The Paraskevas Arabians of Egypt, Part II

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stunning display of stallion power in the desert outside of Cairo introduced us to Philippe Paraskevas’s Egyptian

Arabian horses (November 2011 cover story). Now, he invites us back to the gardens of Dahshur to savor the full breadth of his almost 30 years of breeding. Two sire lines predominate: Anter (through Rabdan to Gamil el Kebir) and Akhtal. True to his interest in using the full diversity of EAO lines, Paraskevas notes that the Akhtal sire line descends from one of the rarest in Egyptian breeding, that of El Deree. Facing page and above: Zay el Hawa (SG), by Gabbar out of Aneeda EAO — “Is the pupil allowed to surpass the master? Can an emerging young stallion ever be considered superior to his sire? Normally, the credit for a good stallion goes to his sire, and breeders hesitate to elevate the young. In the knowledge of the above we will wait until we declare that Zay el Hawa has surpassed Gabbar, a stallion with a long track record. It may still just happen.” On the cover is Habib el Agal (KK), “Eternal Love,” a four-year-old stallion in the Krushan strain that ably represents both of Paraskevas’s favorite strains and sire lines.

Paraskevas is quite clear that his choice of both Akhtal and Anter sire lines came at the realization that the huge majority of breeders confine themselves to just one, the popular Saklawi I through Nazeer. This, in his view, is unsustainable. Paraskevas adds that he would love nothing more than the incorporation of more sire lines, such as that of Zobeyni.

by Denise Hearst photos by Glenn Jacobs

Gabbar stands at the head of the Ibn Akhtal line, with his son Zay el Hawa producing the Akhtal on Anter cross, a “powerful combination of highly desirable attributes,” according to Paraskevas. “Zay el Hawa has given us the young colt Sawwah and the filly Zay el Kamar.” In addition to many home-bred fillies from Gabbar, several of the mares Paraskevas acquired from the EAO (of various strains) were of the Akhtal sire line, including branches from Ibn Akhtal and Farag Allah. Top and bottom: Zay el Hawa (SG). Facing page: “KR Gabbar (Sajed x Haneyat EAO) is one of our prolific sires. Many of his fillies have been sold locally, and we treasure his daughters for their broodmare qualities. This is an Akhtal with Sameh influence from both his sire and dam.”



Strain abbreviations: DS - Dahman Shahwan HE - Hadban Enzhahi KK - Kohailan Krush KR - Kohailan Rodan OG - Obayan Om Greiss SG - Saklawi Gidran SGIS - Saklawi Gidran of Ibn Sudan


Zay el Hawa


“I have been happy with crossing Anter onto mares of different strains, many with Akhtal sire lines,” he says. Turning to the Anter sire line, Paraskevas recalls his foundation stallion. “Walking into the stables anytime, I still look for Ateya SEA, who unfailingly used to recognize me from afar and greet me with a welcoming neigh,” says Paraskevas. “Since we lost Ateya, I keep scrutinizing his male progeny, looking for every mannerism of his that still carries on, through Rizkallah to Ghallab and, in turn, his sons and grandsons, some of which have been used at stud already.” (continued on page 9)

Below: Sawwah (KK) — “Akhtal-to-Anter, woven on the truss of Krushan through his dam Likaa el Sahab (daughter of Rouchane EAO), this is our dream colt, bound to be hardy and performance-oriented, following the lead of his sire, Zay el Hawa. A colt to reckon with.”


Ghallab Above: Ghallab (SG)— “Rizkallah sired Ghallab for us, out of Shameya EAO, a mare carrying (and displaying) predominant Gassir and Sameh characteristics. Ghallab passes on strong Ibn Rabdan characteristics including wide chests, high arching but masculine necks, bold powerful movement and obvious masculinity. Ghallab has sired a large number of males and some females, none of which were sold as they are the cornerstones of our breeding.” Right and facing page: Hafez el Ahd (KK) — “Born the same year as Rafik el Oumr, also a Krushan and also by Ghallab, Hafez el Ahd has his uses that we very much respect: he shortens the back, improves on the head, and also gives more height. It is not easy to find a stallion that has long legs and a short back and correct neck. Often, longer legs entail longer backs and dangerously wobble-inducing necks, features that we seek to avoid.”




