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Ubayyan Strains

Hanan (Alaa el Din/Mona), foundation mare for Dr. Nagel´s Katharinenhof may be the most influential mare of the Ubayan strains of the last century worldwide.

The name Ubayan is derived from a legend that Sherrak was hunted by his enemies, and in order to gain speed, he threw his aba (mantle) behind. But when he returned home save he discovered his aba caught by the high carried tail of his mare.

In the Abbas Pasha manuscript the Ubayan/Abeyyan/Obayan section takes up 43 pages. This strain was on the sixth place in Abbas Pasha´s list and has always been in high esteem with the Bedouin of Arabia. The most famous breeder of Obayans was Al Sherraq. The Abeyyans were popular among the Sheba, the Dafeer, the Oteybeh and the Dawasir tribes. Also the families of Al Saud and Ibn Jiluwi collected and bred them. Later this strain also came to the Shammar. The Shammar Sheikhs used to ride their Obeyans in war and their foundation mare was given to them from Sherif Barakat of Mecca before they migrated north. Also the Muntafiq and the Wuld Ali (who sold some to Mr. Ayerza of Argentina) had Ubayans. A particular prized mare of this strain belonged to Hussein Ibn Safeer, the rai (master of the horses) in Burayda Qasim, who composed a poem about her. Also he testified in the Abbas Pasha manuscript: "She is Abeyyah Sherraqiah who passed to us from Ibn Sakhya of Beni Khaled."

Count Rzewuski´s riding mare in Arabia, Mustachara, the pride of the Bedouins, was called by him Mustachara Obeyet el-Hamra Nejdiye Koheyle el-Arab el Bedaviye. Rzewuski also called her his "war mare" and "the victorious at Arak". Rzewuski (1819) gives the following Ubayan strains: Obeian el Hadr, Obeian Lahab, Obeian Hinidisi, Obeian Scharraki, Obeian Abou Geris, Obeian el-Hamrai, Obeian el-Hamlah.

Some very important foundation mares and stallions exported from Arabia belonged to the Ubayan family: Queen of Sheba 1875, an Abeyeh Sherrakieh, of the Gomussa tribe of Sebaa Anazeh for Crabbet Park, Saadun 1906, an Abeyan Sherrak, both parents from this strain, bred by Meshara Ibn Saadun, sheikh of the Muntafiq. He won three races and died September 1917 (evidently from dourine disease) at Sheikh Obeyd. El Shahbaa 1925 (El Hamdani el Nasiri X El Obeya Om Grees) at Inshass of King Farouk, Egypt is the founding mare of today´s largest family of Ubayan horses in the Straight Egyptian population, originating with the Tahawy Bedouin. Also Turkey imported some horses of this strain and Russia (Count Stroganov), Algeria and America as well.

Count Rzewuski´s drawing of his war mare Moustachara.

Saadun (left) and Queen of Sheba became important foundation horses for Sheikh Obeyd and Crabbet Park respectively.

Lady Anne Blunt writes in Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates: "The Abeyyan is generally the handsomest breed, but is small, and has less resemblance to the English Thoroughbred than the Saqlawiyat and the Kuhaylat. The Abeyyan Sherraq is the sub-strain most appreciated, and an Abeyyan Sherraq we saw at Aleppo, bred by the Gomoussa, could not have surpassed in good looks, however, of a racing type. Again an Abeyyan Sherraq mare we saw was the most perfect mare we saw (the celebrated Queen of Sheba). The pure Abeyyan Sherraq strain is only found in the family of Abu Jereys of the Mesekha and in a single family of the Jelaas (Rwala)." This statement seems contradictory and refutable as many Ubeyan horses like her Queen of Sheba and Saadun tend more to resemble the English Thoroughbred.

Stallion Obeyan in Turkey (left) and Sherrak (Abeyan Sherrakn of Abu Jereys), stallion imported to Russia for Count Stroganov in 1890.

Ubayan in Egyptian lines

Hanan 1967 (Alaa El Din X Mona) bred in El Zahraa and Dr. Nagel´s most important foundation mare is the most influential horse of the Ubayan strain of our time. An Obayan Om Grees going back to El Shahbaa 1925. This mare El Shahbaa 1925 (El Hamdany El Nasiri X El Obeya Om Grees) came from Sheikh Saoud al-Tahawy to Inshass through El Hag Mohamed Ibrahim.

El Shahbaa had four foals at Inshass before she was sold in 1942, three colts and one filly, El Mahrousa 1930 by El Zafir. From Mahrousa the Obayan Om Grees line divides in two branches of two bay full sisters: Mahfouza 1943 (Hamdan X Mahrousa) and Mahdia 1947 (Hamdan X Mahrousa) with her daughter Mona 1956 by Badr 1946 (Besheir El Ashkar X Badria) of Bisherat Bey origin. The Mafouza branch: Mahfouza gave two daughters. Hafiza, 1949 by Hamdan and Maysa 1955 by the Hamdan son Anter. Hafiza gave two outstanding stallions: Ibn Hafiza 1959 by Sameh and El Araby 1962 by Morafic. Mahfouza´s granddaughter Magidaa 1964 (Alaa El Din X Maysa) founded a dynasty of her own in the USA. The Mahdia branch: Mahdia is dam of the bay Mona 1956 by Badr, who gave birth to Montaha 1966 by Galal, sold to Serinity Farms and Hanan 1967 by Alaa El Din, who gained worldwide renown and influence through the breeding program of Dr. Nagel in Germany. Mona also had two sons: Bilal I 1965 by Morafic and Maher 1968 by Galal. The charismatic Bilal I became the foundation sire for Shams El Asil. Maher stayed at El Zahraa, but had little impact.

