In memoriam

Sa’lilah (Silver Flame x Sunset) : 1977 – 2009 (Worth Arabian Stud and Caroline Sussex)

At the age of 32, Sa’lilah has left us. She passed away a couple of months ago.

Sa’lilah was bred by Geoffrey Plaister following an arrangement with Worth Arabian Stud. Sunset was leased to my parents’ Worth Arabian Stud specially to breed to Silver Flame and she produced a chestnut colt. The agreement meant that Sunset would return to Silver Flame to be covered again for Geoffrey. Of course she then gave Geoffrey a grey filly! Fortunately for our family, they had retained first refusal should Geoffrey wish to sell her and he did. So Sali arrived at Worth Arabian Stud as a 2 year old.

She was born the same year as Silvern Dream and the two mares were the backbone of the stud at the time, both producing numerous colts, but all wonderful quality. At four years old, Sali had her first foal, a chestnut colt by Prince Saraph. He was named Sa’ika. We took Sali and foal to the South East Region Show that year when Ian and Annette Hedley were judging. Ian was judging the males and Annette the females but we had a great day as Sali won a very big mare class with her foal taking 4th and Silver Flame won the stallions and took the Supreme Championship. Sali had the most striking action and we took her to the National Show the same year which was still at Ascot and Caroline felt as though she was lifting her off the ground at the trot, she felt wonderful. She took 7th place in an enormous class. Sa’ika was purchased by Bazy Tankersley for her son, Mark Miller at Al Marah Micanopy in Florida. Sa’ika was shown under saddle and was part of the “Arabian Knights” Performance in Disneyworld, Florida. He performed every night at this wonderful show mainly containing Arabians. We saw him perform there and on the night we were there, we saw a foal born by him.

Dr George Allen of Canada had been to the Worth Stud when he was in England searching for grey mares and in particular of the Hamdanieh Simrieh strain. He was very keen to purchase Sali but my parents were adament that she was not for sale. However, they did agree to a lease arrangement and Sali’s next two foals belonged to Dr Allen and went as colts to his stud. He also purchased Seffer (full brother to Sa’ika) who then moved to Silverdale Stud and was shown by them before his exportation to Canada. Seffer was sold on and shown extensively in America winning numerous championships. Later he was purchased by Michael Bowling for his New Albion Stud and Seffer is still there.

In 1984 Sali produced Sha’il by Silver Blue for Dr Allen. He was a very flashy chestnut but at some stage in Canada he was gelded and we have lost trace of him. Dr. Allen’s second foal was a lovely grey colt, Seyad by Silver Scimitar. He found his way to Mr and Mrs John Stone of the Crestones Stud in America after Dr Allen had to cut down the number of his horses.

Sali sadly lost a grey colt to Prince Saraph in 1986 but produced her first daughter in 1987, the grey Sema. This was the filly year at Worth, when Silvern Image, Sema and Rose of Medina were born along with Prince Sadik. Sema is now resident at Binley. Gari Dill Marlow was particularly fond of Sali and an admirer of the Hamdanieh Simrieh line. She asked my parents if she would send both Sali and Silvern Dream to Carmargue who she admired so much, and she was then to have one of the foals. Both produced colts and Gari had Sali’s bay son, which she named Carmagnole and took him to America. He tragically died young but has left some stock.

Sali was barren in 1989 but the following year produced the chestnut filly Siala, by Shiffal (Prince Saraph x Silvern Dream). Siala is now owned by the Mattocks, the only mare out of Sali to be sold from Worth or Binley. In 1992, my parents had the bad luck of suffering from the Equine Herpes Virus and although Sali’s foal was born alive, a beautiful grey colt by Silvern Idyll, sadly he died.

In 1993, Charles and I formed the Binley Arabian Stud and we were thrilled to be able to obtain Sali as a foundation mare for our stud for which I am so very grateful. Sali had been such a favourite with me as had her sire and I couldn’t believe my good fortune. She came to us in the Autumn, in foal to Silvern Idyll, but within one week underwent colic surgery. It was certainly a baptism of fire for us. Being so tough, Sali not only survived this operation and made a very good recovery, but also she kept the foal in utero, and safely gave birth to a chestnut filly we named Sefina. I am pleased to say that Sali never had another colic attack. Sefina is retained at Binley as is her ¾ sister Sa’ira (by Indian Idyll) born in 1997. Sa’ira was sadly to be Sali’s last foal. Sali lived to see Sa’ira with her first foal by Prince Sadik (his last) and the three of them spent much time together this summer.

Sali was my special dream mare, with enormous eyes, and ethereal beauty. Half her life was spent here at Binley. It may be that Sali is the last of Silver Flame’s children? Sali had that unique character; she had an insistent way of calling, nagging us for feeding her and I knew she was well when she rubbed against me. Sali knew her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren here at Binley. She loved them all and looked after them. She was so gentle and kind as well as being one of the toughest Arabians around. Her teeth were in a poor state for many years but she kept her condition well until her last year. Sali survived many years on Simple Systems Lucie nuts mixed in with Dodson and Horrell veteran mix, which she loved. She preferred living out with the herd but for some winters she came into the barn with her great friend Princess Gaila who she outlived by 2 years. As her sight deteriorated, she relied on her daughters, Sa’ira in particular, to look after her.

We all miss her here very much, but she had a very long life. Sa’lilah was very special, she lived longer than I ever expected her to; I guess they cannot go on forever.