A Wrinkle in the Stud Book: Rosa Rugosa 166

Copyright 1991 by R.J.CADRANELL
from Arabian Visions Jan 1991
Used by permission of RJCadranell

One of the most puzzling registrations in the first edition (1944) of Volume V of our Arabian Stud Book is 166. This is the number assigned to a bay mare foaled March 27, 1907, and entered in the Stud Book as “*Rosa Rugosa.” Her sire was *Imamzada, and her dam was *Rose of Sharon. The Stud Book states that Rosa Rugosa was bred by the Crabbet Stud in England, and imported in 1911 by American foundation breeder Spencer Borden, of Fall River, Massachusetts. The same Stud Book states that Borden imported both *Imamzada and *Rose of Sharon from England in 1905. There’s the rub, or in this case, the wrinkle. With both her parents owned in America, how was it that this animal was bred in England and imported to America as a four-year-old? Or could there be an error in the Stud book?

Unlike some problematic early registrations, there is enough evidence to iron out Rosa Rugosa’s wrinkle. The 1986 publication, Lady Anne Blunt, Journals and Correspondence, contains much of it. From correspondence published in this book, we know that Borden made what was apparently his first visit to Crabbet, on September 6, 1905. After his visit, he wrote to Lady Anne Blunt,

“I find the family that pleases me most is that of Rose of Sharon. As I should have to pay duty on the old mare, I would much prefer having Ridaa her daughter or Risala her granddaughter, unless the price of the old mare is quite a short one. Ridaa, I understand you will not sell, and I fear the price on Risala would be too high…” (1) (page 433)

*Rose of Sharon was then twenty years old, and had already assumed the position of one of the most valuable and distinguished broodmares the Blunts ever bred at their Crabbet Stud. She had produced her eleventh foal in 1904, and was in foal for 1906. Lady Anne Blunt replied,

“…I could take 100gs for Rose of Sharon. I am, however, not keen to sell the mare as she is in foal to Harb, and also at her age the change she is making to a new climate and surroundings might be trying…”(1) (page 433)

Despite the initial reservations on both sides, Borden and Lady Anne eventually struck a deal. *Rose of Sharon’s English Stud Book Certificate, recording her sale to Borden (now at the Arabian Horse Trust) is dated September 28, 1905. According to Michael Bowling, (2) the Crabbet herdbook records that, *Rose of Sharon was shipped from Liverpool on October 6. The section of Borden’s book detailing importations to America, states,

“In October 1905 there came… the famous old mare Rose of Sharon…”(3)(page 93)

Borden had added his prize, a mare he felt was just about the best the Crabbet Stud could offer him, to his own small herd in America.

A letter from Borden to “Harry” (perhaps Major Henry Leonard) dated November 3, 1919 (now on file at the Arabian Horse Trust) continues the story:

“When I visited Crabbett Park [sic] in 1905, I thought Ridaa the best mare…No price would buy her. As I wanted some of the blood, I had to buy her dam, the Rose of Sharon, then 20 years old.
“In January 1906, she foaled Rodan. I bred her to Imanzada [sic] and in 1907 she had Rosa Rugosa. I sold her to Ames as a yearling.”

*Rodan was the Harb colt *Rose of Sharon had been carrying when she left Crabbet. *Imamzada was a bay or brown stallion of non-Crabbet lines, foaled in 1891. Borden had bought *Imamzada from the Hon. Miss Etheldred Dillon during his September 1905 trip to England. This was “before he went down to Crabbet.” (1) (page 420)

Arabians of H.H. and W.R.Brown Registered in 1916:

  • (N.B. *157 was a Hingham Stock Farm foal registered 2-10-16)
  • 160 *Shibine
  • 161 Nazlet, mare of H.J.Brown’s from Borden
  • 162 *Antika, imported by Borden, owned by W.R.Brown
  • 163 (Alladin, colt bred by Albert Harris)
  • 164 *Narda
  • 165 *Risalda, imported by Borden, owned by Brown
  • 166 Rosa Rugosa
  • 167 *Noam
  • 168 Matina, 1913 foal bred by H.J.Brown
  • 169 Hajar, 1915 foal bred by W.R.Brown
  • 170 Jafa, 1915 Brown foal
  • 171 Mahmet, 1915 Borden foal owned by Brown
  • 172 Reza, 1915 Rosa Rugosa foal bred by H.J.Brown
  • 173 Abeleyd, 1913 *Shibine foal bred by H.J.Brown
  • 174 (Yemen, 1915 Hingham foal)
  • 175 Abyssam, 1916 Brown foal
  • 176 Gemar, 1916 Brown foal
  • 177 Kahlaga, 1916 Brown foal
  • 178 Suleiman, 1916 Brown foal
  • 179 Yaquida, 1916 Brown foal
  • 180 Djemeli, 1916 Brown foal
  • 181 Mariam, 1915 Brown foal
  • (N.B.*184 was a Hingham foal registered 12-4-16)

