The Most Beautiful Little Horse

Articles Crabbet Arabian Horses Historical Stallions

Sharing is caring!

By Alexia Ross

** Originally published in the Spring 1997 issue of The Crabbet Influence magazine.

Naseel (Raftan x Naxina) parading at Roehampton. Photo from Rowchester archives.
Naseel (Raftan x Naxina) parading at Roehampton. Photo from Rowchester archives.

“That is the most beautiful little horse I have ever seen.” This was the comment of Sir Alfred Munnings on seeing Naseel at Roehampton. A legend in his own time, Naseel was one of the few examples of close double breeding to Skowronek to remain in the British Isles. Yet, circumstances conspired to make his descendants today more conspicuous for quality than quantity.

Naseel was bred at the Hanstead Stud from Crabbet bred parents and was by Naseem’s son Raftan (x Riyala) out of the Skowronek daughter Naxina (x Nessima). Naseem was a son of Skowronek, and Naseel strongly showed this influence in size, colour, and type. Despite his Skowronek character, his limbs, depth and lay back of shoulder hint at the double cross he also carried to the foundress of the Crabbet ‘N’ line, Nefisa (Hadban DB x Dajania DB). This makes him just subtly different, both as an individual and breeding influence, to other close Skowronek horses such as *Raffles.

A photo of Mrs. Nicholson with her mares shows strongly the Naseel legacy. Three daughters and a granddaughter all with small, fine heads, very broad between the eyes, great depth of body, and lovely shoulders. This legacy is easily overlooked. Location limited both Naseel’s opportunities at stud and the movement of his stock to other breeders. It is by quality rather than quantity that his line has survived.

Naseel was bought as a youngster by Mrs. Nicholson, taken to Oreland, and picked predominately to be a sire of ponies although the stud also bred purebreds. From here on he enters the history books. Naseel did indeed sire ponies. Ponies such as Pretty Polly are legends in their own right in the British Show Pony world. He bred many other kinds of mares too, and it was Mrs. Nicholson’s boast that all his progeny that were shown had won, from purebreds to show ponies to hunters.

The purebred foals, however, were always few. Naseel lived out his life in Ireland and there were few purebred mares to be bred to him. Fortunately, Mrs. Nicholson and a few other discerning breeders did breed a small number of quality mares to Naseel. Amongst these mares were the grey Seglawi, Rose du Sable, and two Straight Crabbet mares, the bay Wardi and Naseel’s 3/4 sister Raxina. They were all good mares in their own right and all were sired by Naseem sons themselves.

Other mares bred to Naseel were Silver Bell, a Naseem granddaughter again, and her bay daughter Indian Chime by Indian Gold. The resulting foals were not a great number of progeny in which to invest the genetic inheritance of a legend. Naseel’s lifetime total of purebred foals was 21 despite the fact that he lived a long and healthy life and sired his last foal at 27 years of age. Nonetheless the line continues into the present, turning up as a contributor to a number of well known studs. Most of the few breeders who bred from him and his daughters are familiar names to the story of Arab breeding.

There were some early exports but they did not go to large establishments. Raxina’s daughter Nizreen never even had a foal. Katina (x Wardi) was a show champion in the USA and did produce two daughters by Nizzam, one of whom bred on well for Lewisfield Arabians, but it is Ramadan who can be credited with passing on a strong Naseel inheritance abroad when he went to Australia. Ramadan sired just two foals but the popular stallion Tafadin was his son. He has bred on well and has the distinction of being the only source of Naseel blood in the male line. Ramadan could support and article in himself, as has indeed been done. A good example of his younger stock would be the grey stallion Cameo The Wizard and the full sister Cameo Witchery, who both stamp their stock very strongly. They each are smaller than average with small, fine heads and great depth.

