Kuwait has always served as the gateway to the Middle East due to its geographical location. It was the main harbor for shipping Arabian horses that were purchased from the Arab tribes to India, where they were used, among other things, for racing in Bombay and in the service of the British army.
As an example of the courage and sacrifice of Arabian horses and their riders, the Battle of Jahra in 1920 is noteworthy, during which Sheikh Salem Mubarak Al Sabah was besieged with six hundred Arabian horses at the Red Palace in the west of Al Jahra. When water, food, and ammunition were almost depleted, he sent two knights on two Arabian horses asking for the help of Kuwait, which was then defeated by his nephew Sheikh Ahmed Al Jaber. The two knights on horseback succeeded in breaking through the barricade rows despite the shower of bullets fired at them.
Kuwait’s princes were interested in breeding pure Arabian horses because they symbolized originality, courage, and sacrifice. Breeding of Arabian horses reached its extreme peak during the period between 1919 and 1921 when Kuwait was ruled by the late prince, Sheikh Salem Mubarak Al Sabah.
Later, the breeding further developed during the reign of the Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jaber Al Sabah, between 1921 and 1950. During his reign the city of Al Ahmadi also witnessed the first modern horse race held in Kuwait.
Following the discovery of oil, this nation of fishermen and traders has become one of the richest and most developed nations in the world that offers state-of-the-art amenities, secure infrastructural facilities, and technical excellence and is respected around the world.The Kuwaitis’ pride in their history, heritage, and national progress has given rise to an identity that is uniquely Kuwaiti. As the centuries pass, traditions have not changed. Although the country has been modernized, the people’s links with their heritage are as strong as ever. Kuwaiti people have retained their traditions, cultural identity, and character traits.
The Arabian horse is the native horse of the Bedouin tribe that has roamed through the Arabian Peninsula and the bordering countries to the north for several thousand years. Forged in the crucible of the Arabian Desert, these unique creatures evolved in the harshest conceivable conditions. The Arabian horse is part of the Arab world’s history and tradition, and particularly in Kuwait, it is considered the Arab duty and responsibility to preserve the breed and further its importance worldwide. Over the past thirty or forty years, the Kuwait Arabian Horse Center has taken a key interest in breeding Arabian horses and in particular concentrating on Straight Egyptian bloodlines as a nucleus for preserving Arabian horse heritage in Kuwait.
In the 1970s and 1980s the horses that were needed for breeding and sports activities were mainly purchased from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. These were usually locally bred horses whose lineage could be traced back to purebred Arabians. Later on, attention was drawn to purebred Arabian horses as the native breed and Kuwaiti authorities looked to desert-bred Arabian horses of pure origin who were once completely integrated in their cultural and social life.
As the ruling Al Sabah family of Kuwait, descended from the famed horse-breeding Anazeh tribe, has always remained true to their heritage it was no surprise when the late Emir, H.H. Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, with support of H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, the current ruler, established a state-owned stud farm in 1980 under the supervision of the government’s Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fisheries Resources (PAAFR) to preserve and perpetuate the Arabian horse in Kuwait. Constructed in l980 on twenty-five hectares of land on the outskirts of Kuwait City, the new Arabian Horse Center consists of twelve stable buildings, 120 stalls, large pipe and sand paddocks, an administration building, and a clinic.
In 1988 the authorities contacted the board of the Asil Club and its chairman, Dr. W. G. Olms, who had visited Kuwait several times and been in touch with representatives of the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fisheries Resources (PAAFR) and of the Hunting and Equestrian Club and its former chairman and present ruler of Kuwait, H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, and the managing director, Mr. Mohammed Al Shaheen, who followed an invitation of Minister Lothar Späth from the German state of Baden-Württemberg to visit the Asil Cup International horse show on the grounds of Ludwigsburg Palace near Stuttgart.