Paraskevas is not shy in his support for the Rabdan sire line represented in these stallions. Ghallab’s pedigree shows three of four grandparents contributed different branches of that line — Anter, Sameh, and Gassir. Substance, strength, and masculinity characterize this special pedigree.

Facing page and right: Nasheed el Amal (SG) — “‘Poem of Hope’ (Hafez el Ahd x Aneeda EAO), he is the only horse we ever bred that will simply never leave the stables without flipping his tail on his back. He is also very fiery and proud. His sire, Hafez el Ahd, is the one we go to when we are unsure what to do next, and we are hopeful that his son will also breed with regularity the unique desert Arabian type. Hafez el Ahd is also believed to shorten the backs, and it appears that this trait is carrying on as well.” 9 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

Paraskevas prefers to use a variety of dam lines rather than a particular inbred cross. He believes that every strain, every EAO dam line, has something to contribute, and he gives due credit to the influence of a variety of dam lines in creating his herd sires. His original stallion, Ateya SEA, a Hadban Enzahi, was bred to a Kohaila Rodaniyah to get Rizkallah, who in turn was bred to a Saklawiyah Gidraniyah to get Ghallab. Then Ghallab was bred to a Kuhayla Krush, which gave Rafik el Oumr.

This page and facing page: Quaher el Dhalam (HE) — “‘The Piercer of Darkness,’ is a typical HE, and a trustworthy one at that. Of a robust appearance (despite some long lines and a stretchy phenotype) this Ghallab son out of Wansa SEA is now coming into his own and is making his case to be considered along all our other Ghallab sons as an equal. We are very happy with his foals that invariably come in extremely balanced, a typical HE trait.”


Quaher el Dhalam


Diwan el Arab 12 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

“Right from foaling, I was greatly impressed by Rafik el Oumr, the first colt of the Ghallab-to-Rouchane combination (the other two were fillies),” he says. “I immediately knew that he was destined to become a head sire, and also that he would require time to mature, in view of his scope and size. We did not wait that long to breed him, however, and we now view him as one of our most reliable sires. His most

Left and above is Diwan el Arab (OG), and on the following two pages is Shaer el Nile —“These two stallions give us fits every time we try to decide which one to breed any given mare to. They are very close in type, one year apart, out of OG Bedaya EAO. Diwan el Arab is by Ghallab and is seen as the more compact of the two while Shaer el Nile, by Rafik el Oumr, is the stretchier. Rafik el Oumr himself, even as he is stretchier than Ghallab, actually breeds very well-proportioned foals out of stretchy Saklaweyat, so this will not be what separates them. In all probability, we will keep on using both of these to bring in the blood of Wasfeya and her patented Obeyan action type.”

outstanding feature is prepotency. I am very proud to have bred a prepotent stallion, in his case a virtue not dependent on inbreeding.” 13 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

Ghallab and his sons have sired foals out of Kohaila Krush, Om el Greiss, Kohaila Rodaniyah, Hadban Enzihiyah, Saklawiyah Gidraniyah, and Dahman Shawaniyah mares. Each stallion is precious to the Paraskevas program, as he believes in retaining almost all for the particular attributes they can add to the future. He will readily acknowledge, however, that working with these diverse elements requires patience. What you see in the foaling shed is not always immediately telling of the mature horse.

Shaer el Nile (OG) — “‘The Poet of the Nile’ is pictured here just a few months past his second birthday and is a confirmation of our Rafik el Oumr. At maturity, we expect this double Inshass to be a one-of-a-kind stallion. We are very proud of him.”