In England, it is the Naseel daughters that have passed the legacy on. Platinum Bell went to Mrs. Pointer’s Cranham Stud. There she produced Paltinum Phantom and two lovely daughters by Indian Star, Platinum Pearl and Platinum Princess. Both were mares of exceptional depth and refinement. Duette (Royal Drift x Platinum Pearl) is a grey mare a superb front who has graced the veteran mare class on a number of occasions at the AHS National Show. Her daughter Silhouette (by Donax) won her class as a yearling at the Nationals.

Ramadan’s full sister was the incomparable Ziree el Wada. She bred a string of lovely foals for Mrs. Nicholson before ending her days with the Hedleys, accompanied by her daughter Zilati. Indeed Zilati’s last son Jarash (by Golden Samurai) still stands at their Briery Close Stud. The latter mare’s best known son was Zebadi (by Kama) who went to Biddesden Stud. His daughters and granddaughters are still producing well and he is the maternal grandsire of British National Champion Stallion Dhruv (by El Shaklan).

As if Zilati was not enough, Ziree El Wada also produced the great broodmare Zahri (by Dargee) as well as a couple of good daughters by General Grant for Briery Close. The ‘Z; line is still to be found producing consistently good stock for a number of breeders. Zilati’s tragically short lived brother Zeus II was a sad loss to the breed but he did sire the stallion Harwood Asif before his death.

Also to the Hedlyes went another of Raxina’s daughters, Nafisa. She produced a number of foals by Manto, including the author’s own foundation mare Nafranta.

The bay Wadiha (by Wardi) spent the latter part of her breeding career in Wales as the mate of the great Oran son Sengoran. She produced a whole string of colts plus two fillies. The very first foal of this combination, a brown stallion called Ranadi, still lives in the depths of Wales, with his lifetime owner Rose Ennik, and is known in the area as a sire of beautiful performance horses both pure and partbred. He has a rare, dry and etched look with exceptional shoulders and good action. It is sad to think of all the full brothers lost to obscurity who never had a purebred foal.

A chestnut full sister Senfleur is in Hampshire in hope of getting one last Straight Crabbet foal by the stallion Prince Sadik. The other full sister, Senadiha, is the dam of an enchanting chocolate chestnut stallion El Sharluke (by Amboselli), who won the sire’s progeny award for Anglos and partbreds in his AHS regional group last year. His type owes more than a touch to the Naufal granddaughter Wardi but the etched refinement and excellent shoulders are still there. He also invariably imparts superb action.

Senfleur and Nafranta both spent some time in the ownership of the Crabbet program of Caroline MacKenzie when they were bred to the Straight Crabbet stallion Rayyan (by Silver Vanity). Both had fillies that were exported to the USA. Silver Noelle (x Nafranta) is a tall flashy chestnut with Naseel’s head and resides with Clipper Winds Farms where she is being bred to Crabbet stallions.

Nafisa’s full sister Nazli went to Mrs. Somerville in Ireland. She too was sent to Manto to produce the vibrant little grey stallion Nefeuret. Mrs. Somerville experimented with doubling up on the Naseel line when she sent Nazli to Zebadi. The result was the exquisite mare Nefertari Aahmes. She put in an appearance some years ago at the National Show, when it was still at Ascot. I do not think I was the only one who could not take my eyes off the tiny, dry mare who paraded serenely around the ring as if it was all beneath her.

Much of the research for this article occurred because I wished to find quality Naseel descendants to breed my mare Nafranta and her daughters to. I already knew of Ranadi, so Nafranta was sent off to Wales for another try at a double Naseel foal. The resulting grey filly has inherited the typical Naseel traits of fine head, depth and beautifully sloped shoulders.

The horse that has done most to bring the Naseel line back into the public eye in recent years has to be Nefeuret. He was leased to the well known Imperial Stud of Geoff Plaister a few years ago to use on his Hanif bred mares. Combining the body conformation of his sire with the grey colour and type of Naseel, he was also made available at stud to outside breeders. Nefeuret placed second at the National Show as a veteran and, though his stock in England are still young, last year’s Wessex Group Reserve Junior Female Champion was a Nefeuret daughter. The filly was Izmala (x Silvern Image) bred by Rosemary Archer and now set to be one of the foundation mares for the Binley Arabian Stud in Hampshire.

