The Golden Horses of the Sun: The Phara Breeding Program
By Arlene Magid
Golden or liver chestnut, with just the right amount of chrome, flaxen, nearly white manes and tails, extreme wedge shaped heads with huge eyes, and motion that spurns the earth-the Phara horses are unmistakable. Their beauty is legendary and irreplaceable. Annette Weber, the breeder who created the Phara look, carefully planned her breeding program around two great programs of the past: that of Henry Babson, who imported a superb group of horses from Egypt in 1932, and Herbert Tormohlen, whose Ben Hur Stud produced the “Aa” horses from his foundation mare Aarah, who was straight Crabbet. When Tormohlen sold his remaining horses to Lewisfield Arabians in 1960, two full siblings, Aaraf and Aarafa, were bred together to create the exquisite Lewisfield Sun God, who appears multiple times in all modern Phara horses.
The Babson Egyptian importation of 1932 was the result of the quest of the prominent American industrialist Henry Babson to breed Arabian horses of the highest quality. Born in 1875, Henry Babson was a successful entrepreneur who was captivated with the Arabian breed late in life. In 1930 he went on a horse-buying expedition to England (where nothing he liked was for sale), France (where he felt the Arabians resembled Thoroughbreds), and Spain , with no luck in buying the horses he envisioned. In 1932, Babson journeyed to Egypt , and his dream of an Arabian breeding program became a reality. He purchased five mares, a colt and a stallion who were to leave their unique stamp on the breed. These horses were used for many purposes, helping to popularize the breed at a time when there were fewer than a thousand registered Arabians in America . The stallion *FADL was used as a polo pony and as an endurance mount, besides being a successful show ring competitor in both halter and performance, as well as working on the farm pulling the feed wagon and manure spreader. The mares proved equally athletic, with *BINT BINT SABBAH and *BINT BINT DURRA completing distance rides successfully as well. George Cason, one of the early managers at the farm, said it well: “In 1936 and 1937 Arab horses were in open competition. Mr. Babson’s stable did more for the promotion of the breed at this time than did any other stable in America .”
Modern Arabian breeding owes much to the Babson Egyptian imports. The breed’s all time leading sire of champions, Afire Bey V, traces to the Babson stallion *Fadl, as do U.S. National Champion Stallions and influential sires Khemosabi++++/ and Ali Jamaal, multi-National Champion Park Aequus+/, *Simeon Shai+ (the only stallion to ever be named U.S. and Canadian National Champion Stallion and World Champion Stallion), multi-National Champion Dressage El Bahim Halawa+, and multi-National Champion English Pleasure Empress of Bask, to name just a few prominent horses who carry the Babson influence. Annette Weber’s decision to keep Babson blood prominent in her horses was well-advised, as they have been noted for athletic ability, beauty and temperament, all the traits she most valued in Arabian horses.
Annette’s horses trace to five of the six adult horses of the Babson importation: *Fadl, *Bint Serra I, *Maaroufa, *Bint Bint Sabbah, and *Bint Saada.
*Fadl, the only full-grown stallion of the Babson importation is found in all Babson Egyptian pedigrees. Of his 74 registered get, 34 were Babson Egyptian. Eleven of *Fadl’s get produced National winners. The six *Fadl sons who have sired National winners are: Fa-Serr, Fabah, Ibn Fadl, Fa-Turf and Fadheilan (sire of twice U.S. Reserve National Champion Stallion Fadjur, one of the most influential stallions in American Arabian breeding in the twentieth century). *Fadl’s National-winner producing daughters are Arafay, Fa-Rahna, Dinah, Faaba and Turfara. *Fadl blood is found in the Phara horses through Bint Maaroufa (dam of the first Phara head sire Golden Pharao), through Farsaana (who has two lines to him; she is the dam of the Lewisfield Sun God daughter Lewisfield Sunny), and through Fadl Dan (who has three lines to *Fadl and is the sire of the Phara mare Rose of Fadl).
The imported mare *Bint Serra I was the only mare in the Babson importation bred by Prince Kemal El Dine. Her sire Sotamm was an *Astraled son bred at England’s Crabbet Stud, and her dam Serra was called “a flawless pearl” by Dr. Branch of the Royal Agricultural Society. Serra was also one of noted authority Carl Raswan’s favorite mares in Egypt . *Bint Serra I was noted for her exceptional withers. All living Babson Egyptian horses today have at least one line to *Bint Serra I, chiefly because of her heavily-used sons Fay-El-Dine and Fa-Serr. Fay-El-Dine (by *Fadl) sired 10 National winner producers (two sons and eight daughters) from only 55 registered get. Fay-El-Dine appears in Phara pedigrees through his daughter Bint Maaroufa (dam of the Phara head sire Golden Pharao) and through his paternal granddaughter Farsaana, dam of Lewisfield Sunny and maternal granddam of Rose of Fadl.
