Paraskevas Arabians — Stallion Power

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Paraskevas Arabians

E E tt t


Sta llion Power S t o r y b y A n i t a E n a n d e r · P h o t o s b y A p r i l Vi s e l


he peace of the garden in Dashur is broken by a stallion’s call. Ghallab (Rizkallah x Shameya EAO), the reigning head sire at Paraskevas Arabians, knows he is about to show off for visitors

in the gardens at Dahshur. “Full of fire, free of malice,” he comes prancing into view. That is what Paraskevas expects of his stallions. Ghallab is here to show us he is just that — the strong, handsome, masculine form of Arabian stallion that is ridden daily in the desert. We will see the three male families maintained at the stud: that of Ghallab traces to Gamil el Kebir through Hamdan; two trace through different Akhtal branches to El Deree. All three male lines are bred to a variety of mares, both in phenotype and strain. This is in keeping with Paraskevas’s commitment to maintaining diversity in his bloodlines and phenotypes.

Note: The mares and fillies, daughters and sisters of the horses described on the following pages were featured in the May 2013 issue of Arabian Horse World.

Cover and facing page: Ghallab (Rizkallah x Shameya EAO). 1 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

Our visit overlaps, in part, with that of noted international judge Scott Benjamin, presenting a unique opportunity to compare observations. Each horse is presented in-hand, then is set free at liberty in the arena. Finally, all those more than three years old are ridden in the arena at all three gaits. On one day, we ride out with a group of stallions into the desert and have the chance to see them in action.



Th e A n t e r S i r e L i n e


pedigree represents the possibilities of how a horse can look.” So advises noted geneticist Michael Bowling. Look back in Ghallab’s pedigree and you will see that the horse before you reflects his ancestors. Peruse the photos of

Hamdan — chief sire at Inshass from 1941 until the closing of the stud — and his dam Bint Radia — a queen of early RAS breeding; they formed the basic structure. Come forward through Hamdan’s son Anter (his dam Obeya tracing to the same root mare as Bint Radia), then five more generations — Wahag, Misk, SEA Ateya, Riskallah, and now Ghallab. You will see the phenotype that stands before you. Paraskevas selected Ghallab’s grandsire SEA Ateya almost 30 years ago, and he takes very seriously the responsibility for breeding this line. “Ateya was also my riding horse,” says Paraskevas. “I have never ridden a better horse, or shall I say, I have never had a better companion and friend in the desert. This horse would not just listen to me, he would precede me in doing the right thing. ‘Inner quality’ is what he stood for, and inner quality is what we look for in his offspring, several generations down. Thankfully, he has been true. All of his male get are masculine yet gentle. Utterly Arabian in appearance and faithful to his sire line — what else can one want? I am thankful to God every day for the gift of such a male line. “Ateya was bred to Haneyat EAO, a mare with the striking influence of her grandsire Sameh, who contributes size, substance, strength, and stamina. Their son Rizkallah was bred to Shameya EAO, a Kohailan-type mare, which produced Ghallab. Ghallab has given us nine males, from a wide variety of tail female lines. Several of these are now proven stallions that are passing on what we like from Ghallab in the many different expressions made possible by differences in the tail female lines of the dams.” Ghallab, the second generation of Paraskevas’s breeding, has two more generations on the ground. The Ghallab males show broad chests, long hips, and overall balance, usually on a medium to compact frame. The heads are masculine and clearly Arabian. Cannon bones are short, and the hindquarters are correct and strong. All show beautiful tail carriage — a characteristic that is mandatory for Paraskevas. These horses are ridden daily in the desert, and it shows in the sinewy tendons and muscling.


“The Anter descendants through Ghallab and his sons that have been bred by Paraskevas are collectively an impressive group of stallions. Their phenotype is masculine — bold, brash, substantial, and strong. They all have a commanding presence of nobility and self-assurance. Athleticism is inherent in Ghallab and his sons — the structure is superlative, and the desire to perform is palpable, in-hand, at liberty, and, most importantly, under saddle. “From the withers back, the Paraskevas-bred Anter descendants are without question the most ideally conformed group of Arabian stallions I have seen anywhere in the world. The strength and utility through the back and loin, over the croup, and down through the quarter, the stifle, and the hock serve to remind us all that the superior structure and powerful capability of the desertbred Arabian is alive and well in Dahshur.”