Faress el Ahlam


“After giving us cause for concern, a colt that astonished me after he grew up was our Talek el Anan,” Paraskevas says. “He was sired by Ghallab’s sire (Rizkallah), out of Ataa, making him a double Ateya SEA (our foundation stallion of the Anter line). As compared to Ghallab, he appeared less promising as a foal; his noticeable white markings (always eye-catching on a young foal) were rather unappealing, so he was sold — a mistake. Well, ten

Facing page and right: Faress el Ahlam (HE) — “Full brother to Ateya, Faress el Ahlam was the second colt of the double Anter combination. Of the two, Faress el Ahlam is the one that came in squarer, wider in the chest, with a very Ibn Rabdan-like stallion crest (while Ateya may be the more elegant and the better mover). Both have a fiery disposition and love to go for long rides in the desert of Dahshur. They are by Ghallab, out of HE Ataa, both of which carry not only Anter, but also a measure of Gassir, Rabdans both, but with considerable Saklawi I influence. Their specific branch of tail female is that of Yosreya.” 17 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

years later, we went back to get him. After a year of riding in the desert, he now appears as ready to carry the mantle of the Ateya/Anter line as any of our stallions. Next year, he will be bred to several of our mares.” While Paraskevas champions all EAO mare lines, two play prominent roles in his program: Kuhayla Krush and Obayan Om Greiss.

“ “Beyrum (OG) is a young three-year-old chestnut ‘with white’ that is avoided in many stud farms. Not so here. This Ghallab son will be patiently waited upon to mature before any judgment is passed on his breeding potential as compared to his siblings. His dam Suhaila EAO has given in the past some very well-shaped necks, and horses that are full of fire. He is very refined, all the while retaining the patented Ghallab hardiness, so we are optimistic that he will find his niche in the breeding program.” 18 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

“We have never sold a Ghallab colt and are not considering ever doing that. Having said that, KR Abol Rood (Ghallab x Tabasheer EAO) is the one most assured to stay, due to his almost-humanlike intelligence and his friendly disposition, qualities that we highly value. Furthermore, Abol Rood is very athletic, combining KR characteristics with the Anter and the Gassir. Abol Rood is the affectionate nickname given to one of Egypt’s most prominent composers, Riad el Sonbati, and we chose this name in his honor.”


Above: Habib el Rooh (SG) — Athleticism defines the El Deree/Sid Abouhom/ Akhtal sire line and SG Habib el Rooh does not disappoint. He is by Khafif EAO out of Rooh el Fouad EAO, we breed him to those mares that fared well in the past with Khafif.


“Kuhaylan Krush has been reported by authors such as Palgrave, Lady Anne, and others as being among the most precious of Nejdi strains,” he says. “The Om el Greiss of the EAO define movement; all had superlative movement — head and shoulders above the others.” We asked Paraskevas how other breeders and authors have influenced his breeding.

Rafik el Oumr (KK), a head stallion in the making.


“Breeders are one thing, authors another. I have learned a great deal from every major breeder in Egypt, particularly from our historical breeders. Each has a different approach, and careful study of their contrasting practices explains the differences in type that they achieved over the years. “The ultimate school of breeders is the EAO, and I owe everything I know to the detailed study of their practices, era by era. The single most important lesson for me was to go my own way, to select to my own eye without allowing anybody to influence me, and to seek to establish my own distinct family of horses, however long this would take. (continued on page 26)

Above and facing page: Rafik el Oumr — “‘Companion of a Lifetime,’ and the major building block of our breeding going into the future. By Ghallab out of KK Rouchane EAO, an Arabian mare ‘as they used to be.’ His pedigree is a composite of various Kohailan types. His size, substance, and scope are imposing but it is the special way he carries himself that is so endearing to us. This stallion carries immense Rabdan influence in his lineage, and also El Deree influence, so we use him to bring a good measure of outcrossing to DS, SG, and Nazeerdominated pedigrees.”




Facing page and right: Rafik el Oumr — “We thank God every day for this stallion, his indominatable spirit is a constant reminder to us that inner qualities come first.” Below:“It is a rare sight, but we have eyewitnesses: KR Hafid Ghallab (The Ghallab grandson, read: ‘the successor’) came out of his natal bedding with his tail on his back and has been acting like an adolescent ever since. His sire, Rafik el Oumr, must be proud, as are we. He is out of Tabasheer EAO, Koheila Rodania, which surely contributes some of the energy.”


“My number one priority is, try to keep every horse as close as possible to the original profile of strain (mares) and sire line (stallions), hopefully intensifying the positive traits, rather than seeking the ever-elusive ‘ideal Arabian.’ From such noted authors as Lady Anne and Judith Forbis, and from studying horses — especially at the EAO — I tried to deduce what is valued from the old times and which traits are valid for today. My objective is to resist the impulse to ‘improve’ on that.

