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*ANSATA IBN HALIMA — by Linda White

*ANSATA IBN HALIMA — by Linda White


bn Halima was a gift to the world, although we didn’t know it

at the time,” recalls Judith Forbis. “Who could foretell what life had in store for a yearling colt and the young newlyweds who saw in him and his sisters something they had searched the Arab

1969 U.S. National Top Ten Stallion *Ansata Ibn Halima.

world for and had not found — until then! We had been students, doing our work diligently, trying to better understand what

   The following summer, Socialist President Nasser’s EAO

constituted beauty and truth in this breed of horse. By the time

administrators asked the ailing General von Standtner to retire,

we reached Egypt, we had mastered our lessons and our search

appointing in his place capable Egyptian veterinarian Dr.

was rewarded.”

Mohamed El Marsafi as RAS/EAO Director. In October of 1959,

   It had been almost a year earlier, on September 16, 1958, that

when a young American couple, Donald and Judith Forbis,

the bay Sheikh El Arab daughter Halima had foaled a handsome

came to look for Arabian bloodstock, it was Dr. Marsafi who

grey colt at the Royal Agricultural Society’s El Zahraa Stud near

assisted them. Halima’s Nazeer colt, who was now a yearling,

Cairo, Egypt. Halima, whose name means “the gentle one” in

dazzled them, as did his two paternal sisters: yearling fillies

Arabic, was out of an Ibn Rabdan daughter who traced to the

Bint Mabrouka and Bint Zaafarana. When the Forbises, married

Dahman Shahwan strain long treasured by Arabian horse

less than a year, discovered that their savings wouldn’t meet

breeders and connoisseurs. Halima’s colt was the result of a

the EAO’s asking price for the three grey youngsters, Dr. Marsafi

mating to Nazeer, the most influential Egyptian sire of his era, to

and Dr. Afifi, his superior, kindly accepted the couple’s counter

produce the RAS’s first pedigree in which stallion Mansour

offer for the fillies, and presented Ibn Halima as a gift to the

appeared twice. When former Babolna director Tibor von

couple. A gift! A special gift indeed!

Standtner, a fine horseman, assumed the RAS directorship

   “There was something special about Ibn Halima that stood out

in 1949, he was immediately attracted to the Mansour blood

from the first time we saw him: a subtle, faraway look and

through his son Nazeer, and daughters of Mansour’s son

ethereal expression in the big, dark and gentle eyes, perfectly set

Sheikh El Arab.

in a uniquely beautiful head. He was perfectly balanced, his

   Nazeer, foaled in 1934, was a successful racehorse highly

demeanor spirited, and he reflected gentility and nobility. We

regarded for passing on his excellent legs, long, sloping shoulder,

had no plans to show him or his sisters, but when Ibn Halima,

deep heart girth and good size, a pleasant surprise given that his

Bint Zaafarana, and Bint Mabrouka arrived in America,

own stature was a mere 14.3. His “nieces,” the Sheikh El Arab

photographs of the three yearlings together appeared in

daughters, were especially beautiful. Ibn Halima, “son of the

newspapers and Arabian horse magazines. Immediately, people

gentle one,” a classic Dahman Shahwan and the first result of

from across the U.S. thronged to see them and wrote us letters

the close Mansour linebreeding, had an embarrassment of

of enthusiasm, wanting to learn more about the bloodlines

riches: size, wonderful structure, extreme quality, and an

behind these imports. I wrote articles for Arabian magazines

abundance of classic Arabian type. General von Standtner’s

describing the present-day horses bred at the EAO, and it wasn’t

experiment would produce many of the RAS’s best horses, of

long before the words “Egyptian Arabians” were heard often in

which this colt was clearly an example.

horse circles.”






*Ansata Ibn Halima, *Ansata Bint Mabrouka, and *Ansata Bint Zaafarana at the time of their selection by the Forbises.

*Ansata Ibn Halima in Egypt in 1959.

