Photography unless stated by Stuart Vesty www.vesty.com
Lead Picture: Marion with Moussameh, El Dahma II and Mussallah
March saw the world-famed Simeon Stud celebrate 60 years of breeding. It was back in 1956 that Ruth and Peter Simon, together with their daughter, Marion, purchased their first part-bred mare. Little did anyone know that moment would go down in history as the humble beginnings of one of the biggest straight Egyptian breeding farms in the world. Today, the Simeon name remains revered around the globe, and not just within Egyptian Arabian circles; Simeon Stud is respected by all breeders and aficionados of the Arabian horse as breeders of beautiful, typey and correct Arabian horses that can, and do, excel in all fields. In this special Egyptian edition, I take a look back at the Simeon Stud.
It is a very wet Wednesday morning in England when I try to ring Marion for a chat. She is in sunny Australia, on her way to the beach with her grandchildren. The combination of rain in England and Marion on a moving mobile phone resulted in an aborted interview. However, with such a significant milestone reached, plus my own love for Simeon Stud, it was decided that the article would go ahead the slightly more old-fashioned way – that of my writing the body and then Marion filling in any blanks and adding more as necessary.
One thing I did glean from our brief conversation, however, was a small nugget of information that not only shows that the assumed history of Simeon Stud is perhaps not quite true, but it also underlines the tenacity of Marion and, in turn, why the farm celebrated such a significant milestone this year.
27 Ibn Galal V (Ibn Galal x 10 Hosna).
“It wasn’t my parents that purchased the first Simeon horse, as such,” says Marion. “I actually got the very first horse on the farm – a part-bred Arabian mare called Cherry back in 1956. She was over 25 years old, had hardly any teeth, and I paid £14 for her, a saddle and a bridle that was tied together with string. As her teeth were so bad, I needed to feed her oats and they cost 10 shillings and 6 pence a bag. So, I sat on the side of the road and sold guinea pigs and gave people paid pony rides up and down the drive, and I was able to buy the oats for Cherry. I was 10 years old, and she was the first horse at Simeon – and I brought her and paid for her by myself.”
With such an outlook at such a young age, and such determination, it is with little wonder that Marion has managed to continue the farm begun by her parents. Although, let us be clear, Marion was very much involved from the word go – she is Simeon.
“The first pure-bred Arabian here was the pure-bred mare, Fuewasa (Kataf x Cazada by Sirdar out of Mecca II), who we purchased from the Australian Government Stud in 1958. She was a phenomenal broodmare for us, and hers is a legacy that still lives on today. It was her great-granddaughter, Simeon Shirli (Dresden x Simeon Sharon by Aethon out of Shoshanna) who became world famous due to the amazing family she produced, with many champions around the globe.
“This family includes her sons Simeon Sanegor (by Simeon Sa’ar by El Shaklan out of Damirah by Hadban Enzahi) and Simeon Shomer (by Simeon Sa’ar), who was exported to New Zealand and bred many champions with Gerzanne Stud, and daughter Simeon Astarte (by Imperial Madaar by Imperial Madheen out of Ansata Nile Mist by Ansata Ibn Sudan). Then, among her grandget, are horses such as Simeon Sidrah (Anaza Bay Shahh x Simeon Sivan by Simeon Sadik out of Simeon Shirli), owned by Al Aryam Arabians in the United Arab Emirates. A champion in her own right, Simeon Sidrah has created an amazing legacy at the farm and her progeny continue to fly the flag not just for Al Aryam Arabians, but also the quality that came from this small farm in Australia.”
Of course, back then, Simeon Stud bred both Egyptian and Egyptian-related Arabian horses. Now, however, the farm focuses solely on straight Egyptians although, as Marion says, she still takes much pleasure in the achievements of Fuewasa, the humble mare that started Simeon Stud, and her family.
