Ariaban Essence

The Modern Kuhaylans in Egyptian Breeding
By Joseph Ferriss

Alfabia Jumeira (Phaaros x Grea Bint Khattaara)
tracing to Ameena via Omnia.
Owned by Alfala Stud - KSA.
Gigi Grasso photo.



It has been said that the Kuhaylan is the oldest Arabian strain of all so it is undeniably prevalent in the entire Arabian breed. There are old legends about the courageous and strong Kuhaylan mares in warfare in Bedouin lore, and in the early days it was always a good an honored name. Yet in modern times with all the focus on Saklawi and Dahman families has the Kuhaylan become forgotten? To forget means to become unfamiliar and that which we are unfamiliar with can too often be misunderstood. So in this newsletter let us re-acquaint ourselves with the Kuhaylan strain in Egyptian bloodlines.



Nazeera (Nazeer x Malaka)
a lovely mare of great finesse tracing in tail female to Bint Riyala of the Kuhaylan Rodan strain.
Dam line of World Champion Imperial Imdal and other champions.
Judith Forbis photo.



One of the most famous is the Kuhaylan Ajuz Rodan that comes down from the desert-bred mare Rodania, a powerful chestnut born in 1869, making hers one of the oldest Arabian families in the breed. She was known to be an exceptionally high quality mare of great nobility and spirit. Rodania was purchased from the Gomussa tribe by Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt as a foundation mare for their renowned Crabbet Stud. Rodania is perhaps one of the most globally prevalent ancestors in the entire Arabian breed. For example Rodania appears 216 times in the pedigree of the celebrated sire Marwan Al Shaqab and in fact even he is a Kuhaylan Ras Al Fedawi by strain. Rodania was already 12 years old when she arrived at Crabbet so only had 5 foals, 3 of which were daughters, the most prolific was Rose of Sharon sired by the desert bred stallion Hadban. Rose of Sharon is found worldwide in many Arabian pedigrees. Ironically the Rodania line might not have found its way to Egypt were it not for the manager of the RAS government stud Dr. Branch in 1920, purchasing two fillies from Crabbet, Bint Riyala and Bint Rissala, both of whose mothers were granddaughters of Rose of Sharon.

Mamlouka (Nazeer x Malaka)
full sister to Nazeera and another lovely mare represented by many champions internationally.
Granddam of prized European sire Serenity Habib.
Judith Forbis photo.



Bint Riyala was sired by Nadir, a Kuhaylan Dajani of 50% Ali Pasha Sherif breeding. He was a handsome, compact well built horse and his daughter Bint Riyala reflected that look. While she became an important broodmare at the RAS, she was later sold to T.G.B. Trouncer as a broodmare but he also showed her at the Tanta Arabian show in Cairo. Coming forward Bint Riyala's line came only through her excellent producing granddaughter Malaka. Malaka in turn was the dam of Russia's excellent import Azmi, who though he died shortly after importation nonetheless became grandsire of internationally famous Palas. Then Malaka proved her finest "golden cross" with Nazeer producing the 4 great ones, Samia, Nazeera, Mamlouka and Waseem, and Malaka's only daughter allowed to leave Egypt was the Gleannloch import to the US, Salomy, creating a line of numerous show winners. Perhaps the most famous descendant of Bint Riyala was the exceptional World Champion and sire of international Champions, Imperial Imdal. I recall his Reserve US National Championship well, he was so balanced and typy and proud in the ring that I only saw him as the supreme horse in the ring and in fact he later proved to win the Supreme Championship at the US Egyptian Event. As a sire he has a long list of champions to his credit. From his dam line to Nazeera also comes numerous champion producing mares, Amani (x El Sareei) dam of US National Champion Asadd, Omayma (x Sameh) a champion producer, as well as the mares Serenity Luftia (x Nasralla), Heba (x Seef) and Manzoura (x Sultann). There are also excellent champion producing mares from Bint Riyala's line via Mamlouka that include SF Bint Mamlouka (Mashhour x Mamlouka), Set El Wadi (x El Sareei), Fifi (x Anter), and the sisters Fawkia and Momtaza (x Sameh). Thus the Bint Riyala line in Egyptian breeding has proven that it can compete very successfully in the show ring.


The incomparable international champion and sire of champions, Imperial Imdal,
a Kuhaylan Rodan of the Bint Riyala dam line.
Polly Knoll photo.

The great EAO sire Alaa El Din (Nazeer x Kateefa),
a grandson of the mare Bint Rissala, and sire of many superior producing mares.
Judith Forbis photo.