*Rose of Sharon did not live many years in America. This was not because she was sent back to England, as some people have hypothesized to explain the confusing Rosa Rugosa registration. Borden wrote to Lady Anne Blunt on July 29, 1907. “You will be sorry to hear that Rose of Sharon died last week. A severe attack of what seemed like cholera, perhaps brought on by the dreadfully hot weather, carried her off. She left me a fine filly, by Imamzada, which I have named Rosa Rugosa.” (1) (page 438)

Rosa rugosa is the botanical name of a species of rose having rough leaves with furrowed veins (from the Latin rugosus wrinkled). In naming the filly Rosa Rugosa, Borden was following the Crabbet Stud practice of connecting the names of foals to the names of their dams. *Rose of Sharon was the daughter of Crabbet foundation mare, Rodania. The Blunts named Rodania’s other daughters Rose of Jericho and Rosemary. Among Rodania’s granddaughters were *Rosetta, Rose of Dawn and Rose Diamond, the dam of Rose of Hind.

As we already know, Borden sold Rosa Rugosa to Frederick Lothrop Ames when she was a yearling. Ames was a descendant of the founder of the “Ames Shovel and Tool Company.” The family seat was in North Easton, Massachusetts. Beginning in 1909, Ames bought some Arabians of his own from Crabbet. On the occasion of Ames’ (July, 1909) visit. Lady Anne Blunt noted in her journal that, “[h]e possesses the R. of Sharon filly by Imamzada, very fine he says which he bought from Borden.” (1) (page 338)

In 1909, Ames bought a number of horses from Wilfrid Blunt, including the mares, *Shibine and *Narda. The mares were imported in 1910, and *Narda produced a filly named *Noam, in 1911.

The imported Arabians mentioned thus far, as well as Rosa Rugosa, were registered in the Arabian section of the Jockey Club’s American Stud Book, well before they were entered in our Arabian Stud Book. As of the Jockey Club’s 1914 Stud Book, the Ames’ mares, *Narda and *Shibine, were owned by Herbert J. Brown, brother of W.R.Brown of the famous Maynesboro Stud. H. J. Brown seems to have acquired the bulk of the Ames’ Arabians. As of 1914, H. J. owned Rosa Rugosa as well as *Narda and *Shibine; he is credited as the breeder of Rosa Rugosa’s first foal, Kheyra, registered in the Arabian Stud Book as born in 1913.

In 1916, the Brown brothers burst into the Arabian Stud Book with a nearly solid block of 20 registrations, as shown in the accompanying box. The first published Stud Book in which these registrations appeared was Volume II, dated 1918. At that time Rosa Rugosa was listed as dead, and the misinformation about her having been bred at Crabbet and imported by Borden in 1911, first saw print. Where it came from is difficult to judge; perhaps it was a clerical error, since the mare registered immediately before Rosa Rugosa, *Risalda 165, really was bred at Crabbet and really was imported by Borden in 1911. The one Jockey Club Stud Book naming Rosa Rugosa’s breeder, is Volume XII. It says that she was bred by Spencer Borden.

Arabian Stud Book Volumes II, III, IV, and V, all list Rosa Rugosa as bred at Crabbet and imported by Borden in 1911. The third edition of Volume V (1973) corrects the name of her breeder to Spencer Borden. The 1986 edition of the Registry’s Stud Book on microfiche, however, has returned to the erroneous information with the curious addition of a specious importation date of 3-28-07.

Though three of her four registered foals, Rosa Rugosa’s line is active in Arabian breeding today. Her daughter, Kheyra (by *Astraled) is the dam of Rawada. Rosa Rugosa’s most widespread line is through her son, Sidi (by Khaled), sire of Babyat, Raad and Rehal.


    Lady Anne Blunt, Journals and Correspondence
    CMK Record, Vol. IV, No. 3, (writing in )
    The Arab Horse, Spencer Borden