Indeed, as mentioned, Simeon Sa’ar crossed well with the family of Fuewasa, in particular with the treasured mare, Simeon Shirli. Simeon Sa’ar also represented an Egyptian-related line but one that proved to be significant for Simeon Stud. Simeon Sa’ar was foaled in 1978, although his story begins two years previously in 1976. It was at that time that Ruth, Peter and Marion purchased a small group of exceptional fillies from the Marbach Stud in Germany and Tersk Stud in Russia. This group included two daughters of Aswan (Nazeer x Yosreia by Sheikh El Arab out of Hind), both of whom came from Tersk and were kept in Europe. From Marbach came Damirah (Hadban Enzahi x Hamdi by Halef out of Jadine).
“Damirah was named Australian National Champion Mare,” recalls Marion. “She also had the honour of producing the first El Shaklan (Shaker El Masri x Estopa by Tabal out of Uyaima) foal in Australia. This was the chestnut Simeon Sa’ar, later National Champion Stallion in Australia and a huge sire of significance.”
Also purchased that year was a filly who would go on to have the greatest influence at Simeon Stud – 27 Ibn Galal V (Ibn Galal x Hosna 71 by Ibn Maisa out of Rida). At the time, 27 Ibn Galal V was three years old and she would become pivotal in the stud’s straight Egyptian breeding programme; indeed, the family of this mare is the largest at the farm. Marion sighs, as she remembers this wonderful mare. “She was an almost perfect dark liver chestnut with a flaxen mane,” she recalls. “She was purchased from the beautiful Babolna Stud in Hungary, which was government run. She knew how to work – she was first seen harnessed to a heavy flatbed farm dray, and she had been raced.
|Simeon Sukari (Asfour x 27 Ibn Galal V)|
“This beautiful mare would go on to become Australia’s first Australian National Champion Mare in 1982 and, underlining the strength of this mare’s quality and depth, her daughter, Simeon Sukari (by Asfour by Malik out of Hanan by Alaa Al Dine) took the same title as did Ibn Galal’s granddaughters Simeon Salome (Asfour x Simeon Safanad by Sankt Georg out of 27 Ibn Galal V) and Simeon Sehavi (Asfour x Simeon Sheba by Raadin Royal Star out of 27 Ibn Gala V). Galal was such an incredible show mare but it is for her daughters that she is best remembered today. I would say that Galal remains one of the most important foundation mares in straight Egyptian breeding today.”
Simeon Safanad (Sankt Georg RSI x 27 Ibn Galal V) with Simeon Shai as a foal.
Indeed, 27 Ibn Galal’s first daughter was Simeon Safanad by Sankt Georg RSI (Ansata El Salim x Bint El Bataa by Nazeer out of El Bataa), and she immediately realised the tremendous potential of her as a broodmare of note. Simeon Safanad would go on to produce champion winning progeny across the Middle East, Europe, South Africa and the United States as well as New Zealand and Australia. Her very first foal was Simeon Shai (by Raadin Royal Star by ET Crown Prince out of Om Khamsa by Tuhotmos), a champion in Australia before being exported to the United States. There, he would set a record never achieved since for an Arabian stallion as, in 1991 aged seven, he won the US, Canadian and Scottsdale Championships before being flown to Paris, where he took the title of World Champion Stallion. Safanad struck gold again with her second colt, Simeon Sadik (by Asfour). This beautiful stallion would be a multiple champion in Australia and Europe, including being twice named Reserve World Champion Stallion, having been exported to the UK’s Halsdon Stud. In a curious coincidence, both Shai and Sadik passed away in 2013, marking the end of an era.
27 Ibn Galal’s second daughter was Simeon Sheba (by Raadin Royal Star). While she has progeny across the United States and the Middle East, Sheba is best known as dam of the amazing mare Simeon Sehavi, who, owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud, has also won around the world, with titles in Australia, the United States, the Middle East and Europe.
Of the other 27 Ibn Galal daughters retained at the farm are the full sisters, Simeon Sukari and Simeon Simona, both by Asfour, who are an important part of Simeon Stud. Together, they have produced the next generation for the farm and their get and grand-get continue the most treasured bloodline of 27 Ibn Galal V.
“The bloodline of this mare remains so important to me. She had three crosses to the Egyptian Arabian Organisation mare, Yosreia (Sheikh Al Arab x Hind by Ibn Rabdan out of Bint Rustem), who, of course, was the dam of Aswan. Many of our mare families here at Simeon also have crosses to Yosreia, so while she may not have been on our farm, this mare is a pivotal mare in our breeding programme.”
