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The Tapestry of Life

When Janice Bush suggested a *Sultann daughter to replace the mare Kehilan had tragically lost - she never dreamed the path that would result. As manager of the renowned Somerset Farms in Santa Ynez, CA, Janice consulted with the owner Lee Romney on the breeding decisions. Their top stallion Ruminaja Bahjat was the exotic full brother to the legendary Ruminaja Ali. A son of the exquisite Bint Magidaa, Bahjat resembled his dam more than many of his siblings. Lee and Janice were always looking for additional type through different blood to add to their program. After a trip to Florida Lee announced she wanted to purchase a *Sultann son to breed to her Bahjat daughters. Somerset was the current home for the notorious sire of National winners - *Sultann. But it was apparent his breeding days were coming to a close. Besides, Lee was drawn to exotic stallions, those who exuded a certain fiery passion and classic nobility. Bahjat with his sculpted face and spirited demeanor fit this picture. So too had a white stallion, an arrogant son of *Sultann she had seen on her Florida trip. His name was Makhsous. But Makhsous was already a known sire, with sons winning National Champion Futurity Stallion and Event Supreme Champion Stallion. And so he was not for sale.





























Somerset went on producing the horses they were known for...... classical beauties until the sad reality of Lee's longtime illness set in. Upon her untimely death, Janice was faced with closing the farm. Selling Bahjat to South America to the well respected breeding program of Count Federico Zichy-Tyssen. But what to do with *Sultann, a 26 year old infertile legend? Ahh - Kehilan - they admired the *Sultann bloodlines and loved their horses. And so old *Sultann traveled to Texas. A year or so later the last few mares that were the absolute treasures of the Somerset program were also sent to Kehilan to live. And then Janice got a call from Kehilan. Gleannloch was struggling with the illness of it's leading lady. Margaret Marshall was gravely ill and the farm had to be dispersed. With all too familiar a ring to this predicament Janice realized that it would provide an opportunity that Lee might have wanted. For Kehilan was calling to put together a partnership to purchase Makhsous, the *Sultann son that Lee had tried to buy years ago. Makhsous had just recently been purchased by Gleannloch to serve as an outcross onto their primarily *Morafic bred herd. He had only spent 2 years there and his oldest foals at the time of the sale were yearlings. The bidding was successful and immediately after Makhsous arrived at Kehilan, Janice elected to use her breeding on a young Ruminaja Bahjat daughter named Antigua Dance. Antigua was the daughter of one of Somerset's most prolific and well regarded broodmatrons - Talyla. Many years before Lee and Janice had leased a daughter of Jim Kline's notable Nazeer son *Talal. The beautiful Talya was tall, elegant and stretchy as well as typey. "She changed my mind about Egyptian horses" states Janice. "If more could look like her - I would become a big fan and start breeding Egyptians instead of Polish Arabians." They bred Talya to the Forbis's prepotent stallion Ansata Shah Zaman. A regal character the result of mating full siblings - Shah Zaman was similar to Talya - tall, white, elegant and commanding. The resulting foal however, was small and chestnut. Sometimes, we aren't expecting the weave of life. But that little chestnut filly with the huge, almost surreal eyes turned out to be a classy mare who produced back to her parents nearly every time. Her daughter Antigua Dance is tall, elegant, stretchy and absolutely gorgeous.


As Antigua foaled her second foal - Janice was there to watch. She had recently moved to Texas to help Kehilan with their breeding and also to help with the marketing. When the delicate grey colt finally stood up - everyone gasped. "He looked like a painting. Huge eyes, dished face, tiny muzzle, fine neck and legs and curly ears" recalls Janice. "All I could do was look upward and say 'You were right.....he was the one for our mares!'" For there stood the cross that Lee had wanted to create all along. A nobleman, of regal bearing and royal blood and the first of that cross...... Marquis I.


As little "Marky" grew, Kehilan wanted to show him. He was such an exotic representation of Makhsous. But Janice was protective. Not yet, not now she always said. He was too little -born the end of June he was not a mature colt early on. Finally at two years of age Becky persuaded Janice to just let her try him at a Class A show. Marky was usually such a sweet tempered horse, a real love. He had lots of snort and blow but truly loved people and did not like to be shanked or reprimanded in any way. So training him was a tightrope act...... enough to get a pose but not enough to take away his confidence. Everyone was worried that he would wither in the arena. Gorgeous yes, but what will he do? "As I entered the ring with Marky at my side - suddenly I thought he had grown a few hands taller!" laughs Becky. "We went through that gate and Marky became a bit of the Tasmanian Devil!" "He snorted and blew so hard the whole stands were laughing!" Even the judge thought he was gorgeous and he easily won his class. However, the judge was not as tolerant of his lack of ability to focus and stand still - he admonished Becky that if the colt came into the Jr. Championship that way he would excuse him! The crowd on the other hand was screaming for him. In the Championship class he stood long enough for the judge to see but still snorted and blew. The judge said - "I am knocking you down one place - bring him back to me when you have him trained!" And so he won Reserve Junior Champion Stallion.


