The first emotion that springs to mind when one thinks of Alidaar is love, it was indeed love at first sight. We were looking for a new stallion in order to improve our breeding program. This stallion should combine a faultless pedigree with exceptional quality, presence and type. This was of utmost importance for us, after all, this fascinating type of Arabian is the very reason why we breed and own these horses.
Searching for a new Stallion
We had imported stallions like Ibn Galal (Magdi), Mehanna and Mohssen successfully incorporated into our breeding program. A new stallion, a new love was being discussed, a stallion that would be able to improve our brood-mares and set new standards for the Arabian breed at the same time. We were always aware of the fact that our breeding program would prosper if we could manage to breed horses that meet international standards and are competitive - regardless of their bloodlines.
As an international judge there were many opportunities to follow the development of Arabian horse breeding worldwide. Numerous trips led my wife and me to the most faraway places in the world, especially the countries that bred Arabian horses. Our goal was always to find the one special horse.
Over the years we had many visits to Egypt and to the leading Egyptian stud farms in the USA. It was during the nineteen eighties that breeding farms like Gleannloch, Ansata and Bentwood assisted to form a picture of our ideal Arabian horse. This picture became a living vision when we saw the stallion Ansata Shah Zaman for the first time. He was charisma personifyed. For us, his type, conformation and pedigree embodied a true "classic". In addition he had size and a strong, well put together frame. Ansata Shah Zaman was the result of mating Morafic (Nazeer x Mabrouka) and his full-sister Ansata Bint Mabrouka, a successful product of inbreeding. As an individual and sire Ansata Shah Zaman was a wonderful horse but we wanted to avoid inbreeding in our program. A number of experienced breeder were contending with the consolidation of certain undesirable traits in their herds, as a result of continuous inbreeding. As useful as inbreeding can be, we firmly believe it can easily lead to a dead-end street. Personally, in order to exclude such risks, we closely examine the pedigree of a stallion that interests us: the horse must be first-class, with a pedigree that is skilfully blended, not too many crosses of a particular line - and not too much inbreeding.
A day in Texas
It seemed as if the sudden stop at David Gardner's stud in Texas was fated, on this day a phantom stallion appeared and made me shiver: Here he was Alidaar, the embodiment of all I had hoped for in a stallion. An arrogant aristocrat, Alidaar stood like a monument, staring into the distance. His pedigree precisely met my expectations. Sired by Shaikh Al Badi (Morafic x Bint Maisa El Saghira) out of Bint Magidaa (Khofo x Magidaa), Alidaar carries several lines to Nazeer via some of his most splendid sons and daughters (e.g. the marvellous Bint Maisa El Saghira). His tail-female line traces back to the rare branch of El Mahroussa (Obeyan Om Grees).
A new love had pranced into my life and my intuition told me that his potential as a sire could lead our breeding program into a new dimension. Meeting Alidaar got me into serious trouble. How could I convince my wife that I had found my dream stallion? And how could I implement the purchase? Exciting days indeed, I had to stand by the courage of my convictions before decisions could be made. However, time passes and soon everything was settled and Alidaar crossed the big pond and arrived at our farm in France.
Dreams and Plans
We were daydreaming and thought of crosses not yet possible. Our young stallion Lohim (Ansata Halim Shah x Lohelia by Morafic) seemed to be the perfect nick with Alidaar. However, Lohim's daughters were not old enough or not even born, therefore taking several years before our breeding fantasies became reality.
First Europe then Qatar
As the first foals of this combination arrived it became obvious that they were "hits": They displayed marvellous type, perfect toplines as well as beautiful big dark eyes. But first it was my goal to make Alidaar's presence known in Europe. I showed him myself and at his first show at Menton (France), he received an almost perfect score. Seldom before had a horse got such high marks at any show in Europe. Alidaar's majestic presence was irresistible to the judges who rewarded him with astronomical points in type, body and even movement. I was soaring high on a cloud and could continue this flight with further show success.