— Scott Benjamin



One is hard-pressed to choose among his sons for the “best” of the next generation. This perhaps explains Paraskevas’s insistence that all colts be allowed to grow up, be ridden in the desert, and then be evaluated for future use. Ghallab’s first son, Rafik el Oumr (x Rouchane EAO), is heir apparent, both by virtue of his birth order and number of foals. Paraskevas explains, “We use Rafik el Oumr to straighten out any mare that may be in need of extra harmony of proportions. He never disappoints, and despite his size and scope, he actually shortens the backs.” He is slightly narrower in the chest than his sire but with even better legs. Just as important is how he has delivered from the breeding shed. With six of his own sons to view, the overall strengths one sees are very good legs with short cannons, well let down hocks, strong stifles, arching but not overlong necks, overall balance, and exceptional quality.

Facing page and above: Rafik el Oumr (Ghallab x Rouchane EAO). 7 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD


Habib el Agal (Rafik el Oumr x Razane EAO), a Kohailan Krush, blends sire and dam. He has a wide chest and solid legs, with a higher neck set, all strengths supplemented by his dam. He is still quite young, but promises to be the complete package at maturity.

Facing page and left: Habib el Agal (Rafik el Oumr x Razane EAO). 9 â–Ş PARASKEVAS â–Ş WORLD

Hafeed Ghallab (Rafik el Oumr x Tabashir EAO) is maternal half brother to the lovely Robaeyet Al Khayyam featured in Arabian Horse World’s May 2013 issue. His dam has added elegance to the structure and strong quarters of his sire. Gawwad el Nile (Rafik el Oumr x Shams Kareem) shows bone and tendons like steel. He is more square than his sire, with the expected powerful quarters. Another Kohailan Krush, much is expected of him in the future.

Hafeed Ghallab (Rafik el Oumr x Tabashir EAO). 10 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

Right and below: Gawwad el Nile (Rafik el Oumr x Shams Kareem).



Shaer el Nile (Rafik el Oumr x Bedaya EAO) is a bit stretchier in the neck, with complementary longer back and hip to match. His dam has contributed to the lovely neck and topline, and he moves with strength and grace from a strong hindquarters. His dam is of the Obeyan Om El Greiss strain, and this horse shows the elegant movement Paraskevas looks for from this group.

Facing page and right: Shaer el Nile (Rafik el Oumr x Bedaya EAO). 13 â–Ş PARASKEVAS â–Ş WORLD

Misk el Leil is by Rafik el Oumr out of the stunning bay Paraskevas-bred mare Quareat el Fingale (Gabbar x Shameya EAO ). This young colt shows a lovely high neck set from his dam with the overall look of his sire. His dam is of the Saklawiah Gidrania strain from the line of Moniet el Nefous, which Paraskevas uses to add a bit of length and elegance. The legs and structure are consistent with his brothers. He is an example of the promising colts that Paraskevas gives time to develop. One gets the impression that this colt is always thinking and has a close attachment to people. Youngest of the group is Badr el Doga (Rafik el Oumr x Wedd el Moussa), who promises to show the elegance of his dam when he matures.

Badr el Doga (Rafik el Oumr x Wedd el Moussa). 14 â–Ş PARASKEVAS â–Ş WORLD

Misk el Leil (Rafik el Oumr x Quareat el Fingale).


Returning to the sons of Ghallab we see the full brothers Ateya and Faress el Ahlam, out of the reigning queen of the farm, Ataa (SEA Ateya x Ateyat). These boys show how phenotypes can vary in full siblings — even of the same color (chestnut in this case). Ateya is the stretchier and more elegant. Longer back and neck are in balance. Faress is more square, with a wider chest that speaks of power. He is closer coupled with a deep heart girth and matching quarters. Both are powerful movers across sand and rocks. The heads are typical of the family, with wide-set eyes, huge nostrils, slight jibbah, tapering muzzle, and dryness that speaks of the desert.

Full brothers Ateya, below, and Faress el Ahlam, facing page page, both sired by Ghallab and out of Ataa.



Hafez el Ahd (Ghallab x Shams Kareem) is conceding nothing in the contest for heir apparent. Both Scott and I rode him. Dressage riders will want to pack this boy into a suitcase and take him home. Balance, a moderately high neck set that improves on his sire’s, strong back, great quarters, correct legs, and exceptional intelligence expressed in a kind eye. He travels absolutely straight, with a significant overstep.

Left and facing page: Hafez el Ahd (Ghallab x Shams Kareem). 18 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD



This young stallion has already demonstrated his ability to sire his better. His son Nasheed el Amal is even more refined. For quality, look at the black muzzle and eyes, the fine ears, the tail that is always up. The colt’s dam, Aneeda EAO, is perhaps the most elegant broodmare on the farm, and this colt shows that Hafez has added the best of his structure to the elegance of the dam. Paraskevas likes to point to this stallion as an example of what outcrossing can achieve.