Eventually, Marky went to Mike Neal to be trained and shown. Mike was careful not to take the oomph out of Marky and he won quite a few Championships. At one very large show - in the Championship lineup stood 6 bay or chestnut big, muscular Arabian stallions. And there stood Marky, snow white and ethereal and almost feminine in look. We figured we were out. But he was named Reserve Champion to a horse that later that year went Reserve National Champion. Even if you did not like Egyptian horses, it was hard not to like Marky. He was just so darn beautiful! Like a painting. Marky won Reserve World Champion at the Event and also Regional Top 5 Stallion (3rd) before Janice brought him home over Mike's protest. He simply needed to start siring foals. It was time for him to go to work.


Then the offers started coming. So far, Janice was turning them down. And Kehilan was getting nervous. They had a Makhsous colt of their own that was pretty special - in fact, a National winner. But he had suffered a serious health problem and no one knew how long he would live. Besides, Marky had been treated as their own, loved and spoiled from the day he was born. We could not imagine a Kehilan Arabians without him. And so, with heavy interest from the Middle East, Kehilan offered a price that Janice accepted and Marquis became the other cornerstone of their breeding program. 


The first foals validated this choice! Big eyes, all that snort and blow of their sire, tiny muzzles and long, long necks. That first year we sent two Marquis offspring out to be shown. Both were Top Ten at the Egyptian Event and both went on to win prestigious Top 5 Regional Sweepstakes awards. The colt, Sundance KA now resides in Australia. The filly, Remarqable KA  is owned by Sherine Kullman. She has enjoyed quite a bit of success overseas. She scored perfect 20's on movement at the Asil Cup in Germany!! Her first foal won the Foal class at the 2004 European Egyptian Event. A Marquis son Majestic Noble SMF, owned by well regarded Silver Maple Farm has won Championships at the Egyptian Event including Reserve Champion EBC Colt and Champion Extended Specialty Three Year Olds. Noble bears a striking resemblance to his sire. Silver Maple is retaining Noble to be their outcross sire - a true compliment from a wonderful breeding program and one which was recently validated with a Noble daughter winning Champion EBC Filly for Silver Maple.  A bold, captivating bay stallion named Raquis stands in Australia at Rick Cummins Westbank Arabians. Exquisite daughters have been added to the breeding stock of the lucky farms Rhodium Stud in New Zealand as well as Shahada Stud in France, El Farida Stud in Egypt and Azizah Arabians International of Australia.  And right here at home in the States you will find daughters in the respected programs of Miars Arabians, Blackwatch Arabians as well as Mi-Jan Farms in Ohio. In addition, not only Straight Egyptians have been a good cross for Marky. His daughter, My Markhia is out of an Enchanter Magic sired mare and has won numerous Championships for her owner.



The true value of Marquis to Kehilan is just now taking center stage.  And that is the contribution of his daughters as broodmares. The cross of Makhnificent onto these Marquis daughters is proving particularly fetching. We currently have several spectacular daughters retained in our herd. They are moving into position as some of our most coveted broodmares. One of these - Isabella KA produced a home run on her first foal.  The exquisite filly named Naadirah KA, (sired by Makhnificent) snagged outrageous scores at the Egyptian Event where she cruised unanimously to Futurity Champion and ultimately took Reserve Junior Champion filly placing first on four out of five judges cards.  This fantastically beautiful princess now is a royal treasure at Al Khalediah Farm in Saudi Arabia. Her full siblings Naafisah and Naadir at home at Kehilan are equally gorgeous and treasured in our program with Naadir scheduled to join the stallion roster as he becomes old enough. The truly spectacular sisters Marquisah KA and Simpli Iresistibl have become rock star producers.  Their offspring are now winning and standing at stud in Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt and here in the U.S.  Marquisah is now owned by Azizah Arabians International but resides at Kehilan and a trip to see this Queen is a highlight for she is breathtaking. The Marquis daughter Dalia KA is owned by El Farida Stud in Egypt and has been winning National Championships for her owners!  


Our Marquis daughters represent the best of Makhsous and Antigua Dance. Those lustrous black eyes with that sweet expression. That fiery passion Lee first noted in Bahjat is also evident in these children. They have simply the most beautiful movement and carriage. A joi de vivre that was passed from Talyla to Antigua to these kids...... Tails up, heads swinging - they are full of life. Definitely Makhsous grandkids though as well, tiny tipped ears, tiny muzzles, arched necks and those flag tails can be counted on. And people loving dispositions. Like their father. The ultimate Bedouin horse. One that is not only breathtakingly beautiful but that would quietly stay by your side or let the children ride him across the desert if needed. A noble steed envisioned years ago by a woman no longer of this earth. Made possible by the closing of another historical farm, and by the enduring interest of Kehilan in the *Sultann blood despite a series of tragedies. And lastly by the woman who stayed the course with that earlier desire and ended up in Texas breeding a shared vision. Life weaves many patterns and you do not always know where they lead. One look at the exquisite Marquis and suddenly you appreciate the tapestry of life.

Ruminaja Bahjat


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