Also very much of note at Simeon Stud is the family of Ramses Tinah (Ramses Fayek x Ramses Nagdia by Wahag out of Zahda), a grey mare imported from the United States. Foaled in 1979, Ramses Tinah passed away in 2004, age 25. “It is for her graceful and elegant daughters and their families that Ramses Tinah remains so very well known,” she tells me.
Of note is her 26-year-old daughter, Simeon Shuala (by Simeon Shai), whose daughters are much loved by those that visit the farm today, with her expressive chestnut daughter Simeon Shiraz (by Asfour) being just one example of this illustrious family. In turn, it is her daughter, Simeon Sasur (by Simeon Sahron by Imperial Madheen out of Simeon Setavi by Simeon Sadik), who represents the next generation. A second Ramses Tinah daughter is Simeon Sibolet, who is 19 years old and sired by Asfour, and is one of Marion’s many favourites at the stud.
Also imported from the United States was Raffaalaa (Dalul x BF Bahaala by Bay Halima out of Bint Akhtal). She was brought in foal to MB Talmaar (Talmaal x Imperial Orbilahh by Orashan out of Maar Bilahh), and produced Simeon Seda, who is now in Belgium. In turn, Simeon Seda then produced the Australian National Captial Champion Mare, Simeon Se (by Asfour). “Seda is a stunning grey mare who has produced a wonderful new branch for Simeon Stud,” says Marion. “This includes Simeon Seis (Imperial Madaar x Simeon Se), who is very special.”
|Asfour (Malik x Hanan) © Erwin Escher|
The importance of the main mare families remains very much at the heart of Simeon Stud. Those relating to 27 Ibn Galal V is the largest at Simeon, along with those of the American imports, Ramses Tinah and Raffaalaa respectively. “These mare families have produced an enviable group of internationally renowned horses that would go on to become significant at their respective farms in their own right,” explains Marion. “These horses helped put the Simeon Stud name on the map on such an international scale – their get and grandget flew the flag for us around the world. These include horses such as the Triple Crown winner, Simeon Shai, Simeon Sadik, Simeon Sharav (Asfour x Simeon Shuala), Simeon Shiraz and Simeon Sochain (Simeon Sadik x Simeon Simona).”
|Asfour at 25 years|
Of course, Marion is never a woman to sit still and recently, she imported some mares from Germany. “I very much believe that Asfour and Imperial Madaar were so good as sires because the horses that were imported from Egypt to Germany were close up in their pedigrees,” she tells me. “Many of these lines are now completely lost, so it is very important to me to maintain these valuable and precious bloodlines. These are classic horses that have everything – from beautiful conformation to stunning looks and deep, luxurious eyes. The horses that I find so desirable in a pedigree, and that add so much, include Hadban Enzahi (Nazeer x Kamla by Sheikh El Arab out of Samha), Ghazal (Nazeer x Bukra by Shahloul out of Bint Sabah), Maymoonah (Hadban Enzahi x Malikah by Ghazal out of Malacha) and Morafic (Nazeer x Mabrouka by Sid Abouhom out of Moniet El Nefous). They just add so much, and it is so important to keep these lines preserved.”
|Simeon Sharav (Asfour x Simeon Shuala) ©Marion Richmond|
The first of these mares was El Dahma II (Montasar x Bint Iman by Mourad out of Iman), a 1992 fleabitten grey. Her daughter, Simeon Shaarin (by Simeon Shifran by Simeon Shavit by Anaza Bay Shahh) has been retained at the stud and now four years of age, will be bred for this season. Mussallah (Montasar x Mohebba Bint Maymoonah by Madkour out of Maymoonah) was also imported. Her chestnut daughter, Simeon Samira (by Simeon Shifran), foaled in 2012, has also remained at the stud.
|CM Moussameh (Mulayh Ibn Maareesa x Moussah Bint Moussameh)|
The third German mare is CM Moussameh (Mulayh Ibn Maareesa x Moussah Bint Moussameh by Messaoud out of Moussameh). Foaled in 1998, this beautiful mare has two daughters integral to the Simeon Stud breeding programme. The first of these, who CM Moussameh was imported in foal to, is Simeon Shireen (by Massallam by Montasar out of Massilah by Madkour). Also from the first full foal crop of the German mares, all born in 2012, is the Simeon Shifran daughter, Simeon Sivah.
