The Horses of the Sahara

University of Texas Press
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The Arabs created one of the world's finest breeds of saddle horses, the Arabian, and they have long possessed an immense store of knowledge regarding the care, training, and breeding of this splendid horse. In the nineteenth century, General Melchior Joseph Eugene Daumas had access to their knowledge even though, as he pointed out, "it requires a great deal of patience and tact for a Christian to obtain from the Mohammedans even the most insignificant of details . . ." General Daumas was, because of his unique relationship with the Arabs, probably the first European to produce a comprehensive study of Arabian horses. And to add even greater value to The Horses of the Sahara, he was able to secure for the ninth edition, here translated, extended commentaries on all aspects of Arabian horsemanship by the Emir Abd-el-Kadar, one of the most important nineteenth-century Arab leaders and certainly one of the foremost authorities on the subject.

The Horses of the Sahara will be of interest not only to equestrians but also to historians and other scholars interested in the customs of the North African desert tribes and in the complex backgrounds of European–North African relations. General Daumas took part in the conquest of Algeria by France, so distinguishing himself that he was named Director of the Bureau of Algerian Affairs in the French Ministry of War. During the campaigns and the occupation that followed, he studied and attempted to understand the native peoples, with an objectivity and sympathy unusual among the colonialists of the period. His book provides fascinating sidelights on many aspects of Arab life, including customs, superstitions, religion, and family life.

Sheila M. Ohlendorf was uniquely suited to translate The Horses of the Sahara. An excellent rider herself, thoroughly experienced with the animals and the techniques being discussed, she also spoke fluent French, having received her B.A. degree in languages from Texas Western University (now the University of Texas at El Paso). As curator of the Hall of the Horsemen, the large collection at the University of Texas at Austin, she had access to a wide variety of supplementary authorities, which enriched both her translation and the notes that accompany the book.

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About the author

Sheila M. Ohlendorf was brought up in Mexican mining camps; attended boarding school in Edinburgh, Scotland; lived in Nassau, in the Bahamas, for two years; and has resided in Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Texas Press
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Published on
Dec 6, 2013
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Pages
292
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ISBN
9780292733831
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / General
Nature / Animals / Horses
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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The Ways of the Desert, translated from the French, offers an introduction to the North African Arab nomads—their way of life, customs, dress, and religion. The companion to this volume, The Horses of the Sahara, provides a detailed description and history of the great breeds of Arab horses. While part of this book is devoted to descriptions of the various animals that are both hunted and used for hunting, its appeal goes well beyond its attraction for those with a special interest in the lore of desert hunt and chase. General Daumas and his major collaborator-informant, the Emir Abd-el-Kader, together provide sensitive insights into the total culture of the North African desert people of the nineteenth century.

Both spiritual and material aspects of desert life are encompassed in this work, which ranges from translations of Arab poetry to descriptions of the uses of the fat and remains of the ostrich. The patterns of conviction and conduct described form an important part of the rich cultural heritage of the modern Maghreb nations.

The way of life described in this book is often presented from what comes very close to being an inside point of view. Occasionally Daumas feels obliged to disapprove of certain practices or beliefs or to criticize his Arab friends, but in large part his underlying sympathy for the Arab people permits his informants to speak clearly through his pen.

General Melchior Joseph Eugene Daumas took part in the conquest of Algeria by France and, for his distinguished service, was named Director of the Bureau of Algerian Affairs in the French Ministry of War. During the campaigns and the occupation that followed, he studied and attempted to understand the native peoples with an objectivity and sympathy unusual among the colonialists of the period. He recorded a way of life that has changed much since the nineteenth century, and much of what he recorded has since been lost. His account, as well as being an important source for the historian and ethnographer, provides for the general reader a fascinating record of the vanishing ways of the desert.

A surprise birthday gift plunged Joe Camp and his wife, Kathleen, into the world of horses as complete neophytes without a clue as to what horses needed or wanted. The Camps went searching for logic and sense in the rule books of traditional horse care and what they found was not what they had expected. Written for everyone who has ever loved a horse or even loved the idea of having a horse in their lives, this memoir leads us on a riveting voyage of discovery as Joe and Kathleen navigate uncharted, often politically incorrect territory on their way to achieving a true relationship with their horses.

As the creator of the beloved Benji series, Joe has spent most of his life luring us into the heart and soul of a famous dog, but now in this engaging, emotional, and often humorous story, he deftly lures us into the heart and soul of a horse. In doing so, he exposes astonishing truths and unlocks the mystery of a majestic creature who has survived on Earth, without assistance, for fifty-five million years. In a single emotionally charged moment, Camp communes with his first horse, Cash, in a way that changes him and his relationship with horses forever. In his own words, as he stood alone with his back to this horse: The collar of my jacket was tickling the hairs on the back of my neck. And my heart was pounding. Then a puff of warm, moist air brushed my ear. My heart skipped a beat. He was really close. Then I felt his nose on my shoulder . . . I couldn’t believe it. Tears came out of nowhere and streamed down my cheeks. I had spoken to him in his own language, and he had listened . . . and he had chosen to be with me. He had said, I trust you.

Ingeniously alternating between the stories of two people thrust into an unfamiliar, enigmatic realm and a fabled herd of wild horses brought to the New World centuries ago, Joe Camp’s valuable and inspiring book teaches us that the lessons he was learning apply not only to his horses but to life and to people as well–to all of us.


From the Hardcover edition.
The Ways of the Desert, translated from the French, offers an introduction to the North African Arab nomads—their way of life, customs, dress, and religion. The companion to this volume, The Horses of the Sahara, provides a detailed description and history of the great breeds of Arab horses. While part of this book is devoted to descriptions of the various animals that are both hunted and used for hunting, its appeal goes well beyond its attraction for those with a special interest in the lore of desert hunt and chase. General Daumas and his major collaborator-informant, the Emir Abd-el-Kader, together provide sensitive insights into the total culture of the North African desert people of the nineteenth century.

Both spiritual and material aspects of desert life are encompassed in this work, which ranges from translations of Arab poetry to descriptions of the uses of the fat and remains of the ostrich. The patterns of conviction and conduct described form an important part of the rich cultural heritage of the modern Maghreb nations.

The way of life described in this book is often presented from what comes very close to being an inside point of view. Occasionally Daumas feels obliged to disapprove of certain practices or beliefs or to criticize his Arab friends, but in large part his underlying sympathy for the Arab people permits his informants to speak clearly through his pen.

General Melchior Joseph Eugene Daumas took part in the conquest of Algeria by France and, for his distinguished service, was named Director of the Bureau of Algerian Affairs in the French Ministry of War. During the campaigns and the occupation that followed, he studied and attempted to understand the native peoples with an objectivity and sympathy unusual among the colonialists of the period. He recorded a way of life that has changed much since the nineteenth century, and much of what he recorded has since been lost. His account, as well as being an important source for the historian and ethnographer, provides for the general reader a fascinating record of the vanishing ways of the desert.

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