   Indeed, as historian Gladys Brown Edwards later observed,

Jimmy Dean visited and passed his approval on the trio. Although

“The importation of those three grey yearlings by the Forbises in

Richard Pritzlaff, a New Mexico breeder whose 1958 importation

1959 proved to be the spark that ignited the enthusiasm for the

had included two El Sareei daughters, two Nazeer daughters and

new Egyptian horses. One of those yearlings, *Ansata Ibn

a young Nazeer son, expressed little interest, Chicagoan Henry

Halima, has won many halter championships. He is a horse with

Babson, whose first importations from Egypt took place in 1932,

excellent action (as have so many Egyptian imports), and he has

sent four of his best mares.

also won several park classes. The Forbises have written many

   After a fitful initial start, the Babson alliance proved fruitful.

informative articles … but it was their report of the Egyptian

The two oldest mares failed to conceive, and El Maar died giving

horses, along with excellent photographs of previously


birth to her *Ansata Ibn Halima son, who also died, but Fa-Habba

pictured breeding stock, that revitalized interest in Egyptian

produced *Ansata Ibn Halima’s first filly, Falima, who became


the foundation mare of the Ansata Nile program. A colt, Ansata

   Ansata, the ancient, cruciform Egyptian symbol for Key of Life,

Abbas Pasha (*Ansata Ibn Halima x *Ansata Bint Mabrouka) was

was the Forbises’ choice for their farm name, so the three

traded to Babson for the near-black mare Sabrah. Bred to

imports — and every horse subsequently bred by the couple —

*Ansata Ibn Halima, Sabrah produced 1980 U.S. National

were officially registered in the Arabian Horse Registry of

Champion Mare Fa Halima, and her full sister, champion

America with the U.S. trademarked Ansata prefix before their

producer Ansata Sahiba.

names. The first product of the Ansata breeding program was

   Jim Panek was one of the judges at the 1980 U.S. National

Ansata Ali Pasha, son of *Ansata Ibn Halima and *Ansata Bint

Championships. The California horseman had judged — and

Zaafarana and thus, “double Nazeer.” Sold to Florida breeder

been smitten by – Fa Halima earlier in the year. “She was the

Willis Flick as a weanling in 1964, Ansata Ali Pasha became a

kind of Arabian mare that just captured every fiber of one’s

champion and 1968 Canadian Top Ten Stallion, the first *Ansata

being,” he admits. “At Nationals that year, this beautiful creature,

Ibn Halima offspring to win a national title. That list eventually

standing at the end of a 10-foot lead, showed the world that she

grew to include 13 U.S. and Canadian National winners and

was now the U.S. National Champion Mare. I had followed

59 Class ‘A’ champions.

*Ansata Ibn Halima’s career through three Top Tens at U.S.

   Through *Ansata Ibn Halima, *Morafic and others, Nazeer’s

Nationals and also as a winning park horse,” he recalls, as

influence on Arabian horse breeding in North America would be

quoted in The Gift, by Judith Forbis. “Ansata Ibn Halima was the

profound. An astonishing 70 percent of the Nazeer offspring would

catalyst from which I developed my penchant for type … the

produce national winners. Ansata’s three Nazeer yearlings quickly

hallmark of the Arabian breed.”

attracted the attention of many North American breeders,

   On the Babson home front in Dixon, Ill., the Ansata Abbas

particularly those with earlier imports. Revered *Raffles devotee

Pasha daughters out of other Babson mares were becoming top




*Ansata Ibn Halima’s“harem” of Nazeer daughters, photographed in Chickasha, Oklahoma, by Jerry Sparagowski.

Halima to Texas to breed the Gleannloch mares *Maisa El Saghira, *Bint Nefisaa, *Bint Mona, *Salomy, *Samarra and *Sanaa. *Ansata Ibn Halima in Lufkin, Texas (1970s), with Judith Forbis.

   “There weren’t many straight Egyptians in the country at that time, other than the Babson herd and its relatives,” Judith

producers. Ansata Abbas Pasha became a European Reserve

Forbis points out. “The decision to send *Ansata Ibn Halima to

World Champion at the Salon du Cheval with David Gardner for

Gleannloch helped change the face of Egyptian Arabian horse

Bentwood Farm, and, at 17, Abbas Pasha went to Dr. Hans

breeding — and its recognition — worldwide. The Marshalls

Nagel’s Katharinenhof Stud in Germany, where he also serviced

became our close friends, providing the opportunity for *Ansata

mares from Marbach Stud. Abbas Pasha was not *Ansata Bint

Ibn Halima to be bred to their excellent mares, and to be shown

Mabrouka’s first foal, however. His breathtaking older full

under Gleannloch’s auspices by Tom and Rhita McNair.”

