By Christie Metz
Flanking our house in Iowa were two huge silver maple trees approximately fifty years old; these sentinels became the inspiration for our farm's name. Their huge trunks and the spread of their branches were truly impressive and they created an enormous canopy that cast a huge area of shade. Please keep this image in your mind's eye as I tell you the story of our Silver Maple Farm equine family tree, and one special branch whose roots extend all the way from our farm in California to ancient Egypt and to a mare named El Dahma.
As the generations of horses grow, the different branches of these equine families expand upward and outward, just like the branches of our silver maple trees. It is a bit humbling, but also an epiphany, to see this growth and realize that Henry and I have created this SMF multi-generational equine family tree. The roots of our equine family tree were established in Egypt where those root horses for the straight Egyptian Arabian were first assembled and recorded. Fortunately, we had mentors when we began the SMF business that encouraged us to look in this direction for our foundation breeding stock. We were advised to explore the mare families because all the resulting foals will carry that mare's strain name. The "foundation mare line" for Silver Maple Farm came through the mare Glorietasayonaara (Ansata Abu Nazeer x Glorieta Shalima by Ansata Shah Zaman). When I counted backwards to the "root" mare El Dahma, I found that "Sayo," (Sigh-o) as we call her, is an eleventh generation female.
Ever present with the horses, are the people who have insured these horses continue into the future. So to a degree we have "foundation" humans as well; among ours was the legendary Ali Pasha Sherif because El Dahma resided at his stud in 1880. According to Lady Anne Blunt of Sheikh Obeyd and Crabbet Stud, El Dahma also may have been at the stud of Abbas Pasha. At some point, El Dahma was gifted to Khedive Tewfik, a ruler of Egypt. It was there that El Dahma had her first daughter, Nadra El Khebira (also referred to as Nadra), and the production of this mare continued under his son, Khedive Abbas II.
In order to become a branch of the tree at SMF, a mare must breed forward better than herself; continually evolving and improving with each succeeding generation. In this way we insure a natural progression with each foal crop. Although we concentrate on mare families that are rare, they are first and foremost chosen for their unique qualities. One of those qualities is of course their pedigree; we look at the horses (pictorially) within the pedigree to tell us about their ancestors' strengths, physical traits, and qualities. From past treasures come future jewels.
Secondly, it is our intent to choose mare families that produce both good fillies and colts. It is essential to be able to rely on bloodlines that give you a product that is marketable whether male or female. Right now at SMF there are many superior quality young stallions and colts available for purchase! Henry and I proudly claim that these colts owe their superior quality in great part to our mare families.
Our straight Egyptian foundation mare, Glorietasayonaara was the first straight Egyptian mare added to our broodmare band. "Sayo" became the SMF ideal; she brought to our breeding equation the physical characteristics of a very high set neck with clean throatlatch, laid back shoulder, big dark eyes, extreme tail carriage, charisma, dynamic movement, and the cherished ability to pass on these traits! Her character was captivating; she was a very entertaining and human interactive horse. Sayo traces to this very famous strain on her tail female side (the bottom line of the pedigree) through the mare Bint Bint Sabbah, who traces to the second daughter and branch of the El Dahma family, named Obeya. Bint Bint Sabbah was a bay mare that Henry Babson imported from the Royal Agricultural Society of Egypt in 1932. This is one of the most prolific strains in straight Egyptians today on a worldwide basis; it is also the most prolific line at SMF. It is not surprising as this family has been with us for the longest time!
Glorietasayonaara also has roots leading to the mare of Ansata Arabian Stud fame named Sabrah, born in 1964, and owned by Donald and Judith Forbis. Sabrah gave them her daughter Ansata Sabiha, born in 1968, by the stallion Ansata Ibn Halima. Ansata Sabiha added another branch to the El Dahma tree and founded a dynasty of her own within the United States and internationally. Ansata Sabiha was later sold to Mike and Kiki Case of Glorieta Ranch in 1976; in her lifetime this mare had 12 foals. Ansata Sabiha produced Glorietasayonaara's dam, Glorieta Shahlima, born in 1978, by Ansata Shah Zaman. Shah Zaman's sire, Morafic boasts ten crosses to the mare, El Dhama. Ansata Ibn Halima, sire of Ansata Abu Nazeer, who is the sire of Glorietasayonaara has seven crosses to El Dahma. It is easy to make the case that from great dams come great sons when one notes the famous stallions of this strain that specifically trace to El Dahma many times over within their pedigrees. It would seem too that Henry and I are connected through our horses' dam side to Henry Babson, Donald and Judith Forbis, the Glorieta Ranch, and to all those who came before, as well as the ones who will come after us. Alas, I cannot claim this makes us great breeders, but I may state that we humans are linked by our horses and this is a special connection, a global one.
