The Strain Card

Perhaps the greatest challenge we have as breeder’s is to gain insight about how certain horses are bred and why. This can be done by study of pedigree and horse- Type, Family, Strain, they all work together. Years ago I read the Raswan Index and was influenced greatly by his work about strain breeding. This led me on a quest to decipher the facts. For over 35 years we have been STRAIN BREEDERS and feel it is an important part of the “Art of Breeding”. As Carl Raswan wrote, the fanatic breeder of the desert is a “purist” (a pure in the strain breeder) Why a purist? The purist sensed the possibility of deterioration if strains were mixed. He wanted to save the original “classic” strain families. Throughout our program you will see we breed within specific strain families. Abraxas Abu Hilal, Abraxas Halamaa, Abraxas Habielaa, Abraxas Hilals Gemm and Abraxas Crown Gemm are “classic” examples of the KUHAYLAN INFLUENCE. Abraxas Moonique and Abraxas Nejd Moon are classic examples of the DAHMAN INFLUENCE. “Pure in the strain” means the horse has the same strain family in the tail female line of the sire and dam, or it could be the same on all the tail female lines.

The color denotes the strain family


First of all I learned how important magic markers are in color coding a pedigree. I have done hundreds of pedigrees and believe strongly it is a map about some of the identity that each horse has. The strains are of five basic groups “Al Khamsa”
1) KUHAYLAN 2) DAHMAN 3) SAKLAWI 4) HADBAN 5) ABEYYAN. Within these parent strains are the sub strains, which should always stay in the parent strain color in order to analyze the pedigree correctly. Example: the Kuhaylan Jellabi , the root mare being Jellabiet Feysul or the Kuhaylan Kroush, the root mare being El Kahila. In this practice are found a well balanced blending of strength and beauty, proving beyond any doubt that this method of Arab mixing is often very true. The pedigree is the most vital tool a breeder can have. Learning about the genetic, structural and strain characteristics of the pedigree is the challenge of each breeder. Remember: Type, Family, and Strain all work together. It’s a blending of those certain families and their characteristics that you will start to see specific looks that breed true with those families.

I would like to share with you some of the facts that I have found in my quest. Straight Egyptian breeding becomes a much quicker fix because much of the gene pool was originated from inbreeding and line breeding within specific strain families which created a greater intolerance for inbreeding and linebreeding.

All foals inherit the dam’s strain, this is where the education comes in to discern the TRUE family strain and characteristics that go with each individual. Example: if the foal is Dahman only by its tail female and the rest of the pedigree is Saklawi, then what family characteristics should this horse lean towards? If you breed an intense Saklawi strain individual to another intense Saklawi strain individual (both classic Saklawi representatives, the results should be consistent with the pattern of family characteristics.

Lets take *Ibn Moniet El Nefous as an exmple. I feel first one must find an “ideal” within a strain family and study it as a mentor “ideal”. He was the perfect SAKLAWI. Get your magic markers and do his pedigree in the colors, you will find his pedigree to be very RED, he was one of the most concentrated SAKLAWI’s bred and he looked SAKLAWI and bred what his pedigree represented: line bred SAKLAWI. Another “classic SAKLAWI was The Egyptian Prince, again do his pedigree in the colors, you will find most of his pedigree to be RED.

Each strain has a consistent type and strains share an ability to breed on in a consistent quality. The breeding practiced here is the same strain to the same strain, combining bloodlines, strain and type into a “pure in the strain” breeding program. The continuance of type within each strain and maintained as such is reason enough to maintain a strain program. We have NEVER bred for the sake of a certain color pedigree as there are many factors that a breeder must take into consideration, that being the structural and genetic cards of each horse. When breeding Arabians “pure in the strain” the area of study enlarges from individuals within each strain to a comparative study of a strain to other strains and the results of specific mating. The bloodline sources for a strain breeding program becomes very important factors of utilizing “classic” strain families and concentrating on their gene pools. Example: RDM Maar Hala, please study how we have utilized her blood in the tail female lines of our program. Abraxas Maar Hala is one of the very few daughters that is line bred on the tail female. Her daughter Abraxas Moon Glow is line bred again to RDM Maar Hala for a lovely blending of structural, genetic and strain blending.

Below are examples of our breeding program with the KUHAYLAN. and DAHMAN influence. To see examples of the “strain” click on these links.