Al Khamsa, Inc. takes pride in maintaining a roster of horses that it calls Al Khamsa Arabians. These are horses in North America that can reasonably be assumed to descend entirely from Bedouin Arabian horses bred by the nomadic horse-breeding tribes of the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, and without admixture of horses unacceptable to Al Khamsa.
For perhaps 2,000 years it was a matter of honor among the Bedouins of the greater Arabian Peninsula to breed their horses “pure” as defined by their own strict standards of purity. The need for maintaining the breed in its original form was confirmed by the daily struggle for survival in a harsh environment, by tribal combat, and perhaps most importantly, by their belief that the Arabian horse was a gift to them from their Creator, a gift to be cherished and preserved.
The Bedouins transmitted their knowledge of the lineage of their horses in the form of an oral history of the breeding of each mare and stallion. They did not maintain written stud books. The records of the descendants of these Bedouin Arabians are found in stud books, letters, journals, etc. from around the world. Al Khamsa, Inc. has compiled and referenced the basic information concerning Al Khamsa horses in a series of publications, including Al Khamsa Arabians and its sequels, the magazine Khamsat, and Directories of horses.
Horses eligible for Al Khamsa have come to North America from a variety of sources and by way of many other countries. To simplify the understanding of the sometimes-complex ancestry of our horses, the Foundation stock has been divided into groups designated “Ancestral Elements.” An Ancestral Element refers to the country, stud farm, person, or group who imported or was primarily associated with the Foundation Horses within that group. Ancestral Elements do not necessarily conform to modern breeding programs. For instance, all horses known as “straight Egyptian” trace to EGYPT I and BLUNT. Most “Egyptian” horses also trace to the EGYPT II and/or INSHASS Ancestral Elements.
Within Al Khamsa, the most frequently found Ancestral Elements are:
EGYPT (I and II): Foundation Horses of the mid-19th to early 20th Century, divided by the person or groups responsible for their introduction into Egyptian breeding programs.
INSHASS: Foundation Horses utilized by Kings Fouad and Farouk in their Inshass stud in Egypt from the 1920s through the early 1940s.
BLUNT: Foundation Horses acquired by Lady Anne and Wilfrid Blunt for their stud farms in England and Egypt.
DAVENPORT: Foundation Horses registered as imported to the U.S. by Homer Davenport.
SA’UD and JILUWI: Foundation Horses acquired, usually by Americans, from various members of the related ruling Sa'ud and Jiluwi families of Saudi Arabia, 1930-1966.
Other equally important, but less frequently occurring Ancestral Elements:
AYERZA: Foundation Horses imported to Argentina by Don Hernan Ayerza in the 1890s.
BABOLNA: Foundation Horses obtained between 1816 and 1866 by the Babolna Stud of Hungary.
BORDEN: Foundation Horses imported to England and represented in stock imported to the U.S. by Spencer Borden in 1898.
COBB: A Foundation Horse imported to the U.S. by Mrs. Connie Cobb.
CRANE: A Foundation Horse imported to the U.S. by Charles R. Crane.
HAMIDIE: Foundation Horses imported by the Hamidie Society to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair for exhibition purposes, but which remained in this country.
HUNTINGTON: Foundation Horses imported to England and the U.S. whose bloodlines were combined by Randolph Huntington, who established, in 1888, the earliest U.S. Arabian breeding farm with modern-day North American descendants.
INDIVIDUALS: Foundation Horses which do not fall within a natural grouping are identified individually. These include Dwarka, *Mirage, *Nejdran, *Ta'an.
KHALIFA: Foundation Horses imported from the Khalifa family, rulers of the island of Bahrain off the east coast of Saudi Arabia since the late 1700s.
RICHARDS: The parents of *Jamalah El Jedrani, a mare bred in Saudi Arabia by Mrs. Marie Frances Richards, who then imported her to the U.S.
WEIL: Foundation Horses obtained between 1816 and 1894 by the Weil Stud of Germany.