Calendar insights: February Fascination
In the shadow of the pyramids …
I got to know Dani El Barbary during my first visit to Egypt in the 1980s, and even then she impressed me with her special horses. At this time, her stallion „Bilal I“ was an exquisite sire and, many generations later, his descendants also include this splendid horse called „Wally Al Ahaad“, who so proudly presented himself to us in the palm gardens of the stud. He is the epitome of the type of Arabian horse Dani intended to breed. She always said: „Only the horses which are born in the shadow of the Pyramids are true Egyptians“. Dani was a very resolute lady who bred Arab horses over a period of 80 years and who has had a strong influence on breeding in Egypt. Of course her horses have also found their way to Europe and America and, naturally, breeding of Egyptian Arabians meanwhile takes place all around the world. Yet whenever I return to Cairo I feel how significant the original home of these horses is – they come from a country which is shaped by a desert climate and this has heavily influenced the horses. Dani El Barbary was not only a successful breeder, she was also the first Egyptian woman to represent her country in showjumping at the Olympic games in 1968 in Mexico. She had a very impressive and fascinating personality.
Everyone respected this strong yet dainty woman who always said exactly what she thought. Her large sunglasses, and holding a cigarette in her hand, became her trademark. Until her death at the age of 95 she was up every morning with her horses at 7am. She had such vitality, carried along by a love for her horses. It was very emotional for me to return to the Shams El Asil Stud after her death, and to see her horses. Dani‘s presence could still be felt everywhere.