Preparing for the Move.
October was ideal to make the move with our horses to Al Ahmann, Cairo Egypt. The Doctor has used aircraft that have been modified to transport horses safely. The best time to be in the desert was October through March. The temperatures would be cooler. Since Bint was to be transferred to the desert of Jordan in the spring, it was necessary to acclimatize her. It would also give me time to visit with Rashad and see how his father is holding up in his old age before Bint made her journey to the tents of the Ruala tribe.
The Arabian horse is revered in this part of the world. The E.A.O. (Egyptian Agriculture Organization) Al Zahraa Stud developed numerous fine stallions that contributed to Shahwan’s pedigree. Ghazal, Hadban Enzahi, and Kaisoon, all Nazeer sons. The contributions from Al Ahmann and the doctor’s aircraft gave the Arabian breeders in Egypt the flexibility to export and import fine bloodlines. Our horses were to be comfortably flown from Portland, Oregon, which has a field large enough for jet aircraft, to Cairo after quarantine at our Vet facility in Tumalo. They would then fulfill a quarantine at the other end in Cairo.
October was fast approaching. The facility for our departure from the Airport in Portland had to be prepared for the loading process, facilities, licenses, and customs documents. Those were the least of my worries. Dr. Marsufi’s connections took care of that. My apprentice experiences at Al Ahmann prepared me for my own needs, but for the horses, which was another unique experience. My Grandpa stepped in to give me the needed guidance. When he accompanied Shahwanyssa to Cairo thirteen years before, the requirements for export were different.
The physical preparations for my two charges had been ongoing. They were both physically fit. Their medical, and vaccine needs, were up to date. I had been excused from my duties at the Vet Clinic. It was assumed that I would return to Bend after Bint was successfully delivered to the Wadi Sirhan. So, I thought! But I will continue!
I do not know why, but my family was quite emotional this time with my departure from Bend with the horses. My siblings, especially Marion, had become attached to Bint. Dazshtan would return on his completion of the lease, but Bint would stay. They had bags of carrots and apples. Their tears were flowing. Mom, Dad, and Mike were also there. Mike accompanied me to Portland, where we would meet Walter for the loading of the aircraft. Mike would return to Bend and arrive back in Cairo to help make the arrangements for Bint’s travel to her new home.
This was new to me. Travel on an airplane with horses? Well, it was similar to traveling in a horse trailer on land but we were allowed to visit with the horses to reassure them if it got bumpy. Walter told me that the takeoff and landing would be the scariest, and the turbulence might be bouncy. They would have hay and water available. I could be seated back with the horses or go back with the horses from the cabin seating as I desired. They provided meals, with a flight attendant as well as an attendant for the horses. Walter is very experienced with the procedure since he is a chief purser on the 747-300 with Lufthansa and has traveled extensively to Cairo. Having Walter with me was fantastic. He made me feel at ease. He would pick up a flight when I am settled at Al Ahmann and meet his wife who was often a flight attendant on his flights with Lufthansa.
When loaded, and on our way, we were told that we would have three stops along the way. Non-stop to New York, then to Amsterdam. The final leg to Cairo. All these stops for refueling the 727-300.
Our take-off was fun. Looking up toward the front of the aircraft was quite steep. My charges were holding on with their hooves to the raised slats that were on the floor of their stalls. The turbulence over the Rockies made the horses bounce. The landings were softer because the plane was not as steep in its approach. Walter and I did not deplane but stayed with all the amenities provided to us on the flight.
It was great being with Walter. It was he who started it all with his meeting in Fort Worth with Mike long ago. He shared with me countless stories about his travels in the desert while on a layover with the airline. He would visit the local Arabian breeders and arrange to take the unridden and untrained horses along with a camel with provisions for a four-day ride. He would take turns educating the horses to the saddle. He was a very capable rider, learning the ways of the Bedouin. His experience included dressage.
In his younger years, he would travel around Germany and the neighboring country’s Studs that included Arabian horses such as Marbach, and Yanow Podlaski. Michalow State Stud, and other Studs around Russia, like Tersk stud. He was well acquainted with the breeders in Germany and had a vast knowledge of pedigrees, especially associated with the Arabian horses he owned. He told me about his precious Arabian stallion Said that he had raised since he was a yearling. It was an interesting story. He had arranged to visit a breeder in Northern Germany to purchase a yearling colt. On his travels to that farm, he stopped to visit his friends at Ismer Stud.
While eating lunch on the veranda, they noticed a commotion out in the paddocks. They rushed out to see the herd sire Demir, together with a yearling colt in his paddock. They were both fighting, but the colt was holding his own with the mature stallion. Demir would take him down and the colt would get right back up and resume the challenge. Finally, after being beaten severely and kicked over the fence, Walter, and his friend, Her Ismer gathered up the young colt and treated his wounds. Walter was so impressed by the bravado of this colt that he purchased that fearless colt and abandoned his quest to travel to the north. They became inseparable during Walter’s home time. Said became a talented dressage horse as well as a dancing horse in the Bedouin style that Walter learned during his journeys through the horse-breeding tribes of the middle east.
I was mesmerized by his stories. He told me how he met Mike in Fort Worth. Mike had been returning from Michigan with his Arabian filly, on his way back to Oregon. Walter, and his wife, would venture out to find suitable mounts to rent. Along the way, if he met someone with an Arabian horse, it was a bonus. Mike was that person. They quickly became close friends. It was then that he shared with Mike about his stallion Said, who he had been recently rehomed to his fellow breeder of Marbach-bred horses. His travels made it difficult to give his beloved stallion the life he deserved. This fellow breeder was Ewald Dickhut of Lippstadt Germany. Mike would fly out to meet Walter and his wife often in Dallas as Walter laid over.