Mr. Al Shaheen expressed the Kuwait authorities’ eagerness to invest in Asil Arabians. They bought fifteen horses, among them two stallions, two colts, and eleven mares as the foundation stock for the Kuwait Arabian Horse Center to begin its own breeding program for Straight Egyptian Arabian horses. Some of the imported mares were pregnant, and the first foals were born in the Kuwait Arabian Horse Center. As additional imports from other countries followed, the total number rose to thirty-five horses in 1990.
about the horses which the Kuwait authorities have purchased as the foundation breeding stock for the Kuwait Arabian Horse Center in 1988.
Disaster struck on August 2, l990, when Saddam’s army invaded Kuwait. By the time the war ended on February 26, 1991, only three purebred Arabian horses remained. The others had been stolen or had died as a result of the neglect they had been subjected to by the occupying Iraqi army. The breeding program had been destroyed before it could even begin.
Three horses were saved under dramatic circumstances. One of the survivors was the white stallion Gharoon (Kaisoon x Ghroub by Galal), a Kohailan Rodan of the Riyala line through Mamlouka. Born in 1975, he had been imported in 1988. He lived to celebrate his thirtieth birthday in May 2005 and passed away two months later, without leaving any offspring at the Center.
Determined to restock the stud farm, the PAAFR committee again contacted Dr. Olms and the Asil Club in Germany, and as a result, six mares, including five from Dr. Olms and one from the Netherlands, came to Kuwait. One of the mares, Hamasa Safina, died before registration and is not listed in the studbook. All were Straight Egyptians except Hamasa Mahuda, who fit into the Asil Club’s special categorization of authentic Asil Arabians.
HAMASA TARIFA, an attractive refined gray broodmare of the Bukra family by Farag x Mehna by Mohawed. She came in foal to Hamasa Khazzan (Kasr El Nil x Nafteta by Kaisoon), a stallion of Saglawi Jedran Moniet El Nefous lineage, and produced the very lovely white mare LATIEFA, who is still at the Center and has founded her own significant family.
ASHAMAH SALAM, a rather plain gray mare by Hassan “S” x Monieta “S” by AK Khattar Moniet, her lineage extended through Bint Fayek to El Yatima and Bint Obeya. Her production was not retained. She was sold in Kuwait and died in 2006.
HAMASA NAFILA, a lovely gray mare, was considered to be the most beautiful of the group. By Maysoun x Hamasa Bint Nafteta by Farag, she traced her lineage through Moneera to Mona and Moniet el Nefous. She produced a colt by Count Electra before going barren and died in 2005. HAMASA MARISI (Farag x Mona I by Anchor Hill Halim), a gray mare, who also traced her lineage to Moneera/Mona/Moniet el Nefous. By Count Electra she had only one filly, which was sold.
HAMASA MAHUDA (Masir x Hamasa Kahila by Kaisoon), a bay mare tracing through Shar Turfa to Davenport’s desert-bred Syrian mare Urfah, who was imported to the United States. She was not a Straight Egyptian. Her production was not retained, and she was sold in Kuwait.
(Gai Parada x Grande Ferzida by Grande Duke), an import from Argentina as a gift in 1993 to the ruler, Emir Sheikh Jaber. He was a handsome bay Gainey-bred stallion tracing to the Davenport mare Urfah. He was not a Straight Egyptian, and none of his offspring remain at the Center.
In l997 the Center was placed under the umbrella of the Hunting and Equestrian Club, which operates under the auspices of Kuwait’s Sports Authority. A limited budget was set for the Center to acquire more Arabian horses, and a short time frame was allotted for them to be bought and imported. Coincidentally Usamah Al Kazemi, a member of the Center’s organizing committee, had recently visited America and purchased horses from Ansata Arabian Stud. It was soon thereafter that Mr. Al Kazemi convinced the committee to ask Judith Forbis to assist the Center in the selection of new bloodstock and to act as a consultant in other aspects of its development. Mr. Al Kazemi made the contact, and shortly thereafter he and another committee member, Mohammed Al Qatami, flew to America.The primary goal of this endeavor was to improve the quality and type of horses at the Center, and to establish a group of the best-producing strains and families that could be purchased within the limited budget, building particularly on the El Dahma line of the Dahman Shahwan strain through the Farida and the Sabah families as a foundation. Two of the best mares already at the Center were of the Sabah/Bukra family: the beautiful-headed Latiefa and her dam, Hamasa Tarifa. The Sabah and Farida families had proven a successful foundation for Ansata over the years, along with other lines that blended well with this strain. Locating adequate individuals within the parameters dictated would be difficult considering the distances to be covered
To save time a Cessna 421 was chartered to fly to several respected farms in the Midwest and on the East Coast where sufficient horses could be seen at one time. Among them were Ansata, Kehilan, Rocaille, Byatt, and Chapel Hill. The final selection, however, was up to Mr. Al Qatami, a racehorse owner and breeder, who had to balance the budget in choosing the horses.