Facing page and right: Nasheed el Amal (Hafez el Ahd x Aneeda EAO). 21 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

This page and Facing page: Quaher el Dhalam (Ghallab x Wansa SEA).


Quaher el Dhalam (Ghallab x Wansa SEA) takes the prize for laid-back shoulder and a bit of stretch, with a wide chest and strong quarters that drive from the rear. He is a bit longer in the head and still growing. Paraskevas has bred him to several mares, including one of his few Kuhailah Rodania mares, Ana Ishta.


The resulting iron grey colt Gabhet el Kamar typifies the Ghallab grandget — masculine head of strong and pleasant character, moderately high neck set, well-angled shoulder, short cannons, strong quarters, and short back. A 2013 half sister, out of Quareat el Fingale, was shown in the May issue.

Left and below: Gabhet el Kamar (Quaher el Dhalam x Ana Ishta).


Diwan el Arab (Ghallab x Bedaya EAO) has a shorter head than his sire or siblings and tremendous width between the eyes. His neck is the heaviest among his siblings, with a curvy body in a compact package. His first foal Qualb el Leil, out of Tahsahil EAO, shows strength with more refinement from his dam.

Diwan el Arab (Ghallab x Bedaya EAO).


This page and facing page: Diwan el Arab (Ghallab x Bedaya EAO).



Abol Rood (Ghallab x Tabashir EAO) is one of the most elegant sons, having a lovely neck and soft eye. He lacks for nothing in the strength department, with characteristically strong hindquarters. One looks forward to seeing this boy under saddle. Taking the entire group together, the terms “balance” and “power” are consistent descriptors.


Abol Rood (Ghallab x Tabashir EAO).

Ghallab and Diwan el Arab. 29 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

Th e A k h ta l S i r e L i n e he next morning brings a wealth from a different


At the farm there is a second line through the Akhtal son

source — the sire line of El Deree. El Deree left only

Farg Allah (x Nagham EAO) to Khafif EAO (x Hanoona). We

one son to carry on his desert heritage: Sid Abouhom

expected, this being the second day, that we had already seen

(x Layla). In turn, his son Amrulla (x Zaafarana) raced well before

the best horses. We were wrong. The Akhtal family was different

siring foals at the EAO. From Amrulla came the Dahman Shawan

but every bit as exceptional as the Anter family.

stallion Akhtal (x Hagir).

First up was the top son of Khafif. Habib el Rooh (x

Paraskevas began breeding the Akhtal branch of El Deree

Rooh el Fouad EAO) floated into view with one of the most

more than 20 years ago, when he acquired Mansy EAO (a

stunning shoulders and lovely, high-set necks one can imagine.

paternal Akhtal grandson through Ibn Akhtal) as a young colt

Looking for withers? Look here. When released at liberty, he

and bred him to Ateyat (a maternal Akhtal granddaughter) to

showed off natural elevation — launching himself from behind

get Saged. Breeding Saged to Haneyat EAO gave him the current

and traveling with an elevated fore that is every performance

senior stallion of this line, Gabbar.

rider’s dream.


This page and facing: Habib el Rooh (Khafif EAO x Rooh el Fouad EAO).


On they came — five more Khafif sons and daughters — all with the same exceptional front end, natural elevation, and smooth movement. Each showed influence from their respective dams, but the structure carried strongly forward from the sire, a rare doubling of Akhtal. Again, the fine skin, black muzzle, and dark eyes spoke of exceptional quality. The heads show a more significant jibbah than the Ghallab family, while retaining a clearly masculine look. The chests were a bit narrower and the quarters a bit lighter than the Ghallab family, but the square and well-spaced hocks create a drive from behind that is exceptional. All of the horses are also slightly uphill, which contributes to the ability to elevate the fore.

Habib el Rooh.


“While the Anter male descendants Khafif el Dhil (Khafif EAO x Cinderella SEA).

impress with powerful hindquarters, the Akhtal sire-line stallions bred by Paraskevas overwhelm with elegant forehands. As a group, the shoulders are textbook ideal — long, laid back, muscular, and free-moving, with the most impressive sets of withers I have seen on any Arabians anywhere in the world. The forelimbs are placed perfectly on the corners beneath the shoulders, which allow these horses to move with tremendous length, lightness, and fluidity of stride. The necks that emerge from these ideal shoulders are fantastic — high set, lean and muscular, with scope and elasticity through the mitbah. These are the forehands that have inspired horse breeders throughout the millennia to sing the praises of the Arabian horse of the desert.”

