Rissla (GSB) Chestnut Arabian Mare at Crabbet Park, England

Rissla – The Legacy of Crabbet

Articles Crabbet Arabian Horses Historical Mares

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By Unknown Author (from the Crabbet Convention Organisation)

(Rissla is pictured above at the top of page as the header/article photo)

Continuing the series begun in the March issue we feature this month the most famous mare of the great RODANIA female line – RISSLA (Berk (Seyal x Bukra) x Risala (*Mesaoud x Ridaa)).

RODANIA was a celebrated mare in Arabia and the Blunts first heard of her on a journey through the Nefud two years before they saw and bought her. Lady Anne Blunt described her as “having extraordinary strength and style of going” and the mare had been so much sought after that she became the object of a feud between the Sheykh of the Roala and his kinsmen. She was bred by Ibn Rodan of the Roala and her strain, Kehilan Ajuz of Ibn Rodan, was much prized in the desert.

RISSLA, foaled in 1917, was a golden chestnut with light coloured mane and tail and she had a blaze and four white legs. She was a mare of superb quality and through her sire she inherited the brilliant action of AHMAR; her dam, RISALA, was considered to be the finest mare at Crabbet in the period before the First World War. RISSLA had an independence of character which the grooms at Crabbet found annoying when she was difficult to catch if it was not the usual time for being brought in to a feed!

Of RISSLA’s thirteen foals, seven were sold abroad. RIFALA and her son, RAFFLES (who was closely in-bred to SKOWRONEK), were exported to the U.S.A. REYNA and RITLA went to the Duke of Veragua’s stud in Spain and left descendants which have spread all over the world. RIXALINA and RISSALMA were sold to Russia and had considerable influence at Tersk. RISSALMA’s son PRIBOJ proved an outstanding sire and some of his progeny were important in Poland also.

RISSLINA, possibly RISSLA’s greatest daughter, remained in England but her first foal, RISSLETTA, went to America and there produced ABU FARWA. In Britain today there is a large and flourishing family, which includes several British National Champions, descended in the female line from RISSLINA through RISIRA, a sister in blood to RISSLETTA.

If the influence of RISSLA’s daughters has been largely in Europe and North America, that of two of her sons has been on a world-wide scale. RISSALIX by FARIS, and IREX by NASEEM, both stayed in England but their important descendants in countries all over the world are too numerous to record here. However, mention should be made of ZENA and CORREEZE in South Africa, the RISSALIX son, COUNT D’ORSAZ, in America and ROYAL DOMINO and COUNT MANILA in Australia, where CRYSTAL FIRE, whose descent from RISSLA is through the female line, has also been influential.

Truly it can be said that the “style of going” Lady Anne noted in RODANIA is a characteristic of her descendants through RISSLA. Also, in addition to the many show ring winners of this family, RISSLA and her full sister RYTHMA are leading matriarchs in Arab racing.

In Great Britain several studs, large and small, have striven since Lady Wentworth’s death to maintain this precious heritage on lines which we hope she would have approved. In view of the fact that in recent years the Crabbet Arabian has been overshadowed by his ‘cousins’ in many countries, we wish gently to remind new breeders that he is alive and well in the land of his birth and deserving patronage.

Last Updated: June 4th, 2019

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