What's Happenin'

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Al-Marah Arabians Horse Farm Relocates the Last of its Famous Herd to New Home in Clermont

November 14, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

The oldest privately-owned, continuously-bred band of horses in the world is set to arrive in December 
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Photo By Wellons Communications
CLERMONT, Fla. (November 13, 2014) – Their ancestors carried the Bedouin into battle and were later bred by royalty in Egypt and England. They are the Al-Marah band of Arabian horses, and they will be headed to their new home in Clermont in December.
Their arrival will complete the transition of Al-Marah Arabians to its 80-acre home in Clermont.

On Sunday, December 14, Al-Marah will hold a Homecoming of Horses celebration to showcase the arrival of the very best of the Al-Marah herd.

The event, which will be open to the public, will feature riding demos, tours of the farm, horse sales, entertainment and food. Visitors will be able to see the 14 permanent broodmares as they arrive from Tucson and take their first steps on the lush green pastures of their new home.
Owner Mark Miller, who ran the now-closed Arabian Nights attraction in Kissimmee, took over the herd upon the death of his mother, Bazy Tankersley, in February of 2013. She was a legendary breeder of Arabian horses who managed the herd for more than 70 years.

 

“This band of horses has been together since 1815,” said Miller. “It is the oldest privately-owned, continuously-bred band of horses in the world. We are only the third family to have
custody of the herd.”

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Photo By Wellons Communications

History of the Al-Marah band of horses
 
This herd of horses dates back to the nomadic Bedouin tribes who roamed the desert and were noted horsemen and horse breeders. A core group of the best of these horses was acquired by Abbas Pasha, ruler of Egypt in the 1850’s. He bred them on his farm outside Cairo and raised them until the end of the century.

 

Upon his death, his nephew, Ali Pasha Sherif, inherited the herd and managed it until his death in the 1890’s.

 

Many of Ali Pasha Sherif’s horses were purchased by Wilfred and Lady Anne Blunt and relocated to Crabbet Arabian Stud farm in England. Their daughter acquired several of those horses and bred them until the late 1950’s at Crabbet Stud.

 

In 1958, Bazy Tankersley purchased 36 horses – the core herd of both Crabbet and its sister farm, Hanstead – and brought them to the United States to join the Crabbet bred horses she had been breeding since 1942. It was, at the time, the largest one-time importation of Arabian horses into the U.S. and made Mrs. Tankersley the largest Arabian horse breeder in the world.

 

“The core herd has been under the control of just three families in its 200 year history,” said Miller. “Everybody who has owned these horses since they were first gathered as a herd has relentlessly pursued the ultimate horse and has a really good idea of what that is.”

 

Al-Marah in Tucson, Arizona
 
Mrs. Tankersley moved her operation a couple of times, finally settling in Tucson, where it has been in operation since the 1970’s. She bequeathed the 85-acre property to the University of Arizona, which will continue to use it as a working farm.
 
A new home in Central Florida
 
Miller is continuing the legacy that began with the Bedouin and was most recently carried out by his mother.

 

“My mission is to preserve the herd for my lifetime and leave it intact for the person who will carry it forward after my death,” he said.

 

Of the 350 horses that Al-Marah has traditionally kept in Tucson, 35 will make the trip to the farm in Clermont.

 

“This will be the best ten percent of the best herd on earth. This is an incredible group of horses that we are bringing,” said Miller. “The 35th horse I picked is a National Champion! This will be an extraordinary band of horses.”

 

In addition to showing and competing on a national level, Miller plans on producing and selling around 15 foals a year once the herd is established in Clermont.

 

For more information on Al-Marah Arabians, please visit https://www.facebook.com/AlmarahArabians