By Beth Ellen Hunziker
THE DUBAI ARABIAN STUD is deeply committed to the classic Arabian horse and to creating a renaissance of this iconic figure in their cultural history. Although the country has changed and evolved as a global leader, the Arabian horse that played such an integral role in the early development of the region, and beyond, remains cherished by its family of origin. Just as the leaders of Dubai have taken their ancient land and utilized the most current technology available to advance their country, the Dubai Arabian Stud looked to the past to create a new and brilliant future for their breeding program and for the Arabian horse.
The breeding of Arabian horses truly is an art - ask anyone who has ever tried. Successful breeders agree that it all begins with a vision of an ideal and the Arabian horse with its legendary beauty is the ultimate inspiration for this art form. The early Bedouins did not have the benefit of technology to assist them in achieving their goals - they had only their skills in herd management and selection to improve their bloodstock - and yet they were successful in establishing the most beautiful and influential horse breed in the history of the world.
The Dubai Arabian Stud Director, Mohamed Al Tawidi is following in the traditions of the founders of the breed by practicing excellent herd management, as well as the skillful selection of individuals for their breeding program. The Dubai Arabian Stud is also capitalizing on the most advanced technology available today. Some of the groundbreaking science is so new many breeders consider it experimental. However, the results prove that what was once considered only a possibility is in now a reality.
Recently we had the opportunity to witness history in the making. We watched as a beautiful, delicate, bay filly was born. She lay there quietly in the sweet, fresh bedding; still wet from her birth. She looked at her surroundings, uncertain yet unafraid. There was a huge sigh of relief from David Cains, her caretaker, when the filly finally stood and nursed from the mare. The people present looked on in sheer wonder, not just at the beauty of the foal, but also at her very existence. This filly was sired by the straight Egyptian legend, Rumninaja Ali, a stallion that passed away August 29th, 1997 - almost 13 years ago!
This foal is the result of a tremendous amount of effort by numerous people working together to achieve a common goal. In the early 1990's Ruminaja Ali's owners collected, froze, and stored his semen with hopes of somehow using it in the future. Since then scientists developed a procedure called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or OCSI. Through this procedure, a doctor manipulates a harvested oocyte (egg) by injecting it with one individual sperm cell. Until now, the viability of frozen semen has been limited. Often the quality of the cells has been reduced to the point that it was considered unusable. This new technology allows doctors to successfully fertilize an oocyte utilizing the semen of living stallions, as well as frozen semen from stallions that are deceased. The fertilized oocyte is then placed into a surrogate mare. This procedure presents unprecedented possibilities to breed to the great sires of the past, including the legendary Ruminaja Ali.
David Cains of Stonewall Farm Arabians, Scottsdale, Arizona was assisting Dubai Arabian Stud Director, Mohamed Al Tawidi, in selecting horses for their breeding program. Ruminaja Ali daughters were on their wish list, however these mares are rather rare and seldom available for purchase. While researching the possibilities, David learned of the OCSI procedure and immediately realized what a fantastic opportunity it could be. He discussed it with Mr. Al Tawidi who immediately recognized how the technology could benefit the Dubai Arabian Stud breeding program. He believed that the rewards of the procedure far outweighed the risks and he decided to step into the new and uncharted territory. Cains and Al Tawidi carefully selected an elite group of mares specifically for Ruminaja Ali; all are straight Egyptian in pedigree including Xtreme Wonder (The Elixir x Lenore Moniet by Thee Desperado), the dam of Dubai Arabian Stud's head sire and World Champion Stallion, Royal Colours. Xtreme Wonder is a proven producer of exceptional offspring and therefore a natural choice for crossing with Ruminaja Ali. In addition, the Dubai Arabian Stud was successful in obtaining embryos from the mare Bint Hadiyyah (El Hadiyyah x Bint Hebet Allah by Makhous), and also from the mare FW Rosetta Rose (Thee Gambler x MB Maaressa by Orashan), all sired by Ruminaja Ali. The embryos are being carried by recipient mares, which are under the watchful eyes and expert care of David Cains at his Scottsdale facility.