In addition, Marion and Peter had previously imported two mares from Albadeia Stud in Cairo, Egypt in the late 1990s. “They were incredibly beautiful and elegant Ibtehag Albadeia (Badran Albadeia x Halaway Albadeia by Ameer Albadeia out of Malekat El Wadi), four times an Egyptian National Champion, an Australian National Champion Mare, and known around the world as ‘the Queen of Egypt’. Her companion on the journey was the lofty and assured Wed Albadeia (Farid Albadeia x Momtazat Albadeia by Ameer Albadeia out of Ahlam Albadeia), who was never shown but she was a wonderful producer for the stud. Both mares have gone on to create a special and unique dynasty here in Australia.”
Anaza Bay Shahh photographed
Of course, no breeding farm would be complete without its stallions and Simeon Stud is no exception. Central to the farm over the years have been three important sires – Asfour, Anaza Bay Shahh and Imperial Madaar. “These three stallions complemented each other and the mares here so well,” explains Marion. “Asfour offered outstanding movement and refined type, including fine black skin and tippy ears. Anaza Bay Shahh put on great bodies and gave superb conformation with excellent hips, legs and feet alongside large, black eyes and dark skin pigment. Meanwhile, Imperial Madaar added height, stretch and smoothness of body, while maintaining breed type. Together with the mare families, these magnificent stallions gave the framework for the progeny that is produced at Simeon Stud.”
The first stallion to mention at Simeon undoubtedly has to be Asfour, imported from Germany. Foaled in 1984, this incredible fleabitten grey passed away in 2009 aged 25 years. Ironically, Asfour passed away the same day as Marion’s father, Peter, making this a particularly dark day for Marion.
Asfour was a brilliant sire, and one of his first progeny to be exported was Simeon Sadik to England. His son, HS Etiquette (ex Etenta by Monogramm out of Emigracja) was used in Poland for two seasons, leaving his mark on the breed there. Indeed, Sadik crossed well with the Polish mares, including the UK’s Cullinghurst Stud who covered their Polish mare, Arina (Palas x Arra by Bandos out of Arba) and were rewarded with Arastin. While a riding accident may have prevented Arastin from being shown, he has been a great sire. His award-winning progeny include the part-breds JCS Aramoon (ex Raymoonah by Blaz Ons Fancy Amir out of Ranyana by Drug) and the full sister and brother, D’Aamsen and D’Artagnan (ex Broadstone Dresden by Demonstrator out of Deborah Coy by The Brainstan), all of whom were named British National Champion. The Australian stallion Simeon Sochain was a noted sire in his homeland before being exported to the United States. Also located in the United States are further Asfour progeny – the son Simeon Sachi (ex Simeon Sheba) and Simeon Selena (ex Simeon Simona).
The Asfour son Simeon Sharav (ex Simeon Shaula) was exchanged for Ibtehag Albadeia and sent to Dr Nasr Marei in Egypt before moving to Israel and then Iran, thus sharing this powerful sireline around the world. Sharav has been a great sire, including Haytham Albadeia (ex Galagel Albadeia by Imperial Madori by Anhar Albadeia by Ameer Albadeia), who was named Supreme Male Champion at the Egyptian Event Europe in 2009 as well as unanimous National Champion in Egypt.
|Simeon Shemini (Asfour x Simeon Shuala)|
Asfour was the sire of the most successful New Zealand stallion in history – Simeon Shemini (ex Simeon Shaula), who passed away this March. Simeon Shemini was the first foal of the Asfour/Simeon Shaula cross and he would become New Zealand National Junior Champion, National Champion Stallion and National Supreme Champion. Owned by Gerzanne Stud, who imported Simeon Shemini when he was just five months old and owned him until his passing, bred many successful progeny from him. Indeed, his get have won around 20 New Zealand National Titles as well as many Reserves and Top Fives, earning Simeon Shemini the New Zealand Leading Sire Award.
