The library of Douglas B. Marshall of Gleannloch Farms Arabian Stud was housed at the Marshalls’ Las Palmas estate in Barksdale, Texas, until its generous donation to the Pyramid Society by Dr. Douglas Marshall and his wife, Dr. Amrita Ahuja, with the gracious assistance of Alexandra Marshall. The Library consists of 836 books, pamphlets and brochures representing decades of dedicated collecting of reference materials on the Arabian Horse, the Egyptian Arabian, the Near East and horses and horse breeding. All books contain a personal bookplate stating that they are from this historic library. While the oldest volume was published in 1723, and the library contains several 19th century works, the majority of the collection was published in the 20th century. There are multiple first editions of famed Arabian horse reference books, such as The Arabian Horse, His Country and People by Major General Tweedie, published in 1794 and inscribed from Prince Bahaden of Nepal, and Horses of the Sahara, by General Daumas, published in 1873. Several books are inscribed by the author to Mr. Marshall, such as the number one copy of Ansata Ibn Halima, the Gift by Judith Forbis. There are many volumes that are rare or extremely difficult to acquire. The Gleannloch Farms library was offered through a silent sale and the Arabian Horse Center - Bait Al Arab Kuwait State Stud, Al Diwan Al Amiri acquired the complete Arabian Horse library of Douglas B. Marshall. The Board of Trustees of the Arabian Horse Center further decided to be the Legacy Benefactor for a historic tribute to Douglas and Margaret Marshall of Gleannloch Farms
The Gleannloch story began more than sixty years ago when Douglas B. Marshall made a discovery that changed his life. While piloting a B-26 aircraft across the stark landscape of North Africa, suddenly he saw movement… Horses. Magnificent horses. Beautiful Arabian horses. Galloping, almost floating, fast and free across the desert, tails flying. Moving with fluid beauty, grace and endurance.
That was when the passion for these desert horses began. Although the Marshalls and Gleannloch Farms have passed into history, their contribution resonates through the Arabian horse world to this day.
Douglas and Margaret Marshall shared a fascinating and exciting life, and a deep commitment to Arabian horses. The Gleannloch Farms Arabian Stud grew out of their lifelong love for horses. Margaret grew up around horses. Doug rode as a child and later served in the U.S. Cavalry. During WWII, as an Air Force pilot, he spent 2 ½ years in North Africa and Egypt where he saw the horses at the Royal Agricultural Society. He once stated “It was heaven, and I decided that if I lived through the war, I’d have an Arabian horse of my own.”
In the late 1940s and early 1950s Arabian horses in the United States were exceedingly rare. The Marshalls would hear about an Arab horse, travel miles to see it, but no one would sell. Finally, they prevailed on Dan Gainey, who owned 38 Arabians, to let them have one –Fa Gazal. In 1954, she was bred to the stallion Moneyn, owned by a neighbor, and in May, 1955 they had their first filly, Kahla.
Years passed and their passion for Arabians grew, as did their stable and its reputation. Kahla was a halter winner in 1960 and dam of U.S. Top Ten Mare Surur, and her full sister Bint Surf, 1968 U.S. Reserve National English Pleasure Champion.
Over the next 10 years, the Farms which the Marshalls built at Spring, Texas, and the horses grew in renown. 1960 was the first year that Gleannloch horses made their first notable impact on the show ring circuit, including shows at Scottsdale, Houston, Nacogdoches and Seguin, Texas. Their horses were winning where ever they were competing and the reputation of Gleannloch horses was off and running.
Numerous wonderful horses such as *Moftakhar, *El Thabi and many more came to live and breed at Gleannloch Farms. When the growing sprawl of Houston encroached northwards to the area around Gleannloch Farms at Spring, the Marshalls began to look for a more secluded home. The search led them to Barksdale.
According to Doug Marshall it took five years to build the house and four years to build the stables. They had taken pictures of buildings on their travels to show their architect what they wanted and were especially taken with Arabic and Moorish architecture. The Marshalls decided to call the new property “Las Palmas,” because they loved palm trees. It turned out that they grew exceptionally well in the area, making the Gleannloch camels feel at home. Las Palmas was designated a game preserve. While much of the breeding operation continued at Gleannloch at Spring, the Marshalls were creating a home and stables of extraordinary scale and beauty – the fascinating and palatial Las Palmas.
Besides their many trips to the Middle East, the Marshalls loved to travel and particularly enjoyed Austria, especially Vienna, Germany, and Switzerland. They established a second home in Canada, an island retreat in Lake of the Woods, Ontario.
