That Nura Style

by Rick Synowski © 1995

from The CMK Record Spring 1995 XI/2: page 15

used by permission of Rick Synowski

That air of distinction which characterizes the ‘Crabbet type’ cannot easily be explained. Lady Anne Blunt called it ‘that indefinable thing style’, and Wilfrid Blunt spoke of the ‘almost electric thrill’ he experienced when he saw a really first-class horse.“(1)

GHAZIEH (Ibn Nura x Bint Horra) (Note: an Ali Pasha Sherif mare, not the Abbas Pasha desert import who founded the family to which belonged Helwa and Yemameh.) Not a brilliant photo, still this exemplifies the remarkable style of this breeding (NBGS)

The influence of the Ali Pasha Sherif line of NURA(2) has been obscured, not only by the passage of time, but by the fact that her name appears only in the middle of pedigrees. Mares which did not leave enduring dam lines, at least from a historical perspective, are less easily celebrated. A horse’s genetic influence is not necessarily less, because its name does not appear in the direct sire or dam line. NURA was an important mare to the Blunts, though it is not clear whether they ever saw her; there was something in her descendants which caught their eye. Ali Pasha Sherif too recognized the special quality of these horses as attested by the “one hoof of the Bint Nura” quote at the head of the lead article. NURA’s early descendants were notable for their style, bearing and finish — traits which have bred down in the two lines carried on from this mare at Crabbet.

IBN NURA was an aged stallion when purchased by the Blunts. He was described as a “magnificent horse…and style perfection.” Although in his 20s, he was much used at Sheykh Obeyd, until his son FEYSUL replaced him as head sire. Of FEYSUL’s sons IBN YASHMAK notably displayed the regal elegance of the line, though as a sire he would be outdone by FEYSUL’s British son RASIM, sire of RASEEM, RAZINA, *RIFLA, *FARASIN, NASHISHA and FASILA — all of importance for breeding on the NURA attributes.

BINT BINT NURA ES SHAKRA [BINT NURA GSB] was the sole NURA daughter purchased by the Blunts. Existing photos of the mare show beauty and great bearing. BINT NURA bred two important sons: MAHRUSS GSB by MAHRUSS, bred by Ali Pasha Sherif; and DAOUD by MESAOUD, bred by the Blunts.

DAOUD’s value was a point of controversy between the Blunts; his contribution was to be through his daughters. Of these NASRA would be come a grande dame of Crabbet, perhaps rivaled only by RISSLA. NASRA exuded finish and elegance, in photos reminiscent of her granddam BINT NURA. Unquestionably NASRA passed on the NURA style to her later Crabbet stamp. By this time Crabbet horses carried multiple crosses to NURA; such as INDIAN GOLD and FARIS were double BINT NURA, the first combining DAOUD with RIJM and the second a double grandson of the latter.

MAHRUSS left only one breeding son at Crabbet, RIJM; he also sired the American en utero import *IBN MAHRUSS. Lady Anne Blunt in her Journals regretted the lack of opportunity given MAHRUSS. The same source records how Wilfrid Blunt “remarked over and over again of RIJM,’that is a real show horse’.” Years later Lady Wentworth described the RIJM son *NASIK as “a magnificent horse…having style and quality in a superlative degree.” H.H.Reese, after *NASIK’s importation, called him a “made-to-order show horse.” *NASIK was used sparingly in England, perhaps overshadowed by his full brother *Nureddin II. *NASIK did sire the notable RAFEEF, whom Lady Wentworth credited with “magnificent style. Neck arched, tail in the air. Everyone wanted this horse.”

The NURA style breeds on notably from *Nureddin II through his son FARIS, remembered as “very showy” by Cecil Covey. FARIS sired RISSALIX and this showy quality was evident in the great RISSALIX sons MIKENO, BLUE DOMINO and *COUNT DORSAZ. The latter was described by a British sporting journalist as “that prince of dandies.”

We have come most to identify the founder influences in Crabbet pedigrees with MESAOUD, RODANIA, NEFISA; to a lesser extent QUEEN OF SHEBA and later, Skowronek. Yet horses like Abu Farwa, *SERAFIX, INDIAN MAGIC and Aurab would not have been what they were had NURA not been a presence in the middle of their pedigrees. This reminds us to seek out the less immediately obvious.


(1) Archer, Pearson & Covey. The Crabbet Arabian Stud, its history and influence. p. 225.

(2) “Nura” is used to refer to the Ali Pasha Sherif mare BINT NURA, daughter of the original Abbas Pasha NURA. The Ali Pasha Sherif BINT NURA is the dam of IBN NURA and of BINT BINT [Es Shakra], registered as BINT NURA GSB.

See also: The Banat Nura of Ali Pasha Sherif