Click here to download more information about the individuals resulted from the l998–99 importation and have impacted the Center’s breeding program and those of other Kuwaiti breeders.
As the Center approached the new millennium, there was concern that it should not falter in its commitment. The Center was still somewhat in disrepair from the war, but through the constant support of the Hunting and Equestrian Club and its chairman, H.H. Sheikh Dhari Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, and later through enthusiastic private breeders functioning in the Arabian Horse Committee, the state-owned stud began to take on a new look and vitality. Palm trees and flowers were planted, the old administration building and barns were refurbished, new viewing stands and a presentation paddock were constructed, and many needed repairs were completed. The atmosphere for the horses was now beginning to resemble the vision statement. Furthermore, the Center was even in position to hold occasional auction sales. The response to these was overwhelming, and as a result the purpose of the Center was brought into public focus.
As the Center developed, several private breeders were placed on a committee to make the breeding decisions. They began a careful culling process based on breeding soundness, quality, and maintaining a herd solely of Straight Egyptian horses. The Center is the only state stud outside of Egypt to do so.
In 2003 the Center imported the young Dahman Shahwan stallion ANSATA SIRIUS (Ansata Iemhotep x Ansata Sekmet by Ansata Halim Shah) of the Sabah/Bukra/Samantha family. This very classic stallion is an exemplary Dahman type. Like Ansata Sherrara, he too had a severe accident. As a yearling he fractured his pastern, which the surgeons at Oklahoma State University managed to repair. After stall rest for almost a year he was able to use his foot perfectly without a limp, and he even won Egyptian Event Top Ten in his class the only time he was shown. He has produced champions in America, and his get are much appreciated at the Center.
Other stallions were also made available to the Center for breeding purposes. Mr. Al Marzouk allowed his world-famous champion Dahman Shahwan stallion ANSATA HEJAZI (Ansata Halim Shah x Ansata Sudarra by Ansata Abu Sudan) to serve selected mares. Tracing to the Sabah/Bukra/Delilah family, Hejazi has set a precedent as a superior a breeding stallion in the Gulf and around the world.
Also used were Mr. Al Marzouk’s renowned Katharinenhof-bred stallions of the OBAYAN OM JREIS strain through Hanan: SHAHIN (Salaa el Dine x Ameera by Madkour I) and ADNAN (Salaa el Din x Ghazala by Ghazal), both of them having double Bukra and Hanan lines in their pedigrees.
Sheikha Sarah Fahed Al Sabah has also allowed her dramatic Dahman Shahwan stallion ANSATA OSIRON (Ansata Iemhotep x Ansata Selket by Ansata Halim Shah) to be used by the Center. An incredible mover, whose his lineage can be traced to the Sabah/Bukra/Samantha line in tail female, Osiron’s pedigree boasts some of Ansata’s most beautiful and champion-winning individuals. His foals are a testimony to his value as a sire.
More recently through the generosity of their owners, two other stallions have been introduced: the Ajmal Stud’s AL KIDIR (The Egyptian Prince x AK Khattaara by Ibn Moniet El Nefous), a classic elderly flea-bitten stallion of the Kohailan Rodan/Rissala line, and the Al Jazira Stud’s Dahman Shahwan stallion SINAN AL RAYYAN (Ansata Sinan x Al Wajba Al Rayyan by Safir), a stunning young sire representing the Sabah/Bukra/Ansata Sharifa line.
