Having horses or any animal for that matter is not for the faint of heart. It comes with many trials and tribulations. It comes with a lot of love, dedication and responsibility. With that being said it also comes with a hard truth. You will more than likely live out the life of your animals whether you like it or not and hard choices have to be made. But when is the "right" time to let go?
The answer to that question varies. It depends on your animal or you as a person. In my area I have seen many let go by selling off older stock before the decision has to be made. Is that the right thing to do? To me, the answer is simple no. I believe we have a responsibility to these animals to care for them until their time comes. They are all loyal servants for us it is the least we can do to be there for them in that time. But on the other hand maybe these people can't afford the costs of that time and hope that somehow they will land into the hands that can do them that service.
That time can come in old age when maybe they can't hold weight on anymore, it can happen when colic strikes, when a disease happens, a foal is born with issues, or like my recent experience the health the animal is in could become problematic or dangerous in the near future.
I am writing this because I am seeing a lot of posts on FaceBook of horses being put to rest and I also had to so last month to one of my favorites. No matter how many I have lost over the years I have lived it never gets any easier. It was hardest this time because the mare was in her prime. She was 15 years old and I had hoped so much to get an embryo off her to transfer in another mare. She was my last connection to my youth and my first Arabian mare. But it would have been selfish of me to keep her going down the path she was. She was a grey and of course had the dreaded melanomas that sometimes consume these beautiful creatures. But that wasn't her only issue. She also had fractured her pelvis and basically got around on three legs. My main concern was that the melanomas blinded her in one eye, they were starting to close her anal area, and she became almost impossible to handle before I made my decision. Normally she was the sweetest, kindest mare you would ever come across and so easy to lead and handle my kids could do. Before I called my vet she become impossible to lead at times, running you over, hard to catch and even almost impossible to trim. Her quality of life was diminishing and the only explanation was she lived in fear constantly or the melanomas were eating her brain causing a neurological issue. It was time to let go. It was time to do her the last service I could do for her and let her rest in peace before her life got too out of control. Is it an easy decision? No, it never is. But it is our responsibility as their caregivers to do the right thing by them. Always.
It is hard but when their quality of life has gone we have to let go before they suffer further. Another controversial issue surrounding this subject is letting go when you can no longer afford to keep them. This can happen through sale, giving them away or even still sending them over the rainbow bridge. I know a lot of criticism is left to the last option but honestly is it so bad? A friend of mine broke her leg and she was left in rehab with no idea when she would get out. Her friends were caring for her horses but that was short lived. Should she risk selling them to unknown buyers or "let go". She chose to let them go in peace. They were both around 20 or younger and healthy mares. But she chose to say goodbye versus letting them possibly go down a road of neglect, starvation and abuse. In my eyes she saved them. Selling horses is a risky business. Often they end up in homes that aren't the best for them. Either ignorance in horse care or delusional dreams cause many to become overrun with too many horses and the horses end up in a neglectful situation. Do these people not love the horses? No, I believe they do love them but their dreams and ambitions fog their minds and they also need to learn to "let go".
Sahanad was born in 1959 and was bred by a Stephen Bonovich. She was sired by the Davenport stallion AbuHanad and out of the mare Sahabet. Sahanad was of Davenport descent but also contained the Hamidie import stallion Obeyran. Unique among the Davenport lines Sahanad was tail-female *Wadduda. Although *Wadduda's line is still very prominent in Davenport horses and other Arabian lines she is nearly extinct in the tail-female line and is extinct in tail-female lines of pure Davenport Arabians. Why is this important? The Bedouins often bred horses based on tail-female lines. Mares were highly prized and often bred for "Pure in Strain" based on the tail-female line. Breeding this way ensured to preserve type in the horse and certain traits would shine through.
*Wadduda herself was one of the most famous mares of her time. A true gift from the desert from the Bedouins to Homer Davenport she was a prized war mare. She came over with battle scars and the story was she carried her rider many miles with a bullet in her fetlock. She was a true desert treasure and proved herself through her descendants. These bloodlines are known for their athletic capabilities, loyalty, and true desert type. It is sad she is not preserved in the pure Davenports in the tail-female sense but through Sahanad and very few others her tail-female line still has a chance to survive.