Geoff Plaister’s own mares include daughters and granddaughters of Zahri, the best known of which must be the British National Champion mare Zarafah (by Hanif). Some of these mares were bred to Nefeuret, repeating the attempt at doubling on Naseel blood. It seems as if, after a period of being all but forgotten, the Naseel line is once more becoming appreciated as a source of classic type and quality.

About the author:
Alexia Ross is breeding Straight Crabbet Arabians on a small scale with a Naseel granddaughter as her foundation mare. In 1995 she wrote for the Swedish Arab Horse news on the Crabbet bloodlines in Britain that are still doing well in the show ring. Pedigree research is part of her daily life. A lifetime member of the Arab Horse Society of Great Britain since 1986 after joining in 1979. Alexia’s next article will be on General Gold, Silver Blue, and Silver Flame, and the impact their descendants have made. Look for her next article coming soon.

NASEEL: Two Generation Chart
Naseel, Grey Stallion 1936
1 – Ziree El Wada, Grey Mare 1948 (Rose du Sable) Mrs. Nicholson
Zeus II, Grey Stallion 1957 (Silver Vanity) Lady Wentworth
Zilati, Grey Mare 1958 (Silver Vanity) Mrs. Nicholson
Zodiac, Grey Stallion 1959 (Rill) Mrs. Nicholson – exp. Switzerland
Zellah, Grey Mare 1960 (Nisba) Mrs. Nicholson
Zareef, Ch./Grey Stallion 1961 (Rill) Mrs. Nicholson
Zahri, Chestnut Mare 1962 (Dargee) Mrs. Nicholson
Zero, Grey Stallion 1963 (Warren Point) Mrs. Nicholson
Zulkan, Grey Stallion 1964 (Samson) Mrs. Nicholson
Zayda, Chestnut Mare 1967 (General Grant) Major & Mrs. Hedley – exp. Belgium
Zulka, Chestnut Mare 1968 (General Grant) Major & Mrs. Hedley
Zenith, Chestnut Stallion 1969 (General Grant) Major & Mrs. Hedley – exp. Australia
2 – Nasir, Grey Stallion 1949 (Rose du Sable) Miss B Johnson
3 – Dawn, Chestnut Mare 1950 (Damask Rose) Lord & Lady Moyne
4 – Nasala, Grey Stallion 1951 (Rimiana) Mrs. Nicholson
5 – Katina, Bay Mare 1951 (Wardi) Miss E.M. Carroll – exp. USA
6 – Narzee, Bay Stallion 1952 (Wardi) Miss E.M. Carroll
7 – Platinum Bell, Grey Mare 1952 (Silver Bell) Miss C.M. Lyon
Platinum Pharoah, Grey Stallion 1960 (Rashmala) Miss P.J. Pointer
Platinum Phairy, Grey Mare 1962 (Rashmala) Miss P.J. Pointer
Platinum Phantom, Br/Grey Stallion 1964 (Rashmala) Miss P.J. Pointer
Platinum Pearl, Grey Mare 1967 (Indian Star) Miss P.J. Pointer
Platinum Princess, Grey Mare 1968 (Indian Star) Miss P.J. Pointer
8 – Ramadan, Grey Stallion 1952 (Rose du Sable) – exp. Australia
9 – Nasser, Grey Stallion 1954 (Rabiya) Mrs. Nicholson
10 – Mona, Grey Mare 1954 (Indian Chime) Miss M.C. Lyon
