arabians with typy dished heads as well.
But I would wish more acception for the "oldfashioned" type, like Basilisk.
This is NOT a breeding of nowadays, like many people state, who assume, that thoroughbred or saddlebred blood would be used, especially in the USA.

I am convinced, that this head is often genetically combined with excellent character and outstanding athletic ability. Selecting on a more refined head goes along often with the reduce of these points. But its too bad, that many people wish this type of Arabian ot disappear from the world.

I really wish, that everybody accepts the "old type" beside the prettier ones.

And if you ask owner of these "saddlebred"type Arabians, as bad tongues say,
I am absolutly sure, that most of them never never would change with a more prettier headed Arabian, so as Judth never would have changed Basilisk with an other horse, no matter how pretty.
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