Bred by the Royal Agricultural Society, *Bint Saada is a paternal sister to *Zarife, grandsire of Canadian Reserve National Champion Mare Habina++ and U.S. Reserve National Champion Mare Rose of Raswan. *Bint Saada’s blood is the rarest of all Babson imported Egyptian mares today, as she died young. Her line is carried on only through her son Faddan, found in Phara pedigrees through his daughter Fada, whose son, halter champion and National winner sire Fadl Dan, sired the Phara mare Rose of Fadl. In addition to Fadl Dan, Fada produced Maarena, whose four champions include multi-National Dressage Champion Serr Maariner, a sire and grandsire of National winners in dressage and sport horse in hand. Fada is also dam of Bint Fada, dam of British National Champion Stallion and National Champion sire The Shah (a 3/4 brother to Fadl Dan); of Israeli National Champion Stallion and National Champion sire Al-Nahr Montego, and American and European National winner producer AlNahr Mon Ami. Fada’s daughter Fa Moniet is a National winner producer and has produced 4 National winner producers.
*Bint Bint Sabbah was a successful endurance mare who founded one of the most successful tail female lines in Babson breeding. She is found in Phara pedigrees through Rose of Fadl, who has two lines to her, one through her sire Fadl Dan (a paternal grandson of *Bint Bint Sabbah) and one through her maternal granddam Farsaana, whose sire Disaan is a maternal grandson of *Bint Bint Sabbah. Three *Bint Bint Sabbah offspring produced National winners. Her son Fabah, sired U.S. Top Ten Native Costume winner and National Champion sire El Ibn Fabah+ and British National Champion Stallion and National Champion sire The Shah. Fabah also sired nine producers of National winners, Fadl Dan (sire of four times U.S. Top Ten Trail Fa Dim) and Sabrah (dam of four National winners including U.S. National Champion Mare Fa Halima).
*Maaroufa was a full sister to *Fadl. Babson inbred the two by mating *Maaroufa to *Fadl’s son Fay-El-Dine (one of these matings was National winner producer Bint Maaroufa, who is found in all Phara pedigrees), and he also did some experimental outcrosses with her which resulted in one instance in her son Baarouf (sired by the British-born import *Aldebar), who is found in the pedigree of Lewisfield Sunny and her daughter Rose of Fadl.
*Maaroufa proved to be the most successful broodmatron of the importation in the number of her offspring to produce National winners. Her son Baarouf (by the British-born import *Aldebar) sired U.S. Reserve National Champion Gelding Baarhan++. Another son, Faaris (a 3/4 brother to Bint Maaroufa), sired U.S. National Champion Park and Top Ten Mare Faar-Ra+++ as well as Ar Ra’ad, sire of U.S National Champion Hunter La Rafik. Ar Ra’ad is also found close up in the pedigree of multi-National Champion Park Aequus+// and of U.S. and Canadian National Champion Stallion *Simeon Shai+, who is high percentage Babson through his sire. Four *Maaroufa daughters, all by Fay-El-Dine, produced National winners. They include Bint Maaroufa, Fay Ufa (dam of a U.S. Top Ten English Pleasure winner), Maarou (dam of a National winner in western pleasure and cutting), and Aaroufa (dam of National winners in park, english pleasure and halter).
The Tormohlen breeding program was just as crucial in developing the distinctive look of the Phara horses as was the Babson group. All of the Tormohlen horses’ names began with “Aa”. The Tormohlens used early American lines from the 1906 Davenport importation from the desert as well as W.R. Brown and Spencer Borden’s imports from the Crabbet Stud of England to create their early horses. Later, the Crabbet import *Raffles (imported by Roger Selby) and the Americanbred stallion, National winner sire Azkar (Rahas x the Egyptian import *Aziza, who was closely related to *Fadl and *Maaroufa), were used to advantage. In 1960 most of the Tormohlen herd was sold to James F. Lewis, Jr. of Lewisfield Arabians, although the Tormohlens bred a limited number of horses until 1976.
The Tormohlen mare Aarah, who was straight Crabbet breeding, was one of the linchpins of the Phara herd. She was the dam of four champions by *Raffles, including halter and three gaited (now called park) champion Aarief, who later became a head sire for Lasma Arabians and sired National Champions in performance including U.S. National Champion English Pleasure Lasma Star. He is also the sire of National Champion sire The Real McCoy. The Aarah offspring who influenced the Phara herd were Aazkara (by the half-Crabbet, half-Egyptian Azkar), whose daughter Aazkafra produced the Phara head sire Golden Reflection, and Aaraf and Aarafa, dam of the legendary Lewisfield Sun God, a many times halter champion and most classic winner who died at age 7 and whose beauty Annette Weber has recreated in the Phara herd. Annette was fortunate to acquire the only full sister to Lewisfield Sun God, Lewisfield Sun Gal, late in her breeding career as well. Aaraf also sired National winners in formal combination (a combination of park and formal driving) and native costume, while Aarafa was the dam of U.S. Reserve National Champion Stallion Lewisfield Bold Hawk++. Both Aaraf and Aarafa also were champions in halter and under saddle in early Arabian competition that would now be considered park horse classes, with Aarafa awarded the coveted King Farouk trophy at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Thus Lewisfield Sun God and his full sister Lewisfield Sun Gal were bred “in the purple” from lines noted for their beauty as well as their athleticism.
