Like people, stars are born.
Their birthplaces are huge,
mystical clouds known as ‘nebulas.’
In our case, the horses are the stars
and the Al Jood stable is their nebula.
It is a place of wonderment;
where creation happens with a touch of magic
and a dash of beauty.
GATEWAY TO THE STARS
Al Jood Stud
by Denise Hearst
North of Doha, Qatar, up in the Al Khor region, lies the sprawling Al Jood Stud. Exotic animals — ostriches, emus, oryx, llamas, and various species of gazelles — share the farm, living in natural habitats. Fields of corn and eggplant, long green avenues of Tamarisk trees, and plenty of pastures complete the peaceful farm, home to Mohamed Jaidah’s Arabian horses. Well, home to most of them, anyway … Mohamed also has several horses in the U.S. and Europe.
It’s a young program, relatively speaking, founded just nine years ago, when Mohamed, like many other horse lovers in the world, first laid eyes on the Shaqab stallions, Gazal Al Shaqab and Marwan Al Shaqab. “I fell in love with them both,” he says. “They are what an Arabian stallion should look like. They give this impression of being war horses when they are in front of you … you cannot ignore them. In starting the love for the Arabian horse, Al Shaqab and His Highness Sheikh Hamad the father Emir had a big influence on me. It was his vision to start Al Shaqab, and then he bred Gazal Al Shaqab and Marwan Al Shaqab, who in turn put Qatar on the map when it came to the Arabian horse. And of course, we can’t forget Al Adeed Al Shaqab (Ansata Halim Shah x Sundar Alisayyah) who, in the straight Egyptian world, was revolutionary. These three horses were the foundation of my love for the Arabian horse.” As a result of that introduction, Mohamed maintains dual programs, breeding straight Egyptians and modern show horse purebreds.
“I have always loved horses. In the 1970s, my father built a farm for our family near the town of Al Khor, north of Doha, where we spent the weekends. My father was a nature and animal lover, and we had several different kinds of animals: cows, sheep, and of course horses, mainly Half-Arabians.
“Eventually, I started following what Al Shaqab was doing, and I began to fall more and more in love with Arabian horses. And, of course, for someone who was born in the eighties, the book and the movie The Black Stallion played a big role in bringing out the love of the Arabian horses. At one point I was like, ‘OK, I really need to own some Arabian horses.’ I was searching online when I saw an advertisement for Al Shaqab. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was when I went there for a visit that I saw my first purebred Arabian horses.”
As a new breeder, Mohamed wasn’t shy about seeking advice from established breeders. “I have admiration for the many breeders who have spent their lives perfecting their image of the Arabian horse,” he says. “I relied on Christie Metz of Silver Maple Farm and Shawn Crews of Arabians Ltd. in America for advice while developing my Egyptian program. They took the time to explain their breeding programs to me and taught me about the different strains and lines in Egyptian breeding. Of course, I deeply appreciate Judy Sirbasku, who has been among the most faithful breeders and custodians of Egyptian horses and has trusted me with the stallion Alixir (The Elixir x The Prevue).
“At the time I went to America to study Egyptian bloodlines, I had already developed an appreciation for The Minstril (Ruminaja Ali x Bahila) and Thee Desperado (The Minstril x AK Amiri Asmarr), who were not heavily represented in straight Egyptian horses in the Middle East. I chose to concentrate my attention there. At that time, Gazal was the epitome of the Arabian horse for me, and the other Arabian horse that I thought, for me, represented the perfect Arabian horse was Alixir. I always wanted Alixir’s blood in my program. And then I heard through the grapevine that Arabians Ltd. was ready to part with Alixir, so I immediately called Shawn Crews and told her, ‘If Alixir is going anywhere, he’s coming to me. He’s not going anywhere else!’ And now Alixir is with Al Jood. He is the foundation of our straight Egyptian program and is standing with Giacomo Capacci in Italy. Alixir is happy in Italy; I mean, who wouldn’t be? So for now, he’ll stay there, and in a year or two, we’ll consider bringing him to Qatar.
“One of the things I really am interested in exploring is using Alixir on the purebreds — an opportunity he hasn’t had in the past,” continues Mohamed. “For the most part, the two divisions of the Al Jood breeding program are kept separate. However, my intention is to continue breeding my purebreds for open pedigrees and then to introduce straight Egyptian blood selectively to continue to elevate the quality of the herd. This year we bred the first purebred mare to Alixir, and we’ve got plans in 2018 for a few more purebred mares that will be bred to him later this year. His daughters are the backbone of our mare band. His son Qaysar Al Jood is standing at Tolra Training Center in Spain, and is also available to outside mares through Om El Arab, our U.S. agent for his services.