By now the Center’s committee, comprised of private breeders, had a firm grasp on the bloodlines that were producing the type they wanted, and they pressed forward to purchase more of the same. Al Rayyan Farm of Qatar, with whom Kuwaiti breeders have established great rapport, provided additional first-class fillies from the three major strains:
LEILA AL RAYYAN (Alzeer Al Rayyan x Al Wajba Al Rayyan by Safir), a fine filly whose lineage could be traced to the legendary “swimming broodmare,” Ansata Sharifa, a daughter of Ansata Samantha.
GHAZALLA AL RAYYAN (Ansata Sinan x Aisha by Ansata Halim Shah), a stellar gray filly combining world-renowned champion individuals of Ansata and Katharinenhof bloodlines.SAGLAWI JEDRAN—Om Dalal Line:RABABA AL RAYYAN (Ansata Selman x Turkiya Al Rayyan by Ansata Halim Shah), a young beauty whose dam is one of Al Rayyan’s most beautiful mares.The cooperation between breeders in Qatar, particularly Al Rayyan Farm, and the breeders in Kuwait has been of infinite value in furthering the current fraternity among breeders and in the development of superior horses not only for the Gulf, but for the Arabian horse world at large
The responsibility for the Kuwait State Stud was transferred to private management in 2007. A sanctuary, a place of serenity dedicated to the perpetuation of beauty and excellence where the natural splendor of the Arabian horse can thrive in peace and pass on its perfection for future generations—this is the vision for the future of the state-owned stud of Kuwait, the Arabian Horse Center, which was now renamed Bait Al Arab—Home of the Arab.In 2007 the education center was established, and in 2008 the first activities took place. Seminars and courses with international instructors about horse health issues, horse training and showing, and horse evaluation are organized on regular basis. A highlight in the annual schedule of the education center of Bait Al Arab is a photographer contest. The photos are evaluated by a jury, and the best images are displayed in a public event.In 2009 The Arabian Horse Letter, a quarterly published in Arabic and English, was established. The newsletter provides information about news, culture, health, and research issues related to the Arabian horse in Kuwait and abroad.
The cooperation between breeders in Qatar, particularly Al Rayyan Farm, and the breeders in Kuwait, has been of infinite value in furthering the current fraternity among breeders and in the development of superior horses not only for the Gulf, but for the Arabian horse world at large.
A sanctuary, a place of serenity dedicated to the perpetuation of beauty and excellence where the natural splendor of the Arabian horse can thrive in peace and pass on its perfection for future generations—this is the vision for the future of the state-owned stud of Kuwait, the Arabian Horse Center, which was now renamed Bait Al Arab—Home of the Arab.
In 2009 The Arabian Horse Letter, a quarterly published in Arabic and English, was established. The newsletter provides information about news, culture, health, and research issues related to the Arabian horse in Kuwait and abroad.
A successful auction was held at Bait Al Arab in December 2009. Breeders from Kuwait, Egypt, and Bahrain took the opportunity to buy good-quality horses bred and carefully raised by Bait Al Arab. To improve the breeding program of Bait Al Arab, two stallions were leased:
1) El Thay Khemal Pasha (El Thay Mansour x Kamla II), a well-known and proven stallion, was leased from Al Khaled Farm of Sheikh Khaled Bagedo, Saudi Arabia, for two breeding seasons.
2) Ajmal Mashreq (Adnan x Ansata Nefertiti), a young and very promising stallion was leased from Ajmal Arabian Stud, Mr. Mohammed Al Marzouk. Both stallions are used on a carefully selected group of mares.
In 2010 the 1st National Championship in Kuwait under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, was organized by Bait Al Arab under the umbrella of the Hunting & Equestrian Club and a new master plan with state-of-the-art facilities for Bait Al Arab Kuwait State Stud was developed. The landscape design will take into consideration the nature of Kuwait, and the concept will be like a nature preserve for indigenous plants and creatures from the area of Kuwait. Construction work is under way to make the dreams reality. Bait Al Arab is looking into a bright future.