Watching the first of Dubai Arabian Stud's Ruminaja Ali foals explore her world, validated all of the efforts and resources expended to give her life. Her beauty, character, and quality were evident; but her ultimate destiny, her contributions to the breed, require still more patience. David Cains explains, "Mohamed Al Tawidi has been very thoughtful, very methodical in mapping out a plan for the Dubai Arabian Stud breeding program. There is a definite goal - but it does not have a deadline because the breeding program is constantly evolving. He is taking measured steps toward the goal of become a source for the finest Arabian horses in the world. This filly by Ruminaja Ali is not just a step - she is a leap forward for Dubai Stud's program. I have always considered Ruminaja Ali to be one of the most important sires of the century. The influence he established through his sons and daughters just keeps growing with every new foal crop and each new generation. Mohamed Al Tawidi also acknowledge Ruminaja Ali's contributions and is doing everything he can to bring that bloodline back - stronger than ever. We have so much to gain - just look at his son's and daughters and the quality they have added to the breed today. It's amazing!"
Breeders around the world recognize Ruminaja Ali's contributions as a sire. The Arabian Horse Data Source ranks him number 49th among the "Leading Sires of the World"; the placement is determined by the number of offspring sired. Ruminaja Ali has 449 registered offspring, the last of which was registered in March of 1998, one year after his death. However, there are far more important criteria than quantity when determining the importance of a sire - the quality of a stallion's offspring and their ability to pass on that trait determines the lasting influence of a truly great sire. Ruminaja Ali has established himself, through his extraordinary sons and daughters, as one of the most influential sires of the 20th century.
Among Ruminaja Ali's most influential offspring is the US National Champion Stallion, Ali Jamaal (x Heritage Memory by El Magato), foaled in 1982, he is the sire of over 400 registered offspring, as well as the sire of national and international champions. The straight Egyptian tradition is carried on through the Ruminaja Ali son The Minstril (x Bahila by Ibn Galal I), foaled in 1984, he is the sire of over 580 offspring, including his most prolific son, Thee Desperado (x AL Amiri Asmarr by Theegyptian Prince), sire of over 880 offspring. Another straight Egyptian son is Anaza El Farid (x Bint Deenaa by Ansata Ibn Halima), foaled in 1988, he is the sire of 179 offspring including one of the most influential sires of today - Gazal Al Shaqab (x Kajora by Kaborr), foaled in 1995, he is the sire of 258 foals, including the stallion Marwan Al Shaqab (x Little Liza Fame by Fame VF), foaled in 2000, and sire of over 435 offspring. Ruminaja Ali's daughters have made major contributions too, including Sundar Alisayyah (x Imperial Sayyah by Kayed), foaled in 1987, she is the dam of Al Adeed Al Shaqab, by Ansata Halim Shah, foaled in 1995, and the sire of over 155 foals. That's over 6,357 registered descendants from just eight get and grand get and there are more on the way.
Ruminaja Ali continued the legacy of his desert ancestors and brought it into the 20th century. He passed the torch on to his sons and daughters who have carried it to all parts of the globe. Through them this precious jewel, the classic purebred Arabian horse, has returned to the land of their ancestors where the Dubai Arabian Stud will preserve and protect it as a historical treasure of their country's culture.
The Dubai Stud deeply values the Ruminaja Ali legacy and is committed to preserving his legacy. With the birth of the first Ruminaja Ali foals to be born in over 10 years, the decision to try the latest cutting edge technology has been justified. The results of this leap of faith were beyond all expectations. Now plans have been laid for the next foal crop. The mares to be bred to Ruminaja Ali include repeat breedings to Xtreme Wonder and Bint Hadiyyah, the phenomenal Dubai Stud mare, Simeon Sehavi and an additional selection of elite straight Egyptian mares. It is the hope that with each generation, the Dubai Stud will continue to contribute to the splendor and history of the Arabian Horse.
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