The Magnum Opus of Hans Nagel
Hans Joachim Nagel
is a known persona in the Arabian horse community and one enjoying great authority - a many year breeder (born 1930), an author of books, an international judge, the president of the German Arabian Horse Association
(VZAP) for 20 years and the president of WAHO
for 10 years.
latest work - "The Arabian Horse.
Creation and the Art of Breeding" (published by Nawal Media) can without exaggeration be called monumental due to its broad subject matter, as well as the physical size of the volume.
It's one of those books that are a must-have for every Arabian horse enthusiast, be it a hands-on breeder or simply an avid supporter.
The author's enormous experience and knowledge on Arabian breeding resulted in a truly impressive publication.
From Egypt to Poland, from the US to Saudi Arabia - Nagel
gives an account of his
travels and observations.
reminds us about the roots of the Arabian horses, their first breeders - the desert Bedouins and confronts their customs with modern knowledge; recalling finally his
own adventures regarding his
stud Katharinenhof, located in northern Germany (where, as he
writes, "farmers constantly monitor the sky for rain clouds, as the soil is sandy and dry").
He is also not afraid to point out the disturbing in his opinion occurrences that are a part of the Arabian industry today.
Going back to the beginnings, in the chapter "Arabia - the Historical Homeland", Nagel
recalls the traditions nurtured by the Bedouins.
"The war-like lifestyle of the Bedouin tribes undoubtedly required a fast, strong and agile horse and one gifted with stamina and power", explains Nagel
Another decisive factor in selection was the horse's "disposition".
We owe today's temperament of the Arabian to the Bedouins, who paid great attention to "human-related behaviour".
calls this relation almost "symbiotic": "man and horse needed each other, even if the role of the master was absolutely clear".
This also means that they knew more about the performance of their mares than their stallions. (...) And such mares were called „blessed mares", due to the quantity and quality of their foals; these mares were priceless", Nagel
A stallion's role is to bring new, better, or additionally required improvements into the herd. (...) Body size is highly hereditable, fertility is low, tail carriage medium (...) It is apparently quite a common observation that the stallion has greater influence on the front part of a horse and the mare has more on the hind part", he
Among the seven breeding programs that have been fundamental for the development of the breed he
mentions Polish and Russians state studs, Crabbet Park Stud in England, El Zahraa in Egypt, Weil/Marbach
in Germany, breeding in France and the Hungarian Babolna, where basing on the Arabian they created a separate breed, the Shagya.
devotes a separate chapter to Polish breeding, focusing mainly on the history of Janów Podlaski.
It is not possible to present the entire history of Polish breeding in a book of such a vast subject matter, however Polish readers will feel a lack of Micha³ów Stud - this world famous stud received only a small mention.
Yet enthusiasts of the Polish Arabian will definitely be interested in the lots of the mare Euni - a personal story in this part of the book.
, together with his
business partner, purchased the mare Euni 1973 (Bandos - Eunice/Comet) and bred her
sire Jamil 1975 (Madkour I - Hanan/Alaa El Din).
This mating resulted in the colt Vision 1980, foaled at Mulawa Arabian Stud (Australia), where the pregnant Euni was sold.
The author says he
had no intention of selling the mare, as she
had plenty of charisma.
However Greg Farell Sr., who was travelling across Europe in search of valuable broodmares, insisted on buying her
directed him to other German studs, Farell returned several days later claiming that he
didn't find any mare of comparable value.
The owner acknowledged the feeling that his
guest felt towards Euni
and finally decided to sell her
son Vision became a known sire in Australia.
other produce, the colt Arrival and filly Mulawa Eunique (both by a Bask son, the stallion Ambition) have left their mark in breeding and at shows - Mulawa Eunique was the first Australian National Champion.
According to the unanimous opinion of Nagel
and Farrel, the stallion Ambition was to be a perfect partner for Euni
and that's exactly what he
(the dam of 14 foals), Vision and Arrival lay the foundations for a breeding program known today the world over.
devotes the next chapters to the remaining breeding programs.
When writing about Tersk he
emphasises that genetics have always been highly developed in Russia and in Arabian horse breeding the Russians remained focused on their principles and abode by strict rules, such as racing trials of young horses, the evaluation of mares in terms of productivity or mating mares with various sires to be able to choose the best option.
It was not until the 60s of the last century that new Arabian blood was imported to Babolna, also by means of Hans Nagel
It is a very interesting story, not known to many people.
It resulted in Babolna returning to the Arabian horse breeding map and a 30 year old collaboration with Katharinenhof - yet another very personal recollection of the author.
Crabbet Park (where great services were rendered by the Polish Skowronek) was the fourth most important stud in Europe.
In a chapter dedicated to this stud the author devotes a lot of words to Lady Anne Blunt, an English aristocrat greatly respected among the Bedouin tribes, who at the end of the 19th century became famous as an Arabian horse and desert life expert.
Her and her husband's (Wilfred Blunt) adventures in the Middle East can be compared to, as Nagel
puts it, the story of Lawrence of Arabia.
was known for tens of years for its valuable imports and had a significant meaning for Katharinenhof, as Hans Nagel
used their Egyptian imported sire Ghazal (by Nazeer) on his
As Hans Nagel
explains: "El Zahraa's primary intention was to breed a fine, elegant Arabian, deeply rooted in Arabian culture".
"It is believed that the Bedouin breeders", he
writes on "already understood the necessity to breed equal to equal, or at least similar to similar.
According to Nagel
, the American concept of sires having an advantage over mares has two consequences.
Those are the questions that we should ask ourselves reading Hans Nagel's
If we discover that we're lacking in a certain field, this book will definitely fill in our gaps, especially since the author ends his
book with advice for new breeders - how to choose horses for breeding, what to pay attention to, where to expect the most difficulty.
"I was fortunate enough to enjoy step by step all these experiences and learning to know that this Arabian breed is unique: It has a fascinating history, loaded with fabulous stories and sprinkled with a good portion of romance. (...) These Arabians have the power to lead people away from drudgery and the pressures of modern life into the realm of delightful variations and an always refreshing encounter with an affectionate, truthful, but still proud creature", we read in the final words of the book.
A book about a great adventure, which every breeder of these amazing creatures has a chance to experience.
Hans Joachim Nagel
, "The Arabian Horse.
Creation and the Art of Breeding", Nawal Media 2013; 537 pages