In 2011 the 2nd National Championship in Kuwait—again under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait—was organized by Bait Al Arab with the strong support of the Hunting and Equestrian Club and many private breeders. With a record number of 275 entries, it was the largest National Championship Show in the region and well attended by many Arabian horse lovers from Kuwait, the neighboring countries, Europe, and the United States. The exciting young stallion Ajmal Ashhal (Sinan Al Rayyan x Ajmal Obbeyah by Ansata Hejazi), bred and owned by Ajmal Arabian Stud, Mr. Mohammed J. Al Marzouq, was leased when Ajmal Mashreq returned home and his foals were fulfilling the expectations of the breeding management. The income from another auction was reinvested in purchasing the stunning mare Authentic Nabeelah (Nabeel II x AK Nawaal by The Egyptian Prince). She represents the family of Bint El Bahreyn.
In 2012 the 1st International Arabian Horse Festival Kuwait 2012 was organized by Bait Al Arab, again under the auspices of the Emir of Kuwait, H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah. The event included the 1st International Championship (ECAHO B-Show) and the 1st International Egyptian Event, recognized by the Pyramid Society, an art exhibition, and stud visit tours to the major farms in Kuwait. It was a great success, and visitors from all around the world enjoyed the event and Kuwait’s famous hospitality. The already well-proven sire Ajmal Al Kout (Ansata Hejazi x Ansata Malaka by Ansata Halim Shah), bred and owned by Ajmal Arabian Stud, was leased. He has been used in the Bait Al Arab breeding program with great success during the past years. Based on these results, the breeding management of Bait Al Arab had in mind to repeat the best matches and to use him on some young mares that had been added to the program. In addition to his use for Bait Al Arab, he was also much requested by private breeders in Kuwait. An embryo transfer program and a project to freeze and store the semen of valuable stallions were established to serve not only the needs of Bait Al Arab, but also to support the steadily growing breeding activities of the private breeders in Kuwait. Bait Al Arab Equine Hospital and its very experienced team not only handles health care and fertility-related issues for the horses at the state stud, but the clinic also supports the breeders in Kuwait particularly in the fields of equine reproduction.
In November 2012, by decree of the Emir of Kuwait, H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, the Arabian Horse Center was transferred to the Al Diwan Al Amiri to give his full support to the development of Bait Al Arab Kuwait State Stud. Between 2010 and 2012, new facilities were built and existing facilities were modernized to provide space for a library as well as seminars and exhibitions, to accommodate the horses of Bait Al Arab, and to offer an appropriate atmosphere in which to welcome national and international guests. Many goals had been achieved, but there were still more plans to carry out in order to make Bait Al Arab Kuwait State Stud a special place for Arabian horse lovers and breeders from Kuwait, from the Gulf region, and from all over the world. To make these goals a reality, the Emir of Kuwait, H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, who has a great passion and love for the Arabian horse that is part of the culture, heritage, and tradition of the Kuwaiti people, decreed to place Bait Al Arab under the umbrella of the Al Diwan Al Amiri to give his full support to the state-owned stud Bait Al Arab and to Arabian horse breeding in Kuwait.
In 2013 the 2nd International Arabian Horse Festival Kuwait 2013 was organized on the grounds of Bait Al Arab with a huge success. More than 420 horses participated in front of a very enthusiastic audience, and guests from all over the world attended the festival. After a successful 7th Auction, the Board of Trustees decided to buy two mares and three fillies with interesting pedigrees. From these horses DHS Ameenah (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Amira Madheen by Maydan Madheen), a Hadbah Enzahieh going back to Venus, and Bilqis EV (MB Ibn Sehnab x Bint Qisani by Shamruk), a Kohaileh Rodanieh (Riyala) from the Mamlouka family, have been added to the breeding program of Bait Al Arab.