Bint Rissala, though related to Bint Riyala was a different type of mare resembling more her sire Ibn Yashmak. She was tall, elegant and tended to produce size, elegance and brilliant motion. Interestingly Bint Rissala was the highest percentage of Abbas Pasha/Ali Pasha Sherif breeding at 87.5% and it seemed to show persistently in the elegance of her line. With 13 foals she was very prolific at the EAO. One of her most universally admired grandsons is the classically handsome Alaa El Din (Nazeer x Kateefa), an extraordinary sire of superior producing mares, including the immortal Hanan. Kateefa's grandson Farag (x Morafic) was a much admired and beautifully photographed stallion who sired many magnificent horses. There are so many champions credited to the Bint Rissala line that it could create a separate chapter. Another stunning stallion of the Bint Rissala line was the incomparable El Mareekh who I will never forget seeing his brilliant presence at the US Egyptian Event in the 1980s. Certainly among the most universally admired females of the Bint Rissala line was the incomparable US National Champion mare Serenity Sonbolah (Sameh x BInt Om El Saad). Everyone who ever saw her in person loved her, she was unforgettable. Her famous descendants include the exceptional sire, ZT Faa Iq who has 4 lines to Bint Rissala, and in turn he is the sire of the stunning champion Phaaros, a classically beautiful horse and great sire on several continents.


Farag, (Morafic x Bint Kateefa)
a classic stallion whose dam was a granddaughter of Bint Rissala.
An influential sire in Europe.
Forbis archive photo.

 ZT Faa Iq (Anaza El Farid x ZT Jamdusah)
a superior sire with 4 crosses to Bint Rissala,
one of which is his tail female to Serenity Sonbolah.
Owned by Al Rashediah Stud.
Gigi Grasso photo.

Another spectacular stallion with 5 crosses to Bint Rissala is Jahleel Le Soleil, 2014 Czeck Republic National Champion owned by Bebo Stud. Bint Rissala's granddaughter Om El Saad is the root of many superior horses bred at renowned Albadeia stud, including being the dam line of the beloved Kayed. Even the Royal Inshass Stud in Egypt benefited from Bint Rissala's line via her daughter Yaquota (x Balance). This is the line of Ameena (x Hamdan) that is considered one of the most beautiful and elegant lines of Kuhaylan Rodan, a particular branch that blends so well with sires of Saqlawi, Dahman and Kuhaylan. Ameena is the result of two generations of Saqlawi sires crossed on the Bint Rissala line.


Jahleel Le Soleil (Ajmal Maghreb x Alfabia Al Kharafi)
2014 Czech National Champion Stallion with 5 crosses to Bint Rissala.
Owned by Bebo Stud - Miloslava Khamis.
Johanna Jonientz photo.


This is the dam line of the splendid producer Omnia (Alaa El Din x Ameena). I remember in 1975 seeing the stunning full brother to Omnia, Mahran imported to the US. I marveled at his finesse, dryness and elegance. He was certain to become an important sire but sadly died the year after I saw him being only 6 years old. But I was convinced that there was something magical in this particular double Bint Rissala cross. Perhaps it was the high percentage of Ali Pasha Sherif blood, but either way his sister Omnia went on to create a family of very beautiful Arabian horses including her son Abenhetep (x Ibn Hafiza) sire of many horses including the memorable Patrick Swayze stallion Tammen.

El Mareekh (Aseel x Rawayeh)
a magnificent stallion and champion sire that died too young.
Jerry Sparagowski photo.

Ameena (Hamdan x Yaman)
foaled at Inshass Royal Stud in Egypt pictured in old age.
Ameena's descendants possess a certain magic with many refined and beautiful descendants.
Judith Forbis photo.

Omnia's daughter AK Khattaara was a magnificent producing mare, and being by Ibn Moniet El Nefous, she showed how this line blends well with Saklawi. If she had no more foals than her first son, Al Kidir (x TheEgyptianPrince) that would be enough as he proved to be an excellent sire on several continents. But AK Khattaara also produced the magnificent mare Grea Bint Khattaara (x Moroc), dam of the stunning mare Alfabia Jumiera (x Phaaros), who combines perfectly the Bint Riyala and Bint Rissala lines with high percentages of Dahman and Saklawi.


Grea Bint Khataara

Alfabia Jumeira

The magnificent Grea Bint Khataara, key progenitor of Bint Rissala's line from Omnia, and dam of Alfabia Jumeira.
Both owned by Alfala Stud.
Gigi Grasso photo.

More superb examples of this Omnia line include the beautiful bay mare VP Athalheid (Grea Dahman x VP Wanisa) with 11 lines to Bint Rissala, and her Phaaros filly, Nazeera Le Soleil with 15 lines to Bint Rissala. With each generation the Omnia line proves its lasting magic from Bint Rissala.


The future from Omnia's line, Nazeera Le Soleil (Phaaros x VP Athalheid).
Bred and owned by Le Soleil Stud.
Elvis Giughera photo.

VP Athalheid (Grea Dahman x VP Wanisa)
beautiful moving bay mare with 11 crosses to Bint Rissala.
Owned by Le Soleil Stud.
Gigi Grasso photo.