At first Sahanad wasn't bred to any Al Khamsa stallions. However, she was lucky enough to be acquired by Golden Future Arabians where she was given the opportunity to preserve her lines in AK breeding. Sahanad ended up have 7 foals that were AK and out of those 7, 2 were pure Davenport. They were sired by the Egyptian import *Adhem, the Babson/Egyptian stallion Khemahr Moniet and the Davenport stallion Kamil Ibn Salan. Unfortunately the filly, Sadie Thompson, by Kamil Ibn Salan died at the tender age of 2 leaving few descendants. Her full brother Kamil Ibn Sahanad sired 8 foals. In total looking at 4 generations there are 36 descendants from Kamil. However, many have been lost. Several died in Texas, one son was gelded overseas, a few mares: Mi Bayou Lily, Mi April Trifle, MI Sahanada, and Mi Cathaya whereabouts are unknown but registered to Elizabeth Ford-Pade. I tried contacting her with no luck as to whether they still exist or not. There is a handful of pure Davenport with Kamil still out of his granddaughter Jen BeautyASaha. My stallion Siggi Saha, his full brother Lyre Saha and then his half siblings Poppy A Saha and Kamil Sahanad Saha. There are also a few mares of the rare *Crane element that also carry lines to Kamil Ibn Sahanad and I am lucky to co-own one with Karin Floyd of AZ and she is expecting her first foal Feb. 2024. Kamil has no tail-female Sahanad descendants but I am proud to say his great grandson had his first filly 2023 that is tail-female Sahanad so hope lives on that his line will continue.
Black Lightning, Sahanade, and Aziza Serr Anadah were all well preserved by the Howards of Hi Power Farm when they started the mission to save Sahanads line. Ibn Sahanad was preserved as well but his lines like Kamil's are slowly becoming less and less. But why did the Howard's want to preserve this line? Was it the connection to *Wadduda? The answer is no. That was not really a thought to them at first. The biggest reason was they acquired a mare named Vanetta Sphar and her disposition, build and personality touched the Howard's in a way no other horse did. It came from Sahanad. That unwavering sweetness that makes them the perfect family horse. So began their journey in searching for Sahanad descendants. It is thanks to them and their careful breeding program the Sahanad tail-female line has been saved. Others joined in to help save this line like Patty Conklin in Missouri, Anita Enander in California, and Carl Sphar in Illinois. There were other breeders, small and few in between the line continued on. But now these breeders are gone or no longer breeding and we have to look at what the future may hold for the Sahanad bloodline.
Today there are few breeding Sahanad horses. According to the AK Roster her descendants by decade is falling greatly. In the 70's their were 10, the 80's 57, the 90's spiked with 124, and from 2000-2009 their were still 107. The next decade it dropped over 50% to 42. Now in the past 3 years only 10 have been born. Right now I believe I am the only active breeder of these lines and I fear they will eventually fade along with myself. Other breeders have aged out and passed while others have moved on into different parts of their lives. I am determined collect the various lines still available to continue the lines in the purist and most diverse way "Purity through Diversity". I have almost succeeded with bringing Kamil lines and Ibn Sahanad lines into my program. I have plans to utilize Sheila Tuckers stallion who is by Aziza Malachi son Jalam Sphar (who is out of the blue star mare DB Roxy Ann) and the Khehanad Adhem son Khehanad Azeem who is out of the Aziza Malachi daughter HPF Malisah. Both lines have a lot of diversity to offer while still incorporating more Ibn Sahanad to my program. Jalam's son offers Saud lines as well as Egyptian lines of Moniet El Sharaf and The Minstril from his dam. Azeem adds Khe Adhm to the mixture the less famous full sibling of Saud El Ameer but the better of the two in my opinion. But why keep these lines going with so many stopping? To me these horses are just amazing. They are athletic, brave, trainable, well built, of desert type and beyond sweet family horses. The Howards did a fantastic job getting them linebred to preserve the tail-female line and now I feel they work best with some other combined source lines and that is how I set up my program. I have quite a few with only one line to Sahanad but others with multiple and by interbreeding these combined sources are creating something really special. For the future there may not be any more breeders specifically to Sahanad but I challenge other breeders to consider adding this something special to their programs to see how it can help improve and diversify their programs. More information on Sahanad and the people behind her legacy can be found in a few past issues of the Khamsat. They are all wonderful articles and I highly recommend them.