Left: Misk el Leil (SG) — “‘The Musk-like Fragrance of the Night’ is a name that we intended to keep for a black colt. Out of patience, we decided that a Mawardi (to become snow-white) would do almost as well, since the flower producing the enthralling fragrance is white. This colt is another of our Anter-to-Akhtal daughter formula, one we have high hopes for. The imprimatur of the sire, Rafik el Oumr, is there, and the dam, Quareat el Fingale, is the daughter of Gabbar, tracing back to Ibn Akhtal.” 26 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

Badr el Doga (OG) — “This yearling is a typical Rafik el Oumr colt. Speaking of female lines, this is the result of the KK to OG strains, one of our favorite combinations. The dam is a wonderful bay bred by Al Moussa and tracing back to Wasfeya EAO.”


Habib el Agal


“The most difficult thing has been to maintain the faith in the program, such as it was conceived (Anter-to-Akhtal and vice versa, with a high reliance on Inshass tail-female lines) and this, despite the immense pressure on modern breeders to go along with the constantly shifting trends, all based on the Nazeer sire lines — piled up on Dahman and Saklawi. Thankfully, our program was not for turning, and it shows the immense possibilities that remain embedded in the variety of the EAO bloodlines.”

This page and facing page: “Habib el Agal (KK) is the first male born to Rafik el Oumr and the closest to our hopes for his bloodline. We believe that Krushan should be linebred (to a degree), and this is a son of KK Razane EAO, so pure-in-thestrain. It is also the case that the dam of the sire (Rouchane EAO) and that of the dam (Razane EAO) are both out of Rassayel EAO, making this horse a heavy concentration of this blood indeed. Of course, we plan to use him to outcross other bloodlines, and we will be very happy if he passes on his wide eye and dignified presence. An old-style Arabian.”


Paraskevas is not finished exploring possibilities. Rather, he has a surprise maturing in Dahshur, one consistent with his advocating the infusion of new Asil desert Arabian blood into the Egyptian blood-pool. He acquired at birth a colt sired by a Bahraini stallion on an Egyptian mare from Shams el Assil, a Dahma of the Bukra branch.

Below and right: Talek el Anan (HE) — “This is a special stallion for us. His sire Rizkallah only sired two males for us, Ghallab and Talek el Anan (out of Ataa). This chestnut HE Yosreya is a double Ateya SEA, and we only discovered the extent of his potential recently, after he was ridden extensively in the desert. We are planning to use him next on several mares, mostly Saklaweyat.”



“The pedigree of his sire is impeccable — filled with Jellaby blood of unquestionable authenticity and quality. He was gifted to the EAO by the Al Khalifa family. It remains to be seen whether other breeders here will use this precious gift. I think the potential is huge.”

Below: “Well before we even imagined that Sonbol EAO could become available, we acquired his young son Asser EAO (x Dahshana EAO), an SGIS tracing back to Radia, primarily for his close resemblance to Sonbol EAO and also to incorporate the Radia blood (our only source to that line on the farm). Fittingly, Asser is bay like his sire and stretchy like him as well. His temperament is exceedingly ‘hot’ at this time and he requires expert handling to stay reasonable.”

Above and facing page: “Sonbol EAO (KK) by Wasel EAO (Mourad x Wasla) and out of Safinaz EAO is simply a dream of a horse, and an Arabian’s Arabian. While he is now well past his prime, I still remember this stallion as a 10-yearold in all his majesty. Breathtaking. In Volume II of The Egyptian Alternative, I went to extreme lengths to advertise his strengths, in the hopes that his legacy would be preserved. Little did I know that he would be put up for sale at auction, right before the manuscript went to the printer. I hope to provide Sonbol with the home that he deserves. Whether he pays me back with the kind of foals that we expect is not important. It is an honor to have him with us.”


With the breeze from the Nile rustling in the date palms, we were treated next to a parade of the mares and fillies: a feast for the eyes and a reminder of the place of honor they held for the Bedouin.



