Strains of the Arabian Breed
“The terms strains and families constantly crop up in literature as well as in discussions about the Arabian horse, and although it has often been said that too much weight is attached to them (or not enough, depending on one´s viewpoint), this aspect of breeding is one of historical importance that should be given credence and explored further.” Judith Forbis in: The Classic Arabian Horse
These words by one of the best regarded authorities on the Arabian horse of the last decades brings us directly into one of the most controversial aspects of breeding Arabian horses. On one point everybody agrees: there have been families or strains within the breed since remote times, but how remote this is, we do not exactly know, and which significance these strains possess is not agreed upon at all. The term kuhaylan/ or koheilan Rzewuski /kehilan Blunt /kohlan Rzewuski/ köchlani Niebuhr/ kaihlan Mariti/ kahilan Fouche/ queiland Ferrieres/ kahhilan Arvieux was used to describe any pure Arabian horse (with Arvieux the oldest source as he was French consul at Aleppo from 1679-
According to Rzewuski in the beginning 19th century the Bedouins used, in an example, the following specification for a pure horse from the Gilfieh/Jilfah strain bred by the Weld Ali: nejdi koheilan el-
As discussed in an own chapter, there are many traditions and legends of Arabs or Bedouins on the subject of the horse, some of them from pre-
Palgrave (1863) was “inclined to consider the greater part of these very pedigrees, and still more the antiquity of their origin, as comparatively recent inventions, and of small credit, got up for the market of Bedouins or townsmen. …Once arrived at this last district (annotation: Shomer or Jebel Shammar), I heard no more of Siklawee, Delhamee, or any other like genealogies;…. In Nejed I was distinctly assured that no prolonged lists of pedigrees were ever kept, and that all enquiries about race are limited to the assurance of a good father and a good mother…”.