I feel that my first post should be an introduction of who I am and some of my thoughts and feelings about what I am trying to achieve with my program and welcome anyone reading this to do the same in the comments. My name is Sarah Clower (Maiden name, my legal name is Sarah Combs but am happily divorced) and I from and located in the Eastern Panhandle of WV in between two small towns of Moorefield and Romney. Growing up I was always a horse crazy kid. My father and mother both were avid riders and trained there own horses and rode all over the mountains surrounding our family farm. We once owned over 500 acres of land before tragedy struck our family and I lost my grandparents and my father. Family shows there true colors during hard times and after a long battle we got our "half" of the property at 140 acres. Before all this I spent my childhood riding my TWH gelding that my parents trained with parents every Sunday. We rode miles and miles each week for hours and sometimes all day long before I even knew what endurance riding was. Eventually I got bored of my laid back Walking horse and wanted to run and race and jump and do more things. I chose the first horse we looked at (of course as a kid you tend to be incredibly impulsive and want the first thing you lay your eyes on). He was a bay TB/QH cross who had never been ridden anywhere but a field. As a young kid who was used to a follow the leader type horse I struggled finding confidence on this gelding and never got much further than the yard with him. It was a failure and not a good step-up horse for me. I began searching again and found an ad in the valley trader for a "Pure White Egyptian Arabian Mare" $3500. I was excited and she sounded like a dream come true. Many kids wanted a black stallion but I love the idea of having a white mare. My mom was not thrilled because the price was outrageous. My dad however said we could take a look. She was trained as a 3 day-eventer and was responsive, fast, fun and easy to handle. I used my entire savings to buy my first Arabian mare and never regretted one minute of it. Sheika was a double granddaughter of the great Shaikh Al Badi and her other parts of her pedigree include the greats of *Witez II, Ferzon, Gazon, *Raffles and Skowronek. This mare was the epitome of heart horses. She taught me how to ride and I mean really ride. Many horses teach a kid to sit but Sheika taught me how to control a wild ride and sit properly to be able to hang on. She taught me how to fly and I can't be grateful enough for the time we had. She was always a fierce competitor and never knew what it meant to be last. She not only taught me to ride but started me on my breeding venture. I wanted to replicate my mare and have something to carry on after her so I started looking for stallions. I found a farm named Saba Bloodstock where I found my first love of a Black Arabian Stallion in the Fabo son Arabi Fadh Onyx. His beauty was beyond compare and my dream of making a salt n pepper baby began. During this time was when I lost my father and a bit of my way but I never lost the love for the Arabian horse and learned as much as I could at Saba Bloodstock. From caring for there upwards to 80 horses to learning different bloodlines from American Foundation breeding to Babson to the rare *Mirage line. Sadly Saba Bloodstock fell into a bad way and many wonderful amazing horses were lost just like many small breeders with big dreams (a subject for another blog). Fast forward to me at 17 with a handful of horses mostly Egyptian breeding but I craved my own "Black Stallion" so badly. I researched stallions and came across one black Arabian stallion of AK/Sahanad breeding and a Blue Star/Sahanad/Davenport stallion that was Chestnut. Pros and cons were the black stallion was black and in Missouri the other stallion although very pretty was chestnut (I already had a chestnut El Majiid son) and all the way in California. In retrospect if I had been as knowledgeable and focused on Sahanad bloodlines as I am now I would have ended up with the chestnut stallion as he was the last son of Kamil Ibn Sahanad who is almost extinct in Sahanad breeding. His name is Ghazal Ibn Kamil and despite many efforts unattainable to anyone for breeding or purchase. But I can't be sad because had I not wanted black I wouldn't have gotten OPA Yowel who started my program on its path to where it is now.
