1. What is SOFI?
These initials stand for Sheykh Obeyd Foundation International. S.O.F.I has evolved from the original Sheykh Obeyd Foundation (SOF) which was created in 1987. Since then, interest in Sheykh Obeyd breeding has grown significantly and has expanded to many countries throughout the world.
2. What is the purpose of SOFI?
The purpose of SOFI is to provide education and promote awareness of the inherent importance of Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines to the world-wide Arabian horse community. We are dedicated to preserve, protect and promote Sheykh Obeyd horses of all recognized bloodlines.
3. What is a Sheykh Obeyd Arabian?
A Sheykh Obeyd Arabian is one who descends exclusively from those Arabians bred by, acquired by, authenticated by or otherwise introduced, into the genetic stream any of the seven original foundation breeders, or combination thereof. These horses constitute the Foundation Root Stock of Sheykh Obeyd (see sections on Foundation Breeders and Foundation Horses).
4. What is the connection between the seven SOFI foundation breeders/ introducers?
These individuals were connected by a unique passion for procuring the finest of pure desertbred Arabians in Egypt during the Golden Age of breeding and a desire to preserve these bloodlines, intact, for the future of the breed. While they shared high standards for overall quality, beauty and authentic Bedouin type, the impact of their contribution is really not related to personal preference for a particular “ style” of Arabian horse, but rather to their shared ideology and faith in the Bedouin horse breeding traditions. There is documented evidence, provided by numerous sources (including a first hand account by Lady Anne herself), that a deliberate and proactive preservation effort was born during this era, co-founded by specific individuals who were atypical breeders of their time. Because of their unique situations, extraordinary sensitivities and particular experiences, they shared a visionary concern that, without a timely intervention, the pure Bedouin bred Arabian horse could become extinct in Egypt -- and they set out to prevent that from happening.
5. Why did SOFI exclude the Inshass horses from the rootstock, if they too were pure desert bred?
The exclusion of Inshass horses from the SO root stock has nothing to do with their Asil designations, nor to their "purity" relative to the SO root horses, nor to when they came out of the desert. There are clear and distinct historic parameters which define SO rootstock (outside of group of horses of the Inshass stud), and these have been noted by nearly every Egyptian Arabian horse authority/ historian of renown... long before the original Sheykh Obeyd Foundation was founded. Simply put, King Foaud, though incredibly influential in his horse breeding endeavors, was not one of the SOFI foundation breeders/introducers and was not involved with their preservation efforts.
6. Why are Sheykh Obeyd Arabian horses significant today?
When examining the pedigrees of many of the greatest Arabians the world has ever known, it becomes very clear that these pedigrees are firmly rooted in Sheykh Obeyd bloodlines. Because they descend from such a small group of ancestors, Sheykh Obeyd blood is highly concentrated in the quality and character sought by the founding breeders of Egypt. Today's breeders understand that the modern Arabian horse has evolved as a somewhat aggregate breed. The World Arabian Horse Organization (WAHO) has publicly stated that a very small percentile of all registered Arabian horses can be said to carry no admixture of non-Arab blood. The Arabian Horse Registry of America has now modified its definition of a registered Purebred Arabian to exclude the former claim that all lines "trace to the desert" -- stating instead that an AHA registered Purebred is any Arabian who's sire and dam were both registered with AHRA, and omits any reference to genetic warrantee.
It is currently estimated by Al Khamsa that only approximately 4% of all registered modern Arabian horses can be reasonably presumed to descend entirely from Bedouin bred ancestors of the Arabian peninsula. ALL Sheykh Obeyd Arabians fall into this rare four percentile. Their exclusive descent from a select core of prized Arabians, ratified by the original purist breeders of Egypt, endows them with extremely desirable and concentrated genetic qualities.
For the Arabian horse breeder, there comes a time when the need for re-infusion of authentic Arabian character becomes apparent. If only we could travel back in time, to breed to those legendary root horses in Egypt! By tapping into the one of the richest resources of original Egyptian Arabian blood existing today, that trip is virtually possible. To love and appreciate Egyptian Arabians, is to love and appreciate the root horses of SOFI... they are one and the same. The perpetuation of the Sheykh Obeyd genepool serves the best interests of ALL Arabian breeders and the entire Arabian breed.
We emphasize the continued need for preservation... based upon individual focus and preference and without prejudice. SOFI has a unique role to play in the preservation effort within the greater Asil population, via identifying and preserving a rare and historically defined gene pool of fine, original root animals. Each and every Arabian horse born is a present day miracle and cherished gift . By focusing upon our individual preservation efforts with passion and resolution, tempered with a true respect for Arabian horses of all bloodlines, we help to forge enduring links between the past, the present and future of the Arabian breed.