Of the Asfour sons and daughters shown in Australia, they have won five major Australian Championships, four of which were owned and bred by Simeon Stud: Simeon Sehavi, Simeon Salome (ex Simeon Safanad), Simeon Sukari, and Simeon Sadik (x Simeon Safanad).
Naturally, it is at Simeon Stud where the Asfour line remains so potent, with over a dozen daughters retained for the breeding programme, and with the heart of the stud being made up of daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters of this terrific stallion. Among these, Simeon Shiraz is high on the list, along with Simeon Saada, another of the golden cross of Asfour and Simeon Safanad. While the mares are highly revered, his son, the magnificent grey Simeon Shifran, is proving to be Asfour’s heir.
Simeon Shifran impresses all that see him. His dam, Simeon Shavit, is sired by Anaza Bay Shahh and out of Simeon Safanad, and this combination is what makes him not only so particularly special to Marion, but also more than worthy to wear his sire’s crown. “Simeon Shifran is exhibits greater strength of body than his sire,” she says. “Also, he is taller, with a better length of neck and a finer throat. For me, Shirfran is a very promising sire for the future. He has already bred outstanding individuals from both the homebred Simeon mares and our recent imports.”
|Immesmerize (Imtaarif x Bint Mareekh Amir)|
Looking away from the Asfour line, there is the 12-year-old grey stallion, Immesmerize (Imtaarif x Bint Mareekh Amir by MFA Mareekh Amir out of Domineekh), imported from the United States as a valuable outcross to the Simeon Stud breeding programme. “I love Immesmerize!” says Marion. “With his short dished face with its huge eye sockets to his well shaped neck and laid back shoulder, this stallion gives an impression of both elegance and strength. As is important with all of the horses in our breeding programme, his skin is completely black – a characteristic that I find particularly desirable – and he passes this on to his foals. His first daughter, the beautiful Simeon Sara (ex Simeon Sibolet) has been retained.
|Simeon Sadik (Asfour x Simeon Safanad)|
“I wanted Immesmerize for my programme as his great-granddam is Bint Deenaa (Ansata Halim Shah x Deenaa by Sameh out of Dahma II), dam of Anaza Bay Shahh, and a mare who is universally held in high regard for her beautiful eyes and character. This has been passed onto Immesmerize, who has a lovely nature and is ridden by a young girl on bush trails through my farm.”
Closely related to Immesmerize is Anaza Bay Shahh, a 30-year-old bay stallion imported from the United States – and his presence at Simeon Stud is purely down to the quality of his dam, Bint Deena. “It was back in 1975 that I saw a mare named Deena from the Egyptian Arabian Organisation – a mare whose movement and large, dark eyes gave me goosebumps. That moment I saw her, I vowed to have her blood in my breeding programme – and now I do through Anaza Bay Shahh and, more recently, Immesmerize. Anaza Bay Shahh has created an amazing legacy for Simeon Stud.”
Sired by Shaikh Al Badi (Morafic x Bint Maisa El Saghira by Nazeer out of Maisa) and out of Bint Deena, Anaza Bay Shahh has been the perfect cross for the Asfour daughters. “He has amazing, silk-like skin with prominent, black eyes, perfect feet as well as a wonderfully deep, strong body and excellent length of hip.” Retained daughters at the stud include the tall black mare from Simeon Simona, Simeon Shatkin, as well as many granddaughters.