Needless to say it was not an easy task. For one he was in Missouri and I was in West Virginia, two my mother said you can't buy a horse sight unseen, and three Carol (his breeder) was a little skeptical about doing a payment plan when she found out how young I was. Solution was to work my job for almost 3 weeks straight take 3 days off and drive out to Missouri to meet Yowel and Carol. Mission accomplished and with my mother's help and support not only did Yowel make the trip from Missouri but a mare HPF Caraga Ole and HPF Erly Treasure came with him, two Sahanad Preservation mares. At this point I had three programs: Straight Egyptian lines through Ansata, Gleannloch, Kline, and Bentwood programs. I was so lucky to have daughters of Al Metrabbi, Ibn Morafic, Shaikh Al Badi, and Sar Ibn Moniet. I also had an *Ansata Ibn Halima grandson through his son El Majiid and a Shaikh Al Badi son that was out of a *Soufian daughter and bred by Gleannloch themselves. I loved my Egyptian program. I also had American Foundation mares that were a mixture of various lines and a few that were linebred to the tail-female of Fame VF, Kharasaba. Last I had my Sahanad program. It was a lot for me to take on when I was barely out of high school but a dream coming true. Fast forward to a bad relationship and three pregnancies later and a difficult choice. I was pregnant for the third time and needing a divorce and to get out of a bad situation. My horses were suffering and so was I so I downsized greatly. I dispersed all my Egyptian horses and my American Foundation ones as well. I can't tell you why I kept the Sahanad's because in truth I loved them all and still to this day the *Morafic and Shaikh Al Badi lines are always my favorite but I just couldn't part with my black stallion that had won over my heart. Him and his mares were so easy going and trainable. I just couldn't let them go. I knew they would be the best for my children to grow up around. Eventually I reobtained two of my American Foundation/Sahanad fillies. One due to neglect and the other because the owner didn't want her going to a bad home. I still have one and my other had to laid to rest. Life throws us many curve balls and I went from almost 30 head of horses to less than 10. I feel then it wasn't my time and I did what was right letting go and concentrating on a smaller group of horses. Fast forward another 10 years and I am back up to 20 horses all that have Sahanad in their pedigrees but also other great combined source breeding. I never thought I would be up to this number again but many were taken due to their owners death's or health issues. I didn't want to see them lost like I have seen so many lost over the years. I am still quite young but after 17 years of doing this you start to feel older than you are. Breeding is not for the faint of heart and even recently tragedy has struck. I have lost some foals recently that have hit me hard and also broken my leg in a riding accident. I hit a depression that I am slowly climbing out of. But I continue on and my horses are my sanctuary. I found another heart horse and although she isn't Sheika she has her own unique way of teaching me new things. I am excited for my journey with her and with all my other horses. If my introduction is a lesson in anything it is a lesson of determination and that dreams can come true. I hope others will comment and share there start in Arabian or even just horse ownership and what they mean to them. I have had one constant throughout my life and struggles and that has been my horses. I don't know where I would be without them other than maybe have more money in my pocket but I would rather have my horses than a pocket full of money. They give me so much more back than money ever can. I also want to make sure it is understood this blog is not just about AK horses or Sahanad horses or even about just Arabians. It is for passionate people that love all horses of varying types and bloodlines and disciplines and everyone should feel free to be able to express their opinions and own individual love of the horse. Happy Trails!
My name is Sarah Clower and I am the owner of Sahanad Preservation Farm. I have spent my life with horses and been breeding for 17 years now. I recently earned my Bachelors degree in Equine Studies with a focus in Business Management. My focus for this blog is to educate as well as learn from my readers.