Alidaar's weak point was his movement. Six days a week, he showed unsatisfactory movement, however, on chosen days Alidaar virtually flew through his paddock. Luckily he showed quite good movement at several shows. Under saddle he always moved with harmony and balance preferring the Western style of riding. Of course, I was worried, what Alidaar would pass on to his get in this regard. To cut a long story short - all his foals born at our stud possessed very good, even outstanding movement.
Sadly enough the prophet doesn't count much in his own country. When Alidaar set foot on European soil he immediately found many admirers. At the same time he got criticised by others. Apparently it's typical for many to look for faults instead of praising the positive traits of a horse. However, we stood prepared and firmly believed in Alidaar as well as his ability as a sire.
He now is standing under the good care and loving eye of Sheikh Abdul Aziz at Al Rayyan Farm in Qatar (but is in the ownership of HH the Emir of Qatar) where he is used to his full potential. Today our breeding philosophy has been long proven correct and Alidaar's status as a sire of significance is a fact. The Senior Champion Mare of the International Show in Qatar 2004 was the Alidaar daughter Al Aangha Al Rayyan (x Ansata Majesta by Ansata Halim Shah). Due to their sweet disposition the get of Ansata Ibn Halima were especially good to absorb the vigorous blood of Morafic. We made the same experience with our stallion Lohim (by Ansata Halim Shah out of a Morafic daughter). He inherited the calm disposition from his sire.
Alidaar, the Sire
Alidaar's get proved that he is equal in every respect to his full-brother Ruminaja Ali. For me personally, Alidaar is the one who is a touch more noble. We are lucky to have three of his get at our farm in France. I would like to mention Classic Rashma (out of AK Raiyeh) first, who caused great interest world wide during her short but nevertheless successful show career. A mare with excellent offspring is Classic Madaraa (Alidaar x UP Bint Marah). She presented us with excellent foals by Lohim, among them Classic Lohelia, Champion Mare of the Egyptian Event in Italy 2002. She is on lease to the Royal Jaafar Stud in Jordan. The eight year old Classic Rayan (Alidaar x AK Raiyeh) is an exceptional stallion and on lease to Spain for the 2004 breeding season.
Due to their quality Alidaar's foals are in demand everywhere in the world. They are successful in the show ring and prove their potential as breeding horses. There are too many to mention but I will list a few of them to give you a glimpse of their influence: Classic Farida (x Frabilahh) is standing in Kuwait, Classic Medaba (x UP Bint Marah) in Italy, Classic Ameer Ali in Italy (2003 Champion of the Egyptian Event), Classic Shadwan (x Shagiah) and Miriyah Alida (out of Monisa Halima) are in Germany as well as Miriyah's full-brother Classic Arif in Saudi Arabia. In Egypt there is Classic Aldaraa (x Shagiah) and Classic Mansour in Italy. The chestnut stallions Nabeel (was awarded a silver medal at the stallion show) and Pasha Yasin (a "gold stallion") are standing in Germany. The mare Classic Dahra (x AK Dareeba) in Germany is synonymous for Arabian type and nobility. No less noble is Nabilah-D "P" in Belgium. In Egypt the Alidaar daughter Alidarra has produced more champion get than any other mare. And the dam of the Egyptian Event Champion Stallion 2003, The Orient Express, is a daughter of Alidaar. This list could be continued.
Alidaar is ageless and still has that trim, alert youthful look about him even though he turns twenty this year. He is in the best of condition. His nobility, presence and balanced silhouette still have the ability to turn heads.
Frankly, I have had stallions that were much easier to handle, but Alidaar knows his status in the world and responds to rudeness and the use of the whip with annoyance. I think the American halter training methods formed him - he will never forget them. Whenever he is treated with love and respect, as you would treat a friend, he will reward you tenfold. To be in close relationship to him is a wonderful experience.
It was a sad moment when "mon amour" Alidaar left our farm. We knew it would not be an easy task to find a stallion of the same calibre again. But to see him content in his last home at Al Rayyan in Qatar is both a consolation coupled with immense satisfaction, we know he is appreciated in the manner he deserves. Alidaar is possibly one of the last great stallions that combine a charismatic personality with an excellent pedigree.
My revered friend, best wishes for your birthday.
This story was published for the first time in June 2004 on straightegyptian.com.