The Kuhaylan strain was not only introduced into Egypt via the Rodania line but also the Royal Inshass Stud founded it beginnings on the mare El Kahila, a legendary Kuhaylan Kroush mare acquired in 1927 from King Ibn Sa'ud. The Kroush was long celebrated in the desert and sought after by Abbas Pasha. From El Kahila in female line comes the mare Shahbaa (Hamdan x Shahd) bred at Inshass and the root of this rare Kuhaylan strain. Shahbaa, like the previously mentioned Ameena is a daughter of Inshass's magnificent Saklawi stallion Hamdan and this cross of Hamdan on Kuhaylan maintains a look of elegance. Perhaps the most celebrated member of this family is the stunningly beautiful Safinaz (Alaa El Din x Ramza), a chestnut granddaughter of Shahbaa who many visitors to the EAO admired as some considered Safinaz a second "Moniet El Nefous" type. Indeed her full brother Ibn Alaa El Din imported to the US was a very stylish and handsome example of this type. Interestingly this pedigree represents the combining of the elegant Bint Rissala from Alaa El Din with the fine qualities of Shahbaa. Most of Shahbaa's foals were by the masculine Gassir but when crossed back to Saklawi the results sustain this special elegance of the female line. One example I recall was the handsome stallion Shah Zoom, sired by Ansata Shah Zaman (Morafic x Ansata Bint Mabrouka) and out of Bint Shahbaa I (x Gassir). Of course one of the famous sons of Safinaz was Imperial Egyptian Stud's Ibn Safinaz. Sired by the high quality and masculine stallion Seef, Ibn Safinaz produced many fine daughters from a variety of strains.


Safinaz (Alaa El Din x Ramza),
shown here in old age at the EAO. She was considered a "second Moniet" in type.
She is of the Kuhaylan Kroush strain and dam of Ibn Safinaz.
Judith Forbis photo.


Without a doubt one of the celebrated old Kuhaylan strains in Egyptian breeding was that of the Kuhaylan Mimreh, the strain of Nazeer's sire Mansour. Sadly this strain as a female line dwindled down to the magnificent export to South Africa, Baraka (Ibn Manial x Gamalat). She was a much-admired beauty. However as a female line it is now lost and only exists in straight Egyptian via her son Gordonville Ziyadan.

Baraka (Ibn Manial x Gamalat) in old age in South Africa.
She was the last of the celebrated Kuhaylan Mimreh strain, the strain of Nazeer's sire Mansour. 
Forbis archive.


The celebrated Bint Yamama line from Prince Mohammed Ali was originally recorded as Kuhaylan Jellabi, though now modern DNA confirms its relationship to Abbas Pasha's prized mare Ghazieh of the Saklawi Jidran Ibn Sudan strain. Depending on one's point of view as to her strain, this line has also produced many magnificent horses and has a long history of crossing well with Saklawi as illustrated by the great sire Prince Fa Moniet (TheEgyptianPrince x Fa Moniet).

Prince Fa Moniet (TheEgyptianPrince x Fa Moniet)
an extremely prepotent sire representing intense Saklawi on the dam line of Bint Yamama.
Jerry Sparagowski photo.


So today the Kuhaylan families of Egypt have evolved into magnificent examples of the ideal Arabian horse with many, many international champions to their credit. It would be a mistake to try to categorize them as all one type or even as some 19th century example of the past for now they have become timeless classics to take their place among some of the finest of Egyptian horses. Long live the Kuhaylan, the oldest strain in the breed.



Temima (ZT Faa Iq x Tasaqqara)
a beautiful broodmare at Talaria in the US.
She is tail female to Bint Rissala and has 5 crosses to her.
Amy Austin photo.

About the Author

Joseph Ferriss Go to the author's page

Born in Detroit, Michigan USA in 1946, Joe Ferriss grew up fascinated by cars and art, later getting a Bachelors degree in Commercial Art from Michigan State University. Married in 1969, his wife Sharon introduced him to riding horses, immediately after which they discovered Arabians in early 1970. Joe quickly became consumed with learning all he could about Arabians, while owning and breeding a few along the way. He accumulated a large library on Arabians, Thoroughbreds, and general horse related information, some of which was inherited from his grandfather who was a member of the US Arabian Horse Registry in 1918. Joe traveled around the US throughout the 1970s and early 1980s filming many ancestors of today’s Arabians while interviewing breeders. For over 40 years, Joe has authored numerous articles on Arabians in North America, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. He has been a guest speaker and lecturer on Arabians since 1980 as well as serving as the past Editor/designer of Khamsat Magazine for 15 years. Joe was also a past president of Al Khamsa, Inc. Joe has traveled on research trips in Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain including spending time among the Bedouin tribes in the mid 1990s. In addition, he has designed and produced books on Arabian horses and on related Middle Eastern subjects for various authors and for the Pyramid Society. He currently serves on the board of the Arabian Horse Archives. This year marks his 50th anniversary of involvement with Arabians as he continues to enjoy his journey with this fabled breed.

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