“Our other straight Egyptian stallion, Marajh KA, is the perfect outcross for our Alixir mares, and his bloodlines are also typically not available in the Middle East. He is standing at Wilson Training Center in the U.S.”
Two of the straight Egyptian mares that are important to the Al Jood program are Judy Sirbasku’s exotic Rhapsody In Black (Thee Desperado x Aliashahm RA) and Miss Maggie Mae (The Minstril x Bint Magidaa). “I was lucky to buy embryo rights to Rhapsody In Black in 2012 in order to breed her to Alixir,” says Mohamed. “The result was our young stallion Qaysar Al Jood. Then in 2014, I purchased one of the last embryos produced by the incomparable Miss Maggie Mae, with the result being her Alixir daughter Malak Al Jood.”
In the Al Jood Egyptian program, there are a few horses that descend from Ansata Halim Shah, but more prominently from The Minstril (often linebred) and Simeon Shai, and with Marajh KA, he has a stallion that is linebred to Sultann. What is special to Mohamed about these particular lines, we wondered. “As with my purebred program, it was important to me that I collect and use lines that were rare or lesser used in the Middle East,” he explains. “The Minstril and Thee Desperado fulfilled my expectations as individuals and as sires. Marajh KA is the perfect outcross for our mares, and his bloodlines are typically not available in the Middle East. Marajh KA is by Makhnificent KA, a Sultann grandson with additional lines to Sameh through Ibn Hafiza. The dam line traces back to Rose Of Sharon, who was imported to Egypt from England to perpetuate the family of her mother Rodania, a desert-bred exported to Crabbet Stud.”
Mohamed’s stallions reflect the finest of straight Egyptian, Egyptian-related, and modern show pedigrees, and he has used several Al Shaqab stallions in the last couple of years. “We’re also planning on using our own stallions this year, including the first purebred stallion I acquired, Malik El Jamaal. He was never shown, but he holds a big place in my heart,” says Mohamed. “His pedigree is unique as he is by Ludjin El Jamaal and out of one of Gazal’s best daughters, Pinga, a Polish National Champion and World Gold Champion Mare. Ludjin was bred in Brazil by the late Lenita Perroy at her Haras Meia Lua. In addition to his excellent conformation, he is a sweet stallion who has proven to be a great sire, with primarily fillies on the ground. He is standing at Om El Arab in California.
“Malik El Jamaal’s daughters will be crossed with our young stallion D Angelo, who goes back to Magnum Psyche through his sire JJ Bellagio, and through his dam to Versace. I really believe that D Angelo will be a great cross for many of the mares that I have, especially those with Shaqab blood, and also our Ali Jamaal mares.
“We also have Destinyed Valentino, who is a DA Valentino son out of Fabrices Destiny, so he’s a maternal half-brother to Montana Firenze. We are very excited to use him; we think he has great potential as a sire. Destinyed Valentino is also in California at Om El Arab in 2018.”
The Al Jood broodmare band is a cross-section of today’s most successful bloodlines, even if not always through the most obvious sources. We asked Mohamed to explain his selection strategy. “It is most important that the mare be from a dam line that has proven its significance generation after generation, and that the broodmare sire be compatible with the stallion I am using. Also, the mare must have the temperament to be a good mother if she is to carry her own foals.
“Our ‘crown jewel’ purebred mare is Lee Anna Psy, a Padrons Psyche daughter out of a Bey Shah daughter, who brought us one of our earliest and most meaningful successes as breeders. Conquest BR is her son by Versace, who we sold as a yearling before he went on to win U.S. National Champion Yearling Colt in 2014. He also won the U.S. National Junior Stallion title in 2016. We were thrilled to have bred such a great colt.
“While many of my foundation mares carry Ali Jamaal and Padrons Psyche blood, my biggest breeding successes have had sires and dams with little in common within the early generations, in other words, open pedigrees. I also like to look for rare or less-used bloodlines for my purebreds, such as Muscat and Nariadni; they add a lot of movement and good conformation. In the long run, I want to use great horses throughout the pedigree.
“We have leased a straight Russian mare in the U.S. that we are going to use this year. The idea is to combine some of the best blood in the world. But, we are not limiting ourselves to specific lines or breeding groups. And we haven’t stopped thinking and analyzing.”
