Davenport Bloodlines in CMK Breeding

by Charles Craver
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(Copied to this web page by permission of Charles Craver)

By long-standing usage in the United States, the term “Davenport,” as applied to Arabian horses, is used to describe the horses registered by the Arabian Horse Registry of this country as having been imported in 1906 from the Arabian desert by Homer Davenport. By extension, the term is also applied to those horses which are entirely descended from those horses. The original importation consisted of twenty-seven head, of which twenty-five were registered. When they arrived in the United States, there were few other Arabian horses here. As the years went by, crosses were made with other bloodlines as they were imported. At present, almost all Arabians having several generations of American breeding trace to the Davenports to the extent that probably 90 percent of Arabian horses in the U.S. have in the neighborhood of 10 percent Davenport ancestry.

At the same time as this dissemination of Davenport bloodlines has gone on, a few Arabians have continued to be bred exclusively within the bloodlines of the Davenport importation. These horses are almost entirely of breeding stock which passed through the Kellogg Ranch. There are presently (1982) about 325 living Arabian horses of this sort in the ownership of about 75 individuals. This group of horses is one of the oldest breeding groups of Arabians anywhere to have been maintained on a closed pedigree basis: that is, without outcrossing to other bloodlines. As a group, their major distinctive feature is the similarity in type which they bear to the pictures and descriptions which we have of their imported, desert-bred ancestors of 1906. A few of them even bear marked resemblance to specific individuals in the importation. This is particularly noticeable in some descendants of *Muson #27, but people who know these bloodlines are also able to recognize features from others of the imported horses such as *Abeyah #39, *Deyr #33, *Farha #42, and *Hamrah #28.

The horses registered as imported by Davenport were as follows: *Haleb #25, *Houran #26, *Muson #27, *Hamrah #28, *El Bulad #29, *Wadduda #30, *Gomusa #31, *Azra #32, *Deyr # 33, *Mowarda #34, *Kusof #35, *Euphrates #36, *Antar # 37, *Reshan #38, *Abeyah #39, *Urfah #40, *Werdi #41, *Farha #42, *Hadba #43, *Jedah #44, *Haffia #45, *Enzahi #46, *Moharra #47, *Masoud #64, *Abbeian #111. All of these horses, having living descendants, are represented in pedigrees from Maynesboro (*Euphrates #36) or the Kellogg Ranch. The “Davenport” Arabians were personally obtained by Davenport through direct purchase from their bedouin owners who were required to establish their purebred status by oath taken before their sheikhs and fellow tribesmen. Davenport was proud that these horses were representative of the animals which were used in daily bedouin life.

The Davenport influence came into the CMK context with the stallion Jerrede #84 who was out of the Hamidie mare *Nejdme #1 and by the Davenport stallion *Euphrates #36. W. R. Brown was interested in using this horse as a sire at Maynesboro, but initially he was disinclined to do so because the sire, *Euphrates, like the other Davenports, was not registered with the Jockey Club, although he was, of course, registered with the Arabian Horse Club of America. Brown was able to arrange acceptance of *Euphrates by the Jockey Club through statements by Lady Anne Blunt of the Crabbet Arabian Stud authenticating his pedigree. This opened the way for registration by the Jockey Club of Jerrede and for use of that horse at Maynesboro by W. R. Brown. Jerrede’s role there is minor, and it is difficult to evaluate how successful he was as a sire.

In living CMK horses, practically all Davenport influence derives from the extensive use of Davenport related breeding stock at the Kellogg Ranch, where in early years, the Davenport bloodlines were very strongly represented.

Among the Davenports which were especially known as Kellogg breeding stock were the stallions Hanad #489, Antez #448, Letan #86, Jadaan #196, and *Deyr #33. Well-known mares were Adouba #270, Babe Azab #567, Fasal #330, Hasiker #268, Poka #438, Saba #437, Sankirah #149, Sherlet #339, and Schilla #419.