Pictured from left to right are the young mares OG Saja el Leil (Ghallab x Bedaya EAO), SG Yaqueen el Rooh (Gabbar x Rooh el Fouad EAO), SG Dorrat el Samaa (Rafik el Oumr x Aneeda EAO), OG Garet el Kamar (Kamel el Awsaaf SEA x Suheila EAO), and KK Farhet el Oumr (Ghallab x Rouchane EAO). 35 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

Below and right: “‘When Likaa el Sahab (KK) was born, we were immediately struck by her close resemblance to Rafik el Oumr, her full brother. Just like that, it was decided that she would never leave. Of course, after the third foal of the Ghallab-toRouchane EAO nick came in (sister Farhet el Oumr), we would normally consider selling one of the two. Because they are Kroushan, however, and because we would not know which one to let go, we have kept both. They are both in foal to Zay el Hawa.”



Above and facing page: Dorrat el Samaa (SG) — “Our SG foundation mare Aneeda EAO gave us two females worlds apart — Kawkab el Shark by Gabbar and Dorratel Semaa by Rafik el Oumr.This ‘Pearl of the Skies’ is the third offspring of SG Aneeda EAO, tracing back to Moniet el Nefous through Reem EAO and Farfoura EAO.” “Dorrat el Samaa is a bold outcross, as her sire Rafik el Oumr is an outcross in both sire (Anter) and dam lines (Krushieh). The result was so different that it initially shocked us. Such is the reality of outcrossing: There is little in the guise of fixation of characteristics. All we knew was that she was extremely well built, with a much-improved croup (a staple of Rafik el Oumr foals). There was, however,

not a whiff of the stunning Saklawi-type head we had seen in her half-sister Kawkab el Shark (see page 46), so we decided to be patient. “Thankfully, our patience was not tried for very long as Dorrat el Samaa, now aged three, is maturing to become a most harmonious mare, and full of beauty as well. Her strong points start with her now drying-out head, but everything else — neck, shoulder, chest, legs, the back (short), croup (almost equal in length to the back) and tail carriage — is stellar. Under saddle she is now every one of our riders’ favorite, able to withstand three hours in the deep sands and the hard pebbles of Dahshur, if at a reduced pace compared to her elders. One of the signature imprimaturs of Rafik el Oumr is a wonderful movement, with forelegs well extended in front at all gaits, and the hind legs well engaged.”




Above and facing page: Dihket el Karawan (KK) — “‘The Song of the Nightingale’ is a very special young mare to us in the sense that she showcases the potential of EAO-based breeding. Her dam is KK Razane EAO, a bay Harras daughter, very square. Her sire is DS Khafif EAO, whom we purchased at auction when he was a yearling a long time ago. We like the result of this cross and have now bred Razane EAO to Khafif ’s son, Habib el Rooh.”


Above and facing page: Asmahan (SG) — “I must confess that in selecting the chestnut HE Ateya for the bay SG Shameya EAO, coat color had something to do with it. We were hoping for black, a coat color possible from the background of both. Of course, this was not a high-probability result and this Moniet foal came in chestnut. We are very attached to this young mare who, we believe, will match Zay el Hawa perfectly well. She is photographed at age two — the most difficult of ages.” Right: Zay el Kamar (KK) — “‘Just Like the Moon.’ How do you name a beautiful Zay el Hawa daughter? It came easily to Hammad, our stud manager, as he described her to me six hours after foaling. And we are over the moon with her. We have bred the same stallion to her dam, Rouchane EAO, hoping for a colt of the same caliber.”



Yaqueen el Rooh (SG) — “‘The Serene Soul’ is a highly refined but very powerful and athletic, double-Akhtal bay mare. She was put under saddle at an unusually early age as we felt that the paddocks on the property were far too small to accommodate her long strides and her evident desire to be in the desert with her elders. Her dam, Rooh el Fouad EAO (Rooh, ‘the soul’ is the common thread in the names), is a flea-bitten grey daughter of Rawwah EAO. In the female line she traces back to Saada (of Inshass) through the branch-head mare Rateeba. Her sire is KR Gabbar, a stallion that often sires bays and blacks. Like all Akhtals, she has proven to be a late maturer in every sense. She will be bred to Diwan el Arab, our OG Anter, and also a sire of bay coats.”


