The Strain of Kuhaylan Krush
Money could not buy a Krush horse
One of the most famous strains of Arabian horses is the strain of Kuhaylan Krush (Kuhaylan Kurush). This strain was in such high regard that it was said that money could not buy one of them. The Krush strain originates with the ashraf (the sherifs) of Mecca and passed to the tribe of al-Qahtan via al-Murrah. With Ibn Kurush of al-Qahtan this strain got its name. Faysal al-Dawish of al-Mutair could buy this famous mare when it could not rise alone and had to be lifted by men. But she recovered completely and her offspring became famous with the tribe of Mutair. From there it spread all over Arabia and beyond into some of the most important breeding operations of their times.
The Abbas Pasha Manuscript has the following information on the Krush marbat, which is called Kurush al-Ghandour (1853): The sheikhs of the Mutair tribe, the al Dawish/Duwish claim: "She is Kuhailan Ajuz, the first of all Kuhayl and she was called Kurush after the name of Ibn Kurush of al Qahtan and al Ghandour after the name of al Ghandour of al Baqoun. She is a precious (aziz) strain, the horses are old and pure (atiq) and blessed." Her first origin was with Ibn Ramathain of Obeida of al Qahtan, and she was famous for her speed. He sold her to Ibn Kurush, who sold her to Hamad Ibn Ghandour. Because at a time she could not stand up until some men lifted her, Faysal al Dawish of al Mutair could buy her. She recovered completely and became able to race with al Dalul (camels). From this mare descendants came to Abbas Pasha (at least six mares), to Kurshid Pasha, Mohamed al Khalifa, to Issa al Saadoun of the Muntefiq, to Talal Ibn Rasheed (leader of the Shammar at Hail), to Turki al Saud and to his son Faisal, and also back to the Qahtan tribe, to the Beni Khaled and others. The Abbas Pasha Manuscript also gives the testimony of Mohamed ibn Qarmala that “She is Kuhayla ´Ajuz, and her origin is from al Ashraf (the sherifs) of the people of Jauf, mubti. And she passed from al Ashraf to al Murrah a long time ago. And from al Murrah to Ibn Ramathain of Obeida of Qathan.” And from him to Ibn Kurshan of Qahtan, and so forth.
With the Mutair
The Mutair tribe lived in the Hedschas and came to the Nejd in the second half of the 19th century. Lady Anne Blunt in 1879 tells us in A Pilgrimage to Nejd: "The tribe from which he (Ibn Rasheed) got the best blood , the Hamdani Semri and the Kehilan el-Krush, was the Muteyr (sometimes called the Dushan)." She describes a chestnut Kehilet el-Krush mare in the stables at Hajl as rather plain headed and heavy in the neck, ..."but a very fine shoulder, a high wither, legs like steel, hind quarter decidedly coarse, much hair at the heels. More bone than breeding… though moving, and with the Emir on her back, one must be very captious not to admire."
Jawza with Mutlaq Ibn Batal al-Mutayri (left) and Krush were bred by the Mutayr in Nedschd and came to Lady Blunt´s Sheikh Obeyd stud in Egypt.
Ibn Safinaz (Seef/Safinaz) at Imperial Egyptian Stud, USA
Krush Halba/Baba Kurush from Syria became the most important foundation stallion of Turkey.
Dr. Hazaim Alwair from Syria gave the following information on the strain (2007): "The Keheilet Krush is a very prized strain, and perhaps one of the most famous of all. There are lots of poems about the Krush strain. In early days in Syria, Lady Anne Blunt bought the mare Burning Bush from the city of Hama, she was bred by the S´baa tribe. Later she acquired the Keheilet Krush mares Jawza (Jauza) and Aida from the Dawish clan of Mutayr. The strain belonged to the Koheilan Ajuz strain and was in the possession of the Sherifs of Jawf al-Yaman, who were descendants of the Prophet Mohamed. The most famous line of this strain is that bred by the leaders of the Mutayr tribe, the Al-Dawish are the sheikhs of the Mutayr, who obtained it from Ibn Krushan. Now Ibn Krushan didn´t breed these horses, but he had his name on the strain because you will always hear the Al-Dawish say they took these horses from Ibn Krushan. In time the Ajuz part of the name was dropped and she became the Keheilet Krush, or Keheilet Al Krush. They are also sometimes called Krush Al Dawish. Some of the best horses in Syria are of this strain.
With the Shammar
The Keheilet Krush Al Baida strain is so called because they came with Mezel Abdul Mohsen/Mayzar Abd al-Mushin al-Jarba, one of the leaders of the Shammar. This is called Krush Al Baida because she came with from Najd. When I asked his great grandson, he told me they bought these horses from Najd, they took them directly from the Mutayr and they called them Krush Al Baida because of the famous poem of Ibn Rashid about them."
From Saudi Arabia into the World
When the Ibn Sauds won over the Ibn Rasheeds in 1921 and conquered Hail, the stud of Ibn Rasheed with the Krush mares came into the possession of the Ibn Sauds. One mare of this strain was presented by King Abdul Aziz al-Saud to Lady Wentworth of Crabbet Park. In 1927 this mare Dafina came to England. She was bred by Mutair in the Nejd. Her line is perpetuated in Russian lines, as one of her daughters was exported to Tersk. The same year El Kahila was presented to Inshass, who was the starting point of the Krush strain in Egypt. Also Lady Blunt had received Krush horses for Sheikh Obeyd, Egypt: Krush (1906) and Jauza (1907). Krush, or sometimes also called Krushan, was a desert bred Koheilan Krush. His sire was a Kehilan El Sueti of the Harb stock and his dam the grey Kehilet El Krush, whose dam was the mare of El Duish known as the "white Krush" (Krush Al Baida) and famed for her speed. Jauza, a chestnut mare, desert bred, sire a Dahman Shahwan of Sheikh Mubarak Ibn Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, dam a Kehilat El Krush, favorite mare of the late Sheikh Sultan El Duish.”