brother was the consummate Egyptian Arabian torchbearer,

   In The Gift, Tom McNair remembers: “Even though 1965 seems

Ansata Ibn Sudan. It was Ibn Sudan who won the title of 1971

like quite awhile ago, I remember it as if it were yesterday. That

U.S. National Champion Stallion against 83 competitors, and

was the year we leased *Ansata Ibn Halima, and the year in

went on to sire National top ten champions in both halter and

which we showed him to multiple halter, park championships


and most classic Arabian awards. I then went on to show him

   *Ansata Bint Mabrouka, dam of Ibn Sudan and Abbas Pasha,

three times to top ten stallion at the U.S. Nationals. I can truly

was a full sister to *Morafic, the Nazeer son Texas breeders

say that ‘Ib’ was the easiest horse I’ve ever shown at halter. He

Douglas and Margaret Marshall imported to head the stallion

liked to snort and blow when you were trotting him, and he

roster at Gleannloch Farm. These two individuals’ productivity,

always moved in hand with a big, bold trot. It was a pleasure and

while truly remarkable, was predictable. Mabrouka (Sid Abouhom

a privilege to train and show such a horse. Obviously, *Ansata

x Moniet El Nefous), dam of *Morafic and *Ansata Bint Mabrouka,

Ibn Halima did a great deal to popularize the Egyptian Arabian

was also a full sister to Lubna, who produced *Sultann, the sire


of beloved multiple U.S. National Champions *Asaad and

   “*Bint Maisa El Saghira and *Ansata Ibn Halima were on the


show road together, winning plaudits and admiration wherever

   Meanwhile, the Forbises added to their collection. They were

they were presented,” Judi recalls of those days. “Their resulting

finally able to import Hosnia (renamed *Ansata Bint Bukra), who

filly, Dahma Shahwania, an exceptionally beautiful mare, was

was unavailable earlier due to African Horse Sickness quarantine

admired throughout her lifetime, and eventually was purchased

problems. *Ansata Bint Bukra arrived in the United States in foal

by Count Federico Zichy-Thyssen, a man with an eye for

to Sameh, and she and her resulting Sameh daughter *Ansata


Bint Misr joined the Ansata foundation mares. Then, in 1965,

   “*Bint Nefisaa was one of the outstanding Nazeer daughters:

Douglas and Margaret Marshall arranged to bring *Ansata Ibn

small, but perfect in every way. She and*Ansata Ibn Halima






LEFT TO RIGHT: Ansata Samantha, the founder of a popular family found mostly in Arabia and the Gulf States; Falima, founder of the Nile family at Ansata; and Ansata Aziza, full sister to U.S. National Top Ten Ansata El Nisr.

produced two excellent daughters and the wonderful El Hilal.

brother to *Ansata Bint Zaafarana, were Egyptians, as were two

Needless to say, El Hilal has gone down in breed history as a

of the Top Ten mares: *Romanaa II and Nahlah. Two years later,

legendary sire.” El Hilal, a foal of 1966, was three times a

both the 1971 U.S. National Champion Stallion Ansata Ibn

Canadian or U.S. National top ten stallion. He was ultimately

Sudan, and the 1971 U.S. National Champion Mare *Serenity

syndicated by breeder Ron Palelek, and sired more champions

Sonbolah were imported Egyptians. Rahalima (*Ansata Ibn

and national winners than any other living Egyptian stallion. El

Halima x Bint Rahma), owned by Bevan Arabians, was twice a

Hilal’s get included more than 150 champions and 44 national

U.S. National Top Ten Park Horse. *Nihal, a Gleannloch import,


was chosen a U.S. National Western Pleasure Champion from 98

   “*Bint Mona was one of my all-time favorite Nazeer daughters,”


Judi continues. “She produced the classic colt Mohssen, who

   With Fa Halima’s win in 1980, *Ansata Ibn Halima became one

was shown successfully, and became a good sire. I’m pleased to

of only five stallions at that time ever to have sired a U.S.

say that today we have three mares in our herd who trace to

National Champion Mare and Stallion. The *Ansata Ibn Halima

*Bint Mona. *Samarra was a strong-bodied, well-balanced mare

grandget and great-grandget with national titles and class ‘A’

who produced El Hadiyi, a handsome bay son who proved to be

wins now number in the hundreds, and *Ansata Ibn Halima can

a fine sire.

be found, often multiple times, in the pedigrees of a high

   “Successfully mated to *Ansata Ibn Halima, *Sanaa

percentage of current champions and national winners around

produced many-time halter and performance winner Hossny,

the world.