The first head sire at Phara was the stunning Golden Pharao, bred by Dr LaRue. His sire was the inbred *Raffles stallion La Flag, a son of the Tormohlen bred *Raffles son Aaraf and the double *Raffles granddaughter Flaiga, a halter champion and dam of 2 sires of National winners. His dam was the straight Babson Egyptian mare Bint Maaroufa (Fay-El-Dine x *Maaroufa). Golden Pharao was a full brother to U.S. Top Ten Stock Horse La Ruh a paternal brother to U.S. Reserve National Champion Novice Cutting and Top Ten Open Cutting Banderra and a maternal brother to Julyan, sire of U.S. Reserve National Champion Park AOTR and English Sidesaddle Mahjulemyn++. Golden Pharao sired the National winner producer Redbird Pharao (dam of U.S. Top Ten Hunter and Jumper Sonbird Pharao+//). The second head sire at Phara, halter champion and regional winner sire Golden Reflection, was a son of Golden Pharao and Aazkafra (Aaraf x Aazkara). Aazkafra is a full sister to 4 champion producers: including Aazfara (dam of National winner sire Lewisfield Latigo) and Aazara (dam of National winner sire Gida Coe). Aazkafra is inbred to Aarah as both her parents are out of Aarah. Thus, Golden Reflection carried two lines to Aaraf, three to his dam Aarah and a significant amount of Egyptian blood through *Aziza and the Babson imports.
Once Annette Weber saw Lewisfield Sun God, she knew he was her ideal Arabian, though he died before she could breed to him. She was already a firm fan of the Tormohlen horses and for her he epitomized all of their best traits. Lewisfield Sun God sired just 24 registered foals before his untimely death. Several were halter and performance champions and he is also the grandsire of Canadian Top Ten Pleasure Driving Dashan+ and U.S. Reserve National Champion Hunt Pleasure AOTR Bays Dynasty.
Phara was fortunate to acquire two of the best Lewisfield Sun God daughters, halter champion Sun God Heiress and Lewisfield Sunny. Sun God Heiress is out of Tailormade Binta, also dam of regional performance champion Mr Madcap. Tailormade Binta is a 3/4 sister to regional performance champion Tailormade Amigo++. Annette highly valued Sun God Heiress’ ancestry as her dam was a daughter of Shalimar Flaraff, who was a full brother to Flaiga, dam of La Flag, the sire of her herd sire Golden Pharao. Sun God Heiress went on to produce three halter champions for Annette, all by Golden Reflection and all valued sires for the Phara program: The Midnight Sun, Eclipse of the Sun, and Sungod Reflection. Her daughter Golden Fantaci, also by Golden Reflection, became a valued broodmare for Phara, producing the stunning mare Sun Diamonds by Majestic Sun.
The other Phara-owned Lewisfield Sun God daughter, Lewisfield Sunny, was out of the 3/4 Babson mare Farsaana, also dam of U.S. Top Ten English Pleasure AOTR Lewisfield Nizaan++. Lewisfield Sunny is the dam of the Phara broodmare Rose of Fadl (by the straight Babson Fadl Dan) and stallion Majestic Sun (by Eclipse of the Sun). Rose of Fadl in turn has produced the current head Phara sires The Sun Prince, a golden chestnut with flaxen mane and tail, and Burgundy Sun, a striking black liver chestnut with golden mane and tail. Both stallions are by Eclipse of the Sun. Rose of Fadl is also the dam of the Phara broodmares Sun Rose Ebony (by Majestic Sun), a halter champion and dressage ribbon winner, and The Sun Heiress (by Eclipse of the Sun).
Lewisfield Sun God’s full sister Lewisfield Sun Gal also produced for Phara. She is the dam of National winner sire The Sun Idol (by The Midnight Sun), an English pleasure first place winner in his only time shown. The Sun Idol has sired hunt pleasure champions, successful endurance horses and U.S. Top Ten Show Hack ATR and regional sport horse under saddle winner Exotic Sun. The Sun Idol’s daughter Sun Obsession has produced 3 champions, one of them a multi-regional western pleasure champion.
The current Phara herd is small but represents six generations of Phara breeding, every horse a vision of the classic Arabian, with the pronounced jibbah, teacup muzzle, and large eye that are the hallmark of the Arabian head, as well as short back, correct legs and wonderful self carriage with plume tails. Some have up to six lines to Lewisfield Sun God, and greatly resemble him. Thanks to Annette Weber’s vision, the best of Crabbet and Babson breeding still flourishes!
Last Updated: September 21st, 2017