In 2014 the 3rd International Arabian Horse Festival Kuwait 2014 was organized by the Hunting & Equestrian Club and the Kuwait Arabian Horse Society, supported by Bait Al Arab. The management of the State Stud organized the Kuwait Straight Egyptian Arabian Horse Days just after the 3rd International Egyptian Event with stud visits to the major farms that are running a breeding program for Straight Egyptians and an open house day at Bait Al Arab Kuwait State Stud. Guests and visitors from all over the world were very much impressed about the overall high quality of the Straight Egyptian Arabian horses that they saw at the event and at the farms. In addition to the International Arabian Horse Festival it was decided to continue organizing a National Championship. In 2010 and 2011 the 1st and 2nd National Championships were held by Bait Al Arab. This event series will take place on a regular basis and will be added to the annual event schedule. The 3rd National Championship with more than three hundred entries was the final event for 2014. The 8th Auction at Bait Al Arab was very successful, and the Board of Trustees decided to buy two stallions from the United States and two fillies from Qatar. Bait Al Arab proudly announced the purchase of the new chief sire Ansata Sheikh Halim (Ansata Hejazi x Ansata Samiha by Prince Fa Moniet), Dahman Shahwan (El Dahma), Sabah/Bukra, Ansata Samantha family. Although he is still at the beginning of his breeding career, he produced some excellent foals at Chase Arabians. To have a stallion available who offers some new, proven genetic potential, REA El Kaream (Imperial Imdal x REA Nisrs Angle by Apple Hill El Nisr), Saglawi Jedran (Ghazieh)—Ghazala / Ansata Bint Zaafarana family made his move from Renaissance Egyptian Arabian Stud to the stallion barn of Bait Al Arab. The two fillies are from the well-known Al Waab Farm of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khaled Al Thani. Haifaa Al Waab (Barraq El Aliya x Nabawiah by Salaa El Dine), Obeyan Om Jreis (El Shahbaa)—Mona (Inshass)—Hanan family and Loubna Al Waab (Fares Al Rayyan x Shahira Al Nasser by Ashhal Al Rayyan), Hadbah Enzahieh, Bint Samiha family.
In 2015 the 4th International Arabian Horse Festival was organized on the grounds of the Hunting & Equestrian Club. The Festival included the International Championship (B-Show) with about 290 entries and an International Egyptian Event with about 260 entries. The events were organized under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait and was once again a magnet for Arabian Horse Enthusiasts from all over the world. The stud visit tour to some farms and an exhibition of artwork by the well-known artist Mary Haggard, USA, at Bait Al Arab was a highlight of the Festival.Grand Opening of the Bait Al Arab Show ArenaIn November 2015 the brand-new show arena of Bait Al Arab Kuwait State Stud opened its doors to host the Kuwait National Arabian Horse Festival, which included the 4th National Championship (for all purebred Arabians) and a national Egyptian Event. The festival was held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, the Crown Prince of Kuwait. The new show facilities are a perfect addition to Bait Al Arab Kuwait State Stud area and the many exhibitors, participants, and international guests stated that this complex is a masterpiece to fit and honor the Arabian Horse. Bait Al Arab’s educational program was developed and offered a series of stud presentations, seminars, lectures, and field practice with local and international instructors from Kuwait, Italy, the USA, the UK, Morocco, and Egypt.Learn more about the educational program under the link to Culture and Public Relations—Cultural and Educational Activities.
In 2016 the Kuwait International Arabian Horse Festival was organized by the team of Bait Al Arab under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait. A qualification system was established for both events of the festival. The 5th International Championship for all Purebred Arabians showed strong competition with exhibitors from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait. In cooperation with the All Nations Cup Committee, Bait Al Arab hosted and organized for the first time the All Nations Cup—Straight Egyptians. The event was a great success and excellent Straight Egyptian Arabians from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait participated. The All Nations Cup Trophy and the All Nations Cup Breeders Trophy—The Sha. Salwa Al Sabah Memorial Trophy was won by the Kuwaiti breeders and owners. Once again the stud visit tour, which included an exhibition of artwork by the well-known artist Karen Kasper, USA, at Bait Al Arab, was a highlight of the festival. Bait Al Arab’s educational program commenced according to schedule, and for the first time the Kuwait International Breeders Conference 2016 took place December 3 and 4, 2016.