Legends of the Caucasus, Part II

...and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure, wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

When we left off our discussion of the Caucaus Mountains, God Himself was racing his celestial chariot across the skies of the Earth, wrecking it on the peak of Mount Elbrus, thus causing a pile of languages to fly over-board, resulting in the peoples not being able to communicate with each other, from one valley to the next. (1_

High-society Russian Muscovites were passing idyll hours lounging at the Pyatigorsk Spa, ( Five Mountains Spa) while just a few miles outside of town, Count Sergei Alek Stroganov was setting up an Arabian Horse breeding program on his estate. (2)

In an aside, we will take a peek at the history of some of the horses who resided at the Stroganov Estate, prior to the Russian Revolution.

Count Stroganov had purchased the famous Arabian stallion, “Mesaoud,” by way of the Kleniewski Stud, in Poland. (3)

Mesaoud was originally purchased by Wilfred and Lady Anne Blunt, in 1891, and imported from Egypt to England.

Mesaoud was by the Egyptian stallion “Aziz,” out the dam “Yamamah III,” and both bloodlines trace back to “desertbred,” several generations before. (4)

He was noted to be an “Al-Khamsa Arabian,” with solid verification in the bloodlines leading back to the desert Bedouins. (5)

Mesaoud was a stunningly beautiful chestnut stallion with bright, white stockings and a blaze.

He also had a slight roan coloring over his body, with a splattering of white throughout, and on his head and under his chin.

It is thought that he had “Sabino Genetics,” and he is credited with being a primary source for the Sabino color that appears in modern-day Arabians. (6)

The Blunts bought Mesaoud as a 2-year old, and before he was exported from Egypt to England, he ran in the Cairo Eclipse Stakes. He had a bad start, however, and finished 7th out of ten.

In England, he was exhibited at horse shows, and in 1896 through 1897, he was shown at the Crystal Palace Horse Show, placing 1st every time. (7)

He was also shown in Paris in 1900, at the World Exhibition.

Because the Blunts bred Mesaoud to over 100 mares on their estate, the danger of line-breeding existed, so therefore, they sold the stallion to Wladislas Kleniewski, who owned the Kleniewski Stud, in Poland. (8)

Shortly after that, he was sold to Count Stroganov, whose estate was located on the outskirts of Pyatigorsk, in Russia.

The Russian Revolution began in 1917, and Stroganov fled to Paris, where he died in 1923.

The Stroganov Estate was seized by the Russian Revolutionaries and none of the Arabians that had been fostered and raised there survived.

While Mesaoud’s fate is unknown, it is assumed that he perished at the estate outside of Pyatigorsk.

In 1925, a Soviet-era Arabian Horse breeding program was started at two farms in the Pyatigorsk area, one being located on the former Stroganov Estate.

Field Marshal Semyon Budyonny, an accomplished cavalry officer and horseman, ordered the former Stroganov breeding farm to be renamed, and it was to be used to help restore the decimated Russian horse population. (9)

The Tersk Stud was opened, with imports from France and Hungary, however, the stock lacked the refinement and typey appearance of noteworthy Arabian bloodlines.

Mesaoud had sired a son while at Crabbet, named “Astraled,” who was sold to Lothrop Ames of Massachusetts, USA, in 1909. (10)

Astraled was also used as a stud while at Crabbet.

In a poignant return of the Mesaoud bloodlines to the Stroganov Estate, now the Tersk Stud, the mare “Rissalma,” a direct descendant of Mesaoud, was purchased by the breeding program and exported to Russia, in 1936. (11)

Rissalma probably grazed in the very fields where her famous ancestor once galloped.

Rissalma produced the Russian stallion “Priboj.”

“Solamm,” was a Priboj grandson, and Solamm was exported to Egypt, thus returning the Mesaoud bloodline back to it’s origins in the desert sands. (12)

Today, beautiful Mesaoud’s pedigree is in 90% of all Arabian horses, and his descendants are found all over the world.

His memory is kept alive every time some young colt kicks up its heels and flags it tail.

The interesting history of man and equine, woven in with the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”

1,2:”Horses,” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Jean Louis-Gouraud

3-12: Internet/ Wikipedia/ Crabbet Arabians/ Desert Roots/ Arabian Datasource