The achievements of Gleannloch Farms Arabian Stud, its owners, trainers and horses are the stuff of legend amongst admirers and collectors of Arabian horses around the world. Douglas B. and Margaret Marshall bred champions for 35 years with the extraordinary skills and support from Tom and Rhita McNair. They went on to have a powerful influence that lasts until today, as evidenced by countless world and international champions that trace to horses bred by Gleannloch.
Of all the Gleannloch horses, one legendary stallion stands out above all others as a symbol of the majesty and quality of the Farms’ horses. *Morafic.1
*Morafic came to Gleannloch through a remarkable set of circumstances. The stables were well stocked with many winning horses, but still the Marshalls were tireless in their search for suitable Arabian horses to enhance their breeding program. In 1964, Doug and Margaret were on a wide-ranging horse-scouting trip to the Middle East and had already spent nearly a month in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. It is noteworthy that even before they arrived in Egypt, the reputation of *Morafic was well known to them. This stallion was a source of national pride who had already sired 30-40 daughters and a dozen sons. The Marshalls saw the quality of foals that *Morafic and some of the other stallions they wished to import had produced and were convinced of their importance. However, it took a year of complex negotiations to bring the arrangement to fruition. The officials at the E.A.O. were most reluctant to part with him and were it not for the respect in which the Marshalls were held in the Middle East, it is extremely doubtful if they would have let him leave. Doug described *Morafic as “the sort of horse that you try to breed all your life, and maybe you will and maybe you won’t.” Eventually, the E.A.O. officials were persuaded, and through *Morafic a remarkable Egyptian Arabian breeding program began at Gleannloch. *Morafic sired 30 U.S. and Canadian National winners. He was the grandsire of 50 National winners and the great grandsire of 29 National winners and the great-great-grandsire of 11 National winners according to data compiled in 1986! The influence of his sire line is still dominant around the globe to this day.
In the days before Gleannloch focused solely on Egyptian Arabians, one of their most famous horses was Surf, a grey stallion foaled in 1955. The Arabian horse has always been known for its versatility and during Surf’s days in the show ring, the ability to perform across many classes was a highly desirable characteristic. Surf could perform brilliantly in many disciplines, including halter, English, Western, and trail. Surf was a many-time Grand Champion Stallion and earned the honor of becoming the AHSA Horse of the Year in 1961 and 1962. Celebrities loved to ride this great horse while performing in Houston including Dale Evans and Wayne Newton who rode him during the rodeo. He even played a role in Strauss’s opera, The Gypsy Baron. When the Marshalls decided to take the unprecedented step of concentrating their attentions on breeding Egyptian Arabian horses and sold most of their horses in the 1964 “Sale of Champions,” it is said that there wasn’t a dry eye at Gleannloch when Surf was sold.
*Moftakhar was the first Egyptian Arabian horse that Gleannloch owned and he came to them by serendipity. Norman McAnelly, manager of Gleannloch at the time, stopped off in Kansas while returning from a business trip to Washington, DC. Visiting a sale, he noticed that among the farm equipment there were two striking horses, *Moftakhar, a white Arabian stallion, and a purebred Arabian mare. Snapping them up for $1,500 and $1,350, he made the Marshalls very happy!
Having raced successfully in Egypt, *Moftakhar was a tremendous performer, highly versatile and fearless.*Moftakhar undoubtedly helped kindle the Marshalls’ interest in the Arabian horses of Egypt and went on to sire many excellent performance horses in the United States.
An equine superstar, *Sakr had been imported from Egypt in 1968, two years before the Marshalls acquired him. *Sakr was a *Morafic grandson on his mother’s side and his natural talents were most visible in the “park horse” class which showcases an Arabian horse’s natural ability to move with a springy, high-stepping trot in which the front feet seem to float above the ground.
*Sakr had tremendous athletic ability and was an absolutely electrifying performer. When he stepped into the ring, all eyes were fixed on him, especially once the announcer called for the park trot.
The trophy room of Gleannloch Farms Stud at Las Palmas in Barksdale, Texas, showcased the phenomenal success of the Arabian horses of Douglas B. and Margaret Cullen Marshall during four decades of competition throughout the United States. The trophies represent countless national and regional championships, including those of their famed Egyptian Arabians, such as the stallion *Sakr, who remains the winningest Arabian horse in U.S. History. The Gleannloch Farms trophy Room can be viewed through this link: www.gleannlochfarmsarabians.com The trophies were generously donated to Bait Al Arab Kuwait State Stud and are displayed together with the Gleannloch Library