Left: Farhet el Oumr (KK) — full sister to Likaa el Sahab, pictured on pages 36-37 — “What to do with a second filly of the same cross (Ghallab-to-Rouchane EAO), a cross we consider to be a nick? If the two were similar, and grey, we may have considered letting one go, but Farhet el Oumr came in chestnut. She is blessed with a unique personality and a demeanor that reminds us a lot of Ateya SEA, our foundation stallion of the Anter line, so she is here to stay as well. Presently carrying her first foal by Zay el Hawa.”

Right: Moniet el Shark (SG) — “‘The Hope of the East,’ out of Aneeda EAO by OG Diwan el Arab. Like her half-sisters, Kawkab el Shark and Dorrat el Samaa, mares of this dam line that trace back to Moniet el Nefous routinely demonstrate extraordinary movement. If we were prone to choosing French names, we would have certainly called this one ‘Margotte,’ in honor of the great Margot Fonteyn. Moniet el Shark has taken effortless movement (bordering on the insolent) to another level. We expect her to become a ballerina of the desert, if there ever was such a thing. We see the Anter-to-Akhtal nick of OG to SG as a force multiplier of Saklawi attributes.”


Kawkab el Shark


Above: Leilet el Eid (OG) — “If you have seen the romantic picture of a little grey filly smelling the flowers of our garden in the November cover story, then you will like to see her progress and growth in the past five months. This is a Ghallab daughter, an OG, and we believe that she will do very well with a wide variety of stallions.” Left: Oukht el Kamar (DS) — “‘The Sister of the Moon’ is the first filly of our DS Bukra mare Cinderella SEA. Sired by the Kohailanin-type Goubrane, our bay Sajed son of the Akhtal sire line (himself a black), we were hoping for black but are thankful for this iron grey who, we suspect, is likely to turn flea-bitten, a typical Bukra characteristic.” Facing page: “Kawkab el Shark (SG) is a Gabbar daughter and out of Aneeda EAO, double Akhtal, and perhaps our most feminine mare at the present time. We breed her to stallions of the Anter sire line, away from her Moniet tail female line. Kawkab el Shark is our single most true Saklaweya: ‘not perfect in any way, but simply irresistible.’ Kawkab is a linebred double Akhtal, with considerable DS infusions up close in her pedigree. Her outstanding filly is El Sit, seen in full motion on youtube viewable from my Facebook page: The Egyptian Alternative.”


Left: Quareat el Fingale (SG) — “‘The Fortune Teller,’ by Gabbar out of Shameya EAO, and so a lovely bay half sister to our head stallion Ghallab. Not all Akhtal-sired mares are of a nervous disposition, and this one is the chosen riding mare of young Ziad, the fourth generation of the Rabie Breish family that takes special care of and rides our horses.” Below: Zahret el Nile (OG) — “‘Flower of the Nile.’ Brimming with life and exuding intelligence and affection to humans out of every pore, this is an Hafez el Ahd daughter out of Bedaya EAO, KK to OG, our favorite combination of Inshass tail female blood. This filly stands out for her ‘flying carpet’ movement. In the future we expect to breed her to Saklawi-type stallions.”

Note: “All the horses pictured in these pages were bred by us (with the exception of El Bahraini SEA, Sonbol EAO, and Asser EAO), some are fifth generation of our breeding, and in many cases, we bred both sire and dam. Our foundation stock and acquisitions (mainly from the EAO and some from highly respected private farms) were not pictured as we wanted to show only those we bred. None of the horses have been clipped, oiled, or artificially enhanced, as we prefer their natural beauty. And of course, all the photos are unretouched.” 48 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

El Bahraini SEA — This young three-year-old stallion is cast by Philippe Paraskevas as his outcross of the future. His pedigree is indeed eye-popping: his sire is Jellaby Bashaar of the Royal Stud of Bahrain, an uninpeachable Asil outcross standing at the EAO out of Neamat SEA, a Dahman Shahwan Bukra mare. Says Philippe, “The combination of the rarest and most precious of bloodlines (Kohailan Jellaby) with the beloved Bukra tail female is one that may revolutionize the breed in Egypt.” El At e y a Ara b i a n s a n d Ho o r e l Eyo u n e Ara b i a n s Dahshur, Giza, Eg ypt • Tel: 0020 1003888003 email:

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