The Kellogg Ranch bred a few horses which were entirely Davenport in pedigree. The more frequent utilizations of the bloodlines, however, were in combination with horses of other background. Quite a number of these crosses were of foundation quality and provided the bases from which some of the most popular current American Arabians derive. Horses such as Khemosabi, Ferzon, The Judge, Fame, Ibn Hanrah, Fadjur, Galan, Garaff, and Saki all have strong Davenport elements in their pedigrees and would not be the same if there were to be replacement by ancestors of a different background.

When their numerical representation at the Kellogg Ranch was substantial, the Davenport bloodlines appear to have been well appreciated. From pictures of public record, foals produced by them were of excellent quality and helped to establish the reputation of the ranch as an Arabian horse nursery. In presentations at the Kellogg exhibitions, the Davenports were among the noted performers, with Hanad doing a trick and dressage routine he had learned as an older horse, Pep performing as a trick horse, and Jadaan being exhibited in costume. They were used successfully in a number of movies. In competition at public horse shows, they did well against other Arabians in California, including some of the most attractive and highly publicized of the Kellogg Crabbet imports.

As time has passed, a certain amount of partisanship had developed both towards and against the Kellogg Davenport bloodlines. From a distance in time it is difficult to understand the reasons for this, but partly, they may have had origins in the fact that the Davenports sometimes represented a different tradition in Arabian breeding from some of the other Kellogg bloodlines. These traditions were and still are reflected in the horses themselves. The Davenports were close to their desert origins. *Deyr #33 was actually a desert import. Others were only one or two generations removed. Such horses represented Bedouin values in Arabian breeding. Other fine bloodlines at Kellogg’s were quite different in their origins, some of them descending from long lines of Arabian breeding in Europe, England, and Egypt: perhaps these bloodlines tended to show the influences of the countries which had served as intermediate hosts for the several generations which transited the distance from Arabia to the Kellogg Ranch.

Actually, there was no good reason why one bloodline should be valued and another ignored among the Kellogg Ranch bloodlines, of which the Davenports were one. There was sufficient good in each that a lover of horses could be grateful they had been brought into a juxtaposition of some harmony and then passed on to private breeders as a contribution to the development of the Arabian horse in America.

The question naturally comes up as to what Davenport bloodlines added to CMK breeding. The answer breaks down into two parts, the first concerning those horses which are entirely Davenport in origin. This is a group of horses which is still quite representative of the desert imports of 1906. They tend to be of moderate size, athletic inclination, fine-skinned, large of eye, and wide between the jaws. Dispositions are comparatively quiet, and they adapt well to the owner who wants to give plenty of personal attention to his horse. Out of the small number which have been shown in recent years, there have been good successes in dressage, distance riding, halter, pleasure, costume, and park exhibition. One of the interesting things about this group of horses is that certain of them preserve the identity in type and strain of two of the major bedouin strains among the horses imported by Davenport, which were the Seglawi and the Kuhaylan. In recent years, the effort has been made to intensify this aspect of their breeding.

The other aspect of the contribution of Davenport bloodlines to CMK breeding has to do with how they have blended with bloodlines other than their own. For the most part, Davenport elements in CMK pedigrees are significant but certainly not overwhelming in terms of the percentage of total ancestry represented. In many instances their main contribution is probably in the form of background influences which facilitate the expression of desirable characteristics from other, more immediate pedigree sources. Where the percentage of Davenport ancestry becomes higher, of course, the influence of specific Davenport horses becomes more recognizable, and the vitality and muscularity of Letan, the long, upright neck of Hanad, the fine coat of Hasiker and the other identifiable characteristics can sometimes be picked out. Some years ago a study was done of the pedigrees of horses competing at our national show. It turned out that the more successful horses being exhibited in performance categories tended to have higher percentages of Davenport ancestry than the average horse winning at that show in halter classes. A frequent comment of trainers is that their horses having higher percentages of Davenport blood tend to be more easily trained. Usually the overall influence of Davenport blood in a horse is towards a smoother, more harmoniously built individual. This may be traceable to *Hamrah #28 who was a great brood mare sire and whose blood was very strongly present in the Kellogg Davenports.

The CMK movement offers an opportunity for increased appreciation of some of the older values in Arabian breeding. Davenport bloodlines have contributed very strongly to the expression of these values.