Emir Abdullah, the ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, founded this Royal Stud with Bedouin horses of his family from the Hedschas and from different tribes. Some of the mares had been used in the fights against the Ottoman empire, in which Lawrence of Arabia was engaged. Among the foundation stock was the Krushiah Jamila, one of the war mares. After King Abdullah was murdered in 1951, the Royal Stud nearly came to an end. Luckily most of the mares could be saved later on. Gazella, a white Krushiah mare, was rediscovered pulling a plough.
On the island of Bahrain the Kuhaylan Krush strain arrived with a mare in 1948: Krush was presented to the ruler of Bahrain by Sheikh Mohamed al Araibi, Sheikh of al Amara (a large district between Baghdad and Basra). Krushan, her son by the famous "Old speckled Jellaby", was Sheikh Isa´s favorite stallion. The Krush strain was lost in Bahrain and reintroduced by importing the mare Lettice from England going back to Dafina, the Krush mare Ibn Saud had given to Lady Wentworth.
Krushaan Bader (Jellaby Mansoor/Lettice imp. England, hajin) at Prnce Mohammed´s farm, mare Krush and her son Krushan (photos Judith Forbis).
Turkey and its Baba Kurus (Krush Halba)
Turkey´s most important foundation stallion was a Kuhaylan Krush bred by the Anaza in Syria: Kuheylan Krush (Krush), sired by a Saklawi Shieyfi out of a Kuhaylah Krushiah dam. He was known in Turkey as Baba Kurus. Krush was purchased by Aral and Batu for the Turkish government in 1933 in the village of Halbe (Halba), near Tripoli, Lebanon, from Abdulmecit Agha for 2,300 French francs. An imposing masculine-type stallion, he was white with a greyish dapple and stood 1.55 high. He measured 181 cm round the chest and possessed a broad forehead of 20 1/2 cm. Born in 1921, he was of most highly esteemed lineage, his dam being a Kuhaylah Krushiah and his sire a Saklawi Shieyfi. Prof. Batu of the University of Ankara noted during his travels in Arabia that the strain of Kuhaylan Krush was the best to be found at that time. Turkey favored the Krush horses very much and imported the following stallions in addition to Baba Kurus: Kurus Satra 1923, Al Kurus 1933 (founder of a sire line), Kurus Rabban 1929.
Three foundation sires of Turkey: Krush Halba/Baba Kurush, Al-Kurus and Kurus Rabban (from left to right).
The Turks were not the only ones interested in this family for it caught the eye of Dr. Ahmed Mabrouk who was on a mission for the Royal Agricultural Society of Egypt... He reported in his book Journey to Arabia: "At Beyrouth I found a Krush, a nice grey horse who had won seventeen races at less than six years of age. This horse out of El Nawagia by Krush belongs to Saad El Din Shatila Pasha. The sire of the Krush horse which I bought was sold a few years ago to the Turkish government... It is worth mentioning that in the only three stables I visited in Beyrouth, I saw about thirty offspring of the famous stallion Krush." Although Dr. Mabrouk purchased this son of Krush and imported him into Egypt, he was not used by the Royal Agricultural Society in the perpetuation of their breeding herd, but put out to a depot for local breeders to use in producing race horses (Forbis, Hoofbeats along the Tigris, 1970). This Krush in Egypt was a Koheilan Al Nawwaq by strain and was used for breeding and had three registered offspring: the stallion Tamie (1937) out of Nagiya; the mare Bushra (1940) out of Kahila and the mare Madiha (1938) out of Bint Sabah, therefore a sister to Bukra and the Babson mare Bint Bint Sabbah, but regretfully none of them bred on.
In Egypt the Krush strain goes back to the dark bay mare El Kahila, presented to Inshass by King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud in 1927. She was born in 1921. Her daughter El Zabia by El Deree was noted to be of the Koheilan Krush strain, although no strain was mentioned for her mother El Kahila. The most important representatives of this strain were Safinaz 1970 (Alaa El Din X Ramza) and her sons Ibn Safinaz 1981 by Seef at Imperial Egyptian Stud, and Serag El Din 1992 by Mourad, one of the major sires at El Zahraa in his time.
Ibn Safinaz (Seef/Safinaz) with 25 years in America and his dam Safinaz (Alaa El Din/Ramza) at El Zahraa.
Another of Krush Halba sons, the stallion Gazwan, was the foundation sire for the now defunct Lebanese Arabian Horse breeding program. Some of his sons and daughters have been exported to the U.S. in 1947 as part of the Hearst importation. A third asil line to Krush Halba now survives in Syria through his other son Abu Al-Tayyeb, also a Kuhaylan al Krush from the Fad´aan marbat. The Davenport mare Werdi also comes from this marbat (Edouard Al Dahdah).
This mare Werdi a Kuhaylah Kurush imported in 1906 to the USA by Homer Davenport, is the starting point for a large family with in the Davenport lines.
More Kuhaylan strains:
HH Obsidian Krush, a modern Davenport horse, photo courtesy Jeanne Craver.