|Simeon Shiraz (Asfour x Simeon Shuala)|
When Marion visited Germany to select mares that would complement and grow her breeding programme, she also brought home a stallion – the powerful bay Mulayh Ibn Maareesa (Ansata Amir Zaman x Maareesa by Montasar out of Maamounah). Foaled in 1995, this bay stallion has already added great depth to the Simeon programme. Marion said at the time: “I have travelled the world over the past 50 years and have to realise that the type of horse I breed is what I like. To continue breeding, however, I have to incorporate new bloodlines that are complimentary to my existing programme. At the same time I imported CM Moussameh, I also looked to her sire. For me, a stallion’s worth is not in the show-ring but in his progeny. So really, the story of bringing Mulayh Ibn Maareesa to Australia is one that really starts at the end. I was so enamoured with CM Moussameh that I looked for more of these bloodlines. When the opportunity to lease her sire presented itself, I jumped at the chance. The added bonus is that Mulayh Ibn Maareesa goes back to my all-time favourite Ansata-bred stallion, Ansata Ibn Sudan (Ansata Ibn Halima x Ansata Bint Mabrouka by Nazeer out of Mabrouka). I am keeping a grandson of Mulayh Ibn Maareesa as a future sire, and I have several amazing daughters from his first Simeon-born foal crop.”
|Imperial Madaar (Imperial Madheen x Ansata Nile Mist)|
Part of the beauty of Simeon is that the past does live on. Imperial Madaar, foaled in 1987 and who passed away in 2011, was a grey stallion imported from the United States when he was two years of age. An Australian National Champion, Imperial Madaar was the first son born from Imperial Madheen (Messaoud x Madinah by Ibn Galal out of Mona II), and the Imperial Egyptian Stud planned on retaining him. “Luckily, we managed to purchase Imperial Madaar,” Marion tells me. “He added height, smoothness of body, and balance to our programme. It was a sad day for us when we lost him but we have retained two sons, four daughters and several granddaughters. His daughters have proved to be exceptional broodmares, with progeny exported around the world.”
|Simeon Sahron (Imperial Madaar x Simeon Setavi)|
Indeed, it is the Simeon Setavi son, Simeon Sahron, who picks up the mantel from his sire, Imperial Madaar. Foaled in 2007, this grey stallion exhibits the type and movement of his maternal grandsire, Simeon Sadik. “Simeon Sahron has progeny from some of our most impressive mares including Simeon Shiraz and Simeon Shatkin,” says Marion. “He has proven to add magnificent toplines and lovely eyes to his progeny. His son Simeon Siman (ex Simeon Shiraz) is world class, and two of his daughters have been retained. His daughter Naalirah (ex Neytiri by Al Kha-zar out of Clifton Park Nefisa by Nile) was named the 2015 National Champion Yearling Filly in Australia.”
To go in depth into the horses and families of Simeon Stud would take a whole magazine – but it would be fascinating. Marion has managed to continue her vision through the years, and in doing so, has made Simeon Stud one of the most recognised names around the world not only because of is straight Egyptian programme, but its breeding achievements in general.
|Simeon Shifran (Asfour x Simeon Shavit)|
“I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be having a celebration for my 60 years of breeding,” Marion tells me as she drives through Australia. “When I first brought Cherry, I could never have foreseen what would follow. It is just amazing. And people still come! At the celebration, there were people that had not been to the farm for 30 years, it really was very special indeed.
“I think what makes the Simeon programme so special is that I don’t just breed for one thing – such as a head or a neck or for movement. For me, an Arabian horse has to be a workable horse – so therefore it has to be the complete package. Many of mine have gone on to herd sheep and cattle, for example. Jack Maritz in Africa has several Asfour descendants including the stallion Simeon Segev (Asfour x Simeon Shuala), who was a National Champion in-hand and is just as happy being ridden across the Kalahari Desert. Simeon Segev has been shown successfully in halter, harness and dressage, and that is the way that it should be with Arabian horses.
“As for the future, I hope that Simeon Stud will continue. Two of my granddaughters love the horses and I very much hope that they will carry on what their great-grandparents began. As for me, I still have things that I want to achieve, dreams to accomplish. But for now, I love nothing better than sitting on my veranda, enjoying a morning cup of coffee, and watching my mares in the pasture below. For that is my own little piece of heaven right there – with Anaza Bay Shahh in the background, mares grazing in front, and nature all around me. Sixty years of breeding has culminated in this moment, and there is still much more to be enjoyed. You will come and see me soon, won’t you? The door is always open for a walk through the pastures, a look at the foals, and to sit and enjoy this view.”