At SMF, Glorietasayonaara produced a black stallion named Shaikeel, born in 1993, by Simeon Shai that we sold to Germany as a two year old, where he has produced over 126 foals. Sayo's son Ali Saroukh, born in 1994, by Ruminaja Ali (Shaikh Al Badi x Bint Magidaa), was the first home bred stallion retained by the farm; he has sired 42 registered foals. At 17 years old, Saroukh is used on SMF mares yearly, and his daughters have proven to be "golden" in their production. However, we also have a son of Ali Saroukh that is coming along very well named Sidon SMF out of Shaboura (PVA Kariim x Sahbine by Ruminaja Ali).
Additionally, Sayo gave the farm two daughters that we retained; Sahbine, a full sister in blood to Ali Saroukh; and Samura, by Anaza El Farid by Ruminaja Ali. Sahbine's first daughter, the mare Shaboura, by PVA Kariim, gave us Symbolic SMF, by Majestic Noble SMF; Seraphina by Simeon Shai, now owned by Al Thumama Stud of Qatar; and Sidon SMF, by Ali Saroukh. The second daughter of Sahbine is the mare Sahbrina, by Simeon Shai, which provides several outcross lines.
Samura, the second daughter and branch of the Sayo family, adds another mare line through Bint Deenaa that also traces to El Dahma through the Farida family branch, which originates with Nadra El Saghira, who is out of the direct El Dahma daughter, Nadra. Samura gave us three colts by Ali Saroukh and three daughters by three different stallions. SMF retained two daughters of Samura; Princess Samaria SMF, by PVA Kariim (almost a full sister in blood to Shaboura); and Bint Bint Sayo, by Ali Saroukh (definitely tight in the genes). Samura's daughter Bint Bint Sayo is third generation, through her sire Ali Saroukh, to our foundation mare Glorietasayonaara, and first generation of all SMF breeding.
Bint Bint Sayo has given us two foals so far; the filly Shalah SMF, by Ansata Nile Pharaoh, owned by El Salayel, of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and Sayo Sahran SMF, bay colt, born in 2010, by Makhnificent KA (Makhsous x Star Bint Hafiza). This colt provides a great outcross of strong mare and stallion lines adding the wonderful breeding program of Kehilan Arabians in the USA and provides another sire line to Sameh. Bint Bint Sayo is in foal for 2012 to Symbolic SMF, out of Shaboura, who is of the Sahbine branch of the Sayo family. The third Samura daughter, Sybella SMF, by Majestic Noble SMF, is now owned by Mohammed Al Qatani of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Over the years we have added other mares of this same strain, but from diverse branches that are now establishing their own SMF families. But this is another chapter in the SMF story, which we will save for another day.
If you visit the countries of the Middle East, and the farms of Qatar, Kuwait, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, you will see this El Dahma family is well established there through such stallions as Ansata Hejazi and Ansata Murtajiz, a Hejazi son who traces to Sabah. Also, who could forget the ethereal stallion Ansata Halim Shah, a wonderful horse that substantiates the role El Dahma males have played in the history of the straight Egyptian Arabian horse. Additionally, many of the female families representing the lines of this famous El Dahma family have returned to the Middle East. The Nile Mist, Nile Queen, Bukra, Farida, Helwa, and Futna family branches maintain a strong global presence even today.
Our first SMF family was established by the root mare El Dahma, passing through her daughter Obeya, and continuing through her daughter Sabah (in the fourth generation). This founded the branch known as the Bint Bint Sabbah family (fifth generation), which came to us through Glorietasayonaara, an eleventh generation mare of this influential family. Now SMF has added three more generations and four branches through Glorietasayonaara and daughters, Sahbine and Samura, and through her sons Ali Saroukh and Shaikeel. From 1880 until today, for more than 130 years, the El Dahma line continues to flourish at Silver Maple Farm.