Astley Indian Monarch, Chestnut Stallion 1975 (Indian’s Raseel) Mrs. Glaisyer
Shabakka, Grey Stallion 1976 (Silver Flame) Mrs. Somerville
Sherah, Grey Mare 1977 (Zebadi) Mrs. Somerville
11 – Ayesha, Grey Mare 1954 (Dragonfly) Mrs. M. Maclean
Dominaye, Chestnut Stallion (Blue Domino) Mrs. S.M. Reynolds
Red Domino, Chestnut Stallion 1963 (Blue Domino) Mrs. S.M. Reynolds
Anderida, Grey Stallion 1976 (Crystal King) Mrs. W.E. Robinson
12 – Nar, Chestnut Stallion 1955 (Ruhaylah) Mrs. Nicholson
13 – Nasare, Grey Stallion 1955 (Rabiyah) Mrs. Nicholson
14 – Wadiha, Bay Mare 1955 (Wardi) Mrs. Nicholson
Wawi, Br/Grey Stallion 1964 (Zeus II) Mrs. Nicholson – exp. Denmark
Zewadi, Chestnut Stallion 1966 (Zeus II) Mrs. E.M. Thomas
Ianto, Grey Stallion 1968 (Naplyv) Mrs. E.M. Thomas
Unnamed, Bay Stallion 1969 (Hanif) Mrs. E.M. Thomas – exp. Holland
Tiber, Bay Stallion 1970 (Astur) Mrs. E.M. Thomas
Ranadi, Bay Stallion 1972 (Sengoran) Mrs. J. Mullen
Senadiha, Bay Mare 1973 (Sengoran) Mrs. J. Mullen
Sentinel, Bay Stallion 1974 (Sengoran) Mrs. J. Mullen
Senfleur, Chestnut Mare 1975 (Sengoran) Mrs. J. Mullen
Senrhan, Bay Stallion 1976 (Sengoran) Mrs. J. Mullen
Senitarius, Chestnut Stallion 1977 (Sengoran) Mrs. J. Mullen
15 – Abdul Aulbul Amir, Grey Stallion 1957 (Zuhair) Mrs. Nicholson
16 – Nizreen, Grey Mare 1968 (Raxina) Mrs. Nicholson – exp. USA
17 – Nafisa, Grey Mare 1959 (Raxina) Mrs. Nicholson
Fanta, Grey Stallion 1973 (Manto) Major & Mrs. Hedley
Nafranta, grey Mare 1974 (Manto) Major & Mrs. Hedley
Grey Image, Grey Stallion 1976 (Manto) Major & Mrs. Hedley
Count Faro, Ch.Grey Stallion 1977 (Count Rapello) Major & Mrs. Hedley
Zerif, Grey Stallion 1979 (Orion) Major & Mrs. Hedley
18 – Nazli, Grey Mare 1960 (Raxina) Mrs. Nicholson
Nimr II, Bay Stallion 1966 (Gali) Duke of Mecklenburg
Zilkha, Ch/Grey Stallion 1969 (Kama) Mrs. W.B. Somerville
Zanaka, Grey Stallion 1971 (Count Raperio) Mrs. W.B. Somerville
Namouna, Grey Mare 1974 (Manto) Mrs. W.B. Somerville
Nefeuret, Grey Stallion 1976 (Manto) Mrs. W.B. Somerville
Nefertari Aahmes, Grey Mare 1978 (Zebadi) Mrs. W.B. Somerville
Neferu, Grey Mare 1979 (Nadil) Mrs. W.B. Somerville
19 – Neeshan, Grey Stallion 1961 (Rabiya) Mrs. Nicholson
20 – Naseek, Grey Stallion 1962 (Rabiya) Mrs. Nicholson
21 – Achmed, Grey Stallion 1964 (Princess Muna) Mrs. Nicholson

**All of the articles included in the re-launched site from the original website, Georgia Cheer, Silver Monarch Publishing and The Crabbet Influence magazine are shared here with permission of Georgia Cheer given May 16, 2012.**

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *