During the long 10 days that we worked for favorable word from the government, the zoo officials and attendants tended to Hamdan, each in his own way. We ourselves brought food three times a day.
On October 22, Hamdan was officially released from the meat department. He was walked by two devoted zoo attendants through the exit gate of the zoo, through the streets of Cairo, to our stabling at Gezira club.
Our status-conscious grooms were distressed that the stallion’s appearance did not meet their elegant requirements, but Hamdan quickly settled their doubts about him by breaking through a stall door and bending an iron bar in his effort to get out to a mare of season. His virility at his age, and his condition, won their hearts completely.
Then came a diagnosis we had not expected: metastasized cancer, starting with ruptured tumor under his tail and spreading through his entire system. His hip was already weak and each day we felt a new tumor-on his neck, on his chest, along his crest. The great stallion’s time was limited-not by age, not by hardship, but by cancer.
I had transferred ownership of Hamdan to Douglas B. Marshall, whom I had met through correspondence with Carl Raswan. Mr. Raswan had told me originally about Hamdan, and it was through Mr. Marshall that I first saw the stallion. In fact, it was my plan –assuming we could save the life of Hamdan and have him released to our care- to entrust his ownership to Carl Raswan. But on the very day of October 12, 1966, as the zoo officials were giving their permission for Hamdan to live, Mr. Raswan gave up his life and died at his home in California. Mr. Marshall accepted Hamdan in his stead and provided unceasing moral, financial and medical help for the stallion.
Fakher el Din, although stabled at tahanoub, was not owned directly by Ahmed Hamza and therefore had not been sequestered. Knowing how much I wanted him, friends were negotiating for me to take him before he starved till death. In the midst of all this, in October 1966, my telephone rang late one night and an anguished voice shouted: “Now is not the time! Now is not the time!” It was a devoted friend of Ahmed Hamza, calling to say that the sequestration Inspector had ordered four horses sent to the zoo to be shot and disposed for(as lion meat) and one these was Hamdan. In his excitement, his English was fragile, and I suspect he meant “Now is the time! Now is the time!” (to take action, to do something). But I never really will know what he meant.
The sequestration Inspector had noted, quite rightfully, that Hamdan and several other horses were near death. And since the zoo is the only institute in Cairo that will destroy (and dispose of) a horse, he had made the correct decision. Also, the zoo is government property, and the lions are government property.
The zoo had paid 50 piasters for the “meat” of each horse and the complicated government document had been transacted. The saga of the 10-day effort to save him in lengthy and complex, involving many people who worked in his behalf and it was a successful effort.
Hamdan History - Continued
I hesitated as long as possible, but finally, In February, accompanied by a flood of tears from me, Hamdan confidently entered a van and was driven back to his first home of 28 years ago where Dr. Marsafi and his colleagues most graciously stabled him in the “ big stallion” barn next to his sons and grandsons. I knew the brief few months with us probably had been Hamdan’s first experience with people who fussed with him, brought him shredded carrots, indulged him in sugar, and loved him for his marvelous spirit and not only for his value as a precious herd sire.
A few months later the Six-Day war broke out and Egypt entered a new period of hardship. It was during that hot and distressing summer that Hamdan passed on.
Hamdan’s brief stay with us in the Gezira Park had served an unexpected and peripheral purpose, for the word went around that the ancient horse was Hamdan. Often as he grazed and I stood alone with him in the far end of the park, someone stroll by casually and surreptitiously say thank you “for the old horse” Some of these people were on the highest official levels, and I would never have thought they had the time or concern to care about an old stallion. Their names I have kept my own secret for fear of causing them difficulty in those tense times. But it was clear that Hamdan and his circumstances had deep significance to Egyptians at every level, and the Arabian horses of Egypt are loved profoundly by their people. I hoped that, someday, the Arabian horse would be cleansed of the taint it had borne since the monarchy and could be freely recognized as a natural resource of the country and conserved accordingly. That wish is being fulfilled now.
The Emir Abd-el-Kadrer observed: “There are three conditions of horses: Some are burdened with crimes and belong to Satan; others save from eternal fire and belong to man; yet others attract rewards and belong to God”
Hamdan was to me magnificent and awesome, a creature of a moment in time in a land where time is measured in thousands of years. He was like the breath-taking Karnak Temple of Luxor, in that they were both created in the form and proportion, the ability and function, the dignity and integrity – and hence the beauty- to have survived time and the misuses of man. Whether in their prime or in ruins, each of us is an undeniable creation. Such is Karnak; such was Hamdan.
"Taken from an article by Sara Loken"
" HAMDAN STABLES (A) acknowledge the friendship and sincere passion and devotion of Mrs. Sara Loken for HAMDAN and the Arabian horse "
Foaled: 13 September 1936, Kafr Farouk Stud
1939-1952: Herd sire at King Farouk’s Inshass Stud
1952-1956: Under control of the revolutionary government
1956-1966: Herd sire at Hamdan Stables, Tahanoub, Egypt
1967: Returned to El Zahraa Arab Stud of the Egyptian Agricultural Organization
Died: July 1967
We dedicate this volume to Hamdan The Thankful.
Thankful that he graced our stables. Thankful that through his sons & daughters his spirit lives on.
and Thankful to God the most Merciful and most Compassionate for his many blessings and creations such as Hamdan.