Interestingly, even though Gazal Al Shaqab and Marwan Al Shaqab are among Mohamed’s inspirations, their blood is not prominent in his breeding program — just one granddaughter of Gazal, and no Marwan blood at all until 2017. Similarly, while he has several descendants of Magnum Psyche, there is just one through WH Justice. Mohamed explains, “I feel strongly that the gene pool is becoming compromised because it is too easy for the same proven stallions and breeding combinations to be used over and over again. At the same time, it is understandable that breeders want to be confident of the outcome, and these horses have proven themselves. It is important to me that I use popular bloodlines sparingly in order to keep my pedigrees open. WH Justice is a great son of Magnum Psyche, but I chose D Angelo to represent this sire line through JJ Bellagio, who is out of the great mare Joyeuse NY.
“My long-term goal is to establish Al Jood Stud as a trusted name within the breed. If I keep true to my ideal, the Al Jood horses will continue to improve with each generation. I would be satisfied to know that other breeders have confidence in the horses we produce. It may be more important in the future, when there are fewer outcross choices. My fear is that in ten years the worldwide Arabian horse gene pool will become even more constricted. The globalization of breeding through the use of frozen and shipped semen also means that the same bloodlines are now easily available anywhere in the world. It is reducing the total gene pool to a few major lines that are repeated in most of the pedigrees. I hope that other breeders see the danger, too, and choose to cultivate a wider range of bloodlines. The future of the breed might depend on it.”
For Mohamed, who owns a communication agency, the creation of an identity for Al Jood Stud — “The Gateway to the Stars” — was something he took seriously. “One of the stories that I love about the Arabian horses is that God created them from the wind, hence the term often applied to Arabian mares, ‘Daughters of the Wind.’ In history, the Arabian horses were the best friends of the nomads who roamed the desert, navigating by the stars. It seemed natural to link the mythology of the Arabian horse with the mythology of stars. It gave a unique feel and aspect to Al Jood. We believe that we are creating the stars of tomorrow at Al Jood.”
Looking back on the past nine years, Mohamed reflects on the course he laid out for Al Jood at the outset. “I define myself first as a breeder, before being a showman, or a stud that is here to win,” he says. “Obviously, everyone would like to produce horses that will win, but for me, horse shows are the instruments for showing the rest of the world what we are doing at Al Jood. While the endorsement of the judges is important, I am breeding toward my ideal Arabian horse.
“Some people may tell you they’ve had a vision from day one, and that they followed that vision through their whole life,” Mohamed continues. “I can’t say the same. If you asked me about my vision for Al Jood in 2009, and again in 2018, this vision would have evolved, because things change and horses are beings, not products. And because this is not so much a business as it is a passion. At the end of the day we want to create our own definition of beauty, to define and refine that beauty. And along the way I am enjoying the intangibles; for instance, I find that horses bring serenity. They cheer you up and bring you a sense of calm that you really can’t recreate in any other way. And that’s why I love being surrounded by horses. Perhaps we are not so unlike the nomads after all, navigating by the stars …”
“I feel very lucky and happy to have started working alongside Mohamed Jaidah in April 2017, as operations manager for Al Jood Stud,” says Ziggy Wellens, pictured here with Alixir (The Elixir x The Prevue).
“During my childhood the majority of my leisure time was spent around horses, mostly in reining with my Paint horse. I always wondered if there would be an opportunity for me to make a career of working with horses. In 2011 a cousin of mine, Hendrik Mens, the manager of Al Nasser Stud in Qatar, helped me to get in touch with Giacomo Capacci Arabians. There I worked as a groom, learning about the Arabian horse. That’s the moment my interest in Arabians was truly sparked. “Next I worked with Robin Hopkinson at Bill and Nan Bensyl’s Blue Star Farms in California, learning how to prepare show horses, from clipping to training and schooling. After that came an introduction to Mohammed Al Sulaiti and Broderick Levens of Al Shaqab in Qatar, who provided me with the opportunity to become part of a large dedicated team caring for over 300 horses.
“Today, I manage the daily operations involving every aspect of Al Jood Stud as a whole, including the daily care and health of the horses, marketing and social media aspects, coordinating with the boarding and training stables in the U.S. and Europe, finding new opportunities and potential collaborations with other farms, and so on.
“Mr. Jaidah and I are extremely excited with the challenge to put Al Jood Stud at the top of the Arabian horse industry for the future, preserving the Arabian horse, improving the Arabian breed, and sharing our passion with the world in a positive way. I love everything about my job — from the daily challenges to finding new opportunities to enhance the vision of Al Jood Stud and the Arabian horse breed as a whole.”
Mares and Foals
Mohamed Jaidah, Founder & Owner
Postal address: Al Jood Stud, Jaidah Square, PO Box 150, Doha, Qatar
For more information
Operations Manager: Ziggy Wellens · email@example.com · (+974) 3316 8391