— Scott Benjamin


Next came the Gabbar family. Over the course of four

male version of full sister Kawkab el Shark, shown in the May

generations of breeding this line, one sees Paraskevas’s emphasis

issue. His dam is the most elegant senior broodmare at the farm.

on balance, soundness, and temperament. These horses show a

Compare Zay el Hawa with his half-brother Nasheed el Amal in

somewhat lighter build and a touch more elegance than Ghallab,

the Ghallab family to see what this mare does in the Paraskevas

with a bit less shoulder and more overall balance than the Khafif

program of outcrossing. Zay el Hawa has an even better forehand

branch. The chests are not quite as wide. The heads show great

and hindquarters than his sire, with beautiful balance.

quality. As with the Khafif branch, they benefit from a slightly uphill structure.

We asked Paraskevas if he sees Zay el Hawa supplanting his sire. “Gabbar is still our senior sire from the Ibn Akhtal line for he

Gabbar has wonderfully large and soft eyes, substance, and

bred a better horse than himself in Zay el Hawa. If and when we

good legs. Zay el Hawa (x Aneeda EAO) — clearly his father’s

see a Zay el Hawa son that surpasses his sire, we will be ready to

son — has a head that you want to paint and keep on the wall

think of him as being on par with Gabbar,” he said.

to remind yourself of the kindness of the Arabian. He is the


This page and facing: Zay el Hawa (Gabbar x Aneeda EAO).


Zay el Hawa

Zay el Hawa has begun proving himself at stud, with four young colts. The oldest, Sawwah (out of the Paraskevas-bred



Sahab), has the same look and structure as his sire. The gorgeous neck set, longer and elegant head to match, substance, and balance are stunning. It will be fun to see him grow up and prove whether his sire will be better in the breeding shed than Gabbar.


Above and left: Sawwah (Zay el Hawa x Likaa el Sahab).


The next day we head out into the desert. Riding first through the soft sand, one quickly understands why structure is a top consideration. Sound legs, strong backs, and functional necks are essential to carry the riders with balance and ease through this terrain. Clambering over bands of rocks, the barefoot horses anticipate their exercise in the desert. It is a bit of fantasy to imagine oneself riding like this 200 years ago. But the reality is that these are horses bred to go in the desert today, and hopefully, for many years in the future. And what of that future? With the significant diversity of dams, Paraskevas has a lot of choices for breeding all three groups of stallions. “We are very happy to have a variety of dam lines in our mare herd. Of course, we are always looking to acquire new mares from the EAO every time we can. The EAO auctions are a treasure trove for serious breeders and one can find the best broodmares there. We recently acquired a mare from the Riyala branch of Kuhaylah Rodania that we were longing for, and we may still add mares of the rare strains of Inshass Mabrouka and Inshass Karima (we do not have any mares from these two strains).

“We are proud to show the world that the EAO bloodlines in Egypt are alive and well, without the help of any foreign-bred (and inbred) stallions. Beauty and ability to perform are not impossible to combine,” Paraskevas said.

Hafez el Ahd


“There is an inherent sense of balance, nobility, quality, and usefulness to all the Paraskevas Arabians. Each and every moment spent in the presence of these special horses reminds me exactly why I fell in love with the Arabian over 35 years ago. The memories shared with these horses in Dahshur fuel my dreams for the future of the Arabian horse. These Arabian horses, thoughtfully bred, carefully nurtured, and practically utilized at Paraskevas Arabians, should inspire all of us around the world to do more each and every day to ensure that the invaluable legacy of the authentic Arabian thrives for generations to come.”

— Scott Benjamin

Zay el Hawa 39 ▪ PARASKEVAS ▪ WORLD

Savor these photos. Look closely at the tendons in the lower legs, the muscles of the upper forearm and stifle and gaskin, the strength of the hindquarters, the correct structure and width in the hind legs, the wide chests, the naturally dark skin around muzzle and eyes that has never been shaved or treated with oil. See the beauty of the heads with wide-set eyes and moderately convex jibbahs, showing an expression full of intelligence and affinity for people. Observe the ease with which they are ridden and the enthusiasm for work, with tails gaily carried. The characteristics that drew many of us to the Arabian are here in Dahshur. We hope to return soon.



The stallions Zay el Hawa and Habib el Rooh.

T h e Pa r a s k e v a s A r a b i a n s of Egypt

Dahshur · Giza · Egypt Email:

Note: “All the horses pictured in these pages were bred by us, some are the fifth generation of our breeding, and in many cases, we bred both sire and dam. 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.”

D e sign e d a n d prod u c e d by Ara bi a n H o rs e Wo rl d · M ay a nd J u ly 2 0 1 3