Reemah Al Jabal (Salaa Maysah/Latifa) goes back to Mahfouza, Ghazala (Ghazal/Hanan) to Mahdia.

Ubayan Horses exported to America

Abbeian, Abeyah, Haffia and Deyr were among the imported horses for Davenport Arabians. Deyr 1904 was bred by the Anaza and imported to the USA by Davenport in 1906. Abbeian 1889, a grey Ubayyan Dahra stallion and Haffia 1906, an Ubayyah Sharrakiyah mare bred by the Shammar, by a Hamdani Simri out of Abeyah, were original imports. There is no straight Davenport dam-line left to Abeyah 1896 (by an Abbayan Sharrak out of a Abbayah Sharrakiah) a mare bred by the Shammar. The Ubayan influence is nonetheless great and comes through one stallion who can rightly be named the “Nazeer of Davenport breeding”: Tripoli 1948 (Hanad X Poka). As grandson of the Ubayan stallion Deyr, he is only two generations form the desert. Tripoli is the foundation sire of the modern Davenport program.

Also some Saudi Desert-breds of the Ubayan line from El Hasa province were exported to America in the 1960´s: Al-Obayyah 1957 by an Ubayyan of Ibn Jiluwi out of a desert-bred Ubayyah and Jalam Al Ubayan 1949, by an Ubayyan from Ibn Jiluwi out of an Ubayyah from Ibn Jiluwi. In Saudi Arabia the Ubayan strain was a speciality of the al-Jiluwi family in al-Hasa province.

Ubayan horses in the homelands

The strain of Ubayan al-Saifi is the second largest strain of the desert bred Saudi horses after the Hamdani strain. At Nejd stud of Prince Turki Bin Fahd Bin Abdullah Al Saud about 200 horses out of 300 belong to the strain of Obayan Al-Saifi in 2011. The Obayan Al Saifi/Ubayyan al-Suyyayfi strain is an old marbat of Badi Ibn Zubyan al-Subay´i from Nejd. The Subay/Subayah/Sbay´/Sbei´/Subei tribe was one of the major tribes in Nejd and allied with Ibn Saud. According to the testimony of the the tribe´s sheikh and his son in the Abbas Pasha Manuscript the Obayan al Saifi is a branch of Obayan Sherrak of al- Sherrak. The mares Nafaa and Hind presented to Inshass by Ibn Saud in the 1940´s both carry those genes because their sires were from this strain.

At Nedschd Stud, Saudi Arabia: Shamlan (Kais/Ashaima) and Al Achraf (Al Achson/Al Hanfa) of the Ubayan Al Saifi strain.

In Syria and its neighbor-countries the Ubayan strain is in high esteem also and some of the most important sires of the last decades belong to this strain, like Dahees 1987, from the substrain Ubayan Suhayli, or Mas-Huji 1983 and Mahrous 1981.

Ubayan Sharrak/Obayyan Sherraq was and is bred by the Sb´a/Seba tribe and there are several known marabet: Ibn ´Alyan, Ibn Thamdan, Ibn Duwauyhiss, al ´Awbali and al-Usayhi´ (Al Dahdah).

Also Ubayan Om Jurays/Jereys/Grees/Umur Ceris is a sub-strain of the Ubayan Sharraq. Already Rzewuski came to know this strain from his journey to Syria in 1819. It is also found in the Royal Stud of Jordan and its foundation mare was from the Aduane tribe. Nijmeh 1956 (Saklawi X Rajiah), an Ubayah mare bred by Sheikh Feisal al Majali, Jordan, was exported to the Netherlands and owned by Foppe Klynstra. The Egyptian Inshaas foundation mare El Shahbaa belongs to this strain too. Also Saudi Arabia has a small number of horses of this strain. Ubayan Suhayli, Ubayan Hunaydis and Ubayan Ibn Sehayan are three more marabet found in Syria today.


In Bahrain the Ubayan strain is at home since its conquest by the al-Khalifas in 1783 and some of the major sires of the Royal Stud, like Obeyaan Shamet 2004, belong to it.

In Bahrain: Obeyaan Shamet (Kuheilan Aafas Falaah/Obeya Karaeb) and his half sister Obeyah Kiyara (Shawaf Al Betaar/Obeyah Karaeb)

In Turkey the following foundation stallions can be found: Hillalüzzaman 1926 from Iraq gave one of the largest sire lines of Turkey. Übeyyan 1913 had only a little impact, but Übeyyan (Hedban) 1927 established a small sire line.

Hillalüzaman, one of the important foundation sires of Turkey.

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