who went on to become head sire at Alameda Farm, then at

   Breeders began to join Ansata, Gleannloch and Imperial in

Imperial Egyptian Stud, and finally, for Count Zichy-Thyssen,

carefully linebreeding new Egyptian bloodstock, with descendants

who used him as a sire and as his personal riding horse.

of *Ansata Ibn Halima and his paternal sisters at the core. The

Sadly, Hossny died of a snakebite in South America.

first wave included Bentwood Farm, who bought Ansata Sherifa

   “Bint Deena resulted from the later import of *Deena, an

and Ansata El Khedive. Glorieta Ranch bought Ansata Abu

excellent bay Sameh daughter who was eventually purchased by

Nazeer, and Roy Kurth and daughter Judy bought Hossny, who

Gleannloch, then by the St. Clairs. Bred to *Ansata Ibn Halima,

was by now a multiple champion. Ansata Ali Pasha was already

she produced Bint Deena: one of those rare matriarchs in the

at Glenglade; Clarence and Daisy Hardin bought Ansata El Sherif

breed on which a farm can build its reputation — as did Les and

and named their ranch after him; Dick and Charlotte Kuebler at

Lois St. Clair.”

Moss Hill bought Sar Fadl Halim; and Cathy Downing bought

   Although few in number, the Egyptian imports began to

Ansata Shah Zam. Philipe de Bourbon exported Ansata Nile Sun

change the face of the American show ring as well. At the 1969

to Uruguay, and Count Zichy-Thyssen exported Ansata Ibn

U.S. National Championships, three of the Top Ten stallions:

Bukra to Argentina. Zichy-Thyssen also purchased one-half

*Ansata Ibn Halima, his son Ansata Ibn Sudan, and *Talal, a full

interest in Ansata Shah Zaman. Other breeders, large and small,




LEFT TO RIGHT: Ansata Sokar (Imperial Madheen x Ansata Samantha), Ansata Sirius (Ansata Iemhotep x Ansata Sekhmet), and Ansata Nile Mist (Ansata Ibn Sudan x Falima).

turned to the Ansata program for guidance and foundation

the least. We would have bought *Bint Moniet’s full sister, Maya,

bloodstock. Veteran breeder Roy Jackson told Judith Forbis, “God

on a later trip to Egypt, but when we got there, it was too late.

was good to you when He gave you that horse.”

She had hanged herself on her halter rope. We have recently

   In 1981, the Forbises, the Marshalls, the Flicks, and other

purchased a fine chestnut mare intensely bred to *Bint Moniet El

Egyptian breeders came together to form The Pyramid Society.

Nefous, and we look forward to breeding her to close-up

Today, The Pyramid Society, headquartered at the Kentucky

*Ansata Ibn Halima bloodlines.

Horse Park, hosts the annual Egyptian Event, and has grown into

   “Our breeding program began with limited bloodstock,” she

a significant, high profile entity which actively promotes and

reminds us. “We selected those individuals we liked most, and

preserves the Egyptian Arabian horse the world over. Nazeer

by doubling Nazeer through *Ansata Ibn Halima and *Morafic on

descendants play a significant role in Egyptian Arabian horse

our Nazeer daughters, we set our initial type. We selected

breeding (and preservation) in America, but, says Judi, there is

particular female lines — and I cannot emphasize strongly

one caveat:

enough the importance of certain female lines — if one is

   “I am always amazed when people say a horse has ‘X number

attempting to fix a type. *Ansata Ibn Halima was strong enough

of crosses to Nazeer, or some other horse.’ The number of

to impart his qualities to some degree on all the mares he bred

crosses means nothing unless the horse represents the qualities

— even those of different strains — but the way we interwove

of the referenced individual. Initially, we linebred by breeding a

the pedigrees through certain selections created the type we

Nazeer son to a Nazeer daughter. We later incorporated Nazeer


grandsons Ansata Shah Zaman, Ansata Ibn Sudan, Ansata

   What about selection criteria in the tricky business of close

Halim Shah, Ansata Hejazi, etc., always using stallions who had

linebreeding? A deleterious genetic trait need not be expressed

the Ansata ‘look.’ A few times we crossed father to daughter, but

to be present, nonetheless, in the gene pool — and linebreeding

the close linebreeding was more satisfactory in general.”

reduces the size of that gene pool significantly. Horse breeder,

   Considering the excellence of the cross on *Ansata Ibn Halima

author and painter Judith Forbis is a scholar and an artist in the

with the two Moniet El Nefous granddaughters, *Ansata Bint

literal, as well as the figurative, sense. What are her insights?