Because Walter realized that Mike had a similar passion, he stayed connected with Mike every time his stallion Said sired a foal. There was one occasion when he was told about a certain colt that Walter described as “the best colt Germany had ever produced.” Miraculously, Mike eventually imported this fine colt named “Shahwan,” who had before importation received the top spot in Germany in the Stud Book. After winning champion stallion of Germany. He was the number one stallion in the German Arabian Stud Book. He was also approved to be an improvement sire in the German Trakehner Verband registry with the coveted Trakehner Elk horns placed on his registration papers. Then he was tested in the 100-day performance test resulting in the highest score of any Arabian stallion tested to date. All his other siblings by Said had garnered high scores leading up to Shahwan’s highest score. From there, he was taken to Paris for the Arabian Championships. He was second place in his age group by only one-hundredth of a point. The first-place horse in his group went on to be World Champion. If he had won that class, he would have been World Champion. He was also top five of Europe and was exhibited extensively by his owners due to his accomplishments.
I never knew this story, but the reason my Dazshtan and Bint were headed to Cairo, and eventually, Bint being the replacement for her Grandam, the matriarch of the Ruala horse breeding tribe, was, what I believed to be destiny. Walter, on one of his travels into Jordan in search of the perfect Arabian horse, found himself being lost and guided to the greenery of the Wadi Sirhan. There, he became an adopted member of the Ruala tribe. He was given an emblem, a bracelet made of brass that would serve to welcome him when he visited the tribe.
While in Cairo with Shahwanyssa, Mike desired to search for this Ruala tribe and be introduced to the perfect Arabian horse. Walter had provided that same brass bracelet to Mike on his original visit to the Ruala. It was the key to his introduction at this meeting at the tents of the wise old Sheykh Ammeri. Mike was taught an important lesson. In his wisdom, the Sheykh arranged a three-day trip in the realm where tribe members of the Ruala bred mare families, when combined skillfully by the Sheykh, had resulted in the perfect Arabian Mike had been seeking. When they returned to the Sheikh’s tribal Wajlis, (the place of sitting). The Sheykh invited Mike to join him as they gazed out at his prize band of horses.
‘Masha ‘Allah, he said to my grandpa. “I asked for you to join me here. for the journey of our minds has to be fulfilled. Indeed, what is in our hearts that withstands the test of time? Our participation with Allah is a gift. Embodied here are many spirits that have chosen freely. Allah has provided for them, their habitation in bodies of strength and beauty blended in perfection. Gaze upon them for a moment and savor their creation.”
Walking with his family, he was in heaven. The foals playfully bounded among them and would periodically break away to greet them. His skillful breeder would call out the mare families similarly as they had done on their journey. With immense pride, he stopped to gaze at a particular mare, with a filly that was nearing her weaning age.
“Oh, my treasure, Michael. This represents the ultimate combination that Allah has seen fit to bless me with. She has been with me for many years. I am devoted to her. I bathe her with my tears of joy every morning. The light of my life, the enriching one. For many generations, I have been permitted to Co-create with Allah. This filly is a treasure in her own right. Michael, you have proven to me your worthiness.”
His right-hand grasped Mike’s arm. He was deep in the moment when he thought he heard Ammeri say, “She is my gift to you, Michael.”
He shook his head and looked up thinking he was hearing things.
Ammeri put both his arms on Mike’s shoulders and repeated, “She is my gift to you, Michael. Fear not to take her. She will fill your soul with splendor and consecrate our memories. Let her spirit stand amongst us forever.”
Mike looked into his wise, kind old eyes, and immediately started to weep. He saw an old familiar soul in those eyes. He thanked God at that moment, for he knew this was meant to be. Trusting in the wisdom of this gentle person, he gratefully accepted his gift. At that moment, he noticed that little filly chewing on his shirt sleeve as if to say, “I am yours now.”
It was the death of that filly’s dam, the foundation mare of the Ruala tribes that launched me to Egypt on that airplane with Walter, Dazshtan, and Bint Shahwan, the gift to the Sheykh to replace her grandam. That gift will insert Shahwan’s Marbach pedigree into their bloodline
The flight seemed to go by quickly. Walter brought me up to date on all that had happened to my family because of my father meeting Mike Chapman who lived across the street from my young dad and his widowed mother, my grandma Marcia. Mike’s influence on my dad and their influences on me, had given me the confidence I needed to embark on such an adventure.
I must take a break from this story and let you know how grateful I am for all that had occurred to allow me to be with this wonderful partner of mine. Dazshtan has taken me through tough times. I am lying here beside him under these date palms with my head on his neck as he convalesces along with me. His sire would be proud. I feel sometimes that he is here with us. I was often told how he would abide with Mike in the spirit, as two soulmates!
Upon our arrival at the airport in Heliopolis, about thirty miles from Al Ahmann on the outskirts of Cairo, Amir was waiting with our transport. The Egyptian bureaucracy was able to be hastened because of the connections Dr. Marsufi had.
It aided a quick turnaround for our horses into the culture of Egypt.
To my surprise, Rashad was also with Amir and aided us weary travelers to our destination past the Giza plateau, northeast into the lush greenery of the Nile delta. Al Ahmann awaited Dr. Marsufi excited as a little boy. Well, I too was excited like a little girl. My desire when I was little to be with my “horsey now” has led me here.
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