Mabrouka and *Bint Mona, would not the unforgettable *Bint

   “It is difficult to specify selection criteria, because this relates

Moniet El Nefous have been an ideal cross as well? “We asked

to artistic talent,” she muses. “Painters using the same subject

Richard Pritzlaff many times to please consider it, but he insisted

and same materials and pigments will create completely different

on breeding her to his stallion *Rashad Ibn Nazeer,” explains

paintings because of each’s inner vision and sensitivity. Similarly,

Judi. “He was a horse completely out of type to her, and in my

some horse breeders I know have visualized what they wanted

opinion, none of her bay daughters by *Rashad resembles her in

to produce, and although the likelihood of their vision’s resulting





ARABIAN ARCHIVES: *ANSATA IBN HALIMA from the selected mating was remote, it happened. I think there

and World Champion *Simeon Shai, and Australian National

must be a magnetic attraction to be considered, too, having


much to do with the law of attraction through love.”


   Love was the primary ingredient in the long relationship

   Jody Cruz was 13 or 14 when he and his father, Dr. Felino Cruz,

between *Ansata Ibn Halima and Don and Judith Forbis. After

attended an open house at Ansata, then in Lufkin, Texas.

rallying from several bouts with colic at their Lufkin, Texas,

Rancho Bulakenyo today treasures its two *Ansata Ibn Halima

ranch, he died the morning of his 23rd birthday, on September

offspring. “My father always dreamed of owning a straight

16, 1981, at the new Ansata Arabian Stud in Mena, Ark. Tributes

Egyptian *Ansata Ibn Halima daughter, but that never did

to the stallion poured in from around the world. Expressions of

happen — although the colts *Halima gave us have done very

lasting admiration for the beloved grey stallion are reflected in

well for themselves,” explains Jody, who is a physician himself.

the wonderful book, The Gift, published in 1998 and available

“We are very proud of our two *Ansata Ibn Halima get: our

through The Pyramid Society.

senior herd sire, El Halimaar (x RDM Maar Hala, an *Ansata Ibn

   “The contribution of *Ansata Ibn Halima to our breeding program

Halima granddaughter), and Cameo’s Jewel (x Cedardell Cameo).”

is pervasive and ongoing,” writes Barbara Griffith. “At Imperial his

Late Egyptian Arabian breeder Lee Romney, of Somerset Farm,

get and grandget were the progenitors of entire families of famous

bred Cameo’s Jewel.

Egyptian Arabians, many of which are still an integral part of our

   “Looking back over the past 40 years,” says Judi Forbis, “I

program. These include Ansata Imperial, Ansata Nile Mist, Imperial

realize in retrospect how dramatically this ‘gift’ affected our

Phanilah, Imperial Pharida, and U.S. National Reserve Champion

future, and touched the lives of people in all walks of life, on

Stallion Imperial Imdal, to name a few.”

every continent where Arabian horses are bred.”

   Breeder and pedigree authority Walter Schimanski first saw

   Two were Michigan breeder Joe Ferris and his wife, Sharon,

*Ansata Ibn Halima in a park class during the 1960s, and was

who first visited Ansata in Texas in July 1977. “When I close my

enthralled with the beautiful stallion’s fantastic movement and

eyes, I can see *Ansata Ibn Halima today,” offers Joe. “He was

overall brilliance. “I decided on that day that he was everything

one of those horses — a vision you never forget. A gift is not a

an Arabian stallion should be. He was truly a legend in his time,

choice, but a fate. Don and Judi have journeyed far, working

and the love and admiration people felt for him during his

hard, making good choices, and experiencing life. The gift of

lifetime has not dimmed in the years since his death.”

*Ansata Ibn Halima was their destiny, and many were rewarded

   “*Ansata Ibn Halima has been a most valued influence in

thereby.”  ❑

Australia and at Simeon Stud,” states Marion Richmond, of Simeon Stud, NSW, Australia. Many of Simeon Stud’s best-





Judith and Don Forbis with *Ansata Ibn Halima.

producing mares and stallions, including U.S. National Champion The Ansata show barn in Mena, Ark., where *Ansata Ibn Halima resided.





*Ansata Ibn Halima  

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